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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 06-01-06, 03:05 AM   #201
Daily Commute
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There are good and mediocre brand name and not-so-well-known bikes. It varies from bike to bike. It sounds like you have a big budget, so think about getting a reasonably priced bike (like my Surly Cross Check). Put the rest of the money in a savings account that you don't touch. Commute for a year, and then re-evaluate your needs. After a year on the road, you will have a much better idea of what makes your ride better.

Then, you can use the Surly on the tough days and your fancy bike when the weather is just right.
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Old 06-01-06, 04:27 AM   #202
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What is the price range on the Surly cross check? One of the bike shops I will be visiting this weekend is a registered dealer for Surly, so Il'll be able to check it out then.

Thanks!
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Old 06-01-06, 05:50 AM   #203
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Nightskyre

You seem fixed on drop bars and disc brakes - for a longer commute drop bars are definitely the way to go - at 11 miles, I would say that you are on the edge of that. Disc brakes, I am less sure about. In any event, the most important thing will be to get a bike that fits you well. I would go to all of your local bike shops and talk to them about what you want to do. You do NOT want a racing bike - for commuting you should be more concerned about comfort than speed. For a drop bar based bike, I would look at some of the touring bikes - Trek 520, Bianchi Volpe, etc. The have a longer wheelbase, which will make it easier to put a rack on the bike to carry panniers. You want a bike that you can put real fenders on - and that will eliminate 90% of the drop bar bikes in any of the shops. Look for a more upright riding position than what the racers go for, seat should not be higher than the handlebars.
One of the LBSs will understand what you need, and will be willing to spend the time to find the bike that fits you properly, and will set it up for you appropriately - that is the shop that deserves your business.
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Old 06-01-06, 08:37 AM   #204
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Fenders

At this point, I admit I'm a little bit of a pansy, and I don't expect to be biking in the rain. I don't have a tremendously long commute, and I'm not an uber environmentalist, so I don't have any problems with taking my truck to work. That being said, since I'm not planning on biking in crappy weather, what other good reasons are there to get fenders?

I'm not really crazy about the way they look....

Thanks!
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Old 06-01-06, 07:23 PM   #205
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Me again

So, I went down to a bike shop (not local, hence no acronym) today that was recommended by a friend of mine and started looking around. Bonus points to the owner for talking to me 25 minutes after the shop closed, but definate negatives for this exchange:

Me: "Well, originally I was looking in the 800-1200 range, but since I've done some re-evaluation, I'd really like to get a bike for under 600"
Him: "Well, these bikes over here are nice. They range from 750-1450"
<numerous exchanges>
Me: "Well, I really am looking on a much more limited budget at this point. This is what I want, and I'm looking for a bike in the fives at most"
Him: "Well, these are the quality bikes in the range I would recommend" <points to bikes ranging from 750-1450 again>

I must say I'm a little disheartened by this guy's complete lack of understanding regarding my money. Before I started talking money I mentioned Surley to him and he kind of shot the whole concept down because I would have to buy all the components individually and that would be "too cost prohibitive" (Though he didn't have a problem showing me bikes nearly three times what I said my range was.... figure that one out)

So now I'm kind of back to square one. I've pretty much decided I want to buy a bike I can beat the heck out of (Not that I WANT to beat it up, but I'm a rough and tumble kind of guy).

There are three more bike shops I plan to check out, one of which I called and the guy seemed a lot more willing to put me on a cheaper bike than anything else, stating that for what I said I wanted to do, I didn't need this super expensive thing and it pisses him off that places like <bicycle shop X> (not the one I referenced above) try to sell you the most expensive thing they can. - That was a bit of a run on, but the point is, I like the guy's attitude. He specifically mentioned the Jamis Coda which someone in the introduction thread recommended as well.

I've refined what I'm looking for to this:

A bike for under $600 that will provide me with:
Dropped handlebars
A relatively comfortable ride
disc OR cantilevered brakes
a reasonable shifting system (oh yeah, I have a question on this too)
I think I'd like cheater brakes too...

