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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 03-05-12, 12:50 PM   #1
WonderMonkey
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Ever use public transit in your commute

My new job is 20.3 miles away. That commute will take me a while to work up to. I plan on actually driving my bike to about 10 miles from work and biking in then biking back to my car. After a few times I park further away, etc. until I adjust to the distance.

But.... I thought that I could use our public transit to get to whatever start point I'm picking out and then bike back to it at the end of the day. The downside is that it takes way longer for the public transit to get to a reasonable starting pint than it takes for me to drive there. Obviously.

So.... do any of you use public transit as part of your bike commute?
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Old 03-05-12, 12:57 PM   #2
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i used transit when i first started because i wasn't fit enough at the time to do 30 miles of cycling a day.

i got a folding bike and rode with it on the train to work in the morning, then after work i'd take the train home, but i would get off about halfway home and would bike the remaining 7 or 8 miles home.

after a while of doing that, i was eventually strong enough to bike the entire 15 miles home from work everyday, while still riding the train in the morning.

and after a while of doing that, i eliminated the train component altogether and just rode my bike all the way to and from work everyday.

i still ride the train on days when i can't/don't ride, like cold rain or when other commitments don't allow for the time bike commuting necessitates in my situation.
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Old 03-05-12, 01:04 PM   #3
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i used transit when i first started because i wasn't fit enough at the time to do 30 miles of cycling a day.

i got a folding bike and rode with it on the train to work in the morning, then after work i'd take the train home, but i would get off about halfway home and would bike the remaining 7 or 8 miles home.

after a while of doing that, i was eventually strong enough to bike the entire 15 miles home from work everyday, while still riding the train in the morning.

and after a while of doing that, i eliminated the train component altogether and just rode my bike all the way to and from work everyday.

i still ride the train on days when i can't/don't ride, like cold rain or when other commitments don't allow for the time bike commuting necessitates in my situation.
Sounds similar to what I'm thinking. Thanks.
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Old 03-05-12, 01:13 PM   #4
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I used to be dropped off, take two buses, and walk 2 blocks to work. Then did the reverse for the way home. Didn't incorporate my bike into the mix until a massive road construction project forced the second bus to detour. Had to walk about a mile; that distance didn't bother me, but not being able to clock in on time did.

So I started bringing my bike. Only time i was on the bike in the mornings was after getting off the second bus. Coming home was a different story. If I missed my primary, I'd ride 1-3 miles to another route to avoid sitting for over an hour waiting on the next one. After getting back downtown, I'd hop on the bike and forego the connecting bus back to the parking lot where I would meet up with the wife. Or meet up with her somewhere else based upon her errands. Most of my miles are/were an attempt to reduce her fuel consumption.
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Old 03-05-12, 01:16 PM   #5
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I sometimes do. My commute is only 8 miles each way, but there is a train line which cuts it down to 2 miles. Sometimes, at the end of the day, if I am running late, I will jump on the train and get home a few minutes earlier.

One nice thing about Santa Clara County public transit is that they take bikes on all trains, light rail and busses, so it greatly adds to versatility.
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Old 03-05-12, 01:28 PM   #6
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Every day... Morning's not a problem... Evening is a PITA.
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Old 03-05-12, 01:36 PM   #7
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During the 2010-2011 school year my work day started at 6 am and I was taking evening classes that ended 'tween 9-10 pm. There was a new lite rail station next to the college. Or I could ride 8 miles on an unlit MUP. I did both.

The lite rail took about 45-50 min to drop me off about 1 mi from home. The MUP then side streets was 8 mi taking about 45 to 50 min. Along the MUP there were people fishing with their lines extending completely across the path! Gates were closed in dark locations. You could ride around them but God forbid you aren't paying attention and riding at speed. People were strolling along the path wearing all dark with their unattended children dressed the same. I learned to charge my light batteries while in class if I was planning on using the MUP.

Most of the time I wimped out and took the rail. No problems. It cost $1.75 per ride. At that time of night I could stand in the aisle with my bike and wasn't hassled by riders or transit police.
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Old 03-05-12, 01:54 PM   #8
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I sometimes do. My commute is only 8 miles each way, but there is a train line which cuts it down to 2 miles. Sometimes, at the end of the day, if I am running late, I will jump on the train and get home a few minutes earlier.

