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  1. #1
    Think Circles!
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    Day 1 of Commuting to Work.

    So today is a fresh start for me. I decided last night that I would make the short and sweet 6 mile commute to the office today. I have to say, it is a great way to start the day! And I hope to do it for most of the week Although meetings with clients will make this difficult.

    It took me about 35 minutes today and I'm expecting the time to drop considerably after I get into the routine and do some better trial and error work on my clothing selection. At about 40 degrees this morning the ride started chilly and I quickly warmed up and started sweating. I was trying to take it easy since there are no showers available where I work but I have a couple hills that don't allow me that option.

    I have a couple changes that I think I will need to make for this to be a little better
    1. Change the tires out to something less aggressive and run higher PSI.
    2. Find a better cycling jacket with pit zips and better ventilation.
    3. Try to find some fenders for my Stumpjumper so bad weather is no longer an excuse.

    Any of you guys have any recommendations for a noob to Front Range commuting?

  2. #2
    friend of Apex
    Reputation: WKD-RDR's Avatar
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    If you commute to work, the terrorists have allready won.

    Really though, managing moisture is the hardest thing when showing up at a "professional" workplace.

    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  3. #3
    Armchair Sasquatcheror
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    Communting tips

    Sounds like you're on the right track. I have commuted by bike to work the last several years. The last 2 jobs did not have showers and both of which required me to wear a suit and tie and meet with clients. At my last job I was severely frowned upon for doing this, as most of the other employees and executives drove 1 of 3 choices, and Audi, BMW or a Mercedes.

    Here are some other suggestions that I have:

    1. If you have to dress up, leave at least 3 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, 2 belts, 2 matching pairs of shoes, 1 jacket and a towel in your office. You can change these items up on the days when you drive in. I ususally bring a clean T-shirt and clean socks with me as that doesn't take up much space in your bag and unlike a dress shirt it is less likely that you will want to wear them more than once without washing them.

    2. Leave your car at work and ride home. This way, your vehicle is their if you need to run errands, meet with clients or have an emergency. And...it forces you to ride.

    3. get your gear dialed in before you ride to work. This is key for obvious reasons. I find that in the winter a good pair of gloves is a godsend. Thumbs up on the fenders too - I have them on my commuter.

    4. Allot yourself at least 20 minutes of extra time to deal with flats, mechanicals, and irrate drivers - these things will innevitalbly happen.

    5. If you are riding your Mt. bike, I suggest getting a set of skinny kevlar commuter tires and run them at their max. This will almost literally cut your time in half. When I switched my commuter from a SS Mt. bike with slicks to a fixie road bike, I cut my times almost in half.

    6. Be cautious to some extent. I was hit by a car in 2002 and had to have surgery 2 years later as a result. The accident was 100% not my fault. The guy that hit me paid for my bike and my ER visit - I was lucky. I see to many roadies that think drivers understand a cyclist's mentality. Many would rather hit and run.

    Bike commuting will make you more alert and productive at work and it's good for the world and your health - keep it up. At my former job, I commuted from Golden, heritage square to Bellview and I-25, DTC. Granted I did not do it 5 days a week as it's a long ride but when I did, I felt great. If I had a true road bike it would have been much more manageable, but then I would be a sell out. Just kidding - I can't afford one.
    "Put the Fun Between Your Legs."

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    Welcome to the "real" dark side. If you thought hikers and runners and equestrians hated bikers...

    I've been a near-daily commuter for 17 years, averaging 200 or so days a year by bike only. My life is fuller and richer because of this, as is my pocketbook!

    Some tips not mentioned above:

    1. Buy a road bike - doesn't need to be pricey or racy. I have downtube shifters on mine since they are easier to shift with mittens. In the long run this may be cheaper than extra wheels/tires/cassette + drivetrain wear and tear...
    2. Good winter gloves/mittens
    3. Good lights
    4. I keep lots of clothes/shoes/toiletries at work, change them out periodically when I drive in.
    5. I only wear bike gear when I ride in so my clothes are fresh(er)
    6. I ride with a large Camelbak with tools/pump/tube and fresh underwear and a t-shirt.
    7. Keep a pump and spare tire and tubes at work.
    8. Have a safe place inside to keep your bike during the day!!!
    * Ask your employer about the tax credit they will get if you ride in - maybe they could provide showers or at the very least a safe place to keep the bike.

    The more you commute by bike, the more you'll look forward to doing it again!

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    Getting a road bike really makes it easier!
    I pack nice cloths, wear something different change when I get there
    Allow time, I am normally 30 - 40 min early... but the is "NORMALLY" life happens
    With a commute to school and work Panniers are my friend
    thin layers, not thick

  6. #6
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    Dont buy a road bike....if you only have a mtb, get another set of wheels with some 26x1 tires and pump them up to 80psi. There are all kinds of people selling stuff on CL.

    The other thing to do is...find a buddy that has a frame he is no longer using and purchase a Nexus hub. I have seen set's on ebay for like 150.00 with shifter.

