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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 03-14-11, 07:12 PM   #1
merkong
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Welcome to me... New Commuter.

Welcoming myself to commuting on Wednesday morning. My Trek mountain bike (craigslist score) has just been outfitted with new tires, shifters and brake levers, pedals, fenders, and planetbike headlamp. My buddy (LBS owner) tossed in a bottle cage, bottle, grips and a rear blinkie. He fronted me the panniers until my wife forgets about the cash I'm flipping him tomorrow night. He's a good dude and has well taken care of my son's BMX bike with service and good advice on parts.

I'm in well enough shape to make the 18 mile round trip commute here in MN from the Frogtown neighborhood to the VA hospital in Minneapolis. That, thanks in part to the BMX'ing I've done over the summer and just lucky I guess at 44. I'm sure my butt (and legs) will be sore after day one, two and beyond but the support I am getting from said LBS owner (an old roadie of many years) and a buddy (who also nurses and owns a bike touring company).

I am looking forward to the peace and quiet of the commute, the uncertainty and wonder of making the trip by bike and the healthful benefits. Like many newbies to commuting, I too want to make these trips every day regardless of weather. I hope and pray to be able to do just that and join the many who do so. We'll see what becomes of it when November in MN arrives. I would love to say I have it in me but I'm not that stupid. If I make it all summer and fall then I'm going to go for it of course.

Anyways, I'll post a pic in the proper sticky of my bike and just want to let everyone know I stop here often each night as the anticipation is hitting its pinnacle. Thanks and ride on.

ken in MN
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Old 03-14-11, 07:24 PM   #2
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I commute by bike, occasionally. Never in bad weather. I wonder, so who made the rules you are required to commute daily by bike. What, you are some kind of a wush if you choose the car or mass transit some days?

Maybe I'm in a cynical mood, but I have this reoccuring thought that the collective mind of the "bicyclist" is about 14 years old and struggling with puberty.
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Old 03-14-11, 07:39 PM   #3
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Hmmm... I'm not following. I don't think there are any rules. At least that's what I've been told. As a 44 year old dude who is well accustomed to climbing in his truck everyday and driving the whopping 9 miles to work only to park and walk in and then (as a travelling public health nurse) climb into a government car and drive around all day only to return and repeat the process in reverse and then again the next day, I'm just ready to try something new.

I don't think a person who commutes even once instead of daily or three times a week or whatever is any less of anything than people who maybe rely *only* on bikes to get around all the time.

Again, I'm just sharing what I hope to be able to do. Not start some sort of commuting philosophical war.

Peace.
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Old 03-14-11, 08:07 PM   #4
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Welcome, merkong; sounds like your bike is well fitted for all-weather commuting. Enjoy!
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Old 03-14-11, 08:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
I commute by bike, occasionally. Never in bad weather. I wonder, so who made the rules you are required to commute daily by bike?

What, you are some kind of a wuss if you choose the car or mass transit some days?

Maybe I'm in a cynical mood,

but I have this reoccuring thought that the collective mind of the "bicyclist" is about 14 years old and struggling with puberty.
Someone in the Netherlands, I think.

Yes.

Oh, there's no maybe about it.

I'd say that's pretty accurate.
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Old 03-14-11, 09:04 PM   #6
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Btw, welcome to BF-Commuting sub-forum merkong. Great read about how you got your rig together. Hope you hang around, ask questions, give answers and most of all enjoy your commute!
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Old 03-14-11, 09:15 PM   #7
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thanks nash. i'm excited and will post my thoughts about ride one wednesday night along with a pic of my ride. good forum.
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Old 03-16-11, 06:03 PM   #8
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Well the inaugural commute is behind me and I think I could get used to this.

Rode 10 miles to Minneapolis from St. Paul th in morning in about 30 degree temps. Left at about 5:05am. Dressed about right. Had the panniers packed out with lunch and work clothes. Was quite mindful of the potential pitfalls, especially as a newbie. Took it easier and made the run in 55 minutes. I have a nice bike lane (80% is 100% wide and free of overlapped cars etc. due to snow) and it truly is a great commute. Only had one close call where a cab driver tried to roll a stoplight into a right hand turn but I was ready and had options (I felt) until he noticed me and stopped. He waved apologetically as he drove past. Got to work, showered, and waited until I got to bike home.

The ride home was different. It was light outside, It was about 50 degrees. The iciness on parts of the road had given way to moisture. I rode about 6+ of the 10 miles into a hard headwind. Because I was on the other side of the road in my bike lane, the lane and available parking lane for cars is more narrow. I tightroped the white stripe and was mindful in the door zone. Especially since as I biked past one of our law colleges, many hurried students were gathering their things and swinging car doors wide, and into my path. No near misses. I did the ride home again in about 55 minutes. I had a protein shale (after the am ride as well) and told my wife all about my exploits.

