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Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90

    Starting to Commute...

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    So, I know I've been off the boards... with good reasons. Kind of. An injury. Too much work. Too much work travel. Moving into a new office (same job, just new location).

    And now that I am in this new building, I'm close enough to work that I can ride my bike. I don't know how far it is, but it's not more than a couple of miles. I probably could have ridden in my old building too, but I just didn't take the time to do it. But being this close, I have no excuse.

    I've already staked out the bicycle rack in the building (although I'm considering bringing my bike with me to my office -- suggestions?).

    I also need to get it maintained, so I'm going to take it to the LBS to do it -- hopefully this afternoon.

    I'm nervous. This is the downtown area of my city and as you can imagine, traffic is horrendous in the morning and afternoon. And I do NOT live in a bicycle friendly city... so this is definitely an adventure.

    2009 Trek FX 7.3
    2011 Specialized Dolce Sport Compact

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    If you have an office, and nobody minds your bike being in there with you- bring that bike inside with you! My principal doesn't mind me bringing my bike into the library. I leave it out where the kids can see it (hoping to inspire one of them- maybe you can inspire someone, too).

    Yay that you can make commuting happen! You'll absolutely LOVE it! It's the best part of my day!
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,957
    I second the idea of parking your bike in your office if your boss will allow it. It is out of the weather and you don't have to worry about anything happening to it. It is the only way I will ride to work...

    Glad you are feeling better and getting back on the bike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    Actually, I don't have my boss in the same office... It really just a question of whether it's done or not. And thinking about it, the receptionist area has a space that I can probably use or just put it in my office... hmm. This is getting very interesting!

    I'll let you know how it goes on my first day on the bike! Reading the other threads made me realize I probably need to get prepared -- buy toiletries for the office, just in case and think about what to wear when I commute. I'm going to try to wear what I normally would put on and see how that goes.

    2009 Trek FX 7.3
    2011 Specialized Dolce Sport Compact

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    355
    Good Luck. I live within a couple of miles and commute too. I keep my bike inside the office, tucked in the back hallway. I have asked for a rack and they say they are going to install one this summer, out back of our building. I don't live in a bike friendly community either, but I do well enough. You just have to have good lighting, follow signalling rules, and be aware. Definitely stock up some travel toiletries and have a nice backpack or storage on your bike to carry some clothes, etc. in.
    2013: Riding a Dolce sport compact for fun and a vintage Jetter with cargo rack for commuting

    www.bike-sby.org: A network of concerned cyclists working to make our city more bicycle friendly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsy View Post
    I'm going to try to wear what I normally would put on and see how that goes.
    I bike to work in my dress clothes (and even my dress shoes because I have platform pedals on my commuter bike). My commute is only 2.5-3 miles-depending on which way I go. I use 3 different routes and change it up every few weeks to keep anyone from knowing my routine (paranoid much?).

    Anyway- I don't have a problem with getting sweaty, even in the heat, because I adjust my speed to the temps. When it's freezing in winter, I tend to ride a little faster. In winter I always wear tights with my dresses and pull on homemade wool legwarmers and tall fur-lined winter boots for the ride in to work. In the spring/fall I just ride slowly so as to not work up a sweat.

    SO excited for you! You are going to LOVE it!!
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oklahoma girl
    Posts
    54
    I keep Willy in my office with me-- and i'm in a mailroom you should see the looks Willy and I get. Actually-- I believe cycling is the new golf. All the older successful men will come talk to me about Willy...promotion?! lol

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    In this heat, even my 1.5 miles gets me sweaty, so I wear a different shirt for the ride and change when I get here. But I don't shower or anything.

    It's best if there is a sheltered place to leave your bike, so your bike isn't sitting out in the rain and humidity. But do consider security. I know someone who kept his bike in his office. He didn't ride regularly, that's just where he kept it. He worked in a medical building and one day someone just wandered by and took it. It wasn't locked up or anything. So--lock your office when you're not in it.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    I picked up my bike from the LBS (maintenance) and I've prepared myself to ride out tomorrow. I have pedals on my commuter too (one side is normal, the other side is SPDs) and my plan right now is to go dressed up -- full clothes and regular shoes.

    I have to be back home mid-day, so I'll ride back and see how the whole thing works out.

    Then I have a few days to tweak it all -- the next opportunity I have to ride to work will be on Wednesday.

    Yay! Excited.

    Thanks again for the encouragement.

