Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Newb potential commuter feeling overwhelmed!

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Newb potential commuter feeling overwhelmed!

Old 06-26-16, 12:54 PM
  #1  
Bertha
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Bertha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Nahant, MA
Posts: 3

Bikes: 1999 Trek 7300

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Newb potential commuter feeling overwhelmed!

Hi!

I'm new to biking and am considering commuting to work. I started reading the "Advice to new commuters" thread & quickly got overwhelmed. It's making me feel that there's a lot I didn't take into account and I'm wondering how doable this is for me after all!

Annoyingly long backstory: My 9 yo. daughter is finally interested in riding after a few years of stubborn & terrified refusal so we got her a nice entry-level Trek. My husband is not interested in serious cycling but found a Diamondback hybrid in good condition at the Salvation Army for $20 to accompany her. I started browsing Craigslist without doing any research for a bike of my own. Smart, right?! I don't know much (anything) about bikes but in the past I've ridden mountain bikes and am comfortable with those. I figured I'd get a hybrid as this would just be used for riding around our small town during family bike rides and not for speed or off-road. I found a decent looking Trek 7300. The frame looked nice and it had a newer saddle but the rubber handlebar grips were deteriorated (are these easy to replace?), the tires looked worn & the brakes squealed but figured it was nothing a tune-up couldn't fix. She said she paid $500 new "a couple years ago" and was asking $250. I told her I had $180 cash & she accepted. I should not have bought the first bike I saw, but I didn't want to deal with the hassle of endless Craigslist searching/emailing/waiting/driving/trying/etc. When I got home I did some research and discovered via Bikepedia that this bike is the 7300 model from 1999 so NOT only "a few years old." It's also a men's model and I have no idea if that matters. It has a 17.5" frame and I'm 5' 7. It doesn't feel too big or too small, is that all that matters? My husband brought it in for a tune-up, thinking it would only be like $75 but it ended up costing $200! They needed to replace tubes, tires, brakes & the headset or stem (something relating to the handlebars) was bent and that needed fixing. I might have been better off cutting my losses but as it stands I've paid almost $400 for a 17 year old bike that only retailed for $469 to begin with. Learned my lesson

TL;DR: Here is information about my commute with my questions. I have a bad habit of throwing myself into a new hobby and buying a lot of expensive equipment only to get bored after a few months & abandon it so my husband is not especially pleased or keen for me to invest much more money into this bike. In order to make the best of this mild fiasco, I thought maybe I could commute as it's only 4 miles from my door to work. I live outside of Boston and I would only bike spring through fall and don't plan to ride in the rain (obviously could get stuck in an unexpected shower). I work from 7am - 3pm so I don't think I'd be riding in the dark if I'm not riding in winter. My entire route is on flat pavement, no hills. The first 2.5 miles are along a causeway in my town, flanked the entire way by a beach parking lot & I can do the bulk of my ride there. Once I'm out of the lot, I'm in a city and the middle bit is .75 miles of a very busy stretch of 45mph road that is heavily used by people speeding towards Boston for work every morning. There is barely any shoulder, but there are sidewalks on both sides. (How bad is it to ride 3/4 mile on the sidewalk?? Really bad? I'm scared of riding with fast cars next to me!) The final .75 miles is back roads, easy. I work in a warehouse so it's very casual, jeans & t-shirt. Do you think I can ride in my work clothes since it's only 4 miles or will I likely be soaked in sweat and thus should wear gym clothes & change at work? I have a locker so I could leave spare clothes here or carry them with me daily. I keep makeup/hair products/toiletries in my desk drawer. I'll wear a helmet & sunglasses and planned to bring my backpack with my wallet, phone, lunch, coffee (I have a water bottle cage on the bike), clothes (if needed), a packable rain jacket, a lock (I can store my bike inside at work during the day but thought a lock might be needed if I need to run into a store for something on the way home?) mini first aid kit, a spare tube & a hand pump. A friend suggested I might get sweatier/uncomfortable wearing a backpack and recommended a basket or panniers. I thought a wire grocery basket in the front would be good because then I could just throw my bag in that and quickly grab it out when I get to work/if I have to run into a store rather than having to deal with the slight fuss of getting stuff out of panniers (and the cost of buying good ones!). I often stop on the way home for small grocery purchases (produce/bread, nothing heavy like gallons of milk) so I thought a basket could be handy for that too. I thought I had all my bases covered until I started reading the new commuters thread and then I started panicking. Fenders, patch kit, multi-tool, multiple headlights/blinkers, extra spokes, wrenches, extra chain links, tire levers, batteries, zip ties, electrical tape??? I planned to watch a YouTube video on how to change a tube and thought I'd be good to go!

