Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Advice for New Commuters

Notices
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 04-26-05, 07:28 AM
  #76  
.
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: .
Posts: 3,094

Bikes: .

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Another thing, at first when you're commuting, you're going to be STINKY when you sweat. It will take a little while, but eventually you'll find that your sweat becomes odorless - there's two kinds of sweat, nervous/stress sweat, the stinky kind, and athletic sweat, which doesn't have the pheromones or whatever in it. If you're not used to intense exercise, your body will just make the stinky kind. After a while your body learns there's no need for that, it's not a life or death situation, it's normal, and just makes the wet kind, nonstinky, which dries pretty quick, what little you'll get, once you get to work.
lilHinault is offline  
Old 05-09-05, 01:22 AM
  #77  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 32
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
one thing i have found useful for preventing flats is to get inner tubes with removable valve heads, and to squeeze tufo tubular sealant (meant for tubulars but works in inner tubes as well) in there - since I did this to my bikes I haven't had a flat yet.
charleyfarley is offline  
Old 05-09-05, 07:55 AM
  #78  
dfw
Stercus accidit
 
dfw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth
Posts: 686

Bikes: Trek Pilot 2.1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by lilHinault
Another thing, at first when you're commuting, you're going to be STINKY when you sweat. It will take a little while, but eventually you'll find that your sweat becomes odorless - there's two kinds of sweat, nervous/stress sweat, the stinky kind, and athletic sweat, which doesn't have the pheromones or whatever in it. If you're not used to intense exercise, your body will just make the stinky kind. After a while your body learns there's no need for that, it's not a life or death situation, it's normal, and just makes the wet kind, nonstinky, which dries pretty quick, what little you'll get, once you get to work.
BO has nothing to do with pheromones. All sweat is odorless. What causes BO is bacteria that live on your skin consuming oil from certain oil producing sweat glands (not as numerous as water producing sweat glands). Actually it's the bacteria's waste products. Assuming you were clean before your ride, you won't stink right away after a ride. It takes time for the bacteria to do their nasty work. If you shower before your ride and use anti-bacterial soap, then use an anti-perspirant + deodorant, you can head off BO. The oil producing sweat glands are most predominant in areas where you have hair. So you can take a washcloth or a sponge, and give yourself a sponge bath in those areas after your ride, and greatly reduce the problem also.
dfw is offline  
Old 05-09-05, 09:02 AM
  #79  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 467

Bikes: 2005 Orbea Dauphine, 1997 GT Timberline

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
as a new commuter, I'm in the market for some tools. I was thinking of just getting a multi-tool. Will this be sufficient for both on the road repairs, and some basic repairs at home or will I want anotehr set for home? Remember, I'm not doing complete bike builds here. Just changing out some tires, pedals, doing some tuning, etc. Which of these multi-tools do you all recomend:

Topeak Hexus
Topeak Alien 2

Also, I need to know HOW to do repairs and such! I ride a mountain bike as my commuter, so I'm hesitant to get the oft-recomended Zin book. Anyone know if this one is any good:

Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair
DerekU2 is offline  
Old 05-10-05, 07:46 AM
  #80  
The Land of Living Skies
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Posts: 307

Bikes: Kona Hahannah, Rocky Mountain RC-30

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DerekU2
as a new commuter, I'm in the market for some tools. I was thinking of just getting a multi-tool. Will this be sufficient for both on the road repairs, and some basic repairs at home or will I want anotehr set for home? Remember, I'm not doing complete bike builds here. Just changing out some tires, pedals, doing some tuning, etc. Which of these multi-tools do you all recomend:

Topeak Hexus
Topeak Alien 2

Also, I need to know HOW to do repairs and such! I ride a mountain bike as my commuter, so I'm hesitant to get the oft-recomended Zin book. Anyone know if this one is any good:

Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair
Doesn't Zin have two books out; one for mountain bike maintenance and one for road bike maintenance?
SaskCyclist is offline  
Old 05-10-05, 03:34 PM
  #81  
Senior Member
 
jagged's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 158

Bikes: Jamis Aurora Elite (2011); Trek 520 (2006); Specialized Globe (2005); Lemond Zurich (2003)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Derek, I would go for the Hexus. It has tire levers and Allen wrenches, and those are the most important repair tools you can have. The Alien 2 seems to have more than most commuters would need.

As convenient as the multi-tools are for on-road repair, for work at home, you'll be much happier with a shop tool kit.

