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4 mile Communte Possible? Help........

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4 mile Communte Possible? Help........

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Old 01-09-11, 06:26 PM
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americanlt2
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4 mile Communte Possible? Help........

I no longer have access to a car and am forced to take a bus. However, I work evening & will be forced to ride my bike home. It is a 4 mile commute one way. I am completely out of shape & not sure if I can manage this. I have a 2005 Fuiji Crosstown with city bike tires so I hope this help. Anything else guys to help me? I suppose I need one of those red lights?
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Old 01-09-11, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by americanlt2 View Post
I no longer have access to a car and am forced to take a bus. However, I work evening & will be forced to ride my bike home. It is a 4 mile commute one way. I am completely out of shape & not sure if I can manage this. I have a 2005 Fuiji Crosstown with city bike tires so I hope this help. Anything else guys to help me? I suppose I need one of those red lights?
Can you do it? Probably. 4 miles isn't that far even if you are out of shape. Should you start in January? No. Winter riding requires more equipment than just 'one of those red lights' if you want to survive it. You need, at a minimum, a taillight (more than one would be better), a real headlight (a 60 lumen light isn't good for anything other than telling emergency services where your body can be found), some winter clothes and, finally, some bicycle handling skills to deal with winter conditions such as snow, ice, cars on snow and ice, etc.

Keep riding the bus until about March. Then, depending on the weather, start riding. Winter just isn't the time to start commuting if you are somewhat new to bicycling or don't ride too much. That way you'll also have the summer to learn to enjoy bicycle riding before you have to address the chore that bicycle riding in the winter becomes.
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Old 01-09-11, 06:47 PM
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Cycco's right for people who live in serious winter weather, but you don't say where you live. If you don't have snow and ice, if you do have decent roads... you can surely do 4 miles. Practice on the weekend when you don't have any time constraints or daylight limitations and see how it goes, also practice packing your work clothes in a backpack, and then try going for a ride at dusk to see what that's like. Then get two lights for front and rear each before you go live. Your existing bike will be fine.
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Old 01-09-11, 07:50 PM
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I don't think the OP wants to ride his bike home, he said he is forced to ride his bike home. I'm guessing he gets off work after the buses stop running where he is. But, I could be wrong.

OP - your existing bike should be perfect for this, and 4 miles isn't very far, even out of shape. All the things cycommute said are correct too, if it gets cold wherever you are. If not, you really just need decent lights to start.

And what diabloscott says is true also - it would be best to try a dry run if possible. But if not, four miles really isn't very far at all on a bike.
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Old 01-09-11, 07:53 PM
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From what it appears, the OP can use the bus to get to work, but no bus service when it's time to clock out. Hopefully the OP lives in an area where very little winter precip occurs.

OP, don't sweat it too much. Just dress warmly and give it a go. You will need some lights, though. Depending on your budget and how soon you have to start. You could start out with a $30 light from Wally World (I've got this one) and mount it using rubber bands or hose clamps. It's not much, but it's brighter than anything bike specific at that price point. Then start looking at the stickies in the BF Electronics forum for ideas and reviews.

And I'll probably get flamed for this, but if there isn't anyone on the sidewalks where you are at, I'd say use those as much as possible- until your fitness, skills, and confidence improves. Then get back on the road. But what ever you do, do not ride against traffic!

Good luck!
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Old 01-09-11, 08:05 PM
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americanlt2
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Thanks everyone, I live in a far Chicago suburb so it's snowy and cold. I'm forced to riding a bike because the state took my license away for 3 years (long story). I'm thinking that stopping off at the local bar before I ride home will be dangerous (even on a bike)?????? I have a good onguard bulldog lock so thats good. I will be biking home at about 8pm daily. I will take the bus to work at 10AM. A year ago I was running 20miles a week so I do have some athletic ability in me.
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Old 01-09-11, 08:08 PM
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Here are a few more easy wins for visibility:

1. neon-lime reflective vest from Harbor Freight: http://www.harborfreight.com/reflect...rge-94701.html This will help you show up better, day or night, and goes over anything. Five bucks.

2. reflective legbands: http://www.rei.com/product/543017 These have motion and 360 reflectivity, plus they keep your pants out of the chain.

3. for a rear light, there are lots of acceptable ones out there, I still favor the Planet Bike SuperFlash. They're available all over. Make sure to aim it so it points straight at the cars, not downwards.

4. for a budget front light, you could use rechargeable AA batteries in this flashlight and mount it in this holder.


Also make sure you've got a red rear reflector and keep it clean. In my state, even if you have a rear light, you still need a reflector that shows in low-beam headlights from 600 feet back in order to be street-legal.

Beyond that, it would be good to know how to change a flat tire and how to put the chain back on the front gears if it falls off. Are you OK on that stuff?
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Old 01-09-11, 08:12 PM
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Stay away from the bar- alcohol is bad for you in cold weather. If you must have a brew or two to relax, do so at home.
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Old 01-09-11, 08:13 PM
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americanlt2
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Thanks mech BG, will that vest go over a heavy winter jacket? I have a front head light.
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Old 01-09-11, 08:24 PM
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Make sure the bike fits. A saddle too low or too high will make the ride much harder. If you haven't ridden, your butt will hurt but it will ease up with time. Just don't push too hard. Ride in a gear that is easy and give yourself plenty of time. Ride safe. Ride with traffic, not against it. Expect the unexpected. Carry a spare tube, patch kit and pump and know how to use them. Use lights. Flashing during the day. For lighting, for about $40 you can get this
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.9070
plus this
http://cgi.ebay.com/Bicycle-Bike-Omn...item45f6ed05db
plus this
http://cgi.ebay.com/Planet-Bike-Supe...item2c58ee4f9b
and do OK.
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Old 01-09-11, 08:25 PM
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Another tip is in regard to your city tires... leave them for fair-weather riding. For now, get studded tires for ice and snow. You won't regret it.
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Old 01-09-11, 08:27 PM
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One of the biggest things people struggle with initially is sweating, and how to clean up at work. Since you'll be taking the bus to work, then riding home, you won't have to worry about that, which is nice. Of course, in Chicago, in January, it might not be a problem anyway
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Old 01-09-11, 08:32 PM
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Sounds like you can easily do this. You can you could walk/run 4 miles home if you had to. Riding a bike makes it easy.
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Old 01-09-11, 08:38 PM
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I hope your license revocation had nothing to do with stopping off at the bar after work.

