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  1. #1
    Intrepid Bicycle Commuter AlmostGreenGuy's Avatar
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    My First Commute Today

    Today marks my first real bike commute. The ride in to work was kind of spur of the moment, but very fun. The 15 mile trip in to work took me just a hair under an hour, riding my Sirrus Sport hybrid. That was like free riding time, since I normally take the bus to work, and the bus trip takes almost as long.

    I rode spandex style on the way in, with a change of work clothes in my backpack. Fortunately, work is a pretty laid back atmosphere, so I could hang my sweaty spandex next to a big fan and dry it out quickly. I talked to the custodian this morning, and he says that he has a spare locker in the basement that he can move into the mens bathroom for me. That'll make changing and storage much easier.

    The only real tough part was the weight of my backpack. I carry a laptop and a ton of tools in my backpack. Add in my lunch and a set of clothing, and it was feeling pretty darned heavy. I may have to throw my Topeak rack on the Sirrus, and pick up a Topeak bag to haul my stuff.

    All in all, I'm very happy. I can't believe how much more energy I have today, and how much less I feel the stress of the workday. By the time I got to work, I felt like I'd already had a great memorable adventure, and my day had barely yet begun. The comments from the girls at work on my spandex butt will only help to encourage this style of dress.

    Best of all, I have an hour of cycling to look forward to on the way home tonight. Woohoo!!!

    It's funny. The reason for the first commute was a matter of finding time to ride. I normally ride after dinner, but was starting to feel bad about ignoring my wife and daughter for 2 hours every other night. I figured that if I rode to work and back, I'd still get in my riding time, and still have time for the family. I really didn't expect the side benefit of feeling so good at work. I feel like freakin' Superman today!!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member subzeroLV's Avatar
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    Congrats on the first commute!
    2011 Trek 1.2
    2010 Trek 7.2FX

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by subzerolv View Post
    congrats on the firstfrist commute!
    ftfy

  4. #4
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    Sweet, good job. When you go shopping for that pannier, you’re looking for the smallest one you can fit all your stuff in and synch it down. Bring all your stuff to the store and make sure it fits inside. Also, a Netbook at 3.2lbs is smaller and lighter. So it's easier to pack. If I smash it, I'm only out $250.
    I stopped carrying all the tools. I have just what it takes to change a tube. If anything else happens I call a cab.
    Trying to be a better person every day.

  5. #5
    nashcommguy
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    When I was packing for my first tour an experienced cycle-tourer advised me to fold my shirts 'department store' style and then roll them up. Same w/pants/shorts. Put them in a double bagged plastic bag if there is any chance of rain. If you can afford it get Axiom waterproof panniers as they're great. Fenders, lights, etc. Dozens of old threads on equipping your commuter. If you think you feel like Superman now wait until you ride to work in 10 degree weather...it's the best.

  6. #6
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Congrats, man!

  7. #7
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    Congrats! I think that as you ride more, you'll naturally cut down the amount of stuff that you carry (at least that has been my experience, some other guys on the commuting forum carry a ton, so that may not be your experience). The tools will probably thin out after a while, as you determine which you need & which ones you can get by without. The laptop is tougher. If it's work issued & you need to carry it, you are stuck, but you still might be abel to get by without carrying any of the accessories (power cord, etc). If you just need access to your docs & stuff, a zip drive or online storage site might make the laptop expendable.

    Definitely enjoy the ride! I think that is my favorite part of my commute, is just the enjoyment I get out of it. I don't think that I really save any money versus driving, but the exercise is great, but it's just the enjoyment that I get of being on the bike twice a day that makes it all worthwhile.

  8. #8
    Senior Member m_yates's Avatar
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    Since I got my Nokia N900, I find that I rarely need my laptop. The N900 gives me access to email, web sites, and reads pdf, doc, ppt, and xls files. It also gives me GPS, skype calls, and cellular phone calls, of course. I think any good android phone, iphone, or maemo phone will give you 90% of what a laptop can.

    Also, I rode with a backpack my first year, but switched to a set of rear panniers. The panniers are much easier for hauling clothes, lunch, and tools.

    For lightweight tools, I carry only the following: Park Multitool MT-1, spoke wrench, plastic tire levers, spare tube, Topeak Road Morph pump, and a Park VP-1 patch kit. That stuff will allow me to to change a flat and make minor repairs and adjustments. I've never needed anything else, and only had to call for a ride home once in the past 3 years. The ride home was needed because the weather was freezing and my hands got numb trying to change a flat

  9. #9
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    Congratulations on the first commute. A rack and/or panniers can help a lot. I have a rack and bungee my backpack to the top of it. I also have panniers but I rarely use them.

