Commuting advice- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Commuting advice

    I'm looking to start commuting to work. Parking and driving in even small cities proves to be quite the pain. My main concern is toughing out the cold and still looking somewhat professional when i arrive. it's supposed to be about 20*f tomorrow.

    also... i've never really done any road riding. How much time should i expect it to take me to go about 5.5 mi on a xc hardtail?

    any advice? any comments?

    all are welcome

  2. #2
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    I go about 7 km some about the same, I average around 20 mins a trip.

    Besure to pick a route, then analyse all of the possible hazards, then develop a plan to mitigate those hazards.

    Take Xcross walk, cross on overpass (stuff like that) watch from getting doored.

    Pay attention all the time.

    I use riding clothes for the ride, and leave a set of cloths at the office, they never come home just send them out for cleaning at the office.

    You can just wipe down before you get into the office duds.

    Just did the last two weeks at -20C to -18C no -12C (10 F) seems really warm.

  3. #3

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    Although I'm not commuting right now, I do ride at lunch. We ride anywhere from 8 - 12.5 miles in our hour long lunch break with some nice Colorado hills thrown in to keep it interesting. Make sure you've got deoderent and like Jeffscott stated just wipe down and you should be good. Keeping your work clothes at work makes a lot of sense as well, but if you have too you can carefully roll them up and I've found very few creases in them when I take them out of my back pack.

    Also, don't forget about your shoes. For that temp, you might want to look at some shoe covers to keep the wind off your toes.

  4. #4
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    How long it takes depends a lot on the condition of the route and the traffic arrangements. If the route mainly lets you keep up the speed, half an hour or so might be realistic.

    If you have different options, pick one that minimizes the hazards and delays at crossroads.

    As for clothing, picking a pair of gloves that keep my fingers warm but not sweating has been the most challenging detail.

  5. #5
    Five is right out
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    For clothes, Eagle Creek make some really handy flat packers for shirts and trousers. I used to fold my work clothes into one, and then just toss it into a pannier along with my work shoes.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime

    As for clothing, picking a pair of gloves that keep my fingers warm but not sweating has been the most challenging detail.
    I wouldn't worry too much about sweaty fingers, I mean how hard is it to wash your hands? Make sure your feet, head, and hands are warm, but don't worry about your core as much. You'll heat up on the ride. If you dress warm enough to be comfortable at the start of the ride you'll be sweating by end.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufudufus
    I wouldn't worry too much about sweaty fingers,
    In many cases sweat = wet = cold-after-a-while.

  8. #8
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    Commuting is fun

    My standard commute is 6 miles one way. Whenever the rode is clear (no snow cover) I ride to the office. Sweat is not an issue. I can take a shower at work.

    Cold is an issue. But as you can see found a way to deal with it on even the coldest days. But then - it is just 6 miles, 20 min approximately.
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  9. #9
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    do you guys generally just take a lane to yourself? I'll be going through one of the main roads of a city. speed limit of thirty, two lanes each way. lots of aggressive jackasses. To be blunt, it scares me.

  10. #10
    drunken pirate
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    you've got to get used to riding in traffic. i can no longer commute but whenever i ride in traffic i only take a lane when it is absolutly necessary. those aggressive jackasses will try and get around you no matter where in the road you are riding.

  11. #11
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    I am lucky in that most of my commute is on combined cyclist's/pedestrian's paths.

    When on car lanes, I usually take a whole lane and behave like a car. I try to avoid main streets.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by vitale232
    I'm looking to start commuting to work. Parking and driving in even small cities proves to be quite the pain. My main concern is toughing out the cold and still looking somewhat professional when i arrive. it's supposed to be about 20*f tomorrow.

    any advice? any comments?

    all are welcome
    Some good advice here: http://www.runmuki.com/commute/ and here: http://bikecommutetips.blogspot.com.

    If you're nervous about riding in traffic, you may want to check the League of American Bicyclists' web site and see if there's a Road I (traffic cycling) course in your community, and take that... ( http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/e...e_schedule.php ) If not, contact a local LCI and ask for one... There's also a League course specifically focused on bike commuting, but you won't get the best benefit unless you've already done Road I or at least the traffic law and on-the-bike sections of the Road I course.

