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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 07-16-12, 09:36 AM   #1
PJCB
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The Real Deal: Accountability Here

I've been talking for 3 weeks about starting to commute to work via bike (17 mi each way), but have been procrastinating biting the bullet and suffering through the first couple weeks until I can enjoy it. Well, the time has come where I MUST do this. I'm disappointed in myself everyday I get in my car, so tomorrow is the day. I will be driving in the morning, and biking back. Wednesday I will be biking in, and driving back, so on and so forth. I hope to keep you all posted, wish me luck.

Also, any tips?
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Old 07-16-12, 09:44 AM   #2
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Good way to start! Take it easy on the rides(I still need to learn this part). It is not a race. You don't wanna blow yourself apart on the first ride.

Grats on finally doing it. I thought of hanging a piece of my old chain on the mirror of my car as a reminder every time I am in the car that I could/should be riding.
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Old 07-16-12, 10:00 AM   #3
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Riding home the first day is a good move on your part. If anything happens/ takes longer than you think, etc, it won't make you late for work.

Tips:
1.I'd not make any plans for the first night & I'd also get to sleep early before your morning ride in. If you don't normally ride a lot, the first week or two can be rough as your body gets used to it.
2. pack everything that you need to take with you the night before (or at least lay it out).
3. Leave an extra change of work clothes at work (if you need to change when you get there). Nothing worse than getting to work & realizeing tht you forgot your work pants/ dress shirt, etc.
4. If you can, leave your work shoes at work (unless you ride in them).
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Old 07-16-12, 10:00 AM   #4
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Also, any tips?
Try pressing on the pedals in circular motion until your bicycle device begins rolling forward. Pull/push the alternate ends of the handle bar (above the main wheel) to change direction.

Godspeed!
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Old 07-16-12, 10:10 AM   #5
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Try pressing on the pedals in circular motion...
Which direction?
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Old 07-16-12, 10:13 AM   #6
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The Real Deal: Accountability Here

Take your time, be careful and make a list tonight of what you must have. About 2 months ago, I did none of these on my first 20 mile commute. I started too fast (got tired), wasn't careful (got lost) and forgot the basics (water and glasses).

You'll do great!
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Old 07-16-12, 10:36 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the support. I'm thinking that the ride in Wednesday morning is going to be more tiring and/or more important to make sure I pack up correctly. So far my list is as follows:

-work clothes
-extra tubes
-allen wrenches
-adjustable wrench
-epi pen
-tire levers
-lunch
-water
-written directions
-helmet
-bug spray
-rain jacket
-sunglasses
-gloves
-lock
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Old 07-16-12, 10:47 AM   #8
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Like ckaspar said, it's not a race, and you'll only wear yourself out early if you try to pedal too hard too fast. Take it easy at first and just enjoy the ride~
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Old 07-16-12, 11:00 AM   #9
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The Real Deal: Accountability Here

That looks like a good list for the Wednesday a.m. ride. My only other suggestion is to double-check anything mechanical before you load it up on Tuesday. Air, brakes, chain, whatever. Don't ask me how I know.

Hopefully you can leave some stuff at your workplace, such as shoes and toiletries. Heck, it took me 2 weeks to stop hauling a lock daily and just leaving it at work.
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Old 07-16-12, 11:04 AM   #10
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Ditch the car as soon as possible!
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Old 07-16-12, 11:09 AM   #11
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good luck. I've been talking about at least trying it once for a couple of months, but there's always an excuse.
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Old 07-16-12, 11:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by PJCB View Post
Thanks for all the support. I'm thinking that the ride in Wednesday morning is going to be more tiring and/or more important to make sure I pack up correctly. So far my list is as follows:

-work clothes
-extra tubes
-allen wrenches
-adjustable wrench
-epi pen
-tire levers
-lunch
-water
-written directions
-helmet
-bug spray
-rain jacket
-sunglasses
-gloves
-lock
PJ, since the car is at work (the destination), you can leave the work clothes, extra tools, bugspray, rain clothes etc in the car. It makes a difference, not carrying an extra load. In fact, you could ride with just and extra tube, patch kit (add that to your list) and tire levers. Leave the lock at work, locked to the rack.

If you have a refrigerator at work you can carry two lunches when you drive the car leg, and not have that to worry about. This way you don't even need a backpack or rack bag, and you can just ride.
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Old 07-16-12, 11:32 AM   #13
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PJ, since the car is at work (the destination), you can leave the work clothes, extra tools, bugspray, rain clothes etc in the car. It makes a difference, not carrying an extra load. In fact, you could ride with just and extra tube, patch kit (add that to your list) and tire levers. Leave the lock at work, locked to the rack.

