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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 11-08-07, 06:46 PM   #1
LeatherneckPA
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Working on it

Howdy y'all. If you're wondering who I am you can check out my info thread.

What was it the Tin Man said? "I won't try to run things 'cause I haven't got a brain." That's me!! Don't know a thing about bicycles except how to pedal one.

In the meantime, somebody over in Clydes invited me over here because I have an interest in reducing my use of my pick-up even further. I already use my motorcycles to commute 7 months out of the year. The plan is to work toward having my bicycle as my primary means of transport, up to about 18 miles one way. That's how far it is from my house to the mall, which would be a very rare trip indeed. I don't much like malls, but Tractor Supply Company is located there, soooo...... Fortunately for me the necessities of life are a lot closer than that. Hardware is 5 miles, groceries 6 miles, bookstore/library 7 miles, and Wal-Mart 10 miles.

I will probably NEVER wear a singlet or jersey. My idea of cycling clothes are t-shirt, blue jeans and Wellington boots, no toe clips or Looks for me. I can't stand riding folded flat like a lasagna. I prefer upright. In fact, someone else here showed me beautiful set of Nitto handlebars that I'm thinking of for my bike. And I have to go to a local shop to buy a decent helmet and a gel pad for my seat. Problem is the size of my gourd. I wear a size 7 3/4 hat, and a XXL or even XXXL motorcycle helmet depending on the make.

So, is it as dangerous out there as I've heard? I would wear a helmet anyway, because I've always worn one on my motorcycles. I'm thinking something with nice hi-vis colors and adding some reflective pin stripes. And I own this killer hi-vis vest with retro-reflective patches all over it. Think that'll be enough?

My Fuji Palisade didn't come with any lights. Aside from a headlight I was thinking about one of those tail lights that blinks rapidly on and off to get the attention of the cagers. Do they make brake lights for bicycles? Turn signals? How can I fit a headlight on my bike that doesn't require batteries. Somehow, riding a bicycle to help the environment and then landfilling a bunch of batteries seems hypocritical to me.

Not too worried about speed really. I'll be retiring in 292 days so my time won't mean much other than exercise to me. So what kind of pace is the average 50 year old, focused-on-transport-not-speed kind of rider going maintain? I'm using a rough guess of 10 mph, so I'm guessing an hour to get to Wal-Mart/Lowe's. That's based on those crazy UCI racers I referee who average 28 mph, with 55-65 possible on the downslopes.

Do I need special fenders? My Palisade has what look like shocks in the fork legs. Rear suspension is handled by the seat post, I think.

Stay tuned, I'm sure there will be LOTS more questions. (As soon as I think of them or make a mistake I don't want to repeat.)
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Old 11-08-07, 08:17 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by lthrnckpa View Post
Howdy y'all. If you're wondering who I am you can check out my info thread.

My Fuji Palisade didn't come with any lights. Aside from a headlight I was thinking about one of those tail lights that blinks rapidly on and off to get the attention of the cagers. Do they make brake lights for bicycles? Turn signals? How can I fit a headlight on my bike that doesn't require batteries. Somehow, riding a bicycle to help the environment and then landfilling a bunch of batteries seems hypocritical to me.


Do I need special fenders? My Palisade has what look like shocks in the fork legs. Rear suspension is handled by the seat post, I think.

Stay tuned, I'm sure there will be LOTS more questions. (As soon as I think of them or make a mistake I don't want to repeat.)
Fenders - you might think about Planet Bike or Sks fenders. Probably cost about $30 but great in the rain or mud.

Lights? You can pick up headlight/taillight combinations at Nashbar or your LBS for about another $30-40. Should be good enough so that cagers can see you. If travelling in the night in the country or on unlit trails, you might need to get something better than an LED headlight. You might also think about some high-visibility/reflective clothing too.
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Old 11-08-07, 10:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by LeatherneckPA View Post
I will probably NEVER wear a singlet or jersey. My idea of cycling clothes are t-shirt, blue jeans and Wellington boots, no toe clips or Looks for me. I can't stand riding folded flat like a lasagna. I prefer upright. In fact, someone else here showed me beautiful set of Nitto handlebars that I'm thinking of for my bike. And I have to go to a local shop to buy a decent helmet and a gel pad for my seat. Problem is the size of my gourd. I wear a size 7 3/4 hat, and a XXL or even XXXL motorcycle helmet depending on the make.