The shifting system - I've read a lot of reviews talking about Shimano's shifting systems, and this is what I think I've figured out. Price, from cheapest to most expensive:

Sora
Tiagra
105

Now, it seems to me that the Sora is an 8 speed, the Tiagra a 9 speed, and the 105 a 10 speed. Is there actually a QUALITY difference between these three sets of shifters, or is it just the number of gears available?

Regarding bikes, I WILL be open to buying a new bike in a year or two if I really get into the biking thing and I feel I need better, so I'm not locked into what I buy now.

Anyway, that's enough crap dumped in for now. If anyone has any new recommendations on bikes, I'll love you forever for them.

Thanks!
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Old 06-02-06, 02:18 AM   #206
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My Surly Cross Check came with a 9-speed Tiagra rear derailleur, so it came in 9-speed a few years ago. It worked fine for a couple of years, and then I got a 105 derailleur for a good price.

I don't know enough about the road bike market to comment on what's decent for <$600, but another option would be to look for used bikes.

You might want to try to start another thread in the commuting forum. A few of us post here regularly, but more people would probably read a new thread.
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Old 06-04-06, 10:29 AM   #207
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My daily ride

I live 10.4 miles from work. I'm a new rider as well. New like in the last 2 months give or take a week. My route is very up and down hill and some of the ups are quite extreme. Because of that I try to go as light as possible. But I do take along things that I found out were a complete and total neccessity and I found this out the hard way. Tire irons, a new tube, a quick patch kit, and the means to inflate that sucker. I found myself halfway to work with a rear flat. Out where I live, it's normal to see people pushing their bikes. Remember the hills? So it took some time before anyone even asked if I was having trouble. And when someone did, it was because I decided to try a little experiment that seemed to work. If you break down and can't get yourself going again. Don't push bike. Pick it and carry it. As soon as I did that, I had a ride in minutes.
Other than tools and tubes, I really only take a full water bottle and some picture ID in case some moron crams into me.
One question though. I don't have those cool guy shoes that lock onto the peddle. What are the advantages of those over the toe clips?
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Old 06-04-06, 11:02 AM   #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtuck12_31
One question though. I don't have those cool guy shoes that lock onto the peddle. What are the advantages of those over the toe clips?
They keep your foot in position on the pedal and allow you to apply muscle power to all parts of the pedal stroke and not just the downstroke.

Granted, both of those capabilities are also provided by toeclips and toestraps, but really only when they've been snugged down, and most people aren't comfortable with really cinching down a toestrap because they feel trapped. With the "clipless" pedals where the shoe locks to the pedal, you can release them by rotating your heel outwards, like a ski binding releases under too much torque. People still feel trapped at first and you might fumble it and fall over when you've come to a stop and still aren't unlocked yet, but I bet you'll only do that once or twice.

Keep at it and those hills will mysteriously get easier A 21-mile commute is a pretty good length and you would be justified in getting some clipless pedals and shoes, IMHO. I like the Shimano pedals myself.
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Old 06-16-06, 03:32 PM   #209
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajbaudio
On lights: As an electrical engineer and amateur photographer, I must point out that the Watt is unit of measure for physical power. Watts can tell you how much power a light may consume, but its cannot tell you exactly how "bright" the light will be. For example, a 100 W incandescent light bulb may appear brighter or darker to the human eye than a 100 W halogen light bulb, depending on bulb type, fixture/enclosure, etc.
Since photons don't ride bicycles, I won't drag this too far into the physics/math world, but the problem here isn't the watt as a unit of measurement, its how the watts are measured. photons all have an individual associated energy and from a given flux of photons with a given wavelength, the amount of power (watts) incident across a surface can easily be calculated or measured if you're a bit more suave.

