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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 09-21-08, 06:34 AM   #501
nemo
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Originally Posted by waltersc View Post
Does anyone have an opinion of C02 tire pumps. I carry one that also has multi tool but also have a frame mounted hand pump. I like the ideas that many of you have posted-certainly will use some of your ideas
mark.


I have been using CO2 inflators for years. A good frame pump will work just as good and inflate more than one tire.

Pro:
Fast
Small

Cons:
Cost
One tire per cartridge
I think this is one of those things thats like a saddle.... personal preference man! I have used both and prefer a good pump anytime. but that is me. it may well apeal to you to have a small inflator and cartridge to do the job for you. Bright side there is no wrong answer here as with most gear for comuting aside from the basics; if it works go with it forget what othes say just ride the bike
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Old 09-22-08, 09:06 AM   #502
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Trying to parse out your scenario...

You need to merge left into car traffic due to construction? Do this gradually by taking the lane and stay there. I usually align myself dead center to the car in front of me so that traffic behind me knows my intention and doesn't try to sneak past.

Yes, use hand signals, but don't expect the people in the cars to understand them.
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Old 09-22-08, 09:28 AM   #503
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Just an FYI...

As an option I sometimes pack the trunk of my car with clothes, and other necessities - I then drive it to work in the beginning of the week and then leave it at work. I use it as a locker, and at times as a bike rack (I have a roof rack - it can also swallow 1 bike since it's a hatchback). Come Friday, I drive it home just in case I need it for family trips during the weekend.
Yes, absolutely. Friday is my short day at work, so I usually drive in with clean towel and whatever I don't want to pack and carry in for the next week. This also gives my knees and lungs a chance not to die entirely. Highly recommended.
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Old 09-22-08, 09:31 AM   #504
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Hello Everyone! I'm going to start biking to work more often. Its about 5 miles one way, about 4 miles of which is on the concrete bike path that runs along the beach here in the Beach Cities of Los Angeles. Of course I do have the option of doing the whole commute on the surface streets as well. I've ridden my aluminum Schwinn single-speed cruiser a few times but its not really efficient for this commute on a regular basis. I'm looking at my options, and am thinking of the Trek Soho 8-speed with the new belt-drive chain but can't find ant feedback on it. Yes, that's probably serious overkill for my ride, but I don't mind. Any feedback from anyone on that bike? Any other recommendations? I kinda like the Gary Fisher Simple City 8 as well. Thanks in advance for any recommendations you can provide.
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/soho/soho/
http://www.fisherbikes.com/bike/model/simple-city-8M
I really don't understand this at all. To let you know what page I'm on, I ride my Singlespeed through all urban traffic and roads for 12.5 miles one way into work 4 days a week all year round. I am in St Louis, MO - so that is a temp range of 103 (not including road surface).

How is a singlespeed not 'efficient' for a 5 mile commute in Cali? Please explain.
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Old 09-22-08, 10:05 PM   #505
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I didn't say all single-speeds are inefficient, I said my single-speed beach cruiser was inefficient for my commute on a regular basis. Guess the bike is geared too low, my legs go 'round 'n 'round real fast but my speed doesn't get any faster. I've done the same commute on a 20-something speed Fuji and and made better time with far less effort. Can't think of a better definition for efficient than making better time w/less effort.
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Old 09-25-08, 12:47 PM   #506
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Thanks for the advice. Luckily they took down the construction cones, which made people slow down around me (odd). So I keep going straight and they (usually) slow down to get into the right hand turn lane. Every once in a while there is someone in a huge hurry to get past me. I may start carrying rocks to throw.... Maybe
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Old 09-29-08, 09:05 AM   #507
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After watching joey bike's videos I have to ask...isn't it very dangerous to run red lights and pass cars on the right side, especially on a one way street that is very tight. I mean you could get doored right?
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Old 10-03-08, 04:42 PM   #508
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thanks for the advice. Luckily they took down the construction cones, which made people slow down around me (odd). So i keep going straight and they (usually) slow down to get into the right hand turn lane. Every once in a while there is someone in a huge hurry to get past me. I may start carrying rocks to throw.... Maybe
take the lane on the construction zones.

Works for me.
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Old 10-13-08, 01:40 PM   #509
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My kids have held the local bi-weekly paper route on our street for 15 years, delivering to about 40 customers by wagon. I tried to deliver a few myself from my bike, with a newspaper bag around my neck -- I thought it was very dangerous. Forty papers in a pannier -- I don't know about that -- each Sunday paper with ads weighs about a pound -- that's forty pounds. I can't imagine trying to haul two hundred on a bike.
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Old 10-13-08, 02:29 PM   #510
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My kids have held the local bi-weekly paper route on our street for 15 years, delivering to about 40 customers by wagon. I tried to deliver a few myself from my bike, with a newspaper bag around my neck -- I thought it was very dangerous. Forty papers in a pannier -- I don't know about that -- each Sunday paper with ads weighs about a pound -- that's forty pounds. I can't imagine trying to haul two hundred on a bike.
A regular diamond frame bike with panniers would limit you as you've stated. However, 200 lbs and even 300 lbs is possible on a cargo type bike.

