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#46845 - 08/18/05 04:36 PM Re: Bicycle Commuting
reconcowboy Offline

Registered: 03/01/05
Posts: 170
Loc: Ohio
Yes. I do all my commuting exclusively by mountain bike. I have a pair of Trek full suspension mountain bikes with extra tires and rims for different weather conditions. No matter what the conditions outside are I ride everyday. Windchill 75 below zero still riding. 107 with high humidity still riding. Hard rain or hail still riding.

#46846 - 08/18/05 06:14 PM Re: Bicycle Commuting
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...

Thanks for the info. Bear with me - I'm not a bike gearhead, so this is all pretty new to me. My daily commute is only 7.2 miles round trip with one major climb to get up the bluff unless I take an alternate route home, which bumps it up to about 10 miles round trip with 2 killer hills.

I'm riding a Giant XTC, sized for mountain biking rather than road use, since that's what I bought it for in 2001. Until I started commuting, I used it for short recreational rides on and off pavement and occasional all-day rides off pavement / off road.

For commuting, I put Michelin XC Hard Terrain tires on it which so far have worked quite well for me. Added a Jandd Expedition rear rack and a trunk on it - I was going to put the new Blackburn rack on it, but I needed the extra length on the Jandd to move things far enough back to clear my heels. I have a pair of Jandd grocery bag panniers (and they work rather well for that!), but as it turns out, I rarely need them for commuting.

Already had a Blackburn seat pack for the normal collection of tools, patches, spare tube, etc. I've added a CO2 inflator (used twice to re-inflate after patching punctures - neither of which happened on a commute ride), 5 12g CO2 cylinders, chain lube, etc etc. One thing I don't have (yet) is a chain tool - on my list. I also have 2 pr nitrile gloves in there and use them if I have to do any repairs on the trail.

Ummm - an LED headlight that has mostly "be seen" value - I can over run it easily on pavement - an LED tail light, and a basic computer. I intend to replace the headlight with a better model, add a pump and maybe a front rack of my own design. I have a front fenders but took it off - poor QC; I will make my own instead or maybe just stick a pair of Freddy Fenders on it.

I didn't note "clothes" on your list - I carry my work clothes in the trunk, along with my EDC

Whoops - I need to get going - I'll add to this later.


#46847 - 08/18/05 07:25 PM Re: Bicycle Commuting
Frozen Offline

Registered: 01/07/05
Posts: 86
Iíve tried very slick and very lightweight tires over the years, but when I went through a stretch of repeated flat tires I switched to some relatively beefy puncture-resistant tires that Iím happy with.

My racks are both Blackburn, the front ones being Low-Riders that work with brazed connection points. Iíve never had heel-contact problems with panniers on this bike, but it is a touring bike after all. I have a set of large panniers that I hardly ever use, the small front panniers that I use most of the time, and a pair of medium sized seam-welded waterproof panniers that work front or back, and that are used when the weather looks bad.

Carrying clothes to change in to at work is an almost-every-day thing, although in cooler weather I have a pair of Patagonia Talus pants that are presentable at work but are stretchy and low-profile (cuff doesnít catch in the chain) enough that I can wear them on the bike and in the office some days.

Cycling clothing is mostly synthetic, with very thin multiple wicking layers that are adjusted to suit the weather, usually shedding a layer or two for the ride home. Wet weather gear includes a cycling raincoat (with a hood thatís compatible with a helmet), rain-covers for my shoes, and various wet-weather leg coverings. The legs are where I tend to sacrifice most when deciding how wet I am willing to become. I have no front fender, but have a ďrat-tailĒ fender thatís just a thin sheet of plastic thatís mounted to the rear rack with wire ties.

I always wear cycling gloves, to reduce chafing and for shock-absorption (gel-filled inserts). I also wear cycling shoes, since I ride enough to justify the specialized fit and sole (They last about 5 years).

When daylight saving time ends in the fall, I ride home in the dark. The rear LED lights all seem to work well, making me feel much safer. I used various headlamps, from LED to C and D cell incandescent, before switching to a lead-acid dual-headlamp system. This thing weighs quite a bit, but puts out 30 watts with both lights on. Iíve had oncoming cars wait at intersections for me because they thought I was a motorcycle.

ďExpectation strolls through the spacious fields of Time towards Opportunity.Ē Umberto Eco

#46848 - 08/18/05 09:44 PM Re: Bicycle Commuting
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Roger that on the gel-padded gloves Ė I can go numb from the elbows down pretty quickly without them. I like the body position the geometry puts me in but may raise the handle bar stem a bit for commuting Ė that's a non-trivial decision, as itís a threadless headset, so I havenít rushed out to buy parts and have them cut for me.

Helmet, of course, plus I wear my eyeglasses for some limited eye protection Ė riding thru a cloud of gnats at speed is too ďinterestingĒ an experience for me after the first time. Besides, I'd lose the glasses otherwise - normally don't wear them unless my arms are too short. I put an ATB - compatable mirror on the left handle bar end and really like that (just like driving, I still turn my head and look TOO - but the mirror is useful)

My EDC stuff is literally my EDC Ė Iíll probably drown if I ever fall into a moderately deep puddle. But I have been tardy with a FAK and some other items I think are prudent in a metro commuting area Ė I hate to duplicate things that already are in other gear sets Ė at least one of which accompanies me on long rides vs daily commutes. <sigh> I guess I need to get over that and just do it.

