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  1. #301
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    Quote Originally Posted by einv
    that was my first post on this forum. if this had better be posted in some other area of the forum, the moderators can please feel free to move it.

    i made the mistake of using visual cues. the car was stopped at a stop sign, but it was driven by an 85 year old person with cognitive disconnect. she apparently did not even see me coming down the main road. she was stopped, the windows were down, and she was staring straight in my direction. under normal circumstances, during commutes you have a pretty fair idea of when the driver is being impatient, or when he will wait your passage. well, in the 3 seconds it took observe her, and the second it took to cross her path, four seconds in all, every cue was in the direction of the driver who awaits your passage.

    of course it is absurd for me to pretend to noticing more details than i actually did see. time has a way of strengthening your position, and adding details that a normal human, in the course of a commute cannot at all notice. in the course of my commute, i pass roughly a hundred cars, and 40 turn situations such as that one. 12 years of commuting went by without incident. that's tens of thousands of cars passed. so focusing on one driver is not only inaccurate, but unproductive. the woman's fault was "failure to yield" but i have met over a hundred such cases, and anticipated them all, some close shaves. it is just that the cues here mislead me, and caused the accident. if i did not rely on visual cues at all, it would render me the invisible cyclist, a person who does not place his welfare upon being treated as a visible vehicle, aka car.

    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.

    as it happens, she did not see me at all. it took me a long time to believe her side of the story, but after talking to a number of people with aged relatives, i have come around to it. (it is all too easy to play the victim, and say you were targeted, that old people behind wheels are nasty, etc. plus the fact that i am non-white got me thinking in certain less wholesome ways.) it turns out that psychological studies confirm that when old people see, they sometimes do not notice, and a fixed pleasant smile in your direction should be no guarantee that they acknowledge your existence.

    i now believe that a cycle is not a vehicle like a car. i think that it is better to behave as though you are never noticed, except when the motorist actually calls out your name. (a wave is insufficient, as they could be waving at someone else, or waving a fly off their face.) i follow the rules of the road, but when it becomes clear that my welfare is at stake, i feel free to become less assertive as to my lane, or rights of way. basically, my mantra is "right of way does not exist for a bicyclist---believe it does at your own peril".
    how is that even workable? even robert hurst says that you use a "buffer" and keep alert but you can't hoard all the responsibility yourself...

  2. #302
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    Cheap truing stands

    I have a cheapo Performance Bike stand, and it works fine if you keep in mind a couple of things.

    The little gague at the bottom for centering the rim is not calibrated in any way unless you calibrate it. I ignore it altogether.

    I take my wheel and set the little guides at the side, then take the wheel out and flip it around. If the wheel has correct dish, the guides will be perfect. If the dish is off, I adjust it so it fits in the guides when you flip the wheel over. Makes sense?

    Also, the fork where the axle rests is made of fiber reinforced plastic. It will not hold up to tightening the QR down full force. Only tighten the QR or axle nuts down enough to keep the wheel put, and not any tighter than that.

    The main trick to truing a wheel is to go baby steps. Unless the wheel is out of whack because you broke a spoke, tighten on loosen spoke nipples 1/4 turn at a time at most, and spread the adjustment out over a hand ful of spokes in the offending area. If you tighten a spoke on one side 1/4 turn, loosen the next one about the same amount, or the wheel will start hopping up and down. Up and down truing is much tougher to fix than left-right truing.

  3. #303
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    Hi. I've been riding my Trek 4900 Alpha MTB as my commuter bike for the past few weeks. I have a 15K ride to work through the suburbs. My advice is to not use a MTB on a purely pavement commute! I use an over-sized laptop backpack to carry everything. Don't do that either.

    So, after doing everything I shouldn't be doing for the past few weeks, I figured I should do some research. I've been researching bikes, tips, and all that for the past month. This forum has been great.

