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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 12-29-11, 06:29 AM   #1
chefisaac
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Commuting and Shopping

I have a few questions.... when you ride to the store to pick up groceries, do you park your bike in front of the store or somewhere else that is less out of site?

- What are you bringing in with you? On my mtn commuter, I have a pump, tail light, computer, and handle bar light. Do you all take off all this stuff and take it in with you? Do you just load your panniers in a cart and go into the store?

Any other advice, suggestions, warning, or tips that you can provide?
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Old 12-29-11, 07:09 AM   #2
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It depends greatly on the situation. I live in a relatively low crime rural community so a cable lock to a solid object is probably (hopefully) sufficient during daylight hours. I pocket my computer but I've never taken my seat bag or lights. There is a college city about 50 miles away that is very bike friendly but also has a much higher rate of bike and bike related theft and vandalism. I find that during business hours, the more in sight, the better. Many stores have bike racks that are very much in public view and rarely will a decently locked bike disappear during business hours because there are just too many witnesses. Most of the bikes ripped off are either unlocked walk-offs or are taken from alley's behind or along side stores. Many stores have recognized this problem and to accomodate their cycling employees and patrons have moved racks to the front of the store or onto curbed islands in the parking lots under the lights. When I'm in the city, I put my lights in my underseat bag and take the whole thing with me. If I know I'm not going to be riding after dark, I'll leave my lights at home or in my vehicle.

There are a couple of disturbing trends showing up in the city. The first is the theft of seatposts and seats, especially if they have a quick release. Someone will take a parking place next to a bike rack in an affluent part of town and can have several expensive seatpost/seat combos in his back seat before anyone notices. As bike owners have caught on, some take their seat posts with them, which is good, but it also makes it hard to tell who is a theif and who is just a cautious owner when you see someone carrying one away from a bike rack.

A more disturbing trend is for would-be thieves to badly vandalize any bike they cannot steal. If they can't cut or shim a big U-lock they will use it as a fulcrum to damage frame and wheel. If they can't easily cut through a big cable lock, they'll cut spokes, cables and chain and take a few whacks at the top tube before walking off. It's as if they are punishing the owners for thwarting them.

BTW, kudos to the public library for installing new bike racks at each end of the building and video cameras to monitor them.
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Old 12-29-11, 08:07 AM   #3
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If I'm going to be in the store for more than a couple of minutes I take the computer and lights with me. If I'm just going in for a quickie I leave them on the bike. Yes I know that's risky, but what isn't.

I'm the same way with locks. Quickie, just the cable lock. Taking my time, the Ulock and cable lock.
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Old 12-29-11, 08:20 AM   #4
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I've befriended a Nigerian woman who can often be found begging at the door of one supermarket I go to. If she's there, I cable lock my cycle to an orange tree a few meters away from her so she can keep an eye on it and then I give her a tip on the way out. If she's not there, I either secure the bike with sturdier locks or take it inside with me.
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Old 12-29-11, 08:31 AM   #5
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There are a couple of disturbing trends showing up in the city. The first is the theft of seatposts and seats, especially if they have a quick release. Someone will take a parking place next to a bike rack in an affluent part of town and can have several expensive seatpost/seat combos in his back seat before anyone notices. As bike owners have caught on, some take their seat posts with them, which is good, but it also makes it hard to tell who is a theif and who is just a cautious owner when you see someone carrying one away from a bike rack.

A more disturbing trend is for would-be thieves to badly vandalize any bike they cannot steal. If they can't cut or shim a big U-lock they will use it as a fulcrum to damage frame and wheel. If they can't easily cut through a big cable lock, they'll cut spokes, cables and chain and take a few whacks at the top tube before walking off. It's as if they are punishing the owners for thwarting them.
I keep my saddle and seatpost locked to the frame with a thin cable lock.