I absolutely donít want slicks or narrower tires, regardless of rolling resistance Ė Iím sticking to normal width ATB tires (presently 26 x 2.0). I can still ride all but one of the regional ATB trails with these tires and some of my chosen commuting route is on embarrassingly bad side streets and alleys Ė the road bike folks I've talked to cannot ride on Ĺ my route because of conditions, but I am very much out of traffic of any consequence on those portions. So far Iím quite happy with the tires I have on it for commuting. Winter conditions remain to be seenÖ is there a Blizzak style bike tire available? Glare ice and heavy road frost are some things I wonder about.

I put studded BMX pedals on my bike when I bought it Ė I still have not made the leap of attitude to try clipless pedals and shoes (Iím chicken). My rideís too short already, so increasing efficiency isnít really a goal. I just wear a tattered pair of running shoes so far, or lightweight hiking boots for long rides Ė but I am considering a switch to bike shoes.

Have been grumbling about even the sale prices on biking-specific clothing (and dropping hints to wife, along with urls). One of my ordinary rain jackets has kept the wind off my torso when riding wet Ė I found out that what works at 4 mph walking is not nearly so good at 20 mph riding. Iíll solve that as the weather cools down more significantly in October. I want to avoid specialized clothing as much as possible.

I havenít seriously considered an SLA powered headlight (water bottle battery?), but Iím already riding in the dark some of the time, so maybe I should look at those options.

As I wrote, this is all new to me Ė commuting is a bit different than recreational riding. Iím already toying with the idea of a regular commuter bike (town bike) instead of continuing to tweak my nice (used to be lightweight) mountain bike. OTOH, I normally drive a 4wd pickup, so this is kinda sorta the human-powered equivalent...

Since my b-day is the end of this month, I've been dropping very specific hints about a maintenance stand - weekly cleaning and maintenance is a PITN without one and I got hooked on using a stand for that out at camp. (We're about the same age, but I got to 50 ahead of you.)

Iíll be back to pick your brain from time to time. Thanks for the info.

(not) ETR...


#46849 - 08/18/05 11:27 PM Re: Bicycle Commuting
OrangeJoe Offline

Registered: 08/22/04
Posts: 38
Loc: Old Colony, USA
I had a bycicle, somewhere back in the 80's.

A broken drain cover jumped in front of it and I " Supermaned " over the handlebars.

Bycicles are EVIL

And they make you spel reel baad two! <img src="/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
All good things...
a) come to those who wait.
b) come to an end.

#46850 - 08/19/05 02:51 AM Re: Bicycle Commuting
brian Offline

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1468
Loc: Texas
I wish!!! As many of you know from other threads this summer, I was supposed to be changing jobs this august. That change would have made bike commuting ideal and I was really looking forward to it. Now the whole deal has been postponed until next august though. <img src="/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> On the plus side I dont have to worry about concealing my EDC blade for another year though.. heh.
Learn to improvise everything.

#46851 - 08/19/05 03:17 AM Re: Bicycle Commuting
widget Offline

Registered: 07/06/03
Posts: 550
I would but it is 35+ miles one way to work! Besides that it is over 100 everyday! Unfortunately, I have 2 gas guzzling 4WD vehicles. I guess I am boosting someone's profits:( Cheers!
No, I am not Bear Grylls, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night and Bear was there too!

#46852 - 08/20/05 01:14 PM Re: Bicycle Commuting
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
>> I do all my commuting exclusively by mountain bike <<


Since your Treks are full suspension, I assume that you use a backpack or messenger bag (?) Any specifics one gear you care to share?


#46853 - 08/20/05 01:39 PM Re: Bicycle Commuting
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...

Hmm - so far 2 of the 3 regular commuters are using mountain bikes (3 of 4 if we include me). From what I read / observe, that is unusual for commuters but I guess doesn't surprise me too much about folks on this forum. Your commute must be relatively short, like mine. I'm pretty sure I'm not in the supposed target range of 75 - 90 rpm - I tend to hammer the pedals too hard (stay in too tall a gear). I'm working on getting my spin rate up - this is a real (useful) learning experience for me so far.

I honestly never noticed all the folks who bike commute at work until I started up - the rack in the courtyard is full plus a few more bikes leaning up / inverted (lucky me that I have inside space to store). The two big bike nuts here do not bike commute (I have no idea why one doesn't) and AFAIK only one bike commuter rides more or less year-around (he skips rain if possible).

Ride safe.


#46854 - 08/23/05 06:14 PM Re: Bicycle Commuting
SARbound Offline

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 503
Loc: Quebec City, Canada
I live about a 15-minute walk from where I work. I am contemplating riding my bike to/from work everyday.

Since the ride itself would take 3 minutes or less, I am wondering if it's worth it. Clothing is a possible issue. It's probably not worth the hassle... a full change of clothes, go through the undressing/grooming/putting everything back on... two times a day. it just doesn't
seem worth it.

I'm considering not changing clothes and simply riding the bike with my normal pants/shirts (kinda casual, no suits, no ties).

Any thoughts
"The only easy day was yesterday."

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