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  1. #1
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    To bike or not to bike

    I have a dream, that one day... I'll commute to work.

    I've done some mapping and I have about 20-22 miles (using Google maps with a bike option) to commute one way to work.

    I've got a lot of enthusiasm, but my wife says it's not practical. Has anybody done this on a regular basis? how often? Bike/bus/bike approach is also possible.

    Also, What bike would you recommend?
    Goals:
    - I have to get to work fast, not carrying anything. What is your average speed in Sub-urban and Urban setting?
    - I might have to jump a few curbs
    - Does not cost a fortune, probably used.

    I'm a novice.

  2. #2
    This bike is cat approved monsterpile's Avatar
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    You can do it. There are plenty fo people on this forum that will chime in that have or used to ride that far. If you can do a combination at first that might be best. 20 miles each way is quite a bit to start.

    A type of road bike is probably the way to go.
    My SUV is a bicycle

  3. #3
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    First, expect a bias in the answers you get.

    A used road bike is what you want, and a close second is a cyclocross bike, which is basically a strong (but slightly heavy) road bike that people race on dirt and through mud. They're meant to go fast, but the handlebars are higher than on a road bike, and many people find that more comfortable.

    If you're a novice, you also have to keep in mind that you probably aren't in great biking shape - no offense. Your average speed over a commute is going to be 10 mph, or less. ( How hilly is your route? ) As you ride the bike more, you'll develop stronger legs, and better cardio-vascular fitness, and find yourself going faster. After a while, if you're young-ish and really push yourself, you might find yourself doing those 20 miles in an hour, if they're on relatively flat ground.

    People do routinely commute these distances on a bike, and a lot more people do a bike/bus mix. Keep in mind that cycling is exercise, and getting to work sweaty is an issue. There are ways to deal with it ... but many (not all) of them involve carrying a change of shirt.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  4. #4
    Gearhead old's'cool's Avatar
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    Odds are you can do it if you ease your way in. My recommendation is get an older rigid mountain bike as a starter bike, from your local CL or a garage sale. Do some research, maybe ask on the C&V forum http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...ic-amp-Vintage for recommendations on brands & models. This is probably your cheapest option for a suitable bike, and the only mods it will need are suitable road tires for less rolling resistance than lugged MTB tires. Depending on how much you need to carry, you may want to consider racks & panniers, rather than a backpack.
    The idea is to try out your commute without investing too much up front, and I do recommend the bike/bus/bike option to start with. If you end up deciding to do the whole distance at some point, that would be the time to use the knowledge & experience gained to that point to select some type of heavy duty "road bike" (e.g. touring or cyclo-cross) and equip it as needed for the speed & road conditions of your commute.
    Geoff
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  5. #5
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    If you're a novice, you also have to keep in mind that you probably aren't in great biking shape - no offense. Your average speed over a commute is going to be 10 mph, or less. ( How hilly is your route? ) As you ride the bike more, you'll develop stronger legs, and better cardio-vascular fitness, and find yourself going faster. After a while, if you're young-ish and really push yourself, you might find yourself doing those 20 miles in an hour, if they're on relatively flat ground.
    This is true. My commute is about 10 miles. When I first started, I averaged around 12 mph with a lot of effort. I was old-ish (37) and very out of shape. Four years later, if I really push myself I can average about 18 mph, which gets me to work in about 33 minutes (plus around 5 minutes of sitting at red lights). The stop signs, traffic lights and hills along the way really eat into your average speed.

  6. #6
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limonandrey View Post
    I have a dream, that one day... I'll commute to work.

    I've done some mapping and I have about 20-22 miles (using Google maps with a bike option) to commute one way to work.

    I've got a lot of enthusiasm, but my wife says it's not practical. Has anybody done this on a regular basis? how often? Bike/bus/bike approach is also possible.

    Also, What bike would you recommend?
    Goals:
    - I have to get to work fast, not carrying anything. What is your average speed in Sub-urban and Urban setting?
    - I might have to jump a few curbs
    - Does not cost a fortune, probably used.

