Night shift commuting?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    NormalNorm
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    Night shift commuting?

    Anyone do night shift commuting. Its pretty much winter here, and i'm i little worried about ice, mechnical probs., bad drivers etc. But the biggest thing i'm worried about is being dead tired after a night shift.

    Anyone else commute on night shift?and how do you find riding home after your shift ends.

  2. #2
    nachos rule!
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    yep, been doing it for 15 years.

    riding home in the morning (after a 12 hour shift) is invariably refreshing. there's maybe a day or two a year where i'm so dead tired that riding is a bit of a chore, but even then it's better than being caged up.

    as far as drivers go, i've noticed that folks are invariable nicer in the winter. i'm guessing it's either out of pity "look at that poor guy on a bike", not realizing i'm doing it by choice and loving it, or else fear "oh my god, he must be psycho crazy".

    changing flats when it's in the teens or colder pretty much sucks ass (especially if it's also snowing), so i run mondo heavy tires (specialized nimbus kevlar 700x35) to minimize the possibility.

    never had an issue with mech problems, but i still carry tools (including chain tool) with me just in case. also carry a shop rag and some of those hand wipes like bbq joints hand out after you've noshed a plate of ribs, it's amazing how filthy your hands can get changing a tire on a bike that gets ridden a lot and seldom washed. nothing worse than shoving your filthy hands back inside a nice pair of winter gloves, and it's not like you can just finish the trip bare handed.

    all in all, highly recommended.

    best of luck, eric
    plus a change, plus c'est la m'me chose - alphonse karr

  3. #3
    OCO
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    Every now and then I have to work a late shift and so I end up riding my bike home at 2 or 3 in the morning.

    The only advice I can give you is make sure that your wife leaves the porch light on for you when you get home. Last year I was riding into my yard and slammed right into a bush in my front yard because I shut my light off (thinking I knew my own yard).

    Other than that, night riding is kind of fun and there are a lot less drivers to have to worry about.
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  4. #4
    Built4Speed
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    I used to commute 40 miles round trip while working the graveshift 12:00am to 8:00am.That started in 1997 and ended in 2003. Riding at night and riding back home in the morning wasn't bad,even when it was raining. I was always awake from the fresh air but I have to add that it's hard to get any real sleep during the day.I always woke up at noon.
    It hardly snows down here.I didn't care much for riding in the rain when it was real cold.
    Working at night meant I had to alter my eating habits or I'll have stomach problems in the middle or near the end of the ride.I carried toilet paper for camping in case the gas stations along the way didn't carry TP. That sucked.
    The police here tend to pull riders over at night. I was pulled over for not having a tail light and that was because it was a clip-on and it fell off along the way. It's usually the home-less who were pulled over.
    I drive to work now and I don't miss riding at night. Good luck.
    "Faster and faster until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death."

  5. #5
    bicycleonthebrain
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    i work the grave yard shift (10:30p.m. to 7:00a.m.) and it's a 32-mile round trip threw the ghetto. Some times i pedal sometimes i drive. if i ride to work everyday, that ends up being my ride for the day so i mix it up a bit so when i drive home i have a few hours to go get a ride in. lately on my days off i usually start my rides around 2-3 in the morning since those are the hours i'm used too . Only problem is that i have become very anti-social. and ride alone alot now a days . I can't wait to get off this shift.i've been doing it for over 5-years now

  6. #6
    Derailleurless
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    I started working 3rd shift one year ago. I began a bicycle commute that involved train & bus in, but a nice 12 mile ride home in the morning.

    We don't have a convenient shower at work, and the end of the commute is through a not-so-good part of town on a high traffic boulevard, not so many options, so the train & bus going in worked well.

    Even dead tired, the pedal home woke me up and made the rest of my day liveable (I stay awake until about 2 PM, sleep in the afternoon).

    The problem I ran into was I eventually got booted from the bus by one of the rule-book toting drivers. I need to work with the bus company on that.
    speedub.nate
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  7. #7
    Red Rider
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    I may be a little late in posting since I see 12/19/07 as the last posting date but I will still share my experience. Maybe it can be helpful to someone.

