I just started commuting to / from work...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    I just started commuting to / from work...

    Hey all. I just started commuting to / from work and it is crazy!! I feel like I'm constantly looking around to make sure I'm not about to make a serious life-threatening mistake. Cars, trucks, school buses, other bikers, people in crosswalks, cars pulling our of parking spots, car doors being opened, little or no shoulders (not me, the road)...can be scary stuff. I must say, I feel so much "safer" on the trails. Granted the trails can be dangerous too, but not like this. I'm actually on-edge riding on the street. On the trails, I feel more "laid-back" and "free". I'm actually able to think and contemplate things while trail riding. On the street, I'm in survival mode.

    Anyway, what are your thoughts on this.

  2. #2
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    I started commuting about 4 months ago, and although I've gotten a little more comfortable riding in traffic, I'm still generally paranoid. I feel it's probably a good thing to be extra cautious considering the idiots that are somehow granted driver's licenses around here. I'm definitely less stressed now than I was initially, but my paranoia hasn't diminished... yet.

  3. #3
    No-Brakes Cougar
    Reputation: Gary the No-Trash Cougar's Avatar
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    This is something we all experience when we first start commuting in heavy city traffic. It is very much like when you first began driving a car. It seems almost overwhelming, but you will eventually get used to it. Think of when you first began mountain biking, it was probably similar. You go slow and are extra cautious, ride the brakes down an incline until you become more comfortable with the trail and it becomes second nature to you.

    Hang in there, you'll get used to it! To your credit, at least you are paying attention and not being completely oblivious on the road like many first-timers. Come back any time for questions and advice!
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  4. #4

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    You guys, I live in LA and riding a bicycle in the streets scares the crap out of me. I do a lot of heavy commuting on bike, and I guess it's cool. LOL

    I mean, I feel like I'm gaining lots of stamina and doing little mini cardio things while I'm on my way to wherever I'm going. But the one thing that bugs me is whenever I arrive at my destination I'll always be the sweaty guy. Not too pleasant.

  5. #5
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
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    Being the Sweaty Guy sucks. Extra t-shirts help that.

    Finding the right streets and then memorizing traffic patterns will help you know where to look, so you can spend more time looking for crazies.

  6. #6
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    How long have you been riding on the roadf in general? You will get used to traffic and eventually may even start to like riding in slowing moving traffic where you can pace or go faster than cars from light to light.

    Try out different routes as you may find you like one particular way better for a variety of reasons. Eventually you will know every pothole, where you can speed though lights and so on.

  7. #7
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Route mapping is one of the most important items in your urban riding skill set. It's not always possible to do so, but consider picking routes with less traffic and/or wider lanes as others have mentioned already. It may take you longer to get to where you're going, but it will be less stressful and safer.

    As far as sweating goes, it is inevitable. As soon as you raise your heart rate, you're going to start sweating. See this thread for advice on how to clean up once you arrive at work.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  8. #8
    Bedwards Of The West
    Reputation: CommuterBoy's Avatar
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    I commuted in LA county for a couple of years. It can be sketchy. Reminds me of a quote by Amy Webster: "The sound of a car door opening in front of you is similar to the sound of a gun being cocked." The biggest piece of advice for that type of riding (In my opinion) is to act like a car... Take up lots of space, irritate people, and claim your space. A Lot of people crash in the city because they are being too timid and are trying to stay out of everyone's way. You have every right to be there. If they're mad at you, at least they see you.


    I solved the problem by moving to the sticks. I see more deer on my commute than people now.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  9. #9
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    As you spend more time riding you'll get more comfortable. Even following a haitus or after a move I get car anxioty. Now I'm in Simi Valley, and they have great bike lanes, but CA people are nutty drivers. It's all about becomming familiar with the traffic patterns and being alert. In no time, you'll feel like you own the road. Oh, and , if you don't already have one, a good mirror helps calm the nerves.

  10. #10

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    I have been commuting for a month or so now. My last time to bike commute was many years ago, but I already enjoy riding in slow moving traffic. I always take my space and believe strongly in beeing seen and seeing what lies ahead. I ride ten miles each way with the to work ride a same route time trial and the return trip is almost the same with hill repeats and extra distance to add spice.

  11. #11
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Hang in there, man. Depending on where you are, it probably IS less safe than riding the trails, but you do get used to it to a degree and there`s a lot you can do to improve your odds. I highly recomend Ken Kifer`s website for some awesome tips on saftey as well as everything else related to biking for transportation. It ought to be a sticky here, IMO.
    http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/commute/index.htm

  12. #12
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    I just started commuting by bike today. I wish I started sooner. I have been running along the Highways here in AL for a long time now so the cars and 18 wheelers ripping by at 70 MPH don't really bother me. I am more alert on the bike though since I am moving much faster than when I am running.

  13. #13
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Good job, A.S. It sounds like you had a nice experience for you first ride in- hope it continues to be nice.

  14. #14
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    Its been some years since I have been on a bike. But its like they say. You never forget. Today was much easier since I have made a few tiny adjustments to my new bike. On another note, I think its funny how people think I am crazy for riding my bike to work. I think they are crazy for spending all that extra money on gas. It takes me 15 minutes to drive to work and 30 to ride. I think its a great trade-off.

  15. #15
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    As far as I`m concerned, the best thing about riding to work and back is that knowing I`m going to pedal is a good motivation to get my butt out the door at home and the ride from work is a great way to wind down after shift. It might be different if traffic were involved- I only have to deal with that when I head out to the supermarket or into town.

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