that said, it was easier to standardize measuring the power consumption of bulbs back in the whatever years, so that's likely why we're stuck with it now.
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Old 06-24-06, 12:30 AM   #210
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Tip: On shady streets (like in the early morning), remember that your bike tends to disappear into shadows. Be sure to run lights so cars can see you.
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Old 06-27-06, 02:29 PM   #211
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Did this thread get hi-jacked or is it just me?
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Old 06-27-06, 02:52 PM   #212
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Beware riding into the setting sun: you may be lost in the glare of the windshield. If your homeward trip is to the west, you might have to alter your route some to avoid the really bad streets.
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Old 06-27-06, 03:33 PM   #213
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helmets

My feeling is that if you have nothing in your head, then don't wear a helmet.
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Old 06-29-06, 03:05 AM   #214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pakinmd
My feeling is that if you have nothing in your head, then don't wear a helmet.
If you want to argue (or support) pakinmd, please do so in the Helmets Cramp My Style sticky over in the advocacy section. There are raging debates on this topic. As much as a I love the occaisional raging debate, it's best to keep those over in the Advocacy forum. Thanks.
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Old 06-29-06, 08:37 AM   #215
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Suggestions needed.

My commute
17 miles each way
Mostly flat cement trails (pretty smooth ones)
about 3 (total) miles of hills at start and end of commute
I occasionally add 10-15 miles to the return commute for 27-32 miles on the return trip
Fastest morning ride was 16.4mph average with mild head wind
Fastest evening ride (when I don't care if I sweat) was 17.1mph average also with a mild head wind

Current Bike
1998 Specialized Hardrock Sport FS
Computer
Shimano SPD pedals and shoes
Slick tires
Clothes and water carried in a camelback
Bar ends so I have more than one hand position
C-cell style hallogen light used when I ride early (just a cheap one) - only good for being seen
Blinky red light on camel back
Solid red light on seat post

I'm hoping to pick up a second bike this winter to use next spring/summer/fall for commuting and training. My intention is to also use it for some long tour rides next summer along with weekend rides that tend to be 30-50 miles. The MTB will be reserved for winter duty or nasty weather (fenders are on the buy list for the MTB).

I could use suggestions for a good sub $1000 commutor w/ drop bars, disc brakes, decent rim set, long enough wheel base for panniers, comfortable enough to commute and do longer 50-100 mile rides with.

Keep in mind that I'll be using the MTB for bad weather commutes and converting it to studded tires in the winter.
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Old 07-05-06, 12:47 AM   #216
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I'm new to this forum and haven't read through this entire thread on commuting. So my apologies if this has been mentioned, but I take my work clothes (pants, shirts, briefs, socks) to a dry cleaner near my office so that I don't have to carry them on my 11 mile commute. I'm lucky in that my work attire is khakis or casual slacks and typically a polo shirt. (I leave belt and shoes at work, and coordinate so that everything goes with black shoes and black belt.) Sometimes I need to wear a suit and tie, and on those days I take the bus.
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Old 07-10-06, 04:29 AM   #217
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a helmet mirror

I have found a helmet-attached rearview mirror is more useful than one that is attached to the bike.

It is not a substitute for a head turn but it is a good indication of what is coming up from behind for a long way off.

The only drawback I have found to the mirror is that the manufacturer issues it with a pathetic starburst-shaped sticky pad that works for five seconds. I replaced it with foam-based two-sided tape and have been very pleased with its durability.

I see relatively few people here riding with helmets. I use mine religiously since i would rather look stupid than dead.
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Old 07-10-06, 10:01 AM   #218
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderDaHill
I could use suggestions for a good sub $1000 commutor w/ drop bars, disc brakes, decent rim set, long enough wheel base for panniers, comfortable enough to commute and do longer 50-100 mile rides with.
The two other commuters I see from my building both ride Trek 520s. One is an older model (dunno what year), but the other one is "brand new"--he bought it last week, although it's the 05 model--and cost him $1000.

