Philly Commuters? Need advice.
Looking to make the jump to commuting full time -- Mt. Airy to University City -- and I'm trying to decide on a bike. Looking at 3 kinds right now: fixed gear, road w/beefier wheels, or comfort 29'er with small 2" travel fork. I can do the whole trip basically staying on the road, except for some fire roads, and really no backbreaking hills. I used a road bike for a week and made it in 45 minutes. On my mountain bike - 1hr. 5 mins.
For those of you who already commute in Philly, can you tell me the following:
1. How far is your round trip?
2. Where to/from?
3. What bike?
I only commute in a few times a week, not yet full time.
1. It's 20 miles round trip,
2. from Chestnut Hill to Spring House
3. I ride my road bike, we have a locker room at work so I can push the speed on pavement.
I don't commute in Philly, but in Bucks County rather:
1. 30 miles round trip
2. Langhorne to Warminster
3. I too ride my road bike: 2008 Orbea Opal
I'd recommend getting a cyclocross bike, though. It has a relaxed geometry, thicker tires, and can handle fireroads while still riding at a higher speed.
"It never gets easier, you just go faster." - Greg LeMond
The new commute
I have typically commuted about 6 mi RT for many years, but my new job has me doing a 26 mi RT commute. I go from West Philly to Olney and Broad (North Philly) and back again. I have had good luck on a variety of rides: fix gear 700c, fix gear 20" folder, 26" tourer, SS mtb with slicks, and even a 3spd Schwinn. My favorite was the 700c fixie, but it was impractical in the rain. The fastest was the mtb with slicks. The ideal in my mind would be a flat bar cross bike, fixed/free, with fenders, 32c tires and a Wald basket up front. My 2 cents. Good luck!
wot no bike?
I don't see why you would need any suspension at all for the commute, in fact I'd rather not have it so I would rule that out. How about a nice cyclocross set-up (geared/ss/fixed, whatever)? From Mt. Airy you could drop down onto Forbidden Drive and ride that down to RIdge Ave, and from there Take the MUP along the river. That would make for a really great ride, unless you're dead-set on speed being your number one priority. When I worked in Lower Gwynedd (just north of Ambler), I would ride my SS cyclocross. My route was Forbidden Drive north to the end, hooked-up with the Green Ribbon trail, rode through Ft. Washington SP, some more backroads and I was there. If I wanted to take a little more time I'd hit some of the trails rather than Forbidden Drive. Nothing like a ride through the Wissahickon before and after work, it's worth not getting there faster IMO.
But I digress:
1. 32-ish miles, RT
2. Wissahickon to Lower Gwynedd
3. SS cyclocross.