TL;DR AGAIN (sorry!) Can I get some opinions on what is absolutely essential for a casual, few-times-a-week commuter with a short ride to have vs. the things that are NICE to have but not absolutely required? Of course I can acquire this stuff little by little over time, but since I've blown my budget on the bike & tune-up, I was hoping to not have to buy anything else other than the basket, spare tube & pump, new handlebar grips (and maybe new pedals? The stock platform pedals that came with the bike are usable but a little chewed up?) right now. Any advice or encouragement would be appreciated, sorry for the super long post!
Bertha is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 01:33 PM
  #2  
Moondoggy
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Capital District NY
Posts: 38

Bikes: Dahon C7a

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think it will be fine. Just take your time and pay attention as you go along your route. Before you know it you'll be confidently commuting.
Moondoggy is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 02:20 PM
  #3  
Jim from Boston
Senior Member
 
Jim from Boston's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,377
Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 799 Post(s)
Liked 203 Times in 159 Posts
Howdy neighbor,

I live in Kenmore Square and have commuted 14 miles to Norwood year-round, an outbound ride in the reverse commute, for decades. I know Nahant well, and just this morning was chatting about riding there.

If I can simplify my answers as much as possible, try the commute for a few times, and you will soon learn what you need. At a minimum, other than calling for a ride home or to work, you would need to be able to change a tire: spare tube Ė donít worry about patching the hole on the road, tire levers, and a pump (IMO preferable to a CO2cartridge). Of course youíll have to know how to do it.

I recommend a helmet; lights front and rear even for daytime riding; and in particular a rearview mirror mounted on the handlebar, helmet or eyeglasses to give you that extra confidence to ride in traffic.

Even after decades of commuting I still enjoy tweaking my commute to make it even more fun.
Jim from Boston is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 02:35 PM
  #4  
mcours2006
Senior Member
 
mcours2006's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 5,940

Bikes: Giant Rapid, Bianchi Advantage, Specialized Roubaix, 1985 Gardin Quatro, Norco Threshold, Raleigh Serengheti MTB

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1890 Post(s)
Liked 189 Times in 110 Posts
Yes, like Jim said, you just have to do it and learn as you go along. Each commuter's need is different. Your description of the commute sounds very easy and doable. Just get out there and do it and figure out what works and what needs work. You can't possibly cover all the bases before your first commute.
mcours2006 is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 02:41 PM
  #5  
Giant Doofus 
Senior Member
 
Giant Doofus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Memphis, TN
Posts: 1,050
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 69 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Bertha View Post
Can I get some opinions on what is absolutely essential for a casual, few-times-a-week commuter with a short ride to have vs. the things that are NICE to have but not absolutely required? Of course I can acquire this stuff little by little over time, but since I've blown my budget on the bike & tune-up, I was hoping to not have to buy anything else other than the basket, spare tube & pump, new handlebar grips (and maybe new pedals? The stock platform pedals that came with the bike are usable but a little chewed up?) right now. Any advice or encouragement would be appreciated, sorry for the super long post!
Commuting on your bike is very doable, and you don't need much to get started. For my first six months, I didn't really buy anything except a rack because I wanted time to assess what I really needed. So, I would recommend putting a rack on your bike and then finding an old milk crate or something similar to zip tie onto the rack. You might want to use a couple of bungee cords criss-crossed over the top of the milk crate so that nothing bounces out, but I didn't find that necessary. Blackburn makes some very nice, affordable racks.

If you want new pedals, that's fine too. They are pretty inexpensive and easy to install yourself. I use MKS Lambda pedals, which give a nice big platform. Grips are also cheap and easy to install.

Here, in order, are the other things I ended up getting after my six month trial:
1. Panniers to replace the milk crate (not necessary, but nice to have).
2. Fenders because it rains in Memphis a lot.
3. Blinking front and rear lights for extra visibility.
4. A $7 high-visibility vest like road workers wear (I actually got this before the six month trial was up).
Giant Doofus is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 04:51 PM
  #6  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 11,402

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 183 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3627 Post(s)
Liked 1,163 Times in 772 Posts
Don't spend too much on a bike to get started, especially if you're not sure you'll continue riding. I resumed cycling last year after a 30 year break with a $120 used bike from craigslist. Still riding the same bike, still enjoying it.

