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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, 07:32 PM   #1
Ns1
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How do I become a "soul crusher" on my hybrid?

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Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
We have a guy that I call the "Soul Crusher". He rides a hybrid bike in jeans-shorts, a tee shirt and sneakers and passes me like I'm standing still. When he flies by me I use my best Don Cornealus voice and say Sooooooouuuul Crusher....
yeah I want to be that guy cuz I don't have the money to buy an n+1. So how do I get there?

Workout? Pedal more? Pedal harder? WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO IMPROVE THIS ENGINE!?!?
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Old 11-07-12, 07:44 PM   #2
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hehe.

I'll bite.

To increase your comfortable "cruising" pace, take a training approach similar to racers. You are essentially looking to increase your base average speed.
First, assess your current condition. If you are not in pretty good shape, concentrate on building base fitness before pushing it too much.

To step things up:
- Become comfortable riding at your anaerobic limit - sustained efforts, spinning (not mashing) in in a strong gear. Learn to like discomfort and find joy in it.
- do intervals at least 1-2 times per week. start with 10 minutes at 80-90% max heart rate with a 4 minute rest, spinning in an easy gear with little effort, repeat 2-5 times depending on overall fitness. Work to a 15 minute interval near max heart rate.
- do at least 2-3 longer rides with terrain per week. start with 30 miles then make these 40-60 miles. In warmer months, get an 80-100 mile weekend ride in at least twice a month.
- stretch
- get plenty of sleep
- eat well

A routine like that will yield a pretty steady increase in average "comfortable" pace.

Good luck!
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Old 11-07-12, 08:17 PM   #3
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Ride lots, and learn to spin a big gear...
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Old 11-07-12, 08:19 PM   #4
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Narrower tires. 25-28c tires. Practice mashing. Put it in a big gear and go as fast as possible. Then when you get around a corner, hide and pant like you're dying.
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Old 11-07-12, 09:22 PM   #5
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Old 11-07-12, 09:26 PM   #6
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Old 11-07-12, 09:38 PM   #7
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I have 24 speeds on my bike.

I usually roll around with 2-6 or 2-7 settings.

Are you guys saying I should bump that up to 2-8, or shift to something like 3-4?

(sorry I have no idea how to write about gears in proper cycling nomenclature)

Quote:
Narrower tires. 25-28c tires. Practice mashing. Put it in a big gear and go as fast as possible. Then when you get around a corner, hide and pant like you're dying.
I got 28c tires now and I DO pant like I'm dying. I don't understand the phrase "commuting is not a race"
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Old 11-07-12, 09:45 PM   #8
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Okay, though the answer will likely be work on the engine (you), what model of bike do you have? Sometimes the frame geometry will work against you no matter how much effort you put into pedaling it...
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Old 11-07-12, 09:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ns1 View Post
I have 24 speeds on my bike.

I usually roll around with 2-6 or 2-7 settings.

Are you guys saying I should bump that up to 2-8, or shift to something like 3-4?

(sorry I have no idea how to write about gears in proper cycling nomenclature)



I got 28c tires now and I DO pant like I'm dying. I don't understand the phrase "commuting is not a race"
Sorted.
1. Start attending local club rides, start with the "B" or "C" group. Get more comfortable with your bike and gear selections. Put some miles under you.
2. Start RACING. It sounds like this is what you want to do.

No offense intended, but how old are you?
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Old 11-07-12, 09:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ns1 View Post
yeah I want to be that guy cuz I don't have the money to buy an n+1. So how do I get there?

Workout? Pedal more? Pedal harder? WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO IMPROVE THIS ENGINE!?!?
Ride your bike a lot. Each time you do, go faster than you did before.
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Old 11-07-12, 09:53 PM   #11
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This probably goes without saying, but make sure that your tires are properly inflated.
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Old 11-07-12, 09:58 PM   #12
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Get one of those pointy helmets. If you can't afford one, strap a birthday party hat onto the back of your helmet to make it pointy.
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Old 11-07-12, 10:05 PM   #13
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Forget about trying to be the fastest guy on the block - there's only going to becone - which doesn't mean everyone else has to be misirable.
Get FATTER tires. Learn how to do wheelies, big air bunny hops, front wheel stands.
Just going fast gets boring fast. Look for terrain along the bike trail thats a bit more of a challenge.
It isn't the fastest guys that have a smile on their faces - its the guys having the most fun!
Which is why BMX has so much more appeal to the younger crowd than road bikes.
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Old 11-08-12, 08:24 AM   #14
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Mr. Bean shows how : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_9Xi1E016s

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Old 11-08-12, 11:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickey85 View Post
Narrower tires. 25-28c tires. Practice mashing. Put it in a big gear and go as fast as possible. Then when you get around a corner, hide and pant like you're dying.
Hmmm, I know somebody whos done this before
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Old 11-08-12, 11:26 AM   #16
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+1. If you can't lay your hands on this, spend more time climbing hills. Learn to love hills and embrace headwinds.
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Old 11-08-12, 11:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ns1 View Post
I have 24 speeds on my bike.

Are you guys saying I should bump that up to 2-8, or shift to something like 3-4?
Yup. When I first started commuting, I often used "1" or the smallest chain ring to go up hills. Over a year later, and my goal is to stay in the 3rd chain ring the entire way, with a sustained average speed higher than the day before. Also, set goals as to which gears you "won't" shift into, to purposely make it harder on yourself.

Do this for several months and you'll be soul crushing a lot of people, but you'll still have those epic cyclists who'll pass you on a fixie. Just takes time.

