Hello from metro Detroit!
I've just recently begun to commute to work using an old hard tail trek mountian bike i've had kicking around in the garage for 15 years. After two weeks of riding i've decided it's something i'll be sticking with. My eventual goal is to go car-free entirely helping me to realize a more minimalist lifestyle. So i wanted something shiny and new that is more appropriate for commuting. So after trips to a few LBS's and plenty of test rides i finally decided on a Specialized Tricross Comp. One LBS had a 2008 model that got tucked in the corner and never sold, so they discounted it for me. The cyclocross style seemed like a good choice as an all-weather commuting bike, it has fender mounts, rack mounts and can accommodate fatter tires for the winter months. I'll finish paying it off in a few weeks and in the mean time i'll be lingering around the forums looking for advice and compiling a list of accessories that i'll need. Thanks for the amazing support group and all the encouragement and motivation i needed to get started!
You are really in luck, having a job in Detroit to commute to, and getting a deal on a first class commuter bike. I would put some smooth tires on the Trek for commuting in the winter when there is a lot of salt on the roads. What distance is your commute?
I'm a bit north of Detroit, and the burbs aren't too bike friendly. Luckily i only commute 10m round trip. However being near the 16 mile Metro Trail, I plan to do plenty of solo rides and can easily do 20 miles on multi-use trails and light traffic roads. I have lived here long enough to know suburb streets like the back of my hand. All the criss-cross streets are typically 45 or 50mph with a noticeable lack of shoulders, and as a new cyclist i plan on working up to that, not jumping in headlong. As far as Michigan winter goes, this ought to be an experience! Hopefully by first snow i'll be in Portland OR where i need to be for school. This plan to go car-less is quite an investment financially and socially. What is the consensus on riding the same bike year round, maintenance costs are likely to be much higher. What about the durability of modern bikes in the elements. Things like brake pads, tires, tubes, wheels, spokes, though a pain in the ass is something i plan to prepare for by having multiple sets on the wall for the ever changing Michigan weather. What about some titanium studs for winter on this bike, overkill or nice to have as second set?
Hi noisebox and welcome to the Forums.
Originally Posted by noisebox
I'm a Detroit native and currently a year round commuter and occasional centurian in Boston. When I visit the family, most of my riding is in Macomb County around Fraser and environs, including the Metro Trail, with some forays into Oakland County. Occasionally I have transported the bike to Stony Creek or Kensington. I agree that the burbs in Macomb County, while perhaps not bike-friendly, are certainly not bike-convenient. Several Detroit area cyclists recommend the half mile roads for east-west riding, and I have often relegated myself to the sidewalks, though they are often discontinuous.
I have a nice Bridgestone RB-1 Road Bike that I only use on completely dry roads, and a beater Cannondale Mountain Bike for wet weather riding, including winter snow and slush. This was the first year I have used studded tires and I heartily endorse them. The Winter Cycling Forum is pretty dormant now but will pick up in the fall. There was a lot of advice to get your studded tires early.
I am a year round commuter,I only have one bike that I ride (I own 3). Studded tires are the way to go in the winter. Disc brakes are good too. I do have two sets of tires studs and slicks.
I haven't noticed any increased maintenance costs for running the same bike year round.
If you are considering going car free I would suggest checking out http://www.xtracycle.com/
I wanted to go car lite,so I got one, love it.
Last edited by xtrajack; 06-23-09 at 01:51 PM.
Woot for Detroit! Boston i imagine is not far from Michigan winters, no? That gives me some more motivation.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
Good tip on the half-mile roads, i seem to recall most have liberal shoulders too.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
Studded tires just got added to my list of winter essentials. This seems to be the general consensus that once you've ridden them you don't go back. It seems like studs would make the winter commute that much more enjoyable. As for a second bike, i'm sure some day i'll have my share of "beaters" and dry day bikes. For right now this Tricross will be required to satisfy my requirements. Just wanted to make sure i'm not going to trash my bike by riding it year round. Obviously with regular maintenance aside.
Dedication man! One more studded fan, i gotta get me a pair out of season. I looked at the Trek Portland, and the Lemond Poprad 08 too both of which had discs (or disc tabs available) and though it to be a good idea in this climate. I was advised that any brake system will adequately stop a ride even in less than desirable conditions, and as a commuter disc tabs are hard to accommodate for when picking racks/panniers/fenders etc. The other advantages of the Tricross outweighed the no-disc brakes argument.
Originally Posted by xtrajack
Those xtracycles are something else! Not too hard to build i might add though, with a set of torches in the garage and some thrift store bikes i'm sure i could rig one up. Luckily i'm a college bachelor without too many household needs, grocery trips and such are usually some veggies and fresh dairy something panniers would handle just fine. I'll keep an eye on ebay and craigslist for an extracycle
Thanks for all of your input guys keep it coming!