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Fair weather to rain or shine transition.

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Fair weather to rain or shine transition.

Old 05-23-24, 01:45 PM
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Fair weather to rain or shine transition.

I decided I am going to make the transition from fair weather commuter to a no matter what commuter. I swore I wasn't going to but,I ordered a rack that will hold my dry bag so I can keep my work clothes and electronics dry in the rain. I have a nice rain jacket. My big question is, how do I keep my bike dry while I am at work? We don't have any covered areas and I can only bring it inside on the weekends. That means 3 days a week it would just be getting drenched for 10 hours and I don't like that idea. Should u pack a tarp to cover it with? Should I wax it? What extra lube should I apply and when? Anything else I need to know before I make this leap?
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Old 05-23-24, 02:38 PM
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Almost the entire bike can be made to be "who cares" when it comes to getting wet. The steps I've taken:

Good paint in good condition. Framesaver. (Steel bikes)
Pack bearings with marine grease (the stuff for boat trailer hubs). Use lots; it's cheap. Or see to it the sealed bearings are quality ones that won't mind wet. (If you have the pockets - Phil Wood.)
Apply the same marine grease to all threads.
Lube chain with Finish Line MTB wet lube. (Forget the name but any shop will know what I am talking about.)
Have produce bags to put over your seat. Use non-leather handlebar tape.
Lube all cable entrances and the cable that travels through the entrance with that wet lube or Phil Wood regular grease. Replace cables with stainless steels ones if they aren't already. (You don't need to start your first winter with the SS ones.

Rain isn't all bad. It removes road grit which adds far more to wear of drive parts. Just keep it out of bearings (hence lots of that grease) and off your saddle unless it is plastic and there is no way water can get into the foam. Wet, squishy foam isn't fun to ride on. I treat all my leather over plastic seats with beeswax dressing; Snowseal or equiv. Even with the best precautions, they get wet.

And fenders. Full fenders with a front flap down to 2-3" from the ground. I pop rivet sheet plastic flaps I make through the fender stay rivet holes. The plastic I use varies over time based on what I can get my hands on. Ace Hardware now has some paint buckets that sacrifice rather nicely.
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Old 05-23-24, 03:47 PM
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Bikes die when you leave them in the rain night after night. They don't rust away when they get wet occasionally even for a few hours. Some say you should lube the chain after each time it gets wet, and that makes sense, though it may not be convenient.

The advice @79pmooney gives is excellent, especially about fenders. You will wonder why you waited. I don't have flaps on mine yet, but I know I'll love them when I get around to installing them. The front fender keeps your feet dry(ish), and the rear keeps your back dry. In heavy rain, you'll get wet, but it takes longer for it to happen.

I carry a disposable shower cap in my toolbag to cover my saddle. Some of my bikes have leather saddles, and rain is bad for them. My main commuter bike has the Brooks C17 synthetic so it can tolerate weather, but covering it before the rain could help.

Next we can talk about dressing for all weather. It's more complicated.
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Old 05-23-24, 07:30 PM
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I'll be using a MTB on the rain days and it has sealed hubs and BB so that is a plus. I will stock on grease either way and make sure to pack all of it nice and full frequently as well as checking out that other lube.the rack I am getting for the rear has a fender attached, I will start looking for a front fender. Hopefully QR.
for now I plan to wear old shoes that I don't mind drenching and keeping my work shoes in my dry bag.
I like the shower cap idea for the saddle.
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Old 05-24-24, 05:25 AM
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Sounds to me like a perfect reason to get a second bike! One for fair weather and one for nasty weather.
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Old 05-24-24, 05:46 AM
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There's this thing called Google. Try, oh, I don't know, how about "bicycle rain cover"?

Sorry for the snark but, honestly, you couldn't at least try on your own?

I have one for my bike, it works fine, but it acts as a sail in the wind so if your bike isn't tightly locked it can get blown over. It's kind of a pain to cover and then uncover and pack away, but it's better than letting your bike sit out in the wet. And, if you were after max. convenience then you wouldn't be commuting by bike anyway.
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Old 05-24-24, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination
There's this thing called Google. Try, oh, I don't know, how about "bicycle rain cover"?

