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5 Mile commute.

Old 03-17-24, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
I ended up with a 1x9 that is 34t X 11-42 as someone who doesnt know any better, it seems to get the job done. The 34x42 has a lot of spin to it and i actually dont seem to need it much for my particular commute. The one place i really really do need it is my last hill on the way home, it is very steep but at my current skill level i cant keep my legs spinning at that pace for that long and have to walk some of it still. Ill check out that calculator and do some research. My current drivetrain is some off brand "sram compatible" thing so I plan on changing it out eventually. Hopefully by then I will have a good idea of what i need.
Yeah, 20 gear inches might get you up that hill. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with walking a bike up, particularly because it uses other muscles, just like cross-training. If you get a calf cramp, the best thing to do is get off and walk a while, it does more to stretch out your calves.

I just ran gear calc with those numbers and assuming 26" x 2.125" tires, don't know what you're running, and got a range from 21-80 gear inches. If that applies, that's great, you've threaded the needle well! I have 21-85 with my 2X setup, 85 is just enough to pedal down mild grades but otherwise coast, 21 is good for most steeper uphills, but even so, I sometimes get off and walk, just for the reasons above. I never miss having any higher gear. I NEED the low of 21. But if hill is not too long, I've learned to stand and climb better, with legs straight, you are not stressing your knees like if you were pushing hard seated, and it's great for your abdominal muscles. When climbing, not too fast, tiring, not too slow, having to pull too hard on the handlebars, but just between that where you are using mostly just your weight on the pedals, cadence (crank RPM) of perhaps about 50. Very efficient climbing that way.

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Old 03-17-24, 06:13 AM
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@Duragrouch, I've never had a 20" gear. Not everyone spins going up hills. I'm 63 years old and still climb big hills with a load on the bike. I'm not saying that to boast but to say that there are different approaches to hill climbing. There's nothing wrong with the advice you gave our fellow, but you used the words "you need," and well, you didn't need them.
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Old 03-17-24, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
@Duragrouch, I've never had a 20" gear. Not everyone spins going up hills. I'm 63 years old and still climb big hills with a load on the bike. I'm not saying that to boast but to say that there are different approaches to hill climbing. There's nothing wrong with the advice you gave our fellow, but you used the words "you need," and well, you didn't need them.
No, I didn't say "you need", my exact words were "I NEED the low of 21".

He also said he's new at this and out of shape, and novices often need lower lows than those in shape. You tend to damage knees more from pushing too tall a gear when seated, versus spinning, or climbing while standing.

I also endorsed his gear choice which looks perfect.

Last edited by Duragrouch; 03-17-24 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 03-17-24, 07:55 AM
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Thanks for pointing out my reading error. The part I was referring to said, "you want," though that's a similar sentiment. But it's OK, I know it's a figure of speech. The important things we've imparted are:

- how to calculate gears in gear-inches
- what gears are good for what purposes

And our fellow has them all.
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Old 03-17-24, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
there's nothing wrong with walking a bike up, particularly because it uses other muscles, just like cross-training.
I love this take on walking a bike!

Nothing wrong with walking a bike.

Personal anecdote - There was a hill on my way to work that I had to walk up at the beginning. Eventually, I got strong enough to make the hill without getting off, but it still was no fun. After a few months, I noticed that I was riding on "Great Notch Rd." and that there was a turn called "Lower Notch Rd.". Now I do much less of a climb.
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Old 03-17-24, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
At my current fitness level this definitly isnt something i coild do 5 days a week yet but, Lord willing, it will be soon.
I don't even know you and I'm proud of you.
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Old 03-17-24, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
I don't even know you and I'm proud of you.
thank you. I appreciate the support. 😀🤙
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Old 03-17-24, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
Yeah, 20 gear inches might get you up that hill. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with walking a bike up, particularly because it uses other muscles, just like cross-training. If you get a calf cramp, the best thing to do is get off and walk a while, it does more to stretch out your calves.
.
I like that you said this because it was what i was thinking while my calves cramped up under my wobbly upper leg muscles when i got off to walk 😅😅😅 "just consider it portage" maybe ill start carrying the bike up the hill instead of pushing it until i can climb it.
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Old 03-17-24, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
Yeah, 20 gear inches might get you up that hill. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with walking a bike up, particularly because it uses other muscles, just like cross-training. If you get a calf cramp, the best thing to do is get off and walk a while, it does more to stretch out your calves.

