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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 04-30-14, 03:01 PM   #26
trailmix
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Not really, but we have plenty of friendly drivers that attempt to encourage commuting by making helpful suggestions like "get on the sidewalk" or "get a car". I even had one nice group of fellas in a sweet Pontiac Sunfire offer me half of a beer but I missed the handoff and it ended up in the ditch. If I didn't know better I would have thought they were throwing it at my head!
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Old 04-30-14, 03:12 PM   #27
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Yes, this is part of how I justify my bike commuting. It is a long commute, but at the end of it I have gotten a good workout in and no longer needed a gym membership. The alternatives are driving (faster but very unproductive time) or riding transit, which isn't really much faster and the emails I get through on the bus isn't as much of a timesaver in my day as getting my workout done. Best part is, if you commute by bike, you don't have to worry about missing your workout because it gets to late, etc, something that I found too common for me when I tried to work out after work.
This is one of the greatest things about bike commuting. While bike commuting you get to ride your bike (fun, and good exercise) with none of the guilt that can sometimes accompany recreational activities due to the time spent on them. When I was single it didn't matter, everyday after work I would play in the ocean from the time I got off until it got dark (surfing used to be my big thing) without feeling any guilt. Now that I have a family, if I am out doing something fun for too long I begin to feel guilty. I know my kids would like to see me, and that my wife could use some help with the kids.

That said, the last several Saturday's I have been doing some long recreational rides for the enjoyment of them, but also as training for some distance charity events this summer. I have to say that by the time 3-4 hours goes by I begin to feel kind of guilty. It's ok, because I don't do it year around and my wife is OK with it, plus I try to make sure she get's some time for her hobbies as well. But it is great getting your exercise on the way to work.
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Old 04-30-14, 03:20 PM   #28
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The street closest to my home is popular with bike commuters of every stripe -- school kids, adults on trikes, a couple of recumbents, and a bunch of year round commuters. It's always nice to cycle with the tribe.
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Old 04-30-14, 03:52 PM   #29
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In Central and South Colorado Springs in the winter I see a few bike commuters along my route, with many more close to Colorado College, and a few more downtown and south who look to be the homeless or near homeless variety. In the dark of winter commuting the students and homeless become bike ninjas. Since the Olympic training center is in town one often sees athletes on training rides with minimalist bikes and gear. I don't count these as commuters. The students seem to have backpacks and courier bags; the homeless, milk crates on back racks, and the occasional bedroll on the handlebars. I also see bikes on the fronts of busses, that would indicate commuters, too. In the summer the commuters increase, while the student and homeless numbers stay somewhat constant. I have pumped up a few tires for the down-and-outters when they look terribly low. And I will occasionally patch a flat. But only when there is traffic and people around incase it's a set-up. BTW, when I moved here in '92, there were many faded bike lanes and signs. Over the next 15 years they began disappearing. But in the last three years they have been returning. And as noted above by Turkey Lurkey, the west side of Colorado Springs has a nice and expanding network of bike paths and lanes!
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Old 04-30-14, 04:05 PM   #30
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I rarely see any other bike commuters, and that's probably in part due to my commuting at times when others aren't commuting.
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Old 04-30-14, 04:52 PM   #31
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How do you tell which ones are commuters?

I don't know whether I should count everyone who's not wearing lycra or only those wearing high-vis vests, helmets with mirrors, and riding a practical commuting machine. Simply only counting those wearing high-vis vests would eliminate everybody I see on the road excluding the hordes that come to town once a year for a century ride who all seem to have high-vis vests and helmet mirrors. High-vis, mirrors, and helmets for that matter are very uncommon sights here.

But seriously. How do you know who's commuting?
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Old 04-30-14, 05:38 PM   #32
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I agree with you on the filtering to the front - it's rude. However, not waving is a different issue. There are a million situations where we don't wave to everybody - walking on the sidewalk, driving, strolling through a mall. I suspect you don't wave to other shoppers in the mall, and nobody calls you rude for it, because it's not expected there.

We only wave to strangers in situations that are novel or rare, or where we feel a kinship or identification with the other person. Most pedestrians in Manhattan don't wave to each other but if I was dressed as Batman and you were in a Superman costume, we would probably wave to each other as we would feel we had something in common.

So the SF commuters who don't wave to you are acting normally - it's no big deal to see other cyclists in SF and no point in waving to them all. Perhaps in suburban Marin County there are a lot fewer of you and you feel more of a bond, hence you wave.
I agree with you...I should have been more clear, I think filtering in front, especially in front of riders who were riding faster than you, is rude.