Oh yeah, make sure you eat carbs the night before you ride. It helps a lot.
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Old 11-08-12, 11:35 AM   #18
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-Narrower, higher pressure tires. Lighter performance tires without flat-resistant layers will gerenally have less rolling resistance, but are more likely to get flats.
-Bar-ends or other type of bars that allow multiple hand positions - 'trekking' bars, or clip-on aero bars are good too. Generally you want a more upright climbing or traffic riding position, a middle position, and a more stretched out aerodynamic position. Switching between the positions frequently allows you to avoid fatigue and train longer and more effectively, and an aero position helps you ride more efficiently when you are cruising fast enough that a reduction in aerodynamic drag makes a big difference.
-Learn to spin your pedals at higher RPM.
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Old 11-08-12, 12:37 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by joshuatrio View Post
Yup. When I first started commuting, I often used "1" or the smallest chain ring to go up hills. Over a year later, and my goal is to stay in the 3rd chain ring the entire way, with a sustained average speed higher than the day before. Also, set goals as to which gears you "won't" shift into, to purposely make it harder on yourself.

Do this for several months and you'll be soul crushing a lot of people, but you'll still have those epic cyclists who'll pass you on a fixie. Just takes time.

Oh yeah, make sure you eat carbs the night before you ride. It helps a lot.
Thanks. I'll try the 3rd chainring and see how that goes. My avg rolling speed has gone up by ~4mph since I started tracking my speed.

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Originally Posted by canyoneagle View Post
Sorted.
1. Start attending local club rides, start with the "B" or "C" group. Get more comfortable with your bike and gear selections. Put some miles under you.
2. Start RACING. It sounds like this is what you want to do.

No offense intended, but how old are you?
29. I have links to local bikepolo clubs and I'm fairly close to the Encino velodrome. I'm gonna look into racing when I have more money.

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Okay, though the answer will likely be work on the engine (you), what model of bike do you have? Sometimes the frame geometry will work against you no matter how much effort you put into pedaling it...
Bianchi Boardwalk. Currently @ ~14-16mph rolling, top speed ~26mph. I can only sustain this pace for 3 miles though
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Old 11-08-12, 01:00 PM   #20
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Bianchi Boardwalk. Currently @ ~14-16mph rolling, top speed ~26mph. I can only sustain this pace for 3 miles though
Nice bike. Swap your tires out from the 700x32's to something smaller. You may like the Panaracer Stradius Sports @ 700x26 (only $20/piece) - you're rolling speed and top speed will jump tremendously.

Is your top speed downhill?
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Old 11-08-12, 01:05 PM   #21
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Your top speed is not limited by your bike - I ran the stoc Bianchi Boardwalk specs into Sheldon Brown's Gear Calculator, and if you are maxing out at 26 mph, you are maintaining less than 80 RPM at the pedals. If you could train your legs to spin at 100 rpm (a pretty standard target for performance cycling) your top speed would be 35 mph... if you can maintain that for 3 miles then you will wind up in the olympics.
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Old 11-08-12, 01:15 PM   #22
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Just keep riding. I only started commuting by bike consistently this summer, 5 miles each way. Downhill to get to work, uphill to get home. I would get passed up pretty often the first month (June) on the uphill ride home, no matter how hard I pushed myself. My commuting bike is the cheapest, crappiest, heaviest (~29lb) steel fixed gear bike ever, with wide 700x40c commuter tires, heavy thorn-resistant tubes, and Mr Tuffy tire liners. Pretty much everything is the exact opposite of what you're supposed to have to go fast.

But I just kept pushing myself, and now I'm that guy who passes almost everyone on the commute. After only 5 months of commuting 50 miles per week plus an occasional longer weekend ride... totally transformed me into being able to sustain a much higher average speed uphill. Didn't do anything special, just kept riding and pushing myself. I'm sure I'm still not in any shape to actually race, but I can't remember the last time I got passed on my commute, and it feels easier every time.

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Old 11-08-12, 01:59 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ns1 View Post
I have 24 speeds on my bike.

I usually roll around with 2-6 or 2-7 settings.

Are you guys saying I should bump that up to 2-8, or shift to something like 3-4?

(sorry I have no idea how to write about gears in proper cycling nomenclature)



I got 28c tires now and I DO pant like I'm dying. I don't understand the phrase "commuting is not a race"
Use the number of teeth, front (chainring) x back (cassette). For example, on my standard road bike set up, I have 53t and 39t chainring up front and 12-25 cassette in back. So, my biggest gear is 53x12, my smallest gear is 39x25, and everything else in the middle. But I can guarantee you, you don't need bigger gears or skinnier tires so much as you need to learn how to spin the pedals faster.

Last edited by caloso; 11-08-12 at 02:02 PM. Reason: changed pronouns
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Old 11-08-12, 01:59 PM   #24
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Spin out that 53:11..
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Old 11-08-12, 02:15 PM   #25
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Good thread!

I've found my speed increasing steadily with just riding to work every day. It doesn't feel any easier, but I'm now consistently in 3-5 or 2-6 on flat and 3-6/3-7/3-8 downhill, and can stay in 2-3 uphill as long as the hill doesn't last very long (then I'll drop to 1-3 or 1-2). This is a 24-speed Trek FX 7500 hybrid. I don't know the gear ratios. My average speed has gone from about 12.5mph to 15mph over the past few months.

I have found that the key is to pick a few days to really push things, and then take some days off. My schedule is usually Tuesday push it, Wednesday, Thursday comfortable pace, Friday push it, and then take the weekend off. I play in a roller hockey league on Sundays, so my legs get a nice workout - that's why I rest on Monday.

Remember to stretch after riding, and don't push it too hard right away, i.e. let your legs get warmed up first. Eat plenty of protein and limit empty calories (soda, cookies, etc.).
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