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Advice for New Commuters

Old 07-31-09, 11:52 AM
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Thanks a lot! Theres a lot of good info there. I'll do some studying for sure.

I do have a question about fit/sizing however. How does one know if a bike fits well? Do bikes come in sizes? If so, what are they? I'm 5'6 with a skinny build, what size range should I be looking at?

Sorry for the barrage of questions, I'm sure someone here has a link to explain it all, thanks again!
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Old 07-31-09, 12:03 PM
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Sizing is a complicated issue, and some of it depends on the type of bike, and some of it is based on opinion. Furthermore, conventional wisdom has changed recently, now with the advent of the "compact frame" design that has a top tube that slopes down from front to back.

A wonderful fellow named Sheldon Brown wrote more stuff about bikes than perhaps anyone else, and he wrote it in a very accessible and useful way. Sadly, he died a year and a half ago, well before his time, but the writings he left behind are a huge wealth. I suggest you take advantage of it. It's at https://www.sheldonbrown.com

His article on sizing -- as you knew there would be -- is https://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html
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Old 09-02-09, 09:52 AM
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Hello! Here is my bike. I have some questions



I need to do some work on it. I don't have the right allen wrench to adjust the handlebars. I want to put them lower and rotate them up a bit (basically, I want them to be parallel with back, if that makes sense). I also need to tilt the seat back some. If I adjust the handlebars like that, does that mean I have to have the cables retightened or whatever? Im a mechanical noob, so I might be way off..

Does anyone have suggestions for a good rack + fenders? For the rack, I would wanna put a basket on it so I could maybe stop by the farmer's market on saturday or something. Or even just carry my backpack in the basket.
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Old 09-05-09, 08:14 PM
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nice idea

stopping for a cup of coffee on the way in would be pleasant
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Old 09-17-09, 07:19 PM
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A lot of you seem to carry a lot of stuff with you, which is great!

However, I seem to carry very little with me. The only bike related things I carry with me is a portable pump and a patch kit. I've obviously got a light, helmet, and I have a fender which I haven't got around to installing yet, and I'll probably end up waiting until it rains next. I just don't think bringing a crapload of things is necessary, it adds too much weight and the chances of getting a flat are too rare for me. But again, it totally depends on where you're biking.

I've got an 8mile (12.5km) commute one way and if I happen to get a flat, I bike really close to a bus route and take the bus, usually ending up at school around the same time. It's a pain in the ass to have to wait til I get home to fix it but like I said, I don't get a flat often enough to take a lot of things with me.

Base what you need to bring on your length of commute and the location!
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Old 10-02-09, 04:55 AM
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I had a question that seemed too quick, simple, and small for its own thread. I've taken a brief look at patch kits and am seriously considering the Park Tool VP-1 Vulcanizing Patch Kit. Do you guys support this choice or have other recommendations?
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Old 10-02-09, 07:28 AM
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It looks good. The old favorite is the Rema patch kit, which you can also get on Amazon.
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Old 10-05-09, 12:22 AM
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Thanks, noglider. The Rema one received a few good reviews, but I wanted to check here too.
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Old 10-05-09, 06:04 AM
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Yeah, I've been using them for at least 30 years. Before I became aware of them, patches didn't have feathered edges, i.e. they were the same as car tube patches.
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Old 10-07-09, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by CornyBum
I had a question that seemed too quick, simple, and small for its own thread. I've taken a brief look at patch kits and am seriously considering the Park Tool VP-1 Vulcanizing Patch Kit. Do you guys support this choice or have other recommendations?
i would consider only carring spare tubes; faster punture fix
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Old 10-08-09, 08:23 AM
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Hmm. There's something else to think about. The patching may need some time to do its work well, right? Thanks for bringing that up. I'm probably only going to be taking short trips that will be around five miles or less.
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Old 10-09-09, 11:44 AM
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in dealing with the patches where you apply glue to the tire. If you let the glue dry completely, the patch will be ready to go immediately... I carry 2 tubes and a patch kit for a backup if the ride is really bad for some reason...
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Old 10-10-09, 01:34 AM
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By the way, how long does it usually take to patch up a tube? How much time does the patching chemical usually require before the tube is completely ready for use?
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Old 10-13-09, 06:45 AM
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Let the glue dry for about five minutes before applying the patch. Then do not test the tube! If you do, the patch will come off. Put it in the tire and inflate it. Inflating it inside the tire will not stretch the tube, but inflating it outside the tire will.
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Old 10-13-09, 03:30 PM
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Thanks for that advice.
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Old 10-14-09, 06:03 AM
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raleigh

Matt -- Nice bike. Get yourself a good multi-tool, like the Crank Brothers or Park. You can get nice ones for about $20, and they will have just about everything you need to make basic adjustments on your bike. Most of the components on bikes are adjusted with Allen wrenches, so make sure you tool has a good assortment of sizes. Be careful not to over-torque the bolts when you tighten them.