I have an older edition of the Bicycling Magazine repair book, and I do recommend it.
jagged is offline  
Old 05-11-05, 05:39 AM
  #82  
Ride the Road
Thread Starter
 
Daily Commute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 4,059

Bikes: Surly Cross-Check; hard tail MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by DerekU2
. . . Also, I need to know HOW to do repairs and such! I ride a mountain bike as my commuter, so I'm hesitant to get the oft-recomended Zin book. . . .
I've always said I like the Zinn book, but that it's not the be-all-end-all of bike mechanics books. So I'm curious, what makes you reluctant to get it?

My suggestion is the same as my opening post: Go to the library, check out a few books, and take them for a test-read. Then go to the book store and buy the one you find most helpful. Start by looking at the sections about the kind of repairs that are just above your level. Do you understand the instructions? If yes, it's a good book. If no, keep on looking.
Daily Commute is offline  
Old 05-11-05, 09:51 AM
  #83  
Senior Member
 
daver42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 252
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Lot of great suggestions, and I may be repeating some of them. Here's my list of (not in any particular order, except the first):

- Wear a helmet.

- Intense-beam lights front and back, plus your stock reflectors.

- anti-puncture/pinchflat tires (Bontrager Hardcase Selects run relatively smooth). Best upgrade I put on my bike as I was getting flats halfway through my trip because of small bits of glass or metal.

- Keep your main krypto- or heavy lock at work (locked on the rack) and carry a small, lightweight coffee shop lock.

- If you're a rainy-day or all-season commuter, you need to get fenders and cycling rain gear. I say cycling rain gear because it's made to be breathable and you don't build up as much sweat underneath. My first rain-day commute I used an old rain coat and by the time I got to work, I was more soaked from sweat than rain. Keep your feet dry with waterproof socks or booties that go over you shoes. If you wear glasses, find your old pair and spray Rain-X on them and use them specifically for your commute.

- Carry some cash and a cell phone on you.

- Keep some spare clothing and shoes at work.

- Carry a small/lightweight bike multi-tool with you.

- Keep a spare pump at work.

Hope this helps!
daver42 is offline  
Old 05-12-05, 06:35 AM
  #84  
More biking, less flying.
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 238

Bikes: Diamondback Citi, GT Timberline, Roady?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
What a great thread!!!! Thanks for the advice!!!
Javan is offline  
Old 05-18-05, 12:18 PM
  #85  
Senior Member
 
biodiesel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 542
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
buy at least two tail lights. one now, one in a few weeks.

two or more blinking lights is WAY more effective. annoyingly eye catching, and if you space out the battery changes they won't all lose power at the same time.
biodiesel is offline  
Old 05-19-05, 07:45 AM
  #86  
Senior Member
 
BraveSpear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 147

Bikes: 04 Gary Fisher Advance, 96 Schwinn Frontier GS

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Here's a tip that I have been using to carry my laptop on my commute back and forth to work.

I have a laptop bag that I carry on a rear rack. For quite some time I used a plain rubber bungie cord to strap it in place.. I found this to be very inconvenient on several occasions; when coming to a hard brake, hit a nasty bump or turn too sharply, the laptop bag would flip over the side of the rack and hang on the side.. it never hit the ground but would throw me completely off balance.

After some consideration, I got a cargo strap like the one below and trimmed the excess length down to a manageable size. Now I can put the laptop on the rack, strap it down and tighten it enough to prevent any movement when braking, hard turns or nasty bumps.
BraveSpear is offline  
Old 05-22-05, 09:08 PM
  #87  
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm live in a major metropolitan area, so these tips may not work (or even make sense) for everyone:
  • Ride along a route with or near public transporation: If your bike fails, just hop on the train or bus, and let them get you close to your destination. Or hail a cab, put your bike in the trunk, and have the driver take you to the nearest LBS.
  • Double-lock your bike: If your destination has public bike parking only, use two totally different security systems to lock your bike. Secure the cable or chain such that it will not move, and fill as much the space within the lock as possible.

    As an example, I use a braided steel cable going through the entire bike, with a padlock going through the cable loops and seat. The second lock is a short chain with enormous links and a small U-lock. I wrap the chain through the frame and real wheel, then send the lock through the chain links and the frame.

On lights: As an electrical engineer and amateur photographer, I must point out that the Watt is unit of measure for physical power. Watts can tell you how much power a light may consume, but its cannot tell you exactly how "bright" the light will be. For example, a 100 W incandescent light bulb may appear brighter or darker to the human eye than a 100 W halogen light bulb, depending on bulb type, fixture/enclosure, etc.

