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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-16-05, 09:31 AM   #1
mob
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Today was my first commute on my new/first fixed gear. I got my new Mark V in the mail on Thursday and put it together that night. I rode it around my neighborhood a few times over the weekend getting the hang of stopping/skidding/pedaling. Then this morning I braved the commute.

La Grange to Chicago (Michigan Ave). i figure its about 17 miles or so and it took about an hour and 20 minutes. I didnt know what route would be best, so I just rode where the green lights and traffic would allow me to go. There are some pretty shady ghettos I went through. But overall it was a great ride. Great weather today and a really good first commute.

If anyone knows this route, or has any alternate route ideas please let me know. I dont want to be killed trying to ride my bike... hehe

Last edited by mob; 05-16-05 at 10:23 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-16-05, 09:49 AM   #2
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Congrats man! I commute (about half the distance of you) on a mark V, glad you enjoy it so much! And way to go on the long commute!
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Old 05-16-05, 09:54 AM   #3
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I have always wondered how that commute would be! Born in LaGrange! Live in Willow Springs. I'd love to know how you like it and where your path took you!
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Old 05-16-05, 09:57 AM   #4
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Congrats on the commute. Mines about the same distance. It killed me for the first couple weeks, to the point I put on a freewheel. Now I've got my gearing figured out and am doing it fixed again. Keep it up. It makes the work day so much better. The rides home are some of the best rides ever.
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Old 05-16-05, 10:00 AM   #5
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Good topic since today is that start of www.ride-to-work.com week!

I commuted a couple times from Roscoe Village to Broadview. I pretty muched jumped on Damen to Rosevelt. Rosevelt is a smooth running road but does have a few sketchy areas. I've also tried commuting on the north side of 290 on Madison. Same sort of sketch vibe, just different. Odgen would probably be your best bet. Cermak gets some pretty fast moving cars on the 4 lane section.

One night it was about 10p on my commute home and got a flat in a sketchy section. Luckily the tire held just enough air such that I wasn't running on the rim and just rode the last couple miles home. I typically find that the sketchy areas are better traveled in the early morning or even during rush hour. It's later at night that I don't care for it as much.
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Old 05-16-05, 10:13 AM   #6
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It's the nature of Chicago - it's segregated and chop chop like that. You'r ein one shady neighbourhood, a nice one, a shady one, etc. Chicago isn't the best case for urban planning - that said, ride confidently and act like you know what you're doing and do it during 'normal' hours. Mind your own business and people won't mind you. In the end, people are just people, whatever area it is.

I applaud you on the commute and welcome you to the fixed gear brethren. Stay safe, ride strong.
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Old 05-16-05, 11:48 AM   #7
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i've never biked to work before because i'm always running late. however, today is the day i start. i woke up early, i'm going to eat a good solid breakfast, and now i'm about to tackle the 20 mile commute for my first time on a singlespeed. my mercier kilo fixie is on it's way over to me, so hopefully by the end of the week i'll be able to ride to work fixed. i'm way pumped.
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Old 05-16-05, 12:20 PM   #8
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Congrats. Have you tried archer avenue? It's pretty safe all the way through the city, and it goes way out west.
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Old 05-16-05, 12:29 PM   #9
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I think I am going to try Ogden most of the way home tonight. I have not been down it yet, but I have heard that the sketchy areas are less on Ogden and its more industrial for a majority of the trip. Not sure yet.

Every day that its fairly decent weather out should be ride your bike to work day. I was talking with a friend today about the ride and he was wondering what I was gaining by riding into the city. Was I saving money? Maybe like $3 riding the Metra. Was it faster to ride in? No, 20 minute walk and a 20 minute train ride versus an hour and 20 minutes riding. I told him that the enjoyment of riding and getting a good workout outweighed the benifits of taking the train. He saw my point.

