• 10-19-2011
    dissatisfaction in commuting
    I'm posing these questions as part of a research project for a college class:

    Is there anything that you are dissatisfied with regarding your commuting experience? This can include anything, but information regarding your bike itself would be particularly helpful.

    Similarly, I've noticed on several occasions that students with bike racks still simply wear backpacks when pedaling around campus. The same holds true (although it seems somewhat less so) with folks commuting to work. If you wear a backpack, what keeps you from hanging your gear on your bike? Thanks in advance!
  • 10-19-2011
    Vitamin G
    My dissatisfaction has to do with the bicycle parking racks provided by the building owner of where I work. They are the comb style rack (aka wheelbender) just like you would see at a junior high school. So, effectively I can park my 29er only on the ends of the rack, because the tires don't fit into the slots anywhere in the rack.

    Otherwise carrying my stuff in a messenger bag works out great for my commute. I commute every (working) day, all year long.
  • 10-19-2011
    My employer does not offer the $20 commuter benefit because it would cost too much for too little benefit. At the same time they subsidize use of mass transit and vanpools up to the IRS limit which I think is $230/mo; in other words free money. One of my co-workers has a 110 mi one way commute and pays $25/mo out of pocket after subsidy for van pool.

    Upon asking about obtaining transit benefits for Q1 2012, the rainy season, I was denied because I apparently live too close. I live on the same street as my employer and was denied based on that and because they only give this benefit to commuters who use it all year. I'm about 3 miles down the same street and my address number is different by more than 2000. Nevermind that Golden Gate Park is in the middle meaning my commute isn't a straight shot.

    I should add my employer heavily subsidizes parking also. The cost is $1/day (24 hr from time ticket is purchased), $10/mo, $100/yr. This is in an area where market rate monthly parking is $250-300. Street parking meters are $3.50 per hour and garages might charge $2 per 15 or 20 minutes.

    No place to change at work aside from public restroom stall doesn't really motivate me at all either. I only change a shirt, but a locker room would still help as well as a place to stash my clothes.

    What's wrong with a backpack? I choose to wear a backpack and there really isn't a good way that I've found to carry a backpack on a bike and panniers cannot be carried on my back because they don't have straps. Even when I reach my work place, the only place I'm allowed to leave my bike is still 500m or so from my office. My bag is typically less than 10 pounds as it only contains my lunch and clothes so it's not huge burden.

    If I mounted stuff on my bike, then I'd have to spend time and pull it off every time I make a stop such as the grocery store or cafe. That would get old really quick.
  • 10-19-2011
    The biggest dissatisfaction I have in bike commuting is that I don't do it enough
  • 10-19-2011
    Dedicated lanes that are actually parking spaces for cars.

    Drivers who don't apparently see bicycles. Or look both ways. Or seemingly care for the threat they pose to our safety.

    Pedestrians with personal auditory devices turned so loud they can't hear my Incredibell. Or people distracted by cell phones who tune it out (sure scared her today though).
  • 10-19-2011
    ******* SUV drivers with the windows up, sunglasses on and AC blasting, who cut me off and threaten my basic existence so they can get on the freeway 7 parsecs faster.

    People seem desensitized and distant when they get behind the wheel. Their vehicle alienates them from what's happening around them and they don't care.
  • 10-20-2011
    I use a backpack and like the off-bike portability of it. It's easy to take with you on the bus, into the office, etc. I can leave shoes & some clothes at work, though, so it's not too heavy.

    I am happy with the bikes I use for commuting. I think there might be potential for more road-grunge protected components to reduce cleaning, maintenance & wear. Commuter bikes are ridden in bad weather much more often than recreational bikes.
  • 10-20-2011
    both Bilirubin & Berkley already touched on it but there is no way that having to deal with the either oblivious or aggressive drivers can not be the #1 hassle in commuting by bicycle

    this past monday i got run down by a soccer mom in a suv with a cell phone glued to her ear

    less than 6 months ago i got hit by a guy in a euro sport sedan who i swear was actually trying to get me.

    since i am a little crazy & intend to keep riding my bike to work...i have spent some time the past couple days shopping for more insurance :winker:
  • 10-20-2011
    I currently have no dissatisfactions with commuting.