So, is it as dangerous out there as I've heard? I would wear a helmet anyway, because I've always worn one on my motorcycles. I'm thinking something with nice hi-vis colors and adding some reflective pin stripes. And I own this killer hi-vis vest with retro-reflective patches all over it. Think that'll be enough?
You don't need the fancy clothing cycling clothing, but for comfort, I prefer the following:
• Touring shorts are great for warm weather. They look like comfortable jogging/hiking shorts, but they're padded to for comfort on the bike.
• Sweat pants are better than jeans. They're lighter and much more comfortable. And if you get sweat pants with elastic in the bottom of the legs, you won't get your pants caught in the chain.
• When you get T-shirts, make sure they're long in the torso. And if you get long-sleeve T-shirts, make sure the arms are longer than you think you'll need. Even if you ride in an upright position, it's nice to have the fabric to cover if you're bent over at any time.
• You don't need fancy shoes or boots, but it's a good idea to have hard-sole footwear for cycling. If you have shoes or boots with soft, absorbant soles, you'll lose a lot of power which means you'll have to work harder than necessary. I prefer low-cut shoes rather than high-tops since they give me more flexibility in the ankles.

The high visibility vest is a good idea. If you've got reflective stripes or reflective tape, you'll be seen easily.

For the helmet, go to your local bike shop and work with them to find the helmet that fits you properly. You shouldn't have that much of a problem with your hat size. I strongly suggest using a helmet for several reasons.
• Safety
• It's the law in many areas. Buying and wearing a helmet is cheaper and less hassle than paying a fine.
• Motorists tend to give helmeted cyclists much more respect than they'll give bare-headed riders.
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Old 11-09-07, 11:45 AM   #4
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Pace- When I had a computer on my utility bike 10mph was about the average pace for transportational trips. I use that as a planning pace for scheduling. On routes without stoplights and obstacles I get there a little sooner, cross city on unfamiliar roots I plan for a little slower.
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Old 11-09-07, 12:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by LeatherneckPA View Post

I will probably NEVER wear a singlet or jersey. My idea of cycling clothes are t-shirt, blue jeans and Wellington boots, no toe clips or Looks for me.
I'm a pretty casual dresser too. I do like my toe clips though. They keep my feet from sliding around on the pedals and allow me a little extra oomph. Which means that I can pedal a bit faster and get to my best cadence. Without them my feet fly off the pedals before I reach my best pedaling speed. I don't cinch them down as sometimes I pedal in tennis shoes, sometimes in hiking boots. But the toe clips help.

In discussing clothing, as winter is coming, you will want to have some more layers of clothing ready for cold days. I usually start with a flannel shirt and put sweater underneath it if necessary. You will also want a raincoat and maybe rainpants as winter rain gets cold.

For gloves, I usually start with some fuzzy gardening gloves, then to lined leather gloves, and then to ski gloves. The first two can be obtained inexpensively at a dollar store.

As it gets cold I wear a knit watch cap under my helmet. Otherwise I get bad brainfreeze going downhill.

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Originally Posted by LeatherneckPA View Post
My Fuji Palisade didn't come with any lights. Aside from a headlight I was thinking about one of those tail lights that blinks rapidly on and off to get the attention of the cagers. Do they make brake lights for bicycles? Turn signals? How can I fit a headlight on my bike that doesn't require batteries. Somehow, riding a bicycle to help the environment and then landfilling a bunch of batteries seems hypocritical to me.
No brake lights for bicycles and the turn signals I've seen tend to be toys. You can get generator units to power your bike lights. They add a little drag, but I always felt that was just extra conditioning. Here's a link, but I've never used it so no recommendation, just a place to start shopping. http://www.reelight.com/en/

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Do I need special fenders? My Palisade has what look like shocks in the fork legs. Rear suspension is handled by the seat post, I think.
You'll want fenders for sure. Check with your LBS for recommendations.
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