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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 03-02-12, 09:50 PM   #1
Underground
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It is good to check out your ride first...

I decided that I was going to give commuting to work a try in the next month. So I started driving back and fourth to work, following the planned route.

I noticed that one section of my proposed route brought me to a severely crowded intersection. I also noticed that people who turned onto the same street I would be on drove like crazy people. Yeah, I decided right then and there that I was going to change my route.

I am glad I decided to drive it several days in a row, just to be safe. This morning was just crazy.

So since I found out that the route was not a good one, I started looking for alternatives. I found a road that runs parallel, but is only just another mile down the road. Interestingly enough, by changing to that less congested road I shed 1.5 miles off my commute!

So now I am even more eager to get out on the bike. I just need to figure out my pannier organization first and make sure I have enough room for everything.
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Old 03-02-12, 10:24 PM   #2
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Great investigative work. Enjoy the commute!
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Old 03-02-12, 11:45 PM   #3
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I thought this was going to be a pre-trip inspection thread. Anyhow, yes, I agree, it's always a good thing to do a little pre-commute reconnaissance. Since my office is in the downtown core I chose a Sunday morning to test drive the commute before committing to it. I already knew what to expect traffic-wise but wanted to know what to expect regarding time/duration of the commute, physical exertion levels and any traffic or routing snags that may not have occurred to me from the driver's seat of my car or a bus or hoofing it by foot.
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Old 03-02-12, 11:51 PM   #4
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Good call on checking out the route for a city route. You are lucky that you were able to find a safer route. I don't understand my co-workers who ride their bikes in San Francisco. Fortunately the only major intersection is across a 2x3 lane busy road and I have no problems there other than waiting two minutes for the light on some days.
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Old 03-03-12, 12:03 AM   #5
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+1 to doing a pre-commute recon ride by bike. Also check out google maps with the bicycle layer turned on--depending on where you live, the best route may not even be possible to drive on.
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Old 03-04-12, 12:50 AM   #6
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I guess I live in a pretty small city but I love mixing up my route and adventuring around town. I definitely know the shortest and safest ways but what is the fun in that?
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Old 03-04-12, 02:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by a1penguin View Post
Good call on checking out the route for a city route. You are lucky that you were able to find a safer route. I don't understand my co-workers who ride their bikes in San Francisco. Fortunately the only major intersection is across a 2x3 lane busy road and I have no problems there other than waiting two minutes for the light on some days.
What's wrong with riding in SF? Lack of alternatives?

I learned to go around the hills whenever possible pretty quickly :-p. For example, by adding less than 1/4 mi to a route I was using for errands, I managed to avoid climbing 150 ft just to go down the other side.
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Old 03-04-12, 05:03 AM   #8
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What's wrong with riding in SF? Lack of alternatives?

I learned to go around the hills whenever possible pretty quickly :-p. For example, by adding less than 1/4 mi to a route I was using for errands, I managed to avoid climbing 150 ft just to go down the other side.
I cannot imagine riding in a place where there are lights, Muni rails, buses, cars, crazy intersections, pedestrians, parked and double parked cars. Heck, I don't even like driving in SF. I'll take my suburbs any day.
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Old 03-04-12, 09:43 AM   #9
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So since I found out that the route was not a good one, I started looking for alternatives. I found a road that runs parallel, but is only just another mile down the road. Interestingly enough, by changing to that less congested road I shed 1.5 miles off my commute!
You gotta love it when a plan comes together!
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Old 03-05-12, 03:44 PM   #10
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Nice in theory, but what if you don't have a car? I find myself needing to go places all the time that I've never been before on my bike. I use Google maps "by bike" function which is sort of useful, look at the route and the options and then I hop on the bike and go. On occasion I find myself in not super bike friendly places, so I improvise, get lost a bit and find my destination anyway. It's all part of the adventure and allure of cycling. I've discovered some great places and routes this way.

Granted, I'm an experienced urban rider, I don't have access to a car by design on most days and I have been living in this metropolis for a majority of my life. So test runs even if they were an option wouldn't be a very good use of my time. I just get on the bike and figure it out.
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Old 03-05-12, 04:14 PM   #11
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I use Google maps "by bike" function which is sort of useful, look at the route and the options and then I hop on the bike and go. On occasion I find myself in not super bike friendly places, so I improvise, get lost a bit and find my destination anyway. It's all part of the adventure and allure of cycling. I've discovered some great places and routes this way.
THIS!

Im in Houston, too, and this is how I found my commute route.
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Old 03-05-12, 04:27 PM   #12
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It's strange to me to want to "pre-drive" a route for cycling. I haven't had a car for years and just sort of...get on my bike and ride to where I want to go.
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Old 03-05-12, 04:31 PM   #13
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I thought this was going to be a pre-trip inspection thread.
me too. Fortunately for the time my brakes weren't hooked up, the road I live on climbs a hill from my driveway
My commute is simple enough that it doesn't change much, although I have worked on how to make it longer
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Old 03-05-12, 04:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
Nice in theory, but what if you don't have a car? I find myself needing to go places all the time that I've never been before on my bike. I use Google maps "by bike" function which is sort of useful, look at the route and the options and then I hop on the bike and go. On occasion I find myself in not super bike friendly places, so I improvise, get lost a bit and find my destination anyway. It's all part of the adventure and allure of cycling. I've discovered some great places and routes this way.

Granted, I'm an experienced urban rider, I don't have access to a car by design on most days and I have been living in this metropolis for a majority of my life. So test runs even if they were an option wouldn't be a very good use of my time. I just get on the bike and figure it out.
Agree. If you don't have a car or don't want to use your car to test your route out. I recommend riding it on an off day where there is no time constraints and probably less traffic. First time I rode to work was on a Saturday or Sunday and this was to just test the route and see how I felt about doing it daily.

I've stumbled into some really cool areas getting a little lost taking a different route home. I had my phone on me with map/GPS function, but sometimes it is more fun to figure it out on your own. Of course, it is also better to leave the getting lost days to going home part of your trip and when no one is waiting for you.
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Old 03-05-12, 05:52 PM   #15
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Do a pre ride safety check of the Bike too.. daily, perhaps..
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Old 03-06-12, 09:06 AM   #16
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I cannot imagine riding in a place where there are lights, Muni rails, buses, cars, crazy intersections, pedestrians, parked and double parked cars. Heck, I don't even like driving in SF. I'll take my suburbs any day.
Interesting. My experience is essentially the opposite. I'd rather ride in DC, where there are lights, buses, cars, weird street configurations, pedestrians, double and triple parked cars and delivery vehicles, but where speeds are generally lower and bikes are plentiful, versus my suburbs which have lights, buses, cars, few pedestrians, fewer bikes, and much higher speeds. In the burbs, people don't know what to make of a bike being ridden on the road except on Sat. and Sun. morning.
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Old 03-08-12, 02:13 AM   #17
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I chose a Sunday morning to test drive the commute before committing to it.
Just to be clear, when I said test drive, I meant by bike not car.
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