If you have a refrigerator at work you can carry two lunches when you drive the car leg, and not have that to worry about. This way you don't even need a backpack or rack bag, and you can just ride.

This is a good point. It baffles me sometimes what I overlook. I don't have a bike rack at work, I think it's going to end up in my office. I'm hoping that after two weeks or so doing every other ride by bike I can upgrade to exclusively biking. My SUV is kicking my butt on gas. $500 a month (at least) on gas is starting to eat away at my soul...
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Old 07-16-12, 11:37 AM   #14
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any tips?
don't suck.
^can be applied to any situation not requiring a vacuum.
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Old 07-16-12, 12:02 PM   #15
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Well PJ!

The time has come...

Sell your car and get one of the following, instead:

The Transport Plus ~ $2820
www.trekbikes.com/us/en/collections/electric_assist/transport_plus/

The Trek FX Plus ~ $2680

www.trekbikes.com/us/en/collections/electric_assist/fx_plus/
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Old 07-16-12, 12:09 PM   #16
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One thing I have learned to do is to pack ALL my stuff the night before. I use a Camelbak and this is my packing procedure.

Sunscreen, wind breaker and shirt and under shirt in main compartment.
Wallet, Rx glasses(just in case), Contact Lens case(also just in case) in the front compartment.
My bag also has a "Helmet" compartment. I stuff my gloves, computer, light and GoPro in my helmet then stuff the helmet in the compartment.

I hang my chest heart rate monitor strap, my watch and the shirt I am going to wear in the morning on my bike as well.

I clip my keys in the clip that holds the helmet in. All I gotta do is stuff my water bladder in there in the morning as I get ready to head out and I am good to go.

I wake up, take a shower/handle toiletries, put on shorts and the rest is near or on my bike and I am ready to go. Makes the morning SO much easier when I am trying to get two little girls ready and it makes my wife morning a little easier because I am not running around line a banshee trying to get myself ready.

Makes for a nice morning.
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Old 07-16-12, 12:29 PM   #17
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Well PJ!

The time has come...

Sell your car and get one of the following, instead:

The Transport Plus ~ $2820
www.trekbikes.com/us/en/collections/electric_assist/transport_plus/

The Trek FX Plus ~ $2680

www.trekbikes.com/us/en/collections/electric_assist/fx_plus/


Haha, I can dream, right?
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Old 07-16-12, 12:32 PM   #18
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17 miles consistantly is a fair piece of real estate. My commutes have varied between 14-42 miles rt. The tips I've been able to collect over the years(25 in Feb)is to be able to do any emergency repairs. Learn how to replace your brake/deraileur cables on the road. Don't scrimp on your commuting equipment. Get the best bike stuff you can afford. Keep up w/routine maintenence. Drink more water than you're used to drinking. Eat like an athlete. Especially oats and brown rice. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Take a powdered protein supplement when you start riding 34 miles rt. If you find yourself w/a low frustration threshold take a day off. It's a marathon not a sprint. Read posts on the 'Touring' sub-forum regarding equipment as 135-170 miprwk is like being on tour.

Alot of this may sound cliche, but there's a reason. It's based on 200,000+ commuting/utility/touring miles almost all trial and error.

All of the advice on others' posts is solid. Especially the part about keeping clothes/shoes at work. My routine is to change clothes daily both upon arrival at work and again on the homeward leg. It's more comfortable and certainly more sanitary. I keep an array of deo, soap, talc, anti-fungal spray, toothbrush /paste and a towel along w/a week's worth of clothes brought in on Mondays. My lunch is brought in daily. My work clothes are taken home each night.

Anyway, good on you for taking on cycle-commuting. It isn't always easy, but it's never dull. All the best.
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Old 07-16-12, 12:46 PM   #19
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17 miles consistantly is a fair piece of real estate. My commutes have varied between 14-42 miles rt. The tips I've been able to collect over the years(25 in Feb)is to be able to do any emergency repairs. Learn how to replace your brake/deraileur cables on the road. Don't scrimp on your commuting equipment. Get the best bike stuff you can afford. Keep up w/routine maintenence. Drink more water than you're used to drinking. Eat like an athlete. Especially oats and brown rice. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Take a powdered protein supplement when you start riding 34 miles rt. If you find yourself w/a low frustration threshold take a day off. It's a marathon not a sprint. Read posts on the 'Touring' sub-forum regarding equipment as 135-170 miprwk is like being on tour.

Alot of this may sound cliche, but there's a reason. It's based on 200,000+ commuting/utility/touring miles almost all trial and error.

