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  1. #1
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    Just about ready to start commuting

    I should have my bike all set up for commuting this week. I have spent a great deal of time preparing for how I was going to do this. I am in the unique position of being the Operation manager at my facility in New England. What I wanted to do was eliminate anything that I normally take with me to work, Laptop,camera,lunch, etcetera. I have moved all my work to my terminal server and scan all my documents I use at home to my Email so I can print them, This eliminates my need to keep my laptop with me. I have stocked my lunchroom with food and keep my work cloths in my office. I have also rearranged my personal to give me the available hours I want to commute in. I should be able to commute without the need to load my bike up anything other than the basics. I will be on the road at 5:30 am in and 5:30 PM home. the commute is 11 miles each way to the park and ride where I will leave my pickup. I plan to evolve into the 17 mile ride each way in the future.
    Chuck

  2. #2
    Temporary Earthling supramax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timber_8 View Post
    I should have my bike all set up for commuting this week. I have spent a great deal of time preparing for how I was going to do this. I am in the unique position of being the Operation manager at my facility in New England. What I wanted to do was eliminate anything that I normally take with me to work, Laptop,camera,lunch, etcetera. I have moved all my work to my terminal server and scan all my documents I use at home to my Email so I can print them, This eliminates my need to keep my laptop with me. I have stocked my lunchroom with food and keep my work cloths in my office. I have also rearranged my personal to give me the available hours I want to commute in. I should be able to commute without the need to load my bike up anything other than the basics. I will be on the road at 5:30 am in and 5:30 PM home. the commute is 11 miles each way to the park and ride where I will leave my pickup. I plan to evolve into the 17 mile ride each way in the future.
    Chuck
    Sounds good as long as the "basics" include not only tools, patch kit, inner tube etc. and water, but also a little bit of food, a small first aid kit and perhaps some paper towels in a baggy and some moist towelettes in another baggy.
    We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

  3. #3
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    Good for you, Timber,

    Pay attention to Max's suggestions (and those of others to come in this thread) and I'm sure you'll have about every base covered. A couple days of commuting might also point up some things we miss.

    Your first few days may be "heart-pounders" for a variety of reasons if you haven't ridden much or spent time in rush-hour traffic. Don't get discouraged, keep going through the early weeks and soon it will all seem normal...

    Good luck and welcome to the club!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    Sounds good as long as the "basics" include not only tools, patch kit, inner tube etc. and water, but also a little bit of food, a small first aid kit and perhaps some paper towels in a baggy and some moist towelettes in another baggy.

    Well everything except food. I workout in my gym at home 1st thing in the morning. I will have my protein shake and then head out. I'll eat when I get to work. I could make another shake for the ride might not be a bad idea! I did put a rack on the back of my bike just in case I had days I needed to occasionaly carry something extra but that is just a backup, **** happens

  5. #5
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwr1961 View Post
    Good for you, Timber,

    Pay attention to Max's suggestions (and those of others to come in this thread) and I'm sure you'll have about every base covered. A couple days of commuting might also point up some things we miss.

    Your first few days may be "heart-pounders" for a variety of reasons if you haven't ridden much or spent time in rush-hour traffic. Don't get discouraged, keep going through the early weeks and soon it will all seem normal...

    Good luck and welcome to the club!
    Thank you and I will. I have been planning this for several months now. I have given myself more than enough time to make the journey. I am sure that it will be difficult in the beginning. I have worked out my route pretty well and driven it many times by car. I have had plenty of negative people expressing there opinions on the subject but I have run into that on many subjects in my life. I am so looking forward to this as a way of life. 1 step at a time though & I will see what the cold weather will bring. I thank everyone here for creating such a great wealth of information. I have learned a great deal here

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    All that's left to do is ride. Have at it and good luck!

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    Welcome to the club.

    Quite a few folks on here will tell you to pack a bunch of stuff you'll get tired of carrying (spare tubes, first aid kits, etc.). Try it and see if you like it or need it (you do if it makes you feel better), but you may find (like i did) that there's not much point. Of course, that'll depend on you commute.

    On mine, i pass two bike shops where i can stop to get a tube if i need it, but a patch kit hasn't failed me yet. I also pass by a handful of gas stations with free/50 cent air pumps so i often leave the pump at home. I've also never quite figured out what a small first aid kit is going to do for me if i take a spill. I keep one at work, school, and home that has some gauze, tape, alcohol, etc. If i get hurt bad enough to where i can't ride to one of those places, i hop on the bus or someone has already called the paramedics ... Point is, carrying around all that junk might be a waste.