    2009 Trek FX 7.3
    2011 Specialized Dolce Sport Compact

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    Made it in this morning with dressy clothes and one comment from some "helpful" construction guys who yelled at me when I rode by, "Get on the pavement [think they meant the sidewalk] otherwise you're going to get run off the road!"

    I looked like a geek though... back pack, helmet, bike with all the accoutrements that you need to ride... On the other hand, there was another woman, on a simple fixie, with a shouldbag across her chest. It looked effortless and she passed me and she was gone.

    I looked like a dork.

    But that's the level where I want to take this -- where my bike is just simply another mode of transportation, like my car, and I don't even think twice about it.

    I do need to get a second, secure lock. I was told today that they've stolen bikes at my building. Today I got permission to take the bike upstairs, but I have to resolve for my next commute. So, any recommendations?

    I don't actually want to lose my Trek to thieves.

    2009 Trek FX 7.3
    2011 Specialized Dolce Sport Compact

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    Kryptonite has a program which is basically bicycle insurance. A kryptonite U-lock through the frame and locked to the bike rack, and a cable lock securing the wheels to the frame. Sounds like a fun commute!
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    Thank you! I spent a bit of time last night researching the Kryptonite site and I've finally purchased one of their locks. I'm going to get it hopefully next week. I purchased it online because my LBS doesn't have that brand. I had purchased a cable lock from them, but clearly, that's not enough.

    I'm also going to switch out the saddle in my Trek, for a gel one I have on a mountain bike... And then I think I'm good.

    The only downfall of yesterday was that it was pouring rain when I went home, so I have also discovered I need fenders. I don't mind getting wet from above, but I do mind it from down below.

    2009 Trek FX 7.3
    2011 Specialized Dolce Sport Compact

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    90
    Lock was purchased and delivered and used for the first time on Friday. Sigh. If only I knew how to use a lock! I'm being silly, but I was silly on Friday. With all the nervousness of being on the roads with crazy drivers trying to get to work (and while I had the same intention, I also wanted to arrive without getting hit by car), I locked the bike up but failed to lock it to the rack. Thankfully security guys were on it and informed me of my mistake.

    This also allowed me to see that there are others that bike to work (at least one other person!) so I'm not the sole fool on the road at that hour.

    Secondly, I also feel pretty accomplished, having changed the gel seat from the mountain bike to the hybrid. Gone is the stock saddle from Trek (which was never comfortable in the first place).

    I also ordered fenders (should arrive next week) and a rack for the back, since carrying my purse and laptop in my basket upfront didn't work out -- steering was horrible and the basket was touching the top of my tires because of the laptop weight. My plan is to strap the whole thing to the rack in the back and leave the basket for the small things -- the locks and my lunch bag.

    I'm still nervous and worried about being in rush hour traffic in the mornings. I'm really scared of getting hit.

    2009 Trek FX 7.3
    2011 Specialized Dolce Sport Compact

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsy View Post
    I'm still nervous and worried about being in rush hour traffic in the mornings. I'm really scared of getting hit.
    These statistics might help with your fear:
    83% of wrecks don't involve a car.
    Half of car-bike wrecks are the cyclist's fault.
    If you eliminate those, you've eliminated 90% of the wrecks!
    1) Ride an arm's length of the edge of the road. Most potholes, debris, etc accumulate at the edge. Riding an arm's length means they're not in your path*.
    2) Respect the "door zone"--give parked cars plenty of space, even if you think the car is unoccupied.
    3) Learn to scan and signal proficiently (by practicing). Swerving out into traffic without looking, such as from a driveway, or across lanes, is a common mistake bicyclists make.
    4) Ride on the right side of the road, not on sidewalks. Drivers backing or pulling out of driveways, parking lots, alleys, etc.
    5) ABC Quick Check (Air, Brakes, Chain, Quick release levers)--keep your bike in good working order so mechanical failure doesn't cause a wreck.

    The best thing you can do is take the League's bike class, Traffic Skills 101.

    All of those are more important than wearing a helmet. Wear a helmet for the 1% or so of wrecks that can happen anyway.

    *I know that riding further out in the lane feels like you are trading one risk--hitting a pothole--for another risk--getting hit by a car. But it actually decreases BOTH risks. The most common thing a driver says after hitting a cyclist is "I never saw him/her". Riding more assertively makes you more visible. Watch this video to see why.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

 

 

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