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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 02-28-12, 03:47 PM   #1
Vlaam4ever
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I'm determined to become a commuter this week

Commute: 1.9 miles each way in Downtown Atlanta. (Inman Park to Woodruff Park for any locals)

Work: Very corporate environment, work late often, dry cleaning regularly. However, I found the EMPTY bike rack by the loading dock. and claimed it as mine. It's behind security.

Bike: Pics coming soon. 1999 Trek 2300, 1995 Giant ATX 760 with RS Judy on it(my first love) both are in race rig form and one will need to be transformed with a rack/paniers and a flight deck of lights. If this works out I'll get a sweet hybrid or single speed as purposeful commuting machine.

Not sure how I will be handling the clipless pedals, shoes, and spare clothes when it rains but, like everybody else, I'll figure this out.

Best part: I'll save $100 per month on parking fees and be able to park in my building not accross the street in the parking deck.

I'm open to advice. I did check out the stickies, read the general advice stuff. But I cant get all that stuff before starting. I need just start commuting with the stuff I cary on long rides and go from there.

My biggest concern is getting my hair wet and sweaty as I wear a lot of hiargel.

Check on me:if I dont followup by Friday. I expect a 3 week onboarding process.
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Old 02-28-12, 03:58 PM   #2
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Skip the hair gel and get a hair cut. Leave the shoes at work if at all possible- for that matter, ditch the clipless for some platforms and just ride with your shoes. You don't need uber-power transfer on a 2 mile commute.
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Old 02-28-12, 03:59 PM   #3
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My biggest concern is getting my hair wet and sweaty as I wear a lot of hairgel
Just remember that it's not a race. Slow down and you shouldn't get sweaty... until the summer. Then there's no helping you in Atlanta, I'd imagine.
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Old 02-28-12, 04:07 PM   #4
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Since you're changing clothes at work anyway, why not just do your hair at work too?
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Old 02-28-12, 04:11 PM   #5
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Since you're changing clothes at work anyway, why not just do your hair at work too?
Not sure I decided how to handle the clothes yet. I was planning to keep a change of pants/shirt here in case of emergency. However I was not planning to haul my a change everday. I could keep 3 pants/3 shirts and use the drycleaner in the basement. It's not the hauling I mind rather the prepping a bag.
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Old 02-28-12, 04:13 PM   #6
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Yeah, I'd think 1.9 miles would be able to cut down on the sweat factor. Though like boro says, except for the summer. There may be some hills, I don't know--I have just a little over a 3 mile one-way trip, and in the morning it's all up a gradual incline. No big hills, just a steady climb, and I get damp in the morning.

Just keep an eye out for "walkers"! (hopefully people get this)
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Old 02-28-12, 04:15 PM   #7
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At 2 miles, couldn't you just walk on rainy days? And as long as you take it easy, you shouldn't be sweaty or need bike shoes...just some fenders for the bike and maybe a rack/panniers. My advice would be to do a practice run on the weekend..see how fast you can go without heating up and get the route figured out. Also, be prepared to forget something or have some hiccups the first couple of days...but you'll eventually get the kinks worked out.
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Old 02-28-12, 04:17 PM   #8
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Man, I wish my work was only 2 miles away. Right now my mapped ride is about 17.5 miles one way. If weather permits, I shall try the ride on my last day of work this weekend. I just need to get a basket (mounted on the rear rack with bungee cords) of some kind to hold my lunch and a stuff sack to hold my wallet, phone, and clothes just in case it wants to rain. Then I need a couple of small bottles to use to take a shower when I get there. Of course I could always just toss it into a garbage bag for now, that should be cheap and easy.
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Old 02-28-12, 04:32 PM   #9
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2 miles is chump change. You can do it!
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Old 02-28-12, 04:38 PM   #10
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Not sure I decided how to handle the clothes yet. I was planning to keep a change of pants/shirt here in case of emergency. However I was not planning to haul my a change everday. I could keep 3 pants/3 shirts and use the drycleaner in the basement. It's not the hauling I mind rather the prepping a bag.
Given your easy access to a dry cleaner I'd just keep a weeks worth of clothes at work with 1 extra emergency get-up. Drop off dry cleaning every Friday evening before riding home and have everything spiffy and fresh for Monday morning.

