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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 05-13-08, 10:00 AM   #1
jdaniel
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I am not a superhero!

I was cruising around the Roadie forum here on BF.net and I read over a thread talking about lycra, etc. Now I've got nothing against Roadies. As it is, most are better bikers than I am, stronger, and can go longer distances. I only use my bike to get from one place to the other or to run errands (saving up for a nice Burley Nomad... ohhh yeah).

Concerning lycra, I can't ever consider wearing the stuff. I call them superheros for a reason. I can understand the benefits of it: Padded shorts, stretchy clothes that do not chafe, bright colors to warn others of your presence, the power of wicking.

That's all well and good, but here are my issues with it:

The Superhero Look: Actually the looks in and of itself does not bother me. I hardly look cool with my helmet, shirt, shorts and road safety vest. Its the "group" look that gets me. I hate groups. I hate to associate or be identified with any group (aside from the USMC, my immediate family, and my gamer clan DGCSN . With those three groups, I take the good and the bad that are associated with it. I do not mind being lumped in with them as I understand them completely and they tend to follow a very specific set of behavioral traits (USMC = Cleanest Bodies, Dirtiest Minds, DGCSN = RL friends who are Nerdy l33t gamers with an inability to find real women, Family = the last name 'Daniel' means "Only God will judge me" and this kinda fits). For better or worse, I will associate with these three groups. But no one else. When I interact with the world I want them to interact with me and me alone. In most circumstances I will not ever mention that I am a Marine, my last name, or that my clan name's first two letters mean "Dead Girls." All of this is just a long winded way of saying that until any group is willing to fight and die for me (yes even my gamer clan is that close) then I will not cast my name in with their lot. I may speak on their behalf, work with them for a common goal, or hang out with them, but not be tied in with them.

::shrugs:: Though their are benefits to assembling, I find that I work best speaking alongside a group and not being with them. People tend to lump a group, no matter how large, as one entity, with an equal voice and any other one entity, no matter how large. A movement works best when its not just one group speaking, but with several groups (even if small in number) and several individuals speaking along the same vein

Beyond that, I cannot wear tight pants! I really cant! I even bought the tight, boxer briefs, with padding in them, to wear under my shorts. Rode once around a block and came back sick. To be vulgar, it keeps my testicles WAY to close to my body. I am a decently fit guy. I bought the right size padded underwear (actually it was a size larger than I would have expected). It hurt.

All this being considered, I wear a helmet, loose fitting shorts, normal boxers, a wicking T-shirt that fits comfortably loose (from Target at 9 dollars a pop ) and a Road Safety Vest. I wear sandals and ride my bike on the sideroads and trails when possible.


Its not really a rant and I have nothing at all against Roadies. More power to them. Infact, I have no idea why I wrote this bit. Guess I just felt like sharing. Hope you guys have a good day
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Old 05-13-08, 10:23 AM   #2
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Well, I suppose my church and extended family is the only group that I fit into. I wear whatever fits in with the activity. Usually it is lycra but I rarely match. I ride alone most everywhere. I am willing to find friends wherever they may be though. I don't necessarily think Lycra attaches you to a particular group. Skiers, Football players, swimmers, wrestlers, figure skaters, speed skaters, and we could go on and on wear the stuff so I don't think it is really a group thing. Much like wearing pants does not make you a guy necessarily. Anyway, I wear what I need to get the job done.

And yes, I am a superhero. Who frees the world from the gas crises, one commute at a time? Who prevents tons of pollution a year from entering our atmosphere? Who is ever vigilant at keeping one more number out of the US obesity statistics? It's a treadmill, no it's a rowing machine, no.... it's super Paul! Endlessly fighting a seemingly hopeless battle against the forces of waste and stupidity.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:29 AM   #3
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Dead Girls Can't Say No... That's damned funny.

My gamertag is my username. I'm very familiar with online team affiliation. I led a team that was number one in the world for nine months straight back in the R63 days of XBL.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:38 AM   #4
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Would you be wearing a baseball or football uniform if you played either of those sports?
Or what about those funny looking bowling shoes, gloves and shirts?
Speedos for swimmers?
Leather suit for racing motorcycles?

Most roadies are participating in a sport and there is specific performance attire that goes along with it. You don't have to wear it, but it was designed the way it is for a reason.
If you are just using your bike as transportation then wear whatever you see fit and don't worry about what others are wearing.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:44 AM   #5
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I'm glad I don't put that much thought into what others think of me.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jdaniel View Post
...It hurt.
Maybe it's those big brass balls?

Seriously, I never wore riding shorts until just recently. But they work so damned well, I will wear 'em whenever they are suitable for the trip (some combination of conditions, distance, and destination). On a nice warm day, I'll be seen wearing black cycling shorts (w/o advertisments), a bright yellow hi-vis vest, and a visored helmet. Where do I fit? Right where I am.

I figure that if what I'm doing seems unusual to the majority of people, then I must be doing something right.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:53 AM   #7
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Clothing is a tool. It's that simple. It's no different than a suit for work or ski clothing for skiing.
Why ppl have to be insecure about what they wear or how they look in sport-specific clothing is beyond me. That some sport-specific clothing is identified with a team or group, who cares? How's it any different than some schmoe who puts a nascar sticker on his rear window or chooses to wear a ball cap with a football team's logo. Ppl like to belong to groups or show who they're fans of. When I have to put on a team specific uniform for a team I'm a member of/coach etc., I take some pride in that. If I have to wear short split shorts for running because they work I do it. I could care less about the comments. You should see the runners forums. So many are so insecure about wearing short shorts that they're willing to use less comfortable gear in the name of vanity/insecurity.