    I bought a Gary Fisher Cronus through a LBS and all of the gear I'll need. I was referred to this place by a few hardcore commuters I've met over the past few weeks. At first, the hardcore guys were bewildered by my bike and backpack and statement of "I commute to work on this." Now, they just pity me and say you should get a real bike. So, I did.

    I'll put up pics and details when I actually pick up the bike next week. This may be a blessing or not, but I ride past the LBS daily. I fear my bank account balance dropping as I stop in on the way home for that one last thing, or upgrades, or silly stuff because it's just so easy.

  4. #304
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    I know that 'LBS is draining the bank account' feeling.. I feel like I'm dropping close to $250 or more every time I go in there, which has almost become once a week...

    Also, you might think about fitting the Cronus with some cross tires, assuming it can fit them. Road tires are nice on level pavement, but around here, my rims take a beating for sure without cross tires... just something to think about!

  5. #305
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I'm not allowed in the LBS without a note from my wife.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  6. #306
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevlis
    Also, you might think about fitting the Cronus with some cross tires, assuming it can fit them. Road tires are nice on level pavement, but around here, my rims take a beating for sure without cross tires... just something to think about!
    Would the Cross tires be the much loved kevlar tires? I've thought about that, but figure at 30km a day commuting, I'll burn through the stock tires quick enough.

  7. #307
    nube nevlis's Avatar
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    kevlar or not, the added absorption and traction of cross tires takes quite a bit of the edge off. im building up a bike separate from my commuter to toy around on, and im fitting one set of wheels with michelin pro2's, and the other with michelin cross jets.

  8. #308
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevlis
    kevlar or not, the added absorption and traction of cross tires takes quite a bit of the edge off. im building up a bike separate from my commuter to toy around on, and im fitting one set of wheels with michelin pro2's, and the other with michelin cross jets.
    Do you have links to the tires you are recommending?

  9. #309
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e0richt
    how is that even workable? even robert hurst says that you use a "buffer" and keep alert but you can't hoard all the responsibility yourself...
    Of course it's not workable. If you believed you were truly invisible, you wouldn't be on the road. Anyone could run into you from behind, for example.

    I think it is wise to ride defensively but it doesn't mean a bike is not a vehicle.

  10. #310
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso
    I'm not allowed in the LBS without a note from my wife.
    I'm not allowed in the LBS without my wife.

  11. #311
    Top Speed 53.1mph nightc1's Avatar
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    It's taken me a day (off and on) to read through this thread, but wow what helpful advice.

    I'm considering a once a week commute to work (to give it a try) and I've learned a lot. Seems like I'm going to have to pick up a few supplies.

    Also I'll leave some work cloths at work for the day I ride in to save having to really need much in the way of storage. I already have an under the seat bag that can hold pretty much everything I'd need... just actually need to go pickup a few extra tubes and some valve extensions since I have deep V rims.

    Also I need to grease some stuff and lube the chain and tighten all the bolts and so on. Maybe I'll even get a stem riser if there's not enough adjustability available.

    Anyway super helpful thread, thanks everyone... it saved one noob from asking a bunch of common questions

  12. #312
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    I just started commuting to and from work. Its a little over a mile one way and pretty easy ride. My question is , what do you guys do about the heat issue? Its been getting pretty warm here lately(upper 70's mid 80's) I don't work until usually 6pm so I give myself about half an hour to get there so I have some cool down time. But usually by the time I get there I am swetting like a pig.

    I wear my work clothes on the commute, black slacks and a button down white collard long sleeve shirt. Not the most friendly clothing for the weather I described.

    Any thoughts?

  13. #313
    Top Speed 53.1mph nightc1's Avatar
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    Freud, dude, a lot of people here either...

    1. Pack their work cloths in a separate bag.
    2. Leave a set (or a whole week or more) of work cloths at work for the days to commute in.

    But it seems most people wear other cloths to bike in to work so they don't have to sit around in sweaty cloths for very long.

    Button down shirts ... there are plenty of wrinkle free options out there as well as tricks like rolling the cloths to help limit the wrinkles.