    I live in Atlanta and work an evening shift (5:00 PM to 1:30 AM). The first time I rode to work was about 6 years ago when I lived futher away. I can't remember how far away I was from the job at the time but I do remember that it took me about 2 hours to get home in the morning. I used to ride a 1996 Giant Sedona back then and it was too big for me so the commute wasn't all that pleasant. It had 2.35 knobbies on it too which made things slower and it was an 8 speed. Did that for about 2 weeks because I had some car trouble and buses and trains stop running in the metro Atlanta area around 1:30 AM.

    Two years ago, I moved downtown and I live 6 miles away from the job. I rode my Giant Sedona from July of 2005 to April of 2006, once again, due to car trouble. Before I learned the best route, it would take about 45 - 50 minutes. After learning the neighborhood, it took me about 30 - 35 minutes. Last year, I purchased a Cannondale Bad Boy at a scratch and dent sale. It's the entry level model equipped with 700cc wheels and rim brakes. It has Maxxis 700x23 Detonator tires on it which roll fast and smooth. The bike is the right size and I have learned a lot about having my bike properly adjusted for travel. Last week, my quickest time ever to the job was 18:58 minutes but I average about a 20 to 23 minute commute.

    Now I'll get to some of your questions.

    Dress warm but don't overdress. I work on a shipping dock so I commute with the same clothes I work in. I prefer thin layering in opposed to bulky or padded up jackets. I layer thin because if it starts raining, I could put my rain jacket on over my layers. I usually layer like this, 1 tank top, 1 short-sleeve t-shirt over that, a turtle neck shirt over that, another long sleeve breathable t-shirt over that and then a light weight fleece pullover if the temp is in the 30s. If the temp is in the 40s, I just add 1 long-sleeved t-shirt to what I wear.
    I ride in wearing cheap biker shorts under fleece cycling pants. Then I put my jeans on over that after I get to work. I ride home with the jeans on at the end of the day but take them off if the temp is in the 40s. I used to use the booties that cover my whole shoe but now I just use the toe covers and they work fine for me. I wear a headwarmer under my helmet. I use the lobster style gloves and clear sunglasses. It doesn't get too cold here in Atlanta and rarely snows so that works for me but you may require more for your conditions. Packing a poncho or rain jacket would be wise. Keep a least one change of clothes with you if you travel in rainy conditions.

    Try to eat something about 30 minutes before you leave (something carbish). Don't forget to bring water or an energy drink. It doesn't have to be cold because it will get cold after about 20 minutes (or faster) into the ride if you use the bottle cages.

    I always have enough energy left at the end of the day to ride home. The cool night air tends to keep you up and alert. I do admit than sometimes after working 2 or 4 hours of overtime, I don't get home as fast. One option I have here in Atlanta is to ride the bus for some of the trip. Most of the buses have bike racks mounted on the front of the bus that hold two bikes. If you have buses like that in your city, you could ride up to a certain point and then catch the bus the rest of the way. I've done it a few times after working a few doubles back to back or after really heavy rainfall. Just try to sit up front where you can see your bike at all times so that a slickster doesn't try to snatch it (never had a problem or an incident with that thus far).

    You didn't mention where you lived but I assume its further north than Georgia since you spoke of ice. Don't know what you ride but if you experience a lot of bad weather and roads, I would ride either a MTB with some inexpensive XC tires or some cross tires if I rode a bike with 700cc wheels. You probably should invest in some fenders and a good set of rechargeable lights. A dual beam setup is ideal so you can turn on both lights for darker areas along your commute and reserve power using one beam in the better lit areas. Get a red flasher for your rear. These are usually pretty cheap. A reflective vest is a good idea.