You could be the Don Draper of the commuting world.

OR! I would drop some cash on really nice commuting x office clothing like Outlier... You are saving $100 a month
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Old 02-28-12, 06:24 PM   #11
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Given your easy access to a dry cleaner I'd just keep a weeks worth of clothes at work with 1 extra emergency get-up. Drop off dry cleaning every Friday evening before riding home and have everything spiffy and fresh for Monday morning.

You could be the Don Draper of the commuting world.
I'm loving this idea. considering my clothes really only get wrinkled in the car or while walking the dog before/after work. I may be able to cancel my Banana Republic card a get focus on REI points. I think I'll just keep my shoes at work also....see below

Proof of concept begins on March 1, 2012. I'll use tomorrow afternoon to make a trial run after work.

I picked up some Shimanos PD-M530's and some lace up "mtb" shoes at the Performance store on my way home today. I dont need them for commuting, but really needed to replace my pedals on my mountain bike. Now, at least both my bikes are ride-able again, and I have an semi professional/cassual shoe to use and ride around town.

I picked up new lock also. An ABUS 40... it's small and weighs a ton but is the most solid chunck of lock I have ever seen. Hope it keeps my bike attached my private parking spot.
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Old 02-28-12, 06:36 PM   #12
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2 miles is not much, but you're in Georgia, right? Is it humid there? That's the biggest problem. Otherwise, you should have little problems riding 2 miles each way, that's a 15 minute ride at most. You might even start looking into making your ride a bit longer if you start enjoying it. Good luck.
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Old 02-28-12, 06:44 PM   #13
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2 miles w/an office enviornment? Get an umbrella and walk.
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Old 02-29-12, 12:21 AM   #14
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I bet you give it up... because you feel a strong need to advertise it. Just shut up and do it like the rest of us.
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Old 02-29-12, 01:23 AM   #15
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Some people feel the need to advertise it because they want to make sure they have the motivation. I have seen people do it who are afraid they may quit. It helps on those mornings where the excuses start. They remember telling everyone that they were going to start commuting, then that is what they need to snag the bike instead of the car.
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Old 02-29-12, 02:44 AM   #16
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It's VERY humid and hot in the summer. You should get your routine down while it's still cool. Keeping clothes at work so that you don't have to tote a lot with you every day will make the ride easier if you can manage that. When summer comes along, you'll need to "freshen up" at work... washcloth bath. It's 2 miles, so you won't get super sweaty. I lived in Durham, NC for 8 years and you get used to sweating while outside and drying off indoors. But it does take getting used to.
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Old 02-29-12, 06:46 AM   #17
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I bet you give it up... because you feel a strong need to advertise it. Just shut up and do it like the rest of us.
Wow, life must be difficult for you on these internet message boards.
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Old 02-29-12, 08:48 AM   #18
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I bet you give it up... because you feel a strong need to advertise it. Just shut up and do it like the rest of us.
Dude! That's a bit harsh.

On the other hand: Good luck in Atlanta. As others have said, keep it simple and bike commuting will save you some bucks and in a suit work environment it'll be a great conversation starter!
1. Agree, lose the hair gel
2. "Just do it"
3. Go simple, especially since its such a short commute! I once had a 1-2 mile downhill "commute" at Ft. Meade, MD, I had a beater I pulled out of a neighbor's rubbish pile. I would coast downhill to work in the morning and ride up the hill home. It was great!!
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Old 02-29-12, 08:57 AM   #19
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2 miles is chump change. You can do it!
+1 easy peasy. Don't over think it. Just do it.
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Old 02-29-12, 10:21 AM   #20
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I have posted this before. This is what I do/hav for my 22 mile round trip commute:

My Bike Equipment
Note: This is only my opinion. Its not up to arguing about, its what I use. If you need any more help or links or anything, feel free to email me at clydesdalecyclist@gmail.com ---Isaac
Lights:
Helmet Light: Magic Shine MJ808E 1000 Lumen: I bought this on ebay from a company called Brightstone Sports. Great light and I love the fact that it can light up on the back too which provides drives more visibility.

Handlebar Light: Stella 300. This light is great too. Has solid beans and a blinkie too.