One nice thing about Santa Clara County public transit is that they take bikes on all trains, light rail and busses, so it greatly adds to versatility.
Only certain buses here are setup to take bikes. I'm trying to figure out if the one I'd potentially use is one of those buses. If it isn't then the whole thought is down the drain and I'd use my vehicle to get closer.

My vehicle is actually the smarter time choice as the bus takes way longer. The bus also doesn't leave early enough to get me to where I want to be at the time I want but I could make it work if needed.
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Old 03-05-12, 02:04 PM   #9
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I have used my bike in conjunction with public transit a few times, but I would never plan a regular commute around being able to bring my bike on the bus. The buses here have racks on the front that only hold two bikes, so you are SOL if they are already full. The drivers will not let you bring your bike onto the bus, even if it is clear that you are in a desperate situation.
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Old 03-05-12, 02:07 PM   #10
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Car, train or boat

As my one-way commute is 43 km, I usually do a short ride, either to a port in the river (upstream from Buenos Aires), take a boat and then ride to work, riding all the way back to home.

Also I had taken the train (with a 10 km commute to the nearest train station) or meeting a friend who has a truck and loading the bike in it.

The best one by far is the boat, I go from Tigre to downtown Buenos Aires with no sight of cars at all, only sailboats and cargo ships :-)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...79529&t=m&z=11

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Old 03-05-12, 02:10 PM   #11
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I have used my bike in conjunction with public transit a few times, but I would never plan a regular commute around being able to bring my bike on the bus. The buses here have racks on the front that only hold two bikes, so you are SOL if they are already full. The drivers will not let you bring your bike onto the bus, even if it is clear that you are in a desperate situation.
Similar here. My "get on" point is at the start of the morning route so I should be safe in the morning. The evening would be a roll of the dice.

I'm trying to talk myself into using public transport because I don't want to leave my vehicle in one of the mid-way points even if they are probably an ok place to do so.
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Old 03-05-12, 02:12 PM   #12
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Most frequently, I have used the bus as part of the route. So I would ride to the bus, take the bus and then complete the journey on bike.
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Old 03-05-12, 02:28 PM   #13
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I use Metro-Rail every morning coming to work and every afternoon coming home. I ride 6.5 mi. from home to the Norwalk Metro Station (Green Line). That's where the train originates on the eastern end.

I ride the Metro for 11 miles to the Harbor Freeway station, then ride 1.5 mi. to work. I do have a folding bike (DaHon Curve SL 8-Spd) so it folds up fairly small (16" wheels) for the Metro ride. Never had any trouble from the Metro Police or the other passengers.

Sometimes passengers have questions about the folding bike, but not very often.

Fare is $1.50 each way.

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Old 03-05-12, 02:31 PM   #14
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I have used my bike in conjunction with public transit a few times, but I would never plan a regular commute around being able to bring my bike on the bus. The buses here have racks on the front that only hold two bikes, so you are SOL if they are already full. The drivers will not let you bring your bike onto the bus, even if it is clear that you are in a desperate situation.
I've thought about it in the past when I had a longer commute, but this concern has kept me from it. Now my commute is short enough (5 miles) that it's not really an issue.
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Old 03-05-12, 02:40 PM   #15
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Commute = Transit + Bike every day.

1.7 miles from home to bus stop via the bike.
35 miles on the bus with the bike in the rack on front of the bus.
5.2 miles from the bus stop to the office via the bike.

Afternoon commute is slightly different with a 5.8 mile ride from the office to the bus stop.

Door to door time:
Morning: 1.5 hours
Afternoon: 2.2 hours (could easily cut off 15 minutes by catching an earlier bus, but I usually take that time to cool down and chill out before getting on the bus. In the summer, when temperature and humidity are making for juicy days, I'm pretty wet upon arriving at the bus stop.)

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Old 03-05-12, 04:47 PM   #16
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I tried, but my local transit authority refuses to allow bikes on the bus, and also refuses to install bike racks.
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Old 03-05-12, 05:24 PM   #17
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I'm retired now, but for years I combined bicycle with bus, after 10 years of using a motorcycle. I just got tired of traffic.

When I started this, I rode about 2.5 miles to the bus stop, and used the bike rack on the bus. After a few years, there was a strike against MTA, which put a lot more people on the Santa Monica bus, and the bike rack now had a good chance of being full. I shifted to a different stop, closer to the beginning of the run, and that worked for a time. The long term solution was to switch to using an old rat-bike that no one would steal, and lock it at the bus stop.