    If you keep your bike tuned, it should be reliable in your night commute. Unlike supercorsa, I have never had a nighttime mechanical. I have had a flat or two on the way in, one on a really cold and windy day which was no fun. I always carry a multi tool, a spare tube, and air cylinders to make the change quick. You can keep the flatted tube and patch it later when you have time. It's also a good idea to carry something like one of those coal miner type headlights that you can strap on your head so you can keep your hands free while you're making the emergency repair. I carry a Petzl e+Lite with me and it's light and compact (a little smaller than a pack of cigarettes).

    If your commute is long, you may want to pack lighter (which is kind of hard when you may have to carry your work items or extra clothes). I have a locker at the job where I leave my work boots. You can also stock things like canned or bottled drinks in your locker or desk and some snacks that won't spoil. Less to carry and liquids tend to be the heaviest part of your lunch. I do sanwiches, burgers, and wraps to make things light. If you eat three course meals, you could put each food item in a separate Ziplock bag and keep a bowl or plate at work to eat your lunch. This way, you save weight and space by not having to bring back the empty dishes.

    Packing. I use an Osprey Atmos 35 knapsack for my commute. It was a bit pricey but it suited my needs. I prefer carrying all my stuff on my back. Not really into panniers or racks (adds weight and makes the bike handle differently). I roll up all my clothing and pack everything in plastic shopping bags. This way if it rains during my commute, my stuff stays dry. I also have the option of putting a bladder in the knapsack if I wanted but my commute is short, so I don't need to.

    As far as bad drivers, I have never really experienced any at night. Once again I agree with supercorsa about people thinking you're crazy so they tend to leave you alone. No one has ever bothered me, cut me off or tried to run me off the road. I have even been flagged down twice and asked directions (probably not to safe to do, but I felt okay about the area I was in). You will appreciate the quiet of the night and having less traffice to deal with. On my nightly commute, I tend to ride more toward the center of the street (don't have many cars travelling the time I ride) because it keeps me from rolling over the trash and debris on the side on the road.

    Sorry about the lengthy response. Just trying to share all my experience. Commuting by bike saves money, saves gas, is good for the enviroment and keeps you fit. Good luck commuting and be safe.
    RIDE OR DIE...

  8. #8
    Double-metric mtb man
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    I'm up in Alberta...don't night shift commute, but all winter any of my riding (commuting to work or just out after work for a spin) is night riding.

    Best advice I can give is ride defensively, have adequate light to see and be seen and stick to a known route....riding at night is not the time to explore a new route.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

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  9. #9
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Do it

    I get off work at 12am and it is the best time to ride. The city is relatively quiet and there are few drivers on the road, which I think is safer because you can track each car. As for flats... if I get one I just start calling people until someone picks me up. I think having good tires and being anal about pumping them up is a good way of avoiding this problem. I've had one flat in the last year (saying this might bite me in the ass). I have a blinky in the front and rear and that's it.

  10. #10
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    I ride Calgary all winter long, and it is dark.

    If you are scared of ice (and you should be cause you will go down hard on a littl patch if you don't see) get studs, the are great.

    At night you just can't see all the patchs of ice, so you have to be able to ride them.

    Make sure you are highly visible.

    Becareful I ride bike paths, during the day it is a great way to avoid traffic and so much safer.

    At night it is still safer wrt traffic, but you can run into wierdo's to.

    Ride quiet, ride fast, leave a large clearance around people, safer all round.

    Go for it, it is a great way to relax, before bed.

  11. #11
    Older than I feel
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    Used to do that maybe 30 years ago. My advice is: carbo-load before your ride home, and make sure you have enough lights on the bike (and/or yourself) to be visible to the drunks on the road.

  12. #12

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    You just have to make sure that you're not very tired after your shift, and also that your area is safe to ride at night.

  13. #13
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    I get off wok at 4:15 in the morning. I only ride once a week because it is a 40 mile ride each way. When I leave work, I go get breakfast and don't get on the road until about 6 or so. The roads once I leave town are far too dangerous to ride at night. The speed limits are between 60 and 70 and there are no shoulders. It is nice to watch the sun come up while I'm riding home, but I am pretty tired by the time I get there.

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