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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.

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Old 07-04-07, 11:21 AM   #1
mattkime 
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Commuting to Penn Station area - advice on parking, showering, backpacks

I have a new job a couple of blocks away from Penn Station and I really need to start commuting by bike. (I've commuted for over a year to my last job.)

Any advice on parking the bike? While bike parking facilities were planned for Penn Station, I can't see evidence that they exist. I have a nice Kryptonite U shaped lock but i'll probably need to supplement it to lock up both wheels. My bike isn't terribly nice but the random person on the street might think so. Lock advice? General outdoor parking advice?

Showers? I was curious if anyone had any clever ideas in this department. I may break down and get a gym membership but i was hoping that there would be something cheaper.

I'll be hauling a laptop to this job so I think its time to switch from the messenger bag to a backpack. Any recommendations? I've preferred messenger bags in the past but i think it would be too much weight on one shoulder with a laptop. Also, I don't care for large area of contact with a regular backpack so something that helps with that would be preferred.

I miss my bike commute!
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Old 07-04-07, 12:06 PM   #2
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Id forgo the backpack and get some panniers. I've commuted with a laptop in the backpack a few times and its much nicer to just toss it in the pannier.
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Old 07-05-07, 09:19 AM   #3
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I commute through Penn Station. Don't expect bike lockers, they'd be too much of a terrorism risk. I carry folding bike on the train from LI (in the summer) or NJ (for the rest of the year). I never have to lock the bike outside; it comes into the office with me, and nobody minds. At least, I think they don't mind....
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Old 07-05-07, 11:59 AM   #4
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yes, i could buy a folding bike if parking proved to be too much of a problem.

For now, my biggest question is - backpacks! Anything particularly recommended? Panniers won't work because i have a full suspension bike. (whether its appropriate for the commute is another discussion, but i dare say its saved my life a few times.)
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Old 07-05-07, 12:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattkime
I have a new job a couple of blocks away from Penn Station and I really need to start commuting by bike. (I've commuted for over a year to my last job.)

Any advice on parking the bike?
I used to travel down to New York last year for a client that was based near Penn Station, and on a two week long site visit, I thought to bring along my bike for transportation and training. I can tell you that there definitely are no bike lockers or racks anywhere within the Penn Station area. Garages won't let you lock up in them either as they tend to devote all of their space to cars.

What I wound up doing was renting space with J & S Rent-A-Locker on 35th btwn Broadway and 7th. It's basically some guy monetizing an empty office space in the middle of Midtown by letting people stash their stuff in it for a small fee. Specifically, for bikes, he charges $5 a day to let you lock up your bike indoors, behind a counter run by one of his employees. He also has a weekly rate that I paid for which was a little more decent.

Definitely worth pursuing the idea of getting a folder, but in case you can't bring your bike indoors, the J&S place is an option.
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Old 07-05-07, 12:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rhm
Don't expect bike lockers, they'd be too much of a terrorism risk.
Grr...I hate people...

Anyway, here WERE the plans -

http://www.transalt.org/press/magazi...nnstation.html

---

And I'm considering getting a deuter pack. Any other brands to recommend?
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Old 07-06-07, 01:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mattkime
Grr...I hate people...

Anyway, here WERE the plans -

http://www.transalt.org/press/magazi...nnstation.html

---

And I'm considering getting a deuter pack. Any other brands to recommend?

Matt,

I currently own both of these bags. I own the Deuter AC28 and the Deuter Race Exp Bag. They cost almost the same price by a few dollars but I wanted a smaller bag for training rides that can hold a little extra other then the bladder and lighting kit.