    I had major issues when I lived in the states. Hit by city bus twice, had my life threatened, etc.... I think I came home more angry and stressed half of the time than when I left work.

    but now.......

    Sometimes I ***** about Swedish weather, but my wife tells me to HTFU or ride the subway......I get on my bike.

    I don't deal with the same kind of cage driver here. We are treated as pedistrians, and it's taboo to mess with ped's almost to the point social humiliation, being shunned from your friends. I spend very little time on the street. Yes, there are days when I have to deal with somebody who isn't fully awake, but I have more incidents with other cyclists (on the phone) and pedistrains.

    I am actually in the process of trying a rack and trunk bag. I still have mixed feelings about this. I am approaching the new setup with the same caution I used with my first camelback however many years ago.
  • 10-20-2011
    I live in an area with almost nothing to make commuting by bike easier. No bike lanes, bike racks are rare, and the ones we do have are really old. Drivers are my biggest gripe though, no regard for the safety of others, only care about themselves.
  • 10-20-2011
    in my area, drivers are mostly courteous when they see cyclists. it's a college town and it's a town with a pretty low average income, so there's two populations commonly on bikes, so for being in a small city in Texas, there's a lot of bikes on the roads. Not to mention quite a few wheelchairs and such. the pace of life is pretty slow and people are mostly fairly laid-back, so they don't have a problem with being patient with slower bicycle traffic.

    which gets me to my biggest complaint for this city. facilities. old Spanish-founded town, so many roads are very narrow. there are not enough sidewalks even for the pedestrians in some parts of town, so you're in the street WITH them at times. one street on my commute (I ride about a mile there) has such inconsistent sidewalks that the pedestrians never use them and just walk in the street. one or two streets in town have signs indicating that cyclists should ride the sidewalks. one street is very narrow with a lot of traffic, so I ride the sidewalk...but the sidewalk is too narrow for bikes AND peds. and in many places it's in poor shape. the other road that has signs for cyclists to ride the sidewalks is plenty wide and I just ignore the signs. a good number of streets here don't even have center lines painted down, let alone paint for the outer edges of the road. I prefer riding these, because the motorists behave themselves better. they seem to have a tendency to pay more attention.

    there are so few places to park a bicycle here that it's scary. there are good racks on campus, though some places don't have enough spots. but off campus? good luck. the only racks I can specifically recall off campus are at walmart.

    I also have a problem with the way others use the facilities that are available and how police choose to enforce the law rather inconsistently. few people walk/ride the correct direction for the side of the street they're on. it seems the low income folks are the worst culprits here, but at least they're consistent about it. on campus, the students are downright unpredictable and they swerve randomly and cut across multiple lanes of traffic and all sorts of idiocy. I have never seen the police doing anything about bicyclists not obeying the laws anywhere except near campus...and I have a friend who was ticketed for not having a light near campus at night (I think I've only seen one or two other people in town with lights out of hundreds, so that's some interesting selective enforcement there). He was off campus, so it was city police who got him, not campus police, so that doesn't explain the inconsistency.

    there are fewer people here who don't pay attention compared to other cities I've lived. my commuting is mostly pleasant. I can squeeze my bike into my office, and nobody complains about it when it's tucked away in here. I'd probably be okay locking it up outside, though. I see a lot of pretty nice bikes locked up out here rather poorly and they're never bothered. I think part of it is that the potential thieves don't know the difference between nice bikes and crap bikes because there's not really much of a bike culture to speak of. I also think part of it is that there's really not much bike theft here.
  • 10-20-2011
    A lot of us build up our own bikes on here I think, so if there's a dissatisfaction with your bike, you just keep building/changing parts until you like it. It's a completely foreigh concept for me to think of feeling 'locked in' to whatever my bike was like, and not liking it.

