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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fukuoka, Japan
    Posts
    2

    Hello! Introduction from a Noob はじめまして!

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    Hello!
    I'm new to bike riding and new to this forum (although have lurked for some time) and thought that now is the time to introduce finally myself.
    I'm a 26 year old female who learned how to ride a bike for the first time 6 months ago. I moved to Japan for work about two years ago and after seeing how many people use bikes for transportation I thought, "hey, I should get one of those!" So I went to the store and bought a small little fold-able bike (very common in these parts). Only problem was that I had no idea how to ride a bike. Seriously, I could not even go in a straight line for one block. And living in a crowded city did not afford me much opportunity to learn to ride a bike. About 6 months ago, due to an unfortunate stalker situation, I forced myself to learn. I'd give myself extremely generous amounts of time to get around (45 minutes to go 1 mile!) until I got comfortable enough to ride around like a normal person. Now I never have to walk by myself at night, as I go everywhere by bike! I seriously love riding my bike to work and around the city on my days off. I don't own a car here and bike is the easiest (and most fun!) way to get around my city. I can't believe how much has changed in 6 months!
    So why do take the time to introduce myself now? Well I just found out that my international assignment is ending and I'm moving back to the U.S. In about a month I'm moving to Columbus, Ohio, a city completely new to me. I have a car back in the U.S., but I love riding my bike and want to continue doing that as much as possible. It makes me nervous because I imagine riding a bike in Japan and riding a bike in the U.S. are quite different. In Japan almost everyone rides on the sidewalk, as opposed to roads in the U.S. Attitudes towards cycling are quite different, as bikes are a highly used form of transportation. It's an everyday thing to see men in business suits and ladies in their high heels riding their bikes to work! Plus, the overall distances needed to travel are much less, as I can get to the other side of my city by bike in about 30 minutes, with traffic.
    So I guess a few of my concerns:
    Riding in the road. Is it really as scary as I imagine, or does it just take some getting used to?
    Commuting to work. How much distance is a fairly easy commute to work? This is actually a major factor in decision where I'm going to live. My work will be out the suburbs about 20 miles from the city center. Is this do-able? Living in the suburbs would be closer to work, but if I lived in the city I could easily bike to everything other than work.
    I need a new bike! I won't be able to bring mine with me, and I'm due for an upgrade anyway. I believe I heard Kona has some good entry level bikes? Any other suggestions? (Under $500). I don't want to go too crazy until I know I'll be riding on a regular basis.
    Also, how do you guys lock up your bikes? Here everyone just uses the 1-ft chains that they lock around one of their tires, but realistically anyone could just pick up your bike and walk away with it. It just doesn't really happen here. I actually don't even lock my bike in my apartment's bike garage but I know that will definitely change once I move back!

    Okay thank you ladies for taking the time to read this! I'm really excited to continue riding (and shop for a new bike, yeah!) and to be moving back to the U.S.!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    374
    Hi!

    Welcome to the forum! So happy that cycling has struck a chord with you. It will soon (if it hasn't already) become quite an addiction.

    Riding on the roads is intimidator but it really depends where you live. Some cities have a very bike-friendly infrastructure. Cars are used to having to share the road with cyclists and pedestrians and as such, it's a lot easier to get around by bike. Unfortunately other places (such as the suburb where I live) are not that conducive to commuting by bike and thus makes for a more difficult (and dangerous) commute.

    As fas a commuting to work, everyone is different. I would say 12-20 miles is decent but again, it depends on they type of road you will be commuting on and how bike-friendly it is.

    As far as new bikes, $500 can get you a commuter/hybrid bike for commuting. You should go to several different bike shops and find a reputable LBS and then decide on a bike At that price range, I would look at a Specialized Vita.

    As far as locks, I work in NYC so a lock is a must if I were to commute to work by bike (which I don't). I've hears people say good things about NY Fahgettabout locks.

    http://www.amazon.com/Kryptonite-Fah.../dp/B000OZ9VLU

    Anyway, welcome to the forum and Happy Cycling!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    13,785
    Riding in the Columbus suburbs is very different from riding in the downtown area. That'll be true of most US cities, actually. Getting back and forth between downtown and the 'burbs can be very difficult, depending on where exactly you plan to live. Do you mind saying which suburb you'll be working in? I'm not in Columbus, but not that far away, and I'm reasonably familiar with some of the neighborhoods. There's at least one TE gal in Columbus proper.

    I'd strongly suggest taking a look at Consider Biking and taking a Bike League course to improve your street riding smarts. I don't know too many of the bike shops in Columbus, but I think B1 downtown and Paradise Garage in the Short North are pretty commuter-friendly.

    Considering distance alone, how far you want to commute really depends on how much time and energy you want to devote to it. 20 miles is really on the outside of what most riders consider doable, but there are people who do it regularly. Columbus is pretty flat and not terribly windy - but traffic and road conditions are an issue - you may be in the dark for part of such a long commute outside of high summer - and weather can be unreliable. How fast can you cover 20 miles on a flat country road without stoplights or luggage? Add at least 30% to that for commuting in traffic, probably closer to 50%. After 20 miles, you'd definitely need a shower unless your work is physical in nature, so find out whether your workplace has showers or whether there's a nearby gym you could join. You'll definitely want some VERY good lights and VERY visible bike enhancements and clothing if you'll be riding in the dark, especially on the suburban roads.

