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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 01-05-10, 05:20 AM   #1
CCrew
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Ya know what really sucks?

A flat tire at 5am when it's 19 degrees outside! All warm and snuggly, and have to strip the gloves to change a tube...
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Old 01-05-10, 06:00 AM   #2
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I'm glad that hasn't happened to me yet (knock on wood). I assume you have puncture resistant tires and the necessary tools to repair? Although I know not all flats can be avoided.
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Old 01-05-10, 06:02 AM   #3
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I'm glad that hasn't happened to me yet (knock on wood). I assume you have puncture resistant tires and the necessary tools to repair? Although I know not all flats can be avoided.
Yeah, in good shape, all tools and two spare tubes, but 5am in the dark in the cold is like the true test of one's determination
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Old 01-05-10, 06:55 AM   #4
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That's one of many good reasons I can think of not to ride at 5AM in 19 degrees
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Old 01-05-10, 07:27 AM   #5
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That's one of many good reasons I can think of not to ride at 5AM in 19 degrees
LOL. Someone has to be a kook, I elected myself
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Old 01-05-10, 07:35 AM   #6
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That's exactly why I put a new tire on my commuter bike last weekend. The tread could probably last another 500 miles but I don't want to press my luck when riding in the dark in cold winter weather. Ironically, the valve on my tube broke when I was inflating the new tire. Apparently it was about to go, so I may have saved my self a flat right there.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:51 AM   #7
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I think about that a lot. It was a balmy 27 degrees here this morning . . . and dark. But 19 is on the way, later in the week. I've actually thought about throwing a chemical hand warmer in my pack just in case. That way, if I do flat, I figure I'll at least have a way to warm up my hands during the repair.

Good on ya' for getting out there and being a kook!
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Old 01-05-10, 08:07 AM   #8
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I've actually thought about throwing a chemical hand warmer in my pack just in case. That way, if I do flat, I figure I'll at least have a way to warm up my hands during the repair.
I always carry hand warmers with me in winter, and a couple weeks ago I was sure glad I do. 8 degrees and -11 degrees with the wind chill when I hit a thumb tack at just the wrong direction. This was about mid day though, so it was plenty bright enough to see what I was doing. I imagine changing a tire in the dark where you can't see what you're doing would be more challenging.
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Old 01-05-10, 08:14 AM   #9
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During the winter I stay close to the bus routes in case of a flat or some other issue because all of our city buses have bicycle racks on the front. I just have to remember to carry bus fare. Get the bike to work and repair it there, inside where it is warm and dry.
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Old 01-05-10, 12:26 PM   #10
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Not quite so bad as OP's, but my most recent flat was in very wet, foggy 34 degree (F) darkness. Thanked the completely invisible stars above that I had a good headlamp. Flat resistant tires are going on this bike too next week.

PS: It's impossible for a flat tire to suck. The physics ain't there.

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Old 01-05-10, 01:03 PM   #11
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On my 200k R-12 ride last month, I started in a 40 degree rain at 06:30. My first flat was before I left the parking lot, when I ran over a carton staple. The second flat was about 8 miles into the ride, and the valve core shot out and stuck in my right calf like a dart. The third flat was less than 2 miles later from a sliver of car-accident remnants.
Yep, 3 flats in less than 10 miles. Dark and raining the entire time. At least it was 40 degrees, and not 19. I would have called it quits if that happened in 19 degree weather.
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Old 01-05-10, 01:22 PM   #12
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About a month ago I had to change a spare in similar weather (though it was on the rock creek path right under the kennedy center, along the Potomac so it was windy was well). My hands got near numbness super-quick, and putting the gloves back on wasn't enough to right the situation. Started wearing a pair of those thin stretchy gloves underneath my other pair just for this situation.
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Old 01-05-10, 01:33 PM   #13
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Grab your coffee thermos (which you must have to be anywhere near awake at 5 a.m.), hold it close to the valve, the pressure difference will suck the coffee into the tube, wait a few seconds until it freezes, ride off into the sunrise...

