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Thread: Commute tips

  1. #1
    Junior Member grizzlay's Avatar
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    Commute tips

    I just bought my first single speed bike & am going to start commuting by bike to work & school so if you guys have any tips for me regarding:
    -clothing
    -shoes/straps
    -winter months commuting
    -helmets
    -all around tips!

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    -clothing
    Highly recommended!

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    Ride like everybody is going to run you over.....and run red lights....and not see you......

    Be ready for anything.....sooner or later you will see it.......

    Wear what YOU like....Whatever is comfortable for you.....

    I don't wear a helmet...I'm old and stupid....But don't let that stop you if you wish.

    When I was young and thought I was fast,I worn clip-ins....In my middle years,I went with toe clips.....Now that I'm old and wise it's bmx pedals and boots.Use what you like....

    All around tips.....Don't date girls bigger than you can pick-up with one hand.....
    Last edited by Booger1; 03-27-14 at 11:12 AM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    We can be more helpful if you give us more specific information. How long is your ride? Is it hilly? How much will you be carrying with you? Will you ride in all kinds of weather? What is the climate like in your area?

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    Senior Member jdswitters's Avatar
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    my first tip to people who ask me about commuting or going car light.

    1. Riding your bike as transportation gives you superpower, unfortunately that super power is invisibility.

    Other than that it is just riding a bike, ride what you like, wear what you want.
    Torker Graduate, 288 rods a day without pub detours.

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    Senior Member g0tr00t's Avatar
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    My grocery list:
    1. Front light - NiteRider MiNewt 600
    2. Rear light - Radbot 1000
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    9. Tire liners RhinoDillos (these are on my rain bike. My Road Bike has Gatorskins)
    10. Spare tube
    11. Air pump - I bought this when I first started riding, but since I have gotten used to the Co2 cartridges, I only bring it to campgrounds or really long rides.
    12. Stem Bag - FuelBelt FuelBox (just a small stem bag I keep batteries and small tools for adjusting the brakes, I also keep a pair of Bike Sleeves in there. In the winter it can go from the 30s to the 80s in 1 day....
    13. Fenders - I added a pair of fenders to my rain bike and LOVE THEM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cyclosaurus's Avatar
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    Choose your route carefully if you can. Google maps has data on bike lanes and bike-friendly streets. Use the aerial photos to look at the lane configuration. Stay off of arterial roads if possible, use side streets when they are practical.

    Use puncture resistant tires if possible (my understanding is that Schwalbe Marathon Plus is the gold standard here). Bring a pump, tire levers, spare tube, patch kit.

    Get a bright flashing light for both front and back that is visible in the daytime.

    Assume every driver is a sleep-deprived, murderous sociopath who is drinking coffee with one hand while trying to text with the other and driving with their knees.

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    Senior Member jfowler85's Avatar
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    The best general tip I can offer is to get out and start riding! You'll quickly discover what works for you and what doesn't. It's difficult to give general tips without knowing things like: What climate are you cycling in? Are there showers or lockers at your destination? Are you carrying a load? Do you get cold easily?

    For me, I'm skinny but warm up quickly on the bike, so I wear a Cannondale Morphis jacket (sleeves come off easily; hi-vis color). I recently converted from toe-clips to clipless pedals and haven't looked back...even for a casual commute it's worth the extra grunt I can put in during hill climbs. I wear whatever helmet I can get cheap, which is currently a Bell Sweep.

    Generally, if you are commuting on the road at all, be very VERY aware of traffic. *Always* follow traffic laws and *always* err on the side of caution. Never assume a car will see or has seen you. Personal rules of thumb I follow are: stay out of the door zone, never take the right-of-way with a car (especially in an intersection with more than 1 car waiting), and always expect people to act like they are either 1) pissed off at you or 2) completely oblivious to etiquette as it applies to road cyclists.

    Sounds like a lot, but really (for me at least) it's no more to be cognizant of than when I am driving.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    'Custom chrome single speed' , you will need a really good set of locks and chains to keep it .

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    See this Compendium of the Rules for the Communitati.

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    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
    .....run red lights....
    Just keep an eye out for the fuzz and cross traffic.