    I'm a novice.
    I probably couldn't handle it myself, but I work with a (much younger) guy who regularly does a 35-mile roundtrip. He's lost a ton of weight over the years. He also mixes his trips with public transportation. Sometimes he takes the family car, but not that often. He told me recently he does 7000 miles a year by bike. He's also a much faster rider than I am.

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    I'm in my late twenties, and want to start commuting primarily for exercise, and secondly because I cannot stand traffic. It takes me at least 30 minutes with out any traffic and up to 1 hour when it is bad.

  8. #8
    nashcommguy
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    Quote Originally Posted by limonandrey View Post
    I'm in my late twenties, and want to start commuting primarily for exercise, and secondly because I cannot stand traffic. It takes me at least 30 minutes with out any traffic and up to 1 hour when it is bad.
    Both are excellent reasons to start. W/all due respect anyone who tells you it's not practical is socially strapped to the 'auto-centric' mentality. I'm 59 and have been cycle-commuting since 1987 year 'round. My daily commute is 41 miles rt rural/semi-rural and urban. Takes me 1 hr 20 mins in. I allow myself an extra 20 mins for cool-down, changing clothes and road emergencies. I use this bike: http://bikesdirect.com/products/moto..._cross_cx2.htm It's got lights, rack, bags, reflectors, toolkit, framepump, wb holder, tire levers, tube(s), patchkit and a headlight w/strap for hands free repairs at night. It takes a commitment to a lifestyle...a healthy lifestyle. Depending on your terrain you'll be spending about 2.5-3 hours per day in the saddle. That's alot for a novice. And forget about 'not carrying anything and getting to work fast'. Consistancy is the goal for cycle-commuting. Do a Google/Mapquest for routing and use the 'bicycle' icon as it will keep your route off of controlled access highways and the like. It'll give you the most direct route as well. Use the webpage 'Mapmyride.com' and it will give you the changes in elevation. I don't think Mapquest has that feature. Ride your route on weekends. Both days for a while. Get some diaper rash ointment...you'll thank me after about 2 days.

    Start out doing 2 days per week w/an easy ride on the weekend. Then as your conditioning improves you can add days until you're doing 'the nickel'. Getting good rest is really important. If you find yourself feeling stressed or unable to fall asleep back off. The main thing is to eat a good breakfast like oatmeal, yogurt and a banana. Lots of salad greens like kale, spinach and turnip greens. Probably may want to invest in a protein supplement as well. One has to treat one's self as if they were an athlete. Because when one is cycling 200 miles per week that's exactly what one becomes. Drink way more water than you think you need. Not only does it keep you hydrated it thins the blood and contributes to keeping one's body temperature down in warm weather. And conversely one can get by w/less clothing in cold weather as slightly thinner blood reaches the extremities more efficiently.

    Afa your bike you'll need a cyclo-cross or a sturdy roadbike w/drop handlebars and at least 700 cm wheels. Older rbs come w/27" wheels and while the tires are readily available there aren't many designed for heavy, utilitarian use. Would discourage you from getting an mtb as they're not designed for road riding, primarily. Speaking of tires learn how to change a tube in a variety of situations...practice at it. You wont regret the time spent, believe me.

    Don't know your work situation afa clothing, but will offer this tip that has served me well these last 20 odd years. "Never cycle in your work clothes or work in your cycling clothes."

    Haunt BF. Ask a ton of questions, especially on the commuting sub-forum. Get tips from the touring and winter subs as well. All the best. Have fun!!
    Last edited by nashcommguy; 07-02-11 at 11:38 PM. Reason: spelling and editing corrections

  9. #9
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    ^ thanks

  10. #10
    Ridin' South Cackalacky dahut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limonandrey View Post
    I have a dream, that one day... I'll commute to work..
    I have a 10 mile commute on the short run in. On the way home I stretch it to 15-20 miles most days. Can you do it? Yes. Multi-modal commuting also eases things. But let's consider the full 22-mile ride, eh?