I do not think not waving is rude. I personally don't wave, and don't see other rider wave, and I am fine with this. If someone waved to me I would wave back if safe to do so (first priority is being in control of my bike and safe in traffic). I really don't expect commuters anywhere to wave while riding, particularly in an area where there are so many bike commuters.

I was trying to simply pointing out that there is often a bit more of a friendly bond on the Marin to SF commuters, as we all take that long commute and our routes all overlap over a large portion. To be clear, nobody waves, but it is common to say hi or make small chat at lights, or say hi or nod while passing. I don't consider it rude if they don't, but its nice when people are friendly.

One other area where I have seen these commuters be "nicer" is when I have had a flat - when I first started commuting I had too many flats with my crappy old tires. Many people would ask if I was OK as they rode by or stopped to make sure I had everything I needed. The majority of these were commuting from Marin (or likely too based on getup, most Marin to SF commuters are in a road kit vs city commuters in regular clothes). I am sure this is because many of them have been there at some point, and maybe realized they don't have tube, etc.
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Old 04-30-14, 06:10 PM   #33
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I live in a city. A cold city for a good chunk of the year. On the worst winter days I'll see about about 1/2 dozen others. I sort of catch the edge of downtown on my way into work. I'd probably see more if I took a different route.

It always surprises me that I'll set several other bikes when it's really cold (-20 or worse) but on a cold, windy, and rainy day there might be only a couple others.

On a nice day in the summer it can be harder to tell who's a commuter and who isn't. I'll usually look for a backpack or pannier. On a particularly popular route I got to well over 100 one day before I lost count. I was maybe half way home. In a bigger city or a European city popular with cyclists that wouldn't be anything, but I found it very encouraging.
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Old 04-30-14, 07:32 PM   #34
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How do you tell which ones are commuters?

I don't know whether I should count everyone who's not wearing lycra or only those wearing high-vis vests, helmets with mirrors, and riding a practical commuting machine. Simply only counting those wearing high-vis vests would eliminate everybody I see on the road excluding the hordes that come to town once a year for a century ride who all seem to have high-vis vests and helmet mirrors. High-vis, mirrors, and helmets for that matter are very uncommon sights here.

But seriously. How do you know who's commuting?
Why would you not count someone wearing Lycra?
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Old 04-30-14, 09:51 PM   #35
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Why would you not count someone wearing Lycra?
Because my workplace is at the last street crossing the MUP before it runs off into BLM land. And the folks in lycra keep riding down the MUP past where I stop. None of them are commuters.
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Old 04-30-14, 10:14 PM   #36
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Too many to count. One day I did actually count the number of oncoming riders and was over 100 on a popular stretch from the 14th St Bridge to National Airport, a distance of 4 miles of MUP.
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Old 04-30-14, 10:22 PM   #37
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Cambridge looks like China, not because of the race of the people but because of how popular bikes are
Sadly, China is starting to look less like China in the last several years.
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Old 04-30-14, 10:39 PM   #38
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How do you tell which ones are commuters?

I don't know whether I should count everyone who's not wearing lycra or only those wearing high-vis vests, helmets with mirrors, and riding a practical commuting machine. Simply only counting those wearing high-vis vests would eliminate everybody I see on the road excluding the hordes that come to town once a year for a century ride who all seem to have high-vis vests and helmet mirrors. High-vis, mirrors, and helmets for that matter are very uncommon sights here.

But seriously. How do you know who's commuting?
Most commuters use a backpack or saddle bags for carrying clothes. I only wear lycra as I try and minimize my time on the bike.
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Old 04-30-14, 10:43 PM   #39
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Ah, okay. I would suggest you are extrapolating from a fairly limited data set. Plenty of people commute in bibs and jersey, myself included.
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Old 04-30-14, 11:04 PM   #40
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Most commuters use a backpack or saddle bags for carrying clothes. I only wear lycra as I try and minimize my time on the bike.
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Ah, okay. I would suggest you are extrapolating from a fairly limited data set. Plenty of people commute in bibs and jersey, myself included.
I don't disagree. My data set is atypical but it is my local community and it does have a lot of bike commuters. Of 20 employees at my workplace about 4 commute, none of whom are using backpacks or saddle bags to carry clothes. That's pretty typical here. I think some of you live in communities that are more difficult to commute in. Longer trips, more challenging terrain, lots of bad drivers (not that drivers here don't suck but they're very used to cyclists), inclement weather, etc. A "long" commute here is doing a 3-mile ride on flat ground...
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Old 04-30-14, 11:17 PM   #41
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While Bend, Oregon, population 80,000, is no Portland, I do see lots of commuters. We're more of a mountain biking mecca and professional road racing town, but I do see commuters.
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Old 05-01-14, 12:14 AM   #42
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While Bend, Oregon, population 80,000, is no Portland, I do see lots of commuters. We're more of a mountain biking mecca and professional road racing town, but I do see commuters.
Portlands commuter load can vary(on weather). Some days I've seen 60+ people on my five mile ride to work, other days I will maybe see one or two. Here's a video I took the last week or so of my commute into work if you want to see the Portland commute, though it's from Nopo which is kind of the least bike friendly, even though I'm on a bike path the whole way.