    In any event it's time to stop wearing your work cloths to bike in.

    When I was starting a learning to run program over at calorie-count.com the first few weeks I ran in my work cloths. Temps were better then and I wasn't sweating enough to matter. Now I'm in week 6 and I wouldn't think of doing that and instead bring workout cloths and dedorant to work.

  14. #314
    Senior Member littlewaywelt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie
    I'm not allowed in the LBS without my wife.
    That's nothing. My wife blocked all the bike web shops as well.
    One Less Car
    Conservation begins with you.

  15. #315
    nube nevlis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by commutr
    Do you have links to the tires you are recommending?
    These are the jet cross tires.

    (Sorry for the late response.)

  16. #316
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freud
    I just started commuting to and from work. Its a little over a mile one way and pretty easy ride. My question is , what do you guys do about the heat issue? Its been getting pretty warm here lately(upper 70's mid 80's) I don't work until usually 6pm so I give myself about half an hour to get there so I have some cool down time. But usually by the time I get there I am swetting like a pig.
    A little over a mile and you're sweating? You're riding way too hard.
    For a short ride like you have just ride slow and easy.

    Personally, if my commute was just over a mile, I'd walk.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  17. #317
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freud
    I just started commuting to and from work. Its a little over a mile one way and pretty easy ride. My question is , what do you guys do about the heat issue? Its been getting pretty warm here lately(upper 70's mid 80's) I don't work until usually 6pm so I give myself about half an hour to get there so I have some cool down time. But usually by the time I get there I am swetting like a pig.

    I wear my work clothes on the commute, black slacks and a button down white collard long sleeve shirt. Not the most friendly clothing for the weather I described.

    Any thoughts?
    How about wearing a wicking tee shirt and bike shorts. Carry your work clothes & pull them on over your bike clothes in the parking lot if it's not cool to walk into work dressed like that. Then use your work rest room to clean up & deoderize. You could leave your biking outfit on as "underwear" or change into fresh that you brought with you.

    Also, for a 1 mile ride, it shouldn't be too hard to keep ice cold water with you in your bottle. Drink plenty of it to keep your temperature from climbing as rapidly.

  18. #318
    Tacoma-ite
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    I found this thread today doing research into commuting. Thank you for all the info.

    I'm looking to bike into work, about 10 miles, and I need some help. I don't currently have a bike, nor have I biked really at all in 5 years since I left high school. I stopped at an LBS the other day, and he recommended a Bianchi Volpe, 56cm I am 5'11" to 6' (depending on who is measuring). It had a slightly wider and thicker wheel than normal road/racing bikes, I guessed designed for commuters.

    I am looking for a decent road bike to make it to work and one that I can use to fetch groceries, get to the water, the ballpark or run to the bar on particularly nice afternoon. My commute is about 10 miles, down a large hill in the morning and back up in the afternoon. I will have to traverse through the Port of Tacoma, full of trucks/semi's/nasty roads so the LBS owner recommended the Volpe becuase it would handle that (steel frame vs. aluminum?).

    He was offering $750, which was a lot more than I was expecting. My last bike purchase was a crappy GT Mountain Bike 8 years ago. I can afford it, but I'm not sure if getting something that nice is critical for me.

    I was originally going to just take a backpack, but from this forum, I think I'll get some decent panniers. I have a laptop I cart back and forth from work 2-3 times a week.

    My questions:
    Is that a good price for the bike? Does that seem like a good bike for me? It will be first a commuter, but I would like to use it to ride around town, and maybe move into doing more, if I really like it. Does that bike fit the bill of what I'm looking for?

    I had originally planned to use a backpack for hauling clothes but after reading the thread, I'm thinking panniers. Also, apparently fenders are critical. How much money should I spend on top of the raw bike price to spice it up?

    Any recommendations for carting the laptop back and forth? I need something that will make sure the laptop isn't damaged (work-issued laptop).