Ride on the *unoccupied* sidewalk if you're more comfortable with it, especially in dangerous street zones. Just be extremely cautious approaching parking lots, driveways and curb ramps. Cars aren't looking for bikes. And don't crowd pedestrians if you happen to encounter any. In my area hardly anyone walks, so when I was still struggling to get back into shape last year I rode some sidewalks until my conditioning improved. There are still a few tricky areas where I'll still detour onto sidewalks or parking lots for 100 yards or so.

It'll probably be harder than you anticipate at first, especially with the tension of riding in or around traffic. Stop and start riding can be exhausting. You'll begin to notice even tiny hills that you never noticed before while driving or walking. Try to use your days off to get into shape, at least for the first few weeks. Find a hilly route and ride it repeatedly until your legs and lungs are on fire. Rest, repeat. Even 15-30 minutes of this once or twice a week will help. After a few weeks or months you won't need to work yourself so hard just to stay in shape. But it'll hurt a bit for the first month.

And get some puncture resistant tires, maybe sealant filled tubes as well. Avoiding flats beats fixing flats. For most rides under 10 miles on relatively flat terrain you won't notice much difference between heavier puncture resistant tires and anything else.
canklecat is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 05:28 PM
  #7  
catgita
Senior Member
 
catgita's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Long Beach
Posts: 765

Bikes: Fitz randonneuse, Trek Superfly/AL, Tsunami SS, Bacchetta, HPV Speed Machine, Rans Screamer

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
A bag and a bike will do. The rest is convenience. The more convenient thing are, the more you will want do it, and the fewer excuses.

Sounds like you are almost ready to teach a master class on the subject.
catgita is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 05:46 PM
  #8  
tsl
Plays in traffic
 
tsl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 6,967

Bikes: 1996 Litespeed Classic, 2006 Trek Portland, 2013 Ribble Winter/Audax, 2016 Giant Talon 4

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
There are only three things you absolutely must have to bike commute:
  1. Bicycle
  2. A job to commute to
  3. Gumption
Everything else is optional and extra.

Want proof? Every city has 'em--the "invisible riders". Homeless guys, can-men, the really destitute. They manage quite successfully with only an old POS bike--probably pulled from the garbage--and gumption. No spare spokes, no spare tube, no toolkit, no lights, no fenders, and so on. Yet they're out there every single day, rain, shine, snow or whatever.

It's only we middle-class riders who get all OMG! about accessories and repairs en route.

That thread you mentioned is full of stuff written by guys who think you need a travelling repair shop before you set foot to pedal. (Either that or they don't maintain their bikes and wait for things to fail en route.)

In ten years and 50,000 miles of bike commuting, other that the occasional flat tire, I've had exactly one mechanical failure en route--a shift cable snapped. Since then I learned that my model of shifters eat cables, so I just replace cables regularly.

For a four-mile commute, begin with the worst case scenario: You'll have to walk two more miles or walk back two miles. If you can manage those, then you don't need anything at all! With experience you'll find what helps you feel more comfortable.

My commute can be as little at five miles round-trip. More typically, it's nine miles in the morning, and 16 in the afternoon, just because that's what makes me happy.

Weather permitting, three days a week I ride with the least amount of stuff where personally, I still feel comfortable. Puncture-resistant tires, front and rear daytime running lights, mirror, tire levers, pump, tube, and a single 5mm Allen wrench because I use bolt-on skewers on my wheels instead of quick-releases. My ID, keys, glasses and sandwich all go in a jersey pocket. My lock stays locked to the signpost at work.

Some would feel naked with that little stuff, others would feel overburdened.

As for clothing, its a touchy subject, causing religious wars here. About the only consensus is that riding to work naked is inadvisable.

Try in your work clothes. If it works, you're done with the topic. If it doesn't, try something else.

Same with how much stuff you tote, how often and where. I use panniers on Mondays and Fridays. On Mondays I tote in the week's worth of clothes, lunches and snacks. There's usually a library book or two in there to return as well. I leave the panniers at work, then use them again on Friday to haul home the laundry.

Other folks do things differently cause their needs or personal preferences are different from mine. Yours will be too.

The big thing is to get out there and try. You'll figure out soon enough what work best for you. With only a four-mile commute, there's little that can go wrong that would fall into the disaster category.
tsl is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 05:55 PM
  #9  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 11,402

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 183 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3627 Post(s)
Liked 1,163 Times in 772 Posts
Regarding clothes, the only cycling apparel I'd consider a must (for myself) for even short rides is a good poly or blend base layer undershirt -- sleeveless or t-shirt, whatever you prefer. I like Pearl Izumi's fancypants poly/"minerale" fabric, but there are very good less expensive athletic undershirts online.