I just ran gear calc with those numbers and assuming 26" x 2.125" tires, don't know what you're running, and got a range from 21-80 gear inches. If that applies, that's great, you've threaded the needle well! I have 21-85 with my 2X setup, 85 is just enough to pedal down mild grades but otherwise coast, 21 is good for most steeper uphills, but even so, I sometimes get off and walk, just for the reasons above. I never miss having any higher gear. I NEED the low of 21. But if hill is not too long, I've learned to stand and climb better, with legs straight, you are not stressing your knees like if you were pushing hard seated, and it's great for your abdominal muscles. When climbing, not too fast, tiring, not too slow, having to pull too hard on the handlebars, but just between that where you are using mostly just your weight on the pedals, cadence (crank RPM) of perhaps about 50. Very efficient climbing that way.
I have 29x2.5 tires and 175mm crank arms, when i tried the calculator it came pretty close to those numbers if i remember correctly.
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Old 03-17-24, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
I have 29x2.5 tires and 175mm crank arms, when i tried the calculator it came pretty close to those numbers if i remember correctly.
Ah yes, I ran it with 170 arms. Your longer arms cancels some or all of the effect of the taller tires, versus my calculation. I know gear-inch numbers well, haven't used gain-ratios, but should, as gear-inches do not take crank length into account, but gain-ratios does.
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Old 03-17-24, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
I love this take on walking a bike!

Nothing wrong with walking a bike.

Personal anecdote - There was a hill on my way to work that I had to walk up at the beginning. Eventually, I got strong enough to make the hill without getting off, but it still was no fun. After a few months, I noticed that I was riding on "Great Notch Rd." and that there was a turn called "Lower Notch Rd.". Now I do much less of a climb.
Two additonal notes:

I have rim brakes on small 20" wheels, so I try to avoid long continuous braking, it heats the rims and can pop spokes due to expansion. So a particularly steep hill here that I use for shorter workouts, I often walk down that hill, both to save the rims, and it gives my front thigh muscles a workout I don't get with biking. I did a lot of this before hiking the grand canyon decades ago, the walk down is, believe it or not, worse than the hike up, as you are using muscles you normally do not. I rocketed back up in half the time, also helped by dual cross-country-length poles, so my arms taking a lot of the load too. As far as that steep hill here, I can't bike it up unless I am in great shape, I climb on the bike for the lower half, and currently need to walk up the upper half, that alone is a workout.

There is (or used to be) a road west of Yosemite leading to the park, which has an "old" section and "new" section in parallel. The new is not too bad, longer path, the old is something like continuous 20% grade for one or more miles, pretty straight, it's quite a workout for both drivetrains up, and brakes down, as well as drivetrain if you are descending in a low gear (which I did). If the carmakers didn't have bench tests and dyno tests for both, I'd say they should go there for testing.
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Old 03-18-24, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
New boots.
<snipped 1st pic>
Looking good. A few comments on these pix:
  1. Invest in a better lock. It's a good-looking bike and that lock would last about two seconds against a thief with a small bolt cutter. An OnGuard U-lock is affordable and good.
  2. You say in a later post you think the seat might be too close to the bars. We can see from the bottom pic you have plenty of room to slide the seat back; just loosen up the clamp a little.
  3. That is a fine choice of tire, and they look good too.

Originally Posted by RangerTampa
Since you ride at night, you might consider adding reflective rim tape to the wheels. I did this to my wife's commuter e-bike and it really makes the bike stand out at night.
I disagree with this, since you have reflectors in the spokes. The reflectors are much more effective than rim tape anyway. Rim tape is a feature to help sell tires and help roadies save a couple oz. in reflectors.

Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
I learned that people are very kind here. I had someone stop to make sure i was okay while i was on a water break. I need a bottle cage. My saddle post creaks and my saddle may be too close to my bars still but i cant really tell. This is the first pedal bike ive ever owned that i had to shift so I am still getting the hang of that but I got a couple in nice and smooth. At my current fitness level this definitly isnt something i coild do 5 days a week yet but, Lord willing, it will be soon.
Yep, a bottle cage is a must-have, but they're inexpensive. Buy one locally to support your local bike shop.

As for your fitness level, a wise member here told me when I started road riding last year: "You'll be surprised how quickly you get stronger, but also surprised at how quickly you plateau." I'm SO much stronger than I was last year, but still haven't lost the 30 lbs. I need to lose; that's going to come down to diet, I'm afraid. I drink too much in the evenings, then get the munchies and eat when I shouldn't be eating. I'll wear my knees out before I can counteract a bad habit like that!

You should also add at least a bright blinking rear light for your safety; it gets motorists' attention MUCH better than without, even in daylight. Might save you from getting clipped. See what your local shop has. If not, a PlanetBike SuperFlash from Amazon is affordable and effective.
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Old 03-18-24, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Smaug1
Looking good. A few comments on these pix:
  1. Invest in a better lock. It's a good-looking bike and that lock would last about two seconds against a thief with a small bolt cutter. An OnGuard U-lock is affordable and good.
  2. You say in a later post you think the seat might be too close to the bars. We can see from the bottom pic you have plenty of room to slide the seat back; just loosen up the clamp a little.
  3. That is a fine choice of tire, and they look good too.


I disagree with this, since you have reflectors in the spokes. The reflectors are much more effective than rim tape anyway. Rim tape is a feature to help sell tires and help roadies save a couple oz. in reflectors.


Yep, a bottle cage is a must-have, but they're inexpensive. Buy one locally to support your local bike shop.

As for your fitness level, a wise member here told me when I started road riding last year: "You'll be surprised how quickly you get stronger, but also surprised at how quickly you plateau." I'm SO much stronger than I was last year, but still haven't lost the 30 lbs. I need to lose; that's going to come down to diet, I'm afraid. I drink too much in the evenings, then get the munchies and eat when I shouldn't be eating. I'll wear my knees out before I can counteract a bad habit like that!

You should also add at least a bright blinking rear light for your safety; it gets motorists' attention MUCH better than without, even in daylight. Might save you from getting clipped. See what your local shop has. If not, a PlanetBike SuperFlash from Amazon is affordable and effective.
I have two flashing red tail lights that I use day and night fpr the ride, as well as two headlights that also have blinking ambers and flashers as well. I have now moved the seat back as far as it will go, hace not tried it out yet but tomorrow im going to do a full day of testing and fitting and stuff.
as for the lock, the bike is chained to a pole infront of a camera about 10 feet from the door of the secured facility that I work in and is visible through a window in my section. Anyone with bolt cutters that close to that building would get deleted pretty quickly. If anyone takes it, itll be a co-worker and I know where to find them...the lock is kind of a decoration to make me feel like a real commuter 😆😆😆😉
Good luck to you on your diet. I know that can be super tough.
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Old 03-18-24, 01:44 PM
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Shirley at some point you will take the bike somewhere besides work?
Maybe grab groceries on the way home?
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Old 03-18-24, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Smaug1
Shirley at some point you will take the bike somewhere besides work?
Maybe grab groceries on the way home?
no, the wife does that in the van. Only other place it will ever go is a bike park or my backyard....and dont call me shirley. 🤣🤣🤣
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Old 03-18-24, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
no, the wife does that in the van. Only other place it will ever go is a bike park or my backyard....and dont call me shirley. 🤣🤣🤣
I put the "Shirley" out there just to see how old/cultured you are. You passed with flying colors.
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Old 03-19-24, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
I have a lightly hilled 5 mile ride to work, 10 mile round trip. I am about to start cycling it for fitness and to save miles in the car. Do i need to worry much about the type of bike i get?I was born innthe 80s and I did BMX as a teenager..poorly, but i did it, that is all of my cycling expetience. am i over thinking such a short commute?
If you don't have experience of the bike ride on the regular road, be worry mostly about a cars on road near of you . Some road more safe especially in good neighborhood area, but some too danger related to bad people on the track, etc. in the not good neighborhood / road direction to not good part of the city / metro. I spend a lot of time in every city where I lived drive the car and looking for best road before start of commuting by bike to put my line on the map. Safety was priority to me all the time with this process.
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Old 03-19-24, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by C.I.
If you don't have experience of the bike ride on the regular road, be worry mostly about a cars on road near of you . Some road more safe especially in good neighborhood area, but some too danger related to bad people on the track, etc. in the not good neighborhood / road direction to not good part of the city / metro. I spend a lot of time in every city where I lived drive the car and looking for best road before start of commuting by bike to put my line on the map. Safety was priority to me all the time with this process.
thank you. as a husband and father safety is of the utmost importance to me. Compared to where I was born and raised the city i live in has NO traffic. Especially at night as everything is closed here. I think my biggest hurdle will be trying not to become complaicent because of it.
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Old 03-19-24, 09:36 AM
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In a small town like Strawbunyan is riding, I'd be more worried about being visible first, and second watch for left cross/right cross. A bright jersey or jacket is far more visible in sunshine than any light. And if you're out on your normal route the same time 3-5 times a week, the drivers will learn that you're part of the normal traffic.
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Old 03-19-24, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
I think my biggest hurdle will be trying not to become complaicent because of it.
Light traffic scares me more than heavy traffic. In heavy traffic, the drivers keep each other on their toes. A random car out of nowhere is a whole different animal.

