Non-typical Advice for commuting- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Non-typical Advice for commuting

    Many people come to commuting the forums for the basics which are now well published....what about the uncommon/detailed pieces of advice that work for you....here is the best, simple, non standard advices, I have.

    1) Cold winter mornings. My house is kept fairly cool during night, so when plodding around in the morning, my feet naturally get cold. The shower is normally the last thing before I gear up to commute. I've got in the habit of drying myself well, once out of the shower, such that I can put my wool socks on right away and straight into my slippers. Compare this to walking around barefoot for even a few minutes and I find my feet stay warmer on the commute for at least 10 minutes (not bad for a 40 minute commute, especially when the temperature dips below -10 C/15 F).

    2) Vests. I don't shower at work. So keeping cool in the mornings is essential. If my core is warm, but my extremities cool, my overall temperature regulates better. I wear a vest (with solid long sleeve athletic shirt) until below 0 C (32 F). Arms don't need to stay warm, if your core is warm, your extremities will be warm. However, with a vest, i don't fine my overall core temperature increases as much. It is often difficult on colder mornings to dress down and be cold for that first 10 minutes. I find it easier to be warmer with a vest in the first 10 minutes, but then open and cool down afterwards.

  2. #2
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    Arrange the lower end of the opening in your balaclava just over your bottom lip; when you blow out, some of the heat of your exhalation will keep your face a few degrees warmer.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  3. #3
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    Beating red light in some situation is safer and faster

  4. #4
    The Brutally Handsome
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    always carry a little extra food, like an energy bar. riding home on an empty stomach sucks.

    if you can survive the first 10 minutes wearing the clothes you have on, then you will probably be comfortable the rest of the way. if you are still uncomfortable after that, you need to dress up or down.

  5. #5
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    If you leave your bike outside and hang your helmet on it, start bringing your helmet inside during the cold months. The sweat in the headband doesn't dry and when you put you helmet back on in the morning it can be very cold and clammy. I always forget about this and get a nasty shock every morning.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  6. #6
    Which way? Uphill.
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    Most have to deal with cold-weather commuting, but tis the season...

    Putting hands and feet into already warm gloves and shoes makes for comfort for a longer period of time.

    Feet really cold? Get off and jog with your bike for a few minutes.

    Sure you lose a lot of heat from your head, but you lose nearly as much from you neck, cover it up!

    Your kidneys are the most major organ that is closest to your skin, get a pack that covers your kidneys to help stay a bit warmer.

    Put your water bottle in the cage upside down, the spigot won't freeze up as fast.

    Keep a small light in your desk at work in case you have to work late and ride home in darker than expected conditions.
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    Just keep moving forward.

  7. #7
    Which way? Uphill.
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    Oh yeah, one more...

    Consistently get your weather data from one source. That way, no matter if it's accurate, you learn how to dress according to what that source says it's like outside.

    Also, if you pass by bodies of water, remember to check the humidity levels before you leave. If it's a dry day when you pass by the water the temperature can drop 10-20 degrees due to evaporative cooling.
    Blog

    Just keep spinning. Just keep running. Just keep paddling.
    Just keep moving forward.

  8. #8
    weirdo
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    Don`t leave your lock "keyhole up" in the winter- makes it more likely it will freeze up and you won`t be able to get your key in.
    Recalculating....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Don`t leave your lock "keyhole up" in the winter- makes it more likely it will freeze up and you won`t be able to get your key in.
    +2 and I always have some lock de-icer in my bag as well, I got locked out of my truck in high school and have carried some since...

  10. #10
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    Tailights kept bouncing off the loop on my rackpack, so I looped a heavy rubberband over/around the top and bottom to keep it secure.

  11. #11
    a lazy pedaler
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    Right now I'm stuck at the office for this...

    If you leave your commuting gear/clothes/tights airing outside during part of your day at the office...leave it under a shelter!!!

    (you know you can handle the rain once you are on your way home...but dressing with soaked gear really S***s)

  12. #12
    Spear & Magic Helmet
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    Quote Originally Posted by nepbug
    Your kidneys are the most major organ that is closest to your skin, get a pack that covers your kidneys to help stay a bit warmer.
    Sorry, but while most of your advice is spot on this information about the kidneys being closest to the skin just doesn't ring true. The kidneys are fairly close, but they are not the closest if measured point to point. Lungs and brain are, typically, closer. YMMV depending on body habitus.

  13. #13
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    I see a lot of riders at night that have their rear light attached to the pack and obscured from behind in way or other. I prefer the light on my seatpost.

    Fenders in the winter are a must.

    Learn to track stand, I can make it to and from work without putting a foot down.

    I converted to my roady commuter to SS and love it.