    I commute on my fixie/ss mtb everyday. Only have to ride like 5 miles. The time difference between the mtb and the road bike is only like 3 minutes.

    The biggest question is: do you have to lock your bike up outside or can you take it inside with you?
    Proud Tribe member since 1992 - looking for better singletrack to be ridden year round

  7. #7
    Goofing off?
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    I also do a 6 mile commute (tomorrow) from136th and Lowell to 104th and 36 Turnpike. Pretty much take the Big Dry creek Trail the whole way there - yeah! I keep clothing at work and usually have a few minutes in the office to dry off before changing. I'm on a 4" XC bike with tires I wish were smaller (2.35's). The day is much better when I ride in.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
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    +1 on having an additional pair of clothes at work - just wiped out the other day on some ice and ended up looking worse than my friendly homeless guy.

  9. #9
    Which way? Uphill.
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    So many people will say layers, layers, layers, but that's not always the answer.

    For commuting you generally are not stopping and shedding different layers, so only wear layers so that you have a choice between the morning commute and afternoon commute (like today, 28F on the way in 65F on the way home).

    I say zippers, zippers, zippers. Make sure you've got enough zippers to dump some heat if needed and if that isn't enough just change your level of effort. A few minutes of easy spinning will help cool you back down.

    Funny thing when I saw this thread I thought I saw you this morning. I saw another commuter on my route for the first time today since September. Then I saw that you said mountain bike and 40 degrees and knew that it wasn't you.
    Blog

    Just keep spinning. Just keep running. Just keep paddling.
    Just keep moving forward.

  10. #10
    Yappy little dog!
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMW
    So today is a fresh start for me. I decided last night that I would make the short and sweet 6 mile commute to the office today. I have to say, it is a great way to start the day! And I hope to do it for most of the week Although meetings with clients will make this difficult.

    It took me about 35 minutes today and I'm expecting the time to drop considerably after I get into the routine and do some better trial and error work on my clothing selection. At about 40 degrees this morning the ride started chilly and I quickly warmed up and started sweating. I was trying to take it easy since there are no showers available where I work but I have a couple hills that don't allow me that option.

    I have a couple changes that I think I will need to make for this to be a little better
    1. Change the tires out to something less aggressive and run higher PSI.
    2. Find a better cycling jacket with pit zips and better ventilation.
    3. Try to find some fenders for my Stumpjumper so bad weather is no longer an excuse.

    Any of you guys have any recommendations for a noob to Front Range commuting?
    Everyone seems to miss the obvious that a lot of bike commuters do...

    Get a Health Club membership near your office and shower there before work.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, don't buy a "road" bike per se. Road bikes typically don't have rack/fender eyelets as your typical entry-level cyclocross bike will. A cross bike will also allow you to run wider tire like a 28 or higher. I run a 700x35 panaracer something or other with tire liners and slime tubes. Probably a bit excessive but I haven't had a flat with that setup.

    As for tires, I wouldn't recommend a "typical" slick/road tire. Get something with a little bit of tread to help deal with the generous quantities of crap that accumulates near the gutter/bike lane over the winter. When running traditional road tires, I was getting flats from the chipped paint that marks the sides of the roads/intersections.

    Clothing? I'm a vest guy. Keep my feet, hands and ears warm and after a couple of minutes my core will be fine.

    Paniers also make it easy to stow stuff when you no longer need it. Keeping stuff off my back keeps me cooler.

    Frame pumps work faster than the midget pumps and are good for clubbing dogs and baby seals.

    Be patient and you can get everything off Craigslist for real cheap.


    Edit: -- also wanted to add... don't be afraid to be assertive when riding on the road. If the bike lane is clogged with crap (as it typically is in the springtime in Broomfield), ride as far out as you need to but do so consistently. Don't weave in and out of the road, you'll confuse the minivan driving soccer mom with the blackberry and latte.

    Don't wear a black jacket

    Keep in mind that running stop signs reflects poorly on people like me who just want to get to work without being threatened/harassed. And on that note, when you inevitably meet that driver who wants to be a prick, just let it roll off your shoulders.
    Last edited by Walt Disney's Frozen Head; 02-23-2009 at 03:26 PM.

  12. #12
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    For clothing...get a warm front. These things are the best. Just put it on under your jacket and take it off when you start to get to warm. It has a velcro neck to it. I am also a big user of thermal leg warmers, arm warmers. You can shed these as you ride along.

    I use mine all the time for commuting, early season rides and warming up during cross season when it gets cold. Matt is a local guy and loves to help out.

    http://www.thewarmfront.com/main.html

    I am also a big user of thermal leg warmers, arm warmers. You can shed these as you ride along.
    Proud Tribe member since 1992 - looking for better singletrack to be ridden year round

  13. #13
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    Congrats dude...commuting to work for a year now had changed my life for the better.

  14. #14
    Old, stale, negative
    Reputation: bstrick's Avatar
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    Panniers. Clothes at work and really good lights. I'm ready for my 4:30am departure tomorrow and couldn't be happier about it. I ride a Kona commuter I built as a fixed gear which makes my 7 mile trek tons of fun. Regardless of what you ride, go get em', and always remember you're getting more exercise in a day of riding to work than most of America gets in a week.