Sorry for the snark but, honestly, you couldn't at least try on your own?

I have one for my bike, it works fine, but it acts as a sail in the wind so if your bike isn't tightly locked it can get blown over. It's kind of a pain to cover and then uncover and pack away, but it's better than letting your bike sit out in the wet. And, if you were after max. convenience then you wouldn't be commuting by bike anyway.
In my bike store days, I'd see bikes that seemed unusually thoroughly rusted. I began asking the owners how they stored the bikes. Almost invariably, the answer was that they were stored under a rain cover. Condensation and still air are apparently worse for a bike than rain and general exposure.

I commuted on a couple of bikes (first one was stolen after about 8 years; second one served for 12 years) that i'd leave locked to a rack at a train station overnight and all weekend. I'd lube the chain every once in a while, but otherwise I did no maintenance. Other than seized seat post and stem on the second (thanks to my neglect), both bikes were fine throughout all the years I commuted.
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Old 05-24-24, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
In my bike store days, I'd see bikes that seemed unusually thoroughly rusted. I began asking the owners how they stored the bikes. Almost invariably, the answer was that they were stored under a rain cover. Condensation and still air are apparently worse for a bike than rain and general exposure.

I commuted on a couple of bikes (first one was stolen after about 8 years; second one served for 12 years) that i'd leave locked to a rack at a train station overnight and all weekend. I'd lube the chain every once in a while, but otherwise I did no maintenance. Other than seized seat post and stem on the second (thanks to my neglect), both bikes were fine throughout all the years I commuted.
For bikes stored for long periods under a tarp/rain cover - I'd agree that the condensation would probably, in the end, be as bad, or almost as bad, as getting rained on. The bike would get wetter from rain, but it would also dry off faster without a tarp trapping the moisture.

For a bike that's stored under a tarp during the work day, then un-tarped, ridden back home, and stored properly (i.e. not under a tarp), I would disagree. The condensation trapped under the tarp for a couple of hours wouldn't be as bad as being soaked by rain.

My bike was far wetter being outside unprotected from the rain than it was under the rain cover, once I got it.
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Old 05-24-24, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination
There's this thing called Google. Try, oh, I don't know, how about "bicycle rain cover"?

Sorry for the snark but, honestly, you couldn't at least try on your own?

I have one for my bike, it works fine, but it acts as a sail in the wind so if your bike isn't tightly locked it can get blown over. It's kind of a pain to cover and then uncover and pack away, but it's better than letting your bike sit out in the wet. And, if you were after max. convenience then you wouldn't be commuting by bike anyway.
I am attempting to interact with humans instead of robots. If everone just googled everything this forum would be empty so Forgive me for not running to AI every time I have a question....i assumed bike covers existed..the existence of bike covers wasn't my problem. asking here leads to more opinions and points i didnt consider. Sorry to inconvenience you by making you look at a post title, get enraged that I didn't beg the tech gods for help, and then still feel the need to post under it.
every time i post in this sub i get some of the most idiotic comments possible. Who hurt you so badly?
Maybe the AI Googlebots can get you a personality....or maybe they are the reason you dont have one?
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Old 05-24-24, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by frankenmike
Sounds to me like a perfect reason to get a second bike! One for fair weather and one for nasty weather.
a beater doesn't sound like a bad idea. I could probably find a junk bike around here pretty cheap. I don't know how much i would enjoy riding it to work but atleast i wouldn't be ruining my brand new MTB or my vintage road bike.
the only issue I see with this is that anything i get that cheap will have rim brakes which I understand don't function well in heavy rain and I have some fairly gnarly hills that bomb straight into traffic and I ride my brakes pretty hard on them.
maybe that 250 dollar wally world gravel bike would like to be my rain bike...it has discs and is cheap enough not to really care if it dies and the frame is aluminum.
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Old 05-24-24, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
I'll be using a MTB on the rain days and it has sealed hubs and BB so that is a plus. I will stock on grease either way and make sure to pack all of it nice and full frequently as well as checking out that other lube.the rack I am getting for the rear has a fender attached, I will start looking for a front fender. Hopefully QR.
for now I plan to wear old shoes that I don't mind drenching and keeping my work shoes in my dry bag.
I like the shower cap idea for the saddle.
Marine grease - any auto parts store and probably any hardware, Home Depot ... $8 for a can that will last you years. I have a tube for clean stuff for bearings and an a can that stays open with various applicators in it for seatpost, quill stems, threads ... And all sorts of non-bike stuff.
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Old 05-24-24, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by frankenmike
Sounds to me like a perfect reason to get a second bike! One for fair weather and one for nasty weather.
+1 I have had a fix gear set up as my winter/rain/city bike forever. Accidents and the like happen and it is now on frame #5. 80,000 miles, almost 50 years and many winters of commuting 6-17 miles each way 2-3 days/week in all the weather Boston, Ann Arbor, Oakland, Seattle and Portland have had ot offer. (Well in Portland, I chain up and drive on sheet ice days. Too old to do the hard slam on my hip yet gain.)