A far more useful unit of measure for light power or "luminous flux" is the lumen. The lumen will tell you how bright something appears to the human eye. Most packaging for household light bulbs have the number of lumens printed on the box. Cycling light manufacturers really should do the same.

Steven Scharf's website elaborates more on this from a cycling perspective.
ajbaudio is offline  
Old 05-29-05, 09:54 PM
  #88  
dfw
Stercus accidit
 
dfw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth
Posts: 686

Bikes: Trek Pilot 2.1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ajbaudio

On lights: As an electrical engineer and amateur photographer, I must point out that the Watt is unit of measure for physical power. Watts can tell you how much power a light may consume, but its cannot tell you exactly how "bright" the light will be. For example, a 100 W incandescent light bulb may appear brighter or darker to the human eye than a 100 W halogen light bulb, depending on bulb type, fixture/enclosure, etc.

A far more useful unit of measure for light power or "luminous flux" is the lumen. The lumen will tell you how bright something appears to the human eye. Most packaging for household light bulbs have the number of lumens printed on the box. Cycling light manufacturers really should do the same.

Steven Scharf's website elaborates more on this from a cycling perspective.
Lumens may not be all that useful either because it doesn't tell you where the light is going, it's just a measure of how much total light is being produced by the bulb. It doesn't tell you much about how well the lamp is designed. You could have two lights with the exact same # of lumens and one could be much more effective if it focuses the light where you need it most.

Watts are not bad to go by if you're comparing LED to LED, Halogen to Halogen, etc. Watts are not a good thing to go by if you're comparing different technologies. The best measure is to compare them side by side and see what works best for you.
dfw is offline  
Old 05-31-05, 01:19 PM
  #89  
Powered by:
 
meradi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Illinois
Posts: 122

Bikes: 2004 Giant Cypress DX; unknown Trek Police mountain bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
About the Bicyclign Magazine book on bike maintenance - I just bought it and it seems pretty good. I saw Zinn's books on road and mountain bikes, but since mine is a hybrid with a mixture of parts of both types, the all-in-one book was best for me.
meradi is offline  
Old 06-21-05, 12:05 PM
  #90  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've read the magazine. It really is informative.
zarina is offline  
Old 06-21-05, 09:23 PM
  #91  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Coplay, PA
Posts: 48

Bikes: Schwinn World Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
After a few weeks of commuting, here are a few tips I have.

1. Get a bike with platform pedals (or cage or whatever they're called) and wear your steel toe boots (or other appropriate footwear). Why haul the extra weight of an extra pair of shoes?

2. Don't assume anything. Don't try to get a jump on the light and start out before it turns green even if you know your turn is next. Today I was turning left and I was tempted to do this, but since I was on bike and not in my car, the sensor didn't pick me up so I didn't get the turn arrow. If I had went I'd have been out in the intersection when traffic going the other way got the green.

3. When riding at night conserve headlight battery power by switching off your head lamp when you are in sections that are well lit by street lights.
Painisgood is offline  
Old 06-24-05, 07:50 PM
  #92  
Enjoy
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Seattle metro
Posts: 6,165

Bikes: Trek 5200

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dfw
Lumens may not be all that useful either because it doesn't tell you where the light is going, it's just a measure of how much total light is being produced by the bulb. It doesn't tell you much about how well the lamp is designed. You could have two lights with the exact same # of lumens and one could be much more effective if it focuses the light where you need it most.

Watts are not bad to go by if you're comparing LED to LED, Halogen to Halogen, etc. Watts are not a good thing to go by if you're comparing different technologies. The best measure is to compare them side by side and see what works best for you.
The throw and beam width are better indicaters of whether the light will be good for riding conditions. Beam width can be narrower for mt bike trails etc.

The Throw is how far the light shines in front of you. You can calculate the number of feet/sec you need by your avg speed and reaction time.

So like at 15mph:
15* 5280/3600 (seconds in an hour) = 22' feet * 3 = 66' (your light should shine about 70' in front of you.
vrkelley is offline  
Old 06-25-05, 09:50 PM
  #93  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bristol, Va
Posts: 50

Bikes: I own a diamond back. Other than that I have no idea.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
This is such a GREAT thread. I am so I happy I came across it. I will be starting work shortly (next few weeks) and I plan on riding my bike. I also will be working crazy hours (12:30am-9am) so it will be dark on my way in. Today I installed my bike with a headlight and a blinkie in the rear, lock,water cage w/bottle,replaced a flat tire and now have 2 spare tubes and fix it tools. I will be getting a pump shortly. I can not wait to meet all my new fellow co-workers when the "Yankee" pulls up on her bike to work the graveyard shift. ROTFL
Patellapedler is offline  
Old 06-27-05, 10:43 AM
  #94  
cut my gas use in half
 
