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  1. #276
    MTWThFMuter Jeprox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeR
    I was thinking more of truing the front wheel while on the bike. Maybe weight the back wheel so the front is in the air?
    That might work

  2. #277
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    Well, I consider myself a commuter now. I made it a week. I'm looking forward to continuing this. =)

    I read this whole thread a few times before I started, and now I think I have two things to add.


    1.) FIT, FIT, FIT!

    I don't mean you need to go pay your LBS $200 to tell you where your bars should be (although it's probably not a BAD idea, mind you) but make sure your saddle is in the right place, and you're comfortable riding. I didn't for the first few days, and then I fixed it. OMG what a difference.

    I guess if you're a cyclist who's just starting to commute, this is a no brainer, but for people like me who got a bike TO commute, well, it was amazing the difference.

    and

    2.) Timing is everything.

    I didn't like how crowded the train was, so I tried taking off an hour earlier to catch the previous train. Before 7, where I live, the streets are (reletivley speaking) empty. My commute went from being a battle zone where the winner stays alive, to a nice pleasure ride where I saw maybe 20 cars passing me in my lane the whole way, on major arteries.

    So take some time to play around with your schedule, and your route might get alot nicer.

    anyway, thanks again to everyone on here for helping me out. I'm really liking this and hope to actually regain some level of cardio from my commute. =)

    -- James
    It is easy to win an argument, but the greater reward is to win an ally.

  3. #278
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by einv
    the vehicular credo is to drive your bike as though it were a vehicle, following the rules of a vehicle. i think this is the single most dangerous thing that caused my accident, because i assumed a person who stared straight at you, and who was waiting at a stop sign, therefore wanted you to pass in keeping with your status as a vehicle.
    Yes, the vehicular credo is to drive your bike as though it were a vehicle, not as if it were a car.

    In particular, most of the advice in the motorcyclist's driver's manual applies to bicyclists, including not assuming people stopped at stop signs looking right at you see you. That's standard (motorcycle) vehicular stuff.

  4. #279
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nakedsushi
    I don't see it too often around here in LA but in China, it seems like the default way people get onto a bicycle. It looks like they're running next to their bike and pushing it and all of a sudden, they step one foot on the pedal and next thing you know they're sitting on the bike and pedaling at a higher speed than if they were just to straddle the bike and start from a stop there.
    Here is how I do it anyway:

    1) Stand on the left of the bike, with the left pedal at about 10 o'clock position (if you face it from where you're standing). If you have gears, somewhere in the middle of the range will probably work best (closer to the higher range on lower geared bikes such as mtbs).

    2) Run with the bike.

    3) After the desired number of steps, push off with the right foot, and instead of putting the left foot on the ground, put it onto the left pedal.

    4) The pedal will be pushed down, propelling the bike forward. As this is happening, swing the right leg over the saddle, find the right pedal with the right foot, and start pedalling away.

    However, a method I prefer is like this: have the left pedal in the lowest position, put the left foot onto the pedal, give a push or two with the right foot and as the bike picks up a little bit of speed, swing the right foot over the saddle and get going. Famous Sheldon Brown doesn't recommend either of those methods though, since, according to him, they put too much sideways stress on the wheels and too much strain on the drivetrain or something to that effect. Anyway, the time savings seem to be pretty insignificant as compared to mounting a stopped bicycle, since most people don't get on and off the bike that often on any given day. You'll save a lot more time by practicing tying your shoelaces faster or shaving a few seconds off your bike locking routine than by mastering the running mount.

  5. #280
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    Is it true they want to start charging commuters road tax?! Or is this just me getting incredibly confused

    G

  6. #281
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    My girlfriend and I were out "yard Sale-ing" recently and came across a womans 1980s Murray 3 Spd in mint cond. She really likes the look of it. The asking price was $80. Can someone tell me if that is a resonable price? I know the bikes were off the shelf and pretty inexpensive. Similar to the Huffy. I've tried doing some research on the Murray line and havent been able to come up with much.

