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  1. #1
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    Commuting VS> Mtn Bike Riding

    Out of curiosity how many of you get mountain bike rides in after work? How does your mountain bike and commuting ratio stand during an average week? Reason I ask Is because I often times bring my mountain bike on my car to work and hit the trail after work. On day that I'll commute I'll have to trade commuting for mountain bike riding that evening. Which makes sense because I'm not mountain bike riding every day of the work week anyway. Do you find that after a long evening mountain bike ride your commute is harder the next day or vice versa?

  2. #2
    I Ride for Donuts
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    I have trail options on the way home, so when I know I'm going to have time, I'll ride the MTB and get a 'real' ride in between work and home. Yes, it can make the next morning a bit painful
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  3. #3
    psycho cyclo addict
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    I commute on my 29er's and hit parts of trails on the way; in addition to all trail riding a couple of times a week. My commute/weekly urban assault mileage ratio is higher than trail riding which is fine by me because I have to work for a living and can at least enjoy pedaling to and fro

  4. #4
    MTB, Road, Commuting
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    In the summer I can do about 1/3 of it on the trail, in the winter all of it. If I do back to back commutes on the mountain bike, especially with added mileage, I do get much more tired than a week of straight road commutes. But, they are much more fun so it's worth it.

    I find it hard to drive to work with the bike in the car to drive to a place to ride when my commuting goal is to use the car as little as possible. I DO wish there were a few more trail options between work and home but that big effing lake is in the way.

  5. #5
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    My main mountain bike is geared too low to commute on. I've got an old fixed gear 26er and a cyclocross bike that I use for commuting. Gear ratio on the fixie isn't really low enough for singletrack but I can stretch my commute to 20-25 miles and hit a nice stretch of gravel rail-trail on the way home. On the cyclocross bike I have a bit more range and can work in some singletrack but that makes it like a 35+ mile ride (not that there's anything wrong with that). Been seeing some singletrack pop up off the rail-trail, need to check that out one of these days.
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  6. #6
    sheep in FOX clothing
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    Work's about 4 min from the local trails.

    So unless it's raining, I'll drop in for 1/2 hour or so.

  7. #7
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    I don't exactly commute but I do ride my mountain bike around the city regularly...at night. I put in around 50 miles a week on my nightly urban biking rides. My helmet, shirt and shoes have highly reflective strips, I have blinkers on both my helmet and my bike and I have a 500 mAh Cree flashlight (with strobe mode) on my helmet to light my way ahead. You wouldn't miss me if you were driving unless you're drunk.

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    Gundam168 the lighting you describe will certainly get attention but it's plain inconsiderate of anyone who has to look at it, blinding anybody you look at with your helmet light and disorientating them with your mobile disco will make a fine excuse in court for not missing you.

  9. #9
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    ^ As long as the beam width isn't too wide or too high, I see no issue with that setup. Cars don't blind us with even more low beam power. The beam is critical, though. Also reflective material only works when the bike is within about 3' from either side of a cross street car or of overtaking and oncoming if reflectors aim that way. Here is a video of more powerful, but properly aimed lights:


  10. #10
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    Brian that looks perfectly acceptable but I still wouldn't want to meet you on a narrow cycleway. Try looking at the camera as you pass and riding towards it, they're hell like that.

  11. #11
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    ^OT from OP post. Please excuse.

    A Light Reflection on Side Visibility - Page 2

    At the end of the video in that post, I ride right toward the camera, then move about a half an MUP away. So yes, if I rode right at you lights on full power, without adjusting the lights to the right, just like in the video, it would be bad. I wouldn't unless someone rode salmon against me on the street, then they deserve what they get. High power lights can be run politely. Or not.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumby. View Post
    Gundam168 the lighting you describe will certainly get attention but it's plain inconsiderate of anyone who has to look at it, blinding anybody you look at with your helmet light and disorientating them with your mobile disco will make a fine excuse in court for not missing you.
    That's the reason why I put the Cree light on my helmet so I can point it to (or point it away) any direction I want. And it works. SUVs who usually disregard me even when I have ROW now hesitate before blocking my path. The strobe function also gets mistaken for a police cruiser's light.

  13. #13
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    I commute on a mountain bike almost daily but I rarely get off-road. A few times a year I go for a proper mountain bike ride, but to be honest, I sometimes look forward to the weekends for a break from cycling. It gives my muscles time to recover. I mostly just enjoy getting two hours of saddle time each day regardless of the reason.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumby. View Post
    Gundam168 the lighting you describe will certainly get attention but it's plain inconsiderate of anyone who has to look at it, blinding anybody you look at with your helmet light and disorientating them with your mobile disco will make a fine excuse in court for not missing you.
    Better to be seen than run over. That said, I run 300 lumens steady on the helmet, 300 on the bars + 300 blinking on the bars too. I do point them down some on the bikeway though.

  15. #15
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    Lighting for the street is different from lighting on a narrow bike path. Where I live, the off-street bike paths aren't even open after dark most days (run by city parks, who don't really care about commuters).

