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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 03-14-05, 02:51 AM   #1
schwinnbikelove
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Well, those of you that are anti-car may not want to hear this (and this may be moved), but:

I totalled my truck last Thursday night on my way to work. For a long time now, work is really the only place I've been driving, and I've toyed with the idea that MAYBE when my truck konks out on me I'd just ride my bike. However, my truck being pretty new and in good condition still, I thought that this'd be years in the future. Now I'm faced with it, though. At the very least, I'll be commuting by bike for the next few days/weeks...

Anyone else have a similar story? (I'm sure)

I don't know why I'm posting this, just talkin' I guess. Figures I also got bumped on my bike by a motorist last week, also.

I live about 12 miles from work, 3rd shift. I'm glad it'll be only in the low 20's I guess.

Honestly, I'm kinda nervous about this riding to work and home in the middle of the night through some questionable neighborhoods...I wonder if going stealth and doing backroads would be better?

Thanks guys, and be careful out there. Not to sound like your mom or anything.

Last edited by schwinnbikelove; 03-14-05 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 03-14-05, 03:01 AM   #2
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I ride through some sketchy parts of LA, and I've noticed the trick is to stay on major streets (for me, anyway).

On smaller backroads, the gangsters having their drunken BBQs are more likely to mess with you. With major streets, you might get a few hoodlums making idle threats, but nothing serious (or nothing that an angry yell and a u-locked fist won't scare off).

12 miles is each way is pretty harsh, though. Bummer about your truck.
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Old 03-14-05, 03:58 AM   #3
andrew young
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Hey,
I suggest maybe carpooling with someone if it's an option. Do buses run all night where you live? Some of the lines here in Minneapolis run 'til like 2:30am, while some start up at 4. This may not be of use to you I know, just thought that maybe I could help or share some ideas.
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Old 03-14-05, 09:53 AM   #4
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I agree with vomitron - main roads are your friend. The more lighting and space, the better. Also lights on your bike are a good thing - I actually feel safer at night knowing that my lights can be seen a lot easier.

24 miles a day, that doesn't sound like much fun. Good luck with it.
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Old 03-14-05, 10:31 AM   #5
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i ride close to 30 miles almost daily (i do have a bus option which i take once a week or so) on a singlespeed with a freewheel....

i don't think it'd be bad once you get used to it!

it would suck to have no other option then the bike, but it will make you tough and certainly is possible!!!
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Old 03-14-05, 10:39 AM   #6
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I think with a little conditioning 12 miles each way isn't so bad. I've got a friend who has a 25 mi round-trip commute. Good luck and sorry to hear about your wheels.
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Old 03-14-05, 10:50 AM   #7
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12 miles not so bad, riding at night through some parts of Toledo at night not so good. Be very careful or your route SBL. PM me if you ever consider buying a new car, I can get you a good deal on one.
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Old 03-14-05, 11:22 AM   #8
schwinnbikelove
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Thanks for the concern, encouragement, and what not. Okay, visibility is my friend-I've got reflective sidewall tires which work VERY well, a leg band for each leg, and reflective parts on my bags. I need to hook up my blinkie. I have nothing for the front. Main roads only, and cut through campus.

Let me just say, I did 2/3 of the ride yesterday, and this isn't going to be fun at all, although being at the bar the night before may have made it a little more strenuous... I love to ride, but I hate having to be somewhere by a certain time on my bike-takes the fun out of it.

Also, I work a really physical job already...Ugh.

I may head over to the library today to see about bus schedules, but I really don't think they are running then.

I know, I know, I should just quit complaining and ride, right? I'm lucky I still have a roof over my head!

Thanks guys!
Jess
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Old 03-14-05, 11:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove

I know, I know, I should just quit complaining and ride, right?
riding in the low 20's would make me do more than complain, and i agree that riding to have to be somewhere at a certain time kind of sucks at times, but catching the bus at night takes you away from streetfolk, and sits you next to the freaks.....

sorry to hear about the 'motorized wheels'-
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Old 03-14-05, 11:42 AM   #10
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I'm not sure how being female complicates this scenario, i would try to look like a man as much as possible-- bulky clothes, put your hair up, etc. Heck in 20 degree weather wear a ski mask.
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Old 03-14-05, 11:43 AM   #11
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12 miles is no prob if you don't have a bunch of hills. Also, if you're commuting at night alone, in addition to the lights and major streets advice, you may want to go incognito, i.e. no Pink Schwinns. Not being sexist, just pragmatic.
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Old 03-14-05, 11:50 AM   #12
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He he he, you saw the eBay thread. As much as a pink Schwinn is my dream bike, my current two bikes look badass, but inconspicuous enough, I think. Thanks BR and kurremkarm for the advice- it is something I've recommended to others before, and works well.

