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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.

Advice for New Commuters

Old 11-21-07, 02:43 PM
  #376  
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Here's a tip I recently came across: reflective tape.

The other day a coworker almost accidentally side-swiped me because she couldn't see me from the side. At $2 per 30in. roll, reflective tape isn't cheap, but it's effective. I cut it into thin strips on put it all over my frame, fork and rear rack. For those of you queasy about mucking up your frame, I should add that my commuter was built up from a beater and I don't give two squats about its looks.

I had the lady friend help me test the new visibility, and I glow whenever light hits the frame. Just a thought.
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Old 12-01-07, 09:46 AM
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Nice move. Imagine the guilt of seeing the person she hit every day. You gave her a chance to 'fix it'.

Originally Posted by mredison
Here's a tip I recently came across: reflective tape.

The other day a coworker almost accidentally side-swiped me because she couldn't see me from the side. At $2 per 30in. roll, reflective tape isn't cheap, but it's effective. I cut it into thin strips on put it all over my frame, fork and rear rack. For those of you queasy about mucking up your frame, I should add that my commuter was built up from a beater and I don't give two squats about its looks.

I had the lady friend help me test the new visibility, and I glow whenever light hits the frame. Just a thought.
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Old 12-01-07, 08:12 PM
  #378  
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is a 15 mile commute one way considered long? thats a total of 30 miles in a day mostly flat.
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Old 12-01-07, 09:44 PM
  #379  
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Not too long, for me on a touring bike.
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Old 12-06-07, 01:44 PM
  #380  
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Originally Posted by dsoul27
is a 15 mile commute one way considered long? thats a total of 30 miles in a day mostly flat.
I think you'll have to be the ultimate judge. I commute about that far and I have some significant grades to deal with. I think the main thing you want to consider is how much time you should have for a cushion....esp. the first few times. In other words, you don't want to say unequivocally that it's going to take X amount of time to get to work or school and then leave your residence with that exact amount of time to get there. Take into account flats or other bike issues, detours, weather problems, your physical conditioning, etc. After a few commutes you'll get a better feel for it.....and you can decide whether the sacrifice of time (and sometimes sleep) is worth the benefits. I've found looking at it as a challenge, saving gas, and helping the environment does help.....but if you don't enjoy it at least a little bit you probably won't want to keep doing it. Most of it is mental, not physical.
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Old 12-10-07, 09:04 AM
  #381  
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Originally Posted by mredison
Here's a tip I recently came across: reflective tape.
For those of you queasy about mucking up your frame, I should add that my commuter was built up from a beater and I don't give two squats about its looks.
In the end I care more about not spending several months in physical therapy or worse than I do about what my bike looks like. My semi-beater commuter is covered in it, but I recently added a fair amount of tape to my custom road bike as well. Yes it detracts from a the chromed rear stays of my gorgeous italian bike, but if I have to prioritize and choose between vanity and safety, it's a pretty simple choice and not one I'd want to explain the contrary to to my kids & wife from a hospital bed.
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Old 12-11-07, 04:38 PM
  #382  
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I had a couple rolls of Scotch reflective tape, and put some on my rack, cranks, and pedals, but hesitated before putting any on the frame of my black Cross Check. Then one morning my bike was in the garage with the lights off, and the tiny bit of light coming through the basement door lit up the reflectors on the rack so much that I decided to put the rest of the tape on my seat stays and fork. Might not look as cool, but it's a little more insurance that I'll live to ride another day.
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Old 12-12-07, 08:56 AM
  #383  
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Originally Posted by lazlo
I had a couple rolls of Scotch reflective tape, and put some on my rack, cranks, and pedals, but hesitated before putting any on the frame of my black Cross Check. Then one morning my bike was in the garage with the lights off, and the tiny bit of light coming through the basement door lit up the reflectors on the rack so much that I decided to put the rest of the tape on my seat stays and fork. Might not look as cool, but it's a little more insurance that I'll live to ride another day.
and a mangled frame without tape that a driver didn't see isn't pretty either. I look at reflective tape as the cost of doing business as a bike commuter.
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Old 12-15-07, 12:37 AM
  #384  
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Ahhhh....reflective tape. A wonderful tool it is. I second littlewaywelt's point of view.
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Old 12-15-07, 07:39 PM
  #385  
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Any other Chicago bike commuters out there? I ride up and down Milwaukee avenue, rain or shine, all year long. I've been riding for over three years now (sold the car about two years ago) and never looked back. Anyway, for all of you out there, are you all noticing more bike commuters than ever before? It seems like the numbers of bikers seems increasing (even in the cold weather). Is there any official study about the (seemingly increasing) trend of bike commuters?
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Old 12-17-07, 11:59 AM
  #386  
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Newbie disclaimer so go ahead and school me: I live in a pretty rural community. There's a few five lane roads in the middle of town.. long stretches of mini malls on each side with a turning lane between two opposing lanes of traffic. There's a sidewalk on both sides of the road but pedestrian traffic is nil. You're lucky to ever see people, just cars everywhere. I ride the sidewalk since there's not a bike lane nor shoulder and there's no one in the way..