    Just some thoughts off the top of my head ... Welcome to TE!
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 02-14-2012 at 07:52 PM.
    Trying to live every day as though it were my first

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southeast Nebraska
    Posts
    466
    I grew up in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio and worked downtown for a few months. It's really going to depend on where you live and where you work. Parts of Columbus like the Bottoms have always been bad and almost within I-270 are dumps now. It used to be a great area but it's gone downhill.

    I grew up in Dublin and even it's falling apart. I was shocked when I went to visit my parents last May to see all the retail stores gone and Sawmill Road and 161 trashed. DH and went to the other side of town where we used to live and it wasn't any better.

    I'm still not good at traveling on roads. It takes time. It really is going to depend where you live (there are still good parts to the area so don't panic) and the conditions of the roads.

    Oakleaf would be able to give a far more detailed view of the area now. At least I think they finally finished the other outer belt of 670 after twenty years. LOL.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    Welcome! Glad you have the bug too.

    I can't help you, since I'm not in Ohio, but I do want to welcome you and hope that you get to Columbus and continue cycling, regardless of whether the commuting works out or not.

    2009 Trek FX 7.3
    2011 Specialized Dolce Sport Compact

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,579
    Welcome to the forum!
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    DE
    Posts
    1,215
    20 miles one way commute? Well if you can ride 20 mph that's one hour each way. But if you are only riding 10 mph, then it's 2 hours, or up to 4 hours round trip (allowing for traffic, stops, errands).

    That makes for a pretty long day - you have 8-9 hours at work, say 3 more for commuting, and 8 for sleeping (yeah right). That doesn't leave much time for say, showering, getting dressed (and change of clothes at work), planning and preparing meals, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, or any of the million other things we do each day.

    If it were me, I'd try to set up a commute of 7-10 miles one way depending on the roads used. If traffic were not an issue, a longer ride is fine, but I think a route fraught with traffic issues might get pretty stressful on a daily basis. You could always add miles in the evening if time and weather permit.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fukuoka, Japan
    Posts
    2
    Hey ladies!
    Thank you for all your kind replies, they've been very helpful! I don't know why I've been so afraid to post in the past!
    I think you guys are right that 20 miles one way might be a bit too much. I'll be working in New Albany and I'm currently looking at living downtown. I think I'll have a "drive only to work" rule, and with living downtown I should be able to bike/walk everywhere else. I looked up a few bike trails in the area, so I should be able to get some practice with longer distances while I get more familiar with Columbus. Hopefully I can work up the occasional bike commute to work.
    Thank you Oakleaf for the links to "consider biking" and "bike league course" and well as the shop recommendations. Looking at them has already made me more comfortable with the idea of riding in Columbus.
    Thanks again ladies for your advice, and welcoming me to the community. I'll be sure to update with how things go, especially with my upcoming purchase of a new bike!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    82
    Check out the Ohio rail trails page, bring up the map and click on the Columbus area. It shows that columbus has several trails that run through the area. I don't live there but my brother does and we rode together down the Olentangy trail we started as far north as it goes and rode south through OSU campus into downtown. It was a really nice trail and seems to give access to neighborhoods along the way. It looked to me like Columbus is trying to build a network of rail trails that will help to make cycling in the area easier.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    5,478
    #1 on the bicycle safety courses.

    And welcome to TE!

    There have been a couple of posts that asked for a bike similar to what you want. One poster wanted a step-through frame, one didn't.

    Step through frames. (Notice a lot of them, like the Jamis Commuter, are available in step-through and standard, so look around on the links a little. For example, on the Jamis, if you click: see mens model, it will take you to the bikes that have a horizontal bar across instead of a step-through. A step-through tends to be less strong, and perhaps less smooth in the ride due to vibrations. But for some, this is best due to sizing or comfort while mounting, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Jamis Commuter 400 dollars.

    Jamis Citizen $350.00

    Hudson Sport Step Through. $430.00


    Explorer All Terrain. $360.00


    Trail XR (You never know). $330.00


    Trail X1 $395.00


    Edit. Africa Bike by Kona. 489.00 3 speed internal hub. Only available in one size, though.

    For the money, I like the others unless she'll be riding in conditions that will make a drive-train impractical.
    Also:

    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post

    Also check into Kona, Jamis, Scott, Felt, another Felt, Specialized...


    ...Specialized Ariel. Neither of us liked the looks of the bike online. In person, it was georgous and she is very happy with in.

    Of all those I mentioned, the Kona Dew and the Jamis seem to be the most loved on this forum, and Felt makes very good modifications for women compared to a lot of brands.
    Check this one out too! Love this green!
    Last edited by Muirenn; 02-18-2012 at 07:49 AM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

 

 

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