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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 04-29-12, 11:08 AM   #1
Big Lebowski 
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Trial ride to park-and-ride on Trek Soho S

I live in Overland Park, KS and I've decided that I am going to try the 4 mile one-way up-and-down hilly commute to the bus park-and-ride (I drive this now) on my 2010 Trek Soho S, then have the bus carry it 13 miles downtown on the front rack (there are 2 spots) where I can ride the last 1/4 mile up a hill that I currently walk to my workplace in downtown Kansas City, MO.

I did a test ride and back to the park-and-ride and I found that the hills were tough on my knees. I occasionally ride with my 6 y/o on the street, so I am not bike-fit. The bike came stock with 44T chainring and 17T rear cog. I took it to my local bike shop and they are installing a new take-off Shimano 39T chainring. Parts and labor $20. If I like the ride and get more fit, I can always put the 44T back on or get an 18T rear cog as a compromise.

I have no excuses for not trying this:
  • I have a bike that primarily collects dust hanging in my garage
  • The 4 miles to the bus is 50% paved bike trails and 20% bike lane marked on the shoulder
  • I already take the bus, so no issues there
  • My workplace has a bike rack in the most secure area one can imagine. There is even an air-hose
The wife is out of town until Thursday, so Friday will be my first opportunity. I'll update this thread after I give it a try.

Wish me luck!
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Old 04-29-12, 12:15 PM   #2
unterhausen
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Sounds like an ideal commute. Good luck with it
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Old 04-29-12, 08:46 PM   #3
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Very commendable! I enjoy commuting by bike more than having to pay attention to traffic while driving. Good luck. Your LBS sounds like a winner.
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Old 04-30-12, 08:40 PM   #4
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This is the empty bike rack at my workplace here in Kansas City. It is inside a secure garage. Air hose too. Kinda sad looking, isn't it?

Hopefully I'll post a pic of mine on there on Friday, which is the first opportunity I will have to ride in.
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Old 04-30-12, 11:50 PM   #5
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61.4 gear inches if they're still doing the 700 x 28 stock bontragers. not a bad all rounder gear for this bike.
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Old 05-01-12, 08:53 PM   #6
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61.4 gear inches if they're still doing the 700 x 28 stock bontragers. not a bad all rounder gear for this bike.
Yep, I picked it up today. I took it for a quick spin and I am happy with the gear versus the original. The true test will be the actual commute on Friday or Monday to see how it feels on the hills. Actually, I think I am more nervous about getting it onto the rack on the front of the bus!
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Old 05-02-12, 01:21 PM   #7
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Here's my last hill from about 1/2-way up. Ok, it isn't the steepest, but it sure looks that way to me having only 1 gear.

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Old 05-02-12, 01:43 PM   #8
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My default Low gear is always 24" / 2 foot, getting off and walking..
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Old 05-03-12, 08:37 PM   #9
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Here's a link to the route from my house (backs to a multi-use blacktop trail) to the bus stop that will carry me the remaining 13 or so miles the rest of the way into Kansas City. Of my 3.4 miles to the bus, only have .8 miles will be on a street. And, that will be on a nearly deserted road that early in the morning. Regardless, I have a Cygolite taillight on the way from Amazon.

If you expand the map, everything in green is a multi-use blacktop trail here in Overland Park. I've been running on these trails for years. This is a different route than I initially expected to take, so more trail, less road.

http://g.co/maps/dcnte


Hope I'm not boring too many of you with this thread, but I'm excited to try my bike to the bus, versus driving to the bus. Monday should be the big day!
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Old 05-03-12, 09:11 PM   #10
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I have enjoyed your post , I have been commuting for about 3 weeks 15 miles one way. and it is very very hilly for me. but I am use to it now.
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Old 05-03-12, 09:20 PM   #11
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The biggest risk you run is getting there and finding both spots being taken. Happened to me on a ride where I had three flats.
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Old 05-03-12, 09:56 PM   #12
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4 miles sounds pretty reasonable, but those hills do make it tougher. My commute is about 5 miles on flat ground to the subway station, then a 3 mile ridedowntown after I get off the train. Take your time, and if you need to stop and take a break - then do it! Don't forget the water bottle, ( duh!!), and you should be fine.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes,!!
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Old 05-07-12, 07:30 PM   #13
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My first commute was a success!

I promised myself Sunday night that I was going to try my first commute to the bus Monday morning, regardless of weather. Sure enough, it was a driving rain. I thought, "well, I run in the rain and I'll be on a paved trail most of the way, so I'm doing this." I learned that I need to invest in fenders, especially a rear one. My behind was soaked!

I made it the 3.5 miles to the bus stop in plenty of time. I waited under a tree for the bus to arrive. Once it did, my biggest fear was that I would not properly attach the bike to the front of the bus. Luckily, it was about as simple as could be. I kept an eye on it as the bus bounced down the interstate into downtown Kansas City. I took it off the bus and made it up the hill to work. Locked it up and remembered to turn-off my Cygolite.

Here's my lonely bike on the rack.



The afternoon was much easier. Sunshine and low humidity.

Day 1 was a success!
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Old 05-07-12, 08:06 PM   #14
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Congrats! That bike rack is too nice to stay empty!
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Old 05-08-12, 05:37 AM   #15
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. . . my biggest fear was that I would not properly attach the bike to the front of the bus. Luckily, it was about as simple as could be.

I have been doing it for years and would like to share my technique with you. I used to do it on the Los Angeles MTA (often to the same subway station that the most interesting El Gigante uses). Some of those driver would get surly, so I load and unload very quickly, and some of them appreciate it.

First, if you are the first bike on, load it in the station nearest the bus. It is easier to unload a bike from this position if there is a bike on front, than it is to load a bike with a bike on front.

If the rack is up when the bus approaches (it should be, though some dingleberries leave it down after taking a bike off), lift the bike balanced with your right hand by the top tube. When the bus stops (and you should wait until it is completely stopped-the driver will appreciate it), step out and lower the rack with your free hand, load and get on. Lefties reverse the process, but the front of the bike should be pointing to your left.

Get to your destination, and reverse the process. Don't forget to raise the rack. The driver cannot see it if there is not a bike on it, and a lot of them get busted that way.

If another bike has loaded in front of yours, slide it out toward the sidewalk.

Last edited by CommuteCommando; 05-08-12 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 05-08-12, 10:58 AM   #16
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Good job on the commute.
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