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  1. #1
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    Is this racing road bike fine for commuting?

    So I am very new to cycling in general but about 2 years ago I bought a road bike so I could get into shape, but I have not been actively biking. I have had probably 15 rides of around 10-40 miles each.

    Anyways, I would like to start using this bike to cycle to school. I will be riding with a messenger bag and that is probably it.

    I don't know what tools I need to buy or anything. But I plan to learn how to do this all before Jan 17th when college starts back up.

    I am curious since this bike is meant for racing if it can also be used for commuting? Will having a pack with the extremely aggressive handle bar position be a problem? The commute to school will be around 15 miles each way.

    I will atatch a photo but whenever I go to a bike shop to buy something and get advice they assume I cycle a lot due to the nice bike but when I ask questions like, how do you change a tire they don't seem to be very helpful thinking I am joking...but I am not.

    Here is a picture of the bike. How can I start making this into a commuter?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    IMO, if i planned on carrying everything i needed in a bag over my shoulder, i don't see why i would do much of anything to it until i was convinced that there was some sort of deficiency.

    BTW, you might find riding 30 miles round trip with a bag over the shoulder is not really what you want to do... but try it a couple of times and see.

  3. #3
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    I commuted on my 2003 Trek 2200 until I purchased a new carbon fiber road bike. Now I commute on that. You can commute on whatever bike is appropriate. My commute is all pave streets so road bike is fine. I carry a Macbook Air in a back pack. I leave clothes at work and shower at work so that keeps the load lighter. I do not bike in rain. Road bikes generally don't have mounting holes to support full fenders, but there are some fenders that will mount to seat post and other places on a bike. I have a flat bar hybrid and personally, I don't like the upright riding position. Bike choice is a lot of personal taste, same as car choice. My only concern is that you have a safe place to park and lock your bike so that it doesn't get stolen. And out of rain/snow is helpful too.

    I love your bike! The color is great and I like your choice of bar tape. I'm still a sucker for traditional bike with horizontal top tube.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

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    Thank you! One of my concerns as well is the fact my bike may be stolen. Currently I have a cheap ($20) wire lock for it when I wrap it around the frame. But would a U lock be better? I am sure a good lock is worth investing in, but I wouldn't know what to buy. I would not want something too heavy.

    Also is there a place within this forum or maybe videos that I can watch just to get the basics down (in regards to both maintenance and proper cycle technique).

  5. #5
    Senior Member bhchdh's Avatar
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    You can commute on anything that fits, if you are concerned about the "extremely aggressive handle bar position" you could flip and raise the stem.
    Last edited by bhchdh; 12-20-14 at 04:19 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bconneraz's Avatar
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    bottom line; a backpack can turn any bicycle into a commuter. While it may not be ideal for some, it'll work. Personally, I can't stand messenger bags; they look cool and all, but not functional for me on a long commute. One more thought; that bike is pretty snazzy to be riding to school. Do you have a u-lock?
    CAUTION
    . . . . . . . .
    WET RIMS
    REQUIRE
    INCREASED
    STOPPING
    DISTANCE
    . . . . . . . .

  7. #7
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    Get a decent quality backpack and a clipon rear fender. I have commuted a lot on my roadbikes. Now I prefer a Cyclocross bike because of wider tires but if I were to ride 15 miles each way I probably would use a roadbike weather permitting. (no room for studded tires). Beware tramlines and bad tarmac, there is precious little room for errors with the narrow tires. Very nice bike by the way.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    No fender mounts? 15 miles is a pretty long way to ride in the rain if the roads are wet & you're getting doused by the grimy spray from your tires..

    - Andy
    I can't wait for the next pint of good chocolate milk after a long ride.

  9. #9
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    15 rides in 2 years? Is this correct?

    Were/are you comfortable on the bike?

    I don't know who thinks messenger bags are cool, but there's no way I'd ride 15 miles with one. It sure would be a waste to buy one and then figure out it sucks.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  10. #10
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    It was an estimate on the lower end. But yes, I did not end up utilizing the bike much but I did find it comfortable. I would like to start biking more though.
    I have not purchased my new messenger back yet, but I assumed they were better for biking and not making your back sweat like crazy. If you have backpack suggestions I am open to that as well. I am at university so I will need something I can carry around.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    15 miles in an aggressive position with weight on your back doesn't sound very appealing to me. Is there any way you could put a rack on that bike? Some people use p-clamps if their bikes don't have the right fittings for a rack or fenders: "P-Clamps" Are Your Friends! | Bike Commuters.