All of the advice on others' posts is solid. Especially the part about keeping clothes/shoes at work. My routine is to change clothes daily both upon arrival at work and again on the homeward leg. It's more comfortable and certainly more sanitary. I keep an array of deo, soap, talc, anti-fungal spray, toothbrush /paste and a towel along w/a week's worth of clothes brought in on Mondays. My lunch is brought in daily. My work clothes are taken home each night.

Anyway, good on you for taking on cycle-commuting. It isn't always easy, but it's never dull. All the best.

Thanks for all the solid advice. I'm pretty young, and have been a lifelong athlete, so I feel like my body will start to reward me for putting it to work again. I am buying my first pair of bike shorts this week, I've never used them before. Just bought a headlight and tail light and a bell. I am not used to having to abide by road laws, so I've been educating myself.

Lucky for me, I have an entire office to stash my commute gear. I plan to keep emergency clothes at work, along with anything else that doesn't end up necessary on the road.

I'm on a pretty strict budget, but I'm able to buy a little bit each week. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up. I have to buy a new bladder for my camelback, but I'm concerned about BPA. You guys have any ideas?
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Old 07-16-12, 12:47 PM   #20
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17 miles is a lot. I would definitely pack as much stuff in the car as I could comfortably store at work (or leave in the car). I used to do this when I was in the Air Force since I didn't really want to work out a non-wrinkling way to carry uniforms. Worked really well.
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Old 07-16-12, 12:52 PM   #21
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17 miles is a lot. I would definitely pack as much stuff in the car as I could comfortably store at work (or leave in the car). I used to do this when I was in the Air Force since I didn't really want to work out a non-wrinkling way to carry uniforms. Worked really well.
Thankfully I have the benefit of a casual environment.
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Old 07-16-12, 01:06 PM   #22
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I started commuting a few weeks ago. It's 30 miles RT which was tough the first couple trips but now its not too bad. However, I've yet to do it back-to-back days. 2 to 3 days a week right now and I've not tried to do it in the elements (mainly because the wife forbids it!).

Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 07-16-12, 01:09 PM   #23
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I'd recommend a good headlight and taillight, even in the daytime. They don't have to be expensive, but they do need to be bright enough to be seen in the day. The classic Planet Bike Superflash is good on the rear.

I also recommend bright-colored clothing. Black and grey are popular but you want to stand out, especially as you approach intersections and have to deal with people turning right from your lane, and turning left against you.

And then... be gentle with yourself. Allow extra time on the first few runs. Also try some scouting runs to find alternative paths if there are any.

I retired before I got into bicycle commuting in a big way, but over the 16-mile route I used several times, my door-to-door time was quicker than taking a bus, even in the morning when traffic was light. The ride was about 1:15, bus about 1:25. Motorcycle was about 0:25 but when I noticed I was becoming careless I switched to the bus. Coming home, I always used the bus because any street available to me was heavily travelled, and the west wind was in my face.
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Old 07-16-12, 01:14 PM   #24
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I'd recommend a good headlight and taillight, even in the daytime. They don't have to be expensive, but they do need to be bright enough to be seen in the day. The classic Planet Bike Superflash is good on the rear.

I also recommend bright-colored clothing. Black and grey are popular but you want to stand out, especially as you approach intersections and have to deal with people turning right from your lane, and turning left against you.

And then... be gentle with yourself. Allow extra time on the first few runs. Also try some scouting runs to find alternative paths if there are any.

I retired before I got into bicycle commuting in a big way, but over the 16-mile route I used several times, my door-to-door time was quicker than taking a bus, even in the morning when traffic was light. The ride was about 1:15, bus about 1:25. Motorcycle was about 0:25 but when I noticed I was becoming careless I switched to the bus. Coming home, I always used the bus because any street available to me was heavily travelled, and the west wind was in my face.
Google estimates my route at about 1hr and 40mins, but I'm giving myself 2hrs to get there until I figure out just how fast I can get there without killing myself. Monday and Wednesday nights I have class, so I have yet to figure out the plan there.
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Old 07-16-12, 01:16 PM   #25
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Thanks for all the support. I'm thinking that the ride in Wednesday morning is going to be more tiring and/or more important to make sure I pack up correctly. So far my list is as follows:

-work clothes
-extra tubes
-allen wrenches
-adjustable wrench
-epi pen
-tire levers
-lunch
-water
-written directions
-helmet
-bug spray
-rain jacket
-sunglasses
-gloves
-lock
You need a pump or CO2. FWIW, I'm a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy when it comes to flats so I carry both CO2 and a pump, and both a spare tire and a patch kit. The first flat gets a new tube and CO2. The second and subsequent flats (yes, it's happened) get a patch and pump. If I've had multiple flats I'm probably going to be late anyway.
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