Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: the Garden State
Bikes: Univega Hybrid of Unknown Age, Undersized Specialized Hardrock MTB
Originally Posted by East Hill
Hello Citizen78! What convinced you to start bike commuting?
Welcome to BikeForums
It was a combination of things really. Often when asked in person last summer I'd reply in regards money, health, or even throw in an environmental skew, all of which are to some degree part of it. But ultimately it was a matter of stress.
My primary road to and from work by car is one of NJ's finest examples of the human circus. It is littered with stop lights; has highway speed limits and almost a constant merge from side streets and stores and such. The result is a lot of quick stops and starts, angry drivers cutting you off or tailgating, honking, veering in and out... only to get to a point where all would come to a near standstill because of congestion. Then you sit, and crawl, and feel very much like human chattle. (I've moo'ed at the top of my lungs to amuse myself. True story.) I'd arrive at work often late, flustered, feeling a general malaise towards my common man and woman and looking a bit like this:
So I'd had enough and wanted an alternative. There is a train that leaves about a mile from home and arrives 3.5 miles from my office. I thought I'd give it a try. It was an adventure at first. Even just getting the bike on and off the train car involved a learning curve. Until I learned to upend my bike on its back tire to walk it through a train car (my best and only advice to offer at the moment) I would do a lot of apologizing for catching purses and hats and newspapers as I tried to shimmy past. On the bike I struggled mightily with the second leg of my ride which was a slow climb with one substantial hill.
But as time went on and I did it more often I found a bit of a rhythm. I got fairly accustomed to the train bit and the conductors got used to me. And once I had my timing down to catch the train nothing felt so good as a slow roll past gridlocked traffic.
The issue to date though is that in my area to do this all year would require a level of skill, determination and planning that I've not yet reached. Winters can be brutal and my route doesn't lend itself well to a ride in total darkness.
Frankly even in the best conditions I still have some kinks to iron out (I should be popping up in the commute board in the near future). Also, my rig is (I think) a box store relic which I've taken good care of these past few years but still may leave something to be desired. I hope to get some feedback on what, if anything, I could put attention towards on the bike to help my ride in future until I'm ready to buy new.
So, long answer to a short question.
Thanks for the welcome.