Tail Light: Serfas TL 200: Great light. Has solid light and blinkie too.

Advice on Lights: To me, its important to have strong lights. You can get away with cheaper lights but for me, lights have to do two things (and they have to do both things well) 1) produce enough light that I can see with confidence and 2) make it so other people can see me. Some people will say to point the light straight into the dark but for me, it is better to point the handlebar light down. This is why I suggest getting a helmet light too. This provides me the ability to see wherever I need to and also helps me get drivers attention. For tail lights, I just have one now but I need another. I would like to have one that blinks and another that is at solid color. This allows drivers to tell distance to where the bike is.

Mirror: I use one called “Take a Look Mirror”. Bought it from Amazon and has been pretty good. This is a recent purchase for me so I am still learning how to use it. Regardless, a mirror is great to have. You still need to practice how to turn your head and look behind you without swerving but a mirror gives you another tool to use in addition to. This can fit on your helmet or your glasses.

Saddle (seat): I use a Brooks B-17 saddle. After trying a few saddles and after my butt hurting, this is the one for me. Made from leather which molds to your bum, it works wonders. Stay away from the cushion like saddles. They might be great for a couple of miles but for long distances, it will hurt.

Reflective Tape: This is some cool stuff I currently use on my spokes. Easy to install and looks good plus provides more visabiltiy. I got it from Lightweight Safety. The owners name is John. Wonderful guy!

Panniers (bags that fit on my rack): These are called Ortlieb panniers and the ones I have are the classic bags. I bought them at a place called “thetouringstore.com”. Call them and talk with Wayne, the owner. Very helpful. What I like about these are the fact that they are waterproof. So no need to worry about the rain! I can also pack a lot of gear in there too. They come in a set of two.

Floor pump: You will need one of these. Buy from a local bike shop on this one (I suggest D & Q in Cherry Hill). Stay away from cheapo ones. Get something that will last. I use a Bontrager.

Frame Pump: This is a must. I use a Road Morph. Its light, small and pumps a lot of air into the tire. Make sure the nozzle fits your valve. Most are interchangeable but its best to figure this out before you buy and before you really need it!

CO2 Head: Some people think that this is optional but not for me. It is much needed. Make sure it fits your valve.

CO2 Cartridges: You can buy these at the bike shop but to be honest, they are pretty expensive. There is a better place. I get there from: WWW.redrockminnesota.com He buys them in bulk and sells in smaller bulk. Well worth it. I usually carry two with me at any given time.
Gloves: Its good to have summer gloves. Look for ones with padding as they will help support your hands. Winter gloves are needed too. These are harder to find because you don’t know if they will keep your hands warm when it is really cold. The ones I have now, which are Pro X-Pert WP and they protect me down to 16 degrees. With gloves it is all trial and error.

Goggles: I use them a few times so far. I originally bought tented ones but have never used them but my clear ones I use. It helps to protect your face and mainly your eyes and stops them from watering. Plus I have had no issues with fogging. I use Smith Cascade Classic Goggles (Clear, Silver). Bought them on Amazon.

Face Mask: This has been a wonderful piece of clothing. Keeps my head and my ears and if I need to, my nose warm. I got my from Under Armour. You can buy online or go to their shop in PA or DE (tax free in DE!). I bought their face mask (called balaclava). They also call it “UA Cold Gear Hood”. Takes the chill off for me. I might consider getting one that is as bit thicker for real cold weather (16 degrees or colder).

Clothes in General: This is a touchy subject for some so I can only tell you what works for me. On any given day, I usually wear cycling bibs, a cycling jersey and then depending on what the temps are, I sometimes wear a thicker wind breaker (I usually wear this all the time in the winter) and a pair of wind breaker pants. For colder temps, I start to layer more using products from Under Armour. They are base layers that really do help me. My advice is to buy stuff a little larger so you have less air hitting skin tight clothes. Layering is the key. If you get dressed and walk out of the house and you are warm, you have dressed up too much. You should feel slightly cold when you walk out of the house.

Horn: Some people use bells, whistles work great, airhorns work the best for me. I use Airzound Bike Horn. Easy to mount and use and runs off air. Loud! It works!

Bike Computer: Some people say you should have them and some people say who cares but for me, I love mine. Any computer will work. You want the basic functions: total miles, tripomiter, time, speed, etc.

