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Minimum length ride to bother with clipless or cycling kit

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Minimum length ride to bother with clipless or cycling kit

Old 08-17-12, 05:52 AM
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banerjek
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Minimum length ride to bother with clipless or cycling kit

I'm in the process of moving which is going to have a dramatic change on my cycling situation. Because of where I've been physically located, short hops made no sense and I haven't ridden less than 20 miles at a stretch in over a decade. I swear by clipless and proper cycling attire.

But now that I'm moving to Portland, there will be a lot of shorter hops and I have to go slower. Work is way closer and you constantly have to stop or slow for a variety of things unless you're riding out of town. Gearing up for such riding strikes me like using a chain saw to cut butter. So where do you draw the line, and do you swap out pedals? Seems ridiculous to wear cycling shoes for only a few miles, but on the other hand, one of the reasons I like clipless is for safety.
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Old 08-17-12, 06:15 AM
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I would buy a round town bike. Flat pedals, cheap, rack. Why not...
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Old 08-17-12, 06:30 AM
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You could sawp your pedal for some 1 sided mtn bike SPD and a platform on the other side. So you can use whatever shoes you like. (or get some mtn bike shoes and wear them all day long...)
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Old 08-17-12, 06:31 AM
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I always use clipless pedals regardless of distance. If I'm making a short trip of 2mi or less, I will definitely hop on the commuter bike with MTB pedals and just wear normal clothes. When I had a commute of 6mi I started out mainly wearing normal clothes, but transitioned into wearing cycling kit and sometimes riding my non-commuter road bike. I ended up enjoying the ride a lot more that way. While working jobs requiring anything over 6mi commute, it was always full cycling kit.

I guess it really depends on where you are going and the purpose of the trip. I'm not going to show up to a social get-together of non-cyclists fully kitted-out, but if the outing is mostly a leisure ride with maybe a stop here or there I will kit up.
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Old 08-17-12, 06:39 AM
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Old 08-17-12, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
I would buy a round town bike. Flat pedals, cheap, rack. Why not...
I've been thinking that because it makes too much sense -- especially since it's only a matter of time before the ebay thieves strip stuff off my bike.

But I love my bikes and can't see the point if I can't ride them. Having nice lighter bikes is just fun.
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Old 08-17-12, 06:51 AM
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Buy a cheap bike on CL when you get there. Replace the rear skewer with a bolt on one. Make sure the seatpost clamp doesn't have a a quick release. Take your front wheel with you.

Get some Egg beater pedals (they are harder to ride without clips) and MTB shoes that look like sneakers. Also, get used to rolling up one pant leg and using straps to keep your pants tight against your legs.
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Old 08-17-12, 07:12 AM
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It doesn't matter what others do, if you like and don't mind changing in and out - then go for it. That's the bottom line. The rest of this post is just bollox.



I have just this week started commuting on my "racing" bike. So far it's been a mtb, or a traking bike (28" tyres). Rear rack, with big backpac fastened to it. Fenders etc. Ugly, but practical.

However, this spring I got the first ever racing bike, my first ever bike without fenders, rack etc. It is so much fun. I don't mind riding it however short trip it is - it is fun, you only live once. I put SPD type pedals so I can wear walkable shoes (Shimano MTB style SPD). For the rest of the kit: if it's a trip shorter than 15 km, I never wear bicycle shorts or that stuff - just regular shorts. That makes changing easier.

I left a BIG, heavy, hardened chain with a very decent lock at work. Fastened to the doorman's window bars. I lock my bike with it when I arrive. I carry another smaller, lighter cable lock with a very strong cable and good lock for leaving bike on shorter stops along the way.

Experience so far:
It is fun, but not practical. You can't carry much stuff. I could put a rack on the bike (seatpost mounted one), but then it would be just the same as my regular heavy commuting mule. When days are cloudy, not hot, or when I plan running some more errands, I plan on not riding race bike.

What people said about getting a beater bike is a reasonable thing - IF you use your nice bike for weekend joyrides, or training. If 90% of your riding is commuting/errands, than it makes no sense keeping the nice bike at home just so it doesn't get stollen. Either sell it, or ride it until it gets stollen.