Last edited by littlewaywelt; 05-13-08 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:54 AM   #8
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I'm glad I don't put that much thought into what others think of me.
Same here. The whole sport of rugby would pretty much come to a screeching halt if we subscribed to any sort of "give a sh**" about people's opinions of our appearance.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:58 AM   #9
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I am not sure if I put that much thought into anything besides work.
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Old 05-13-08, 11:03 AM   #10
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The roadie shorts developed for a reason...

Tight...to prevent chaffing and facilitate speed.

Padding...isn't meant to be padding. It originally (and sometimes still is) was a chamios to pull sweat away from the skin.

Black...In the old days biking meant getting greasy, so black shorts provided a place to wipe dirty hands.
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Old 05-13-08, 11:04 AM   #11
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I am not sure if I put that much thought into anything besides work.
What about posting on bikeforums?
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Old 05-13-08, 11:07 AM   #12
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Thanks for sharing.

(And by the way, some roadies commute. And some commuters race. And some commuting roadies ride fixed gear bikes wearing lycra bibs rather than girl jeans and white belts.)
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Old 05-13-08, 11:11 AM   #13
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When I read this, in a way, it reminded me of this from craigslist.

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sfo/588037045.html

Quote:
Dear Hipster Record Store Clerk,

Thank you for judging me on the CD I bought yesterday. Our passive-aggressive altercation made me realize how conformist I am for buying an old Rage Against The Machine album. Your condescension was just the intellectual wake-up call I needed.

I discovered a new me yesterday, and my eyes were opened in a new way. Thanks to you, I realize now that the key to enlightenment is reading Pitchfork, watching High Fidelity, listening to Velvet Underground, having a tattoo of a star on the inside of my wrist, growing an ironic mustache, living in the Mission, and wearing a too-small sweater, multi-colored 70’s ski-vest, chunky plastic-frame glasses, a high school sports T-shirt, air-tight black jeans, and Nixon-era Chuck Taylors.

I had it all wrong, man. You showed me that a skilled job and a comfortable living is just a lie. I need to go to art school, have my parents pay my rent, join a Joy Division-influenced band, and wait for a record deal, like you. I’m totally missing out in life.

So thanks again for mocking me. I mean, at first I thought you were just a pathetic, frustrated musician trying to feel better about yourself. But now I see you’re an uncompromising visionary.

No one will ever understand you. You’re so different.

Signed,

Everyone Not Like You
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Old 05-13-08, 11:35 AM   #14
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Lame.

At some point the bike nerds took over the sport and decided that it's cool (nay, a necessity) to wear the superhero gear all the time.

Wear what you want and just enjoy being on a bike, let the Superheros battle with their mortal enemies- cars and pedestrians. Both of which can not relate to the superhero and therefore consider him a threat. In normal clothes? Not so much (if at all).
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Old 05-13-08, 11:54 AM   #15
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About the shorts --

You'd think that, by now, there would actually be some proper bike shorts (chamois, high-cut rear, grippy leg openings, etc) that had some room in front instead of forcing the wearer's bits into looking like a Ken doll.

I'd say to pick up a USMC jersey so that you can stand apart while being near the group.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:00 PM   #16
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To call every one of us who commutes by bicycle a hero is to claim that we are somehow going above the call of duty by commuting by bicycle. The problem with that message is it tells everyone else that it's okay to drive. I would much rather indicate to them that I am a clean, responsible professional who choses to commute by bicycle, hardly different from the many who walk, take public transportation, or carpool.

I avoid cycling-specific clothing because I want to avoid any pretense that I am an athlete. I am not an athlete. To dress like an athlete would send a message that you have to be an athlete to commute by bicycle, which seems counterproductive. I want everyone to think they can do it, the way they do in Europe.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:04 PM   #17
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I want everyone to think they can do it
That's precisely my point.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:05 PM   #18
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You could cut a hole in the front of the shorts and wear a codpiece. That would certainly set you apart

Also only 5.9% of Europeans commute by bicycle and the majority of those are students.

http://www.japan-guide.com/topic/0011.html
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Old 05-13-08, 12:09 PM   #19
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It's an interesting idea, but I bet that in the 10 seconds it takes a motorist to pass a bike the only thing he is thinking is how quickly can I get around, not gee look, he's wearing a suit and bike commuting he must be a regular guy doing it, I bet I could too.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:10 PM   #20
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This just in... Riding actual bikes in the real world while dressed appropriately is lame, but joining a "gamer clan" to play fantasy games online isn't.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:12 PM   #21
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It's an interesting idea, but I bet that in the 10 seconds it takes a motorist to pass a bike the only thing he is thinking is how quickly can I get around, not gee look, he's wearing a suit and bike commuting he must be a regular guy doing it, I bet I could too.
Funny that you make that assumption. I used to look at Superheros on bikes and wonder why they decided to ruin my commute- don't they have anything else to do in the morning?

If I knew they were commuting it would've been a far different story- which is exactly why I dress normally.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:17 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by littlewaywelt View Post
It's an interesting idea, but I bet that in the 10 seconds it takes a motorist to pass a bike the only thing he is thinking is how quickly can I get around, not gee look, he's wearing a suit and bike commuting he must be a regular guy doing it, I bet I could too.
Yeah, that's probably true most of the time, but I do get my share of gee look ... I bet I could do that too.looks, not to mention intelligent questions from people who, it would seem, are seriously considering it.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:18 PM   #23
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I am.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:20 PM   #24
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Funny that you make that assumption. I used to look at Superheros on bikes and wonder why they decided to ruin my commute- don't they have anything else to do in the morning?

If I knew they were commuting it would've been a far different story- which is exactly why I dress normally.
my post was in reply to RHM.

I commute in my work clothes. I've always assumed most drivers just assume I can't afford a car.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:26 PM   #25
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What about posting on bikeforums?
Have you seen some of my posts? Obviously, not.
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