    Is it practical? Hey, what does your wife know?? Yes, it is practical. It wont be simple, however. It requires preparation and determination. The seasons change, the needs of the cycling Commuter will come to dominate, and so on. But it can be done.

    Above all, you will have to mean it. There is a saying among road cyclists - "HTFU."
    If you don't know, it means, "Harden The F*ck Up."
    It sounds harsh I know, but that is intentional. You cannot commute 22 miles on anything less than full blown commitment. I have these letters, "H-T-F-U," stenciled on my head stem as a reminder.

    - I have to get to work fast, not carrying anything. What is your average speed in Sub-urban and Urban setting?
    Average speed is 12-14 mi/hr. I ride a lot of hills; there are few flat runs on my route. Where the land IS flat, I can sustain a comfortable 17 mi/hr.
    How are you going to go to ride 22 miles to work without carrying anything?
    No work clothes?
    No lunch?
    No water?
    No flat repair/chain repair tools and parts?

    - I might have to jump a few curbs
    Stay off sidewalks, MUP's and other structured surfaces. These places spell doom for the cyclist. Stay on the road and take the lane.

    - Does not cost a fortune, probably used.

    Do your research before buying. Since you are riding to work with a purpose, I recommend what I call a 'Cafe Commuter' - a converted road bike. I got like new one off Craigslist for $375. It is a Gavin Acele, a generic aluminum/carbon fork, Asian frame that I have adapted.

    I use the widest rear tire I can fit, 700 x 28/30, w/ 700 x 23C in front.
    I currently have Continental UltraSports in back, but will be going to randonneur/touring tires, soon. In the front, I run zippy sport/training rubber.
    This mix is a compromise between speed, durability and handling. If I was running 22 miles, I might go 28's all around.

    I use a seat post rack and a triangle frame bag.
    These are light and easy going... you do'nt even know they are there.
    You will end up carrying something - take my word for it. 22 miles is a long way and flat tires suck ass. You'll at least need a repair kit.

    I retained the drop handle bars
    I have some country road stretches and I use them, or ride the hoods - a lot. Long commutes are bound to have a mix of riding conditions. I'd want the drop bars.

    For visibility I use:
    Rear view mirror,
    Rear blinkies galore
    Re-chargeable CREE diode flashlight as head light.
    Safety orange vest
    Helmet is adorned with safety orange patches.

    Safety is mostly about being seen as a cyclist on the road - and refraining from doing stupid things like jumping curbs.

    Have a proper fitting saddle
    DO NOT SKIMP ON THE SADDLE. Get one properly fit for you. You want to be comfortable in the saddle, if you are going to go the distance.

    I carry TWO water bottles and some granola bars.
    Hydration and fuel are critical to the engine that is YOU.
    22 miles is longer than you think and "bonking" (running out of steam) occurs at about the one hour mark. Eat. Drink.

    My bike carries all Shimano 105 kit.
    This is the lowest grade of component fit I would consider for long term use, like commuting. Whatever you get for a bike, be prepared to upgrade to this level of running gear as minimum.

    Seriously consider fenders
    If you plan to ride in all weather, you will come to love them. You don't have to have them to start, but get a bike that can mount them or know how to add them. If you turn "hard core," they are gonna come in handy.
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

  11. #11
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    Wow, I've learned so much already. Thanks a bunch!!!
    What about the number of the chain rings on the crank? I find a lot having two, isn't that limiting?

  12. #12
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    Here's some info about the route elevation:



  13. #13
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    I started out with a double crankset, and never had any issue with hills. Worst case scenario, I pedal standing up and reach the top slightly tired. With the elevation profile as shown, I don't think you'll have a problem.

  14. #14
    Senior Member zoridog's Avatar
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    You're not alone. I am also trying to figure out a 21 mile commute. My previous job was under 9 miles which was difficult at first but got easy pretty quickly. Now that I stopped commuting by bike, I plan on driving to about 7 miles away, then 10, then 13 miles away. Getting to 21 miles each way will be a challenge but the payoff will be that great feeling of in shapeness.