Regarding bike vandals, my sympathies are similar to these guys':

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Old 12-29-11, 09:01 AM   #6
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in a high-vis area near the door, even if the store has a bike rack somewhere else. I figure if it is in plain sight, then "maybe" if someone messes with it they'll get called out on it. computer and lights either go in or get stuffed in bag. I shop like I would had I driven a car, and then load my baskets and trailer.
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Old 12-29-11, 09:35 AM   #7
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I live in New York City and we have a very high theft rate here so my general rule is that if I'm locking the bike and it won't be in my veiw I take anything not locked down with me. I use a Kryptonite New York Chain and a cable lock as well as a seat chain. My utopia also has pinhead's on it.
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Old 12-29-11, 01:27 PM   #8
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My utopia also has pinhead's on it.
I don't understand this sentence.
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Old 12-29-11, 01:53 PM   #9
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I typically park my bike inside the store. They've never complained; if they did, there are other stores to shop at.
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Old 12-29-11, 01:56 PM   #10
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Pin head is a type and brand, of anti theft fitting, instead of common bolts,
a key that comes with the set has the pins.

Utopia, being nowhere, cannot be seen, to take.. given
The word comes from the Greek, and means "no place"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia

anyhow,
I have the pump, etc inside the Transverse saddle bag ,
dyno hub and bolted on lights..

4 panniers go in to get filled with food,
bike locked to the solid rack in front of the store.

duopoly consolidation has just 2 big Grocery corporate stores,
and the typical costly CoOp ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-29-11 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 12-29-11, 02:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
I have a few questions.... when you ride to the store to pick up groceries, do you park your bike in front of the store or somewhere else that is less out of site?

- What are you bringing in with you? On my mtn commuter, I have a pump, tail light, computer, and handle bar light. Do you all take off all this stuff and take it in with you? Do you just load your panniers in a cart and go into the store?

Any other advice, suggestions, warning, or tips that you can provide?
Lights and computer I take off, water bottles and frame pump I leave on. I also take the pannier and top bags in with me. Filling them as I shop, and when they're filled I head over to the cash register.

It can be fun at times getting the baggers not to bag my groceries.

As for where I park, the store that I go to has been undergoing a renovation and the bike rack has been blocked so I've parked inside the vestibule. Using both my U-bolt and cable locks.
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Old 12-29-11, 02:31 PM   #12
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I went to search out places to lock my bike up. I found a bike rack but it is filled with bikes with workers who work at the store. I am glad they ride to work but make it hard for shoppers to ride to shop. This place where the store is has a crap ton of shops all around it. A best buy, a home depot, bed bath and beyond and COUNTLESS other shops and restaurants. I feel a little iffy keeping my bike in the open like that. I talked with my mechanic friend and he suggest a place to keep the bike so I will check it out when I go next. I also drove in the back of home depot, which is somewhat next to the grocery store, and I found some neat little places to keep my bike. Out of the way and out of site. I am not sure that is the way to go but I get very nervous about keeping it out in the open.

I would THINK people would be watchful of my bike if someone tried to steal it but that is sometimes wishful thinking.
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Old 12-29-11, 02:57 PM   #13
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I live in a rather rural area where most people look out for each other, so I generally just cable lock my bike to the light pole right in front of the registers, and hang my helmet, gloves, and sunglasses from the handlebars. I've found that the smaller ethnic markets that I stop at periodically would really rather that I bring the bike inside, and in the more urban/suburban stores that I shop at infrequently, I will take my bike in and cable lock it to the cart corral.
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Old 12-29-11, 03:37 PM   #14
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Anywhere I find a place to tie to, often a tree in the parking lot. I leave junk on the bike, including helmet and sunglasses. Life is too short to spend time worrying about it.
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Old 12-29-11, 07:17 PM   #15
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I will sometimes bring my bike inside the store and lock it in the vestibule area where they keep the shopping carts (out of the way so it won't ge damaged). Other times the only thing available is a rail so I have to use a cable lock and not my mini. I usually take my panniers and put groceries in them when I shop.

As far as accessories I try to take everything with me that I can. I have the Velo Orange locking skewers for the wheels and an old bike chain to keep the seat and seatpost secure.
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Old 12-29-11, 07:19 PM   #16
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I try to park in the most visible and well trafficked areas and bring in anything that might be stolen quickly like my lights (if they are removable).
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Old 12-29-11, 07:26 PM   #17
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I always lock my bike, at least with the U-lock, more often adding the cable. Lights come off and go with me. I trust NO ONE.
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Old 12-29-11, 08:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
I have a few questions.... when you ride to the store to pick up groceries, do you park your bike in front of the store or somewhere else that is less out of site?

