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Assorted ramblings after commuting for 1 month

I think I spent more on new equipment and repairs than I saved on gas. (New tires, tubes, wheel tuneup at local LBS, 3 pairs bibs, 2 jerseys, helmet, messenger bag, bar tape, cleats, shoes and a bunch of other junk)

The first day I rode my average speed was 13.8 and today if was 16.7

Shortest distance to my day job is 12.75 miles but the route I settled on is 14.11 miles and is quicker

I have lost almost 10 lbs. since I started commuting

Messenger Bags are better than back packs to haul your stuff

I am a wimp and should ride in the rain instead of driving

No flats ... so far (now I am totally jinxed)

Carrying a laptop sucks

On the days I work my second job bartending it is kind of strange riding the streets of Boston late at night on my way home

The Minuteman bike path from Cambridge to Lexington is really dark at 2:00 in the morning

I have almost been hit by more cyclists on cell phones than car drivers on cell phones

I have found a whole new appreciation for the early morning weather outside

Cyclists who use mirrors are no longer to be shunned but emulated

My closest encounter with death was when a dump truck on Mass Ave in Central square ran me off the road and up over a granite curb into a group of people cause he didn't see me
 

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Congrats--- that was probably the easiest way to drop 10 lbs. I don't look at commuting for the economy of it, but rather the health benefits, being outdoors, etc.

I agree that other cyclists often pose more of a hazard than cars. I ran a wrongway cyclist off the road the other day. It was bad enough that he was riding the wrong way, and I as moved further right, he moved even further to his left. I never understood that.

If you bike in the rain, waterproof shoe covers are a great help, as are fenders... and a decent rain jacket.

If you try a mirror, I recommend the take-a-look mirror---- attached to your glasses. It should work well with a messenger bag (a backpack can block your view).

Do you have enough lights for your late night commute after bartending?

Good luck commuting as the seasons change.
 

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Thanks for sharing!


PegLeg said:
Messenger Bags are better than back packs to haul your stuff
What messenger bag did you get? I'm debating what kind of biking pack to get myself. I'm leaning towards the backpack myself, because I'm afraid of...well, to quote someone else:
http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=131768&highlight=deuter+trans+alpine+30+ac

"1. Prefer a backpack over a messenger back, although I'm not entirely opposed to a messenger bag. I have an older REI laptop backpack that I currently use. I like the feel of it. I borrowed a friends messenger bag and didn't like it. Shifts around too much."

I'm thinking of getting this:
http://www.deuterusa.com/products/productDetail.php?packID=transAlpine30AC&sub=hydration&tert=long

The back of the bag has this cool rigid plastic shell that keeps the entire back of the bag off your back (well, except the very top and bottom). I rode the other day with one of their hiking packs that has the same thing. I ended the ride with my back not sweating except maybe a tiny strip at the bottom where the bottom of the bag hit my back. My friend wore a regular backpack, and arrived with his shirt completely soaked with sweat on his entire back, not to mention where the straps come over his shoulders. So...I think their "air comfort" system works. :) (Other companies have a similar "system" and call it something different.)



PegLeg said:
I have almost been hit by more cyclists on cell phones than car drivers on cell phones
Ahahaha. That's hilarious. :) I don't even feel comfortable taking my hands on the handlebars to wave back at other people - I can't even imagine answering my cell phone and having a whole conversation while biking!
 

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Settling on a Route

PegLeg said:
Assorted ramblings after commuting for 1 month

I think I spent more on new equipment and repairs than I saved on gas. (New tires, tubes, wheel tuneup at local LBS, 3 pairs bibs, 2 jerseys, helmet, messenger bag, bar tape, cleats, shoes and a bunch of other junk)

The first day I rode my average speed was 13.8 and today if was 16.7

Shortest distance to my day job is 12.75 miles but the route I settled on is 14.11 miles and is quicker

I have lost almost 10 lbs. since I started commuting

Messenger Bags are better than back packs to haul your stuff

I am a wimp and should ride in the rain instead of driving

No flats ... so far (now I am totally jinxed)

Carrying a laptop sucks

On the days I work my second job bartending it is kind of strange riding the streets of Boston late at night on my way home

The Minuteman bike path from Cambridge to Lexington is really dark at 2:00 in the morning

I have almost been hit by more cyclists on cell phones than car drivers on cell phones

I have found a whole new appreciation for the early morning weather outside

Cyclists who use mirrors are no longer to be shunned but emulated

My closest encounter with death was when a dump truck on Mass Ave in Central square ran me off the road and up over a granite curb into a group of people cause he didn't see me
Too cool that you found a route that while a bit longer you really like. I tried a number of routes on what is now a 20 mile commute but was too focused on # of miles. Ultimately I found a route that adds 4 miles RT to the commute but probably has 40% fewer traffic lights, 60% less vehicles and much wider lanes - much more relaxing. Great Post.
 

