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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 09-23-09, 05:48 AM   #1
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Would this be too much for a commute?

I have been commuting to work for the last three weeks, not everyday but at least two days a week and I am going to do three this week. My usual commute is just under 7 mile one way and I now have it to where I can do it in under 30 minutes. One my way home last night I went a different way with a couple long and short climbs and it was just under 11 mile on the way home.

What we are looking at doing is our 4 year old goes to day care about 6 miles from our house and about 5 miles from our work. I would like to take her to school in her trailer and leave the trailer at the day care and then ride the rest of the way to work and then repeat at the end of the day riding to her day care and hooking up the trailer and then taking her home. My wife will more then likely also do the ride with me as we work within 1/2 mile of each other. She starts at 8am and I am flexible with my start time although I would like to start by 7:30. She gets off work at 4:30 and then we can both head up.

On foul weather days we will carpool together. I am planning on getting rid of my car at the end of october because it is going to need too much for inspection and I'm not going to spend the money on a car that isn't worth it.

Would we be pushing it too much to try and accomplish this before winter sets in or should we wait till the end of winter beginning of spring to attempt this? We just started riding about a month ago.
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Old 09-23-09, 05:51 AM   #2
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Sounds doable to me, although you obviously will go slower pulling a trailer part of the way. That ought to whip you into shape. My RT commute is a hilly 22 miles and I could easily handle another 8-10 miles each day, but I'm not pulling a trailer either.
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Old 09-23-09, 06:23 AM   #3
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Sounds doable. You might give it a try now and see how long you can go for. That way, you can use the winter making any changes or adjustments to your equipment and be ready for a long season of commuting come spring.
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Old 09-23-09, 06:26 AM   #4
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I did something like this when my daughter was growing up. It worked fine, and it was alwqays a great feeling to start for work after unhitching the trailer. The bike seemed to leap forward with each pedal stroke.

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Old 09-23-09, 06:33 AM   #5
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I know we need to get some more lights for the trailer and the bikes. I have a headlight and taillight on my bike and we have a taillight on the wife's bike and usually what we do is my wife will follow me that way she is behind the little one and I have the headlight but this is also just riding where there aren't really any cars except for a few. I definitely want more lights before we try to commute with the little one with the cagers.

It was so weird driving in to work today after riding to work friday, monday, and tuesday. I couldn't stand the people on the highway LOL.

Any of you guys happen to pull one of the kid trailers with a straight up road bike? I am wondering if I should save that duty for the mountain bike or if the road bike will handle it.
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Old 09-23-09, 07:48 AM   #6
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I agree that the road bike may not work with a trailer, because in my experience the skewers are not long enough to attach the trailer securely.
If you have only one child why not simply get a Co pilot Limo seat. This was she is right behind you, away from the ground, securely attached to a bike rack, which may be able to be mounted either to the frame or to the seat post.
I have chose this way of pulling my child over our trailer. Those trailers can be very unsteady and even flip over it they hit a curb.
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Old 09-23-09, 08:08 AM   #7
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I agree that the road bike may not work with a trailer, because in my experience the skewers are not long enough to attach the trailer securely.
If you have only one child why not simply get a Co pilot Limo seat. This was she is right behind you, away from the ground, securely attached to a bike rack, which may be able to be mounted either to the frame or to the seat post.
I have chose this way of pulling my child over our trailer. Those trailers can be very unsteady and even flip over it they hit a curb.
I like the idea of a on the bike child seat and have looked at a few of them but every one that I looked at say they are good up to 40 lbs. Our little one is 4 years old and she is 47 lbs. I don't know where she get's it from because I'm not a tall person and my wife is my height but our "little" one is the size of a 5 - 6 year old. This is the last year that she needs to go to day care because next fall she starts kindergarten and will be in before and after school care at the school which I won't mind using the trailer there and back because the school is within 3 mile.

Even with the bikes seats saying they are good to 40lbs, the ones that sit on luggage racks would they be alright for her weight?
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Old 09-23-09, 08:25 AM   #8
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I like the idea of a on the bike child seat and have looked at a few of them but every one that I looked at say they are good up to 40 lbs. Our little one is 4 years old and she is 47 lbs. I don't know where she get's it from because I'm not a tall person and my wife is my height but our "little" one is the size of a 5 - 6 year old. This is the last year that she needs to go to day care because next fall she starts kindergarten and will be in before and after school care at the school which I won't mind using the trailer there and back because the school is within 3 mile.

Even with the bikes seats saying they are good to 40lbs, the ones that sit on luggage racks would they be alright for her weight?
That's too old and too heavy -- she'll be swaying back there. It doesn't get you away from the road bike question anyways. You're not going to want to load your road bike down with a child seat, and its too time-consuming to take on and off.

I didn't understand the comments about the road bike skewers. The Burley trailer we used attached to the "A" frame on the back of the bike. The bike I pulled ours with was a hybrid, and I'm pretty sure it had 23mil wheels for awhile until I upgraded to 35 mil marathon tires. If you have a really nice road bike, you might not want all that weight pulling on your frame. You might consider an "in-between" bike that is lighter than a mountain bike but capable of doing these extra duties.

At 4 years old there's another option to think about -- a trail-a-bike. If she's athletically inclined, like her parents, she might be able to help you pedal! I started my daughter on the trail-a-bike after about 3 months of kindergarten, but I've seen kids younger (and faster, alas) than mine was.
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Old 09-23-09, 08:56 AM   #9
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I think she would love and do well with the trail a bike because she can ride her little 16" bike 2 -3 miles around the development but she still has training wheels but I don't know if I would want to have her on the trail a bike for a commute.