With clothes and supplies readied for tomorrows ride, I will sit back and visit with wife and kids. Looking forward to it and to many more. Thanks commuting.

merkong (ken)
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Old 03-16-11, 06:40 PM   #9
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You seem to have the same attitude and reasoning that I have about cycling. I was 41-ish, about 20 pounds overweight, driving 11 miles to work only to spend a large portion of my day driving around in a state vehicle. My idea of exercise was the time I spent climbing ladders and walking to and from my work truck. At 40 I'd been diagnosed with HBP so I initially turned to jogging. That was an off and on thing that proved to be too hard on my middle-aged joints and shins, so I turned to commuting. Hadn't been on a bike in roughly 20 years...but hey? I figured that if others are doing it, why can't I? So I tried it and fell in love. I've been at it for about a year now (not religiously) and have logged around 2,500 miles on my current bike.

Now although I biked all of last week, I still hitched a ride with a co-worker this morning. For me, I get wiped out after a whole week of commuting and my body just needs a break every so often. The trick is not to let it make you lazy so that you skip more than one day at a time. A few months back, that attitude snowballed into a three-week hiatus. Not good!

Anyhoo...good luck and have fun! Sounds like you're gonna fall in love with it.
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Old 03-16-11, 08:10 PM   #10
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thanks for the feedback and the real-world perspective. I appreciate it.

peace
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Old 03-17-11, 12:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merkong View Post
I am looking forward to the peace and quiet of the commute, the uncertainty and wonder of making the trip by bike and the healthful benefits. Like many newbies to commuting, I too want to make these trips every day regardless of weather. I hope and pray to be able to do just that and join the many who do so. We'll see what becomes of it when November in MN arrives. I would love to say I have it in me but I'm not that stupid. If I make it all summer and fall then I'm going to go for it of course.
FrenchFit,
How did you get from the OP's desire, to your claimed required rules rant?
Quote:
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I commute by bike, occasionally. Never in bad weather. I wonder, so who made the rules you are required to commute daily by bike. What, you are some kind of a wush if you choose the car or mass transit some days?

Maybe I'm in a cynical mood, but I have this reoccuring thought that the collective mind of the "bicyclist" is about 14 years old and struggling with puberty.
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Old 03-17-11, 12:54 AM   #12
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It's funny, as one's weight redistributes and the fuel demands change accordingly one finds oneself eating like an athlete. High protein, low carb w/lots of water. Take days off when you feel yourself getting impatient or slightly, inexplicably depressed. Those are signs one is overworking. As one's body adjusts to the physical demands of daily commuting you'll begin to notice hills begin to level out. Steep hills today in 6 months will look like slight rises. It's a process.
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Old 03-17-11, 11:35 AM   #13
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If you dress right there is no reason why you cannot commute everyday of the year regardless of the weather.
That's what I'm going for.

Ok, stay out of hurricanes, toronadoes, etc....

It sounds like you have a good contact at the LBS. Keep on pedaling!
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Old 03-17-11, 11:50 AM   #14
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I am from MN too, about 3.5 hours northwest of the cities. There is no way I am riding through snow on the shoulder of a 4-lane highway 12 miles to work (and then 12 miles back). Spring/Summer/Fall commuting should be fun though. I will hopefully make my first ride tomorrow or next monday.
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Old 03-17-11, 12:15 PM   #15
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Welcome to a fellow twin cities commuter! This is a great place to be a cyclist even given the hardships of the winter weather.
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Old 03-17-11, 12:20 PM   #16
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I have this reoccuring thought that the collective mind of the "bicyclist" is about 14 years old and struggling with puberty.
Most collective minds are immature. I think it's because collective minds are dominated by loud voices. People with loud voices can't actually hear themselves think.

But hey, at least we're not a political party. Those collective minds are struggling through the terrible twos.
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Old 03-17-11, 01:09 PM   #17
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Welcome Merkong!

There really are no rules about commuting. We simply ask you not to kill yourself or someone else on your rides. If you do please report back to us immediately so we may assess fault ;-).

If you have to take a day off every now and then, thats fine. Soon enough you will be actually looking for excuses to ride longer miles.

Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 03-17-11, 01:37 PM   #18
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Most collective minds are immature. I think it's because collective minds are dominated by loud voices. People with loud voices can't actually hear themselves think.

But hey, at least we're not a political party. Those collective minds are struggling through the terrible twos.
Shutup you.
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Old 03-17-11, 01:43 PM   #19
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It's great to see another commuter! I've recently started commuting... Gave up on driving altogether! http://cbsavestheworld.blogspot.com/

Happy Cycling ( :
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Old 03-17-11, 04:12 PM   #20
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If you dress right there is no reason why you cannot commute everyday of the year regardless of the weather.
That's what I'm going for.

Ok, stay out of hurricanes, toronadoes, etc....
Actually, for my commute, a tsunami would be a greater concern because they have a way of sneaking up on you.
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Old 03-17-11, 04:26 PM   #21
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Actually, for my commute, a tsunami would be a greater concern because they have a way of sneaking up on you.
See...I KNEW someone was going to come up with something. And I left myself wide open for high radiation days possibly approaching....
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Old 03-17-11, 04:37 PM   #22
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Actually, for my commute, a tsunami would be a greater concern because they have a way of sneaking up on you.
Actually, I hear bicycles are good for getting away from tsunamis. Don't get stuck in evacuation traffic.
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Old 03-17-11, 06:20 PM   #23
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Actually, I hear bicycles are good for getting away from tsunamis. Don't get stuck in evacuation traffic.
Only if you know it is on it's way. I saw the news of the woman as well.
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