There are lots of good rear racks available. Does your frame have mounts for attaching a rack? That makes a big difference on what brand/model of rack you buy.
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Old 10-14-09, 11:28 AM
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There's always the p-clamp option if mattp doesn't have the braze ons. Although unless my eyes are deceiving me, it looks like I see at least one on the seat stay.
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Old 12-02-09, 05:15 PM
  #618  
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Hi. The part that takes the longest for me is locating the hole. My commute home is at night and one time it was raining. It was very hard to find the hole and I didn't have a spare tube, ended up taking my bike in a cab home. My last flat I tried to fix it without removing my rear wheel from the bike. Located the glass puncture on the tire and had an idea where the hole was, problem was my tire was very hard to remove from the rim(25mm). So I took off the wheel and
sanded then applied the glue on the tube. Usually I just wait about 2 minutes, put on the patch. In my experience here in New York city getting flats once/twice a month, 2 minutes is fine. Put the wheel back together then pump, maybe took 15 minutes. The patch manufactuter I'm using recommends to roll right away with your bike as soon as you can.


Originally Posted by CornyBum
By the way, how long does it usually take to patch up a tube? How much time does the patching chemical usually require before the tube is completely ready for use?
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Old 12-02-09, 05:50 PM
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Hi. Go to Sears and get an allen wrench set(L shaped would be the cheapest), lifetime warranty; say 2mm to 10mm. Looks like you have an adjustable stem, I think you need a 5mm/6mm wrench to loosen it, set your angle then tighten it. This sets up the height on your handlebars. To rotate the bars, loosen the 4 bolts in the middle of the bars . Probably 4mm or 5mm, set your bar angle the tighten. After your adjustments turn the bars left and right to check the cables for kinks and that everything works. There are plenty of help on Youtube.

For the rack and fenders I use and recommend Planet Bike stuff. They perform well, are equal if not better than their competition. Lifetime warranty on most products and 25% of their profits are donated to cycling causes.

Hope this helps you out.

Originally Posted by mattp105
Hello! Here is my bike. I have some questions



I need to do some work on it. I don't have the right allen wrench to adjust the handlebars. I want to put them lower and rotate them up a bit (basically, I want them to be parallel with back, if that makes sense). I also need to tilt the seat back some. If I adjust the handlebars like that, does that mean I have to have the cables retightened or whatever? Im a mechanical noob, so I might be way off..

Does anyone have suggestions for a good rack + fenders? For the rack, I would wanna put a basket on it so I could maybe stop by the farmer's market on saturday or something. Or even just carry my backpack in the basket.
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Old 12-09-09, 07:29 PM
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Oh and as far as getting flats, I suggest getting kevlar treads... they were recommended to me by the guy at my bike shop and I was wary of gettin' them at first because I didn't want to spend mroe money, but 60 bucks for the lot was well worth it! I haven't got a flat since and I've put on over 1000km. The only problem is that it's a lower psi (85 i believe), but you also get more grip
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Old 12-27-09, 06:02 AM
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I had a small question about bicycle storage. I've seen many different racks, stands, pulleys, etc. for storing bicycles and probably will get one someday. However, for the time being and this early in my cycling life, I'm just leaving the bike in the garage with its kickstand. Is this bad for the bike in any way? Is there something more to the other ways of hanging bikes off the ground than convenience in having it out of the way?
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Old 12-27-09, 11:52 AM
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No, that's all there is to it. Some people have invented superstitions, such as the idea that resting on the tires will wear the tires unevenly or that hanging by the rim will distort the rim. None of these is true. Just do whatever is convenient.

None of my bikes has a kickstand, so I just lean them against a wall or each other.
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Old 12-30-09, 02:34 AM
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Thanks, man.
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Old 01-12-10, 12:40 AM
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hey guys I am new to commuting, I will be doing a 20 mile commute each day to school and total would be 40 miles.

My question is what are the most absolute must have things in my pack besides my school stuff lol?
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Old 01-13-10, 04:04 AM
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Oh, wow. You're "new to commuting" and doing a 20-mile commute? As for supplies, though I'm a novice at this too, I'd recommend a portable pump, patch kit or spare inner tube, multi-tool, water, maybe a change of clothes, locks, emergency cash, cellphone, and other stuff that doesn't come to mind right now. I recommend that you read through at least some of this whole thread starting from the beginning. There are lots of equipment mentioned by commuters at the first pages of this thread.
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