    Thanks,
    Steven

  7. #282
    v. 2.0 purplebike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevobevo123
    My girlfriend and I were out "yard Sale-ing" recently and came across a womans 1980s Murray 3 Spd in mint cond. She really likes the look of it. The asking price was $80. Can someone tell me if that is a resonable price? I know the bikes were off the shelf and pretty inexpensive. Similar to the Huffy. I've tried doing some research on the Murray line and havent been able to come up with much.

    Thanks,
    Steven

    $80 for a complete bike in mint condition? BUY IT. Seriously. You might need to do a few things to it, but 1980s Huffy's aren't too bad & $80 is a steal.

  8. #283
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    She wants a vintage look minus the slow,heavy single gear cruiser. The Murray has a pretty sweet look to it. I ride a fixed gear and she wants something she can ride that isnt too aggresive but can still keep pace with me. Her cruiser just isnt cuttin it. I think the Murray will soon have new ownership. Thanks! I'll post a pic or two if and when we get it so you can take a looksy!

  9. #284
    By Necessity. RDRomano's Avatar
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    OK, here's a commute question. I bought a Kona Dew Deluxe to commute on, and i let them sell me everything: Brooks, rear rack/panniers, a nice-ish light and a couple of red blinkies, little bell, and fenders. Also padded shorts. I paid the $200 for the ultra-high-end fitting (they gave me back half of that when I got the bike.)

    I hate it. It's supposed to be really an easy riding position, and I suppose that compared to a straight-up road bike, it is. I was told I'd get used to it as I got some conditioning. Not so much. I've commuted 4.5 miles one way for 5 weeks now, and it's a chore, rather than being anything I look forward to.

    My girl has a 30 mile freeway commute, but wants to get a low-stress comfort bike to have some recreation/weekend down time with me. She has her eye on a 7-speed Townie. I'm wondering if I ought to get rid of the Kona and get another Electra with her.

    I don't use half my gears anyway; 7 should be enough to commute on. It wouldn't weigh any more than my Kona (30# either way).We might be able to have an actual conversation when we ride, and as opposed to being hunched over, sucking wind, and sitting on my nads, I could be sitting on my actual rear end.

    I dunno. Some have advised me against it, but I can't tell where good advice stops and bike snobbery begins. Could use a little help.
    Thanks.
    --Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer, whose brother is a district judge, once observed that, "The role of a district judge is to decide quickly, wisely, and fairly. This is not to say that the role of an appellate judge is to decide slowly, foolishly, and unfairly, for that would usurp the function of the Supreme Court."

  10. #285
    MTWThFMuter Jeprox's Avatar
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    Would this make sense?

    If the weight was on me, say, my backpack, and I was going uphill, I stand on the pedals, all this weight pushes down on the pedals aids me on my climb.
    If the weight was on the bike, say panniers, and I was going uphill, I stand on the pedals, I will have a harder time propelling the bike uphill.

    Agree?

  11. #286
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    RDRomano, have you used the search function for the Townie or Electra thread? It has lots of good descriptions of various owners' experiences. Also, you might be able to email them privately for advice?

  12. #287
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    Tip: Pace yourself so you can ride more days. Don't go gang busters, dangerously time-trialing against every rider you see...and then be so sore and stiff that you can't ride the rest of the week. Remember that when racers 'do the course' there's traffic control behind the scenes to hold back the cars for a safer ride. You don't have that luxury.

    Like HH said, when you drive, you don't race every car, in biking it's the same. Set your course, arrive alive.

  13. #288
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeprox
    Would this make sense?

    If the weight was on me, say, my backpack, and I was going uphill, I stand on the pedals, all this weight pushes down on the pedals aids me on my climb.
    If the weight was on the bike, say panniers, and I was going uphill, I stand on the pedals, I will have a harder time propelling the bike uphill.

    Agree?
    Disagree. If the weight is on you, theoretically it could help w/ your downstroke, hurts w/ your upstroke. Not an issue, I guess, w/ platform pedals. If the weight is on the bike, it's consistent going up hill, and downhill.

