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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, 07:14 PM   #1
ShadowGray
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Who here DOESN'T plan for their commute?

I feel kinda left out with everyone talking about their 20 mile commutes with the extra preparations and bath in a box kits and everything. Who here actually lives close enough (or doesn't care enough) to just hop on the bike and head out to their destination?

My commute is about 4 miles out, South Philly to Drexel campus through the nice shady urban jungle. I personally prefer to have less stuff and attract less attention. I change into my work/school clothes and just hop on the bike and head out for about 10 minutes.

Who else doesn't have to plan for a commute?
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Old 08-04-08, 07:19 PM   #2
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No planning here. My commute is a pathetic 6 blocks.. I could walk, but instead I bought a used Mongoose BMX that i lockup on the street. The last time I had a BMX was about 18 years ago. I may look funny but this is fun and the little bike is so easy to jump curbs and avoid people and traffic.
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Old 08-04-08, 07:20 PM   #3
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My commute is just over four miles, and I have to plan a little.

Luckily I've never really had a B.O. problem, so a shower before work and deodorant (which is normal routine anyway) will suffice. Then I throw on athletic shorts and shirt plus athletic shoes. I pack my work clothes in a backpack and leave an extra outfit at work in case I get dumb one morning and forget work shoes, belt, etc.

That's it.

I could ride to work in my work clothes, but not this time of year. And I probably won't ever do that anyway because I hope to continue improving my time, which means sweating a little.

When I get to work I walk for a couple minutes in the hallway (elementary school) until I stop sweating and am cool enough. Then I head to the teachers' restroom, lock the door, change, grab coffee, and I'm ready to work.

At the end of the day I head back to the restroom, change back into riding clothes, and gone.

I don't have a flat kit, and don't need one for my commute. It's 25 minutes by bike and 1 hour walking. So no matter where I am on my commute, I am less than a half-hour's walk to my house or to the job. I won't be that late if I have a flat along the way.
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Old 08-04-08, 07:22 PM   #4
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I don't, and I do not have a long commute. It takes maybe 5-7 mins.
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Old 08-04-08, 08:23 PM   #5
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I have an 18-km commute (each way) and my "planning" is twofold.

1. I plan my lunch. Same thing would happen if the distance were shorter or if I were travelling by foot, bus or car.

2. The bike is well tuned and has some basic equipment on it: patch kit, pump, spare tube and multitool, plus rain gear. The pannier stay packed year round.

Leaving home in the morning is as simple as opening the door, going down two steps and riding to the office.
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Old 08-04-08, 08:32 PM   #6
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I only have a 1 mile commute, so all I do is just get into my work clothes, hop on my bike, and I'm off. I may ride in normal clothes and change if it's raining, really hot, or in the winter, but I haven't had to do that yet.
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Old 08-04-08, 08:33 PM   #7
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I plan in no way. No spare tubes, patches, pumps. I leave my lock on the rack. I get dressed and I leave. If it is raining when I leave, I ride my bike with fenders and wear a coat (sometimes).
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Old 08-04-08, 08:47 PM   #8
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I plan in no way. No spare tubes, patches, pumps. I leave my lock on the rack. I get dressed and I leave. If it is raining when I leave, I ride my bike with fenders and wear a coat (sometimes).
According to what you've reported in the past, your commute is shorter than a trip to the outhouse in Arkansas. So your experiences might not be exactly representative. Might be helpful to the OP to mention that.

Mine's 6.5 miles. In summer, that doesn't require any preparation. In winter, you betcha. Overdress and you're sweating like a pig inside windproof clothes - underdress and you can't feel your extremities. I recall in the winter months I'd have to check the weather before dressing to gauge how many layers of socks to wear, whether I needed full tights or whether shorts would work, which gloves I'd need, whether I'd need a balaclava, rainproof gear, etc.
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Old 08-04-08, 08:50 PM   #9
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mine's time-framed +/- !
21.0 dst to work (8am to 4 pm)
this takes about 44 minutes each way, need to include breakfast after cooldown...
i try to leave house around 6:30 AM, add flat tire (3x last monday) or other tech blitches, "we have a problem houston"
there is a never a "no plan" ride or commute, in my books, ever!
plan your ride!
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Old 08-04-08, 09:23 PM   #10
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I have a shade over 7 miles to work. I get my lunch together the night before and make sure the battery is charged for my headlight. I leave at 4:15 am so its dark no matter what time of the year I'm riding. I always have an extra shirt packed in the panniers and I have two tubes and a patch kit also air pump +1 on the topeak road morph. I have an assortment of tools, couple of screwdrivers and metric wrenchs and a set of allen wrenches and also a multi tool in the panniers and a seat bag. In the morning all I need to do is grab the lunch out of the fridge get the bike out of the garage pack the lunch in the other pannier and off I got takes me about 30 minutes. Oh yeah I have a small first aid kit and some latex gloves in case I have to change a tire and a small garbage bag just in case I might need it for whatever it might come in handy for.
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Old 08-04-08, 09:25 PM   #11
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For most of the year I don't do any planning for my 3.3km commute. Once it gets below -20C I start to put on layers of clothing over my work clothes, but normally not much thought goes into that... and I definitely don't set them out before.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:06 PM   #12
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I'm anti-planning. My planning involves these questions:
* Do I have water?
* Do I need one bag or two?
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Old 08-04-08, 10:13 PM   #13
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My old commute was about 2.5 miles and I did nothing other than get on the bike and go. I even rode home for lunch. My current commute is 44 miles round trip and I actually don't do much. Here in Oregon it's actually quite cool each morning so by the time I get to work, I really don't need to shower. Only thing I need to do is put my cycling sandles on and go. Well, fill a water bottle.
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Old 08-05-08, 02:58 AM   #14
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In the summer, I plan for the ride in by putting my work clothes in my messenger bag before heading out, and making sure that I have my laptop, power adapter, voice recorder, notepad, and USB cable for the voice recorder (if I forget any of the above, my day will suck). But that's about it. My ride is just a hair under 5 miles for my standard route.

