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mtalinm 12-30-09 08:46 PM

slow, Boston-area newbie
 
hi,

I'm not exactly the usual profile of a cyclist. not at all thin (that's being generous).

bought a Giant Cypress ST (steel comfort/hybrid with fairly upright posture) last summer to ride to the train station for my commute into Boston, mostly to save on parking. bike paid for itself in a few months.

one day, on a lark I decided to see if I could bike not just to the train station but to work. (it's 13-15m depending on the route). here's a typical route. worked my way up and before long was making it the whole way. takes about 1:20 because there are hills and I am very, very slow. right now I can only do it one way, every other day. I hope to work up to being able to do it both directions daily.

I've read through 10 pages of the commuting thread and found some good ideas. Had already invested in toeclips, bell, mirror, four lights, orange vest, reflective stuff, etc.

Although the giant Cypress ST was fine for riding to the train station, it has really become limiting for the longer commute for a number of reasons:
* the gears slip all the time. I've taken it to the store where I bought it, and they just shrug
* the brakes are terrible in the rain (and it rains a lot here)
* from time to time I get a broken spoke on the rear wheel - $20 a shot to fix. this got worse once I put a rack and a basket on the bike to carry my backpack - will probably need to start wearing it again

glad to be here, and look forward to getting to know you

cod.peace 12-30-09 09:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mtalinm (Post 10207330)
* the gears slip all the time. I've taken it to the store where I bought it, and they just shrug
* the brakes are terrible in the rain (and it rains a lot here)
* from time to time I get a broken spoke on the rear wheel - $20 a shot to fix. this got worse once I put a rack and a basket on the bike to carry my backpack - will probably need to start wearing it again

Welcome to bike forums! there are lots of Boston-area cyclists here :)

Gear slipping: take it to a competent local bike shop (LBS). I'm not too familiar with shops in the Dedham area but the world famous Harris Cyclery is right up 95 in Newton. The Spoke-N-Wheel in Waltham is also great, the guy who runs it, Frank, is wonderful. For braking, try a set of Kool Stop salmon-colored (or salmon/black) pads, they will likely be a big upgrade compared with cheap rubber pads especially in wet weather. Also available at a good LBS. As for busting spokes - I don't know how much you weigh, but it might be a weight vs. wheel issue or a cheap-ass machine built wheel issue. Again, an LBS will be able to properly re-tension all your spokes or recommend a wheel upgrade.

Come springtime it sounds like you'd be ready to either overhaul the bike with more durable components or perhaps buy a bike with a faster riding position!

buzzman 12-30-09 10:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mtalinm (Post 10207330)
hi...

one day, on a lark I decided to see if I could bike not just to the train station but to work. (it's 13-15m depending on the route). here's a typical route. worked my way up and before long was making it the whole way. takes about 1:20 because there are hills and I am very, very slow. right now I can only do it one way, every other day. I hope to work up to being able to do it both directions daily.

That's an impressive ride to work mtalinm. Welcome to bike forums. Ill watch for you on my way into Boston- our routes intersect.

mtalinm 01-03-10 05:19 PM

what's your route, buzzman? I ride in a large orange hunting vest for visibility - you'll know if you see me :-)

cod.peace, thanks for the tips. after fixing three different broken spokes at $20 a shot, I'm torn between spending about $100 on a new wheel or just going for a new bike altogether. got my eye on a Trek Soho (ugly but practical), Giant Seek (mmmmmm), or maybe a Xootr Swift folder (for the T). Hard to get decent recommendations from an LBS b/c they naturally direct you to their inventory on the floor (or, failing that, the brands they carry).


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