Speaking of animals and darkness, I never hit a deer, but I could have touched one once. The deer I see (generally at dawn) aren't necessarily wary of bikes.

Remember to look for everything in groups - deer, joggers, cops, etc. often flock together.
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Old 03-20-24, 12:20 AM
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Bright green reflective vests are cheap, I'd recommend you buy one, I never bike without it. I use an XL so it will fit over warm clothes too. Best if the reflective strips are covered in clear plastic, as the ones that aren't, shed the reflective sand over time. Some have no pockets, but many do, which is handy, though I wouldn't put anything valuable in a pocket with a simple velcro flap.

Bike routes: I used to devise these myself, side streets parallel to main roads. But these days, on online maps, many you can select bike, and it will route you on designated bike routes. In my area, the parallel sidestreets are often marked as bike routes on the pavement.
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Old 03-21-24, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
thank you. as a husband and father safety is of the utmost importance to me. Compared to where I was born and raised the city i live in has NO traffic. Especially at night as everything is closed here. I think my biggest hurdle will be trying not to become complaicent because of it.
Getting out of the car and on a bike is a big step forward to a longer, healthier life.
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Old 03-22-24, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
I have a lightly hilled 5 mile ride to work, 10 mile round trip. I am about to start cycling it for fitness and to save miles in the car. Do i need to worry much about the type of bike i get?I was born innthe 80s and I did BMX as a teenager..poorly, but i did it, that is all of my cycling expetience. am i over thinking such a short commute?
No, you're not overthinking it. A short commute like yours doesn't require a specific type of bike, but you'll want to make sure it's comfortable and reliable. A hybrid or commuter bike would be a good choice, as they're designed for both paved and unpaved roads. You could also consider a road bike if you prefer a lighter, faster ride. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what feels most comfortable for you. Just make sure to get a bike that fits you properly and is in good working condition.
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Old 03-22-24, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Korina
Getting out of the car and on a bike is a big step forward to a longer, healthier life.
Great choice! Cycling is a fun and healthy way to commute. Any bike that is comfortable and reliable should be fine for a 5 mile ride with light hills. Enjoy your new commute!
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Old 03-22-24, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by LuisUp
Great choice! Cycling is a fun and healthy way to commute. Any bike that is comfortable and reliable should be fine for a 5 mile ride with light hills. Enjoy your new commute!
Thanks, but this is Strawbunyan's commute, not mine.
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