On topic, you could make a 4 mile ride in 0* snowy conditions - naked - and make it home mildly cold and maybe slightly out of breath. Assuming that the ride home isn't a 4 mile 8% climb uphill.
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Old 01-09-11, 09:02 PM
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If you haven't ridden the bike in a while, it would be worth making sure it's tuned up, either by yourself, a bike-riding friend, or a local bike shop. Definitely agree with getting a headlight/taillight combo & also would recommend fenders if you don't have them, getting a back full of slush would just plain suck. A patch kit, etc is nice, but if you're only riding four miles, you might be just as well off carrying a cell phone and calling for a ride (assuming someone near you has access to a car) if you have a mechanical. Fixing a flat in the cold & snow is miserable. Depending on the road conditions where you live, getting winter tires might not be a bad idea. I'd probably just wear your work clothes home instead of trying to change at work, especially with the distance you are riding.

Assuming your ride home is not a 4 mile uphill ride, you'll be fine to ride it right off the bat, especially if you are in shape at all (I know you mentioned running 20 miles a week last year). Good luck. Who knows, you may enjoy it enough to do both ways. It will probably be much faster than taking the bus, when you consider stops, etc that the bus makes along the way and once you get used to cold weather cycling, it's not THAT bad.
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Old 01-09-11, 09:23 PM
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If you ride the bus to work...how do you have a bike to ride home?
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Old 01-09-11, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by americanlt2 View Post
Thanks mech BG, will that vest go over a heavy winter jacket? I have a front head light.
If it's a thick jacket, you should probably get the Extra-Large size instead of the Large that I linked to. Here's the Extra-Large: http://www.harborfreight.com/reflect...rge-94700.html

Oh, and get a balaclava, they're great for keeping your ears and face warm. Clear-lens polycarbonate safety glasses are also good for eye protection from wind and precipitation, something like these at $2.99: http://www.harborfreight.com/impact-...ses-94357.html
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Old 01-09-11, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DGozinya View Post
If you ride the bus to work...how do you have a bike to ride home?
A lot of city buses have bike carriers on the front.
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Old 01-09-11, 09:44 PM
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If you were running 20 mile per week a year ago you're probably not too far from getting back into reasonable shape. Winter in Chicago is hardly an ideal situation to start bike commuting but it can be done. Four miles isn't all that far either. Check out the winter cycling forum for additional tips.

I wouldn't rule out running if the weather gets too bad for a bike. I have done it myself. Run part of the way and walk part of it if your conditioning isn't quite up to it. Riding in more than a few inches of unplowed snow will take longer, - trust me.
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Old 01-09-11, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by DGozinya View Post
If you ride the bus to work...how do you have a bike to ride home?
Probably the same way I do. The buses have racks mounted on the front that has room for two bikes. Sometimes the racks are full and it's the bus driver's choice on whether you can board with your bike or wait for the next bus (and potentially the next one after that and so on).
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Old 01-09-11, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by americanlt2 View Post
I no longer have access to a car and am forced to take a bus. However, I work evening & will be forced to ride my bike home. It is a 4 mile commute one way. I am completely out of shape & not sure if I can manage this. I have a 2005 Fuiji Crosstown with city bike tires so I hope this help. Anything else guys to help me? I suppose I need one of those red lights?
If you're able to run 20 miles/week, a four mile bicycle commute will be trivial. Given where you live, I would consider going on Craigslist, buying a beater, and equipping it with studded snow tires for bad weather days.
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Old 01-09-11, 10:17 PM
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20 miles/week = ~3 miles a day. you could walk or cycle the 4 miles home each day no problem, unless you've really, really been abusing yourself since then.

Get lights, get studded tires, get fenders and everything else will fall into place.
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Old 01-09-11, 10:39 PM
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4 mile is about 6.5 km right.....?
i think it's still easy, you will reach it even when you are really out of shape....
first time i got my bike few month ago, i'm really excited and ride about 45 mile /+ 70km which i'm not realized, it takes all day riding..
really surprised when i get back few days later by my car and see that numbers 70km...
i got all of my body sore for 4 days straight though, especially my back, my butt, and my legs..ahahaha
by that day, i have never do any sports, i'm a hardcore smoker, i'm drinking, always sleep late night....
but after 1 month riding, even just as weekend warrior, i do the same just for about 2hour and get better...

whatever just keep riding man....
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Old 01-10-11, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by twobadfish View Post
A lot of city buses have bike carriers on the front.
Oh, duh! OP never mentioned bringing a bike TO work so I didn't think of that. Somedays...
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Old 01-10-11, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bluesky2012 View Post
why to get those stuff?
Lights; to see and be seen. Studded tires; to stay upright while riding on icy surfaces. Fenders; to keep the road grime off of yourself and your drivetrain.
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