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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 08-20-10, 10:25 AM   #1
destikon
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How early is TOO EARLY to commute?

I'm thinking about accepting a job where I have to be to work at 3:00 am. I love to ride to work but I like the idea of making substantially more cash. I live about 5 miles from there. My concern is late night drunks and dark streets. Opinions??
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Old 08-20-10, 10:38 AM   #2
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Invest in a really good lighting system, and go for it. In the winter my commute is in the dark both directions (20 mi round trip). I've also ridden late at night - it's really peaceful.

But get great lights. Not good ones; great ones.
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Old 08-20-10, 10:50 AM   #3
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Powerful lights and a lightweight reflective vest. You might want to affix an additional blinkie on your helmet.

I love riding at night--fewer cars on the road, it's cool and refreshing after a hot summer's day, and it's a different way to see the city.

Your bike should help you get places, not constrain you.
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Old 08-20-10, 11:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
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I'm thinking about accepting a job where I have to be to work at 3:00 am. I love to ride to work but I like the idea of making substantially more cash. I live about 5 miles from there. My concern is late night drunks and dark streets. Opinions??
I think you answered your question.

But on a more serious note, if there aren't any adult establishments/neighborhoods along the route, then it more than likely is ok.
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Old 08-20-10, 11:22 AM   #5
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i think sharing the road with the very occasional drunk to be better than sharing with thousands of rush hour commuters. the best thing about riding in the dark is that cages are less likely to sneak up on you, assuming they have lights on. also, you are actually more visible, assuming proper lighting/reflective gear.

go for it.
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Old 08-20-10, 11:30 AM   #6
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I agree with this ^^^^

Yeah, give it a try. I actually prefer riding at night. It's quiet, cool and usually very little traffic.
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Old 08-20-10, 11:36 AM   #7
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The times I had to start work at 4AM were the most uneventful commutes ever.

I crossed half the city on major arterial roads and saw maybe two cars.
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Old 08-20-10, 11:40 AM   #8
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I love riding before the sun. Incredibly peaceful, and much faster.

I will echo the "lights, lights, lights" sentiment, and add another suggestion: get a mirror. It's no substitute for looking over your shoulder, but you can't do that constantly. A flash of headlights in your rearview will let you know that something's coming and to be on alert.
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Old 08-20-10, 11:46 AM   #9
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People ride 24-hour brevets and live through it. Then again, whenever I read about bicycle fatalities, it seems about half of them occur between midnight and 4am and frequently involve drunk driving. Personally, I would still do it, but ride extra carefully. You may find yourself getting stopped by the police, though, since they typically regard 3am bikers with suspicion.
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Old 08-20-10, 11:46 AM   #10
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when's closing time where you live? That might influence the number of drunks on the road.
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Old 08-20-10, 11:53 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone for your ideas. I'm still torn. I guess part of my hesitation on this issue is the lifestyle change (disruption) that will have to be made in order to be to work that early. The commute just makes it that much earlier. I guess that's part of it... if I really have it in me.
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Old 08-20-10, 12:13 PM   #12
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Riding at 3:00AM does seem really close to the time when bars close for the night in most areas.

A flashing tail light on your bike would obviously be a requirement, but it is also a concern. I was a kid in driving school the instructor was a former cop. He said during the night if your car breaks down never use your emergency flashers unless you are blocking traffic. This reason for this is the flashing lights tend to "attract" drunk drivers. I really would not let this stop me from riding during that time, but it is some food for thought.
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Old 08-20-10, 12:29 PM   #13
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If you start work at 3am, then YOU can go straight from the bar to work

Seriously though, it does depend on the area. But with proper lighting, I generally feel safer at night in very light traffic than I do in the daytime, when I'm probably less visible and cars are all around.
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Old 08-20-10, 12:31 PM   #14
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I love riding in the dark. IMO with proper lighting it's safer than in the daytime, and CERTAINLY it's safer than at dawn. In fact I intentionally shift my schedule to ride in the dark as much as possible.

The drunk driver situation is something you'll have to evaluate for yourself though, it's going to be different for every person.
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Old 08-20-10, 12:56 PM   #15
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O' Dark :30 starts does make lights important. now with Hub mounted dynamos,
thats a pretty reliable light source .

you will certainly be awake when you arrive.
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Old 08-20-10, 01:02 PM   #16
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To tell you the truth im scared more riding during the day at 2;30ish in the morning yeah they might mostly be drunk but theres a whole hell of lot less of em. Like everyone else has said get some good lights but some reflective tape on stuff and ride
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Old 08-20-10, 01:07 PM   #17
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Personally, I'd rather ride past a bar at 2 a.m. than an elementary school at 8 a.m. Of course, YMMV.
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Old 08-20-10, 01:11 PM   #18
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Riding at night/ pre-dawn are my favorite times to ride. I feel much safer, and riding is definitely more peaceful. Getting up that early is the toughest part. When I had work that early and even overnight, it took me a week or two to get acclimated to the new sleep patterns.
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Old 08-20-10, 01:17 PM   #19
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Impaired drivers are on the road 24/7.
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Old 08-20-10, 01:46 PM   #20
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I thought all drivers are impaired
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Old 08-20-10, 01:58 PM   #21
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I agree with others that riding late at night is no big deal as long as you are well lit. There's usually very little traffic and you end up being a lot more visible.

OTOH, I don't think I could handle starting work at 3am. Sleep is important to me.
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Old 08-20-10, 02:04 PM   #22
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In some ways, I feel safer riding in the dark. With a good lighting and visible clothing, tires, etc., you should really stand out more than you would in daylight. The biggest danger, in my opinion, is that it's harder to see sticks, rocks, potholes and other obstacles in the road at night -- which is part of the reason for good lights. When I have left for work extra early (5-6 am), there are very few cars on the road, which lowers the risk factor. I would consider it much more dangerous riding in rush-hour traffic in daylight.
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Old 08-20-10, 02:07 PM   #23
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It depends on where you're at. From a safety standpoint getting to work at 4:00 am instead of 3:00 would make all the difference for me. I'd probably still do it at 3:00. Five miles with no traffic makes for a pretty fast commute though you need bright enough lights. Leaving at 2:30 would leave me plenty of time and most of the people who might cause trouble would have gone home by then.
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Old 08-20-10, 02:12 PM   #24
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I have recently stopped my 1:00 a.m. commute home, not because of drunks driving, but drunks shooting blowdarts at me and general drunken harassment. The driving is fine. I have also been chased by stray dogs and encountered a bear and a family of foxes who seemed keen on a spontaneous dining experience. Just know your route intimately, know your bail-out options and be well-lit.
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Old 08-20-10, 02:27 PM   #25
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Personally, I'd rather ride past a bar at 2 a.m. than an elementary school at 8 a.m. Of course, YMMV.
+eleventy billion or so.

Most dangerous part of any commute I've EVER ridden was passing a school. *shudders*
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