    I have about 500 lumens on the bars, usually run in strobe fashion. The light gets aimed downward, pointed to a spot about 1-2 carlengths ahead of me. The light rarely gets aimed directly at a driver (and only when I intentionally move it there to get someone's attention). But it's bright enough that drivers have no problem seeing light that spills out to the periphery of the beam. On the back, I've got about 200 lumens in a mostly regular blink pattern (slower flash than the strobe on the front). I also have reflective rims and tire sidewalls, colored blinkies in my spokes, red and white reflective tape on my fenders and pannier boxes, and some yellow striped reflective tape on my pannier boxes. The rear surface of the boxes also has the word "BIKE" on each side in reflective lettering, emphasizing what I am in case there was any question. I have reflective tape on my helmet, and reflective velcro cuffs for my pants legs.

    Drivers give me more space at night than they do during the daylight.

    I use the same lighting setup on one-way bike lanes.

    If I happen to be using a narrow two-way bike path in the dark (illegally), then I turn my lights off. Of course all the reflective surfaces would give me away, anyway, from nearby streetlights or patio lights.

  16. #16
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    I've been commuting in darkness for the past few weeks. About 1 1/2 miles of it near straight cycle path and this one guy a 1000+ lumen headlamp and bar strobe gets my attention the length of it with a busy 4 lane road between us.
    We've had words and he wasn't running his helmet light today so I attempted eye contact but he looked away

    On the original topic I hardly ride my mtb about 3 months in winter because the hills get too wet and the commuter is just as much fun on flatland trails and cleans itself.
    Last season about 6 to 10 times more mtb a week weather permitting.

  17. #17
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    Now I have bar end blinkers. I now look like a bicycle in the dark instead of a floating blinking red light on a dark road.

  18. #18
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    Commuting VS> Mtn Bike Riding

    Since we're on the topic of visibility now, I read recently that making your body's moving parts visible goes a long to improving safety. Apparently the brain will more readily detect you as a person rather than an object.

  19. #19
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    I totally agree R+P+K, pedal or shoe and spoke reflectors make a cyclist instantly recognizable as such unlike some blinking lights.

  20. #20
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    Commuting VS> Mtn Bike Riding

    Quote Originally Posted by gumby. View Post
    I totally agree R+P+K, pedal or shoe and spoke reflectors make a cyclist instantly recognizable as such unlike some blinking lights.
    Reflectors are dependent on a light source being along the line of sight of the viewer.
    No light. No reflection.
    Bike to the right or left at an intersection. No reflection.

    Powered lights are going to show up, and can be mounted on the wheel and foot/leg.
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  21. #21
    local trails rider
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    Riding in traffic during dark hours:
    both lights and reflectors, please. More is better. You can cover more of your surface area with reflectors than you can with lights

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  22. #22
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    Also, if a car driver runs you over at night, the driver can always deny he saw your lights and may claim it was not switched on. Reflectors on your garment/shoes would make that claim hard to defend.

  23. #23
    sheep in FOX clothing
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    The oft-quoth reference on why plastic reflectors suck:

    Cycle Sense: Why Reflectors Don't Work

    A point I will add for mountain bikes is that the one CPSC reflector of any geometric use in traffic, i.e. rear-facing on the seatpost, is the first one to get encrusted in mud. This happens to rear lights too, of course, but at least you might notice that when you turn it on.

    Reflective tape on the chainstays and fork (Fox forks used to have reflective decals from the factory, but no longer) is much more out-of-the-way of the mud spray, and is actually legally required here under an obscure provincial traffic regulation.

    Of course, the reflective taping or piping on clothes is more likely to be clean than the bike (I hope?) for most commuter purposes, and while the wash cycle does reduce the effectiveness of the tape over time, most of my outerwear has been pretty trashed by then.

  24. #24
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    The oft-quoth reference on why plastic reflectors suck:

    Cycle Sense: Why Reflectors Don't Work
    Sure.
    Billions of flies love $h1t. They've gotta be right.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    The oft-quoth reference on why plastic reflectors suck:

    Cycle Sense: Why Reflectors Don't Work

    A point I will add for mountain bikes is that the one CPSC reflector of any geometric use in traffic, i.e. rear-facing on the seatpost, is the first one to get encrusted in mud. This happens to rear lights too, of course, but at least you might notice that when you turn it on.

    Reflective tape on the chainstays and fork (Fox forks used to have reflective decals from the factory, but no longer) is much more out-of-the-way of the mud spray, and is actually legally required here under an obscure provincial traffic regulation.

    Of course, the reflective taping or piping on clothes is more likely to be clean than the bike (I hope?) for most commuter purposes, and while the wash cycle does reduce the effectiveness of the tape over time, most of my outerwear has been pretty trashed by then.
    Don't worry, we're not gonna be too far off when someone invents self adjusting bike reflectors (or blinkers) with automatic wipers on them.

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