Even in summer the wicking layer helps keep my cotton casual collared shirts looking dry. And it's really not hotter, even on humid 90F+ days. Feels much more comfy than sweat trickling down my back and front. So I don't need to change shirts when I arrive for a visit with friends, go to the museum, whatever.

And they are warm in winter. Good all 'round first purchase. But you can try one for as little as $10 via Amazon or other online vendor.
canklecat is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 05:58 PM
  #10  
Hub Spanner
Senior Member
 
Hub Spanner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: California, USA
Posts: 113

Bikes: 2011 Raleigh Grand Prix, 2014 Raleigh Sojourn, et al

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by tsl View Post
there are only three things you absolutely must have to bike commute:
  1. bicycle
  2. a job to commute to
  3. gumption
everything else is optional and extra.

It's only we middle-class riders who get all omg! About accessories and repairs en route.
+1
Hub Spanner is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 06:10 PM
  #11  
PaulH
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,595
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 80 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 23 Posts
You are overthinking this thing. Just get on your bike and try it. Four miles is in the "sweet spot" for cycling, within which it is easier, faster, and less hassle than driving, walking, or public transit.
PaulH is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 06:23 PM
  #12  
BobbyG
Senior Member
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 4,942

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1055 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 308 Posts
Originally Posted by Bertha View Post
How bad is it to ride 3/4 mile on the sidewalk??
I'm 54 years old and I've been bike commuting seriously for 24 years. There are some streets that have become so busy, I take the sidewalk. I just ride slowly near pedestrians and stop to let them pass. I use a bell to alert them if I am behind them.

+1 on helmet and mirror. Walmart is fine.

TSL is correct, the most you'll have to walk is 2 miles, which is about 40 minutes.

If you can fit a backpack in the front basket, then you don't need a back rack. I use a backpack bungied to my backrack, unless I'm on my old roadbike, then I wear it. I change clothes at work.

Whatever you think you overpaid for the bike, forget it. You are lucky. You are starting out with bikeforums. I spent many years relying on magazines and bike shop salespeople and spent a lot more on unecessary stuff I didn't need.

I wear and use a lot of non-bike specific gear, because it is less expensive and works well for me.

Have fun, be safe and go, Go, GO!
BobbyG is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 08:31 PM
  #13  
oddjob2
Still learning
 
oddjob2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: North of Canada, Adirondacks
Posts: 11,605

Bikes: 45 keepers, 31 others to sell

Mentioned: 91 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 837 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 24 Posts
Start slow, going on days only when the weather suits you. A four mile trip is about 20 minutes of riding. If you think about it, most of it sounds like there are no traffic issues, and only 4 minutes of sidewalk riding should be okay until you are more confident to ride with traffic, but then again it is Boston, the home of the world's most aggressive drivers.

Besides some way to carry your personalty, you should get a bicycle lock too.

As far as flats and tube repairs, that's what Uber is for or call a coworker or friend if you need assistance. But it shouldn't happen often on a hybrid with new tires.
oddjob2 is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 08:32 PM
  #14  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 10,909

Bikes: Schwinn Paramount, Salsa Timberjack, Diamondback Expert TG, Burley Samba

Mentioned: 64 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1968 Post(s)
Liked 527 Times in 365 Posts
Stop thinking so hard and go ride your bike. It's easy in midsummer, you only need to wear your workout clothes and put a change in your backpack. Remember a lock. If you stick with it, buy some lights for fall.
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 08:40 PM
  #15  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,086
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 789 Post(s)
Liked 210 Times in 154 Posts
My commute is 4 miles each way. The climate of Wisconsin can't be much different than Boston, and I ride in my work clothes. I don't know if anybody mentioned it, but you need something to keep your pants out of the chain. Bike shop will have a little velcro strap thingy, otherwise some folks just stuff their pant leg into their sock.

I've been commuting to this particular job for 15+ years. I've had some flat tires. Like @tsl says, I could hoof it, but I carry the means to fix a flat. Besides flats, I've had one mechanical failure during that entire time, and was still able to get home, albeit in an inconvenient gear. Since switching to puncture resistant tires, no flats, but I still carry the kit.

I think that riding on the sidewalk would be fine.