Clipless Pedals: Great to have.

Shoes for Clipless Pedals: I have a summer pair and winter pair. Buy them at least one size bigger. It allows your feet to slightly swell in the heat and also allows your feet, in the winter time, to be layered with socks.

Wool socks: A must for winter!

Safety Vest: You can buy these online. I have a neon green on and it does the trick.

Glasses: Sun glasses are great and so are clear safety glasses. I use the clear safety glasses a lot in the winter time as it protects my eyes from the cold.

Tires: I use city slick tires which have no nobs on them. This decreases my rolling resistance which I want. I go with a brand called “Gatorskins”. Awesome tire and pretty puncture proof. For winter, you might get studded tires.

Ankle Neon Straps: Great to have on your right ankle. Keeps your pants out of the way from the chain and cogs.

Cycling clothes: I love areotechnology. They are based in PA I believe. I use the cycling bibs and the cycling jersey.

Tools: You will need to have tools for roadside repairs. I always carry and extra tube, patch kit, set of allen wrenches, truing tool, and tire levers. Also carry a little cash just in case along with some disposable gloves.

Bike Shops: We are blessed to have three great bike shops on rt 70 in Cherry Hill. First is Erlton bike shop. Locally owned and a wonderful guy to deal with. The second is Keswick. Nice shop. It’s a chain and but also have Park Tool Class which I hear is wonderful to take if you want to learn about maintenance. The third, and my favorite, is Danzenisen & Quigley (D & Q). This place is great. Locally owned and the mechanic, Stan, is a commuter that commutes from Philly to Cherry Hill every day. If you need your bike fixed in a jiffy, ask for Stan and tell him you are a commuter. He will help you out quick. He is also great with bike directions too.

Winter Socks: Yes, wool socks are great but what really works for me is gator socks. They are neoprene and wonderful. They make your feet sweat but they stay warm! Need something warmer? Add some wool socks on top of them.

Rain Booties: I love to ride in the rain but feet can get socked. I used the rain booties from Showers Pass in Oregon. I bought them online and they have been great. Most booties are too tight which cases the material to rip. Shower Pass Rain Booties are great. You simple cut out a piece on the bottom that will accommodate the size of your clips (if you are wearing them) and place them on. I like these because they have zippers. Solid product.

Fender: wonderful to have!
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Old 02-29-12, 11:52 AM   #21
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1. Agree, lose the hair gel
I cut my hair if I get helmet head. Current length is 1/4".

I also have a 2 mile commute, and all I need are tools to change a flat. That is optional.. as long as I can lock up my bike I can walk the rest of the way to work and worry about it later.
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Old 02-29-12, 12:52 PM   #22
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I cut my hair if I get helmet head. Current length is 1/4".

I also have a 2 mile commute, and all I need are tools to change a flat. That is optional.. as long as I can lock up my bike I can walk the rest of the way to work and worry about it later.
When I had my 16 mile each way commute on Okinawa I carried patches and two tubes. I also carried enough yen to ride the bus if necessary. There were times I'd have to lock my bike to a post at a bus stop, ride the bus to work, ride the bus back, and patch or otherwise get the bicycle. Actually, that worked out well in the days prior to cell phones.
Today, I carry a patch kit and pump but I also have the cell phone to call the spouse!! Bus service around her blows so I'd be using Shank's Mare if I had to lock up the bike today!! Fortunately, my current commute is just under 6 miles.
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Old 02-29-12, 01:24 PM   #23
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Just leave heavy lock and chain @ bike rack, you don't need to carry it around.
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Old 02-29-12, 07:40 PM   #24
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For 1.9 miles I would just get a stock Xootr Swift. Stash it in your office.
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Old 02-29-12, 08:44 PM   #25
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A nice folding bike would be great for that application. Cheap too (depending on which brand you went with).

As for the lock at the bike rack...several people at my wife's work do that. You see them unlock the bike, leave the lock and head to their apartment. That is an excellent recommendation to free up space. Just make sure it is in a position where rain would not contaminate the locking mechanism. Also, if it will be exposed to weather quite often, take it home every couple of months and shoot some graphite powder in there to keep the locking mechanism from binding up.
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