    The hills were the most fun of the entire commute. Hard work followed by a long easy glide. With those long assents, your ride home looks like it will take some getting used to. If you keep at it, treat yourself to a nice, steel, drop bar touring bike. I also recommend Flat Attack tire sealant. A flat tire can ruin your commute especially if you use an internal hub and fumble around like I do. I just keep filling the tire with air until I get to work and change it at lunch time. Flats on the way home are no big deal ... except when it's dark.
    I miss bicycle commuting.

  15. #15
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limonandrey View Post
    - I have to get to work fast, not carrying anything. What is your average speed in Sub-urban and Urban setting?
    20 miles each way will not be fast, even after you've passed the novice stage.

    Regarding average speed, people tend to mean different things when they relate their "average speed". How long from door to door is the only meaningful one. My trip to the office takes a consistent 35-40 minutes and those 10 miles are exceptionally easy ones compared to most. You're most likely looking at an hour and a half or hour forty five each way given a pretty good effort.

    Personally I don't think it makes any difference in commuting speed to not carry anything.

    - I might have to jump a few curbs
    - Does not cost a fortune, probably used. I'm a novice.
    Being a novice an entry-level new bike would be a better idea in my opinion. There's really not that much difference in quality of the available choices.

  16. #16
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    My commute is 22 miles each way with a little over 3000 ft of climbing over the round trip (I live in the Alps). I ride it most days from April to October, and do a multi-modal (train + bike) commute from November to March. Here are a few things I've observed:

    1) It takes about 90 minutes door to door. If I ride hard, I can do it in 75 minutes, but I can't do that every day.
    2) Fatigue is cumulative. It may not be tiring on the first day, but the 5th day in a row can wear you out. You eventually get used to it. Take a few days off each week until you've adapted.
    3) You have to pay attention to you body: eating, sleeping, drinking water, etc... If you don't, you'll have days where you feel like utter cr*p.
    4) Your co-workers will think you're nuts, and not always in a good-natured way. For better or worse, you will get a reputation.
    5) You may want to bring a pump, spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, and basic multi-tool. They're useful sometimes.

  17. #17
    nashcommguy
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    Quote Originally Posted by dahut View Post
    I have a 10 mile commute on the short run in. On the way home I stretch it to 15-20 miles most days. Can you do it? Yes. Multi-modal commuting also eases things. But let's consider the full 22-mile ride, eh?

    Is it practical? Hey, what does your wife know?? Yes, it is practical. It wont be simple, however. It requires preparation and determination. The seasons change, the needs of the cycling Commuter will come to dominate, and so on. But it can be done.

    Above all, you will have to mean it. There is a saying among road cyclists - "HTFU."
    If you don't know, it means, "Harden The F*ck Up."
    It sounds harsh I know, but that is intentional. You cannot commute 22 miles on anything less than full blown commitment. I have these letters, "H-T-F-U," stenciled on my head stem as a reminder.

    - I have to get to work fast, not carrying anything. What is your average speed in Sub-urban and Urban setting?
    Average speed is 12-14 mi/hr. I ride a lot of hills; there are few flat runs on my route. Where the land IS flat, I can sustain a comfortable 17 mi/hr.
    How are you going to go to ride 22 miles to work without carrying anything?
    No work clothes?
    No lunch?
    No water?
    No flat repair/chain repair tools and parts?

    - I might have to jump a few curbs
    Stay off sidewalks, MUP's and other structured surfaces. These places spell doom for the cyclist. Stay on the road and take the lane.

    - Does not cost a fortune, probably used.

    Do your research before buying. Since you are riding to work with a purpose, I recommend what I call a 'Cafe Commuter' - a converted road bike. I got like new one off Craigslist for $375. It is a Gavin Acele, a generic aluminum/carbon fork, Asian frame that I have adapted.

    I use the widest rear tire I can fit, 700 x 28/30, w/ 700 x 23C in front.
    I currently have Continental UltraSports in back, but will be going to randonneur/touring tires, soon. In the front, I run zippy sport/training rubber.
    This mix is a compromise between speed, durability and handling. If I was running 22 miles, I might go 28's all around.

