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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 08-04-08, 11:49 AM   #1
Bster13
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New Commuter....my experience. (pics)

I've decided to commute on a bicycle to work to save some $, get into better shape, and help the environment. I read on this board and others for a couple of weeks absorbing as much info as possible to make an educated purchasing decision.

I had a difficult time deciding between a road bike and a hybrid bike (Cyclocross would of been best, but not in my price range) but opted for a road bike because of the less weight and efficiency of smaller tires. Other commuters on my path seem to go for road bikes as well even with some sidewalk riding.

I fully realize I'm not racing nor aiming to set a land speed record and with my 9.2 mile round trip commute with 34 traffic light (argh!) I did not believe a $1000+ bicycle would make much of a difference in the amount of time it took me to get to work. I did opt for the Dawes from bikesdirect.com as it gave my own personal balance of quality Shimano components for the right price. I'm a bang for buck kinda guy. I don't want to invest too much $ from the get-go only to revert to being a bag of sh_t taking the car into work after a month or two. I didn't see a whole lot of value add from an LBS for my particular situation so I opted for the cheaper internet route. I was a little bit worried about sizing, so we'll see how that works out.


Ebay ad for the Dawes Lightening 1000 from Chicabike:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWN:IT&ih=005

Received UPS tracking info next business days and a couple of days later the bike arrived from Texas:












I was a little worried about the bike because of the beat up packaging, but after inspecting inside all looks well. We'll see tonight when I get it assembled. The entire package came in at 32 lbs:



As a motorcyclist who has worked on his own bikes over the years, I'm confident I can put this baby together myself with little trouble. The tons of videos on youtube should help as well. I picked up a helmet already. Now I need a lock. I'll start researching that on this board now. At the suggestion of a poster on this board I picked up the BELL Muti-tool at Walmart for $13 and change:



I have covered parking garage and bike rack at work as well as a shower. I plan to drive to work on Mondays and drop off clothes, and bike the rest of the week. I still need to research fenders, LED lights, and I will be using a backpack first and see how that goes w/ the laptop as it's free. I have rain gear and need to pick up a spare tube and pump. (still researching ) If that bothers me I'll look into Racks and panniers. If I really get into this I will consider riding to the grocery store for food as well. We'll see. I'll post up how the assembly goes tonight!
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Old 08-04-08, 11:54 AM   #2
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Good luck! I hope that bike commuting is practical and enjoyable for you, and that your bike fits well.
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Old 08-04-08, 12:02 PM   #3
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jeeze, 34 lights?

Any chance of varying your commute to miss some lights? I think I would gladly tack on a few extra miles if it meant missing more than a few of those lights.
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Old 08-04-08, 12:12 PM   #4
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I am going to try the most direct first...it may be too much traffic for me and/or the lights may get to me. But I'm coming right through the heart of the city. My alternative routes may be limited. Heck I may be faster on the bicycle than the car provided I can get up on a sidewalk and bypass some lights that I'm stuck sitting in the car at. *shrugs*
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Old 08-04-08, 12:13 PM   #5
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Good luck on the commute. I've been riding everyday for over a month preparing myself for my commute (14 miles round trip), and plan on riding for the first time tomorrow morning. I've been really hesitant because of crossing 2 major highways, not because I don't think I can make the distance. I've been looking forward to it for some time, and it's time to do it!
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Old 08-04-08, 01:51 PM   #6
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Even with a lot of traffic lights, maybe it's possible to find the least populated route? Run a few of those lights? Not that I'm condoning light running. There's a section on my commute with a string of lights seeing very little traffic, so I'll run'em.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:44 PM   #7
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I do feel there are some lights where I can sneak into the cross walk and bike across the red light safely so long as there is no traffic. I'm hoping I can compensate for my slower bicycling speed vs. the car by sneaking by some lights or using a sidewalk or two where traffic builds up. It will be a learning experience, that's for sure. *gulp* haha. I brought in most of my clothes for the week today (forgot the socks, underwear, and other dress shoes). Now need to duplicate the toiletries I use at home for a set in the office as well.

