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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, 11:19 PM   #1
agarose2000
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No urge to commute-race

I think I'm hitting true bike-commuter status after doing it regularly for the past 6 months.

I was riding home today, and after getting passed by yet another girl on a sketchy looking big-tired bike with baskets, I realized that I can't even remember the last time I passed someone on a bike on my bike commute (which is short - like 3.5 miles.) In fact, usually everyone passes me at nearly twice the speed I'm going. I probably go only 12mph max on the flats on my mtn bike commuter. I think I've reached "commuter zen" where I'm at peace with my fellow cyclists on the road!

(And yes, my "other" bikes is a pricey Cervelo TT bike. I can average nearly 24mph for a 1hr time trial on it!)
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Old 01-05-10, 11:29 PM   #2
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I suppose this will only come with age, for me at least.
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Old 01-05-10, 11:45 PM   #3
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The "line in the sand" for me came when I got dropped by an older woman on an English three speed with a horribly squeaky chain. After that incident, the MTB commuter was mothballed, and a trip to the LBS yielded a lighter, far faster, narrower tire commuter. After some further modifications for more speed and comfort, riding in traffic is now far more pleasurable than before.
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Old 01-06-10, 12:09 AM   #4
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I think I'd have an easier time reaching Commuter Zen if I had an expensive Cervelo and a 24 mph avg. TT speed to brag about.

Until that time I'm gonna drop those damn big tired bikes with baskets or puke trying.
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Old 01-06-10, 05:31 AM   #5
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(And yes, my "other" bikes is a pricey Cervelo TT bike. I can average nearly 24mph for a 1hr time trial on it!)
Just 24? LOL. Heck,with a 3.5 mi commute I'd just be warming up!
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Old 01-06-10, 05:53 AM   #6
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If your worried about being dropped i'd take the Cervello. Also you don't know what that girl really has in those big tires. Oh yeah baby, it's on now! At least until she comes back with her Cervello.
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Old 01-06-10, 06:27 AM   #7
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...I was riding home today, and after getting passed by yet another girl on a sketchy looking big-tired bike with baskets, I realized that I can't even remember the last time I passed someone on a bike on my bike commute (which is short - like 3.5 miles.) ...
One of my brothers did the 6 month tour of Europe thing after college years ago. In the Netherlands, he rented a bike and thought he was doing really well blasting down the bike path, being young and strong and all. Then he got passed by a couple of Dutch housewives on their typical three-speed bikes, groceries on the back, chatting happily and not even noticing him. He admitted it was a humbling experience, but luckily it hasn't turned him off cycling.
One thing about heavy bikes is, once you get them up to speed on a flat road, mass and momentum tend to keep them there. Of course, 3.5 miles is not a long commute, so it's a time-saver to take it easy, wear work clothes on the bike, and not have to shower when you get there.
Me, I have a very hard time turning off my competitive urge. I've stopped trying to keep up with men half my age, but other women are still fair game.
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Old 01-06-10, 09:30 AM   #8
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I don't care if anyone passes me by. There are a lot of people on light singlespeeds with little cargo that probably ride 2-3 miles to work. I carry full change of clothes, few gadgets and ride 8 miles. However, often I try to keep up with a stronger rider for the exercise, particularly climbing over the bridge - I often lack the motivation to press hard in the morning. Still, out of the heavy commuters I see (panniers, bunch of lights, etc) I'm usually the fastest one but I'm not getting jealous, I know my limits, and I ride for fun.

During my years riding with the bike club I met many women older than I am, who were not into racing on anything competitive yet they were in much better shape and were stronger riders that I ever was. It didn't hurt my ego, I actually befriended some of them and did many rides with them exactly for that reason: nobody was getting mucho. Riding with stronger guys often intimidated me as guys like to brag a lot. I felt much more relaxed riding with these women and improved a lot during that time.

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Old 01-06-10, 10:23 AM   #9
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I don't care if anyone passes me by. .

Oh, I do I seldom get passed, but the few that do earn it . That said, there are days that I don't care. It'll be 25 degrees with a 20-30mph headwind for the ride home today, the Lance wannabes can have at it ... but somehow in this weather they're mysteriously missing!

