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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 06-19-08, 05:51 PM   #1
Mr23779
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Serious road bike used as a commuter?

Okay, I didn't go through EVERY page on the "Commuter Bicycle Pics" thread...but, on a cursory glance, I didn't see many pictures of road bikes.

I've been to the Road Cycling sub-forum and have seen some absolutely gorgeous road bikes and say to myself, "Self, these are rolling works-of-art and have the latest/greatest components, etc...and since these are magnificent machines and are meant to be ridden long distances, built like tanks but weigh next to nothing, are effecient, and are the epitome of cutting-edge design...wouldn't they make great commuting machines, too?"

I've seen some spectacular bikes in this Commuting sub-forum (as well as the other sub-forums, for that matter) that are obviously comfortable, light, simple, utilitarian, etc. Commuting bikes seem to be designed by manufacturers and built-up by their owners to be more simple and more comfortable, but I would think that some people would opt for the best of both worlds.

What happens when the two worlds collide? What happens when you take a road bike and make it your daily commuter? Don't folks do this very thing sans the "yellow jersey" or the lycra/spandex shorts and special shoes?

This thread is a bit tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be judgemental in ANY way, but I am curious as to why more folks don't use road bikes as their daily commuter.

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Old 06-19-08, 05:59 PM   #2
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Three or 4 days a week during the season, I meet a buddy at 7 for a training ride. I leave the house at 6:25, ride to the parking garage at the office, drop my backpack in my bike locker, and then ride to the ARBT to meet John. Then I ride back to the office, quick shower and change, and I'm at my desk by 8:30.



On the way home, I'll usually change back into the lycra kit, but when it's not too hot I'll just wear the shirt and tie and ride leisurely home.
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Old 06-19-08, 06:03 PM   #3
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You can't do much of anything to a serious road bike because the frames were desinged for serious riding and accept only serious racing components.

They are also seriously expensive.
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Old 06-19-08, 06:06 PM   #4
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You can't do much of anything to a serious road bike because the frames were desinged for serious riding and accept only serious racing components.

They are also seriously expensive.

(Okay, on looking back at my post, I did use that word too much! Maybe I will edit it.)
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Old 06-19-08, 06:06 PM   #5
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Okay, I didn't go through EVERY page on the "Commuter Bicycle Pics" thread...but, on a cursory glance, I didn't see many pictures of serious road bikes.

I've been to the Road Cycling sub-forum and have seen some absolutely gorgeous road bikes and say to myself, "Self, these are rolling works-of-art and have the latest/greatest components, etc...and since these are magnificent machines and are meant to be ridden long distances, built like tanks but weigh next to nothing, are effecient, and are the epitome of cutting-edge design...wouldn't they make great commuting machines, too?"

I've seen some spectacular bikes in this Commuting sub-forum (as well as the other sub-forums, for that matter) that are obviously comfortable, light, simple, utilitarian, etc. Commuting bikes seem to be designed by manufacturers and built-up by their owners to be more simple and more comfortable, but I would think that some people would opt for the best of both worlds.

What happens when the two worlds collide? What happens when you take a road bike and make it your daily commuter? Don't folks do this very thing sans the "yellow jersey" or the lycra/spandex shorts and special shoes?

This thread is a bit tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be judgemental in ANY way, but I am curious as to why more folks don't use serious road bikes as their daily commuter.
Well I used to use a "serious road bike" as my commuter back in the late 7'0s and early '80s. The first thing I ran into was the issue of narrow tires and poor road beds. When commuting you are likely to be in heavy traffic, and it is a bit more difficult to pick and chose your path in that situation... you will therefore meet pot holes directly. Skinny tires and fragile rims don't do well under such conditions. When I was able to afford it, my first thoughts went to fatter tires and upright seating, and I had a bike built for that. Along with that were adverse weather conditions (fenders) and racks. You don't see many "serious road bikes" with fender and rack braze-ons. All these went into my commuter bike.

Could you commute with a "serious road bike?" Sure, it just depends on the commute. But I think you'll find that utility is the order of the day for commuting. At least it was for me.

