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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 08-25-10, 10:32 AM   #1
Lamabb
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Commuting to School / College

I want to start commuting to college by bicycle, but I have a few questions. I recently purchased a surly Long haul trucker for touring and commuting and I would love it not to have it stolen or damaged.

When you arrive at class, where do you put your bike and how do you protect it?
Also, how do you carry your books? panniers?

It's going to be a 25 mile commute, so that's 50 miles both ways, which would be great if 20 of those miles weren't a giant hill.

If any school commuters could give me any tips, it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-25-10, 11:54 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lamabb View Post
I want to start commuting to college by bicycle, but I have a few questions. I recently purchased a surly Long haul trucker for touring and commuting and I would love it not to have it stolen or damaged.

When you arrive at class, where do you put your bike and how do you protect it?
I also have a nice bike that I care about. My college has a bike rack right by the main gate that I chain it up to. There's a guard shack right near it and at least until 1pm, there's campus police who stand outside checking everyone's ID. Most other people who ride just use a cable lock to secure theirs up, but I use a cable lock and a U-lock.


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Also, how do you carry your books? panniers?
I personally use a backpack for my books and also have a lunch bag for my lunch. I strap them down using a bungee cord net to the rear rack on my bike.


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It's going to be a 25 mile commute, so that's 50 miles both ways, which would be great if 20 of those miles weren't a giant hill.

If any school commuters could give me any tips, it would be greatly appreciated.
Your commute is a bit longer than mine. Mine is 18.9 miles one-way and it takes me 1 hr 15 mins on a good day. My ride in is rolling hills, but mainly downhill. I always give myself extra time in case of a flat, break a chain, or something like that. I usually get to campus about 30 mins before class, which gives me time to change, have a snack, and get on the internet for a bit or study if need be.

I would recommend doing the route once (if you haven't all ready) to get an idea of how long it's going to take. If you don't have a rear rack, it would be good to get one. My bag filled with books last semester could weight as much as 20 lbs. Also, if you don't have fenders, get some. They make a big difference if there's rain in the forecast. Get a good U-lock and cable lock for securing your bike if you don't already have them. Of course, make sure you carry spare inner tubes, chain link and tools that you might need.

This is the elevation profile for my commute to school:
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Old 08-25-10, 11:58 AM   #3
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Does your school have bike lockers? You might want to check into that. It would likely be an expense in that you'd have to rent it, but it would beat the loss of your LHT.

I prefer panniers to wearing a back pack. You can always put a back pack in your panniers for use once you arrive at school.
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Old 08-25-10, 02:21 PM   #4
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Do you really have a 20 mile climb on your route? That seems... well, like more than I'd be able to handle.
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Old 08-25-10, 04:27 PM   #5
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Panniers for heavy stuff like a laptop, messenger bag for everything else. 25 miles is quite the commute though, especially if you're doing it daily.
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Old 08-25-10, 04:37 PM   #6
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Do you really have a 20 mile climb on your route? That seems... well, like more than I'd be able to handle.
On the other hand it makes for a very nice ride home. But yeah, a 20 mile climb will make that commute hell for me. I usually reserve those climbs for my weekend rides and usually only once or twice a month.
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Old 08-25-10, 04:38 PM   #7
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Not all schools are a haven for bike thieves. My school has an entrance off a main arterial road but is pretty much secluded. You need a parking permit to park in one of the lots no matter who you are. We have only a few coin operated parking places but they are at the administration building. I've seen some nice bikes simply locked with a cable. I use a mini u-lock.

I carry books in a backpack and bungee it on the top of my rack (strap side up). You can also get panniers that double as backpacks when off the bike. Unlikely will you have but one or two classes that meet everyday so carrying a lot of books usually isn't a problem.

Also you can get a meal plan to cut down on carrying food. Plus most schools have a gym of some sort and you are able to rent a locker for a semester, a year, or even daily and use the showers.

You can use email to send documents or use a thumbdrive (instead of bringing a laptop everyday) and use the computers at school.

Most college campuses are "going green" in some regard and my school just put up two new bike racks in the center of campus underneath a covering. Otherwise there are a lot of places to park your bike on a college campus.

Get to know a professor and perhaps use there office if they commute. Befriend a maintenance worker and see about them letting you use one of the many underground storage areas every campus has hidden away underneath its buildings.

Know your school, explore it. Or let us know your school and maybe someone who goes there will have a better idea of what to do.
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