    In any case, i wish you the best of luck.

  8. #8
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    I started commuting this spring, and I went through many of the same planning stages you did.

    I don't ride every day: my goal is to do 3 days per week, but this depends on my travel schedule, appointments, family obligations, etc. I plan to drive once per week to drop off fresh clothes and bring home the laundry.

    I've arranged "remote access" to my work laptop from my home computer, and I don't normally bring it home except on weekends. When I bring the laptop, I use a backpack, but the other days, I use panniers on my rear rack.

    I don't do any "working out" on days when I'm riding (I figure I get enough workout in 17 miles of commuting). At first I just "washed up" in the handicapped stall of our bathroom. While this works, a shower is MUCH nicer, and I've arranged with the property mgmt of our office park for access to a fitness center in a nearby building. This took some persistence, but eventually they agreed to let me use it "for showering purposes only" (as if I was going to use their treadmill after biking to work). Everybody wants to "go green", and you can use this to your advantage with the property managers. As a bio-fuel powered vehicle, you are cutting both air pollution and carbon emissions

    One thing that nobody has mentioned so far: here in the Boston area, it is frequently much colder in the morning than it will be in the afternoon. As long as it's 60 or greater, this makes little difference in clothing, but below that you may need a jacket, long pants, etc. I've found that this fits nicely in one small pannier. I also carry a rain jacket. In the summer, rain pants are not worth it, but I'll use them when it gets colder.

    I keep some tools (metric hex wrenches, etc) and a floor pump in my office. I also keep a spare tube (in addition to the one that rides in the seat bag on the bike) so that I never have to start a ride without a spare tube (I guess I'm a bit paranoid: I've only had one flat, and that happened at the office).

    It's gotten to the point where when I do drive, I find sitting in traffic maddening. I'm much happier on the bike.

    Good luck, and enjoy the ride.

  9. #9
    Temporary Earthling supramax's Avatar
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    Shavit,


    Are you familiar with the saying: "It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it." ???
    We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for the support, I can't tell you how many hours I have spent on this sight reading. I have Kevlar tires on my bike but will still carry an extra tube as well as keep 1 at work. I have always been into bodybuilding and have a very nice gym in my home. It seems reasonable to carry bandaids & some gauze. Tire spoons will make fine finger splints if I take a spill. I want to keep as much crap off the bike a possible. I am on vacation this week and I am making my final plans to get it all together

  11. #11
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    Supramax - yeah, i've heard the saying. But what i said in my post is that my commute is conducive to not needing to carry it, so i don't. So for you to understand it: "it's okay if you need it and don't have it, because there's a bike shop/gas station/etc. a couple blocks away."

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but I fail to see the point in packing all that junk when I'm riding a few miles through the city, while passing a couple of bike stores, to a place where i can store supplies, all the while having the last ditch option of just hopping on the bus that shadows my route. But hey, to each his own, right?

    OP, i'm glad you have it figured out. Enjoy the ride.

  12. #12
    Temporary Earthling supramax's Avatar
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    Shavit,

    Yes, I understood what you said, but Timber_8 will eventually be riding 34 miles each work day. One man's junk is another man's treasure.
    We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

  13. #13
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    it's amazing to me that i keep coming back to this site.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    That is true. even the 22 miles I am starting out at I need to be able to make repairs and adjustments. I think I have eliminated everything I don't need without eliminating the essentials. I also have those rain ponchos that fold up as small as a wallet. I put fenders on the bike also to keep the spray down

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timber_8 View Post
    Well everything except food. I workout in my gym at home 1st thing in the morning. I will have my protein shake and then head out. I'll eat when I get to work. I could make another shake for the ride might not be a bad idea! I did put a rack on the back of my bike just in case I had days I needed to occasionaly carry something extra but that is just a backup, **** happens
    Since you already added a rack, might I suggest adding a fold-up grocery pannier to it. On my old bike I had zip-tied a el cheapo Nashbar Townie Basket to one side of my rack, it lived there folded up until needed. It would catch the occasional overflow from my Arkel Utility Basket that served as my school/grocery/everything bag. I only needed the Townie Basket about once a month or so, but when I needed it, it was there.