That bike - an early '80s sport Japanese bike (or equiv; current is an '83 Trek). Horizontal dropouts. Fenders. LowRider rack and small panniers. U-lock plus mount. 2 waterbottle cages. Small toolbag with all I'll need for those tires (plus spare in the many years I ran tubulars). Zephal HP or HPX pump. Plastic seat that fits me well. Dropped handlebars, cloth tape (that quickly looks theft-unattractive but never unwinds if it is cut or abraded through. Also never slippery in the wet.

And brakes! Rim brakes, yes. That deal just fine with the need to adjust chain slack. (And a good reason to run fix gear with dropouts, not track ends. The slope of the dropouts means the pad height on the rim barely changes as you move the wheel. Pulling the wheel out after flats is also much easier than with track ends.) Back to the brakes - Mafac RACERS (or Paul copies for vastly more money). They work. Yes, you need to anticipate the need for a full revolution of wipe before the rim is dry enough to stop you, but then they do, quite well. You do need to have brake levers with both power and cable travel; the calipers are not stiff and bend so they do not work so well for small handed people. But it you have the hand size, they are stoppers! Tektro levers work just fine. Use Koolstop pads. (The original Mafac pads were excellent. Squeally, yes, but very good rain stoppers. But time takes it toll on the old rubbers. Those pads are all past their expiration date.

Not having derailleurs is a huge plus. The need for proper chain lube goes down drastically. I rode salt roads in my Boston and Ann Arbor winters. (Ann Arbor is over underground salt fields. They mine it and match the snowflakes 1:1. Sometimes the predicted snow doesn't happen but the salt does.) With the fix gear (or single speed or internally geared hub) you can simply slide the wheel forward when a chain link freezes (rusts) up. Bike will still run just fine! I drew the line at 2 frozen. Lubed and worked the links loose at the 3rd. The derailleur folk don't get to live that easy life! Another plus - bikes fall over onto their derailleurs much more frequently in winter. Sometimes you will be protecting that delicate piece with your body but yo may find that gets old and start sacrificing the bike instead. That fix gear (SS)? Scraped HB tape (you did go cloth, didn't you?), pedal end, edge of seat, maybe slightly twisted handlebars scraped brake lever ($30 Tektro, not a $$$ brifter). All no-big-deal. (Beater bike, remember?) Jump on and ride it home.

Have your eyes out for that early '80s sport bike, preferably a cheaper one that ran 27" wheels. (Those Mafac RACERs will fit it just fine and the extra clearance means 28c or bigger tires will fit under the fenders. Bike will almost certainly have fender eyes.)
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Old 05-24-24, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
+1 I have had a fix gear set up as my winter/rain/city bike forever. Accidents and the like happen and it is now on frame #5. 80,000 miles, almost 50 years and many winters of commuting 6-17 miles each way 2-3 days/week in all the weather Boston, Ann Arbor, Oakland, Seattle and Portland have had ot offer. (Well in Portland, I chain up and drive on sheet ice days. Too old to do the hard slam on my hip yet gain.)