    Personally I think weight on panniers is better for standing out of the saddle, 'cause it lowers your bike's center of gravity.

    It's possible that weight location vanishes next to the aerodynamic effect of bag shape/volume, but that might only matter >20 mph, not likely an issue when climbing.

  14. #289
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDRomano
    I hate it. It's supposed to be really an easy riding position, and I suppose that compared to a straight-up road bike, it is. I was told I'd get used to it as I got some conditioning. Not so much. I've commuted 4.5 miles one way for 5 weeks now, and it's a chore, rather than being anything I look forward to.
    3 yrs later I find that I am in great shape, but I know that's not easy to schedule for... What is the chore part? Pedalling too hard, uncomfortable seating? Both?

    I don't use half my gears anyway; 7 should be enough to commute on.
    Which half don't you use? Top? Bottom? Middle?

    It wouldn't weigh any more than my Kona (30# either way).We might be able to have an actual conversation when we ride, and as opposed to being hunched over, sucking wind, and sitting on my nads, I could be sitting on my actual rear end.

    I dunno. Some have advised me against it, but I can't tell where good advice stops and bike snobbery begins. Could use a little help.
    Thanks.
    Is it mostly the sitting position that is a problem? You could push the seat forward and down, bring the bars back and in (shorter stem, or flip the stem if it's flipped to extend it), sit more upright, and focus on spinning low gears. That would get you sitting more upright, exerting less muscle power, *and* building cardio so you would pretty soon be able to chat at travel speed.

    If you're really early in and you hate it, maybe dropping the bike is the way to go, you don't want to get scarred by it.

    Does the townie have a gearhub? I like the concept of the explicitly non-performance bike, but when my eyes wander that way, they settle on a breezer w/ a gearhub.
    Last edited by HardyWeinberg; 05-05-07 at 10:05 AM.

  15. #290
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeprox
    Would this make sense?

    If the weight was on me, say, my backpack, and I was going uphill, I stand on the pedals, all this weight pushes down on the pedals aids me on my climb.
    If the weight was on the bike, say panniers, and I was going uphill, I stand on the pedals, I will have a harder time propelling the bike uphill.

    Agree?
    if the bike motion is regarded in totality, then no. this is because your acceleration is force applied divided by the total mass, regardless of how that mass is distributed. so your average acceleration will be the same.

    now, there are several effects that arise from the bike's not being just a point mass. for example, the tires are compressible, and separated by a length. this gives the bike a slight rotation (pitch) about an axis perpendicular to the wheels when you make the pumping action while standing up. you can try an experiment whereby you repeat the pumping motion for various levels of deflation of the tires. you will find that the pitch-reinforced pumping increases as the tire deflation increases.

    since rotational inertia is governed by the distribution of mass on the bike the further you have your weights away from you, the better this hobby horse motion.

    does this pitch motion increase your acceleration or decrease it? on steep hills, it can actually increase your acceleration and stability, while on downgrades, it can cause you to become unstable. but then people rarely pump pedals standing up on downgrades, and tires are usually well inflated anyhow.

    (additionally many bikes have shock absorbers, which create a slighltly different sort of pumping effect, similar to the resonance pumping of a playground swing to make you swing with higher amplitude. )
    Last edited by einv; 05-07-07 at 11:36 AM.

  16. #291
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDRomano
    OK, here's a commute question. I bought a Kona Dew Deluxe to commute on, ...

    I hate it. It's supposed to be really an easy riding position, and I suppose that compared to a straight-up road bike, it is. I was told I'd get used to it as I got some conditioning. Not so much. I've commuted 4.5 miles one way for 5 weeks now, and it's a chore, rather than being anything I look forward to.

    .... Could use a little help.
    Thanks.
    I've only just started commuting myself. Here's a couple of things that resonate from your story.