    I am a backpack guy though. I can speak to that, at least for myself. I have BMX roots, and I've always felt way more comfortable on a bike that I could 'throw around' a bit...flick the back wheel up on something, jump over stuff, bunnyhop onto a curb, etc. Racks just dont' lend themselves to this kind of riding. I'll admit that for the majority of my commute rides, a rack would work fine.....I just don't like stuff hanging off of my bike. I don't have water bottle cages on my mountian bike either, I use a camelbak. No seat bag full of tools, nothing hanging on the bike. It's just personal preference. I'd bet that people with a similar riding background feel the same way, and are very slow to adopt racks onto a bike they ride every day. I want to be able to throw the bike back and forth on the short climbs I deal with and not worry about books launching off of my rack. I don't have to think about a backpack.
  • 10-20-2011
    No real dissatisfaction for me, just the occasional oblivious motorist mostly.

    I use a rack with pannier to haul clothes and laptop. The Phoenix summer gets so hot that having a backpack on for 30 minutes each way makes a huge difference in comfort, I commute on a road bike so hopping curbs isn't something I do too much of any way. The downside is that indeed the bike feels alot heavier, if I stand up for a climb or sprint things get swaying quite alot and the pannier can actually hit the rear wheel.
  • 10-20-2011
    I have a basket on the back of my bike, but I usually carry everything in my backpack if it fits. One time I got lazy and put my backpack in the basket and I ended up with a dent in the side of my laptop and a jar of mango chutney broken at the bottom of my backpack. I hadn't taken the U-lock out and apparently the normal bumps along the ride (not even anything big like a curb) through the U lock were enough to cause some damage.

    For the bike itself, the most dissatisfying thing is that there is no good way to attach my U-lock. The included mounting bracket is weak and broke, and the replacement broke too. If I toss it in the basket it rattles around a lot. A good U-lock attachment should be quick and easy to use but hold the lock securely.

    I never like biking on the busy streets in the city, but sometimes they are the fastest or most direct way to get somewhere. I feel like my life is in danger at all times with cars, trucks, and buses passing me at 45mph. I try to stick to the back roads, but all the stop signs and traffic lights make it take too long.

    I wish I didn't have to own a car, but there are always those times when something is too far away or too big/heavy to be carried by bike. Plus, most of the good mountain biking around here requires driving to get to.
  • 10-20-2011
    I only use a backpack because it doubles my hauling capacity! If I don't have a lot to move, or need the backpack, I ditch it.

    My biggest complaint about commuting by bike, or by car, is the complete idiocy of other motorists. More dedicated bike lanes would also be a welcome change.
  • 10-20-2011
    My dissatisfaction is that I am commuting to work and not commuting to the trails or some other grand destination. However, I would rather stab myself in the eye than have to drive to work everyday. I also use a backpack for hauling my cargo. Money is getting in the way of me buying a nice rack and pannier system.
  • 10-24-2011
    I commute to a university everyday. Here are some grievances:

    -Fellow commuters (especially students) who do not obey the rules of the road. They ride on sidewalks, run stop signs and red lights, block turning lanes in intersections and text while riding. The behavior of these riders reflects poorly on those of us who don't ride like total dickwads.
    -The university includes a bus pass in the cost of my tuition, with no opt-out available. I've never ridden a bus in the city, and have no intention of doing so.
    -The university doesn't provide any free bicycle parking that doesn't leave my bike completely exposed to the harsh Canadian weather.

    In terms of equipment, I have zero complaints. Everything I could possibly need is readily available to me at reasonable prices.
  • 10-24-2011
    Given that I don't live in a theft-free society (far from it, Seattle has a big problem, and the University district is even worse,) I'm pretty happy with how my bike is set up. I guess if I was willing to throw more money at it, I'd want it to have a smaller frame and nicer components. But I rarely ride far on that bike and the parts on it do the job, so fine. I guess the dissatisfaction here is that law enforcement doesn't take bike theft very seriously.

    I have a rack on my bike. I bungie my U-lock to it but rarely use my panniers. I only ride about fifteen minutes each way, and it saves me a step to use the same bag that I'll have my stuff in all day for the bookends. I also have a locker, so I can reduce how much crap I carry and ditch my helmet and rain clothes in the morning.
  • 10-25-2011
    can't get right
    No complaints, I have ironed out the "how do I haul stuff" issue with a good messenger bag. The back pack was sweaty and not much bigger.
    I dislike panniers with no reason other than I hate the way they look, I know I am going slower commuting but I don't want to look like it.