One idea is to try out your commute during a weekend when you don't actually have to get there at any particular time. As others have said, don't over-complicate this. Don't know if anybody has mentioned getting a decent floor pump for at home, to keep all of the tires in the family fleet properly inflated.

Since you daughter is just beginning to ride, it might be worth seeing how interested she is in learning about the nuts and bolts of the bike. I'm lucky that both of my kids are learning to do their own maintenance. You're never too young to learn how to fix a flat. If you're just learning yourself, then it can be "let's learn together."
Gresp15C is online now  
Old 06-26-16, 09:03 PM
  #16  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 15,007

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 70 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2795 Post(s)
Liked 175 Times in 123 Posts
Keep an extra full set of clothes at work since you have a locker, even if you're carrying clothes with you. That way you're covered no matter what happens, and you can try riding in work clothes if you want.

The challenge isn't in the equipment, as long as you have something reliable, so don't worry about that. Or about accessories. I have all of those mentioned - it's a hobby - but honestly half of my commutes in the summer are on a cheap bike, with no lights, no rack, no accessories, no hi-viz anything and wearing whatever was on top in the drawer. They are all good to have, but optional. Just get started.
wphamilton is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 09:31 PM
  #17  
jade408
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1,532

Bikes: Working on replacing my stolen Soma Buena Vista Mixte

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 416 Post(s)
Liked 91 Times in 43 Posts
Ok here are my 2 cents.

1. Backpacks are really annoying in my opinion. It makes me get super hot. If you don't carry anything too heavy a front basket is fine. It gets a little wobbly when I have my purse with laptop and some groceries in my front basket. Racks are great. I have both a front basket and rack. A rack and bungee are ideal.

2. Clothing? Well I am on team "dress for the destination." I wear dresses skirts etc, the most has been about 6 miles one way. No issues for me. I wear unpadded shorts if my dress is too flowy or short. Butt pain hasn't been a problem for me mostly. But when I have ridden in jeans I found the seams can be annoying on some pairs and be uncomfortable. And if you are wearing slim ones I hope they have stretch. .

I might bring some small workout pants for that reason, but test it out.

As for sweating? I find that underarm sweat hasn't been a problem. But my face gets hot. Usually I just deal with it. Advanced move: bring baby wipes to wipe off your face. Or find a cool corner for 5-10 minutes. And pedal slow as you get closer.

I find 4 flat miles are a breeze! Enjoy.
jade408 is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 09:37 PM
  #18  
jade408
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1,532

Bikes: Working on replacing my stolen Soma Buena Vista Mixte

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 416 Post(s)
Liked 91 Times in 43 Posts
My extra tips:

1. Figure out where there are bike shops en route. Just in case!

2. Research the bus routes and other transit en route. We can bring bikes on the train and buses have bike racks. I know most of the bus lines and train locations so my backup plan is hop on the train/bus. Walking 4 miles is fine but I may not always be wearing the right shoes or have too much stuff.

One more thought:

I did the urban cycling class given by my local bike coalition. It helped me feel,more confident in traffic. It was great! And free.

Last edited by jade408; 06-26-16 at 09:47 PM.
jade408 is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 09:45 PM
  #19  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 10,909

Bikes: Schwinn Paramount, Salsa Timberjack, Diamondback Expert TG, Burley Samba

Mentioned: 64 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1968 Post(s)
Liked 527 Times in 365 Posts
...and stop giving yourself obstacles about stuff you think you need before you start. Get it when you need it.
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 09:53 PM
  #20  
jade408
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1,532

Bikes: Working on replacing my stolen Soma Buena Vista Mixte

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 416 Post(s)
Liked 91 Times in 43 Posts
Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Regarding clothes, the only cycling apparel I'd consider a must (for myself) for even short rides is a good poly or blend base layer undershirt -- sleeveless or t-shirt, whatever you prefer. I like Pearl Izumi's fancypants poly/"minerale" fabric, but there are very good less expensive athletic undershirts online.

Even in summer the wicking layer helps keep my cotton casual collared shirts looking dry. And it's really not hotter, even on humid 90F+ days. Feels much more comfy than sweat trickling down my back and front. So I don't need to change shirts when I arrive for a visit with friends, go to the museum, whatever.

