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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Albuquerque
    Posts
    127

    Lightbulb If you had a fairy godmother when you started riding...

    I'm looking for the challenges that everyone has overcome with learning to ride, especially with commute...

    A little background - I started riding in college, first for tri's and general riding, then commuting, and now I'm about 90% on my bike (accept when I'm hauling my bike to go ride it elsewhere - go figure ).

    I know logistics are always problems, learning how to deal with cars, to shower or not to shower, etc.

    What are unique challenges that you've faced? And more importantly, how did you overcome them??

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,204
    i wouldn't call commuting a challenge but rather a learning journey on how to do it well.

    When considering my commuting route I pick the most pleasant low traffic route possible. I can do a bike path, some alleys and low volume streets on my commute and that makes for a more relaxed ride and no sweat on my morning ride. I use the ride home for more of a hard ride including some hills that I usually avoid in the morning. I have a messenger bag and waterproof panniers to use depending on what’s needed for work and perhaps groceries etc on the way home.

    One tip I’ve learned if sweaty is to cool down while drinking some water until I am not perspiring much before I use wipes, facial cleanser, toner, oil free moisturizer, deodorant, a natural bristle brush etc. makeup and clothes change. Burning Man, with its 100+ degree temps, lots of dust and limited shower access taught me how useful baby wipes are… If my hair is a little sweaty on a hot day I reverse the part, fluff it and put it into a top knot until the sweat evaporates then brush if I don’t want it in a top knot for the day.

    I leave a pantsuit, blouses, a couple of dresses, shoes, underwear, jeans, socks and some casual tops at work in my office closet. If I don’t drive in once a week I use a Patagonia Transport Shoulder Bag with its backpack straps to carry clothes back and forth.

    My employer has a Qualified Transportation Fringe (QTF) benefit, which gives me a $20 tax exclusion benefit a month for commuter bicycle expenses…..not that much but another benefit to my bike commuting. There is a $230 a month benefit for mass transit.
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 02-04-2016 at 05:24 PM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    I'm massively privileged when it comes to bike-friendly facilities at work, so I have lots of clothes, toiletries and a towel stashed there and drying opportunities for my bike gear. Since I always put my office clothes on immediately after a shower I can use them quite a bit before washing. Still, it took me a while to learn the following tricks:

    - always have an extra bra and undies at work. I leave a ratty pair that I otherwise would have thrown away. If not you WILL someday forget one or the other, and have to go commando allday or wear sweaty bike shorts. Yuck.
    - ditto for stashing an old pair of bike shorts. At some point I get caught in a cloudburst and soaked to the skin, when that happens I won't have to bike home in wet shorts.
    - don't take something essential (like the towel) home to wash until you've brought another one to work. Or if you have to, don't take it out of your backpack until you've gone and fetched another one and put it IN your pack.
    - learn when not to commute by bike. Some types of weather just aren't worth it - heavy, wet falling snow is one of them.
    - always eat before riding home, and know where to stop for a snack if necessary. I've had a few rides home where I bonked and it wasn't fun.
    - carry a couple of small blinkies on your bike as spares, in case the regular lights stop working. It's not always the batteries, sometimes they just die on you, especially if you take a fall.

    Oh, and diligently noting down what to wear at which temperatures makes dressing in the morning easier and riding more comfortable. The best approach for me was to note down not what I wore, but what I think I should have worn. I ended up with a neat little chart that takes me down to about -10 C.
    Last edited by lph; 02-04-2016 at 10:58 AM.
    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
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    I don't commute by bike, but there have been a few things I've had to learn through trial and error that I think apply to any type of cycling --

    - how to dress for different types of weather; food and drink -- what, when, how much -- before and during a ride
    - always keep certain things in your gear bag -- spare socks, gloves, arm warmers, a wind breaker, a vest -- so it's available right before the ride (keep spare at your job for the ride home)
    - have more than one headlight and taillight in case the one you planned to use has a dead battery
    - fenders are great when roads are wet
    - have a bag or two on your bike large enough to carry extra layers that you put on or take off as weather conditions change or you warm up
    - keep a couple of zip top bags in your bike bag for your phone, keys, wallet, whatever needs to stay dry if it rains

    I keep a log of weather conditions, what I wore and whether I was comfortable for rides in fall, winter and spring.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Albuquerque
    Posts
    127
    These are amazing tips ladies. Seriously gold.

    What was it that made you want to commute in the first place?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    I haven't commuted in a very long time, but one thing I've learned generally is that the quickest way to stop sweating is to bring my core temperature down from the inside, by drinking an iced drink or slush.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,204
    Quote Originally Posted by pinkychique View Post
    What was it that made you want to commute in the first place?
    to help with the chocolate calories.........plus being in a good area/community to do it....and the health and exercise

    how is Albuquerque for commuting?

    eta...I started with a solex pedaled moped when I was a preteen and starting in my early teens I rode a rene herse mixte touring bike all over southern/eastern france, northern spain and north western Italy during the summers and to school during the rest of the year. A bike was my only mode of transportation in college and in those years I also started doing brevets.

    This area is comfortable to ride in year round, which is one of the reasons I took this job out of graduate school. I see bike commuting as a healthy, cheap and eco-friendly alternative to driving….and i get a kind of joy from it….from being more aware of the neighborhoods I ride through, seeing, hearing and experiencing so much more than i would in a car, stopping for morning tea and a scone on my way to work, seeing and getting to know other riders on their commutes, riding by the ocean in sunrise and sunset light and being an example to others by showing cycling as a viable form of efficient and versatile transportation. The rewards are endless and meaningful for me !!

    this view from a couple of days ago can only be seen from a bike path
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 02-05-2016 at 08:52 PM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    Quote Originally Posted by pinkychique View Post
    These are amazing tips ladies. Seriously gold.

    What was it that made you want to commute in the first place?
    To get there? :-) I honestly can't remember. I didn't bike much before I met my dh as a 22yr old student, but I had always lived an hour by bus away from everything. (We never owned a car.) My dh biked in to uni from his place, so I had to show him I could to, even though I almost fell over after the first commute I was so exhausted. After that it was just a natural thing to do. We've always chosen where to live based on bike commutability. But I made a conscious decision to ride my bike often when my brother died suddenly from an unexpected heart attack, ten years ago. In the weeks and months afterwards I noticed that the days I biked to work felt less black than the days I didn't, and I realised the exercise endorphins really made a difference to my daily wellbeing. In addition I now have a strong motivation to stay healthy.
    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
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

 

 

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