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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 11-07-12, 10:44 AM   #1
joshuatrio
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Road Bike Envy

Ok - I've suffered from road bike envy before, but it's really bad this time.

My co-worker and I biked home the other night together. He has an arsenal of 3 bikes - two hybrids, and road bike (brand new Specialized Allez). When he's riding his hybrids, I can easily pass him and put some distance between us. However, last night he was on his road bike, and it felt like I was riding with Lance Armstrong.

Depending on which path I take, my average speed will run anywhere between 18-22mph on flat(ish) surfaces. When I rode in front, that's about what I averaged, however, when he rode in front - the average speed went up to like 25+mph. The only reason I could keep up was because I was drafting him like crazy. What gives !??!?

I ride a 2011 Sirrus Elite - with tires upgraded from 700x28's to 700x26's, and different pedals which has helped my overall average speed and top speed tremendously. He's running 700x23's and general road bike geometry.

Do I just need to man up and ride harder? Or is it time to buy a road bike and spandex just to keep up with Lance?

One last thought - I always love annihilating roadies on the commute in to work. Especially the ones that are all superman'd/spandex'd out with full carbon everything. I generally ride in an old sweatshirt/gym shorts/big backpack. By switching gears and going all road - is that going start sucking the fun out of commuting - because it will be an all out race?

All input appreciated.
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Old 11-07-12, 10:52 AM   #2
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By switching gears and going all road - is that going start sucking the fun out of commuting - because it will be an all out race?
Being on a bike is always fun for me, no matter which bike I use.
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Old 11-07-12, 10:54 AM   #3
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you should turn pro.
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Old 11-07-12, 10:56 AM   #4
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you should turn pro.
Bad idea, everybody will think he's doped
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Old 11-07-12, 11:00 AM   #5
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N+1 is always recommended .. new bike shopping is fun!
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Old 11-07-12, 11:08 AM   #6
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you should turn pro.
Yeah right. Those average speeds were primarily for flat surfaces - or slight inclines. Declines, we hauled though.

Upgrading tires (from 28's to 26's) took my top speed (downhill) from 34.8mph to 38.34. "Lance" on his road bike pulled 40.9mph on the same downhill that I max out at 38.34mph.

Plus the commute is no longer than 10.5 miles one way. I can afford to go all out for that short of a distance.
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Old 11-07-12, 11:13 AM   #7
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Bad idea, everybody will think he's doped
There's one guy on the bike trail who rides a beater road bike form the 80's, with toe straps. His calves are the size of watermelons and he rides by me almost daily like I'm standing still. It's insane - I don't even try keeping up with him... Which is part of the reason I want to refrain from upgrading. Ultimately, it's the rider, not the bike - responsible for performance. I'd hate to be a spandex'd/superman/logo'd out rider, riding a road bike with 1,000,000,000 different logo's on it - when some dude could come along and pass me on a fixie. lol.
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Old 11-07-12, 11:15 AM   #8
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there's always someone faster. if you buy your bikes with that frame of mind, we should all be commuting on beach cruisers.
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Old 11-07-12, 11:24 AM   #9
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you should turn pro.
Funny! Good one!
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Old 11-07-12, 11:32 AM   #10
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I'd hate to be a spandex'd/superman/logo'd out rider, riding a road bike with 1,000,000,000 different logo's on it - when some dude could come along and pass me on a fixie. lol.
I know what you mean, that's how I felt until this last summer when I finally tried the full kit. I look ridiculus at 215 lbs on my road bike, averaging speeds 20-22 mph (30-35 km/h). But I discovered that it's called cycling short and cycling shirt for a reason: it's a lot more comfortable on a bike than regular clothing. So I stopped worrying about what others think about my appearance and I'm having more fun on my bike.
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Old 11-07-12, 11:34 AM   #11
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Old 11-07-12, 11:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by joshuatrio View Post
Ok - I've suffered from road bike envy before, but it's really bad this time.

My co-worker and I biked home the other night together. He has an arsenal of 3 bikes - two hybrids, and road bike (brand new Specialized Allez). When he's riding his hybrids, I can easily pass him and put some distance between us. However, last night he was on his road bike, and it felt like I was riding with Lance Armstrong.

Depending on which path I take, my average speed will run anywhere between 18-22mph on flat(ish) surfaces. When I rode in front, that's about what I averaged, however, when he rode in front - the average speed went up to like 25+mph. The only reason I could keep up was because I was drafting him like crazy. What gives !??!?

I ride a 2011 Sirrus Elite - with tires upgraded from 700x28's to 700x26's, and different pedals which has helped my overall average speed and top speed tremendously. He's running 700x23's and general road bike geometry.

Do I just need to man up and ride harder? Or is it time to buy a road bike and spandex just to keep up with Lance?

One last thought - I always love annihilating roadies on the commute in to work. Especially the ones that are all superman'd/spandex'd out with full carbon everything. I generally ride in an old sweatshirt/gym shorts/big backpack. By switching gears and going all road - is that going start sucking the fun out of commuting - because it will be an all out race?

All input appreciated.
How often do you ride with this guy really? 1 of 3 bikes is fast of his... and you don't like that he's faster then you for once? It'd be most impressive if you'd just HTFU and beat him on the Sirrus Elite.
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Old 11-07-12, 11:40 AM   #13
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Old 11-07-12, 12:02 PM   #14
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How often do you ride with this guy really? 1 of 3 bikes is fast of his... and you don't like that he's faster then you for once? It'd be most impressive if you'd just HTFU and beat him on the Sirrus Elite.
Usually ride with this guy once a week. It's always been friendly competition between us for over a year. Yesterday was the first day I rode with him while he was on the Allez.