In the end I'd like to progress to commuting by bicycle 5 days a week instead of driving the car in w/ clothes one day a week. Save even more $, environment and better exercise. But I'm still reading the various threads on packing clothes and keeping them wrinkle free. *cheers*
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Old 08-04-08, 03:37 PM   #8
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Come on man! It's been three and a half hours! Where's the finished bike!
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Old 08-04-08, 03:58 PM   #9
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Don't forget that partial bus/bike isn't a bad option either.
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Old 08-04-08, 04:13 PM   #10
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OK, everyone here knows I'm a sceptic when a newbie posts love for BD, so... a few questions...

Do you work in the mail room and had it delivered to work? If so, I guess I can believe you have a scale handy...

And you didn't post pics of the assembled bike, but lots of pics of just how well it was packaged? Why would you do this?

You did however post the name of the company, the ebay seller, a link to more available bikes, etc.

I will not use the "S" word in hopes I am wrong and that you will be a long time poster in these forums.
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Old 08-04-08, 05:18 PM   #11
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holy crap, who freaking cares. don't like it move on.
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Old 08-04-08, 05:21 PM   #12
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holy crap, who freaking cares. don't like it move on.
take your own advice
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Old 08-04-08, 06:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by kwrides View Post
OK, everyone here knows I'm a sceptic when a newbie posts love for BD, so... a few questions...

Do you work in the mail room and had it delivered to work? If so, I guess I can believe you have a scale handy...

And you didn't post pics of the assembled bike, but lots of pics of just how well it was packaged? Why would you do this?

You did however post the name of the company, the ebay seller, a link to more available bikes, etc.

I will not use the "S" word in hopes I am wrong and that you will be a long time poster in these forums.
Here is what I think explains the picture sequence.
"Bster13" orders his bike on-line. When he collects it at Fedex/UPS? he sees that the package is damaged. Instead of just rejecting the package he whips out his Blackberry and takes some snapshots of the package before and after he has openend the package to inspect the content for damage. Usefull documentation if it comes to an insurance/complaint case etc. This happens the 4. Aug. at around 10:17*. At 10:23 he puts the package on the scale just for fun,
Later he remembers the web forum where he got some usefull advice and post the pics.

*Exif info
--
Regards
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Old 08-04-08, 09:00 PM   #14
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OK, everyone here knows I'm a sceptic when a newbie posts love for BD
OK, nobody knows I'm a bit of a jerk when forum members jump to conclusions w/out having a clue, and even more so when they can't spell. Please excuse my attitude towards 'kwrides,' people that get all 'sceptic' on me rub me the wrong way. If my initial post was displaying 'love' for BD then forgive me in advance for when I actually get the thing sorted and I've got a grin ear to ear after my first commute.

Anyway.... 'interested' u hit the nail on the head. I was worried about the bike's condition because of the packaging, but in the end everything was fine and there wasn't a mark on the bike. The bike is in the garage after an hour of lethargic assembly. I'll take some pics in a minute. (from reading the other BD posts I should of had pics ready for people like 'kwrides,' oh well.)

'JR97' good point, the bus would still be cheaper than taking the car, unfortunately (fortunately?) the bus stop is right around my corner.

Questions:

-I guess I don't have something sharp enough to trim the end of the front brake cable. I've never had trouble cutting other odds and ends, but I guess in my garage full of crud, I don't have the right tool. What does everyone else use? (I had tin snips and a pair of crimpers <has blade on it>) I can cut through it but I end up mangling the end. I may just try to glob on some solder or epoxy to keep it from fraying. haha.

-I need to read up on adjusting the dérailleurs. The chain is not going round the crank smoothly. About a quarter of the revolution is very tight and I need to apply a lot of pressure to the pedal. It worries me....if the dérailleurs are out of adjustment, then wouldn't it cause friction all he way through the revolution?

Other than these two issues, the bike is assembled. Just need to pump up the tires and assemble my gear (spares, tools, fenders etc.) I'll mess with it some more tomorrow night after the GF leaves.
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Old 08-04-08, 09:06 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kwrides View Post
OK, everyone here knows I'm a sceptic when a newbie posts love for BD, so... a few questions...

Do you work in the mail room and had it delivered to work? If so, I guess I can believe you have a scale handy...

And you didn't post pics of the assembled bike, but lots of pics of just how well it was packaged? Why would you do this?

You did however post the name of the company, the ebay seller, a link to more available bikes, etc.