If looking like a man fails to do the trick, there is always the "look and act as ****ing crazy as you can and hope to scare someone away" approach, right?
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Old 03-14-05, 12:46 PM   #13
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Get that front headlight. Based on the incident rates of overtaking versus oncoming collisions, a headlight is at least as important, if not more so, than a taillight.
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Old 03-14-05, 12:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
If looking like a man fails to do the trick, there is always the "look and act as ****ing crazy as you can and hope to scare someone away" approach, right?
Hmm, you have something there. A ghetto blaster playing pre-recorded lunatic ramblings as you ride down the road (or at least Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries).
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Old 03-14-05, 01:01 PM   #15
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you might also want to consider keeping some pepper spray handy too, maybe strapped on the bike itself.

then maybe you could get a flamethrower, some rotating knives...
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Old 03-14-05, 01:39 PM   #16
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I commute to school and work everyday (only a 12 mile round trip though but the ride home is about 1/2 up various hills), in the cold a good key is to not overdress, even on like the 15 degree days I would sweat sometimes from having dressed to much and not counted on generating body heat.
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Old 03-14-05, 01:47 PM   #17
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sorry to hear about your truck!
get some blinkies and a headlight and wear your helmet
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Old 03-14-05, 02:17 PM   #18
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I sold/gave my precious, perfectly maintained car to my daughter, who hit a deer with it and totalled it.
At least she didn't get hurt.

Well, we definitely burned that bridge, and it has worked out great for me.
I have a 7.5 mile commute, day and night (I work two nights a week), regardless of weather.
I ride every day and night, whether rain, snow, sleet or hail.
It sorta makes me sad as I roll up to work and realize my ride has ended.
Twelve miles sounds nice, now that I know more about how to dress for the weather.

We don't have any bad neighborhoods here.
Oh, we have apartment complexes they call "Felony Flats" and stuff like that, but nothing too scary.
We do have 1.5 murders every year, so I guess that counts as something.

When I first returned to riding, sometimes bad boys in pickup trucks would say rude things as they passed me, and it would scare/startle me a little, and I'd get angry, too.
I think something in my body language gave me away as an unsure newbie and I attracted verbal bullies.
Dogs would hassle me, too.

Now I have a lot more confidence, and I know I ride differently and look less like a victim.
Dogs don't hassle me anymore and I hardly ever get a rude remark from wannabe tough guys.
The other night, though, in a super snowstorm, a car stopped and the driver rolled down his window and called me an "effing moron."
He didn't know it, but he really made my day.

Get good lights.
A fellow commuter got a nice helmet mounted 10 watt light and battery for under a hundred, and it makes a huge difference in comfort and safety at night.
I ride with a 10 watt helmet light and I can see and avoid all the crud on the road and I never outride my lights (the world formerly got kinda floaty when I went faster than my lights).

I say ride fast and don't let the bad guys engage you.
Ignore them and ride with one of those itty bitty baseball bats sticking out of your pack until you start projecting enough confidence so that they don't see you as a victim.
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Old 03-14-05, 03:09 PM   #19
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just take the seat off and have a little fun on the way to work...oh yea
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Old 03-14-05, 04:19 PM   #20
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just take the seat off and have a little fun on the way to work...oh yea
OMG. So witty.





(Lame!)
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Old 03-14-05, 05:42 PM   #21
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well, the_shogster is of the female persuasion, IIRC, so she would know...
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Old 03-14-05, 07:07 PM   #22
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A friend of mine in college worked the graveyard shift at UPS moving their boxes all night. He commuted on his bike about 20 miles round trip. He didn't have a choice, so he learned to suck it up and got hela-buff and in shape pretty fast. Just stick to the main roads for now and make sure you're visable. Riding at night is a blast! You'll learn what areas you can ride in and maybe find new secret ways home once your comfortable with it.
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Old 03-14-05, 07:29 PM   #23
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You guys are so wonderful. I feel already a little better, and more confident about this already. So much good advice. I have to say, Ken, I agree 100% about exuding confidence, and even as close as two years ago, I wouldn't have been ready for this. Cycle commuters are incredibly admirable folk-I only commute everywhere but work usually.

Harlot, that's what I'm doing, only for their competitor... Yeah, I'm going to stick to the main roads now, after so many recommendations. It should be peaceful, anyway, not as much wind.

I'll let y'all know tomorrow how it went. So far the temp.'s been holding at the very low 30's...

Thanks again, guys.

Last edited by schwinnbikelove; 03-14-05 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 03-15-05, 08:50 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
I'll let y'all know tomorrow how it went. So far the temp.'s been holding at the very low 30's...
hope it was okay. you are definitely on the ascending limb, weather-wise; it will only get nicer.
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Old 03-15-05, 09:49 AM   #25
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I had the same issue as you in December when I crashed my car, which has now been replaced with a 500 dollar station wagon which is covered in bike stickers and soon will have a thule rack a top, but I digress.

I had commuted before when I lived with my parents but it was totally different, I used my touring bike with a pannier and had a relatively safe commute. This winter though (and now) I was living with my grandmother in an urban area with very narrow and busy streets with motorists who were not interested in my saftey. I was also dealing with train schedules that would leave me banned from the train until before (like 630AM) and after rush hour. You'll adapt to it very quickly and it will get much easier. I felt a bit overwhelmed because I had to carry stuff for school and work and I had to be mindful of the train schedule and stuff and I was worried about my fixie getting stolen, I couldn't use panniers as they would be stolen in a second, etc. But by like day 3 I had it down, I had figured out how to dress so I wouldn't have to carry a complete change of clothes for work but still be able to pedal the bike without going to work smelling like a locker room or freezing to death. I got really fast with a U-lock and chain, I got more confident with my fixed gear, I got very organized in packing the day before. It seems tough but you adapt really quick, good luck to you!
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