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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 07-15-12, 04:49 PM   #1
Alcyon
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Starting a roughly 20km commute

I used to hang out on this board when I was 14 or so, forgot all about it and here I am again. I'm 21 and recently graduated uni. Just got a very exciting "real" job, and they are opening a downtown office near to where I live but for the next couple months they live in a faraway suburb (Colwood, I live in Victoria BC). There's a bike route (the Galloping Goose) but it goes quite out of the way; I can save some time cutting through Esquimalt but it remains to be seen whether the hills are worth it.

I rode a test last week from my place to theirs and ended up getting a flat about 2/3rds of the way. Ride was fine otherwise and I think I could make it in about an hour to be safe. I've read over the stickies and such for tips but some of the threads are super long. If anyone has a few minutes to answer some of my questions I'd really appreciate it.

Cycle maintenance: I've have a 2008 Kona Dew Deluxe that I bought new. It's had a couple of bike shop "tune-ups", though I'm unsure what exactly that entails; probably chain lube and etc.? I've been through a couple bottom brackets (cranking too hard) and one pedal arm (bored out the aluminum mount with the steel peg). Anyway, I'm wondering if there's any huge maintenance crimes I'm committing; my extent of bike knowledge is replacing an inner tube and tightening anything loose. As far as I know my bike has never had a chain replacement, never been fully relubed, never really been cleaned, never had wheels trued or bearings repacked etc. I'm expecting to put in up to 40km four days a week on this thing over the next two months. Also, what should I carry with me on my commute? Spare tube, irons, allen key and probably be fine?

Diet and sleep: This is fairly ambitious for me; I've commuted by bike a lot but usually just short distances. I enjoyed the ride out a lot last week and am looking forward to the fitness of it. Do you guys have any suggestions for quick breakfast, etc. any systems you've developed to keep things simple and easy? It's a 9-5 job with a one hour lunch break. Not really concerned about changing and showering but I don't usually eat much in the mornings and I'd like to minimize how early I have to wake up.

Clothes: I have a pair of bike underwear from MEC with a padded crotch and those are great. Should I expect to be able to wear those four days a week or should I have several and rotate? My plan is just to change into regular stuff when I get to work, it's a very casual environment.

Any tips or advice you have would be great. Thanks very much!
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Old 07-15-12, 04:54 PM   #2
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Welcome back, my friend!

Don't forget gloves, and air pumps. One floor pump at home and one frame pump.
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Old 07-16-12, 09:29 AM   #3
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I would take it in for a complete overhaul. The usual tune-up doesn't repack the hubs, etc. The front cogs and rear cassette might be worn out by now. The chain probably needs replacing. Usual tune-up is around $60 in Vancouver, and overhaul is $150-$200. After getting the overhaul, you'd probably need to bring only flat repair tools on the commute. But learn to maintain the chain, check the brake pads, adjust the cables.
A quick breakfast could be toast with peanut butter and banana. Bring a food bar, if you like.
For clothing, I find the bike underwear as not necessary for rides of an hour or two. Avoid cotton, though.

I spent 3 days riding around Victoria in May and was amazed how comfortable I felt riding in traffic despite the many narrow streets (and, hence, close passes by motor vehicles). A really nice cycling region. Congrats on landing a job there!
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Old 07-29-12, 04:03 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot, guys. Commute starts tomorrow. I'm excited! Trying to decide what to pack for lunch.
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Old 07-29-12, 06:29 PM   #5
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Good luck.

Once your legs are accustomed to your riding, it should only take you one hour each way.

Don't over think the process. Just be sure to eat well and get rest; you'll be able to do it.

Eat a good whole-grain dinner the night before. I find when I consume empty calories for dinner, my morning rides are especially challenging.

You may want to get a couple more pairs of the bike underwear. I hand wash my biking shorts each night and rotate through three pairs.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
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Old 07-30-12, 05:25 AM   #6
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Let us know how it goes. I am excited for you! I love commuting!

Make sure you have full flat kit. Tube (at least one), patch kit, gloves (if you want them), and frame pump. Spend some time research frame pumps because a lot of them suck. If you want my cheat sheet, pm me and I will send it to you. Co2 pump and cartridges are nice too.
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