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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 09-28-09, 02:05 PM   #101
thdave
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Originally Posted by Smokinapankake View Post
snip.

I would bet that 99% of America's population would classify bicyles as toys, not tools.

snip...

You're right, they aren't tools for the vast majority of North Americans, but I don't think they call them toys either. They use them for exersize on a nice day, occasionally. I don't call my tennis racquet or golf clubs toys and I think bikes fit in the same category.
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Old 09-29-09, 07:42 PM   #102
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You're right, they aren't tools for the vast majority of North Americans, but I don't think they call them toys either. They use them for exersize on a nice day, occasionally. I don't call my tennis racquet or golf clubs toys and I think bikes fit in the same category.
I've found that most Americans think of bikes in three ways: children's toys, exotic toys for fitness fanatics and transportation of last resort for the impoverished and disadvantaged. It's socially acceptable for an adult to dress up like a circus acrobat with friends once a week, run around in circles as quickly as possible with no other purpose or destination, but to ride a bike somewhere for a purpose implies some sort of need and is looked upon as an act of desperation.
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Old 09-29-09, 08:08 PM   #103
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I loved hearing the jaws drop today when I told my new students that last year, my
record low temperature was 8*F...

The " I could never do it - it's too cold" really drives me nuts. Especially on mornings like today (49* when I left home - I wore shorts and a long sleeved T shirt.)
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Old 09-29-09, 10:14 PM   #104
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I loved hearing the jaws drop today when I told my new students that last year, my
record low temperature was 8*F...

The " I could never do it - it's too cold" really drives me nuts. Especially on mornings like today (49* when I left home - I wore shorts and a long sleeved T shirt.)
People have different reactions to temperature. If I spend too long out in 40*F, even with THICK gloves, the blood drains from my fingers and leaves white patches. It takes running hot water over them for several minutes to get them back to normal, and they change to red and purple first. Forgive me for deciding to avoid frostbite.
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Old 09-29-09, 10:34 PM   #105
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People have different reactions to temperature. If I spend too long out in 40*F, even with THICK gloves, the blood drains from my fingers and leaves white patches. It takes running hot water over them for several minutes to get them back to normal, and they change to red and purple first. Forgive me for deciding to avoid frostbite.
Yeah, you might want to talk to a doctor. What happens to your hands sounds like something called Raynaud's Syndrome, it happens to my dad. He's got some supplement or medication he pops conditionally (when he's going out in the cold as a prophylactic or as a remedy after the fact if he misjudges temps or forgets) and it doesn't happen anymore.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ray...SECTION=causes

and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raynaud%27s_phenomenon

Last edited by QuickityJacks; 09-29-09 at 10:35 PM. Reason: Found another helpful link.
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Old 09-30-09, 02:04 PM   #106
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I have been asked a few times weather or not I lost my license but the one that really gets to me is when people ask me if I am riding to work because money has gotten too tight to drive. This summer I bought a new Trek 1.5 road bike and decided to ride it to work a couple of times and while I was on my bike leaving work someone asked me if times were tough enough that I had to ride a bike to work. Really? was all I could say. I was riding a new bike that I just spent over $1000 on and the only thing they could ask me is if I was too broke to afford gas for my truck.
Since everyone I work with pretty much makes the same salary, I like to answer that I can't afford to drive any more. Just look at my 12 year old car when I do drive.

That lets me get in their head a bit as they walk out to their 1 or 2 year old cars and SUVs thinking about the monthly payments they have to make. I then proceed to tell them about the cool remodeling project I'm working on at home and how nice it will look when I'm done. I let them make the connection.

I think I've convinced a couple to give it a try. One went so far as to buy a folder to take on the train during commute hours. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 09-30-09, 02:27 PM   #107
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My commute ranges from 13 to 23 miles round trip. So I know what you mean by co-workers asking questions, the assumptions, etc. But if I lived 2 miles or less from work I'd walk. The reason I would is the lenght of time it would take me to get ready to commute. It would take me lnoger to prepare to ride, then actually do the ride. This is based on if I ONLY rode to/from work and did no other riding during the work week. If I extended my ride in either before or after work then I would ride. I don't know how long it takes you to prepare to ride before you're actually on the bike and riding, but hey if you want to ride and only ride the 4 miles round trip, more power to you.
Prepare to ride 2 miles? This is how I would "prepare." Wake up, shower, brush teeth, get dressed, eat something, and put on shoes. What is there to prepare for? You don't need full kit to ride 2 miles. You don't even need bike shoes.
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Old 09-30-09, 03:37 PM   #108
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I work at a LBS, so it takes a pretty special scenario to surprise anyone that I rode to work. But if I apply for a different job and they ask me if I have reliable transportation, the answer will be yeah, I do... oh, and I also have a *car*
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Old 09-30-09, 04:29 PM   #109
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I normally get quite supportive comments from co-workers. The most common question is "how far do you ride." (The answer is 16 blocks, about 10 minutes with lights). Usually at that point they take the attitude of "no wonder you can bike." Occasionally they'll say something along the lines of "you're lucky to live so close."

