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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 05-24-13, 08:42 PM   #1
parkersdad
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My First Commute Went Very Well

I got my bike last week and after a tune up and some new accessories I rode for the first time to work. It is six miles each way and it took me 27 minutes to and from. I am riding a Giant FCR 3 with 28mm tires. I had no crazy car stories and it was cool riding through the country side in the fog and hearing the birds and horses rumbling about. Anyway I can't wait to start riding every day and getting into better shape.
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Old 05-24-13, 08:43 PM   #2
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Old 05-24-13, 09:01 PM   #3
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Sweet.
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Old 05-24-13, 10:01 PM   #4
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Keep on!
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Old 05-25-13, 07:12 AM   #5
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I am putting a new saddle on this morning. I also put on a head light and a back flasher. I will have her right soon.
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Old 05-25-13, 08:00 AM   #6
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I got my bike last week and after a tune up and some new accessories I rode for the first time to work. It is six miles each way and it took me 27 minutes to and from. I am riding a Giant FCR 3 with 28mm tires. I had no crazy car stories and it was cool riding through the country side in the fog and hearing the birds and horses rumbling about. Anyway I can't wait to start riding every day and getting into better shape.
That is decent time for a new rider. Soon you will be finding the trip too short!

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Old 05-25-13, 08:28 AM   #7
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Right on.
Ride a lot. Have fun.
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Old 05-25-13, 09:17 AM   #8
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Congrats! Keep it up!
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Old 05-25-13, 10:59 AM   #9
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I am putting a new saddle on this morning. I also put on a head light and a back flasher. I will have her right soon.
Welcome! ^^^this is only the beginning. You'll think you're saving money by not driving, but I think a lot of us have sunk our gas savings and more into our bikes. Then there's N+1...
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Old 05-25-13, 11:12 AM   #10
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Welcome! ^^^this is only the beginning. You'll think you're saving money by not driving, but I think a lot of us have sunk our gas savings and more into our bikes. Then there's N+1...
Huh? When I look at the cost of a car, gas, maintenance, insurance compared to the cost of my bicycle and an occasional tube/tire I find it hard to spend comparable money on extraneous bike stuff like my glow light or similar. I can truly indulge and spend nothing like what a car demands.
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Old 05-26-13, 06:31 AM   #11
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Thanks for the interest. What is a good time for six miles? That's leg is up hill for a while.
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Old 05-26-13, 06:43 AM   #12
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Thanks for the interest. What is a good time for six miles? That's leg is up hill for a while.
I was watching the Giro on T.V. yesterday and your time is terrible, very slow compare to those guys...
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Old 05-26-13, 07:35 AM   #13
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Thanks for the interest. What is a good time for six miles? That's leg is up hill for a while.
20 minutes is an average speed of 18 mph. That's a good goal for that distance. I usually average 18 mph for my 15 mile each way commute. However, I can ride without stopping or even slowing down much. With lights and traffic, the avg would drop a bit.
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Old 05-27-13, 07:02 PM   #14
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20 minutes is an average speed of 18 mph. That's a good goal for that distance. I usually average 18 mph for my 15 mile each way commute. However, I can ride without stopping or even slowing down much. With lights and traffic, the avg would drop a bit.
Are we including steep hills. I have a very long steep grade each way.
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Old 05-27-13, 07:07 PM   #15
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Thanks for the interest. What is a good time for six miles? That's leg is up hill for a while.
Congrats on getting started, that's the hardest thing for me it getting out the door in the morning.

As a newbie to bicycles, I can tell you that time isn't all that relevant at this stage. Just concentrate on good pedaling technique and watching those road hazards. In addition to the lights, a set of mirrors is a good investment if you don't have them already. Congrats, let us know how you are progressing.
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Old 05-28-13, 07:18 AM   #16
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You averaged 13.3mph; that's a good speed. I've been going almost a year and average 14.8mph on non-windy days. My route does have a few big hills that slow me down. On flat ground with no wind, I can sustain 18-22mph pretty easily after 9 months of riding.

Don't worry about speed for now. Just keep riding!
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Old 05-28-13, 08:31 AM   #17
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After 43 years of commuting by bike (and I still haven't gotten to work yet!) I have to say I like these first commute stories best.

You get major kudos for taking in the scenery and the feel of your first ride. Kinda makes you wonder why everybody isn't doing it. Or as my wife says, "When I bike to work its like being on vacation every morning and every night on the way home!"

It's also cool that you're thinking about how fast you went and how much faster you might be able to go. While you may not want to make that the focus of your commuting ride it can be a good motivator. The speed you go, however, is relative to many things (so comparing your speed to others on BF's might not be helpful and/or encouraging):

1) Aerodynamics. Drop handlebars, tight fitting clothing, elbows closer to the body, whether the wind is in your favor or against you etc all make a substantial difference. Even with a flat/upright handlebar you can get more aerodynamic by bringing your hands closer to the center of the bar (but only do this when you won't need to brake suddenly) and lowering your torso into more of a tuck like position.