I will not use the "S" word in hopes I am wrong and that you will be a long time poster in these forums.
Do you work for a competing website?
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Old 08-04-08, 09:17 PM   #16
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Do you work in the mail room and had it delivered to work? If so, I guess I can believe you have a scale handy...
I am an IT manager for my company and we receive a bunch of computer parts daily. My guys spend a decent amount of time in the mail room and are on a first name basis with the mail guy. He alerted me to the delivery. And yes our group has our own scale to weigh packages we receive. In order to keep our vendors honest we track the cost of shipping vs. the weight of each shipment. Sometimes vendors lower the price but jack the shipping costs. I weighed the package just for kicks, and I'll weight it again when I ride it to work fully assembled. *cheers*

Quote:
And you didn't post pics of the assembled bike, but lots of pics of just how well it was packaged? Why would you do this?
Actually I was posting to show the damage to the package, not that it was packaged extremely well. I didn't know it came through unscathed until I got home and took it out of the box. I'm wondering how many new bicyclists to this forum have the time to put together an entire bicycle and take pics in one night, especially if they never did it before. *rolleyes*

Quote:
You did however post the name of the company, the ebay seller, a link to more available bikes, etc.
Yup I listed my closed ebay auction. *sigh*
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Old 08-04-08, 09:20 PM   #17
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Pic of the bike mostly assembled in my filthy garage:

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Old 08-04-08, 09:20 PM   #18
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Here we go again..
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Old 08-04-08, 09:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bster13 View Post
Questions:

-I guess I don't have something sharp enough to trim the end of the front brake cable. I've never had trouble cutting other odds and ends, but I guess in my garage full of crud, I don't have the right tool. What does everyone else use? (I had tin snips and a pair of crimpers <has blade on it>) I can cut through it but I end up mangling the end. I may just try to glob on some solder or epoxy to keep it from fraying. haha.

-I need to read up on adjusting the dérailleurs. The chain is not going round the crank smoothly. About a quarter of the revolution is very tight and I need to apply a lot of pressure to the pedal. It worries me....if the dérailleurs are out of adjustment, then wouldn't it cause friction all he way through the revolution?
1) Have a dremel? Makes the cleanest cuts IMHO.

2) bicycletutor.com is one of my favorites.
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Old 08-04-08, 09:26 PM   #20
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Thanks for the suggestions JAG410. I do have a dremel...now where did I put those cutting bits again? hehe...I'll run to Home Depot on the way home from work.

I'll check out the website, thx.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:15 PM   #21
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I bought the same bike a few weeks ago, i got my first flat tire the other day, the tubes and tires kinda suck. You might want to check the tubes are installed properly and carry a patch kit with you. The seat sucks too, i swapped for something a little more comfy. I installed a rear rack no problems and attached to the the v brake studs. I'm going to put some fenders on soon, should be no problem.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:34 PM   #22
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I bought the same bike a few weeks ago, i got my first flat tire the other day, the tubes and tires kinda suck. You might want to check the tubes are installed properly and carry a patch kit with you. The seat sucks too, i swapped for something a little more comfy. I installed a rear rack no problems and attached to the the v brake studs. I'm going to put some fenders on soon, should be no problem.
omg, you kind of hinted at something positive about BD. Are you a sh*ll?

I was actually looking at that bike earlier in the year before I bought what I have now. How bad do the tires, tubes, suck? I was thinking about one for my wife and I don't want to get too deep in swapping stuff out because at that point I'd rather go with a higher model or something different altogether.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:41 PM   #23
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omg, you kind of hinted at something positive about BD. Are you a sh*ll?

I was actually looking at that bike earlier in the year before I bought what I have now. How bad do the tires, tubes, suck? I was thinking about one for my wife and I don't want to get too deep in swapping stuff out because at that point I'd rather go with a higher model or something different altogether.
The rear tire blew after about 50 miles, i think it wasn't installed properly, i noticed part of the tube on the front tire was kinda popping out. I swapped the tube that blew and made sure it was all the way in there. The tires also seem to have an abnormal symmetry which doesn't really bother my handling that i know of. I'm going to change the tires soon for something a little wider, maybe a 28 with flat resistance.
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Old 08-05-08, 12:22 AM   #24
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I guess it can't hurt to unmount the tires and inspect the tubes and then remount. At worst it would serve as good practice for a newb.
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Old 08-05-08, 02:20 AM   #25
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Don't forget that partial bus/bike isn't a bad option either.
+1 I used to love that! Then I moved. The bus system takes an hour and a half from my current location.
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