The total distance was about 17 miles. I rode all the way a few times and found I could do it in 1:15, which was about the same as the door-to-door bike-to-bus commute. The ride in was no problem: early morning, and no one parked on the street, so I had plenty of room. Going home I was at the first bus stop, so always had a spot for the bike. I didn't want to contend with traffic all the way in the afternoon, nor the consistent on-shore wind I'd be riding against.

Bicycling to work has become much more popular. In the last couple of years I worked, the bike rack on the bus was almost always full long before we got through downtown Los Angeles, leaving one or two bicyclists stranded until the next bus.
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Old 03-05-12, 05:38 PM   #18
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I tried, but my local transit authority refuses to allow bikes on the bus, and also refuses to install bike racks.
That sucks. Only some of our buses have them.
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Old 03-05-12, 05:43 PM   #19
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I mix it up right now, with transit on about 10 miles of it been commuting non-stop every day for going on 2 months, and even the 7 miles I do bike every day takes a lot out of me right now... I hope by fall to be able to go the whole way on my bike
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Old 03-05-12, 05:56 PM   #20
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My commute is about 50 miles one way, so yes. I ride 9 miles in the morning to catch a commuter bus which gets me to within a few blocks from work. Some days (like the next 3 days!) I work closer to home, so am able to catch an earlier bus home with a different route. It still comes no closer than 9 miles to my house but I usually get off early and ride 14 - 18 miles home for a longer ride and different route.

All of the buses I use have bike racks.

Edit: I forgot to mention that my employer pays the $55 for my monthly pass. :-)

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Old 03-05-12, 06:10 PM   #21
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I'm retired now, but for years I combined bicycle with bus, after 10 years of using a motorcycle. I just got tired of traffic.

When I started this, I rode about 2.5 miles to the bus stop, and used the bike rack on the bus.

Bicycling to work has become much more popular. In the last couple of years I worked, the bike rack on the bus was almost always full long before we got through downtown Los Angeles, leaving one or two bicyclists stranded until the next bus.
This was almost my exact same story when I was in Grad school. Some days I had to use my motorcycle because I got out of class after the buses stopped. On any other day I would ride to the bus stop and then read for the 17 mi to a bus stop near my house. I would then ride the rest. The bicycles is a great "last mile" solution (remember, "last mile" is not a measure of a mile, it is a phrase describing the distance between the end of services and the user).

I also frequently ran into the problem that you described, the racks on the buses being full. As mixed mode commuting becomes more popular this is a problem that is going to require addressing. There are several approaches; but, none are perfect.
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Old 03-05-12, 07:28 PM   #22
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Yep. I live in Atlanta and used to participate in a group ride that started downtown every Sunday. I'd take MARTA (Atlanta's mass transit) from the suburbs into town then do the decent ride and get back home. Worked out perfect.
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Old 03-05-12, 07:55 PM   #23
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...............Fare is $1.50 each way.

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Really? In Canada, we pay more than $3 if you pay cash.
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Old 03-05-12, 08:24 PM   #24
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My new job is 20.3 miles away. That commute will take me a while to work up to. I plan on actually driving my bike to about 10 miles from work and biking in then biking back to my car. After a few times I park further away, etc. until I adjust to the distance.

But.... I thought that I could use our public transit to get to whatever start point I'm picking out and then bike back to it at the end of the day. The downside is that it takes way longer for the public transit to get to a reasonable starting pint than it takes for me to drive there. Obviously.

So.... do any of you use public transit as part of your bike commute?
I only use the bus when I'm sick, have a mechanical issue I can't take care of between shifts at work, when it's super windy, or snow, and hopefully next year snow won't stop me. But my commute is only about 7 miles each way.

It would require a safe place to lock up, but you might consider reversing the leg that transit takes you though. There's a couple that uses the bus to come in from somewhere north of me and then catches the bus to downtown from there. The guys at the bike shop and my girlfriend and I were all scratching our heads about this pair of bikes that seemed to always be locked up in front of the bank down the street from us until my girl spotted them locking up and hopping on the bus one morning.

Some transit centers and a few bus stops (well, at least one!) around here have individual bicycle sheds that I assume you can rent. You might see if that is the case in your area too, instead of having to find a business you feel comfortable locking up in front of if you take that route.
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Old 03-05-12, 10:50 PM   #25
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Really? In Canada, we pay more than $3 if you pay cash.
It is $1.75 here for a non-transfer ride.
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