That bike - an early '80s sport Japanese bike (or equiv; current is an '83 Trek). Horizontal dropouts. Fenders. LowRider rack and small panniers. U-lock plus mount. 2 waterbottle cages. Small toolbag with all I'll need for those tires (plus spare in the many years I ran tubulars). Zephal HP or HPX pump. Plastic seat that fits me well. Dropped handlebars, cloth tape (that quickly looks theft-unattractive but never unwinds if it is cut or abraded through. Also never slippery in the wet.

And brakes! Rim brakes, yes. That deal just fine with the need to adjust chain slack. (And a good reason to run fix gear with dropouts, not track ends. The slope of the dropouts means the pad height on the rim barely changes as you move the wheel. Pulling the wheel out after flats is also much easier than with track ends.) Back to the brakes - Mafac RACERS (or Paul copies for vastly more money). They work. Yes, you need to anticipate the need for a full revolution of wipe before the rim is dry enough to stop you, but then they do, quite well. You do need to have brake levers with both power and cable travel; the calipers are not stiff and bend so they do not work so well for small handed people. But it you have the hand size, they are stoppers! Tektro levers work just fine. Use Koolstop pads. (The original Mafac pads were excellent. Squeally, yes, but very good rain stoppers. But time takes it toll on the old rubbers. Those pads are all past their expiration date.

Not having derailleurs is a huge plus. The need for proper chain lube goes down drastically. I rode salt roads in my Boston and Ann Arbor winters. (Ann Arbor is over underground salt fields. They mine it and match the snowflakes 1:1. Sometimes the predicted snow doesn't happen but the salt does.) With the fix gear (or single speed or internally geared hub) you can simply slide the wheel forward when a chain link freezes (rusts) up. Bike will still run just fine! I drew the line at 2 frozen. Lubed and worked the links loose at the 3rd. The derailleur folk don't get to live that easy life! Another plus - bikes fall over onto their derailleurs much more frequently in winter. Sometimes you will be protecting that delicate piece with your body but yo may find that gets old and start sacrificing the bike instead. That fix gear (SS)? Scraped HB tape (you did go cloth, didn't you?), pedal end, edge of seat, maybe slightly twisted handlebars scraped brake lever ($30 Tektro, not a $$$ brifter). All no-big-deal. (Beater bike, remember?) Jump on and ride it home.

Have your eyes out for that early '80s sport bike, preferably a cheaper one that ran 27" wheels. (Those Mafac RACERs will fit it just fine and the extra clearance means 28c or bigger tires will fit under the fenders. Bike will almost certainly have fender eyes.)
I had not considered a fixed gear for this. thank you.
I do have a gear on my current 80s bike that I stay in almost exclusively when I am commuting except for when I go up that 10% hill on the way home and when I am going down the highway slope near work but as long as I am not intentionally trying to go as fast as possible and I coast down it, a fixed gear could work.
I'll do some research on that and math the gear I like and see what I come up with.
Thank you.
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Old 05-24-24, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
In my bike store days, I'd see bikes that seemed unusually thoroughly rusted. I began asking the owners how they stored the bikes. Almost invariably, the answer was that they were stored under a rain cover. Condensation and still air are apparently worse for a bike than rain and general exposure.

I commuted on a couple of bikes (first one was stolen after about 8 years; second one served for 12 years) that i'd leave locked to a rack at a train station overnight and all weekend. I'd lube the chain every once in a while, but otherwise I did no maintenance. Other than seized seat post and stem on the second (thanks to my neglect), both bikes were fine throughout all the years I commuted.
This was my concern. If the bike is soaked, and i cover it, then the sun comes out, instead of drying the bike it would steam it under the cover.
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Old 05-24-24, 12:33 PM
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I like the fixed gear idea. I have a couple of fixed gear bikes, though I rarely ride them. One reason is that my commuting route is a bit hilly, so it adds a bit more challenge than I want.