2) Rolling resistance. Wider tires will be slower especially if they run a lower air pressure. "Knobby" mountain bike-like tires will be slower than smooth. And any tire will be slower if it is under inflated. For smooth road riding you'll usually want your tire to be pumped to the maximum pressure on the side wall. For rougher roads a little less, not much less, but a little less may be preferred. I worked in bike shops for many years and as part of a tune up we always brought the tires up to pressure. 90% of the time people's tires were way under inflated. It used to crack us up when they would take it for a little test ride after the tune up and come back into shop exclaiming how the tune up was worth it because the bike was so much faster- it was just the air in the tires.

3) Weight. How much stuff are you carrying with you? Most of us who commute regularly bring at least a little tool kit and tube, pump for changing a flat, then a lock, maybe a change of clothes. A full water bottle? And how are you carrying it? If its on your back in a back pack it will fatigue you on a longer commute but for short commutes of 15 minutes or so won't make all that much difference. Panniers, milk crates, baskets, "trunk racks" are all options to shift the weight bearing to the bike rather than your body but will affect the aerodynamics. And the weight of your shoes makes a difference because they're spinning around about 90 times per minute (ideally on level ground). And finally, your own body weight. If you need to lose a few pounds bike commuting is one of the best most "natural" ways of doing it. And you'll feel and be faster as the pounds fall away. And the place you will most feel the weight and it will affect you is on the hills. A really steep hill can drop your speed to almost walking/jogging speed! 6 mph or so.

4) The Rider's Fitness. The more you ride the faster you get, the faster you get the more you'll ride and it goes on and on like that as you get more and more hooked on bike commuting. Learn to "spin" the pedals rather than "mash" or "grind" them. Often new riders think that they'll build cycling strength by pushing the higher/harder gears with more resistance. Actually, almost the opposite is true. Work on spinning your legs as fast as you can- really about 90 rpms on flat ground as mentioned above. Even uphill your spinning speed should be relatively fast. Eventually you'll start to get stronger and need to gear up because it now feels too "easy" to pedal 90 rpms so you have to shift up and suddenly you're pedaling 90 rpms in a higher gear you couldn't before, which translates into more speed. A cycling specific shoe and cleat will make your foot position more specific and allow for some pull on the upward pedal stroke.

5) the Bike's Fitness: does the bike fit you properly? seat height ( a rough measurement being the crank at 6 o'clock and with the heel of a flat soled shoe placed on the middle of the pedal your leg should be straight with just a touch of bend possible in the knee). If you're unsure of how to fit your bike stop by a good shop and get advice. And make sure the bike is well maintained. A lubricated chain without gunk or grit, brakes not rubbing the rim or disc but working, wheels "trued" (not wobbly), tires to pressure, no loose components, shifts properly and you are set to go!!

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Old 05-28-13, 09:39 AM   #18
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After 43 years of commuting by bike (and I still haven't gotten to work yet!) I have to say I like these first commute stories best.

You get major kudos for taking in the scenery and the feel of your first ride. Kinda makes you wonder why everybody isn't doing it. Or as my wife says, "When I bike to work its like being on vacation every morning and every night on the way home!"

It's also cool that you're thinking about how fast you went and how much faster you might be able to go. While you may not want to make that the focus of your commuting ride it can be a good motivator. The speed you go, however, is relative to many things (so comparing your speed to others on BF's might not be helpful and/or encouraging):
......clip
EXCELLENT POST. well written and clearly written.
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Old 05-28-13, 09:40 AM   #19
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sounds like a nice daily commute distance! be safe
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Old 05-28-13, 09:47 AM   #20
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I am having fun with it. I made it in 26 minutes this morning. I did learn though that they are closing a bridge in two weeks to my commute will jump up about 2 miles. Oh well just new scenery. I am about to eat lunch and all I can think about is my ride home. This is great. I never felt that way about running.
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Old 05-28-13, 09:53 AM   #21
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Thanks for the interest. What is a good time for six miles? That's leg is up hill for a while.
A good time is better than your existing time.

For me, six miles would take me about thirty to forty minutes. I'm fat and average anywhere from 10-12mph on my commutes. I also commute through downtown Denver with lots of stop lights. As long as I get to work on time though, I don't care.
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Old 05-28-13, 11:13 AM   #22
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... I am about to eat lunch and all I can think about is my ride home. This is great. I never felt that way about running.

Ha, ha! You are totally hooked. Welcome to the club!
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