Back to the topic:
Full kit or not? The more I ride, the more i like being clipped in pedals, and nice feel of cycling shorts, shirts etc. I seem to mind chaingin in and out of those things less and less as the time goes by. Been planning on comming 30 minutes earlier to work, just so I could change all my clothes without getting "the looks" from bosses for climbing into the building dressed like a circus.
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Old 08-17-12, 07:34 AM
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I wear the shoes and "kit" for my commutes - they are 10mi each way. I have to change clothes when I get to work anyway, so I figure I might as well wear something that's comfortable and dries fast for the return trip home - cycling clothes fit the bill perfectly. As for the shoes, I figured if I'm going to be changing clothes, I might as well keep shoes at work and change shoes too. I frequently like to ride hard on my commutes, do impromptu intervals, attack a hill and such, so having the right shoes is a big help.
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Old 08-17-12, 07:37 AM
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N+1, man.

My "around town/less than 5 miles/slow ride" bike for use with regular shoes and clothes:


My "go fast/far bike" with padded shorts and proper shoes:
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Old 08-17-12, 07:41 AM
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I have about a 30 minute commute. I ride my Trek (1.2, I think) with fenders and a rack, and wear shorts and MTB shoes. If clipless and shorts are better for riding, why not use them? If I just have to get somewhere less than 20 min away, I have a beater mountain bike for the stroll.
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Old 08-17-12, 07:42 AM
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60 minutes
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Old 08-17-12, 07:57 AM
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I wanted something lighter for my 5.5 mile commute (had been riding a Jamis Coda Sport), and I just picked up a 2010 Jamis Sputnik, which I'm really loving. I've only got one incline on the ride, and I figure I can use the workout. It's got a Reynolds 631 frame, so it's light and surprisingly agile.
I woudn't want to commute on my carbon road bike. I can't imagine using a U lock on it or getting over fear of potholes.
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Old 08-17-12, 08:11 AM
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Old school metal toe clips set loose allow almost any shoes (save boots), definitely a retro look that's useful and if you hit a MUP, you can snug them up.
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Old 08-17-12, 08:42 AM
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I'm trying to commute 5 days a week, and I tend to ride to destinations, not uninterrupted loops. Well, I went from clipless back to straps two years ago... as I've posted a number of times. I decided the only place I really preferred clipless was in spin class. But, I'm also not a fan of 'kits', though I will wear one occasionally.

I just think there is very little loss of efficiency between a good set of well fitting straps, or cages & straps, vs. clipless; I dont think I missing a darn thing. As far as light bikes, I use straps on my FC Roubaix, heresy!
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Old 08-17-12, 08:53 AM
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Can you walk to work now?
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Old 08-17-12, 08:56 AM
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about 30 minutes is my cut off point. I will throw kit on when only going 30 min recovery ride. And usually take a flat pedal bike to run errands, since everything is 1-3 miles away.
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Old 08-17-12, 09:20 AM
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I ride 7km to work, I wear my clipless shoes and gym shorts , i get to work, take my shoes off, put on normal shoes and walk in the door, get changed in the mens room.
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Old 08-17-12, 09:24 AM
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I've had this discussion before . . . recently in fact. For urban riding requiring frequent stop-and-go I think clipless is ridiculous. Utterly.
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Old 08-17-12, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ddeadserious View Post
N+1, man.

My "around town/less than 5 miles/slow ride" bike for use with regular shoes and clothes:

This is hot, but would look infinitely better with drop bars
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Old 08-17-12, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by JustinNY View Post
This is hot, but would look infinitely better with drop bars
Just got a set of Ergonovas from eBay, they will be going on as soon as I buy tape.
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Old 08-17-12, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ddeadserious View Post
Just got a set of Ergonovas from eBay, they will be going on as soon as I buy tape.
Yep, definitely will look better that way. The fork is really nice with the green paint.
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Old 08-17-12, 10:11 AM
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Thanks guys. Sorry to steal the thread's thunder, I was just posting that it's good to have different bikes for different practical uses.
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Old 08-17-12, 10:23 AM
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Depends on the weather. When it's 100F, I'd rather not ride in my office clothes, so even if I'm just going more or less directly home after work I'll change even though it's less than 30 minutes.
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Old 08-17-12, 10:30 AM
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For short distances I'm almost always on a fixed or free wheel with toe cages. No racks. Just a big messenger bag as I keep it on me when in grocery stores to pack it up easier, etc.

For commutes to work, some 10 miles. I do ride in a kit and clipless pedals. But I'm usually trying to really push it and run high cadence to lose weight.

I guess it comes down to convience, balanced with overall goals like fitness.
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