And they are warm in winter. Good all 'round first purchase. But you can try one for as little as $10 via Amazon or other online vendor.
I love uniqlos undershirts:

Women AIRism | UNIQLO
jade408 is offline  
Old 06-26-16, 11:55 PM
  #21  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 11,402

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 183 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3627 Post(s)
Liked 1,163 Times in 772 Posts
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
I love uniqlos undershirts:

Women AIRism | UNIQLO
Those are great prices if the material wicks well.
canklecat is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 12:10 AM
  #22  
jade408
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1,532

Bikes: Working on replacing my stolen Soma Buena Vista Mixte

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 416 Post(s)
Liked 91 Times in 43 Posts
Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Those are great prices if the material wicks well.
Wicks pretty well. Dries so so fast. Definitely too thin to be a real layer IMO. I've been happy with mine. I hand wash since they dry so fast.
jade408 is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 05:58 AM
  #23  
spyguy
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: St Louis, MO
Posts: 31
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
We do tend to make things sound more difficult than they need to be. Bike commuting doesn't have to be more difficult than "get on bike, ride to work, get off bike". For a 4 mile commuter on an occasional day (that likely you can plan around weather), the bike you have plus an appropriate sized bag to carry what you want would do it to start. I started with a 30 year old Schwinn that I paid $25 for and put $150 into, so I feel your pain. Used that for 4 years, before buying my Trek 7.2, which by that time I knew exactly what I wanted.
spyguy is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 06:57 AM
  #24  
Bertha
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Bertha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Nahant, MA
Posts: 3

Bikes: 1999 Trek 7300

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Oh wow, thanks guys! I was nervous about posting here because everyone else is so much more experienced but you're all so helpful & encouraging! You guys are right, I was overthinking. Like I said, I thought I was ready until I read that advice for new commuters thread and then started second guessing.

Thanks for the rack recommendations, the bike came with a Trek rack but I had to remove it because it mounted to the seat-post which raised the height of the seat 2" which made it difficult for me to get on! When the seat is at it's lowest level it's perfect. I guess eventually I'll pick up the kind that mounts on the wheel bolts unless there's some way to install the other one without raising the seat height? I do have some of those sweat-wicking tanks so I'll try riding in those & I definitely plan to practice on a weekend first. I'll also pick up a light, mirror, & tire levers as suggested and we do already have a floor pump at home. The bike shop is 2 miles from work so they're close by and I have friends at work who could pick me up if anything happened so everything should be OK. I'm back to being excited again! We're going on vacation next week so I plan to order everything else I need this week so I can start riding when we get back!

Jim: glad to see another local! Riding around Nahant is a breeze but things get questionable for me as soon as I get into Lynn! Roads are immediately much busier and poorly maintained and car commuters have no patience for cyclists from what I've seen when I'm in my own car. There are back roads I could take that would be easier to ride on than the most direct route down busy 1A but it brings me through some neighborhoods I'm not necessarily comfortable riding in alone.

TSL: you are so right. My gumption levels are typically quite low (ha) but I'm going to try and get my act together. Talk about first world problems!

Jade: have any tips for preventing helmet hair?? I wasn't sure if I should wear a bandana or something underneath or just make do with a ponytail? Like I said, my job is ultra-casual so I don't have to look professional but I'd rather not look disgusting all day. I'll keep some makeup wipes in my drawer to freshen up my face too!

Again, thanks so much for all the help and making me feel welcome!
Bertha is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 12:40 PM
  #25  
jade408
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1,532

Bikes: Working on replacing my stolen Soma Buena Vista Mixte

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 416 Post(s)
Liked 91 Times in 43 Posts
@bertha: I probably have different hair challenges than you! My hair is roughly chin length. And I relax it to straighten. Moisture is the enemy for me! If it seems like a hot day, I typically get a wicking headband to use to deal with the back of my neck, and make sure no hair is at the edge of the helmet. When my hair is longer than the helmet, I try to loosen up the back so it doesn't press too closely to my hair.

I am making some assumptions about your hair, and assuming you have straight-ish longer hair. Think a french braid! A bun! And i have seen some awesome articles on refinery29 for helmet hair.
What To Do With Bicycling Helmet Hair
Wearing A Bike Helmet Hair Ideas

BTW: I have this basket for my rack, and it makes grocery shopping a breeze! https://www.amazon.com/Basil-Memorie.../dp/B0030SZ0HC

It fits most of my backpacks too.

If I recall, you don't have a helmet yet. I went for the "cute" helmet and grabbed the nutcase urban helmet. I live in the mild bay area, where it rarely gets 80 (used to but no longer). Now that is has been so hot, I realize there is nowhere near enough air holes! So I'd get more ventilation in a helmet, since I know Boston is pretty hot in the summer! Less air holes + more heat = helmet hair!
jade408 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.