Jessica's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 324

Bikes: walmart beater, Dahon boardwalk, A bike, schwinn tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Painisgood
3. When riding at night conserve headlight battery power by switching off your head lamp when you are in sections that are well lit by street lights.
IMHO, this is not good advice. The law here (CA) says you must have headlights ON when it is dark. Also, the point of headlights is to be more visible, regardless of surrounding light. From that point of view, I consider using the headlamp and tail lamp even when it is not yet dark... I also wear a white helmet, since my clothing may or may not be visible at dusk (I wear reflective clothing, but it only reflects if the other guy has his/her lights on...).
Jessica is offline  
Old 06-28-05, 10:01 PM
  #95  
dfw
Stercus accidit
 
dfw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth
Posts: 686

Bikes: Trek Pilot 2.1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by vrkelley
So like at 15mph:
15* 5280/3600 (seconds in an hour) = 22' feet * 3 = 66' (your light should shine about 70' in front of you.
So at 40 mph on a downhill, I'd need an aircraft landing light? Right now I'm just using a $10 light and I pray a lot.
dfw is offline  
Old 06-29-05, 01:03 AM
  #96  
Faith-Vigilance-Service
 
Patriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Posts: 8,330

Bikes: Trinity, Paradisus, Centurion, Mongoose, Trek

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I just picked up one of these (16w) from Airbomb for $75, and it is VERY light compared to alot of the Nicad setups, and seems more than bright enough, even for the country roads where I live. Although, if you regularly go 40mph downhill at night, then a 25w would be better.

https://www.cygolite.com/light/produc...verNiMH6hr.htm
__________________
President, OCP
--"Will you have some tea... at the theatre with me?"--
Patriot is offline  
Old 07-12-05, 07:44 AM
  #97  
Poseuse.
 
sweetharriet's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Warshington, DeeCee
Posts: 448

Bikes: giant ocr3, adapted to triathlon as best it can be. 1976 kia "star" women's "racing" (soon to be a beater commuter bike, it's brown!)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
...Can't find any input on BASKETS. Sure, I have a spare rack and fenders for my beater bike, but anyone know of a hard-core front handlebar basket? By hardcore, I mean heavy enough to take a laptop bag thrown in there for a short pedal down to the metro...I had a bike in Germany with a front basket which sometimes bent under heavy loads. Panniers seem to take a lot of packing and unpacking, I liked having the basket to carry groceries or a backpack...
sweetharriet is offline  
Old 07-12-05, 01:12 PM
  #98  
Year-round cyclist
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Montréal (Québec)
Posts: 3,023
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
The problem with a front basket is that it affects your steering, especially if you throw something heavy in it. Rear panniers are better in that regard. As for ease of installation and removal, most modern panniers are fairly easy to install and remove. Just check before you buy.
Michel Gagnon is offline  
Old 07-14-05, 10:29 PM
  #99  
GP
Senior Member
 
GP's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,630
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by sweetharriet
...Can't find any input on BASKETS. Sure, I have a spare rack and fenders for my beater bike, but anyone know of a hard-core front handlebar basket? By hardcore, I mean heavy enough to take a laptop bag thrown in there for a short pedal down to the metro...I had a bike in Germany with a front basket which sometimes bent under heavy loads. Panniers seem to take a lot of packing and unpacking, I liked having the basket to carry groceries or a backpack...
Go to your LBS and ask for the big Wald basket. https://store.nycewheels.com/basket-delivery.html. I have the regular size on my cruiser but when I was visiting the LA garment district at lunchtime, I noticed that there were a bunch of bikes with these big, heavy duty baskets delivering lunches.
GP is offline  
Old 07-20-05, 09:01 PM
  #100  
Poseuse.
 
sweetharriet's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Warshington, DeeCee
Posts: 448

Bikes: giant ocr3, adapted to triathlon as best it can be. 1976 kia "star" women's "racing" (soon to be a beater commuter bike, it's brown!)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
thanks for the suggestion. I'll keep an eye out for the big one. My LBS had some wald products, and also a topeak product. since the bike in question has racing handlebars, i was a bit restricted as to bottom clearance (and where it attaches on the handlebar). i got a pretty sturdy topeak wire mesh basket with a grocery handle. we'll see how it turns out in bumpy deecee.
sweetharriet is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.