Is that acceptable? (I've never run into trouble and I feel the cars booking it at 50-60mph appreciate me keeping out.)

Also, I always stop at side streets to look behind me and be sure no one is turning right. I have this fear that if I just blow across the entrance to a side street, a car is going to remove my bike and place it in a serviceable position. Is stopping and waiting the correct thing to do even though it slows me down considerably or should I be riding out in traffic?
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Old 12-20-07, 11:28 AM
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Commuting by bike has always been a cool idea for me. It's also a toast to helping the environment, cliche as that may sound.
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Old 12-20-07, 02:29 PM
  #388  
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Hello new to the forum and semi new returnee to commuting. I read about 9 pages fo this thread looking fo an answer before I got lazy and just decided to post. In the past I have always ridden MTB's mostly crap but the GT Palomar I have now is ok. I want to get a new bike for commuting because the GT is actually on loan from a friend. I ride about 16 miles round trip soon to be twenty (I'm moving). The ride is on Broad Street in Philadelphia which is a busy arterial with a decent but not excellent surface. I don't want to spend alot more than $400 but I do have some flexibility there. I don't want something ultralight or high performance just something slimmer than the behemoth I have now. I want whatever I get to be pretty durable because I tend to be a pretty rough and tumble guy. I am 5' 11'' and 190. I can use craigslist to get something used but I am not adverse to something new if it fits my price range. I was thinking of seeing what I can find in a used steel framer maybe and old fuji or Panasonic. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-20-07, 06:58 PM
  #389  
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Originally Posted by BroadSTPhilly
I was thinking of seeing what I can find in a used steel framer maybe and old fuji or Panasonic. Any suggestions?
For your price range and in your area I think a good used bike is the right idea. If you don't get many replies in this thread, try starting a new "What bike should I get?" thread. I think you will get a better response.
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Old 12-21-07, 12:25 AM
  #390  
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As MikeR said, your price range is leaning toward a used bike. You did mention Craiglist, but try the shops around you. See if they have trade ins. Also see if the LBS has any of last year's models left. Just like cars, they tend to discount the older stock to make room for the new.
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Old 12-21-07, 08:13 AM
  #391  
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Originally Posted by littlewaywelt
and a mangled frame without tape that a driver didn't see isn't pretty either. I look at reflective tape as the cost of doing business as a bike commuter.
I love my reflective tape and would recommend it for everyone because when it works it really works! I get comments alot on how well the reflective tape and my reflective xinglet (vest like thing).
However I found alot of time when I come across cars on side streets and exit ramps that are at odd angles or coming around corners they aren't in a position to really see my headlight well and their lights wouldn't shine on my bike till I was under their car. So I got a little el-wire and wrapped my frame.