    1) Condition is a relative. I needed much more time than 5 weeks for it to become a joy. I've been commuting about the same distance as you, but both ways for about ten months. I thought I was ok fitness-wise when I started. Looking back now, that's laughable. Early on it was a struggle. I'd sit there puffing and panting and sweating at traffic lights while other riders were calmly chatting away. And my legs were sore, all the time. Fortunately, I met a guy one morning who rides 14 or so miles each way. He said it stopped hurting for him after 6 or so weeks. Mine stopped at 10, then started again. I can't recall when they fnally stopped. Now? My commute's an absolute blast! Keep it up, 5 weeks is nothing in the big scheme of things. And I can prattle away when I'm riding with others.

    2) Good bike fit is -
    a) paramount: I started on an mtb that was/is too small for me. The result? sore neck, sore shoulders, my thighs were a tragedy. An acquaintance at an lbs lifted the seat much higher than I had it, and no more sore thighs. Much easier going all round, though it felt counterintuitive! He also suggested a longer, higher stem (I'm old). No-one at other lbs' had mentioned these things.

    I also tried a road bike that I bought new and had professionally fitted/setup a year and a bit earlier. My commute is on footpaths, some gravel/dirt in parks, jump onto the road, nip into a backstreet, or over a curb, etc. My roadie is not the right bike for me for this kind of trip. And it's (arguably) too small for me @ 56cm, despite the "professional" attention and cost.

    b) best done by me, not someone else. Fortunately, the same acquaintance at an lbs suggested a 58cm was the right size for me and I grabbed a Kona JTS off ebay at Xmas. Well, what an amazing difference! And I have done a few courses and listened to lots of riders, and now have the courage to change things like bar position, stem height, seat height, etc so that I feel right - rather than someone else telling me how things should be.

    It's taken some time to get to being inanely happy riding as much as I can. I hope you can give it more of a chance.

  17. #292
    By Necessity. RDRomano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
    3 yrs later I find that I am in great shape, but I know that's not easy to schedule for... What is the chore part? Pedalling too hard, uncomfortable seating? Both?

    >> The seating is uncomfortable. I feel like there's a lot of weight on my hands, and I'm not strong enough yet to hold myself up with my abs. Though I have to admit that I want to like the "faster" position, as I like going fast, and did so relatively successfully on motorcycles for a few years.

    Which half don't you use? Top? Bottom? Middle?

    >> I ignore the bottom 2/3 of the granny ring, and the top ring entirely. So I'm using the middle ring, and the top two or three cogs in the granny.

    Is it mostly the sitting position that is a problem? You could push the seat forward and down, bring the bars back and in (shorter stem, or flip the stem if it's flipped to extend it), sit more upright, and focus on spinning low gears. That would get you sitting more upright, exerting less muscle power, *and* building cardio so you would pretty soon be able to chat at travel speed.

    >> If I'm at proper leg extention now, wouldn't lowering the seat somehow mess up my...whatever...something important?

    If you're really early in and you hate it, maybe dropping the bike is the way to go, you don't want to get scarred by it.

    Does the townie have a gearhub? I like the concept of the explicitly non-performance bike, but when my eyes wander that way, they settle on a breezer w/ a gearhub.

    >>the Townie I was looking at was the 7D, a 44T up front a seven spd. cassette (14-34 "MegaRange") out back. WAY less expensive than a 7 spd. internal hub, and even $40 cheper than a 3-spd. internal.
    >> Thanks, guys, for all your help.
    --Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer, whose brother is a district judge, once observed that, "The role of a district judge is to decide quickly, wisely, and fairly. This is not to say that the role of an appellate judge is to decide slowly, foolishly, and unfairly, for that would usurp the function of the Supreme Court."

  18. #293
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    RDRomano,

    I can think of two errors you are probably doing:

    – If you haven't ridden in a long time, I think that the 5 mile commute is too long, especially if there are hills, high winds or any other difficulty. Take it easy, start with non windy days and if you have never tackled any distance, start by doing 2-3 miles on the weekend. Then start on alternate days.