    Also the pocket in the bottom of mine was big enough to contain a small tool kit in addition to the rain cover that it was intended for.
    Last edited by barturtle; 06-28-09 at 06:39 PM.
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  16. #16
    Temporary Earthling supramax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timber_8 View Post
    ... I also have those rain ponchos that fold up as small as a wallet...
    I carry a packsack in my rackbag (when I'm not wearing a hydration bag), that compresses to about that size. It gives extra carrying ability if you should pass a fruit stand and an aroma entices you to stock up on fresh strawberries.
    We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    Since you already added a rack, might I suggest adding a fold-up grocery pannier to it. On my old bike I had zip-tied a el cheap Nash bar Townie Basket to one side of my rack, it lived there folded up until needed. It would catch the occasional overflow from my Rakel Utility Basket that served as my school/grocery/everything bag. I only needed the Townie Basket about once a month or so, but when I needed it, it was there.

    Also the pocket in the bottom of mine was big enough to contain a small tool kit in addition to the rain cover that it was intended for.
    Well I figured I can always put something in a small trash bag under the cargo net or bungee a crate onto it. I like the look of a rack on a bike more than anything and it makes a place mount your rear lights on. my bike is a Trek 7.2 Hybrid. I have a few more things to do and I will post some pics of it

  18. #18
    Super Moderator making's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have planned it out very well. I dunno, it is kinda special when you learn stuff the hard way. My first flat I had to call my wife to come get me, did not have a tube. I learn stuff the hard way sometimes. I think I read something about tire tools being finger splints. Stop it. Just ride.
    Good Night Chesty, Wherever You Are

  19. #19
    Temporary Earthling supramax's Avatar
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    Like the saying goes: "The difference between life and school is that in life you get the test first and then the lesson."
    We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

  20. #20
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    I think packing food for an 11 mile run is unnecessary unless maybe it is a very brutal hilly 11 miles. But then, I carry sufficient fat stores.

    At what mileage is carrying food generally a good idea? I did a 30 mile ride yesterday with just 2 water bottles. The last 8 or 9 miles I was feeling kinda burnt out. I was thinking a nice peanutbutter, banana and honey sandwich about half way through might have made those last few miles a bit more enjoyable.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    LOL I thought that was kinda funny using tire spoons as finger splints. You can only prepare for so much. I am sure that my seat bag and my fanny pack will hold what I need in the warm weather. as it gets colder and I become more experienced with what I might need I will adapt my bike. I really like those single wheel trailers with the nice waterproof bag. I have my eye on that idea to be honest. I would rather carry cargo on that rather than over the rear wheel. Maybe not for commuting but certainly for other adventures, but then who knows

  22. #22
    Temporary Earthling supramax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekker pete View Post
    I think packing food for an 11 mile run is unnecessary unless maybe it is a very brutal hilly 11 miles. But then, I carry sufficient fat stores.

    At what mileage is carrying food generally a good idea? I did a 30 mile ride yesterday with just 2 water bottles. The last 8 or 9 miles I was feeling kinda burnt out. I was thinking a nice peanutbutter, banana and honey sandwich about half way through might have made those last few miles a bit more enjoyable.
    Whenever I run out of bananas or Nature Valley 'sweet and salties' in the house, I check my handlebar bag.
    We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

  23. #23
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timber_8 View Post
    Well everything except food. I workout in my gym at home 1st thing in the morning. I will have my protein shake and then head out. I'll eat when I get to work. I could make another shake for the ride might not be a bad idea!
    Two "protein shakes" plus breakfast, just to start the day? It's probably more calories than you need -- an 11 mile commute doesn't take that much out of you.
    You have the right to your own opinion. You don't have the right to your own facts.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
    Two "protein shakes" plus breakfast, just to start the day? It's probably more calories than you need -- an 11 mile commute doesn't take that much out of you.
    Probably not really, I will be up at 3:30 am to workout, have my 1st protein drink at 5 on my bike at 5:30 and maybe a 2nd protein drink on the way in. at work around 6:30 - 7:00. probably a bowl of post raisin bran or a few eggs by 8 am. Im a wt lifter so that will work out just fine for getting in my 7 meals a day

  25. #25
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    It sounds like you have a lot of things planned out pretty well Timber_8. Have you ridden to work yet on a day off or something to gauge how much time your commute will be? It is one thing to drive a route, but quite another to actually ride it. I would also suggest changing your bike tire at the house once or twice so you know what you are doing. Other than that, good luck.

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