The Deuter AC28 would be my recommendation to try out and or go with. I have noticed when you're on the flats or downhills the vented back just cools you right off like you're by a large fan. I like it's 60/40 split main compartment. It allows you to sort your stuff out or imprompto grocery shopping later and you can split the heavy sutff up on the top and the delicates in the 40% area. If you want the whole compartment then unzip the 40% space for 100% space. I've never used the rain cover before but the model I got has a blue rain cover. I'm assuming it's blue on all of them. I have the black/granite bag which looks good semi-subdued. The huge side pouches can hold your polar water bottle or gatorade bottles or thin shoes. The lower opening access to the 40% area is double zipped just like the 60% area so you can stick a blinkie into the zipper area for extra lighting around the drivers head area so they can see you better. The bag also has a bladder holder for what I suspect can hold 3L but to the eyes 2L should fit. I don't have a bladder now to test as I've thrown mine out when they all leaked. If you don't carry a bladder then it works very well to hold your U-lock as I do right now. The shoulder straps have enough loops so if you wanted to add shoulder pouches for quick access of PDA/GPS/Cellphone/Camera you can. The loops are vertical tho but I managed to use a Kuny's small cellphone holder and slipped it into the horizontal opening of the chest cross strap with the cell holders metal clip but I use a dummy cord to hold the pouch to the bag as I know it's not fully secure and I don't want to lose my phone.

The Race Exp Bag is smaller by a heck of a bit. It's helmet holder is hidden away and normal peole can't tll where it is. You have a unzip area to expand about another 2L of space. One note is that the buckles on the bag are lightweight and not as thicker durable as the AC28. They can break if you put too much pressure on it like twisting it and such but you can always get more stronger fastex buckles then. If you're one that carries belt line kit (on the belt gear like multitools, flashlight, camera, phone etc) like I do this bag hangs a little higher up then the AC28 allowing ease of access to your beltline kit. The bag can hold four 710mL gatorade bottles inside (if memory is correct that is /without/ the expansion) witht he Ulock in the bladder area. I suspect with the expansion open you can stick 3 short sleeve jerseys or 2 long sleeve jerseys crammed in. One plus of this bag is that the helmet holder when you take it out can not only hold your helmet but can hold a thicker jacket as well.

One thing about both bags is if you have the rain cover on the blinkies will be covered up unless you mod the rain overs with a blinkie holder and/or reflecto tape on the sides for coverage. I've not pulled out the Race Exp Bag rain cover but I know the AC28 rain cover can be removed so if you want to go camo then take it to a fabric/outdoor shop that sells the camo fabric and you can commission a sew shop to build a custom cover for you without having to leave your bag at the shop because it comes off.

Hope this helps some. I've gotta crash now.

Edit: Can't help you on the parking thing but don't forget Hal's locking tips.

Last edited by Zero_Enigma; 07-06-07 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 07-06-07, 08:06 AM   #8
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thanks zero!

i'd definitely take a look at the AC28 and the video on bike locking was a good reminder.
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Old 07-07-07, 02:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mattkime
thanks zero!

i'd definitely take a look at the AC28 and the video on bike locking was a good reminder.
One other note on the AC line is therei s a AC22 which is a female version. Basically from the bags I've tried the female version is less space by a bit and higher up on the body. It willwork on the male figure as well and also a bag to consider if you have beltline kit/duty belt.

The AC22 here is also on clearence pricing and IMHO a good price to snatch one up. You lose 6L tho but if the wallet is light right now it may be a good price to pay for it now tho if you can afford it the AC28 is just the right size that allows for that 'do-all' bag so to say.

One thing I forgot to mention on the AC28 is that the side compression straps can help stablize long tall items like a tripod, fishing rod (multi section assemble ones that is), folding stock rifles, carbine rifles. It also has a some what hidden velcro strap whch is good if you have a quick release seat you can put it through that loop and the side straps will hold the seat in place as you move about. The outside pocket is perfect for the Coghlans PACK II hard plastic first aid kit (not a bad personal kit with room to add other stuff in) quite well with a little extra room for some stuff. Yup just checked. Fits my folder rifle quite well on the side. The top straps have quick release buckles while the straps by the mesh pockets are jsut slider straps.

Last edited by Zero_Enigma; 07-07-07 at 02:46 AM.
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