First bike commute today- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 27 of 27
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: A girl from Seattle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    371

    First bike commute today

    Well OK, not my first bike commute EVER, but my first one in a very long time, first time doing this route, and hopefully the first of many. I decided to give it a try and it was really fun to ride in this morning and arrive at work all refreshed and invigorated!

    The hardest part was getting up early and getting on the bike in the cold rain knowing I could just drive. The first couple miles were kind of miserable but once I got going it was OK. My commute is complicated by the fact that I have to take the bus to get across the I-520 bridge from Seattle to Bellevue, since there's no bike lane. I guess that's one of the reasons I've been resisting bike commuting all this time, I hate the bus, but it was no big deal, made me wonder why I've waited so long. So I ride 5.5 miles, grab a bus across the bridge, then ride 3.5 miles in to work for a nice 18 mile round trip. The alternate route is to go down to I-90 and thereby avoid the bus ride, but that would be 18 miles each way and I'm not ready for that yet.

    I have a good road bike, nice lights, messenger bag, etc so am all good there, but I was freezing cold all day at work so I think I need to order some long underwear or something to layer underneath. I read another thread on this forum where someone raved about Merino wool undershirts, so I think I'll order one of those as they sound super soft and comfy. My big challenges are just rain, wet leaves everywhere, and always fighting traffic since this is a very urban commute. Sooo jealous of you guys who get to ride in past beautiful scenery.

    Anyway, no real point here, I'm just excited and wanted to share! I'd been kind of mentally working up to this for a long time, so it felt great to finally quit making excuses and do it. I feel like a better person!
    "Careful. We don't want to learn from this." -- Calvin & Hobbes

  2. #2
    No-Brakes Cougar
    Reputation: Gary the No-Trash Cougar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,143
    Congratulations! Hang in there, urban commuting can be hairy at times but as you can already see the benefits outweigh the danger if you know how to handle it. If you keep at it, I'm sure you'll be ready to tackle the longer route sooner than you think. Good luck!
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  3. #3
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6,223
    Good job, Seattle! Yeah, that bit about having to load up on a bus and jump back off again sounds like a bummer. The rain, too- reminds me how good I have it here in my rural desert
    Recalculating....

  4. #4
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,419
    I'm in Eugene, Oregon, so we will have some commuting similarities. What are you wearing (on your commute)? Can you shower at work? Are you wearing waterproof layers, or....?

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    82
    [QUOTE=umarth]I'm in Eugene, Oregon, so we will have some commuting similarities. What are you wearing (on your commute)? Can you shower at work? Are you wearing waterproof layers, or....?[/QU

    Do you always ask girls if they can shower at work on their first post?

  6. #6
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,419
    [QUOTE=njcoppola]
    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I'm in Eugene, Oregon, so we will have some commuting similarities. What are you wearing (on your commute)? Can you shower at work? Are you wearing waterproof layers, or....?[/QU

    Do you always ask girls if they can shower at work on their first post?
    Nope, just canvassing for information. Are you always an assuming prick when posting useless things?

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: A girl from Seattle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    371
    Ha ha.

    Thanks for the encouragement everyone.

    Umarth, I'm only wearing a thin long-sleeved polyester/lycra undershirt with a T-shirt over it, and army surplus cargo pants cut off below the knee. Doesn't sound like a lot, but (except for the first 10 minutes) I'm perfectly comfortable while riding. It's just afterward that I start to feel cold, and that lasts for hours. It's annoying because I obviously need to add some layers but then I get all hot during my ride. I'll just start with another shirt and see how it goes. I can shower at work but since my bike commute already adds 45 minutes to my commute, I am inclined to skip the whole showering process and just get to work so I can leave sooner.

    Taking today off, too much road biking/mt biking/skiing in the last 5 days, but I plan to ride in again tomorrow. Forecast calls for rain all week, yay.
    "Careful. We don't want to learn from this." -- Calvin & Hobbes

  8. #8
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,419
    Ok, I think you get the chills because you get damp and the body has a hard time recovering. When it gets rainy I move towards waterproof everything. It is a bit sweatier because ventilation goes down the tubes.

    If being cold persists, I guess you'll have to shower. I shower every time, but that is because after 10 in, I tend to smell like ass.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    941
    I get chilled after my commute too. I can be comfortable on my 15 mile ride in 25 degree weather, as soon as I get changed and sit down at my desk, I get chilled, I found eating good food and layering at work helps, I have a wool sweater that I wear and it helps me warm up.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    82
    [QUOTE=umarth]
    Quote Originally Posted by njcoppola

    Nope, just canvassing for information. Are you always an assuming prick when posting useless things?

    Damn bro, take a pill. Even better, go for a ride.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: sanjuro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    2,005
    Quote Originally Posted by A girl from Seattle
    Ha ha.