It blew my mind how much faster he was once he moved over to a full fledged road bike. I don't mind that he's faster - but I'd like to be able to average the same type of speeds that he's able to, and I'm wondering if a road bike is really the answer - or if I'm just being a materialistic bike commuter.. lol.

Like I said, maybe I just need to man up, and go all out - but it sure seemed like a lot less effort for him to push that Allez..

Last edited by joshuatrio; 11-07-12 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 11-07-12, 12:07 PM   #15
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What's your overall average speed on your 10mi commute because that's what will make a big diffence.
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Old 11-07-12, 12:15 PM   #16
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Usually ride with this guy once a week. It's always been friendly competition between us for over a year. Yesterday was the first day I rode with him while he was on the Allez.

It blew my mind how much faster he was once he moved over to a full fledged road bike. I don't mind that he's faster - but I'd like to be able to average the same type of speeds that he's able to, and I'm wondering if a road bike is really the answer - or if I'm just being a materialistic bike commuter.. lol.

Like I said, maybe I just need to man up, and go all out - but it sure seemed like a lot less effort for him to push that Allez..
It is, I went from touring and entry level road bikes to a real vintage road bike this year... I've even considered slimming down from 23's to get even faster.. the geometry and components make it like night and day, that said I still occasionally get passed by a guy on a loaded touring bike that flies past me like lightning.. you just gotta pick which way you're gonna go.
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Old 11-07-12, 12:27 PM   #17
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Old 11-07-12, 12:27 PM   #18
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What's your overall average speed on your 10mi commute because that's what will make a big diffence.
I can usually average 18-19mph over 10.5 miles going the route we went yesterday on my Sirrus.

Flats/slight incline/slight decline - 18-22mph.

Downhill best max is 38.34mph.

If I take a really hilly route - mostly uphill - my average over 9 miles is 15.24mph.

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It is, I went from touring and entry level road bikes to a real vintage road bike this year... I've even considered slimming down from 23's to get even faster.. the geometry and components make it like night and day, that said I still occasionally get passed by a guy on a loaded touring bike that flies past me like lightning.. you just gotta pick which way you're gonna go.
Nice - so I guess the bike really can make a difference.

I've considered going down to a 23, but staying at 26 keeps the tubes on my bike interchangeable with my wife's who currently runs a 32. Kinda nice.

Also, just noticed that his chain ring is 50/34, while mine is 48/38/28 - which would explain why he is able to get a higher top speed (not to mention aerodynamics), and why his pedaling seems more effortless at higher speeds.

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Old 11-07-12, 12:30 PM   #19
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I can usually average 18-19mph over 10.5 miles going the route we went yesterday on my Sirrus.

Flats/slight incline/slight decline - 18-22mph.

Downhill best max is 38.34mph.

If I take a really hilly route - mostly uphill - my average over 9 miles is 15.24mph.
So are these your overall average speeds or just cruising speeds?
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Old 11-07-12, 12:39 PM   #20
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Wind is going to be your biggest enemy over 15mph. Tires not so much. You need drops if you want to keep over 20mph. I can ride 25mph solo over long distances, but I gotta be aero to do that alone. 20mph is a very fast clip for commuting. If you can hold 25 with nothing pushing you (no drafting, tailwind, downhill) you are in shape to race.
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Old 11-07-12, 12:40 PM   #21
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So are these your overall average speeds or just cruising speeds?
According to the bike computer:

Route 1 (10.5 miles) average speed over the entire trip is between 18-19mph.

Route 2 (9 miles, mostly uphill) average speed over the entire trip is 15.24mph.

On flats/slight inclines/declines, I have no problem pulling well over 20mph. But the above figures are the averages over the entire duration of the commute. Sorry if I wasn't clear before.

Last edited by joshuatrio; 11-07-12 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 11-07-12, 12:43 PM   #22
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Old 11-07-12, 12:44 PM   #23
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According to the bike computer:

Route 1 (10.5 miles) average speed over the entire trip is between 18-19mph.

Route 2 (9 miles, mostly uphill) average speed over the entire trip is 15.24mph.
Is this totaling in stops and slows? I.E. Traffic and lights/signs?
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Old 11-07-12, 12:52 PM   #24
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According to the bike computer:

Route 1 (10.5 miles) average speed over the entire trip is between 18-19mph.

Route 2 (9 miles, mostly uphill) average speed over the entire trip is 15.24mph.

On flats/slight inclines/declines, I have no problem pulling well over 20mph. But the above figures are the averages over the entire duration of the commute. Sorry if I wasn't clear before.
That's pretty impressive on a hybrid, on my semi hilly 8mi commute I averaged 17-18mph on my singlespeed converted road bike with a 42/17 gearing setup. I'm sure with a lighter bike you'll do just fine keeping up with him. Is a road bike necessarily? Well that's up to you and what you prefer for comfort.
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Old 11-07-12, 12:53 PM   #25
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Is this totaling in stops and slows? I.E. Traffic and lights/signs?
Yes. It's exactly what I get off of the computer from beginning to the end of a trip.

Route 1 has about 6 lights total, 3 miles in light traffic, 7.5 on a dedicated bike path. Much flatter.

Route 2 is mostly uphill, sharing the road with cars, cutting/pushing through several blocked off roads, about 4-6 stop signs, and 6(ish) pretty lengthy lights which I usually catch 2-3 regularly.

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