If there is a will there is a way. Keep riding and thanks for all the support.
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Old 05-16-05, 01:39 PM   #10
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so, i'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess/assume that by shady ghettos, you mean that you're white and you rode through neighborhoods of color, and that's scary for you.

most assaults happen between people of the same race.

something i've learned from self-defense (queer bodies are the site of violence) is that you've got to do what you need to in order to feel safe; on the other hand, you have to ask you why it is that you feel afraid, and question the race-based assumptions behind those feelings.

now, to make it bike-relevant again, i'm going to go bike to the liquor store.
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Old 05-16-05, 02:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queerpunk
so, i'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess/assume that by shady ghettos, you mean that you're white and you rode through neighborhoods of color, and that's scary for you.
most assaults happen between people of the same race.
something i've learned from self-defense (queer bodies are the site of violence) is that you've got to do what you need to in order to feel safe; on the other hand, you have to ask you why it is that you feel afraid, and question the race-based assumptions behind those feelings.
now, to make it bike-relevant again, i'm going to go bike to the liquor store.
Race based assumptions!?!? Do you have any idea what you're talking about? Maybe he's calling them shady ghettos because they are neighborhoods where drugs and prostitution are the primary local economy and people are shot and killed every day!? He said nothing about the race of said ghetto's inhabitants (you're the one making race-based assumptions). Maybe he's afraid because bullets and mobs of gang bangers are scary?
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Old 05-16-05, 02:38 PM   #12
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Race based assumptions!?!? Do you have any idea what you're talking about? Maybe he's calling them shady ghettos because they are neighborhoods where drugs and prostitution are the primary local economy and people are shot and killed every day!?
Werd!
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Old 05-16-05, 02:44 PM   #13
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A shady ghetto to me is a place where there are lots of boarded up run down abandond buildings, drug deals going on at 8:30 in the morning, people loitering in the streets and constant news stories of gang activities, drive-bys, and the possibility to be run over by a beat up car spewing huge clouds of smoke swerving all over the road.

Is there any particular race that only lives in this type of environment?

All I wanted to do was to comment on the joy of riding and my new commute...
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Old 05-16-05, 03:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queerpunk
so, i'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess/assume that by shady ghettos, you mean that you're white and you rode through neighborhoods of color, and that's scary for you.

most assaults happen between people of the same race.

something i've learned from self-defense (queer bodies are the site of violence) is that you've got to do what you need to in order to feel safe; on the other hand, you have to ask you why it is that you feel afraid, and question the race-based assumptions behind those feelings.

now, to make it bike-relevant again, i'm going to go bike to the liquor store.
Having grown up on the south side of Chicago, I'm sayin "STFU"
Anyone who has travelled through the south side or even lives in the city is pretty aware of the difference between a ghetto and a "neighborhood of color" as you put it, and we don't need you to point it out to us. Don't be so hasty with any cute humanitarian lessons. I understand what you're saying, but you come off as arrogant and you're just going to offend people more than you help anyone.


Anyway, I'm going to recommend that mob doesn't take Ogden southwest after dark - I did it once and I felt very uncomfortable, ghetto or not. The parkway is nice because there is no traffic, but LOTS of broken glass. And I wouldn't want to hang out to change a tube. If you've got armadillos though, then go for it
Do you know what route you took into the city? Roughly how far south and west do you live? (major streets)
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Old 05-16-05, 03:09 PM   #15
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I live in La Grange. Just about at La Grange Rd. (RTE 45/RTE 12) and Ogden. Ogden would be the most direct route... if it were ideal. I dont think I would want to ride most of the west side after dark... unless maybe if I went way north first, then west. I guess I will just have to try all possible routes.

The route I took into the city was Ogden (east) - Oak Park road (north) - Cermak (east)- Laramie (north) - Washington (east)- then into downtown.
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Old 05-16-05, 03:26 PM   #16
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Cermak all the way east to Archer or Clark or so is a much safer route than going North on Laramie IMO. You probably passed near my place on Warren & California this morning. East of Garfield park is fine, but it gets pretty hairy out west at night.
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Old 05-16-05, 05:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queerpunk
so, i'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess/assume that by shady ghettos, you mean that you're white and you rode through neighborhoods of color, and that's scary for you.

most assaults happen between people of the same race.

something i've learned from self-defense (queer bodies are the site of violence) is that you've got to do what you need to in order to feel safe; on the other hand, you have to ask you why it is that you feel afraid, and question the race-based assumptions behind those feelings.

now, to make it bike-relevant again, i'm going to go bike to the liquor store.
Man, you're like a walking fanzine circa 1992, but without any of the interesting bits.

