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Old 10-14-11, 12:45 PM   #1
Rick@OCRR
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Any advice for a new (but 60+) bike commuter, Folding Bike on the Metro, etc.?

I'm probably known best on this forum for my Double Century reports and other Climbing Adventures, but now (For Something Totally Different!) I'm having a go at bike commuting.

After taking this job 10 years ago, everyone warned me not to bike commute since there is no way to avoid riding through several gang (controlled/infested?) neighborhoods, i.e. my safety would be very much in doubt.

However, I discovered that I could ride safely from my home in South Whittier to the Norwalk Metro station and have the Green Line Metro train wisk me over said dangerous neighborhoods and drop me off less than a mile from where I work.

1. Any of you on this forum do something similar (or used to)?
2. What should I be aware of that perhaps I'm not?
3. Any do's and don'ts of bike commuting you'd like to share?
4. Or should I be on the commuting forum even at my advanced age (61)?

My bike is Dahon Curve 8 (8-Speed Shimano Nexus hub-gears) which folds up nicely before I get on the train, and unfolds easily after I exit the train.

Rick / OCRR

Last edited by Rick@OCRR; 10-14-11 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 10-14-11, 12:54 PM   #2
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I can sum up the commuting forum's wisdom for you in 2 lines, and save you hours of reading the same thing over and over and over:

1. Get panniers
2. Take the lane

I only agree with item 2.

What you have to figure out is the clothes and cleanup aspects, which are dependent on your situation. FWIW, I provision my clothes and food over the weekend, by car, commute using my road bike with my stuff in jersey pockets, and shower/shave at work.
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Old 10-14-11, 12:59 PM   #3
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You should post in the commuting forum.
They have all the answers.
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Old 10-14-11, 01:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
I'm probably known best on this forum for my Double Century reports and other Climbing Adventures, but now (For Something Totally Different!) I'm having a go at bike commuting.

After taking this job 10 years ago, everyone warned me not to bike commute since there is no way to avoid riding through several gang (controlled/infested?) neighborhoods, i.e. my safety would be very much in doubt.

However, I discovered that I could ride safely from my home in South Whittier to the Norwalk Metro station and have the Green Line Metro train wisk me over said dangerous neighborhoods and drop me off less than a mile from where I work.

1. Any of you on this forum do something similar (or used to)?
2. What should I be aware of that perhaps I'm not?
3. Any do's and don'ts of bike commuting you'd like to share?
4. Or should I be on the commuting forum even at my advanced age (61)?

My bike is Dahon Curve 8 (8-Speed Shimano Nexus hub-gears) which folds up nicely before I get on the train, and unfolds easily after I exit the train.

Rick / OCRR
Hi Rick,

I'm a former "intermodal" commuter. It worked well and I would do it now if I was still bike-commuting.

My problem was O'Hare Airport. To get by it, I rode the bike 8 miles, got on an express bus for 6 miles, and then rode the bike another 9 miles to the office. The bus allowed a full size bike using the rack on the front. Fast, easy, cheap.

Check the Metro for restrictions. You might need to bag your folder.

Michael
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Old 10-14-11, 01:09 PM   #5
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Fack That!! I ain't riding through no gang-infested areas, unless I am packed.. And I don't want to ride packed, makes you want to do things that you wouldn't ordinary do.

Advice, find a way AROUND the danger area.. Other than that, not worth it IMO..
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Old 10-14-11, 04:20 PM   #6
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Hi Rick,
Another So-Cal commuter here, except I travel north south instead of east west. My commute takes me from the San Fernando Valley to North Hollywood Red Line Station, exiting at 7th St. Metro, (downtown), with a short 3 mile trip to USC - round trip is about 16 miles per day. For you, besides the obvious benefit of saving time and bypassing gang land - a multimodal trip is easier is easier on the body, and more likely something you can work in to a routine.

The commuting forum is the place to go, but from experience, I would say definitely get a rack/ panniers combo, and make sure that you have good lighting, especially now that the days are getting shorter. Some drive in with a weeks worth of clothes and bring them home the following week, others, like myself, bring a fresh pair of clothes each day and change at work. If you do decide to ride with a fresh set of clothes each day, it helps to get everything loaded up in your panniers or backpack the night before, so you have one less thing to worry about in the morning. You'll have to experiment and see what works best for you. Do a test run of your route on a weekend, and always allow extra time - anything can happen with public transportation so its best to be prepared.

Good choice on the bike as well - I've seen some people with Dahons on the subway, and its amazing how quickly they can be broken down and re-assembled. Let us know how it goes!!
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Old 10-14-11, 09:10 PM   #7
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I bike train bike in the am and either that or ride home in the pm. No gang infestation. Just start and all the questions will be answered, but one...

Why did I wait so long to start bike commuting?
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Old 10-15-11, 06:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
I'm probably known best on this forum for my Double Century reports and other Climbing Adventures, but now (For Something Totally Different!) I'm having a go at bike commuting.

After taking this job 10 years ago, everyone warned me not to bike commute since there is no way to avoid riding through several gang (controlled/infested?) neighborhoods, i.e. my safety would be very much in doubt.

However, I discovered that I could ride safely from my home in South Whittier to the Norwalk Metro station and have the Green Line Metro train wisk me over said dangerous neighborhoods and drop me off less than a mile from where I work.

1. Any of you on this forum do something similar (or used to)?
2. What should I be aware of that perhaps I'm not?
3. Any do's and don'ts of bike commuting you'd like to share?
4. Or should I be on the commuting forum even at my advanced age (61)?

My bike is Dahon Curve 8 (8-Speed Shimano Nexus hub-gears) which folds up nicely before I get on the train, and unfolds easily after I exit the train.

Rick / OCRR
First, check with the Metro people and see if folding bicycles are permitted, they sometimes are, sometimes are not. Sometimes if they are, there are special conditions, like they need to be in a folding bike bag. Knowing the conditions, means you can abide by those conditions.
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Old 10-15-11, 07:48 PM   #9
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Thanks for the suggestions and warnings everyone!

Yes Wogster, I have checked and folding bikes are allowed anytime (must be folded on the trains, no bag required) whereas normal sized (non-folding) bikes are only allowed non-peak . . . but that rule seems to be (pretty much) ignored.

El Gigante, Good to hear from someone else doing the bike/train thing here in Los Angeles! So far I've been using Monday as my drive day to deliver clean clothes for the week, pick up the dirty clothes, plus deliver my 5 cartons of Yogurt, bottles of water, etc. for the week. However, that may change.

Don't need panniers if I do the transfer of clothes, etc. on a daily basis, I just wear a small day-pack.

Thankfully Mon. is the least congested day freeway wise (91, 110) and my car is a first gen. Insight, so I get 65 - 70 mpg. In gas, it costs me $2.70 for the round trip, whereas the Metro costs me $3.00, but there are so many other costs associated with the car, plus the bike ride part is always lots more fun!

AZTallRider, I really can't take the lane but there is enough room on the right that it's not necessary (on Rosecrans). On Imperial Hwy, no way to take the lane, so I'm on the sidewalks; another reason I prefer Rosecrans even though it's 2 mi. longer.

And cehowardGS, The Metro is my way above the danger area. True, some dangerous folks could be boarding the Metro, but so far no problem(s).

Rick / OCRR

Note: The Metro Green Line runs down the middle (median) of the 105 Freeway for the section I'm riding.
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