    The MUTS in my town don't go anywhere I need them to and the blue hairs rule them with an iron fist. They walk slow and when I yell "on your left" they usually turn left and walk into me then yell at me for going to fast.
    I think I might rather get hit than run some gummer down and break their hip.
  • 10-25-2011
    been taking my new commuter out since I finished the build yesterday. I like it. It addresses a minor annoyance I had with my previous commuter that it was too slow (mtb).

    It's also got a shorter wheelbase which makes it easier to stash the bike in my office. I was able to fit my other commuter in here before, but being able to do so more easily is an unintended perk. the new bike is also more comfortable.

    on my commute home last night, I had an idiot yell out the window of their car at me. I fail to see how this can be at all entertaining. gotta say that's the first time that's happened in a long time. I'm glad it's been so long, but dissatisfied that it happened at all. it's one thing for cage-bound commuters to shout sarcastic encouragements out the window as they drive by or to ask dumb questions when we're stopped at an intersection, but the nondescript yelling is just stupid.

    I'm going to have to get used to the way this new bike handles off-road before I take it on the trails. the geometry is great for riding on the road, but it's got me much farther over the front than I'm used to.
  • 11-03-2011
    leaf blowers pretty much suck balls.
  • 11-04-2011
    The Bike - I could use more clearance between my tire and breaks/frame and fork. There is one very small patch of grass I have ride through, and dirt and grime tend to gum up the clearance and cause my bike to make awful noises. I am hopefully going to cure that problem by purchasing a CX bike soon.

    The Commute - I wish there was a dirt path I could take to work. I have a strictly city commute. The patch of grass I ride through is avoid riding up a very narrow bridge on a very busy 6 lane street.

    The Office - A shower room and locker in every large office building would be key! I don't see it happening though. My father-in-law was president of a grocery store chain, and he worked really hard to be the first "green certified" grocery store in his state. One of the things he had to do was have a certain percentage of stores have showers and locker to encourage biking to work. I love that they did that, and I would love to see more.
  • 11-04-2011
    I use a backpack and a rear rack. The rear rack is used a lot by me, but only because I've put a trunk bag on it, otherwise it wouldn't be used and I would take it off.

    My biggest dissatisfaction with my bike setup is that when i am using the rear rack/trunk bag the weight distribution of the bike becomes very rear biased and if the load is a bit heavy the bike feels lethargic as it takes more energy to move it side to side and so forth.

    I've never tried a front rack, that might help with weight distribution, but I have a feeling not being able to lift the front wheel as easily would get annoying fast.
  • 11-04-2011
    sean salach
    My biggest dissappointment is the idiot cyclists who pass me going in the other direction with their headlights on the stobe setting. That setting makes you really visible, everything else, not so much, since it essentially temporarily blinds the person it's pointed at. The pupils can not adjust fast enough to compensate for the flashing light.
  • 11-04-2011

    Originally Posted by Berkley View Post
    ******* SUV drivers with the windows up, sunglasses on and AC blasting, who cut me off and threaten my basic existence so they can get on the freeway 7 parsecs faster.

    People seem desensitized and distant when they get behind the wheel. Their vehicle alienates them from what's happening around them and they don't care.

    Sums it up for me
  • 11-04-2011
    My biggest challenge is in the winter time when the roads have the tire ruts from lack of plowing. Or the sidewalks aren't cleared out at the corners. Or the streets are narrower because they don't quite plow to the curb.
  • 11-07-2011
    My greatest dissatisfaction with commuting right now is that I live too far out to be able to ride (since I moved to a different state in the last couple months). 35 miles one way equals too much time spent in a car! This should finally change in the next couple weeks though, so I'll be back to commuting by bike.

    Anyways..I just like my bikes set up quick, comfortable and configured in a way that makes them easy to integrate into my daily grind. Racks can be very helpful to haul stuff, but are only useful to me if I really have a significant amount of weight to carry. Otherwise, a nicely fitting backpack of some sort that doesn't move around too much is nice. I have a couple that I find perfectly comfortable for commuting.

    Back to the bike. I like using platform pedals of some sort for commuting. Clipless kind of complicates commuting for me. I will be riding my road bike for commuting as well as recreational road riding. It's set up pretty normally. Only commuting features will be fenders if it gets wet out and platform pedals with powergrips or cages. I also may change the saddle to something better suited for not using a chamois. Not sure yet though, because I may bring a change of clothes with me anyways now that I live in a more humid climate with seasonal variation.