    I use a seat post rack and a triangle frame bag.
    These are light and easy going... you do'nt even know they are there.
    You will end up carrying something - take my word for it. 22 miles is a long way and flat tires suck ass. You'll at least need a repair kit.

    I retained the drop handle bars
    I have some country road stretches and I use them, or ride the hoods - a lot. Long commutes are bound to have a mix of riding conditions. I'd want the drop bars.

    For visibility I use:
    Rear view mirror,
    Rear blinkies galore
    Re-chargeable CREE diode flashlight as head light.
    Safety orange vest
    Helmet is adorned with safety orange patches.

    Safety is mostly about being seen as a cyclist on the road - and refraining from doing stupid things like jumping curbs.

    Have a proper fitting saddle
    DO NOT SKIMP ON THE SADDLE. Get one properly fit for you. You want to be comfortable in the saddle, if you are going to go the distance.

    I carry TWO water bottles and some granola bars.
    Hydration and fuel are critical to the engine that is YOU.
    22 miles is longer than you think and "bonking" (running out of steam) occurs at about the one hour mark. Eat. Drink.

    My bike carries all Shimano 105 kit.
    This is the lowest grade of component fit I would consider for long term use, like commuting. Whatever you get for a bike, be prepared to upgrade to this level of running gear as minimum.

    Seriously consider fenders
    If you plan to ride in all weather, you will come to love them. You don't have to have them to start, but get a bike that can mount them or know how to add them. If you turn "hard core," they are gonna come in handy.
    Print this entire post. ^^^^ And add HTFU in big black letters at the top. Hell, I'm doing it myself! Been posting here since '06 and this is the best offer of encouragement, admonition and wisdom I've yet to see for a newbie. He spells out very well what you'll be up against while not shooting you down for your lack of experience. When posting I forgot to add that my bike has full coverage fenders as well.

    As long as you've got a decent spread on your rear cluster the front isn't going to matter all that much. It's pretty standard to have 28tx12t on the rear for more modern bikes w/8-9 speeds and 28tx14 on older bikes. But, even that's not really consistant. Modern front combos are 53tx39t w/a 25x12 in the rear for the most part. A modern rb triple usually goes 52x42x30 w/a 12x25 rear. Plenty of gearage for commuting. The thing about triples is that they're a little more difficult to dial in as the 'deraileur swing' has to cross a much wider space. Try to stick w/a double. If you look at the link to the bike I use and peruse the specs you'll notice that the chainring combo is a 50tx36t, yes? Well, I swapped out the 36 for a 40 as I know the terrain real well in my area and knew I could pull anything around here fully loaded in 40tx26t.

    It just takes time to tailor one's rig. My tires are 28mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus'. The width suggested above for a 20+ mile commute. Don't scrimp on tires! SMPs, Specialized Amradillos or Continental Gatorskins are maybe the top 3 commuting tires along w/Vittoria Randonneurs, Bontragers and Michelins. The best frame pump in IMHO is the Topeak Road Morph w/Gauge available from http://www.bikeisland.com for 35.00 w/no shipping charges. Don't scrimp on anything, really. Look for closeouts and online stores that have a free shipping policy at a given pricepoint. It'll save you a ton of money over the long haul.

    Btw, your commute is almost a duplicate of mine. You've got a tough little climb right out of the chute that I don't have, but otherwise it's very similar. Basically, downhill in...which is a good thing, believe me. Your homeward leg is going to be a challange, but hey HTFU, dude! There's a hot shower and a cold beer waiting for you when you get home.

    Really, good luck and happy cycling to you. This is the fun, exciting part...getting started. Everyone's going to try to discourage you, but ignore it all and HTFU...you'll be so glad you did when your my age and have a resting heart rate of 54 bpm, believe me.