I don't worry much about water in the bearings. Maybe sealed bearings help, but I don't mind overhauling my BB and hubs every year or two. We had regular bearings for decades before bikes had sealed bearings.
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Old 05-24-24, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
I had not considered a fixed gear for this. thank you.
I do have a gear on my current 80s bike that I stay in almost exclusively when I am commuting except for when I go up that 10% hill on the way home and when I am going down the highway slope near work but as long as I am not intentionally trying to go as fast as possible and I coast down it, a fixed gear could work.
I'll do some research on that and math the gear I like and see what I come up with.
Thank you.
"I coast down it, a fixed gear could work". Minor point - fix gear and coasting are never in the same sentence. Fix gears don't coast - ever. (They consist of a threaded cog which is screwed on the threads on a fix gear hub. Same threads as on a freewheel hub but narrower AND there is a second set of slightly smaller threads outside the regular threads. There threads are left-hand. A lockring gets screwed on counter-clockwise to these smaller threads, locking the cog in place. So, as long as the rear wheel is turning, the cog is too and so are the pedals. Going twice as fast downhill? You are pedaling twice as fast or taking your feet off the pedals. (If you take your feet off, don't ever let the pedal catch the back of your foot or ankle. Think of it as being bolted to a locomotive wheel. It isn't stopping or even slowing.)

Fix gear is a commitment. It is totally different from riding with gears or even single speed. It is as different as cross-country skiing is to downhill. Some of us absolutely love it. Many others don't get it at all. If you decide to try it and haven't before, start now so you have plenty of miles on before the rains. You want the proper reactions when you get to trickier riding and that takes some time. (When you are there, you will find you are in tune with the bike like geared riders never get. And you will find that your natural reflexes will keep you upright in slippery conditions where the bike would slide out with a freewheel. Like a standard transmission vs an automatic on snow ans ice in the old days.)

Keep the brakes. Yes, you can stop a fix gear with just your legs. But very simple math or any field test will quickly demonstrate you can stop in half the distance with just a good front brake. In all weather riding, especially going down steep wet hills, both are better. Both also make good handles when lugging up steep hills. Very useful since you have no choice but lug.
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Old 05-24-24, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I like the fixed gear idea. I have a couple of fixed gear bikes, though I rarely ride them. One reason is that my commuting route is a bit hilly, so it adds a bit more challenge than I want.

I don't worry much about water in the bearings. Maybe sealed bearings help, but I don't mind overhauling my BB and hubs every year or two. We had regular bearings for decades before bikes had sealed bearings.
Marine grease! I used lots in my commuter hubs. Took one apart a year later. The grease inside was the exact blue of when I stuffed it in save a narrow back of black right at the race. Obviously water never got past the seals. I stopped looking and now just repack when I'm working on the wheel anyway.
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Old 05-24-24, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I like the fixed gear idea. I have a couple of fixed gear bikes, though I rarely ride them. One reason is that my commuting route is a bit hilly, so it adds a bit more challenge than I want.