  12. #12
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    I commuted to college on my racing bike but the paint job was beat to heck and I used a u-lock. The cheap lock the OP has is inadequate.

    Any bike can make a good commuter but there are better bikes than the OP's bike for commuting. An old school road bike with long reach brakes and eyelets would be a better choice (it will handle a rack, fenders, and a fatter tire) or a vintage mountain bike (again it will handle a rack, fenders, and large volume tires). A larger tire is your friend when commuting since your wheels will hold up better and you can get tires that are relatively impervious to flats.

    Given that the OP is fairly inexperienced in terms of bike mechanics and riding, I think a more forgiving bike might be in order. They can be found on craigslist relatively inexpensively.

  13. #13
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    Only you can decide for yourself if having a backpack on for that length of ride will be comfortable. I know it wouldn't be for me and I'd look into attaching a rack to that bike if it were mine. In addition to the P-clips mentioned already, another option is to use a rack mount that attaches to the rear axle quick-release at the bottom and to either the brake bolt or a seat-post clamp at the top. Old Man Mountain and Tubus rack makers both other such attachment options and there's a clamp that fits around the seatpost just above the seat tube that has threaded holes for rack mounting on each side. A rear rack with a platform (or eq. carried on top) also helps with rain issues if you don't have fenders.

  14. #14
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    First of all, the bike (any bike actually) is fine for a 15 mile commute.
    What you need, at a minimum, is to be able to carry whatever you need to take to school, plus
    - a good lock (not a cable lock)
    - a spare tube, tire levers and a pump
    - extra clothes (eg a jacket and shoe covers)
    You will want to remove the frame pump and saddle bag - they will probably get stolen. Everything will need to fit in your luggage. The benefit of a messenger bag is it is easy to get into for deliveries - if you are just riding from point to point a backpack will be much more practical. Personally, I would go with a rack and panniers but that is something you can look at later.
    Other things that you may need depending on your location:
    - lights
    - fenders
    - cold weather gear

  15. #15
    tsl
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    First, you can commute on anything. But like life itself, everything's a compromise. A racing bike will get you there, but it won't carry your stuff for you and it won't keep you clean in the wet. I use mine on days when everything I need to carry fits in pockets and the roads are clean and dry. Those are some of my most enjoyable commutes.

    If you're going to use it every day in all weather (What's your location anyway?) then be prepared to become tired of being the pack mule, and tired of being muddy on rainy and snowy days. That's when a different bike--one that will take a luggage rack and fenders really shines.

    IMHO, your current bike is fine to start out, and for nice weather. If that's all you need, then you don't need to change a thing. If you start thinking about foul weather or moving the load from your back to the bike, it's time to start thinking about a second bike.

    Second, learn to how to fix a flat and get the required tools and stuff to do it on the road before you start commuting. You're halfway there with the tool bag and frame pump. You'll need at minimum, tire levers and a couple of spare tubes. Add a patch kit for just in case. Nothing says "Loser" quite like arriving late because you had a flat on your bicycle. So prepare, learn, and practice now.

    Third, get a good U-lock and keep using your cable lock to supplement it. College campuses are prime hunting grounds for bike thieves. Use both kinds of locks every time you lock up.

    Fourth, find a different bike shop--one that takes you seriously.

    Finally, have fun.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  16. #16
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Your bike will do fine. Search around for what else you need. Mesgr bag/back pack vs. rack/panniers is an age old argument that is bases solely one the opinions of the poster. Some won't ride around the block on a sunny day in Phoenix without fenders, others just ride.

    Make sure you have stuff to get you all the way to the end of your ride, tube, patch kit, hex wrenches, inflation device. Your pump probably won't survive on campus. A Road Morph would be nice, CO2 works fine---for as times as you have cartridges with you. Search and read around for ideas.

    YouTube has good videos of how to lock bikes. Some guy named Hal, I think, has some good ones. Try searching....you'll find it without problems.

    Read and get ideas. It will mostly boil down to whose opinion you care to follow on each subject. I have a pile of stuff that I tried and didn't like. Buy cheap at first, then get the good stuff when you know what you really want. If you don't like it, you aren't out much. If you do like it, you'll have a spare.