Cargo bikes come in a multitude of configurations. In general, the load is either carried in front of the person, or behind. Good examples can be found at www.clevercycles.com

Two brands that easily come to mind are www.xtracycle.com, and http://www.larryvsharry.com/english/

Here's some more...

http://www.workcycles.com/workbike/index.html

And of course....

http://www.flickr.com/groups/cargobike/pool/


Also consider using a trailier. For example, child trailers on average are rated for 75 lbs. Most have covers, and can be purchased used from a lot of sources.

Rehabbed a kiddie trailer

Last edited by Silverexpress; 10-13-08 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 10-23-08, 12:59 AM   #511
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My kids have held the local bi-weekly paper route on our street for 15 years, delivering to about 40 customers by wagon. I tried to deliver a few myself from my bike, with a newspaper bag around my neck -- I thought it was very dangerous. Forty papers in a pannier -- I don't know about that -- each Sunday paper with ads weighs about a pound -- that's forty pounds. I can't imagine trying to haul two hundred on a bike.
I had eighty customers and I used a Team Murray bmx bike with red Lester steel mags and a huge Wald front basket. Sundays I made two trips from the 7/11. My route was daily, also starting at 0500 in the morning.
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Old 11-26-08, 09:14 PM   #512
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When in doubt, slow down. It's a lot faster to drop from 15 mph to 10 mph and accelerate a few seconds later than it is to try to stick to 15 mph, slip, and have to start again from zero.

Also be very careful at crosswalks; cars never stop trying to turn.
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Old 12-03-08, 03:55 PM   #513
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Ok I am sure my answers are in this forum somewhere but I figure no reason not to just ask and see if anything new is said.

I have a 10 mile eastward downhill ride to work, paved but some parts have heavy traffic. I then have to go north 8 miles to get to class in an hour. (biggest fear is security at school!!) Then I have to go southwest about 9 miles home, uphill dark. Advice?
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Old 12-05-08, 06:10 AM   #514
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Buddy up and be seen ...

Sounds a lot like the cross country commuting we see in England. Some people where I live commute across dark common land [offroad gravel, cattle, horses, lakes, riverbanks, etc etc etc]. We do feel that at times they put themselves at risk. My best advice is firstly, be seen as much as you can with bright clothing and good lights. Secondly, cycle with a friend or twelve if you have to ride anywhere off of the main street. Thirdly, adjust your pace to the environment, don't be afraid to get off and walk across busy streets, and use the pavement/street as is safest for you, take water and a snack because it sounds like you'll need it! Fourthly, keep your communications open, so tell someone when you are due home so they know if you are late [yeh it's a pain!], charge your mobile/cellphone, keep cash/coins for payphones, know how far it is to the next/nearest gas station. Lastly, if your good at mechanics carry a couple of tools [but never overload the bike or your backpack!!!] and a spare inner tube to fix any minor problems [at a safe place like], oh oh did I say to maintain your bike and make sure your have the right tires/tyres [street/offroad]??? ... gosh sounds like there is so much to just what should be a simple cycle! In summary, be seen, buddy up, and stay in contact! I hope I didn't get too far away from the question
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Old 12-15-08, 08:08 PM   #515
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Tip: Traffic pattern changes can be subtle. Bike defensively. Re-check visibility from time to time
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Old 01-05-09, 09:00 AM   #516
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Yowza,
I'm pretty lucky in my situation right now. I go to school about a mile away, so I can go in my regular clothes (sometimes I ride in my sheepskin slippers ha) I can shower/swim after the 6 miles to work, and hop on a train if my bike gets messed up or the weather is too intense afterwards. My parents threatened to kick me out if ride after dark without some serious lights for my bike!
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Old 01-18-09, 04:25 AM   #517
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I would agree with an earlier poster's comment that every situation is different.

As for me, the only equipment I keep at work are my work clothes. Since it's a utility uniform, it needs to be washed only once a week (though the underclothes are washed daily )

As for cycling equipment, I have the following:

- LED headlamp - MUST brighter than any halogens on the market! (LEDs have come a long way, folks), and it goes through batters, like... hardly at all. Certainly a lot more economical than my old halogen.

- Rear blinker - also LED, again, it's a battery-miser

- spoke reflectors

- reflector tape - I put stripes along my frame to outline the fact that these blinkling lights ahead of the driver is a bicycle.