We're just here to ride bikes.
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Old 05-18-05, 01:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by ryan_c
Anyway, I'm going to recommend that mob doesn't take Ogden southwest after dark - I did it once and I felt very uncomfortable, ghetto or not. The parkway is nice because there is no traffic, but LOTS of broken glass. And I wouldn't want to hang out to change a tube. If you've got armadillos though, then go for it
Do you know what route you took into the city? Roughly how far south and west do you live? (major streets)
I ended up taking Ogden all the way home and it wasnt too bad. The areas that are shady are basically due to there being a lack of habitable buildings... boarded up or torn down / industrial feeling type thing. There are also weird frontage roads that are used i think only for parking that are good to ride on. They are very bumpy but there isnt much worry of getting run over.

As soon as you hit the end of the city limits, the roads get way smoother and there is actually green growing grass. The traffic then becomes the suburban type. (meaning they are probably not used to having people on bikes on their streets). Overall its a good quick ride if anyone here lives in or near Ogden road and wants to ride into Chicago.
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Old 05-18-05, 02:07 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by queerpunk
so, i'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess/assume that by shady ghettos, you mean that you're white and you rode through neighborhoods of color, and that's scary for you.
most assaults happen between people of the same race.

something i've learned from self-defense (queer bodies are the site of violence) is that you've got to do what you need to in order to feel safe; on the other hand, you have to ask you why it is that you feel afraid, and question the race-based assumptions behind those feelings.
Such statements are tantamount to calling someone a racist. I had a professor in college who said that the fastest way to lose an argument that has the most remote racial element is to call the other party a racist. While you just sound like an idiot, if you were right, you'd still be wrong because the second you call someone a racist, they will a) feel attacked and fight back rather than consider your point OR b) not listen to anything else you have to say because you've lost all credibility in their eyes.
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Old 05-18-05, 03:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upthebikepunx
i've never biked to work before because i'm always running late. however, today is the day i start. i woke up early, i'm going to eat a good solid breakfast, and now i'm about to tackle the 20 mile commute for my first time on a singlespeed. my mercier kilo fixie is on it's way over to me, so hopefully by the end of the week i'll be able to ride to work fixed. i'm way pumped.

for anyone reading who's wanted to commute but is always running late- I am always in the same boat, but have bike-commuted at least 50% of the year for many years, so figured I would offer two points:

1. invariably you forget things the first few times out (xtra tube, pump, etc) but after a week or so you'll have your bag or your desk stocked with everything you need and your bike dialed in (fenders, lights, etc if you wnat such things). I don't see anything wrong with a little creature comfort on a commuter - a day of work can be painful enough, so why not enjoy the ride? Point being, once it becomes routine, your AM prep time will shrink considerably.

2. I try not to let tardiness keep me from riding, since I am gonna be late taking the subway as well! Since it's a tossup between trying to read when I am half asleep (both ways) and enjoying a bike ride, I say, be late and ride anyway. Just don't let your lateness make you ride too recklessly and place your life in danger......the job can wait!
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Old 05-18-05, 04:07 PM   #21
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so i need to wear a suit every day....what should i do?
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Old 05-18-05, 04:07 PM   #22
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and leaving my clothes in the offfice is not an option
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Old 05-19-05, 12:32 AM   #23
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so i need to wear a suit every day....what should i do?
roll up your pant leg and tuck your tie into your shirt?

couldn't you just bring your suit in a bag and change in a restroom, possibly in the lobby or elsewhere? just find a way to keep the suit from getting messed up, like wrap the pants then the jacket around a piece of cardboard so they don't crumple in your bag
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Old 05-19-05, 06:21 AM   #24
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so i need to wear a suit every day....what should i do?
Dude- there's a commuting forum- use it!
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Old 06-01-05, 09:58 PM   #25
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dude...i know...this thread was stuck here.....its about commuting
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