I don't worry much about water in the bearings. Maybe sealed bearings help, but I don't mind overhauling my BB and hubs every year or two. We had regular bearings for decades before bikes had sealed bearings.
Overhauling does sound fun, you are speaking my language now.
I'll try to find a gear I like on my current bikes and do some test rides trying to resist the urge to shift and see if it is plausible. If so, ill see about slapping something together or finding a cheap one around. I actually see quite a few fixed gear bikes for sale around here. I think people buy them for the "cool factor" and then quickly realize that TN has hills that they may not be ready for....I don't want that to be me.
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Old 05-24-24, 01:14 PM
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Actually, I did commute on a fixed gear when my route was moderately hilly. It got me in shape. I couldn't shift down to climb my big hill, so I pedaled harder. I got stronger. And I went as fast as my legs allowed me to go downhill, as I heard that being able to spin fast, even when there is no resistance, offers another kind of conditioning. I calculated roughly that I was spinning my legs at 180 rpm. It's a good challenge to do it without bouncing your butt on the saddle.
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Old 05-24-24, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Actually, I did commute on a fixed gear when my route was moderately hilly. It got me in shape. I couldn't shift down to climb my big hill, so I pedaled harder. I got stronger. And I went as fast as my legs allowed me to go downhill, as I heard that being able to spin fast, even when there is no resistance, offers another kind of conditioning. I calculated roughly that I was spinning my legs at 180 rpm. It's a good challenge to do it without bouncing your butt on the saddle.
uphill I can do the pedal harder routine. It is the down hill I don't like. Even with a 53/11 I want more push on the declines. Maybe a single speed instead of a fixed gear so I can just relax and let the hill do the work.
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Old 05-25-24, 01:56 PM
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Here's an idea. Get a flip-flop hub. Most of these have the threading for fixed gear on one side and for a single-speed freewheel on the other. Try fixed for a while, and then flip it. If you want, you can put a freewheel on each side, so you'll have two gear ratios to choose from. I think there's a value in riding fixed even temporarily. The learning you get will stick with you. At least it did with me. It's hard to describe what I learned, but I know I learned a few things.
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Old 05-25-24, 02:08 PM
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Lots of options, don't overthink it. Fixie. SS, internal hub, rigid MTB on slicks, older road bike, vintage Schwinn. Make sure it fits, add fenders, ride. Lube the chain on occasion. Done.

Your life will become about tires.
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Old 05-26-24, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Strawbunyan
a beater doesn't sound like a bad idea. I could probably find a junk bike around here pretty cheap. I don't know how much i would enjoy riding it to work ....
You know those old straight gage 1020, 2040, and hi-tensile steel frames nobody collects? Some of the early Fujis, Panasonic built Schwinns (Traveler, early LeTours), some of the Ross bikes, literally tons of them. They actually ride pretty well. Decent geometries, room for fenders & decent tires, well built, and only a bagel or two away from the weight of a thin-walled double butted whatsit. It’s theoretical, but I kind of like the idea of more wall thickness on a commuter because it’s going to get some dings.

For what’s probably the ultimate in just couldn’t care less about the weather, an old Varsity with the solid forks is heavy and not the most fun to ride. But it isn’t awful either, and you could probably thrash one with a hammer - you could probably use it _as_ the hammer, and it will still be rideable. Thick steerer tubes, good wall thickness, disassembles quickly for regreasing, etc..

But the Fujis and the lugged hi-tensile Schwinns are better than most of us think.
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Old 05-26-24, 06:35 AM
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It is going to get rained on on the way to work and on the way home. How much difference will a bit of rain while you are at work make? I'd just use lube and grease that is good in wet conditions, do regular maintenance, and try to dry the bike out at home as much as possible.

Edit:
Just noticed that your profile says you are in Wayne County, TN. Is that right? From your concerns I was expecting somewhere more wet like maybe in the PNW. I lived and commuted in a location with a similar climate to yours. Actually a bit wetter if anything. That really isn't that wet of a climate that I'd be too worried. I know that I just used boat trailer grease and was diligent about keeping things lubed. I was retired by the time my bikes had sealed bearings so I never used them on my comuter, but I wouldn't hesitate to particularly in somewhere other than a rainforest.

BTW, have you considered looking for a place to keep your bike inside that is some distance away from work? A 15 minute walk might open some additional options.

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Old 05-26-24, 06:49 AM
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Many, many good ideas on this thread. I keep my bike indoors at work so I haven't thought about this stuff. I would add that I would look for a library or municipal or federal building or police station or something public nearby with a covered entryway and a covered bike rack. A longshot, perhaps, but a very elegant solution.

We've debated the cover issue extensively on a grill forum. The cover is a double-edged sword. It will trap condensation and cause rapid rust in many conditions if left on for days or weeks at a time. Using one for a couple hours to keep actual rain off the bike is fine.

I still don't have the fenders. If it's not raining, I don't need them. If it's raining, I wear a rain suit and don't need them, either.
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