    A tire that does not flat out from road debris is worth millions. It sucks to change flats in the wet, cold darkness.

    Knickers rock for late fall and early spring riding.

    Stop at stop signs and lights, you make us all look like d!cks if you don't.

  14. #14
    weirdo
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    Here`s another- if you use a floor pump at home and carry a mini pump on your bike, be sure to use the mini from time to time. I flatted on the way to work last year and had everything with me that I needed, but the seals in the mini pump had gotten gummy from sitting. I had to disassemble it and spit/drool on the o-rings and the little check valve flapper thing to get my tire up to about half pressure. Since then I started checking the pump out every few months and wipe a little Triflo on the seals while I`m at it.
    Recalculating....

  15. #15
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    Texting pedestrians have a tendency to wander into/across bike lanes.

    Pedestrians seem to be in my experience even less aware of bicyclists than cars.

  16. #16
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmmorath
    Pedestrians seem to be in my experience even less aware of bicyclists than cars.
    I`d go one further and say that pedestrians are the only creatures on this earth less aware than management
    Recalculating....

  17. #17
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    What I love the most about pedestrians are the dirty looks they give you after they've stepped out in front of you and realized you almost plowed into them, which of course is entirely your fault.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  18. #18
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    Best one of those EVER was a few years ago....

    Took the sidewalk to skirt some construction; a black woman was walking the same direction ahead of me. The sidewalk was like 10 feet wide in this block, so I rolled around her -- but in so doing, I rolled over some steel access doors in the pavement, which scared the sh** out of her. She squealed, and called me "Bi+ch" as I rolled by, chuckling.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  19. #19
    nachos rule!
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    i work nights, and there's nothing worse than coming out of work when it's in the teens and having a stubborn lock between me and home. here's what i do:

    thoroughly degrease the entire lock assembly with carburator cleaner. wait a goodly while for all traces of solvent to evaporate, then relube the entire lock assembly with silicone ski binding spray lube. the stuff doesn't gum up even down in the single digit range, which is as low as it ever gets here.

    i also do this to the locks on the doors at home, guess why?

    one last lock related thing i do, which is how i finally got inside my house that particular morning, is to always carry a butane lighter in my pack. if the tumbler is frozen this will work: heat your key with the lighter, stick it in the slot and wait a second for the heat to transfer to the lock, repeat as necessary. i seem to recall it taking about a dozen iterations that morning, but it eventually did the trick.

    another thing that's a year round tip, i always carry a shop towel and handful of those alcohol hand wipe packets that you get when you order a platter of ribs for post tire change clean-up. my commuter bikes get ridden a lot and cleaned seldom, so the tires & rims can get really nasty. nothing worse than putting your gloves back on when your hands are super grimy.
    plus a change, plus c'est la m'me chose - alphonse karr

  20. #20
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Good thread. Good tips. My humble additions:

    - I wear a super thin beanie under my balaclava, because I destroy my hair when I'm trying to put the 'clava on straight. Less time messing with the (yes it's short) hair at work.

    - x2 on breathing into the 'clava to warm your head. I use a really thin 'clava and cover my whole mouth...then breathe in through the nose, out the mouth. It's thin enough to not get iced up, but holds just enough of the breath in to warm the face. I also hate the word 'balaclava'.

    -glasses outside of EVERYTHING (clava, beanie, helmet straps) don't seem to fog up for me. If I put the glasses into the 'clava opening, I get a fog storm. Also, don't exhale while looking down...if I look down to check a chainring or tire and exhale, the glasses fog.

    - Neoprene socks. They're windproof, waterproof, and way easier to get on and off than booties. Only downside is storing wet bike shoes at work when it's sloppy out. Feet stay dry and warm.

    - Softshell jacket. I can't believe the bike clothing companies haven't jumped on the softshell revolution bandwagon. Mine is cut for ice climbing, super long sleeves so it doesn't ride up, and cuffs that seal out wind (or ice chips). Totally windproof, waterproof, best piece of gear I have. They are expensive though.

    - Ice Climbing gloves are awesome too. Windproof, waterproof, made for holding stuff and using your fingers in frigid, wet environmnets.

    - Deer are more unpredictable when you are unpredictable. Brake suddenly and you freak them out. Stay constant and they can predict/avoid you better than you can avoid them. I haven't braked for a deer in years, and I see them in the ditch 3 feet away (about the same time they see me) almost every morning.

    - Hot water in the bottle. I do this only rarely for my 6 mile ride, but it's nice, even when it gets down to luke warm, it's warmer than the air you're breathing.