    This is another good resource, from the RoadBikeRider.com web site: http://www.roadbikerider.com/bc_excerpt.htm

    I see a lot of mountain bikes set up and used for commuting... In fact, I like my Fisher Caliber a lot more for running around town than my road bike. It's a lot of fun, and can definitely save your pocketbook a good bit on the gas prices these days...

    Tom

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    In many cases sweat = wet = cold-after-a-while.
    Good point. I shoulda said I'd rather err on the side of being too warm, and then try to back off the heat on future rides. I hate having cold fingers!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by vitale232
    do you guys generally just take a lane to yourself? I'll be going through one of the main roads of a city. speed limit of thirty, two lanes each way. lots of aggressive jackasses. To be blunt, it scares me.
    Is there any way you can go around the most direct route? Side streets/neighborhoods in cities tend to be a little less busy in my experience. Suburbs, forget it, all bets are off during the rush hours.. Oh and get a mirror, you'll wonder why you didn't use one before. They're worth the aesthetic penalty while riding in serious traffic.
    Full disclosure; I sell and repair bikes for a living: http://blackstonebicycles.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
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    I will also take a longer route to avoid busy roads. I'll ride sidewalks too unless they are very busy or marked for no bikes. Get windproof outerlayers gloves and pants included. Neck gaiters are also very handy keep wind off your neck and can be pulled over nose and face if its cold enough. A light layer of fleece insulation should be more than enough you will be active and don't want to start sweating.
    - Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups -

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufudufus
    I wouldn't worry too much about sweaty fingers, I mean how hard is it to wash your hands?
    One of the worst thins about sweaty fingers is that the gloves get pretty wet. This becomes a problem when you have to put them on again in the evening for the ride home. Unless you can put them in front of a heater or fan, winter gloves don't dry out in 8-10 hours. It sucks to put your hands in wet gloves at the beginning of a cold ride.

    I'd definitely get some good neoporene shoe covers for those temps. I've got a little longer commute (10 mi) and I wear them for anything under 35*F.

  17. #17
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    advice

    time - all depends on the weather really. The slush, the road crud (vehicle pooh), the cold (viscosity of things change in cold), etc..
    I typically bike to work each day (even today at -30oC and -40oC in the past). One way is about 22km. Takes me about 55minutes on a good day in the winter (colder the better - less slush and crap). In the summer it takes about 35-40 minutes typically.
    Really slushy days (+whatever to -5oC) will take longer. And, after a brisk snow fall below 2cm will take longer (they don't plow unless a certain amount of snow has fallen), will take longer. More resistance.

    bike - I like fewest moving parts as possible. Things freeze and get clogged with road crap. Fewest gears possible (I would go SS, but that costs dough... I don't like spending over 80 bucks for a winter ride... the salt just eats the crap out of it). Canti brakes. Stiffy. Go simple. The freehub pawls will freeze (most likely due to the grease used). Just happened to me yesterday. Spin spin spin like a monkey in heat going no place fast.
    Remember - salt kills a bike dead (I hate to see what it does to a vehicle... people just don't realize the damage it does. I swear those people driving 80k plus vehicles are just stupid driving them in the winter. Salt is tremedously damaging.)

    clothing - go cheap as possible. Salt and sludge gets in every orphis. My bike bag is so full of salt its as though its made of hard plastic. The shell - go cheap. Layered clothing is best. Can take off whatcha don't need. Get stuff that wicks the sweat away.
    Like one fella told me once - ever get frost bite in the mid section... I now know what that means. As the sweat drips down and freezes! ouch!
    I like big socks. I like big boots (nothing hurts more than frost bite feet. Once something is frost bite its hard to get the normality back to that area. ). I like big mits. Double or triple layer the core. I like pants that wick away sweat and the road sludge. Nothing more irritating to the rear end than wet pants. Wet pants + salt + azz cheeks = pain at night. At -30oC and below, I wear a full face neck warming thing and double up (pants, shirts, mits).

    things die at -40oC.
    slush hurts.
    salt kills things dead.
    don't make a fashion statement out there.
    It's survival time.
    Dress for comfort and bike like hell to keep warm.

  18. #18
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    Contary to jac2000, I ride a FS 3X9 all year commuting, but this is Calgary not Ottawa.
    Gears work fine, shocks become ridgid. but everything works.

    We get the salt and snow etc. too.

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