- water bottle

- two composite tire irons (super lightweight, but two make taking off your tire a piece of cake)

- spare tube

- portable pump

- multi-tool (good for gooseneck, pedals, crank, calipers and shifters - the wheels and seat are quick-adjusts)

- tube repair kit - minimal, really - just a rougher, a bit of rubber, and some glue


Throughout the week I'd wear the same underwear and socks at work that I'd wear while riding to work. On rainy days I'd carry a spare set as both would get soaks. For cooler/colder days I'd underlayer with Duofold's Duomax top and bottom - super lightweight and about 90% as effective when wet as when dry.

On Mondays I carry my clean coveralls with me in a backpack (less wind resistance and weight than side bags), especially since I always carried the backpack - I'd stop daily for some food. On Fridays I'd carry my dirty coveralls home for cleaning.

I have just two outer layers - a pair of bib shorts, and a full top/bottom set. I'd complement that with a microweight blaze yellow windbreaker, and for colder rain, a waterproof shell, rain pants, booties, and waterproof gloves.

I never needed a balaclava, as with all the other gear keeping my core warm, and my serious pace, I was always toasty, even down to rain at 35 def F.

Any colder in the rain, though, and I'd drive. Or on good days, I'd cycle down to around 25 deg F.

Still, I tried to avoid cycling in the winter months, as this far North that means cycling in the dark both morning and evening, which gets a bit dangers - I was sideswiped three times during the course of a year, after which point I decided to limit my cycling to day ops only.
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Old 01-19-09, 11:01 PM   #518
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Hi All,

I commuted by bike for a few months this past summer (~ 8 miles each way). I have since started a new job, which is 26 miles away. After driving to the new spot for a few months now, I'm getting the itch to get back in the saddle. I suspect a hybrid bike/bus approach may work best for me, I'm not ready to commit 4 hours round trip quite yet.

Anyway, just came to say that I read this thread end-to-end, and appreciate all the info that was shared.
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Old 01-20-09, 09:30 AM   #519
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Hi All,

I commuted by bike for a few months this past summer (~ 8 miles each way). I have since started a new job, which is 26 miles away. After driving to the new spot for a few months now, I'm getting the itch to get back in the saddle. I suspect a hybrid bike/bus approach may work best for me, I'm not ready to commit 4 hours round trip quite yet.

Anyway, just came to say that I read this thread end-to-end, and appreciate all the info that was shared.
Keep us posted on how you put it together.
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Old 01-21-09, 12:47 AM   #520
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Hi guys, this is my first post, thought this would be a good place to start & introduce:

Current commute: I ride every day top wherever I need to go, but when I do work (once a week) it's a 4 mile ride, mostly on quiet back roads and cycle paths. Quite a cruisy ride.

My gear: Currently I am riding a Orbea AOS with a rear and front LED light set which are very bright and a rear fender. I am currently using a 45l backpack to store my gear (such as removable lights and gloves etc), spare clothes for work, locks (in the process of deciding what type of lock to buy, will probably buy a Kyrptonite NYFA U-lock) and anything else I need to stash.

I normally just wear normal clothes, I avoid dark clothes if riding in the dark/dusk, but I haven't stepped up to a high visibility vest, but I might get one for winter as it gets dark by 5pm which is just as I finish work or Uni. The only thing is I wear a backpack and so half the visibility factor is being covered up.

I also am looking to get panniers are many people seem to recommend them, but I am not sure if my bike will fit them or not.

I have been commuting/using a bike as primary transport for over a year now (my last bike, a Giant Rincon, was stolen late November last year ) so here's some advice to share:

Advice/2c:

Ride your bike with the mindset of a motorist!

Whether you're on the cycle path, sidewalk or street, you are a vehicle so ride it that way!

Be obvious about your intentions if sharing the road with cars, e.g. don't zig-zag around, slowly change lanes, indicate with your hands and give time to make sure people saw, keep eye contact with drivers where possible, ride defensively and have as much light and reflecting gear on as possible- I know as a ex-motorist how annoying it would be with people riding around at dust/night wearing dark clothes and no lights.

Expect the unexpected, if it's winter, but there's no rain, BRING THAT JACKET with you anyway, because chances are that it will be raining a few hours later on your way home (happened to me a few times!).
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Old 01-24-09, 06:24 PM   #521
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Great post, except I disagree with the whole walking your bike bit. If you can't ride at walking speed, then you should get out and practice. I see nothing unsafe about riding on sidewalks to avoid a short bad road stretch, as long as you yield to peds, and use extra care when reentering the road.

