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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have searched and assume that you receive a lot of post similar to this, but I would really appreciate some feedback from fellow cyclist:)

I have just accepted a new job and the location is in, what I consider, commuting distance (~12miles/each way). If it was 12 miles by bike path I would not even question it, but these 12 miles are in heavy traffic.

Ex. I would leave house and take 2 lane residential roads for several miles, lets say 4 miles light traffic speed limits around 25/35 miles/hour.

Merge onto 2 lane road much heavier traffic, cross 4 lane intersection with very heavy traffic and the people are often traveling 45/50 mph. Here I am only crossing and can cut through parking lots/ sidewalks if need be. Less than

Merge onto 2 lane road heavy traffic, no bike path and small shoulder. Speed limit is 35 people are often traveling a little over. This would be the longest continues part of my commute battling the cars at 8+ miles.

The rest I am not too conserned about.

Now my alternative is to sit in the aformentioned traffic, and pay to park/shuttle to the office. I live in Pittsburgh so those of you that maybe familiar I am coming from the South Hills (Bethel Park) to town (Oakland). I have rode the route I would take on the weekend and its really not that bad, but that is the weekend with much lighter traffic. Sorry for the long winded post (numero uno at that).

Thanks in advance.
 

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here's my commute in heavy, but slow moving traffic:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=36913

You know your area best - but I would doubt that there aren't some slower/quiter alternatives to the route you've set out. I would try to ride the route on a weekend and actively look for a better route. The weekend ride may give you all the confidence you need.

If nothing else - just try it and see how it is - sometimes imagining something is worse than doing it...

Let us know how you get on

and welcome to the forum
 

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Who needs a map?
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Check out google maps for planning your route. I started a new job recently, and I'm in a similar situation to yours: about 10 miles each way, most of it over 3-lanes-in-each-direction traffic with speed limits in the 35mph to 40mph range. I rode in once to make sure it was feasible and survived. Then, I checked google maps, and found a route that cuts through several residential areas. It doesn't totally get me off the busy streets, but it helps. Also, look for school zones - around here, it forces traffic to slow to 20mph at least for a little distance.
 

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Downhill Juggernaut
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My problem when I first became a bike commuter was changing my mindset. Every road I considered was one that I was familiar with by car. I commuted that way for a few weeks and quickly learned how to shift my way of thinking and look for what might work better. Everything from street conditions to cut-throughs suddenly started opening up to me and it made my commute much nicer.
 

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nonsleepingjon said:
Also, look for school zones
:eek:
I worry a lot more about getting creamed in school zones than on roads that are three lanes each direction with a 45mph speed limit. I don't have any idea what traffic is like in your neck of the woods, though.
 

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Bike Dude
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Scout out your route

Run your route by car then by bike. If you have to go out of your way a few minutes to avoid being creamed then you might try this. I have my route down for me but I try to vary it a little when I go home. I always leave with an extra 20-30 minutes more than I need so I can comfortably change a flat if I have to. Nothing like rushing because you think you'll be late. In the winter time with the sun disappearing too early in the evening I go in to work a little later than in the summer hours. I don't like riding in the darkness too much. If you leave with an extra "buffer" of time you'll probably enjoy the ride better and you can stop for that extra cup of joe and a doughnut when you want to. Pack a pump, an extra innertube, patch kit and a flashlight. Be safe and enjoy the ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the replys. I really do think its just a matter of changing my mind set. At my old place of employment it was an easy excuse because my drive was 25 miles each way by highway 65+ mph vehicles. I always thought it would be so great to commute by bike. I still have two weeks here at the old place, but will keep yinz (pittsburgh) guys posted on how things go.

Thanks again!
 

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Chris H said:
My problem when I first became a bike commuter was changing my mindset. Every road I considered was one that I was familiar with by car. I commuted that way for a few weeks and quickly learned how to shift my way of thinking and look for what might work better. Everything from street conditions to cut-throughs suddenly started opening up to me and it made my commute much nicer.
That's the key.

I'm SO close to being able to commute at least a couple days a week. I've been looking for acceptable routes for a while and I think I finally have one scoped out. That, combined with the fact that I now have access to a shower at the office, just about cinches it.
 

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I know where you are commuting from and have a friend that does a similar route just about daily. I can ask his exact route if you like. Not that bad. Just have to be careful. I do similar from the North Hills for the past five years. Most drivers around here are reasonable and once you start, they will see you every day. Follow the rules of the road (as you can) and you will get respect. I can ask his exact route if you like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That would be most helpful keebler1, I apprecaite the offer. Email can be sent to rjf165 at yahoo dot com.

Thanks again.
 

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KenB said:
That's the key.

I'm SO close to being able to commute at least a couple days a week. I've been looking for acceptable routes for a while and I think I finally have one scoped out. That, combined with the fact that I now have access to a shower at the office, just about cinches it.
I actually think that that is half the fun. I only a have a 7km (4.5ish miles) commute to work. It is quite nice, and a far different route then I would drive...to avoid a nasty hill, it includes a 500m stretch of road with heavy traffic. I was nearly wiped off by a truck the other day who refused to give me the 1.5m that I am legally entitled to. Rather then argue, I found a better route this morning.

As for my route home, that is the most fun. Sometimes I ride along and take a turn just for the fun of it, to see where it takes me. Sometimes I go a block out of my way to avoid a difficulty interestion, and then I feel quite pleased with my own cleverness. I enjoy refining my route, streamlining it. Find flater/pleasenter/less-dense/more-fun ways to go. My current favourite is taking a quite back street that leads on to a huge round-about. I love ripping down there and taking a 270degree turn. Aaaahh. The joys of commuting!
 
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