    Thanks for the encouragement everyone.

    Umarth, I'm only wearing a thin long-sleeved polyester/lycra undershirt with a T-shirt over it, and army surplus cargo pants cut off below the knee. Doesn't sound like a lot, but (except for the first 10 minutes) I'm perfectly comfortable while riding. It's just afterward that I start to feel cold, and that lasts for hours. It's annoying because I obviously need to add some layers but then I get all hot during my ride. I'll just start with another shirt and see how it goes. I can shower at work but since my bike commute already adds 45 minutes to my commute, I am inclined to skip the whole showering process and just get to work so I can leave sooner.

    Taking today off, too much road biking/mt biking/skiing in the last 5 days, but I plan to ride in again tomorrow. Forecast calls for rain all week, yay.
    Wear a windproof jacket.

    When you are biking, you're like a furnace. Stopping the wind prevents your sweat from condensing, keeping you warmer.

    Cycling specific jackets and vests are very useful because the backs are vented, so you can still vent out the sweat while protecting you from the headwind.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: A girl from Seattle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    371
    OK, I think you guys are right, I should buy a good breathable waterproof jacket. I love how they all cost a million dollars though. But I guess I can take all my saved gas money and apply it to that. Thanks for the tips.
    "Careful. We don't want to learn from this." -- Calvin & Hobbes

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    Quote Originally Posted by A girl from Seattle
    I'm only wearing a thin long-sleeved polyester/lycra undershirt with a T-shirt over it, and army surplus cargo pants cut off below the knee. Doesn't sound like a lot, but (except for the first 10 minutes) I'm perfectly comfortable while riding. It's just afterward that I start to feel cold, and that lasts for hours. It's annoying because I obviously need to add some layers but then I get all hot during my ride. I'll just start with another shirt and see how it goes. I can shower at work but since my bike commute already adds 45 minutes to my commute, I am inclined to skip the whole showering process and just get to work so I can leave sooner.
    I just wrote a long post about what I wear, but who cares...

    Most people have a temperature fluctuation like you describe when they stop exercising. It doesn't sound like you really need to add anything to what you wear during your ride - if you're comfortable, that's the best indicator. It might help to wear tights instead of GI pants, since they can hold a lot of water when the weather's nasty and that can contribute to the chill your feeling when you stop. The T-shirt probably doesn't help, but since it's over something technical, it probably doesn't matter too much. Is it a polyester or a lycra under shirt? Lycra can hold water; polyester's better about drying.

    The biggest change I'd make, though, would be to take an extra layer with you to put on on the bus and when you get to work. When your muscles stop generating heat, you want to make sure you don't cool off too fast. Have a snack too - it never hurts to throw a few more calories in the hopper. I also always have extra socks and sometimes kept a different pair of shoes at my job when I had a regular one. Wet hands, neck, chest, back or feet can drain heat pretty fast.

    If you want to save money on this stuff, try on some running gear. It's very similar but frequently a lot cheaper.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,419
    [QUOTE=njcoppola]
    Quote Originally Posted by umarth


    Damn bro, take a pill. Even better, go for a ride.
    You get back in your car.

  15. #15
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,419
    Quote Originally Posted by A girl from Seattle
    OK, I think you guys are right, I should buy a good breathable waterproof jacket. I love how they all cost a million dollars though. But I guess I can take all my saved gas money and apply it to that. Thanks for the tips.
    I picked up an REI Taku(?) jacket a while back off their outlet for really cheap. Like this jacket: http://www.rei.com/outlet/product/781387

    It is waterproof, "breathable" and on the plus size looks really cool.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: grandsalmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,020
    Home town area rider! I commute from Lynnwood to Central District and alternate Sammamish River trail with Burke Gilman routes w still plenty of street dodging, but thank god for those trails. Congrats getting on the commute wagon, especially this time of year!

    Lots of great right-on advice given above.
    I do agree: a nice med to light Merino wool layer next to the skin. And again, and soon as you reach destination, wash wipe dry and put something very warm on.

  17. #17
    Belltown Brazer
    Reputation: MDEnvEngr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    693

    Ibex

    The wool rules! It's spendy, but great stuff. Doesn't stink like polypro.

  18. #18
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    A friend of mine who's into the urban/alternative cycling thing lost his job a few months ago. He's been picking up wool pants at thrift stores and cutting them to a more appropriate length. So that's a way to make it cost less. Not sure if there's a way to lower the cost on wool base layer shirts, though.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  19. #19
    rob
    rob is offline
    slakDawg
    Reputation: rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    469
    Keep an eye out on http://steepandcheap.com. Quality wool items and jackets pop up all the time at deep discounts. I've slowly started replacing all of my poly/lycra with wool, even for summer time. Different weights for different layers. My Swobo wool knickers are great this time of year.