I guess the trailer may be the better option for now especially since we already have it. I have been debating getting rid of my gary fisher because it needs some tlc but maybe I will keep it and have the rims trued and put a new derailleur on it and use it for the permanent tow vehicle and then on the off days when I just ride by myself I can treat myself to the road bike. I have 1.5" slicks on the cannondale f7 right now for my commute and I seem to be able to do pretty good with it, so if I get slicks for the gary fisher I don't think it would be so bad. The gary fisher is a little lighter then the f7 too.
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Old 09-23-09, 09:09 AM   #10
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I would try it for a few days or a week and see how it goes.

I wish I could this with my wife, but our daycare doesn't open until 7:30 and closes at 5:30. That's cutting it a little fine for our commute. We have a Roemer Jockey seat, which is good up to about 50 lbs, but I honestly think a trailer is easier to pull--the center of gravity is lower.

We're looking at a tag along for next year, in the hopes that woul be faster.
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Old 09-23-09, 09:30 AM   #11
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I know we need to get some more lights for the trailer and the bikes. I have a headlight and taillight on my bike and we have a taillight on the wife's bike and usually what we do is my wife will follow me that way she is behind the little one and I have the headlight but this is also just riding where there aren't really any cars except for a few. I definitely want more lights before we try to commute with the little one with the cagers.

It was so weird driving in to work today after riding to work friday, monday, and tuesday. I couldn't stand the people on the highway LOL.

Any of you guys happen to pull one of the kid trailers with a straight up road bike? I am wondering if I should save that duty for the mountain bike or if the road bike will handle it.
If you are going to add distance in the fall or winter, lights should be your prime concern. A headlight for you is good. A taillight for you and your wife is good. A headlight for her would also be good unless you don't actually value her If you are going to ride in the dark everyone should have a complete light set in your group. Consider this: A car coming towards you sees you and the trailer. As soon as the trailer is clear, the motorist turns and nails your ninja wife. Get her some lights!

Some other things to consider about fall/winter commuting. It is a little appreciated fact that it gets dark when the sun goes down. People know it but they don't appreciate the fact Here's why. If you are riding in the morning and your light goes out, the sun will come up in just a little while. If necessary, you can even wait until the sun rises (with a kid in tow you had better wait). However is something goes wrong with your light in the evening, you are stuck in the dark and it will only get darker. Get good lights and get more than one per person. If you can't afford them, build them and if you can't build them...DO NOT RIDE!!!! Especially with a kid in a trailer.

This, contrary to most people's thoughts, is not a light



It is a locator light, as in it lets them locate your body under the car

This is a light



Some happy median would be good and you can definately do better than the locator lights for about the same money. Check the Electronic forum for the P7 flashlight thread.
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Old 09-23-09, 09:34 AM   #12
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That is sort of a trick question. I started riding again last June after 25+ years away from it. When I started I knew I would be riding year round. I also didn't have to worry about a four year old sitting in a trailer behind me. I would imagine that a child sitting in a trailer would probably notice the cold more than a parent pedaling the bike.
I found that riding after about the first mile that I generally had more heat than I knew what to do with, except for face, fingers, and feet. They did notice the cold a little (not unbearable though).
My commute is six miles each way.
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Old 09-23-09, 10:13 AM   #13
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I completely agree on the lights. We are going to go this weekend and get two more headlights and two tail lights. I will check out the p7 flashlight thread. I don't think we will commute with the little one any later then end of november maybe and start back up with her at the beginning of april. Through the winter it will only be me commuting on the bike as I don't think the wife will ride in the real cold weather.

I would be happy with accomplishing it once or twice this year yet and then we have all winter to plan for it in the spring. As for me I am hooked now and I hate days that I drive in but I like to share the responsibility with picking the little one up from day care because I don't think it is fair to the wife to have to drop her off and pick her up all the time and she is nice enough to do it for me most of the week.
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Old 09-23-09, 10:56 AM   #14
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I completely agree on the lights. We are going to go this weekend and get two more headlights and two tail lights. I will check out the p7 flashlight thread. I don't think we will commute with the little one any later then end of november maybe and start back up with her at the beginning of april. Through the winter it will only be me commuting on the bike as I don't think the wife will ride in the real cold weather.

I would be happy with accomplishing it once or twice this year yet and then we have all winter to plan for it in the spring. As for me I am hooked now and I hate days that I drive in but I like to share the responsibility with picking the little one up from day care because I don't think it is fair to the wife to have to drop her off and pick her up all the time and she is nice enough to do it for me most of the week.
Good. Here's a site that tell you when sunrise/sunset is in your area. That way you can plan accordingly.
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Old 09-23-09, 11:19 AM   #15
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I pull a child trailer with my road bike. I don't have any problems at all. I don't have anything to compare it to however as I haven't tried pulling it with another type bike.

Your situation sounds awesome. Congrats and good luck going car light!
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Old 09-23-09, 11:30 AM   #16
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If we didn't have kids we would be car free. We have three of them at 12, 10, and 4 and it is rural enough that we still need at least one car to get them to the doctors and other misc things. That and her family is an hour away and my family is an hour away. My wife started laughing at me when I said about calling our insurance company and see if we can get bike insurance LOL.
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Old 09-23-09, 11:33 AM   #17
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I forgot to add that the bike trailer is one of the in step variety, I don't think it is top quality but it isn't bad, I think my wife got it from target or something when they ran em on sale for $50. It uses the skewer mount.
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Old 09-23-09, 12:42 PM   #18
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I bought my bike trailer from Nashbar on sale and it's similar to yours. Not top notch but I only use it to haul kiddos once in a while as my kids are pretty much grown and I have one grandbaby and my bf has a grandson. We primarily use it to haul groceries. Works great. I would love to go car light and eventually car free. Still just toying with it though. I live about 25 miles from work and commute only part of it right now incorporating the city bus and not every day. Not yet anyway!
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