That's what gets me. More than anything else. I don't live close to work because I'm lucky. I live close to work because I don't like commuting. Whether by bike, bus or other means, a daily commitment to unpaid travel time is not my thing. Why do people continually appeal to luck to explain things that clearly happen by design?

In the end, I enjoy the eccentric reputation that comes with riding a bike. And quite frankly I get embarrassed if someone I know catches me driving. It's particularly bad because every Monday, when I go over to work on the books of my bike club, I also have other errands that require a car. Makes me feel like a traitor to show up on a weekly basis driving anything fossil-powered.

Quote:
My commute ranges from 13 to 23 miles round trip. So I know what you mean by co-workers asking questions, the assumptions, etc. But if I lived 2 miles or less from work I'd walk. The reason I would is the lenght of time it would take me to get ready to commute. It would take me lnoger to prepare to ride, then actually do the ride
While I can see why preparation might be necessary for a 13-23 mile ride, the thing about riding a short distance to work is that it doesn't require preparation. I wear my work clothes on the bike. Since I have to hang my bike at home, it does take me about 5 minutes to get it down, attach panniers, etc., but the total time is still about half the time of walking...which I do in winter when riding would require more preparation.

edit: This thread reminded me of a quote from Alistair Humphreys, who spent several years riding his bike around the world, and I think is well worth remembering.
"In most of the world I am riding a heavily-laden bicycle and therefore I am very rich. In the USA I am riding a heavily-laden bicycle and therefore I am very poor."
It just falls outside the experience of most Americans that someone would choose to ride a bike for any reason other than need. Can't afford or are not allowed to drive a car.

Last edited by neil; 09-30-09 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 09-30-09, 04:31 PM   #110
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You only live 2 miles from work, yet some of your co-workers are amazed you would rather bike than drive to work!
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Old 09-30-09, 04:45 PM   #111
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Prepare to ride 2 miles? This is how I would "prepare." Wake up, shower, brush teeth, get dressed, eat something, and put on shoes. What is there to prepare for? You don't need full kit to ride 2 miles. You don't even need bike shoes.
I agree, there isn't much to prepare. Locking at the destination may take a little bit of time, but not nearly enough to eat up the time advantage over walking. It would take me maybe 30 minutes to walk 2 miles. And only 7-8 minutes to ride it plus 2-3 minutes to thoroughly lock it up, fumbling with keys at that. That's a 40-minute time savings for a round-trip commute. I can't imagine taking 40 minutes to "prepare" for a 2-mile ride. You need less to prepare for a century.

The bike needs to be regularly maintained of course, but persumably you're already doing it if you are a regular non-commuting cyclist. And the maintenance is not 40 minutes every day.
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Old 09-30-09, 06:39 PM   #112
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A bit off topic, but regularly driving a vehicle a mere 2 or 3 miles each way to work is extremely hard on the oil and charging system. Another good reason to commute. Driving in this manner could be very costly.
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Old 09-30-09, 07:27 PM   #113
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When I was teaching, my principal called me into his office.

"We had a parent ask why you are riding your bike to school."

Whenever there was a problem, it was always an unnamed parent. He was too much of a coward to actually admit that he was the one with the concerns. It got so bad that it became a joke with the teachers.

"Did you tell them it is none of their business how I get to work?"

I've been riding long enough to realize that the DUI rumor was popping up. I've ridden forever and this dumb as hell rumor pops up almost every year when I got a new group of students.

"Well, there is some concern that you may have gotten a DUI. This parent was concerned about your influence on the children."

Ding... we got it.

So I tell him, "This information is public record. That's how I know your wife got a DUI in the fall."