    – From what I see, the gearing is rather wide. One typical problem is that many people use the high gears too often. Quite frankly, with 48-38-28 in front and 11-34 behind, you should probably only use your 48 (large chainring) when you have a strong wind at your back. Normally, you'll stay on the middle chainring almost all the time and use the small chainring for climbing steep hills.
    Use your watch to pace yourself and find a gear that allows you to spin at least 60-70 rpm (tip, measure one minute and count the number of downstrokes of your right leg). If you are not used to that, you will feel at first that you are spinning like crazy and going nowhere, but you will quickly find that you enjoy yourself, have less pain and are going faster.
    Note: Most long distance cyclists consider that 80-95 rpm is an ideal cadence, but I find that 60 rpm is the "breakover" point beyond which you won't suffer from knee and leg pain.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  19. #294
    nube nevlis's Avatar
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    After reading the first six pages (I'll read the rest later... ), I don't think anyone mentioned this rack storage option. Trek, and possibly other companies, makes a nice trunk that actually has foldout panniers which I've taken quite a liking to. I have found that a good amount fits in this thing without the panniers folded down (ie change of clothes w/ shoes, tools, lunch, wallet/keys/cell), and when they are, it might be enough room for a good little trip. It also has a top that expands upwards, and a bungee cord system on the lid.

    The bag is here.

    Also, if you're looking for a decent tail light, my LBS had some cheaper ones, but one nice Zefal xf supervision, which has a 270 degree viewing angle. It also has four light modes, one of which is solid, two look like standard blinkies, except when in bright light one turns from flashing to steady, and one is this really cool emergency vehicle style light progression. It lights from the center-out, then back again.

    The light is here.

  20. #295
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    I have a bag very similar to that made by Topeak. With the Topeak, if you have one of their racks, it can be attached/detached with their "quick track" system, which I really like. It was surprisingly heavy the first time I lifted it, but I'm not too concerned with weight. Here's the link...

    http://www.topeak.com/2007/products/...runkbagdxp.php

  21. #296
    Senior Member littlewaywelt's Avatar
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    Here are a couple that have served me well for the last five years.

    Covering helmet vents
    In the winter I cover my helmet with a layer of glad press & seal wrap. It prevents air from coming through the vents and chilling you. It's sticky and stays in place, but leaves no residue whatsoever. In the summer I cover the front vents so I don't look like my hair is doing the wave from spot blow drying.

    Visibility & Illuminite
    I can't stress how much I love this stuff. I'm on my second jacket, and also have a helmet cover, headband and light gloves covered in it. For those that are unaware, it's a super-reflective coating. It practically guarantees that you'll be seen at night. It only works when you are in the direct path of light back to the viewer's eyes, so it doesn't replace active lighting. www.illuminite.com It's not pretty, but I also cover a lot of the frame in 3m scotchlight tape in red and gray.

    Wet
    I keep everything in my commuter bag in ziplock bags, so they stay dry no matter what the weather. I also keep a full size garbage bag in case it's really pouring to line my bag with. It's also good to stash wet gear/stuff in, in case the ride home is dry.

    First aid kit.
    I keep 2 rolls of 3inch gauze and 6 4x4 pads and 2 quick clot sponges, in a sandwich size ziplock freezer bag. This material can stop an arterial bleed, and in fact, in their testing they had a 100% save rate on cows with severed femoral arteries. www.zmedica.com or www.quikclot.com It now comes in sponges rather than just granual form. If you get a really bad bleed, you just jam a couple of the sponges in the wound. They can literally save a life. They're not cheap (about $40 for a package of 6), but they last for years. You can find them at www.galls.com

    Repairs
    I ride a beater so I keep about two feet of duct tape wrapped around my seatpost for improvised repairs.