There will always be someone faster or less tired, I accept that. But it doesn't have to be everyone!
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Old 01-06-10, 10:26 AM   #10
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I don't give a damn if I pass someone or they pass me. I find it pretty funny when there's some guy noodling along at 12 MPH and I blow past him, then he decides he's got to pass me back. I just keep spinning and let them pass me. It's pretty funny though when it's a mile after they've passed me and they're clearly running out of steam, about to have a heart attack trying to keep in front of me. Usually they turn off into a driveway or something.

Luckily I only see about 3 or 4 cyclists a year, so I don't have to put up with these games much.
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Old 01-06-10, 10:29 AM   #11
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I also have a short commute, and certainly have no urge to pass anyone. Still, I do tend to pace myself (either slower or faster) to whoever's in front of me, if they're within my range. This got me in trouble last year when I went on a longer ride with some stronger riders...the ride was a little over 100 km, and I burnt myself out halfway trying to keep up. Since my commute is only about 5km round trip, and I maybe typically do 20-30km on Saturdays for fun, this was a much longer ride and I needed to pace myself better.

Still, 12kph on a flat is pretty slow. I'm not sure what kind of bike you've got, but if you've been riding for six months, and that's your comfort speed, it's probably either a very heavy bike or in poor mechanical condition. I think it would take me more effort to keep my speed down to 12 kph, riding in gears where I get no sense of resistance, than it would to go faster. Last time I had a computer, the average of all rolling time (including acceleration, deceleration, and hills) was about 17kph. And I don't sweat enough to be noticeable (unless my rain or winter gear is trapping the sweat in).
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Old 01-06-10, 10:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
I think I'm hitting true bike-commuter status after doing it regularly for the past 6 months.

I was riding home today, and after getting passed by yet another girl on a sketchy looking big-tired bike with baskets, I realized that I can't even remember the last time I passed someone on a bike on my bike commute (which is short - like 3.5 miles.) In fact, usually everyone passes me at nearly twice the speed I'm going. I probably go only 12mph max on the flats on my mtn bike commuter. I think I've reached "commuter zen" where I'm at peace with my fellow cyclists on the road!

(And yes, my "other" bikes is a pricey Cervelo TT bike. I can average nearly 24mph for a 1hr time trial on it!)
Sounds like your testosterone levels may be down but only when commuting and not when riding the TT bike. Hmmmmmmm...................
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Old 01-06-10, 10:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I think I'd have an easier time reaching Commuter Zen if I had an expensive Cervelo and a 24 mph avg. TT speed to brag about.

Until that time I'm gonna drop those damn big tired bikes with baskets or puke trying.
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If your worried about being dropped i'd take the Cervello. Also you don't know what that girl really has in those big tires. Oh yeah baby, it's on now! At least until she comes back with her Cervello.
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I don't care if anyone passes me by.
Right on! You get on your bike to ride because you want to, not because you are force. OP, you are a mess. It is apparent you have your "pricey" bikes for show. I can only imagine you to be the guy who buys high priced crap just to be a part of the "in crowd" because you have mentioned how expensive your bikes are in other posts. Great that you can bust some speed but why brag about it? No one cares. Really, why does it matter? What makes the girls bike "sketchy?" If the damn thing moves her from point A to point B like yours does, it doesn't matter what type she rides.

(And yes, my "other" bikes is a pricey Cervelo TT bike. I can average nearly 24mph for a 1hr time trial on it!)<---Ridiculous!
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Old 01-06-10, 10:55 AM   #14
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I've only been passed once while commuting. However, I see other bike commuters about once every 6 months on my commute route.
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Old 01-06-10, 11:00 AM   #15
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I have recently realized that "racing" to work is kind of dumb, so I've slowed down and just pedal easy. Sure, I'm only going 8 mph (wind/cold/studs/upright bike make for lots of resistance), but I'm not winded, and I am ready to start my day refresehed, not feeling like I need a post-workout recovery process. I find I eat better too, not going for the bagel, but the fruit. I rarely see anyone on my path to/from work, but when I have, its been about 50/50 between passing and getting passed.
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Old 01-06-10, 11:28 AM   #16
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Still, 12kph on a flat is pretty slow. I'm not sure what kind of bike you've got, ...
He said MTB, so I'm not sure that's way out of line. That's not an unreasonable cruise speed on a MTB if he's doing a lot of spinning.
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Old 01-06-10, 11:45 AM   #17
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In the months April-November there are scores/dozes/hundreds of bikes on one of my regular commuter routes of all shapes and speeds - the bike jams at traffic lights make the notion of passing kind of hazardous.
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Old 01-06-10, 11:49 AM   #18
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I love my commute-racing but TT rules have to apply. No drafting! And especially no drafting people on slower bikes than you!
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Old 01-06-10, 11:54 AM   #19
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I uhh have to confess that sometimes I do keep "score" on how many other bikers I caught up to pass (+1) and those who pass me (-1). I really shouldn't. But it keeps my ride interesting. That was with my old hardtail mtb. I do find that over time, my summary score errs towards the positive side.
One interesting experience was when I was coming up towards and older man in a shiny new hybrid. He knows i was coming up next to him and he proceeded to put the pedal down hard. I decided to pace him for about half a click observing how much effort he is putting in to keep ahead of me. Besides, there wasn't any suitable safe spots to pass. I was relieve that he finally turned off to a different direction not because I wasn't able to pass him which I could. But toying with an old man just feel wrong and I sure didn't want to see him get a heart attack.
This is not to say anything about older cyclist. Gosh I've been dropped countless times by grey-haired riders.