  15. #15
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    I actually think I can see traffic better on my old hardtail than on my road bike. Last year I bought a used road bike but after a few commutes it was relegated to longer rides only. The more upright position of the hardtail is much easier to see over the shoulder for merging into lanes.

    My ride is only 4 miles. I used to always wear bike clothes and shower at work, but this adds a lot of time. Last year I found I was more willing to bike in if I just took it slowly, to minimize overheating, and wear my work clothes. My job is pretty casual though.

    I think I'll kick off 2009 commuting tomorrow, weather looks great all week!

  16. #16
    Think Circles!
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    Thanks for the replies guys, Lots of great info here to take into consideration. I'm considering picking up another cheap bike to commute on. In the mean time I have a set of these: http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=5430 that I'm going to mount up.

    I also picked up bright orange fleece vest for 2.00 at goodwill yesterday! so hopefully the latte sipping soccer moms can spot me!

    As far as a commuter bike, I will keep an eye on Craigslist. If anyone comes across anything good, my limit is 300 and I'm in need of a large frame. A cross bike would probobly be best since some of the ride is on gravel open space trail.

  17. #17
    Bad Andy
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    Good job Dave.
    I don't commute too often, but trying to get in once a week this year - tomorrow will be my day for this week!
    A couple little things for ya - I like to change the route up, after you get used to your normal route from time to time, just for fun. Oh yeah, and if any of your commute involves bike paths by a "river" (the quotes since we don't have real rivers in Colorado), be thinking of an alternate right now. Once the warm weather hits, I hate those paths, and you probably will too, unless you like to get your protein from gnats.
    Good luck and enjoy.

  18. #18
    Rolling
    Reputation: lidarman's Avatar
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    pffft.

    Commuting to work means you have to work

    Such a drag.

    Lets start a thread on commuting to bars...and getting back home.

  19. #19
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Shower in a box:



    And no, I'm not kidding.

  20. #20
    Let There Be Dirt
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    I can vouch for the baby wipes. I used to be a UPS driver and I rode on my lunch breaks. I had 60 minutes to change clothes, ride, get cleaned up and dressed again. I went through a box of those things a week.
    Last edited by BSIDE; 10-08-2009 at 01:11 PM.

  21. #21
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    again on the pit zips. or a good wind vest that vents more. so long as my feet/head/hands are warm, i'm able to wear far less on my torso which minimizes the schwetty stuff. if i'm feeling warm when i pedal out of the garage, i'm overdressed and will roast.

    as others have mentioned: skinny tires at high pressure are much, much nicer

    granted, what my commute entails now is far worse temp and weather wise overall than when i was commuting on the front range. and i have a shower available. nice work if you can get it.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  22. #22
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    Everyone seems to miss the obvious that a lot of bike commuters do...

    Get a Health Club membership near your office and shower there before work.




    Talk about missing the obvious!!!!!

    Just move closer to where you work (or work close to where you live).
    I only live 1.5 miles from work. I wouldn't even think of driving there (it helps that the parking passes are $300/year).
    10 minutes of ride time really can't mess you up too much. I also get to shower with my job, so that helps.

    Once you start trying to use your car as little as possible it really makes you a happier person.
    CARS MAKE PEOPLE ANGRY!!!! (see how mad it is making me, just thinking about it)

  23. #23
    Think Circles!
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    I already live close enough to work. I just found out that there is a shower in the downstairs rest room, so that opens up more options. In most cases, I can sit at my desk in my riding attire since I don't always have to face to face with users. (I'm and IT guy)

    If i could get away with it, I'd wear the same damn thing all week and just change my T-shirt, socks and underwear everyday!

    Today I had to drive in so I brought a full set of cloths and shoes to leave in the office along with some pit stick. I may bring a duffel bag in tomorrow with a few more items to keep on hand.

    This makes me miss the good old days in the Marines when I could just leave my uniform at work and just take it home on weekends for wash and iron.

  24. #24
    crashes in parkinglot
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    I love my cross bike for commuting. Fast on the road, fast on dirt, solid enough for every day commuting, comfortable to take the long route to or from work.

    If you have local bike paths, that get you off the road I would highly rec those, the more time I'm away from cars the better. I wouldn't care if it doubled or trippled (or more) my commute (2 miles), just the peice of mind that someone sending a text isn't going to flatten me is worth it.

    I've been wearing sweater and a thin shell most of the winter. If its warm enough at the start my ride, I can usually get away with just wearing the sweater, its a little cool at the start, but by the time I'm hitting the flat sections it keeps me at a good temp. I try to bring goggles durring the winter, just in case I forget to look at the weather before I leave, I don't like getting snow in the eyes.
    Down is the new up.

  25. #25
    trail waggler
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    Woord...

    [QUOTE=lidarmanLets start a thread on commuting to bars...and getting back home.[/QUOTE]

    You said it!!!
    MY dog can lick YOUR dog!

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