  22. #297
    MTWThFMuter Jeprox's Avatar
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  23. #298
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlewaywelt
    First aid kit.
    I keep 2 rolls of 3inch gauze and 6 4x4 pads and 2 quick clot sponges, in a sandwich size ziplock freezer bag. This material can stop an arterial bleed, and in fact, in their testing they had a 100% save rate on cows with severed femoral arteries. www.zmedica.com or www.quikclot.com It now comes in sponges rather than just granual form. If you get a really bad bleed, you just jam a couple of the sponges in the wound. They can literally save a life. They're not cheap (about $40 for a package of 6), but they last for years. You can find them at www.galls.com
    ...or, you can save the $40 and carry a few sanitary napkins. That's what they taught us to do in wilderness first aid: carry some 1" bandaids, a few sanitary napkins, a few cravats, some duct tape, a roll of 1" athletic tape, and a couple of gloves. Green soap sponges are nice if you can get 'em, great for scrubbing road rash, and children's liquid benadryl in case anybody gets stung by something that causes a reaction. And vitamin I, of course!

    I used to ziploc this stuff, but I'm also a whitewater kayaker, and even inside a drybag, a ziploc won't keep things dry. I got a cheap seal-a-meal unit and seal up my "ouch pouch". It includes a couple of ziplocs, one for medical waste and one to hold the unused stuff until I can get home and repackage the kit.

  24. #299
    Senior Member littlewaywelt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lil brown bat
    ...or, you can save the $40 and carry a few sanitary napkins. That's what they taught us to do in wilderness first aid: carry some 1" bandaids, a few sanitary napkins, a few cravats, some duct tape, a roll of 1" athletic tape, and a couple of gloves. Green soap sponges are nice if you can get 'em, great for scrubbing road rash, and children's liquid benadryl in case anybody gets stung by something that causes a reaction. And vitamin I, of course!

    I used to ziploc this stuff, but I'm also a whitewater kayaker, and even inside a drybag, a ziploc won't keep things dry. I got a cheap seal-a-meal unit and seal up my "ouch pouch". It includes a couple of ziplocs, one for medical waste and one to hold the unused stuff until I can get home and repackage the kit.
    Sanitary napkins are only trauma dressings, they add no additional clotting ability beyond what pressure, elevation and the blood itself is doing. They are not even close to a subsitute. They are better than nothing, though. Quikclot can literally save a life. A trauma dressing or sanitary napkin won't necessarilly do it on a bad arterial bleed. Quikclot is the equivelant of an AED for the heart.

    I've ziplocked things for years and never had a single thing end up wet inside my commuter bag. I probably replace the ziplock 3-4 times per year when I notice holes.
    One Less Car
    Conservation begins with you.

  25. #300
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Hammonton, NJ
    My Bikes
    Dawes Lightning sport, Trek 1220, Trek 7100
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDRomano
    OK, here's a commute question. I bought a Kona Dew Deluxe to commute on, and i let them sell me everything: Brooks, rear rack/panniers, a nice-ish light and a couple of red blinkies, little bell, and fenders. Also padded shorts. I paid the $200 for the ultra-high-end fitting (they gave me back half of that when I got the bike.)

    I hate it. It's supposed to be really an easy riding position, and I suppose that compared to a straight-up road bike, it is. I was told I'd get used to it as I got some conditioning. Not so much. I've commuted 4.5 miles one way for 5 weeks now, and it's a chore, rather than being anything I look forward to.

    My girl has a 30 mile freeway commute, but wants to get a low-stress comfort bike to have some recreation/weekend down time with me. She has her eye on a 7-speed Townie. I'm wondering if I ought to get rid of the Kona and get another Electra with her.

    I don't use half my gears anyway; 7 should be enough to commute on. It wouldn't weigh any more than my Kona (30# either way).We might be able to have an actual conversation when we ride, and as opposed to being hunched over, sucking wind, and sitting on my nads, I could be sitting on my actual rear end.

    I dunno. Some have advised me against it, but I can't tell where good advice stops and bike snobbery begins. Could use a little help.
    Thanks.
    could it be that you feel like you are working too hard to get anywhere? I bought a trek 7100 hybrid and even though it was comfortable, I couldn't stand the work involved to make it go anywhere... I found that I really enjoyed riding a "road/touring" type of bike. It feels more nimble than a hybrid and because of that I started going longer distances... and you can tweak a road bike to give you a more upright position (compared to a stock road bike...) by getting a stem extension. I found that I prefer my bike handlebars to be at the same height as my seat (once its dialed in...)

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