  18. #18
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    My commute is nearly as long as yours; 20miles on the way home, soon to be the same on the way in. I'm not sure why some are saying to avoid MUPs - evaluate yours before making a decision. I take mine most of the way home, and it's great: no cars, no stops, polite bicyclists and joggers that are easy to pass.

    If public transit is available, consider using it to augment your commuting ability, at least at first. It also helps to know it's there, just in case you don't feel well at the end of the day. Keep change on you if you decide this would be an option.
    Consider bike specific clothing, but I suggest doing the commute a few times so you can properly gauge what you really need. I found bicycle shorts increase my comfort immensely, but that's all the bike-specific gear I have.
    Realize you might get sunburned(especially coming home during the summer, assuming you leave work around 4 or 5pm) and prepare appropriately. If I don't apply sunscreen, I get burnt. YMMV, but prevention is key, especially when it comes to preventing skin cancer..

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    Long commutes need efficient but reliable and strong bikes. Any mid-range road bike from a reputable brand will be up to the task BUT life will be easier if you look for the following features:
    Sufficient tyre clearance by using "long-drop caliper brakes" This allows you to fit 28mm which is a great all-round fast utility size.
    Threaded eyelets for rack and fenders. You can fit clamp on rack and fender but bolt-on versions are stronger, lighter and better.
    A compact double chainset. Std racing chainsets (39/53) are for racing speeds. Long commutes require a steady pace so lower gearing is sufficient. Compact doubles usually have 34/50 or thereabouts.
    Good fit. Most bikes have plenty of standover clearance, the critical fit is in reach from saddle to bars. You dont want to be as low down and stretched out and aerodynamic as a time-trialist, a comfortable, moderately low touring position will suit a beginner much better.

    It doest matter if the frame is aluminium or high quality steel, they both work well.
    Other styles of bike may be good for shorter commutes but long ones (over about 12 miles) need efficiency.

    Start you riding career gradually, riding by time and gradually extending from perhaps 10-20mins up to a couple of hours. DONT try to push yourself to get fit at the start, you want to condition yourself to being on the bike. Once you can ride comfortably for 2 hrs you will be ready for a 20 mile commute.
    Dont ride 2x20miles every day, it is too far for a beginner. Mix bike with bus or car share or ride to a buddies house halfway.

  20. #20
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limonandrey View Post
    Here's some info about the route elevation:
    That's not too bad, but unless you already ride a lot you'll definitely feel that climb at around the 7-mile mark. I think you'll definitely want a triple crankset for that.

    It might be a good idea to rent a bike and try this out to see how it works for you. Keep in mind that if you don't bike regularly now your bike-specific fitness will improve dramatically over the first three months or so. Definitely start slowly and take days off whenever your legs are sore.

    While I do think most of dahut's post is good, I don't agree that 105 is the lowest level of components you should consider. Tiagra is a good component group, and even Sora will work for you.

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    Ridin' South Cackalacky dahut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limonandrey View Post
    Wow, I've learned so much already. Thanks a bunch!!!
    What about the number of the chain rings on the crank? I find a lot having two, isn't that limiting?
    Absolutely. DO NOT listen to those who advocate doubles for beginners. Odds are they are young, in peak condition or masochists.... or all three.
    The triple ring is the standard for long commutes. Commuting is most like touring, albeit with a short goal purpose. Road conditions vary widely when touring/commuting. For example, I did a 20 mile pleasure ride today that had everything from 25 mph straightaways to mile long, 5 mph uphill grinds.
    There is no way I would like to make those near-vertical climbs without the small ring to drop into.
    You don't have to ride it, and indeed, I don't use it for much else but hill grinds. But when it is sorely wanted and missing, well... "limiting" is not the word that will come to your mind.
    Last edited by dahut; 07-03-11 at 11:01 AM.
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

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    Quote Originally Posted by degnaw View Post
    I started out with a double crankset, and never had any issue with hills. Worst case scenario, I pedal standing up and reach the top slightly tired. With the elevation profile as shown, I don't think you'll have a problem.
    No doubt about it. Get a triple.
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

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    Another few words on tires - - -


    "It just takes time to tailor one's rig. My tires are 28mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus'. The width suggested above for a 20+ mile commute. Don't scrimp on tires! SMPs, Specialized Armadillos or Continental Gatorskins are maybe the top 3 commuting tires along w/Vittoria Randonneurs, Bontragers and Michelins."