    - Shorts and leg warmers (instead of tights) under windproof pants in the morning gives you endless options for the warmer ride home.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  21. #21
    I Have Cookies
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    I`d go one further and say that pedestrians are the only creatures on this earth less aware than management
    I'll add to that Runners with Ipods!!!!!Sheesh!!Pay attention people!!
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say. Joshua Stinebrink

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  22. #22
    mtbr member
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    If you want to stop at a bar after work, wait until you get close to home.

  23. #23
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    When making a left turn, don't move to the far left side of the left most lane, take the entire left most lane. Otherwise some a-hole will just squeeze past you and force you onto the center line, possibly making a left turn as well, cutting you off (or worse, left-hooking you). Sometimes, being aggressive is safer than being passive.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  24. #24
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    skip the first 2 weeks of snow, not for fear of the cold, but the drivers who insist on not swapping their summer tires and are sliding all over the place.
    I have to be extra careful now since I'm trailering my son down to the daycare on my way to work...


    around here it seems to take about 2 weeks for people to calm down and drive properly.
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  25. #25
    Wierdo
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    For really, really cold weather commuting, nothing IMHO beats wearing a mitten for keeping the hands warm. I wear a lightweight Dakine Snoboard Mitt over a regular pair of full-finger riding gloves. It's no problem to actuate my 105 shifters and brakes while wearing the mitt. Having all my fingers together inside the mitt keeps everything toasty and warm. It was 9F when I left the house this morning, and when I arrived at work an hour later the hands were still nice and warm.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway
    For really, really cold weather commuting, nothing IMHO beats wearing a mitten for keeping the hands warm. I wear a lightweight Dakine Snoboard Mitt over a regular pair of full-finger riding gloves. It's no problem to actuate my 105 shifters and brakes while wearing the mitt. Having all my fingers together inside the mitt keeps everything toasty and warm. It was 9F when I left the house this morning, and when I arrived at work an hour later the hands were still nice and warm.
    +1. A tip with mittens when it's really cold is put your thumb in the finger compartment and make a fist inside the mitten. Of course this only works if you are on a stretch that doesn't require braking or shifting. This can be done with gloves too.

    Paul

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by byknuts
    I have to be extra careful now since I'm trailering my son down to the daycare on my way to work...

    Hey byknuts:

    What do you do with the trailer after the drop off? Do you drag the empty or lock it off at Daycare?

    Thanks, in advance, for the advice.

    Stosh
    If you happen to see my lungs back there, tell them I've gone on ahead.

  28. #28
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    daycare lets me leave it there (indoors even)
    bit bigger than a stroller but really if they'd let you leave a stroller, it'd be hard to argue that you can't leave a trailer.
    i yank the attachment bar off mine so it's as out of the way as possible, they haven't asked me to fold it down yet but I would if need be.

    If your daycare says it's too big to leave, fold it down and show them how flat it can get, might make the difference in their eyes (hopefully!)

    Not a prob hauling it to work either as I've done before when the daycare was a bit more tentative about it, but it means you have to get creative with your locks as most trailers aren't designed to be locked up, and it's hard to find lock-compatible holes that aren't involving a part of the trailer that's removeable!

    Looked at the i-bert as an alternative, but my guy's not 1 yet so no head support's a bit of an issue, he tends to fall asleep a lot in the trailer which is nicer for him.

    Cheers!
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  29. #29
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    Things I've learned since Nov.

    A MTB helmet with a visor is nice for cutting glare from oncoming headlights on dark roads at night; just look down enough for the visor to block the headlights until they pass. The quick size adjuster thingy on the back of my Giro helmet is also excellent for mounting a blinky & makes it easy to adjust for thinner/thicker hats/headbands.

    OK, sounds silly, but a GPS with a backlight is a nice companion home on a dark night. The light stays on the whole time, and mine also beeps every mile for extra positive feedback on your progress thru the cold. The clock on it also helps me judge if I'm gonna have to speed up to catch the bus. Also tracks mileage by day, week, etc., as long as u remember to press stop before you load the bike on the bus! Just take it with you at your destination to prevent theft..

    Lazy tip; when I want to bring my lock home to run errands on the way, but my pack feels too heavy after shopping, I leave the lock locked around a streetsign at the bottom of the hill & save hauling a couple pounds up the long hill to my house, where I don't need the lock. I pick up the lock on the way back thru on the next commute.

  30. #30
    One Colorful Rider
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    If You are warm the first fifteen minutes into your commute...your dressed to warm.
    Keep your core warm. I the big thing is I will be cold the first fifteen minutes, but after that I warm up. Then after a forty minutes I start opening vents on my jacket. My nightly winter commute home hour and a half

  31. #31
    Ariolimax columbianus
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    plastic clothing, jerseys, accesories stink. wool can be worn multiple days stink free. learn the bus routes too.

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