    Its great to get compliments and also helpful that maintenance is willing to make accommodations for you. Be careful about working hard though, they might expect everyday from now on (joking).

    Like other posters mentioned you will soon realize what essentials you should take with you and what you can leave at home or the office. Some people will have a set of tools for the home and some for the office as well as a floor pump. Now you get to spend more time with your family so enjoy.
    lil brown bat wrote:
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  10. #10
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    Regarding the weight of your backpack - when you commute by bike you consequently only wear your work clothes for a fairly short period of time and I personally find there is no need for clean clothes every day. I change my undies but the remainder of what I wear at the office can last a full week. This way I reduce washing, save the environment and have a much lighter backpack on 3 out of 5 days.

  11. #11
    Senior Member tligman's Avatar
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    Yay! Great job!

  12. #12
    Intrepid Bicycle Commuter AlmostGreenGuy's Avatar
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    The ride home was mostly fun, but definitely tougher than the ride in. The ride home was slightly uphill for most of the entire 15 miles. Traffiic was also much heavier. But the shoulder of Route9 between Valatie and Hudson NY is awesome. It was paved just a few years ago, so there's hardly a crack in it. It took 70 minutes to get home.

    The real problem started 3/4 of the way home. I forgot to pack more food for work than normal, not taking all of that calorie burning exercise into account. I just tanked. That last few miles was not fun. Even with a good dinner and a nap, I still felt pretty whooped for the rest of the night. Lesson learned. I'll make sure to stash a couple of Cliff's Bars in the future.

    I'll be installing the rack today, and then I'll look more closely at the backpack. Ultimately, I'd prefer to keep the backpack and attach it to the rack somehow, as I often end up carrying the backpack around town during the day, moving from building to building fixing computer problems. The laptop and tools are work related.

    Maybe a better option, in order to best protect the laptop, would be to separate it from the other stuff. Attach the normal backpack to the rack, and use something like a built laptop backpack to carry the laptop. Then I'd just transfer the laptop to the normal backpack when I get to work. The neoprene construction should also be fairly waterproof. Obviously, this is going to take some thinking.



  13. #13
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    You can just bungee the backpack to the rack (strap side up) like I do. They also make panniers that work like a backpack off of the bike.

    Also, don't worry to much about food. Soon your body will become more efficient the more you ride. Although It wouldn't be a bad idea to keep extra at work for those "just in case" moments.
    lil brown bat wrote:
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostGreenGuy View Post
    The reason for the first commute was a matter of finding time to ride. I normally ride after dinner, but was starting to feel bad about ignoring my wife and daughter for 2 hours every other night. I figured that if I rode to work and back, I'd still get in my riding time, and still have time for the family.
    Congrats.

    One of the things I particularly like about bike commuting is that my commute time is also my workout time. Commuting is going to take some of your time one way or the other. It might as well be productive.

  15. #15
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by subzerolv View Post
    congrats on the first frist first commute!
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffpoulin View Post
    ftfy
    hah, I really fixed it for him

  16. #16
    Intrepid Bicycle Commuter AlmostGreenGuy's Avatar
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    I did my second commute in to work this morning. I'm trying a commute without backpack today, and it's working well. I bought a couple of Detours Toto panniers over the weekend, and am trying them out today. One pannier gets my laptop and lunch. The other gets my clothes and miscellaneous stuff. The comfort level of this morning's trip was much better than last week's foray. It was such a relief to have that heavy backpack off of my back.

    The Detour Panniers are pretty cool. They have an easy fold-over magnetic closure and shoulder straps. Bringing the panniers up to the office was as easy as opening the pannier, grabbing the shoulder strap, and letting the top fold back over. Then I just lifted up the panniers off of the rack. I did go the extra mile and try out the included rain covers today. It had rained for the last 3 days straight, and I thought there might be some road spray issues. My worries were unfounded though, as the covers were dry and clean when I arrived at work.

    One more note on the Toto panniers. The rack clips have these cool little removable plastic inserts. You get a bag of inserts with each pannier, and choose the inserts that match the diameter of the rails on your rack. The panniers snap into my Topeak Explorer rack quite securely. There's nothing to secure the bottom of the pannier though. It wasn't an issue today, but I may rig up something in the future.

    I'm a happy commuter today, and my back is much happier with the panniers.




  17. #17
    These go to eleven kegoguinness's Avatar
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    That's a great commuter setup. I think you're way ahead of the game. Way to go!
    1989 Lumaca Schiacciata
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  18. #18
    Intrepid Bicycle Commuter AlmostGreenGuy's Avatar
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    The custodian in my building ROCKS!!!!!!

    The latest addition to the lockable mens bathroom outside my office:


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