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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 08-28-13, 09:43 AM   #1
rumrunn6
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new commuters left over from starting this summer

just a word of caution to ya. the change of seasons means a change in traffic patterns and drivers including newly licensed teen drivers. lots pf people will be out there starting new routines. you might want to take a break from bike commuting until everyone gets settled.
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Old 08-28-13, 09:52 AM   #2
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I started bike commuting in May after school had already let out. Now that school has started back it's crazy on my normal morning route once I get near my office. So now I have started taking a different, 1-mile longer route in the mornings that passes zero schools.
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Old 08-28-13, 12:19 PM   #3
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just a word of caution to ya. the change of seasons means a change in traffic patterns and drivers including newly licensed teen drivers. lots pf people will be out there starting new routines. you might want to take a break from bike commuting until everyone gets settled.
No need to take a break, but leaving a few minutes earlier, being aware and a little extra cautious, and/or exploring new routes is good. Especially the latter. I was really locked in to my usual routes until I started tracking my miles and was interested in reaching goals just beyond where monthly or yearly mileage would have naturally put me. Exploring new routes not only gave me the extra miles I was looking for, but it also freshened my riding experience, gave me options to ride different routes some days that I'm now already familiar with and actually gave me some new regular routes that are far more pleasant.

Be open to going a little farther to get a nicer experience. Usually a mile out of the way is nothing on the bike, and if it avoids a nasty intersection or brutal hill, it may actually be faster! One of my now regular routes is three and half miles longer than the direct route home, but instead of having a stop sign or stop light every five blocks or so, has five and half miles of very good MUP that only has a single stop light on it! The slightly longer commute home is worth it most days to get to actually pedal along uninterrupted for all that time! Makes for a totally different experience than having to always keep an eye on the mirror for the cars, be subjected to all their noise, have to constantly scan for them, and be stopped by the controls designed for them every few blocks.
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Old 08-28-13, 12:22 PM   #4
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I live in L.A......Things haven't settled in 40 years..... The only difference between now and then?.....people yell out the windows in spanish instead of english..... and I still can't understand them.....

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Old 08-28-13, 12:40 PM   #5
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What? Drivers around here are crazy all year. The only time is gets really dangerous is when it snows.
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Old 08-28-13, 04:02 PM   #6
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What alan s said -- snow time is the worst, as far as dealing with drivers; "summer vacation" for the young adults new to driving is the next worst. When they go BACK to school, most are already OFF the roads and in class by the time I get out there.

I have a high-school-sophomore daughter, and circumstances this week "required" her to do something she enjoys anyway -- ride her bike to school. If I thought it was safe for her, I'd let her do it as long as she could handle the weather (sadly, stupid drivers and predators disallow that). Because she gets out of school 2 hours before I get out of work, she'd have to ride home alone, or get a lift, bike and all, from her mom. Not a choice. The "stupid driver" part comes in during one, slightly-more-than-a-quarter-mile stretch where drivers seem to lose all sense of reality, and DEMAND to get by, no matter how close they pass you.
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Old 08-28-13, 04:33 PM   #7
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Time to re-charge all the blinky lights!

The good: less bike commuters means less crowded on the bike paths, no worry about full bike lockers at work, no wait for the showers, etc.
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Old 08-29-13, 01:37 AM   #8
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I started bike commuting in May after school had already let out. Now that school has started back it's crazy on my normal morning route once I get near my office. So now I have started taking a different, 1-mile longer route in the mornings that passes zero schools.
I started first weekend in June; schools were still in, though universities were out. Biggest change for me now is that I'm taking a route that's almost all off-road now on bike trails or dedicated side streets. It's ~22km each way vs ~20.5 km, and ~50m more total climbing each direction, but worth it. More enjoyable ride, and not riding on the busy streets to shave a few mins.
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Old 08-29-13, 05:25 AM   #9
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School started August 1st here. The first 3 or 4 days, I had new vehicles along my early morning route with horns and a few close passes. Now that we're a month in, things have settled. I think they're accustomed to seeing me every morning.

There's one SUV, silver with a soccer magnetic on the back deck that still does the buzz pass every time - fortunately, I only encounter it if I leave late (rare).
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Old 08-29-13, 05:57 AM   #10
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This is especially true of of my route. My route takes me by both the Eastern Michigan University and University of Michigan campuses and OMG these two towns just explode with people (students) starting today, tomorrow, and Saturday. Move in days for the universities and opening day at Michigan Stadium! I leave so early in the morning there's very little traffic to speak of. However when I leave, we'll see what traffic's like then. Thankfully my commute home is more bike trails than streets.
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Old 08-29-13, 07:15 AM   #11
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Crazy moms and dads dropping their little kids off at a school along my commute are a potential problem. Another issue is crossing a road that leads into the U. Very heavy constant flow of cars there. But, there's a light nearby.