  12. #12
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    strobes front and rear
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    Just ride.

    I find it easier to let the bike carry my load, and I like cleaning up at work and changing clothes. YMMV.

    You can buy winter clothes now while they're on sale (speculating that you'll still want to cycle next winter), or wait until next fall and buy what you need when you need it.

    Look up some of the resources available to help you pick a route and bicycle safely, like commute Orlando. Learn, try, and adapt.

    Use lights when it's dark or raining. Use sunscreen if it's not. Take water in hot weather for any ride over half an hour.

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    Lots of good tips here. Make changes to figure out what works best for you. Have fun!
    Date girls with small hands.

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    You took that (run red lights) a little out of context.....you can run red lights also if you wish.....maybe you will meet your next wife in the middle of an intersection somewhere.....
    Last edited by Booger1; 03-28-14 at 10:24 AM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    See this Compendium of the Rules for the Communitati.
    How cool. Bookmarked that puppy. Thanks!

  17. #17
    Fearless Isaiahc72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzlay View Post
    I just bought my first single speed bike & am going to start commuting by bike to work & school so if you guys have any tips for me regarding:
    -clothing
    -shoes/straps
    -winter months commuting
    -helmets
    -all around tips!
    Clothing isn't really that important unless it's a long commute.

    I also wouldn't bother with shoes/straps unless the commute is over 20-miles each way.

    As for winter, studded snow tires would be a good thing for icy weather. Wool socks will keep your feet warm and then dress in layers. Rather than 1-big jacket, wear two small jackets. If it's gonna be pretty cold, you might also want a ski mask and some smaller face cover.

    I would recommend a helmet and gloves as they can save your life. Motorists are unpredictable.

    Make sure you have good lights.
    IC

  18. #18
    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    Depending on the length of your commute (and, as always, your personal preference), you may want to upgrade from street shoes to bike specific shoes but they don't need to look like they are, there are some hipster sneakers and sandals that are bike specific but look like regular shoes/sandals. Shoes like these have the ability to take cleats (again, your preference) but, perhaps more importantly, are stiffer and enable you to pedal hard without the bars or points of the pedal digging into the base of your foot. Depending on what you do when you get to your destination, because bike shoes tend to be less comfortable for walking, you may need to have access to a better pair for walking (either with you or in your office/locker/etc).
    A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice. Bill Cosby

  19. #19
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
    How cool. Bookmarked that puppy. Thanks!
    Thanks for your reply. For completeness sake, I had added this rule which did not get listed, but which I think is important:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    “If you cannot directly see the Road surface (due to a reflecting puddle, a pile of leaves, or whatever), a pothole may lurk.”
    amended to add:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    “Even if you can see the Road surface at the bottom of a puddle, at freezing temperatures and especially without studded tires, it’s best to avoid all puddles.”

  20. #20
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    Just go ride first. With a new bike I would ride the route after work or on weekends to get a feel for the roads and traffic. After that the tips above are good.

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    +1 on a good U, of D, lock and a cable for the lock down. It would really suck to come out to find your trusty pedal horse missing. Also, on the lights get the brightest that you can afford. Lights alone do not keep you safe, however, they will help make you more visible which has to be worth something. Aside from that have fun!

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    I recommend panniers. Much more pleasant than having something on your back.

  23. #23
    Senior Member john4789's Avatar
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    Don't **** up. Basically all you can say to something so vague. Search the forums, tons of info.

    The only advice I have is give yourself extra time for repairs / public tranpo / calling for a ride until you can figure out how to keep yourself going.

  24. #24
    Senior Member jfowler85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john4789 View Post
    Don't **** up. Basically all you can say to something so vague. Search the forums, tons of info.

    The only advice I have is give yourself extra time for repairs / public tranpo / calling for a ride until you can figure out how to keep yourself going.
    Paraphrase: "There's only one thing to say. Now let me say two things."

  25. #25
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Don't assume that the route you would drive is the best route for bike commuting. Don't assume that the route that's good in the morning would be the route that works in the evening. And don't assume that Google Maps bicycling routes are the best either. That might be a good starting point, but try different variations and find what works for you.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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