I absolutely hate it when some moron tells me I have to walk my bike over the simplest of obstacles. Most days its more likely I'll fall while walking as opposed to riding.
I would agree with you about walking my bike. I rarely ever walk my bike. I have been cautious about riding on the sidewalks, and try to ride in the streets as often as possible, but around our area, there are numerous spots where riding in the street is suicide ... !!!

I've found lots of nooks and crannies where I can slip in and out quickly, avoiding traffic, stop signs, signal lights. I try to find the smoothest pavement/sidewalk to ride on, which is quite a challenge around our area, which is not bicycle friendly at all ...
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Old 01-25-09, 04:40 AM   #522
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I agree that this is probably the most dangerous situation at night. I look at this issue from the motorist's viewpoint. I assume that you were nearly t-boned by motorists failing to see you as they pulled out from sidestreets or driveways. By the time they see your sidelights, it is probably too late for them to avoid you. I think you need brighter headlights, so motorists will see you before they pull into your lane. I wonder if the helmet mounted light is always pointed in their direction. A bike mounted head light might be more visible to these motorists. (I really don't know for sure, since I've never tried a helmet mounted light.)

I also pull way to the left of my lane--or even into the left lane--when I see a car getting ready to come into my lane from a side street (you can usually do this easily at night). Not only does this maneuver make it easier for them to see me, it also gives me a little more distance and time for emergency swerving or braking.
I almost got hit today as I was coming up to a side street. I did slow down, and thought that the driver would notice I'm comng up on him to cross the street. He never even looked to his left. They were talking on a cell phone, and pushed on the gas to enter the main street, just as I passed in front of them!

They were stopped at a stop sign, and should have been looking both ways, but they only looked to the right ... !!! That is scary, and I've seen that happen before, even when people are walking across a crosswalk.

I too pull out to the left lane sometimes to avoid being hit by a car that is ready to pull out onto the main street. Sometimes there is too much traffic, so I just have to stop, or turn to the right, and go down the street or sidewalk a bit, then go back to the main street.

Don't ever assume that the drivers have noticed you, and even you think they have seen you, sometimes they will not yield the right of way ...
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Old 01-31-09, 09:19 PM   #523
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Blinkies - Reflectors ...

I found another place to attach another blinkie -- on my fanny pack! The other day, the blinkie on my helmet fell off when I hit a pretty good bump. I secured the blinkie on my helmet with a zip tie, so it should stay on now.

Here is a picture showing all three blinkies, and four reflectors on the rear. The three bright lights on the bottom, are actually reflectors on my basket!!! I found really good reflectors, both red and amber, at two local auto parts stores (4 3/8" x 1 7/8").


Last edited by vja4Him; 01-31-09 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 02-07-09, 01:23 PM   #524
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I found another place to attach another blinkie -- on my fanny pack! The other day, the blinkie on my helmet fell off when I hit a pretty good bump. I secured the blinkie on my helmet with a zip tie, so it should stay on now.

Here is a picture showing all three blinkies, and four reflectors on the rear. The three bright lights on the bottom, are actually reflectors on my basket!!! I found really good reflectors, both red and amber, at two local auto parts stores (4 3/8" x 1 7/8").

Quote:
Originally Posted by vja4Him View Post
I almost got hit today as I was coming up to a side street. I did slow down, and thought that the driver would notice I'm comng up on him to cross the street. He never even looked to his left. They were talking on a cell phone, and pushed on the gas to enter the main street, just as I passed in front of them!

They were stopped at a stop sign, and should have been looking both ways, but they only looked to the right ... !!! That is scary, and I've seen that happen before, even when people are walking across a crosswalk.

I too pull out to the left lane sometimes to avoid being hit by a car that is ready to pull out onto the main street. Sometimes there is too much traffic, so I just have to stop, or turn to the right, and go down the street or sidewalk a bit, then go back to the main street.

Don't ever assume that the drivers have noticed you, and even you think they have seen you, sometimes they will not yield the right of way ...
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Old 02-08-09, 06:24 PM   #525
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Be prepared

I started a new job and on Monday (tomorrow) I will be riding about six miles each way. I used to ride about three miles each way before and I know that it isn't a lot, neither is six. It is still important though to map out the way in advance and take the routes that are more bike suitable. Luckily, the one road that I'll be on, Milwaukee Ave in Chicago, has a bike lane the whole way. I'll be sure to dress accordingly as I always check the weather before I go and since I don't have the best rain gear, I'll make sure that I have a couple bucks loaded on my CTA card so I can hop on the bus to save me from getting soaked. I also have a blinkie and a mounted front light. Since it is my first day reporting to work, I'll give myself a little extra time just in case there are any delays. Other than that, I am looking forward to the warm-up we are experiencing as a good way to break in the longer commute. Kudos to those who ride long distances, you are inspiring and a motivator. Happy commuting to all!
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