    I used to not even bring a change of clothes with me, just some baby wipes/towels to wipe my face. Sometimes a clean shirt. I will always bring deodorant. This was when I live in the Bay Area, but now that I'm in VA, I think bringing a change of clothes might be nice depending how far my commute ends up being.

    Bad drivers suck. Period. Careless driving can easily harm a cyclist (obviously). I've been side swiped by a van before and it sucks. That experience taught me that sometimes hopping off the road onto the shoulder or sidewalk for a second can save you from someone's terrible driving. One thing I'm dissatisfied about is the lack of bike friendly streets in many cities. This was a problem in CA, and it's also a problem in VA. Luckily, VA Beach has some bike lanes and elevated bike paths and they are trying to develop more. I'll be using those quite often for both commuting and recreational road riding very soon.
  • 11-07-2011
    sean salach

    Originally Posted by CycleAddict View Post
    My greatest dissatisfaction with commuting right now is that I live too far out to be able to ride (since I moved to a different state in the last couple months). 35 miles one way equals too much time spent in a car! This should finally change in the next couple weeks though, so I'll be back to commuting by bike.

    I had this problem. I solved it by doing partial bike commutes. Drive to a convenient location, park, ride to work. At the end of the day, ride back to your car and drive home. It worked to save me gas money, save me time spent sitting in city traffic, and save my sanity by getting me on the bike more. Then I moved to the city and it became a moot point.
  • 11-08-2011
    Incredibly discourteous drivers that seem to be more concerned with their cell phones than they are about driving. Although I did manage to get a horn/siren called the "Noisy Cricket" that DOES get the attention of these people as it has a piercing, high-pitched wail when the button is pressed. Best 24 bucks I have spent!!!!!
  • 11-08-2011
    I'm tired of coworkers--and I work in a city--assuming that because I ride a bike that I should be the recipiant of all complaints about cyclists they've seen breaking traffic laws. When I counter with what I've seen motorists do these same people ask the make and model car and try to argue that because they drive a different buble SUV that there is no comparison.

    I've since informed my coworkers that the only logical conclusion I can make of their rants is that cyclists are only visible to them when they are breaking laws and in order to maintain my safety and be visible I thus am forced to break laws.
  • 11-08-2011
    Ive started solely commuting on the 1x9 (bash/38T - 12-34) CX bike so i can hit dirt on the evening commute. So far ive got a nice route that mixes the better hoods of oakland with the two city parks. Next up is setting up a ultegra triple as a bash guard/38/32. Not sure if its going to work ie; 32T hits the stay in the granny position. Things that keep me wanting to bike commute are riding oakland transit, sunrise over the alameda estuary, riding all stealthy in the dark/fog, feeling good after a fun evening dirt commute and seeing stuff youd never thought possible.

    I guess my biggest gripe about commuting is this sense of anxiety-fear of not really knowing what people are capable of. I read about commuters here in oakland being bike jacked, having the **** beat out of them and being robbed, and victims of hit and run where theyre left for dead. I just cant stop thinking about when my time might or might not come up....you know?

    This has lead to thoughts of moving to more suburban community a bit more on the fringe where i can still bike commute, but a little further, and with dirt options, but also be within riding distance of a trailhead.
  • 11-08-2011

    Originally Posted by clarence View Post
    I'm tired of coworkers... complaints about cyclists they've seen breaking traffic laws. When I counter with what I've seen motorists do these same people ask the make and model car and try to argue that because they drive a different buble SUV that there is no comparison. I've since informed my coworkers that the only logical conclusion I can make of their rants is that cyclists are only visible to them when they are breaking laws and in order to maintain my safety and be visible I thus am forced to break laws.

    Seems a logical conclusion. If they'd pulled the make and model response on me, I'd ask whether the bike was FS, HT, Mountain bike, Road Bike, Hybrid, color, racks? etc, etc. Turnabout is fair play, after all! Drivers here break about every rule, so my response would be" And your point is...?" :D

    Nice little ride and the lights were needed today. Tomorrow's picture ride may be pretty damp.