Actually, I also check the forecast and pack rain gear if necessary.
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Old 08-05-08, 03:15 AM   #15
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Hardly any planning. I have a 7km ride to work (4.35 miles). I wear a dry-weave t-shirt and berms, grab an extra t-shirt, throw it in the trunk bag (or panniers depending which bike I am using) and off I go in one of my folding bikes.

Temperatures here are hot and humid all year round, so even a 7km ride will make you sweat, hence the change of clothes (I do not need to be in office wear at work).

I have a multitool but no patch kit or tubes. Because if anything happens to the tires, I just fold up and and take public transport. I eat lunch outside (most people do not pack lunch in Singapore, we have cheap food at every corner).

I have spare clothes (long pants even!) in the office, in case I need it. Usually because I have a meeting with clients.
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Old 08-05-08, 06:08 AM   #16
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I used to not plan, but when I got a flat 5 miles into my 7 mile commute, and just then I found out my pump was broken, I decided to plan a little more.

I finally got a ride to the office, but then my bike was locked to a trashcan on the side of the street and I was at the office without a ride home....not a fun day...
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Old 08-05-08, 06:19 AM   #17
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When I rode to the grocery store from home, it was half a mile away. I basically wore my backpack and got on the bike.

When school starts, I'll be about two miles away from my primary building. I'll take the lock along, but that's pretty much it.
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Old 08-05-08, 06:24 AM   #18
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Nobody in this country plans for commute. Because ppl are used to cycle, they can make good speed without breaking sweat and arrive at their destinations fresh as a daisy
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Old 08-05-08, 06:29 AM   #19
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Nobody in this country plans for commute. Because ppl are used to cycle, they can make good speed without breaking sweat and arrive at their destinations fresh as a daisy
And they are bullet proof, never need to sleep and when it rains they sprout an umbrella from their heads.

I've been there. It is flat as a board. And your country is smaller than the county that I live in (in case you don't know what a county is, it is a tiny division of a state, we have 120 in my state).
And my 7 year old daughter commutes faster than the riders I've seen there.

Yes my commute is short .39 miles to be exact.
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Old 08-05-08, 06:41 AM   #20
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Unless you work in a chic tech sector that doesn't care when you get in, planning a commute is a good thing when you have a 17 mile ride to get there. Play with different routes on the way home.
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Old 08-05-08, 06:42 AM   #21
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I've been there. It is flat as a board. And your country is smaller than the county that I live in (in case you don't know what a county is, it is a tiny division of a state, we have 120 in my state).
And my 7 year old daughter commutes faster than the riders I've seen there.
This isn't a competition; no need to snipe at fellow commuters, is there?
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Old 08-05-08, 06:49 AM   #22
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4 mile flat commute - my "plan" is that I bought Kevlar tires (T-Serv), have pump, multi-tool, patches (never used) and waterproofs in a pannier bag, and I keep the bike well maintained.

I don't change clothes, or wear anything special except a helmet. I have a fan at my desk, so I turn that on for 5 minutes when I arrive to get rid of the excess heat now that I've stopped moving through the air. I take the final half mile very gently and the pannier bag means no sweaty back. I'm not much sweatier than if I'd taken the train and walked.

Somehow, people in every other country manage this, but in America most people think they must have the finest equipment money can buy for every endeavor (obviously all bets are off if the commute is very long or difficult).

Edit: I actually am getting to kind of envy people with a longer commute. I want to ride further - I'm just getting going at 4 miles. However, somehow just taking a round-about route to work is not an acceptable alternative. Also, my commute is not shrinking my love handles.

Last edited by sping; 08-05-08 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 08-05-08, 06:58 AM   #23
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I have a three-mile commute. I have rain gear, lunch, flat kit, lights, extra leg bands, change of clothes, sunscreen, sunglasses, and so on.

I'm just persnickety like that.
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Old 08-05-08, 07:08 AM   #24
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I have a 20 mi. R/T commute. Backpack of work clothes and lunch. Multi tool, spare tube, patch kit, and CO2 which I've never had to use. I have about 8,000 miles over 3 sets of Gatorskins and no flats; can't recommend them enough. I'm sure I will get two flats on the way home tonight now.
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Old 08-05-08, 07:18 AM   #25
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My normal commute is a bike/train commute, 3 miles of riding RT. I get clothing ready the night before, but that's about all the planning I do.
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