BTW I keep a "serious road bike" for my lunch rides or weekend jaunts with the peloton.
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Old 06-19-08, 06:12 PM   #6
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I didn't like being in such a hurry on the way to work, on a serious road bike its almost unavoidable. A more relaxed position is a little slower but a lot more comfortable.
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Old 06-19-08, 06:20 PM   #7
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Old 06-19-08, 06:21 PM   #8
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commuting is serious and should be taken seriously.

but seriously i'm going to commute on a road bike and it mainly comes down to amount of maintenance and all weather, all condition reliability. also how much money you're willing to ride around on.
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Old 06-19-08, 06:30 PM   #9
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I may have an opportunity to pick up a 2007 Trek Madone and considered using it on my commute.
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Old 06-19-08, 06:33 PM   #10
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I may have an opportunity to pick up a 2007 Trek Madone and considered using it on my commute.
Make sure to get a good heavy lock
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Old 06-19-08, 06:35 PM   #11
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I have been using my Tarmac Expert on my commute. It is far from optimal to use as a full time commuter but it sure is fun when I take it out.
My actual commuter is a salsa casserole built up as a ss\fg with a rack and soon to have fenders. I may give up on the no gears thing due to my knee and convert it to a 105 drive train.
A madone would be a fun ride indeed. However, a "serious" commuter may want a bike that can carry more cargo.
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Old 06-19-08, 06:36 PM   #12
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Make sure to get a good heavy lock

That is unless you take it inside with you. My office is moving and none of my bikes are appropriate to lock up outside. I may just need to pick up a ghetto commuter.
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Old 06-19-08, 06:53 PM   #13
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I'm lucky enough to work in a building where I have an office that connects directly to an MDF with a solid door. I can lock it in there to any one of several objects and a security camera points directly at the one and only door into the room.

If I ever work up the guts to ride it to my PD...it should be safe in the MDF there, as well.
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Old 06-19-08, 06:58 PM   #14
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The reason people don't use bikes like this are (and these criteria may not apply to you):
- Can't lock it outside
- Expensive
- Uncomfortable for city riding (I find that you don't see as well on those "lean forward" bikes)
- Skinny tires are not pothole proof
- No fenders in case it rains
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Old 06-19-08, 07:06 PM   #15
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Road/Race bike:



Commuter Bike:

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Old 06-19-08, 07:07 PM   #16
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I also commuted on a serous road bike in the late 70's. I think it was serious anyway, it was a viner frame, some of the components were better than others, I replaced parts as needed with better parts, some of them never wore out.

I lived car free so my commutes were further. Now I commute on a mary poppins bike (specialized expedition). My commutes and errands are much closer but I have to say the geezer bike is much more convienient, if not as fast. If I had to commute longer I would use my jamis nova. The longest I have ridded the expediton is 13 miles and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I wouldn't want to ride in heavy traffic in it but it's great on side roads and city streets.

I get my bikes to ride, weather be damned, as long as I can lock them securely I'm happy.
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Old 06-19-08, 07:23 PM   #17
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I commuted for 10 years on a regular road bike. It was a very hilly 9 mile commute, and the road bike was perfect.
My commute is hsort now, so a single speed road bike is my main ride.
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Old 06-19-08, 08:37 PM   #18
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Depending on where you store your bike, including stopping by a store on the way home, every buttbrain in the world will jam their old beater bike into your nice shiny expensive serious road bike until it is a scarred and ruined mess like theirs. I hate most everyone.
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Old 06-19-08, 09:26 PM   #19
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I seriously like having a dedicated commuter, a lot.

I seriously like having a dedicated road bike, a lot.

I seriously like having a dedicated mountain bike, a lot.

I seriously like having a dedicated neighborhood cruiser, a lot.

I would seriously like to own even more bikes.

I might have a seriuos problem.
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Old 06-19-08, 09:30 PM   #20
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Oh man! That's classic! Love it.

Seems I might be falling into the same "serious" trap. I have a new Bianchi Milano Citta for around the neighborhood with the little woman, a new Bianchi Pista in singlespeed mode for quick little go-fast rides, and am contemplating getting a road bike.