    Edit: I see tsl posted, you can ride his opinions to the bank...and get there.
    Last edited by gregjones; 12-20-14 at 05:45 PM. Reason: added stuff
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  17. #17
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    As long as you can limit total weight to around 8-9 pounds a backpack is no problem even on longer rides. I prefer a "clean" bike and weight on my back but everyone has to find out for themselves. I leave the hefty lock at work and take along a lighter one if I have to do some errands on the way. I learned a lot from the late Sheldon Browns Web-pages, they are still good reading for a novice. Youtube is also great for picking up haow to do stuff. Park Tools also has great howto webpages.

  18. #18
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheKracken View Post
    I don't know what tools I need to buy or anything. But I plan to learn how to do this all before Jan 17th when college starts back up.
    Carry a small high pressure pump, tire levers and spare tubes. Practice removing your wheel and changing tubes at home before you start commuting.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheKracken View Post
    I am curious since this bike is meant for racing if it can also be used for commuting? Will having a pack with the extremely aggressive handle bar position be a problem? The commute to school will be around 15 miles each way.
    You'll be fine don't worry about it. Backpacks and messenger bags are not that bad.

  19. #19
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TransitBiker View Post
    No fender mounts? 15 miles is a pretty long way to ride in the rain if the roads are wet & you're getting doused by the grimy spray from your tires..

    - Andy
    Clip on fenders....I know full fenders are nice but they aren't an absolute necessity, many people use clip on fenders, I have used them before and they are OK.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Motolegs's Avatar
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    That is a flat out good looking ride!

    Make sure it fits you, then get some good tires. Heck yeah, it's a great commuter.

    Looking at your bike.. it IS a racer. Not really made for everyday comfort. Beats driving anyday though!
    Last edited by Motolegs; 12-20-14 at 06:46 PM.
    What, me drive?

  21. #21
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    Carry a small high pressure pump, tire levers and spare tubes. Practice removing your wheel and changing tubes at home before you start commuting.
    And run your route before you need to commute to check how long it will take you, any problems you see ect. When you do commute, start 15 minutes early to allow for a flat on the way.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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  22. #22
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Ride from home to campus a few times on the weekend before you really have to be there. It's different than in a car and it's good to experience the ride at your leisure rather than "under the ***".

    Lock your bike next to the nicest one you can find.
    Disclaimer: It's just an opinion that I have. It works for me. I am not the forum "Police (Of Anything)". Others may disagree. And....YMMV.
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  23. #23
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    That's a fine bike for commuting. Arguably too 'fine' for a college campus where theft is common (at least around here). I have three bikes I use for commuting, two racing bikes and one cross bike. I have clip on fenders (SKS race blades) on a 2001 Bianchi and full fenders (SKS) on the cross bike. I've had the clip-on fenders for years on the Bianchi and they work OK but there isn't any front extension past the fork so it throws up more spray and gunk than I'd like. The full fenders I installed on the cross bike work well but the rear fender has had a few issues with broken brackets and pieces and requires more attention than I'd like.

    A backpack should be fine as long as you don't have to carry too many books. I carry my lunch, a few clothes (sometimes) and an iPad so my pack usually doesn't way too much. I commute 66km a day with a pack on fairly aggressively set-up bikes and I'm old so you should be OK.

    You might consider a crappier bike if you have to leave it locked up outside for extended periods. Alternatively spend the money and get a proper U-lock. Don't worry about a little extra weight.

  24. #24
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    I'd commute on that! It looks like there is a decent amount of adjustment available to raise the bars, if needed. Not just flipping the stem, but shuffling spacers from above to below it.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  25. #25
    Gearhead old's'cool's Avatar
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    All kinds of options for how to get started as mentioned above; but I'd be REAL worried about that nice bike or parts from it getting stolen while left locked up. Have you considered looking for a used bike with similar but more commuting oriented characteristics, e.g. a touring bike? Something like this 1984 Ross I picked up pretty cheap on Ebay would be ideal. I added the fenders & racks, and switched from stem shifters to bar ends, but you get the idea.



    As for the "aggressive handlebar position", I do ride the drops almost full-time; comfort is no problem over any distance, and of course the drag reduction helps your cruising speed.
    Old bikes are easy to work on, BTW, and tend to need very little work beyond new tires and a tune-up, as, like yours, they tend to have close to zero miles. Before you become mechanically self-reliant, you would need a bike shop that is sympathetic rather than scornful toward older bikes.
    In addition to the utility of being well oriented toward commuting, the advantages of a typical older road bike, in your situation, are that it is less of a target for theft, and less of a financial loss should it happen to be stolen.
    Anyway, good luck with your endeavours!
    Geoff
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