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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    311

    Do you fit your bike for commuting?

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    When this year started, work commitments meant that I couldn't train to be competitive any more. My trusty Cannondale roadie has become a commute bike for me.

    The problem is, now that I'm riding what was my race bike with a backpack that usually contains an iPad, a change of clothes, lunch and stationery (stationary? can never remember how to spell it), my back problems have returned. The right side of my shoulder and neck get kind of numb after about 5 km of riding. My commute is a nice 18 to 20km depending on which way I go.

    I'm now wondering if I should take my bike, backpack and all to the shop for another bike fit. My bike was fitted to ride in races and for training, where I'm not carrying anything. I figure that with a backpack thrown in, there's definitely some postural changes somewhere. Should I be going to the shop to get my bike fit for commuting? Does anyone do that??
    "My school is the doubt in your eyes." - Tito Mukhopadhyay

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    I'd say yes (although you may find you need some pretty extensive changes to get into a more upright riding position) - numbness is NOT good. But first try to get as much of the weight as you can off your back.

    Try a messenger bag carried on your hip rather than a high-sitting backpack. A handlebar bag could carry some of your load. A seatpost-mounted rack could carry some, as well. (Provided your handlebars, stem and seatpost are alloy - if they're carbon you probably don't want to hang anything off them, but if you're thinking about replacing them for fit reasons anyway, there you are.)
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172
    Get rid of the back pack.

    The other year, at a Bike to Work Day event, I saw a woman on a Cannondale road bike with this Axiom rack on her bike. It's specifically designed for road bikes.

    If you have back issues, you really should consider getting that bag off your back. No amount of tweaking of a road bike (especially if you compete on it) will give you the position you'd need for carrying a back pack pain free.

    My $0.02.
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
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    2008 Cervelo P2C - Adamo Prologue Saddle

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
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    5,645
    Quote Originally Posted by 7rider View Post
    Get rid of the back pack.



    .
    I agree.

    If your bike won't take a rack, consider getting one that will. I don't know where you live, but likely fenders would be good too.
    You're working extra hours so you can afford good panniers.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    Is there any way you can keep some of this stuff at work? I do wear a backpack but it's a minuscule one holding only wallet, cellphone and keys, and I can barely feel it's there, sitting between my shoulderblades. I stow several changes of clothing at work, shop on the way and put lunch in the fridge there etc. I don't like riding with a rack and panniers because I don't like the way my bike feels with it on, but I can get away with carrying very very little.

    If you have to ride with stuff I'd go for the pannier solution, and just tweak the bike enough to make sure you can handle keeping an eye on commuter traffic without getting back pain.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    My arm and shoulder numbness went away when I got my fit adjusted so that I wasn't putting so much weight on my wrists. The backpack might be contributing to that, or maybe it is a fit issue. The solutions for me were to be able to sit more upright, with my arms a little closer together, and my hands closer to me, ie Woman Specific Design mainly. I took it further though and also got a higher stem and a handlebar that could be tilted up a bit so that it is even closer to me.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    311
    The Axiom rack looks good. I was wondering if there's a rack on the market that will allow me to take it on or off depending on when there's a race coming. The current load of things are my bare minimum. Some days, I'll leave the iPad and just carry a thumb drive but if I'm trying to finish off some studying, it has to travel with me. Getting a third bike for commuting won't be an option, I'm paying to go back to school a second time. Plus, I think my mother might be driven to (almost justifiable) homicide if I got yet another bike...
    "My school is the doubt in your eyes." - Tito Mukhopadhyay

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Little Egypt
    Posts
    1,886
    I have a seatpost rack and bag I would be willing to sell to you at a very reasonable price. It clamps right to the seatpost and you can take it on and off very quickly. But, like Oak said, you can't use it with a carbon seat post. You could always swap your carbon seat post out for aluminum when you are commuting if that's an issue. I bought this used on the forum for a bike trip I took last year and it's just sitting in my garage gathering dust.

    I tried the backpack when I started commuting and quickly gave it up and started looking for better options. Besides being hard on your back, it's hot when you are riding in the summer.

    The rack is similar to this and has a trunk bag like this that slides on and off.
    __________________
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    206
    Quote Originally Posted by alexis_the_tiny View Post
    The Axiom rack looks good. I was wondering if there's a rack on the market that will allow me to take it on or off depending on when there's a race coming.
    Uninstalling and then reinstalling a rack isn't a big deal. All you need is a screwdriver or metric Allen wrench of the right size (you probably have one already) and some blue threadlock. It's easier than fixing a flat.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    It looks like that one might be a bigger deal than the stay-mounted ones though, since you'd have to re-align your brake caliper every time. I like the looks of it though.

    This might be the year I strip down my old race frame and build it back up as my hill-country commuter. I'm pretty sure I know a frame shop that can cold-set the dropouts and I think I've found a mechanic I trust to do the build. It's way more energy than I'd have to do it myself. But that rack might go on it...
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    311
    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Chick View Post
    I have a seatpost rack and bag I would be willing to sell to you at a very reasonable price. It clamps right to the seatpost and you can take it on and off very quickly. But, like Oak said, you can't use it with a carbon seat post. You could always swap your carbon seat post out for aluminum when you are commuting if that's an issue. I bought this used on the forum for a bike trip I took last year and it's just sitting in my garage gathering dust.

    I tried the backpack when I started commuting and quickly gave it up and started looking for better options. Besides being hard on your back, it's hot when you are riding in the summer.

    The rack is similar to this and has a trunk bag like this that slides on and off.
    That looks like a great rack. I have a carbon seat post but I can always use another one for commuting anyway, especially since my race saddle isn't very fun for commuting speeds either.

    Oakleaf, I love the look of the Axiom rack and a friend of mine has it and says it's wonderful to use. We just can't figure out where to buy it. Plus, I don't really need two panniers. I only intend to tote around enough stuff for one bag, tops.

    I might decide to wait until I head over to New York City in summer to pick up a bike rack. The ones I like don't seem to be available locally...
    "My school is the doubt in your eyes." - Tito Mukhopadhyay

 

 

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