    These are good words and there is little need to experiment outside of these. Save the tweaking for when you get a 'sportif' bike and start wearing jerseys on the weekend!
    Your driving thought at this point should be to get to work and back, comfortably, reliably and with some style... in that order.
    I am going with full Vittoria rubber all around at next tire change... Randonneurs in the rear and red Zaffiro's in the front. Hell yeah, baby - a red tire leading the way!

    NOTE: I also suggest the use of tire liners front and rear. These are thin strips of polyethylene, cut to fit on the inside of the tires tread section. They put a near impenetrable layer of protection between the road and the tube... with the tread in between.

    By the way, the tread is what should contact the road. The Tour d'France is starting it's run this week, and you should watch as much of it as you can. It's good to see this event; you'll learn a lot.
    However, as you observe the Tour riders taking corners, you'll begin thinking that's for you. Sorry, hold up on that.

    The goal of the Commuter is to get where he is going, prepared to do something besides falling into an exhausted heap.

    "Beat everyone else and pass out," is the motto of the Tour rider.
    "Keep the tread on the road," should be the Commuters mantra.

    Corners should be seen as direction changes, not glamorous, road racing whip-overs. Keep the tread on the road and you will go a long way to preventing sidewall cuts, tears and blow outs.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Another idea you may wish to consider for a machine is the cyclocross bike. This is basically a slightly relaxed road bike, built rugged with cantilever brakes. The best thing about canti's is they are wide - larger tires can fit in the frame when using them. There is a practical limit to tire size, of course, and a balance between rolling ease and durability is wanted. I use mildly treaded 28's because they are the upper limit for my road bike frame.... and I am an old roadie from way back. Something slightly larger, say in the 30's, might be a bit better out on the commuter trail and the cyclocross bike allows this.

    They almost always have rack eyelets, too. This lets you add a cargo rack later... you know, the one that you don't think you need, today.

    The main drawback to the CX bike is they are not found as often on the used market. This changes in the college towns and trendy urban centers, but far fewer CX bikes are sold compared to other bikes on the market.
    Added to this is the fact that the sole purpose of cyclocross racing is to beat the crap out of both rider and machine.
    So compared to coddled, polished and tuned road bikes, CX bikes tend to get hard, dirty use.
    They are a great commuter choice, though, when you can find a decent one. Run, don't walk, to buy one if you find it.
    Last edited by dahut; 07-03-11 at 11:11 AM.
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

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    Start with some 'dry runs' on holiday or weekends. Have a bailout plan in case you fatigue or have a mechanical failure. Don't get too hung up on which bike. If you are a novice whatever you buy will not be your last bike, so consider something used. If you are not a novice, you should already have an idea of what to ride. The fit is more important than anything else.

    Most importantly ride, ride, ride. Stop delaying and start doing. You will work out the details. I am 58 and have a 24 mile each way commute which I have been doing for about 10 years. If personal and work commitments allow I do it twice a week. I see people on all sorts of bikes on my commute. They all look happier than those driving.

    Above all listen to your body, it will tell you when you've had enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pennstater View Post
    Start with some 'dry runs' on holiday or weekends. Have a bailout plan in case you fatigue or have a mechanical failure. Don't get too hung up on which bike. If you are a novice whatever you buy will not be your last bike, so consider something used. If you are not a novice, you should already have an idea of what to ride. The fit is more important than anything else.

    Most importantly ride, ride, ride. Stop delaying and start doing. You will work out the details. I am 58 and have a 24 mile each way commute which I have been doing for about 10 years. If personal and work commitments allow I do it twice a week. I see people on all sorts of bikes on my commute. They all look happier than those driving.

    Above all listen to your body, it will tell you when you've had enough.
    Great response!
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

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