On the plus side, school buses are a blessing. One held up traffic this morning, letting me scurry along unmolested for about a mile on an otherwise busy section of road. By the time the bus loaded up and allowed traffic to resume, I was off the busy road and on a nice tranquil one leading into the subdivision I use as a crossover.

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Old 08-29-13, 09:29 AM   #12
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Just heard on the radio this morning that DC is ranked as having the worst drivers in the country of the top 200 largest cities. Fort Collins, CO was ranked best. Not surprising.
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Old 08-29-13, 10:43 AM   #13
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lots pf people will be out there starting new routines. you might want to take a break from bike commuting until everyone gets settled.
Screw that! They can get used to seeing me on the road.
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Old 08-29-13, 11:55 AM   #14
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I have to bike through the student ghetto around university and the Greek Rush has started. That means I got to watch a bunch of naked college chicks running all over on my commute into work. Bonus.
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Old 08-29-13, 12:22 PM   #15
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The good: less bike commuters means less crowded on the bike paths, no worry about full bike lockers at work, no wait for the showers, etc.
I prefer having a few people on paths. In spring and fall, walkers think it's fun to walk on the yellow line in the middle. It already began as I saw two just this morning. Groups also think they can use the entire width of the path.
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Old 08-29-13, 12:54 PM   #16
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It is always a good idea to avoid schools at commute times. I would rather ride through the bar district at 2:00 a.m. than past an elementary school at 7:45 a.m.
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Old 08-29-13, 01:39 PM   #17
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Old 08-29-13, 01:59 PM   #18
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It is always a good idea to avoid schools at commute times. I would rather ride through the bar district at 2:00 a.m. than past an elementary school at 7:45 a.m.
I used to live within a 1/2 mile of 6 churches. Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings were the WORST.
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Old 08-29-13, 05:03 PM   #19
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I started this May, still here. ready for cooler weather, it has been HOT. I noticed this in the afternoon. It's much more hectic lately.

My morning commute is around 5AM and afternoon at 2:30. I was tired of worried about getting clipped so I found a way less stressful, kinda country road commute. I didn't realized how stressed I was on the ride home until I took this way.
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Old 08-30-13, 09:36 AM   #20
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Just heard on the radio this morning that DC is ranked as having the worst drivers in the country of the top 200 largest cities. Fort Collins, CO was ranked best. Not surprising.
CO is pretty much the best at everything, I think.
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Old 08-30-13, 10:51 AM   #21
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CO is pretty much the best at everything, I think.
If it had a coast, it would be perfect.
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Old 08-30-13, 11:14 AM   #22
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just a word of caution to ya. the change of seasons means a change in traffic patterns and drivers including newly licensed teen drivers. lots pf people will be out there starting new routines. you might want to take a break from bike commuting until everyone gets settled.
Thanks, but, my bike is my car. If I were to take a 'break' from bike commuting, well I wouldn't last too much longer on my job and... so, no thank you. You go ahead though and sit it out until you think its safe to get out there again. Maybe next summer? In the meantime, every time you get in the car and fire up 100hp to go 8.5 miles to the office, think about what that means for the future that your grandchildren will have to live in. I'm serious. Every time you light the fuse, I want you to think about the insanity of using 4,000lbs. of steel, aluminimum, plastic and whatnot, to carry your 195lb. carcass to work, shopping, whatever... think about the waste of that. I've been bike commuting for decades and I never thought to get off the road every September because new drivers are on the road... ... what a load of entitlement... about the only thing you didn't do wrong in that o.p. was use 'break' incorrectly. Thank you for that. As for the rest of it... you just didn't think it through. I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at a world that created a you. It's not sustainable kids. We won't be out of the woods until we worship bicycles and kiss every cyclist we see full on the lips, in unrestrained gratitude for the service they are doing for the planet and humanity's future.

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Old 08-30-13, 11:22 AM   #23
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Old 08-30-13, 11:32 AM   #24
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If it had a coast, it would be perfect.
We do have a coast. It's called Texas. It's just a very long run to the water
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Old 08-30-13, 01:06 PM   #25
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Leisesturm nice rant but I was just thinking of the deaths I hear about every time the seasons change. the post wasn't for seasoned riders with lots of experience like yourself.
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