- What are you bringing in with you? On my mtn commuter, I have a pump, tail light, computer, and handle bar light. Do you all take off all this stuff and take it in with you? Do you just load your panniers in a cart and go into the store?

Any other advice, suggestions, warning, or tips that you can provide?
My rt grocery shopping commute is 32 miles. I use a trailer. It just fits 1 shopping cart's worth of food. There's a 'cart collector' I lock my bike to as I've never seen it used. Works well. Off to the side, yet fully visible from inside/outside the store.
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Old 12-29-11, 08:46 PM   #19
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The grocery store closest to home has a cart corral under their awning. I lock up to the outside of this on the back side- the railing prevents damage to the bike. It's at the front of the store, right next to the designated smoke hole, so there is typically someone sitting on one of the benches at any given time. Everything stays on the bike.

I used to take my Townies inside, but they suck trying to put them back on the bike. I've started just leaving them on the bike and walking in with my large backpack.

Of course, the store is like 3 blocks away, so most times I come straight home and then double back to the store with empty bags.
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Old 12-29-11, 11:55 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
I have a few questions.... when you ride to the store to pick up groceries, do you park your bike in front of the store or somewhere else that is less out of site?

- What are you bringing in with you? On my mtn commuter, I have a pump, tail light, computer, and handle bar light. Do you all take off all this stuff and take it in with you? Do you just load your panniers in a cart and go into the store?

Any other advice, suggestions, warning, or tips that you can provide?
It depends what I'm riding and where I'm stopping. If I'm just stopping in to my local convenience store where the clerks know me, I'll park out front where they can watch the bike through their window.

My usual commuter is my Gunnar, and I don't feel comfortable letting it out of my sight for long, so this is a nice compromise. If I plan to stop for a longer period, I'll ride my Bridgestone XO-2. The sparkly purple paint job is a theft deterrent. Still, I lock it to the rack with a U-Lock and cable lock, and I remove my headlight and taillight. I'll pull the panniers off and snap them together, and that's that.
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Old 12-30-11, 07:30 AM   #21
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I don't take off anything other than the computer and sometimes lights, but I'm lucky that the bike rack is in the parking garage and within 20 yards of the garage staff, whom I'm friendly with. I still use a u-lock + cable lock though.

If I had to lock it on the street I'd buy a commuter-specific bike so it would be less of a target, and take off or lock anything that can come off quickly.
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Old 12-31-11, 07:35 AM   #22
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For the farmers' market, if I'm only hitting my favorite stand I'll park in front of his truck and not lock the bike.

If I'm trolling the whole FM, I'll secure the bike at one of the racks in the parking lot, where lots of other shoppers also lock up. Camera, phone, computer all come with me.

Grocery stores/supermarkets and any other stores, the rack nearest the door. Lacking that, the nearest anchored-in-the-pavement post-type device of a type the bike can't be hoisted off of. And again, camera, phone, computer all come with me.

I have a pair of the big-box Schwinn panniers and a pair of Novara grocery panniers and which ones and in what combination depends upon the nature of the trip. The farmers' market run gets both Novara panniers. General cycling that may or may not include store stops will get the Schwinn pair or a Schwinn on one side and a Novara on the other.

I also have a trunk. And a Rivendell Sackville "trunk" on the front rack on The Black Pearl. Also no-longer-available handlebar bags for Orion and Radagast the Beige-and-Black.
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Old 12-31-11, 07:57 AM   #23
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Living in a small semi-rural area, not a lot of cyclists, rocking a Xtracycle = being semi-famous = no need to lock for the most part. The local LEO's are familiar with me and my rig.
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Old 12-31-11, 08:16 AM   #24
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con: do you have a picture of your bike with the trunks?
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Old 12-31-11, 08:30 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
I don't understand this sentence.
Utopia is a bike. Here's one:


Pinhead is a lock company, link here: Pinhead Anti-Theft Tech

I don't know anything about Utopia bicycles, but it is a brand.
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