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Old 05-01-14, 04:55 AM   #43
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Back to my OP

I live in a town of 22,000, ride through a town of 40,000, a town of 55,000, into a city of 155,000 where I work.
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Old 05-01-14, 07:06 AM   #44
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I live on the south side of Milwaukee, and commute through downtown up to the north side/suburbs.

Like someone else said, it's not crowded, but there are a fair number of other bike commuters. Which is great, because by and large drivers here are more (or at least seem to be) aware of cyclists on the road.

On my ride to work in the mornings I usually see five to seven "regulars" heading downtown on the MUP, their commute being opposite of me.
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Old 05-01-14, 07:15 AM   #45
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In the summer I will were my kit to work because it's too hot to were my usual jeans, so it would be harder to tell I'm commuting except for the panniers with my work cloths. During the winter I'll were jeans or dress pants.

I live south of Miami and commute to Florida City. 9 miles one way. I've actually ridden to work and not seen another bike rider. Normally I might see half a dozen bikes and in the morning I pass my truck mechanic as he's going to work.

The Bike Path runs along the Bus rout and I have actually ridden to or from work without ever being passed by a bus going by. Just shows that it's faster to ride my bike than take public transportation to get to work.

Bob
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Old 05-01-14, 07:38 AM   #46
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How do you tell which ones are commuters?

I don't know whether I should count everyone who's not wearing lycra or only those wearing high-vis vests, helmets with mirrors, and riding a practical commuting machine.
Around these parts at least half of the bike commuters I see are wearing spandex. You can usually tell because most of them, including me, are wearing back packs too. I leave the man purse home on weekend rides.

Time of day and direction of travel are also good indicators.
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Old 05-01-14, 08:12 AM   #47
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My town has a population of about 500,000. It is very hilly and there is basically no biking infrastructure, except for a few bike parkings downtown. ("A few" = count them on a hand and a half)

A good number of people commute by bike; mostly middle-to-lower class workers, and it pains me to see them not know the "proper" technique of following traffic direction, stopping at lights, not riding on sidewalks... but they get by. I've helped a couple with bike trouble on their way; sadly most seem to go on pretty decrepit bikes.

Then there are the "proper" ones, on well-maintained bikes, wearing helmets, etc., and they are invariably connected to the local biking groups. It's kind of disconcerting to see that "educated" bikers are the ones with enough money/time to dedicate to their biking. I guess I'm in this camp.

Things are definitely changing here, though. Drivers *are* getting used to seeing people on bikes riding properly on the streets.
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Old 05-01-14, 08:26 AM   #48
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Cambridge looks like China, not because of the race of the people but because of how popular bikes are
In some circles, Cambridge (like China) is known as The People's Republic of...

In January this year, I posted to a new local cyclist:

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…I‘m a decades-long, year-round commuter from Kenmore Square [downtown] to Norwood [a suburb], and occasional Centurian during the nice weather. I saw an unusually impressive number [about four IIRC] of presumed cycle commuters this morning from about 6 to 7 AM especially on the Jamaica Pond Bikepath, so there's a large and ever-growing number of us in Metropolitan Boston…
The JP Bikepath is a popular commuter path into downtown Boston, and the Harvard Medical Area for about three miles at the beginning of my outbound commute. Past that, in residential Boston and the suburbs on the best of days, I might encounter up to about five inbound cycle commuters before about 7:30 AM.

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It would help if your answers included the type of place you're in, i.e. big city, suburbs, small city, rural, etc...
...and time of day.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-01-14 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 05-01-14, 08:31 AM   #49
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I don't see too many at 5:30 am. I do see a few on the LA River path but they look more like racers, not commuters.
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Old 05-01-14, 09:07 AM   #50
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I don't see too many at 5:30 am. I do see a few on the LA River path but they look more like racers, not commuters.
These are not mutually exclusive categories.
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