I'd like it to be closer to amber but all they had was orange.
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Old 12-21-07, 09:34 PM
  #392  
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Thanks for the advice. I will take a look around next week and see what turns up.
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Old 12-31-07, 11:33 PM
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https://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=125

I found that the other day, it is a reflective semi-clearcoat spraypaint, by Rustoleum. I am thinking about putting it on a bike and seeing how well it works, but I might have to order it. But it would last longer than tape, and look nicer as well.
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Old 01-20-08, 07:07 PM
  #394  
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any idea where they sell rustoleum reflective??
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Old 01-21-08, 01:44 PM
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Where to get Rustoleum Reflective

I got three cans
for some bikes I'm rebuilding
by calling the local hardware store
and telling them the product info
from the Rustoleum page
Haven't used it yet as it's still
too cold to paint
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Old 01-23-08, 03:10 PM
  #396  
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Hey hipster. If you can pull-off sidewalk riding while watching for turning cars, more power to you. Just make sure you're going in the same direction as the cars. When going the opposite way, they are less likely to see you.

Originally Posted by hipster_doofus
Newbie disclaimer so go ahead and school me: I live in a pretty rural community. There's a few five lane roads in the middle of town.. long stretches of mini malls on each side with a turning lane between two opposing lanes of traffic. There's a sidewalk on both sides of the road but pedestrian traffic is nil. You're lucky to ever see people, just cars everywhere. I ride the sidewalk since there's not a bike lane nor shoulder and there's no one in the way..

Is that acceptable? (I've never run into trouble and I feel the cars booking it at 50-60mph appreciate me keeping out.)

Also, I always stop at side streets to look behind me and be sure no one is turning right. I have this fear that if I just blow across the entrance to a side street, a car is going to remove my bike and place it in a serviceable position. Is stopping and waiting the correct thing to do even though it slows me down considerably or should I be riding out in traffic?
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Old 01-29-08, 10:22 PM
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I'm another guy that can't stand gas prices anymore. I don't have a terrible commute (only 2 or 3 miles), but there are a lot of hills from where I live to my classes at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. When I first started, I got very tired, and didn't think it was worth it, but after just a few days, it became much easier, and I have found that commuting to class is a great way to live. I just want to encourage everyone to commute by bicycle. I'm saving a ton of money on gas, I'm doing my little part for the environment, it's much easier to park my bike then to try to park my car, I get some good exercise everyday, and most of all it's way more fun than driving!
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Old 03-27-08, 03:59 PM
  #398  
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I am interested in a commuter. Maybe some people could recommend me. I like a wheel that is thinner more like a road bike. Not a mountain bike. Also, I really like disc brakes because they are better in bad weather and seem to be generally better. Also, I like straight handle bars because they don't require me to bend over as much as a true road bike. I've looked at the Trek Soho series which seem pretty good, but I think people pay too much money for the Trek name. I was wondering what else was out there in the 500-1000 dollar range that fits the description of my needs. Can anyone with some more experience give me some advice?
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Old 03-27-08, 05:18 PM
  #399  
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A little late on the conversation here but I use SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) reflective tape on my bicycles and motorcycles. It's a little bit more expensive compared to the usual DOT reflective trailer tape but it works great.
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Old 03-28-08, 03:54 PM
  #400  
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To all of you new commuters. The whole thing is TO BE SEEN. The thing is to at least have a tail-light in the back. I have three of em'. Here in Columbus we have a PerformanceBike shop, which happens to have them on sale right now. I have red/white reflective tape on my fenders, with a homemade mudflaps https://phred.org/~alex/bikes/fendermudflap.html with a big reflector on the rear. Up front, I have three headlights. A Cateye HL-500, and two viewpoint 5 flare's. I didn't want to spend $300 on headlights, and they light up the road enough for me. All of this in addition to the Showers Pass rainjacket, which has lots of reflectivity to it. I ride everday, rain, shine or snow. And I notice the cars going around me. PS. a mirror helps alot too.
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