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Old 10-02-13, 05:03 PM   #1
jmaru
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Bike for commuting AZ Canals

Hi all,

I'm brand new to this forum, and I want to start commuting to work via the canal system and am looking for some advice. I mapped it out - I can take the canal near my house almost right to the front door of my work (about 13 miles away via canal path). What suggestions do you have for a good bike to do this? Keep in mind 90% of the ride will be on the canal pathways.

Thanks!

J
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Old 10-02-13, 07:12 PM   #2
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For the most part, Phoenix is pretty flat. I commute as much as I can in North Phoenix, 15-17 miles depending on how long/short I want to make it and still not a lot of hills. I usually ride my road bikes, but on occasion I take the fixed gear.

So I guess, you could do just about any bike you wanted. Do you have any bikes now? What have you ridden in the past and what do you feel comfortable on?

Other things to consider would be where you store it at work and and at home, and what do you need to carry. I keep my bike in the office at work and in the garage at home. I don't even own a lock. I'm also fortunate in that I can take changes of clothes to the office and leave them there along with my laptop. So I carry nothing with me and the only thing on my bike is a saddle bag, water bottles, and lights.
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Old 10-02-13, 11:28 PM   #3
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As Ed said, just about anything works on the canal roads. I personally like mountain bikes, say a hard tail. You can use commuter tires for canals. If you enjoy that you can slap on some knobby tires and hit some single tracks. There are many great bike brands. Many check out REI. Good selection and support, plus the shop has great people.
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Old 10-03-13, 07:18 AM   #4
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Which canal are you going to be taking? The two nearest me, theArizona Canal and the Grand Canal are very different. For the most part the Arizona Canal goes under major roads letting you cross with little trouble. The Grand Canal has very few of these. You are left to your own devices to cross some major roads. Sometimes at a bad location to do it from.

Do you have a copy of the MAG Regional Bike Map? You can get a pdf here: http://www.azmag.gov/Communications/publications.asp Or you can call the number and request a hard copy. I've got both.

As far as bikes go. I've ridden both mountain and hybrid bikes on the path. On both paved and unpaved sections. No problems with either bike. Be aware that the unpaved sections will get muddy during the rare rains.
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Old 10-03-13, 08:48 AM   #5
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I can honestly say I've never traveled most of the canal paths, but I have heard from some in my club that vagrants can be found in some of the tunnels. Most are sleeping, but I did hear of one that jumped in front of a lady once, knocking her off her bike. I don't think he did anything bad to her, the story I heard was that he was only half there and wanted attention. Again, these are stories and who knows how true they are.

Still, I'd suggest a good light for commuting home in the evening. The more lumens the better so you can see far out in front of you.

Also, Phoenix seems to be a great biking community. Lots of great places to ride here other than commuting. Don't be afraid to join a club and do some weekend rides. There are some idiot drivers, but for the most part, I've had really good luck riding in the North Valley.
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Old 10-03-13, 09:20 AM   #6
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I use an old Diamondback Trail Streak I've converted to a commuter. I set it up as a 1x7 with a 46T chainring and a 14-28 7 speed freewheel out back. Works great.
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Old 10-03-13, 09:29 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
For the most part, Phoenix is pretty flat. I commute as much as I can in North Phoenix, 15-17 miles depending on how long/short I want to make it and still not a lot of hills. I usually ride my road bikes, but on occasion I take the fixed gear.

So I guess, you could do just about any bike you wanted. Do you have any bikes now? What have you ridden in the past and what do you feel comfortable on?

Other things to consider would be where you store it at work and and at home, and what do you need to carry. I keep my bike in the office at work and in the garage at home. I don't even own a lock. I'm also fortunate in that I can take changes of clothes to the office and leave them there along with my laptop. So I carry nothing with me and the only thing on my bike is a saddle bag, water bottles, and lights.
I would keep my bike in my garage at home and at work it would be behind our gated area. I would not have to worry about carrying a lock. I also have a small locker at my desk so I could keep a change of clothes there. I envision carrying only water and a small backpack.
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Old 10-03-13, 09:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by locolobo13 View Post
Which canal are you going to be taking? The two nearest me, theArizona Canal and the Grand Canal are very different. For the most part the Arizona Canal goes under major roads letting you cross with little trouble. The Grand Canal has very few of these. You are left to your own devices to cross some major roads. Sometimes at a bad location to do it from.

Do you have a copy of the MAG Regional Bike Map? You can get a pdf here: http://www.azmag.gov/Communications/publications.asp Or you can call the number and request a hard copy. I've got both.

As far as bikes go. I've ridden both mountain and hybrid bikes on the path. On both paved and unpaved sections. No problems with either bike. Be aware that the unpaved sections will get muddy during the rare rains.
I will be taking the Arizona Canal. I'm thinking a hybrid type bike would be the best. On the unpaved sections, in your experience, about how fast can you sustain over roughly 10 miles? 15 mph?
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Old 10-07-13, 04:06 PM   #9
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I will be taking the Arizona Canal. I'm thinking a hybrid type bike would be the best. On the unpaved sections, in your experience, about how fast can you sustain over roughly 10 miles? 15 mph?
The Arizona Canal is pretty good. At least west of 24th St. Even east of there wasn't bad the times I rode on it. I find myself slowing down at the approaches for the underpasses. Sometimes pedestrians and joggers won't be aware of you approaching from the rear. Use caution when overtaking those. Other than that there isn't too much to slow you down. Good luck and have fun.
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