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I just started commuting this week; 19.4 mile, one-way, bike path 95% of the way.
I'm using my ancient Trek 7000 with slicks. I've added a good blinky tail light and
the extremely bright Nite-Rider Trinewt for a headlight. It's a heavy bike, but it
should be pretty durable. Since I'm currently shopping for a tri bike, I've been
thinking about converting the Kestrel to a single-speed for the commute.

Here's some of my observations from one day of commuting, I'm sure lots will
change as I get used to this:

1 - There are more people and casual riders on the path than commuters.
2 - Pedestrians are generally clueless about commuting by bike and are
surprised by a fast moving commuter.
3 - Dogs so far have been well controlled and behaved
4 - There are far too many traffic lights and intersections to make the trip
efficient; I spend about 1/3 of the time waiting for lights to change.
what should take about 60-70 minutes ends up closer to 90-100 minutes.
5 - The bike path(s) are extremely poorly marked, and signage is minimal.
6 - I got both praise and anger for having a bright flashing headlight, can you guess
who I got the anger from? Hint: It wasn't from a motorist.
7 - I was more tired from commuting than from intervals the first day. We'll
see how I do next week.
8 - I need photochromic lenses - as dusk approaches, it gets hard to see
with normal sunglasses.
9 - Need more reflective stuff on the bike.
10 - The bike needs a real good check-up, probably a new chain and cables too.
that's what I get for using an 18 year old bike without thoroughly checking it out first.

For those of you familiar with the Los Angeles area, I am parking at the giant
park-and-ride lot on Canoga just north of Victory blvd in the San Fernando Valley.
From there I follow the bike path along Victory, onto Chandler and eventually
into Burbank to Disney. The Chandler Ave bike path is quite crowded
with walkers, joggers, tricycles, dogs, and what not.

Otherwise, I am happy that interaction with cars is minimal, and am mostly
disappointed that I am spending so much time waiting for traffic signals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
filtersweep said:
Do you have enough lights for your late night commute after bartending?
No. I use a 3 LED blinking light clipped to my messenger bag for the back. I don't have a real light for the front so I use one of the flashlights that wraps around your head. I just put it around my helmet. Riding from Copley Square to Cambridge is not to bad cause the streets are well lighted. It is the 7 miles from Cambridge to Lexington on the bike path that is dark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
PaulRivers said:
Thanks for sharing!

What messenger bag did you get? I'm debating what kind of biking pack to get myself. I'm leaning towards the backpack myself, because I'm afraid of...well, to quote someone else:
http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=131768&highlight=deuter+trans+alpine+30+ac

"1. Prefer a backpack over a messenger back, although I'm not entirely opposed to a messenger bag. I have an older REI laptop backpack that I currently use. I like the feel of it. I borrowed a friends messenger bag and didn't like it. Shifts around too much."

I'm thinking of getting this:
http://www.deuterusa.com/products/productDetail.php?packID=transAlpine30AC&sub=hydration&tert=long

The back of the bag has this cool rigid plastic shell that keeps the entire back of the bag off your back (well, except the very top and bottom). I rode the other day with one of their hiking packs that has the same thing. I ended the ride with my back not sweating except maybe a tiny strip at the bottom where the bottom of the bag hit my back. My friend wore a regular backpack, and arrived with his shirt completely soaked with sweat on his entire back, not to mention where the straps come over his shoulders. So...I think their "air comfort" system works. :) (Other companies have a similar "system" and call it something different.)
I used an LLBean day pack for a week or two. It was really hot and seemed to block all the ventilation on my back. I went to REI and looked over some bags and bought the medium sized Timbuk 2. http://www.rei.com/product/748543 I like it better than the back pack and it holds an incredible amount of junk.

Ahahaha. That's hilarious. :) I don't even feel comfortable taking my hands on the handlebars to wave back at other people - I can't even imagine answering my cell phone and having a whole conversation while biking!
I have no doubt this is due to riding a bike path for several miles of my commute every day. In the morning you have all the commuters and hard core riders so there is never a problem. Coming home at night you have all the yahoos with kids and dogs and roller bladers etc. That is when you see the people on the phones.
 

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Knives, Guns, and Booze
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Keep it up! For me, the bike commuting thing has sort of become an addiction—I’m always trying to see how little gasoline I can use in a month. The health benefits are great as well. All you need to do is remember that too many bright blinking lights on your bike (day or night) are not enough; you need to be seen by motorists at all times.
 

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I get better parking at work than those that drive
I don't have to gas the car up to get to work.
I get to check the river level twice a day (it's been a flood year in Iowa)
On the way home I go through the lake trail and get to oogle at hot female joggers/runners
If I slip on ice I only hurt myself or my bike, if I drive I could cause thousands of $$ in damages
People at work admire me for commuting on bike.
I have never been late for work while commuting.
If I drive I'd have to walk 1/2 mile.
I cannot remember the last time I drove.
 