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Old 01-06-10, 11:59 AM   #20
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I ride to and from work 4 times a day, it is a lil' over a mile. I get passed, sometimes I pass people. I always figure if I am passing a guy on some super bike, then he is probably at the end of a long ride or just tootling to the starting point of a group ride. I don't assume, I am just faster. Although sometimes I suppose it is true.

depending on if you are running studs or not you may want to try some road tires for the mt bike, it should make your average speed go up.
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Old 01-06-10, 12:13 PM   #21
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My motivation to "race" is most often provided by these people:



If I'm on a rural commuting route, I do get extra-motivated if I see cyclists out ahead on the highway. Sometimes I just hang back and match their pace if it looks like it'll end up as a game of leapfrog. If I'm being seriously held back, then I either zoom on by while saying hello, or maybe pull up and chat if they look friendly.

However, if I look in my mirror and see someone coming up from behind, then it's war! I wait until I disappear over a rise or around a bend, and then throw down an interval while I'm out of sight, then back off and recover. Yes, I'm evil

As for the mountain-commuter, if your rims are fairly narrow-ish, slap on some Panaracer Pasela TG Folding 26 x 1.25 tires with Continental Race 650 Lite tubes. That combo is very light, so they spin up easily, and they're narrow for low aerodynamic drag. And at 95psi, they roll pretty well. Downside: less resistance to potholes than fat tires, and the bike rides lower to the ground so you have less cornering clearance when pedalling.

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Old 01-06-10, 12:17 PM   #22
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I'm with the OP. I stopped trying to set personal bests and no longer care if people pass or not. I think I've gotten slower, but I enjoy the ride at the speed I go and I find that as long as I do that, I ride more often.

It's obvious that most who pass are riding faster bikes and that I've more gear on mine. It's also obvious that most of those I pass are on slower bikes or are just goofing around.

The frequency of my rides is my barometer for goodness. I want to ride in 3 days per week min.
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Old 01-06-10, 12:41 PM   #23
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I'll admit it... back in my youthful days, when I didn't own a car and rode a bike everywhere... (and had monster leg muscles) I would on occasion ride my cruiser while wearing cutoffs and an old T shirt, and come upon some racer type dude in kit... and then just cruise on up and proceed to drop him. It was always fun to see the look on their face when some apparent yokel leaves them well behind. It was a cheap thrill.

These days I have mellowed and have to admit being something of a slacker on the bike. But there was a time... LOL!
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Old 01-06-10, 01:45 PM   #24
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It's funny to me, but my desire to catch/race people on my commute goes up as the general quality of my bike goes down.

Ride the 'spensive decked out brevet bike: Don't care if someone passes me, or if I catch the person in front of me.
Ride the beater singlespeed: I'm a little more intent on keeping my position and trying to catch people ahead of me.
Ride the fat tire, upright garbage cruiser with a Wald basket full of junk: I'm hammering to beat the band, just to see if I can catch someone on it.
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Old 01-06-10, 01:47 PM   #25
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I don't ride that fast, maybe 12.5 mph on average, so usually I'm the one getting dropped. That doesn't bother me at all, neither me or my bike are really built for speed.

But today I dropped 3 commuters and a ninja. Will wonders never cease? I wasn't going any faster than usual, so there must be some new commuters out there!
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