Last edited by imi; 01-05-10 at 01:36 PM. Reason: uh beer ;/
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Old 01-05-10, 02:12 PM   #14
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Grab your coffee thermos (which you must have to be anywhere near awake at 5 a.m.), hold it close to the valve, the pressure difference will suck the coffee into the tube, wait a few seconds until it freezes, ride off into the sunrise...
Yeah, but when you thaw it back out at work it's gonna taste horrible.
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Old 01-05-10, 02:28 PM   #15
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I can't even imagine going outside when it is 19 degrees, much less riding a bike.
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Old 01-05-10, 03:31 PM   #16
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New Year's Day was my first commuting flat. 30 degrees and dark with a stiff wind making it pretty cold for this wimp. Went for my flat kit only to find that I had misplaced my tire irons. I was able to change out the tube without 'em, but it sure would have been faster with them.

Hand warmers are on my list and will soon be added to the kit.
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Old 01-05-10, 04:18 PM   #17
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Man ... that's my personal commuter nightmare.
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Old 01-05-10, 04:37 PM   #18
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It was about 5 on my commute today, it'll be 0 tomorrow. http://www.weather.com/weather/wxdet...nav_undeclared

I won't stop to fix a flat when it's that cold because last time I tried I was having problems with the moisture in my hands freezing to the rim/tools. If it's a big problem I'll either go home (keep a spare bike w/ studs there) or bring it to work, let it thaw, and fix it indoors. I also go past my LBS on the way to campus/work and can attach my bike to the LBS's chain so he'll fix it when he comes in.

Yesterday I had the freewheel completely freeze up so I was just spinning in place. I stopped by the LBS, and they let me use their tools to put my new freewheel on for free!

As a general rule, when the snot freezes in your nose every time you breath it's too cold to change a flat.
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Old 01-05-10, 05:18 PM   #19
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I can't even imagine going outside when it is 19 degrees, much less riding a bike.

There's a rumor that Minnesotans say: "There's no bad weather, only bad clothing." I've had my friend from Israel and Florida visit. We equipped her with good clothes. She was fine.

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As a general rule, when the snot freezes in your nose every time you breath it's too cold to change a flat.
Heh. I'll remember that! But it rarely goes below 15F here.
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Old 01-05-10, 06:07 PM   #20
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A flat tire at 5am when it's 19 degrees outside! All warm and snuggly, and have to strip the gloves to change a tube...
Does not suck as much as having a flat on your car at 5am when it's 19 degrees outside and no coat.

Consider carrying an instant inflater/sealant can. I have seen at least one made for bikes.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:14 PM   #21
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Consider carrying an instant inflater/sealant can. I have seen at least one made for bikes.
CO2 is the closest I'll get
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Old 01-05-10, 07:21 PM   #22
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How long is your commute CCrew and how far into it did it happen? I've had a flat going into work once. I didn't even notice it until I got in (luckily it probably happened pretty close). Also my commute is only about 3 miles each way so i'd probably walk it and fix it at home or at work.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:30 PM   #23
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As a fellow NOVA commuter, I pity you, but am also impressed you made it through.

I am sick of this cold snap!
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Old 01-05-10, 08:17 PM   #24
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A flat tire at 5am when it's 19 degrees outside! All warm and snuggly, and have to strip the gloves to change a tube...
i hate pointing out the obvious, especially to people that ride as much as you. i mean, 19 degrees. to me that says dedicated, experience, and riding because you love it. i also commute. i dont know what caused your flat, but i use thorn resistant tubes because they are thicker, and all of my bike tires have SLIME in them. i ride quite a bit and have never had to change a tube unless i just felt like it. i'm just saying. not being critical. we have billions of goat head thorns here in utah, and you just cant go a mile without getting at least one in your tire. most the time they break off, but a hole is a hole. the slime helps a LOT.
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Old 01-05-10, 09:40 PM   #25
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Ya know what really sucks?
Inoperable cancer.

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