    Thanks for the great forum.

  19. #319
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    $750 sounds like a good price. How many gears? If you're unsure about whether to get something 'that nice' look at other stuff you've boughten. If you tend to use things until they're used up, a better bike is probably worth it.

    For rainy Tacoma --Bare Minimum--

    * A bike should have a good derailer like a Shimano 105 or better for quick smooth shifting
    * If your route has hills, get a triple front chain ring
    * Full fenders, front and back. Maybe removable ones for summer
    * Waterproof shoe - because shoes don't seem to dry in time for the return commute
    * Headlight - so the cops don't ticket you

    Hauling a laptop is tricky. I cracked a display by carrying mine on the bike rack. The padding just wasn't enough. A backpack or pannier are your best bet. If you take a fall and wreck it, your employer may growl!
    Last edited by vrkelley; 06-05-07 at 10:37 PM.

  20. #320
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    Tip: Drivers who commute the same route you do...remember wacko cyclists and may hold a grudge. Treat motorists with respect.

    Tip: "Share the Road" also means helping traffic get around you. If you are aware that a driver is afraid to pass you AND you can see that it is safe for him to pass, use your left hand and 'wave him' to pass.

    What you get: A driver who gives plenty of berth to go around
    What driver gets: A lesson on how to get around bikes without road rage. Traffic moves better

  21. #321
    Tacoma-ite
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    vrkelley

    Thanks for the advice. I'm going to pick it up this weekend, run the route a couple times. Hopefully I can survive thru the port. We'll have to see about the laptop. Perhaps I can convince my boss he doesn't need to email me 30 times every night so I can leave it at the office.

  22. #322
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    That sounds like a great price for the Volpe. Possibly a previous year's model? That's not a bad thing at all. Good luck!

    There are lots of pannier and backpack options for carefully packing/transporting laptops, should you need to. Even some threads on the topic in the commuter forum.

  23. #323
    King of the Plukers Spreggy's Avatar
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    Any recommendations for carting the laptop back and forth? I need something that will make sure the laptop isn't damaged (work-issued laptop).
    I've been tossing my laptop and bag into a grocery bag style pannier, and it works just fine, no damage after three years. I have a new bike on the way (more on that in a sec) and a new routine, which will be to bike to the ymca, workout there, and then bike to work. Since I want to take the laptop off the bike and bring it into the gym where I can lock it up, I'm going to put it all in a single duffle bag.

    You may be interested in checking out the bikes at http://www.bikesdirect.com/, they have decent bikes starting at $300ish. I bought mine off a gal on eBay, sprtygirl, you can check out her eBay store also.

  24. #324
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    Hi everyone! I discovered this forum today and am so excited.

    I'm doing research on commuting to work. A few weeks ago, I bought an Electra Townie 21 to get around my neighborhood, pick up groceries, and get some exercise. Since then, I've fallen in love with biking and would love to begin commuting to work.

    My commute would be 8.5 miles both ways. I live in Orlando, Florida, so the ground is pretty flat.

    Do you guys think my Townie would be a good commuter or should I look into getting something else? I'm a 5'9" female weighing about 140 pounds. I bought the Townie to replace a cheapo mountain bike that made me ache every time I rode it. The Townie suits me much better because I don't have to hunch over.

    Any advice or recommendations will be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Allison

  25. #325
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by accain
    My commute would be 8.5 miles both ways. I live in Orlando, Florida, so the ground is pretty flat.

    Do you guys think my Townie would be a good commuter or should I look into getting something else? I'm a 5'9" female weighing about 140 pounds. I bought the Townie to replace a cheapo mountain bike that made me ache every time I rode it. The Townie suits me much better because I don't have to hunch over.
    My advice is to try commuting to work on an off-day and see how it feels. I'm guessing from your details above grocery shopping and the like isn't 8.5 miles away. Therefore, this commute may be the longest trip you've taken on the bike. In summary, try it, you might like it!

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