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Yeah, cyclists on cell phones in this area (Boston/Cambridge) are a real problem. Even worse are the college/HS kids doing that while riding through traffic without hands on the bars.

I avoid Central square like the plague. There have been a number of cycling accidents and deaths in that particular area due to dump trucks, MBTA buses, etc. Personally, I'd rather take the bike path by the river. A little slower, probably, but a much nicer ride, better scenery. (Skyline, river, boats, jogging college co-eds...)

At 2AM the minuteman is very dark... and the streets are pretty empty. Might want to switch over to something with street lamps, because one stupid squirrel can ruin your whole night out there.
 

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great

Been bike commuting for 2 years now.

I wouldn't commute by bike purely to save money, although, the more expensive gas gets, the more easily it is justified. But, I think of it as the money saved justifying my buying more bike stuff. In the long run, I'm sure it will save money, though, after the initial investment in the bike, clothes, lights, etc.

I almost ignore average speed, as I've found it depends more on external factors like traffic, stop lights, etc., than how fast I'm riding.

I haven't lost weight, but then I was riding a lot before I started commuting. I just eat too much.

It's amazing what weather you can ride through with very little inconvenience if you have the right gear and strategies. I've ridden without problems in the range of 23 degrees to 115 degrees. No snow or ice here, though, just rain and fog in the winter.

I can go 6 months without a flat, then get 2 in one week. Have no idea why.

In stead of a laptop, can you just use a memory stick and carry it back and forth?

I would not ride without a mirror. Been using one for 7 years, and I feel naked and vulnerable without it.

I've gone full bike commuter geek. Bright yellow or orange, lots of reflective tape, super bright lighting front and rear, mirror, bell, fenders, mtb shoes, etc. I'm not out there to impress 20 year old girls, but to stay alive.

You do become much more attuned to the weather. I never realized how cold it got here at night until I started commuting all winter. A whole lot different than hopping into your car in the garage and driving to another covered garage at work.

I agree that it is completely addicting. I don't like driving, but have to sometimes. I like commuting, and riding hard as well. I like sprinting for lights, passing busses, and time trialing home on the really hard days. Problem is, it starts to interfere with my "real" training plan, as repeat sprinting at 1200 watts is not really a "base" sort of workout.

Bottom line for most of us, I assume, is that it makes us happy. Can't beat that.








PegLeg said:
Assorted ramblings after commuting for 1 month

I think I spent more on new equipment and repairs than I saved on gas. (New tires, tubes, wheel tuneup at local LBS, 3 pairs bibs, 2 jerseys, helmet, messenger bag, bar tape, cleats, shoes and a bunch of other junk)

The first day I rode my average speed was 13.8 and today if was 16.7

Shortest distance to my day job is 12.75 miles but the route I settled on is 14.11 miles and is quicker

I have lost almost 10 lbs. since I started commuting

Messenger Bags are better than back packs to haul your stuff

I am a wimp and should ride in the rain instead of driving

No flats ... so far (now I am totally jinxed)

Carrying a laptop sucks

On the days I work my second job bartending it is kind of strange riding the streets of Boston late at night on my way home

The Minuteman bike path from Cambridge to Lexington is really dark at 2:00 in the morning

I have almost been hit by more cyclists on cell phones than car drivers on cell phones

I have found a whole new appreciation for the early morning weather outside

Cyclists who use mirrors are no longer to be shunned but emulated

My closest encounter with death was when a dump truck on Mass Ave in Central square ran me off the road and up over a granite curb into a group of people cause he didn't see me
 

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i love commuting and being free of the chains of owning a vehicle

people that bike against traffic and expect you to go out of the shoulder into traffic while passing them are irksome

i've met some really interesting people while commuting, chatted w/ a musician this morning who was toting a really nice custom les paul on his bike rack

people that honk and hollar at you are jealous

sunrises and tailwinds are good for the soul
 

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In 20 years of riding, I have been hit twice. Both while commuting, by people driving sedans, while holding their cell phones to their right ear, and as they made a right turn thinking they passed me. If it were dump trucks or buses I probably wouldn't be here.

The first was right in Central Square. While it's much faster to blast along Mass Ave, I eventually switched to one of the residential streets that runs parallel. Lots of stopping and go but I wasn't out to break times.

I only lived in Boston for 3 years and like Fixed said, I was amazed at the type of weather I was able to ride through. By far the worst was during an ice storm. I had the full Goretex setup so I was fine but being coated in ice was kind of funny. Maybe your next purchase will be the sucky weather cycling specific gear.

Check out the Minuteman MUT rant on craigslist, if you haven't read it yet:
http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/bos/70245362.html
 
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