Silence...
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Old 09-30-09, 07:44 PM   #114
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You only live 2 miles from work, yet some of your co-workers are amazed you would rather bike than drive to work!
My co-workers may be amazed that I ride to work everyday, but I have to admit, I'm more amazed to have some co-workers who drive a 1/2 mile or less to work on a daily basis.
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Old 09-30-09, 08:57 PM   #115
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People have different reactions to temperature. If I spend too long out in 40*F, even with THICK gloves, the blood drains from my fingers and leaves white patches. It takes running hot water over them for several minutes to get them back to normal, and they change to red and purple first. Forgive me for deciding to avoid frostbite.
Dont' get me wrong - cold weather is the bane of my existence. HOnestly, when I started riding last winter, I kinda freaked the first few times. I'd overdress, then the next day, pare one or two things back, and keep doing that until I had a fairly decent rhythm to what I'd wear.

I have serious problems with my hand circulation as well - even in my classroom, I'll have very cold hands - my hands get cold in October or so, and don't warm up until March! lol. Makes nights with the g/f kinda uncomfortable...the rest of me isn't bad, but I find myself shivering uncontrollably for a few minutes if I underdress even a little bit. That's why, should it be way too cold, I'll take along a cell phone and use an insulated thermos as one of my water bottles full of coffee or hot chocolate, so that I can take a breather and sip on that for a bit before hitting the wind again.
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Old 09-30-09, 09:03 PM   #116
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I had to drive to two satellite offices yesterday and left the bike at home for the day. I amazed at how much I don't miss commuting in the car. Though I still like driving I can't stand commuting. All that time and effort wasted on traffic and stress it added to my life. The bike is better
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Old 09-30-09, 09:52 PM   #117
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I commuted 17 miles round trip for years. People in the office thought it was a great thing but they themselves wouldn't commute on bike, even those who lived less distances. It is a commitment that most aren't willing to make. I ride everywhere. With the money I saved, I bought two new bikes. Yes!
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Old 10-01-09, 12:24 AM   #118
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Prepare to ride 2 miles? This is how I would "prepare." Wake up, shower, brush teeth, get dressed, eat something, and put on shoes. What is there to prepare for? You don't need full kit to ride 2 miles. You don't even need bike shoes.
I don't need bike shoes for 10. I just need a set of clean clothes, water, and whatever junk I'm taking to work with me.
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Old 10-01-09, 12:27 AM   #119
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So I tell him, "This information is public record. That's how I know your wife got a DUI in the fall."

Silence...
Whoah! Lordy!
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Old 10-01-09, 05:24 AM   #120
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So I tell him, "This information is public record. That's how I know your wife got a DUI in the fall."

Silence...

Oh SNAP!
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Old 10-01-09, 08:22 AM   #121
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Prepare to ride 2 miles? This is how I would "prepare." Wake up, shower, brush teeth, get dressed, eat something, and put on shoes. What is there to prepare for? You don't need full kit to ride 2 miles. You don't even need bike shoes.
This is how I prepare to ride 10 miles: Go to the bathroom, put on clothes, throw breakfast and lunch in the bag, leave. I do wear poly stuff, though not what most people would call "full kit". Two miles would be about the minimum commute I'd use a bike for. A mile or less, I'd probably walk; walking is nice and relaxing.
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Old 10-01-09, 08:30 AM   #122
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A bit off topic, but regularly driving a vehicle a mere 2 or 3 miles each way to work is extremely hard on the oil and charging system. Another good reason to commute. Driving in this manner could be very costly.
I've been told that the majority of car trips is less than 5 miles. Think of the effect it would have on our society if halfthe population woke up and realized that they could use a bike for that. Stats on gas consumption, economic diversity, obesity, diabetes and other health related issues would dramatically change. Oh well, preaching to the choir again.
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Old 10-01-09, 08:41 AM   #123
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Where I work, no one drives to work. They all take mass transit. The questions most people have about riding a bike have to do w/ sweating and riding in traffic, both of which are valid concerns.
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Old 10-01-09, 11:56 AM   #124
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I've gotten a couple of comments about being on a "health kick", but I did not take it negatively. Most of the comments I've gotten are of the form, "I really should do something like that, but..." Seeing me walk my bike into the office seems to trigger guilt in some people.

When people ask me "why", I hesitate to tell them the real reason. "Because it makes me happy" sounds too gay. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. Seinfeld, 1993.) So, I just get a kick out of making up wild reasons.
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Old 10-01-09, 12:14 PM   #125
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Five pages later, still ain't go those coworkers convinced yet, huh?
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