  20. #20
    Church of the Wheel
    Reputation: mtb143's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    749
    Seattle Girl, it sounds like you're doing okay for the ride in, but you're getting chilled after you arrive and do the work thing, yes? I'd suggest bringing with, or stashing at work, some nice warm, dry stuff to change into once you get there. That should help. Being dry makes a huge difference, especially once you stop moving. And have a hot chocolate while you're at it
    "I thought you'd never love me without my Mojo." -Austin Powers

  21. #21
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    Quote Originally Posted by rob
    Keep an eye out on http://steepandcheap.com
    backcountry.com seems to have been pretty successful with the steepandcheap formula - they've added a bunch of similar, but themed, sites. http://gearattack.com/ tracks all of them at once.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: grandsalmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,020
    Last, but hopefully not least...

    I forgot I had posted a thread on the "Where's The Best Deals" forum a few days ago to alert women on Swobo's merino wool jerseys- $31.49, a legendary style jersey of theirs which usually goes for over a hundred bucks; all sizes, colors...

    httphttp://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=574250://

    It is around a 260wt merino, very functional, well executed. Lifetime Guarantee thru BC

    My Gfriend uses wool extensively. In the past she also has suffered from getting "too cold", and taking hours post ride to warm the body up. Posters above have mentioned backcountry.com/outlet and Steep & Cheap (one of BC's one deal at a time sites). Lately the site has been regularly posting BC's Stoic brand of merino- men's and women's @ $39.95. One is just a crew neck but the other has a nice long zip and good neck coverage, 17.5 micron weave which is as fine as it gets. My GF has also snagged some nice waterproof bike jackets w pitzips in REI's outlet, again as others have already suggested checking out- it is crazy what people return- minus just being the wrong size.

    It is raining now, but she will momentarily be off on the twice weekly night ride out of Redmond- tough nut but wearing wool!
    Last edited by grandsalmon; 11-25-2009 at 06:42 PM.

  23. #23
    Birthday Collector
    Reputation: ATBScott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,604
    mtb143 has good advice... I have a buddy who commutes 24 miles each way 3 x a week in NorCal. On the two days that he drives (one of them he has to have his vehicle there, the other non-work related) he shuttles changes of clothes. He gets in 10 - 15 min before he "needs" to, quick towel off and then changes into fresh clothes. You might consider one day a week driving in, at least during the winter months, for the same purposes. Also, it keeps your battery from going to sh!t in your car! Been a long while since I could commute on my bike (outside sales). Wish I could again.
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
    Disclaimer: I sell and repair bikes for a living


  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Central Scrutinizer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    194
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    A friend of mine who's into the urban/alternative cycling thing lost his job a few months ago. He's been picking up wool pants at thrift stores and cutting them to a more appropriate length. So that's a way to make it cost less. Not sure if there's a way to lower the cost on wool base layer shirts, though.
    Look for 100% merino wool sweaters in the thrift stores - they're out there, and work great. No back pockets, but for the price I can live with that. Or if you're handy, buy two and cut one up to sew on your own patch pockets.

    Sometimes I'll even get a discount (off of the normal $5 or so) because a button's broken, or there's a small hole in them.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation: A girl from Seattle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    371
    Hey thanks for all the awesome tips/discussion. I got myself one of these merino wool shirts from the REI outlet:

    http://www.rei.com/outlet/product/792532

    And I love it! It totally keeps me warm, even if it's raining, and it breathes well and has basically solved my whole problem! I'm going to order another one. I never want to take it off again, it's the most comfortable piece of clothing I own.

    Gonna try to keep the commute thing going next week! Thanks yall.
    "Careful. We don't want to learn from this." -- Calvin & Hobbes

  26. #26
    I got nothin'
    Reputation: hydrogeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    739
    I commute everyday down in Portland. I second the windproof jacket. I bought a Gore jacket a few years back and it works great. When it really rains hard I wear a cheap performance rain jacket and pants. It keeps me warm but I sweat and get wet on the inside.

    When it's not raining I just wear a long sleeve jersey over a dry type shirt and lycra tights. Oh, and I have bought about a dozen different gloves over the years. My favorite are a pair that I bought at Performance (Socorro?) for cold days and Seal Skins over silk gloves when its wet. When its really cold I use lobster mits over wool gloves. The layer thing works for me.

    I do the pannier thing and carry clothes with me to/from work with some basic tools. I have a dedicated pair of shoes at the office and always have dry clothes to change into after a warm shower. I have a hot cup of tea and some instant oatmeal to help warm up.
    I ride at ludicrous speed

  27. #27
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6,223
    It rained a lot on us last month. But that was on my day off, so i just didn`t ride .
    Recalculating....

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.