Help me...please...someone...anyone...
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Old 06-19-08, 09:40 PM   #21
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How expensive does it need to be, and what level of componentry should it have, before a bike can be called "serious"?

I figure that a bike that's often labeled a "crit machine" would be good in traffic (although mine has yet to be used as one ). Fast, nimble, etc. I've got another bike for when it gets wet, but this is the one I use the most, by far.



And in storage at work:

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Old 06-19-08, 10:48 PM   #22
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Yeah, I guess it depends what you mean by "serious". I have what I consider to be a serious but low end road bike that I bought used for $350. It's a 2005 Specialized Allez and I'm gradually upgrading the components as I find deals on craigslist or Ebay. Late fall and winter are good times to buy stuff.

It now has an Ultegra RD, a 105 crankset and it'll have 105 STI's as soon as I find a cheap and suitable left shifter (I've had a right one for a few months). I'll probably get a newer wheelset in the Fall. Last year I picked up a set of Rolfs for $100. I should have kept them but didn't.

It is and will be my regular commuter until the snow flies at which point I'll switch over to my MTB with studded tires.

I carry a laptop, change of clothes, and lunch in a messenger bag. The bike will take a rack and I even have one for it, I've just never put it on. I'd like to put fenders on it too, but it's not too pressing at the moment.

FWIW I actually see a lot of people commuting on road bikes once the weather gets nice but usually they're 80's bikes or older. I think you'd see a lot more people commuting on them if they were as cheap and common as hybrids or MTBs.

Last edited by tjspiel; 06-19-08 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 06-20-08, 01:04 AM   #23
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I've only got the one bike and it's a road bike, but it's like thirty years old so I don't think it's quite so serious in it's old age, not that it ever was to begin with. The other day at work there was a new addition to the fence (normally it's just me and a couple of dept. store mountain bikes), I think it was a Specialized but I don't recall anymore, but it was carbon, lot of fancy Shimano components, those weird handlebar extensions where you rest your arms right in the middle of the bars and hold onto grips that jut out forwards, clipless pedals, some ritzy-looking panniers with their own raincovers. Suddenly I've gone from lording my "made in France" bike over everyone else to just another schlub with one of those ancient "metal" bikes.
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Old 06-20-08, 02:18 AM   #24
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Okay, I didn't go through EVERY page on the "Commuter Bicycle Pics" thread...but, on a cursory glance, I didn't see many pictures of road bikes.

...wouldn't they make great commuting machines, too?"

What happens when the two worlds collide? What happens when you take a road bike and make it your daily commuter? Don't folks do this very thing sans the "yellow jersey" or the lycra/spandex shorts and special shoes?
Road bikes do make great commuting machines for those who either don't ride in with their change of clothes or are willing to wear a loaded backpack because few of the more serious road bikes have rack eyelets, much less chain stays long enough to actually mount a pannier.

In San Jose, though, that doesn't stop many people from commuting on their road race bikes and so in that respect, the two worlds do collide. I often see guys on their road bikes who are wearing backpacks, prsumably with their work clothes.

Most of the guys I see are indeed wearing bike clothes; some are less flashy and more utilitarian-looking whereas other guys are wearing racy-looking road kits the likes of which you'd see on a group ride.

In any case, road bikes make great commuting machines, though they're definitely not for everyone or all circumstances.
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Old 06-20-08, 03:11 AM   #25
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Guilty - i ride 30 km each way on a Specialized Tarmac or Litespeed Ultimate (better weather/worst weather). Lux/Beligan roads don't have many potholes as back in the States but we do have LOTS OF COBBLES!

Mostly "city" riding but at night I point the bike in a different direction and try to hit 50+ km. Would never do that if I had a "proper commuter".

Some nights I'll "time trial" home - at least what I'd call time trialing. Other times I'll use the commute as my 60-70% of MHR recovery rides.

Why not make commuting more like road riding - I love to road cycle so for me it combines both worlds perfectly.
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