Both guys say they're very comfortable bikes to ride long distances and make good commuters too. Doesn't come with the disc brakes you requested, unfortunately, but I think you might be challenged to find a sub-$1k bicycle that does.
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Old 07-10-06, 10:19 AM   #219
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Itsjustb... thanks for the reply. I'll take a look at the 520 also. I'm not stuck on disc brakes but it would be a nice feature to save on rim replacement costs over time and possibly be a bit better at wet weather stopping... but I'm not sold on that either because you can only put so much breaking power to the rubber when the roads are WET.
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Old 07-13-06, 03:08 PM   #220
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmocat
I have found a helmet-attached rearview mirror is more useful than one that is attached to the bike.

It is not a substitute for a head turn but it is a good indication of what is coming up from behind for a long way off.

The only drawback I have found to the mirror is that the manufacturer issues it with a pathetic starburst-shaped sticky pad that works for five seconds. I replaced it with foam-based two-sided tape and have been very pleased with its durability.

I see relatively few people here riding with helmets. I use mine religiously since i would rather look stupid than dead.

LOL a helmet with a mirror, wtf

2. not all helmets look that bad, admittedly its more expensive to get a decent looking one and you do look better without one but after I had a fall and banged my head, and my helmet prevented any damage at all, I always wear one.
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Old 07-13-06, 06:43 PM   #221
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmocat
The only drawback I have found to the mirror is that the manufacturer issues it with a pathetic starburst-shaped sticky pad that works for five seconds.
I've used that mirror in the past. It's ok. I've been using this mirror for a few years. The glue stays stuck much longer.
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Old 07-14-06, 04:06 PM   #222
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NightSkyre... I'm new to commuting (just started this week) and tried it on my "comfort bike"... a trek 100 navigator. I did the commute fine but this wasn't the most efficient machine on the bike paths that day. I talked with several people on road bikes and they told me i'd move along alot quicker on a road bike.

I too was on a budget. The bikes that I really wanted to get were in the 1300-1800 dollar range. I couldn't do it. Anyway, I turned to the "bikes" section on craigslist.com to find a good used bike. I found several good bikes but needed to find a frame that fit me. I found what I was looking for. A good aluminum frame (specialized alles elite - 2000 model), ultegra components, bontrager race wheel set, a computer, an excellent saddle and all this for $800. Anyway, this is an excellent bike and I looked up just the components as to their value - I would have had to pay $1500 for the components alone on this bike if they were new. The previous owner worked at a bike shop and meticulously maintained this bike. He wanted to buy a new carbon fiber frame for himself and that is why he was selling (I'm sure that he got a great discount on the components on his former bike.)

Anyway, if you're comfortable with used... I think that might be the way to go. You may not find what you want exactly.. but you could spend the money saved to put what you want on the bike.
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Old 07-14-06, 04:23 PM   #223
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightskyre
At this point, I admit I'm a little bit of a pansy, and I don't expect to be biking in the rain. I don't have a tremendously long commute, and I'm not an uber environmentalist, so I don't have any problems with taking my truck to work. That being said, since I'm not planning on biking in crappy weather, what other good reasons are there to get fenders?

I'm not really crazy about the way they look....

Thanks!
One word - Puddles
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Old 07-14-06, 05:01 PM   #224
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It depends on the kind of asphalt they use, but here in Sactown there are lots of streets where it can appear to be dry but there's lot of water in the texture of the asphalt. Doesn't even have to rain hard, could be just a heavy fog. Your tires will pick it up and spray it all over your feet, pant cuffs, and give you the "freshman stripe." So attractive.
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Old 07-20-06, 05:05 PM   #225
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wHAT KIND OF BIKE WOULD BE BEST FOR COLLEGE?

I will be attending University of Kansas this fall and wouldlike to know which bike people think would be best? Mountain, road, hybrid, cyclocross, etc.? It is a hilly campus. However, i need the bike to be light weight b/c I will store it in my dorm room so it doesn't get stolen. Also, i will probably ride it sometimes during the winter and if you've never been to KS, it gets icy during the winter and the hils at KU will be hell! I am 5' 9", 135lbs., 18 y/o. What do you think?
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