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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am really liking the idea of garaging my car completely. I do however have some concerns with commuting on my bike and I figure that between all of us on the forums I can get some new ideas and be reassured.
For starters how good is a decent bikelock that isnt super pricey, I havent had one since I was twelve.
Also what do you use in rain?
I am concerned about being a sweaty beast by the time I get to work so I need to figure that one out.

The bike ill be using for now is a 1986 schwinn world tourist with a mountain bike riser bar and set up as a single speed. (pink chain and camo bar wrap is so freakin sweet)
Ill be using this untill I have the cash for a Surly crosscheck which ill set up with cross tires and as a singlespeed.
I live in chicago so the weather is extremely sparatic and the summers get rather humid. I work at an outdoor shopping mall and the bikeracks are kind of scattered in odd places but there is a lot of mall security in suv's and roaming on segways so im not super concerned about that. any help you guys can give would be very appreciated.
 

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Go to the commuting forum on this board

Does your bike have eyelets for fenders and racks? How much stuff do you have to carry? Fenders because obviously it can start to rain after you get to work or before or on the way for that matter. Decide how you want to carry your stuff, messenger bag, backpack or panniers/trunk bag. If you take your time riding in to work, no need to be a sweaty mess once you get there. After a few weeks you get accustomed to the amount of effort and would barely break a sweat. I would take a towel and clean up in a sink and be daisy fresh when the work day began.
 

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Arrogant Roadie Prick said:
If you take your time riding in to work, no need to be a sweaty mess once you get there. After a few weeks you get accustomed to the amount of effort and would barely break a sweat. I would take a towel and clean up in a sink and be daisy fresh when the work day began.
LMAO! Not here in Miami!
 

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I started a new job at a bike shop this week and commuted there for the first time today. 8.5 miles each way in Houston. Oppressive heat and humidity now that summer's here.

I carried my work clothes, shoes, baby wipes, toiletry kit, lunch, baby powder and deodorant. The baby wipes are great. Once they dry out in the box, pour some water on them then turn them upside down to get the moist ones. Great for spiffing up.

I left the shoes and work clothes there to use another day since they were clean and take up so much space. The days I drive, I'll replenish my clean work clothes.

On the ride home, had a sidewall blowout on my karate monkey. didn't have an allen wrench to move the disc brake thingy out of the way but luckily the people who live in the house I was in front of had some and offered.

ALWAYS, be sure to have at least two spare tubes, the correct tools necesary, CO2 or a pump, a tire boot (I subbed the old tube cut to cover the cut tire).

Next up for me are fenders, rear rack for more storage instead of a backpack, a rearview light, tail light, headlight and rain poncho.

Hope this helps.
 

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I have a long daily commmute. It took me awhile, but I finally found a place to store my bike inside. I leave 5 or 6 days worth of clothes there too. I still have to carry some stuff back and forth to work, but nothing big.

Rain??? I get wet. I have no rain gear. When I did I found I got wet anyway, so I don't bother. I don't have fenders on my bike. Many, many folks swear by the utility of fenders. I had some many years ago. IMO/IME they didn't make much, if any, difference.

I ride all winter. We have the same climate as Chi-town. My criteria for riding is temp no lower than the high teens and clear roads. I have good, lightweight winter clothing.

I leave well before sunrise, so I need to see and be seen. I have a good headlight, two tail lights, 5 reflectors, and wear Illuminite clothing whenever possible.

My commute is a 36 mile round trip. I normally buy < 1 tank of gas per month. I think you'll find commuting by bike fun, adventurous and challenging. Just do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I really appreciate all of the help so far. I have a locker at work so I can keep my work clothes there as well as deodorant, baby wipes, etc. For now i have a backpack but a good rack would be nice to keep me cool. Some of the guys i talked to around here suggest keeping a rain jacket which is like $20 at performance bike. Main reason being comfort rather than attempting to stay dry.
My commute should be about 22miles round trip so not too bad at all. I took out the schwinn tonight and although its fun its not exactly confidence inspiring so I think I may speed up the process of getting a dedicated commuter.
Im seriously debating the whole singlespeed or not issue though. I can see the advantage of gearswhile commuting because I can stay relaxed by keeping the effort low but the simplicity and reliability of a SS has advantages as well. Aside from commuting this bike will be used for winter fun and romps on the local crushed limestone loop. So once again I can see gears being nice for snowy climbs but also the simplicity and reliability of a SS would be great in winter. Any thoughts?
 

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about rain, snow and cold....

Some advice specificlly on teh topic of inclement weather riding: I ride all year too. I am in Oregon at a high elevation so lots of rain, snow and cold. Hopefully you will have a few good months of excellent sunny riding before you have to start worrying about this type of weather!!

To add to what Mr. Versatile says about rain gear, the basic idea is to layer properly and avoid cotton. Fine wool or synthetics work best @ wicking and temperature management, and unless you are facing absolutely extreme conditions, you should never need a "waterproof" outer shell. In fact, you want to avoid waterproof clothing because it won't breath. Water repellent and breathable is what you want. It takes some practice to dial in the right level of clothing to do this year-round, and everyone is different- the right level of layering for one person might be all wrong for the next.. But unless you are in heavy precipitation, dedicated rain gear is not really needed.

A balaclava is handy to have as it prevents rain from drizzling down your neck. Other than wool, my favorite new winter/cold weather gear uses eVent fabric-great outer shell! It breathes extremely well, making it less necessary to add/remove clothing on the fly.. You don't want to create a tropical climate in your clothing, that is extremely uncomfortable, and as the temps plummet it can even get dangerous. eVent and similar fabrics help this. I don't know where you live or how cold it gets or if you plan to ride below freezing temps, but it can be really fun in its own way.
I do have a pair of gill rain pants for when things are super serious out, but I wear them rarely- typically my tights and ibex wool base layer is sufficient, down to around +5F. Lower than that and I will wear the rain pants as a wind block.

I am one of the folks that swear by fenders. If you ride in serious precipitation, you will be glad you have them (unless you like black muddy dirty water covering your entire back and your bag if you carry one). The front fender helps keep the grime and **** off your feet and the crank and chain somewhat, so very valuable there too. I take them off my commuter during the warm months though.

Really I could go on and on... gloves, shoes, etc.. but I will shut up. :) OK but not quite yet. Its late and I'm tipsy. So a couple more tips for nasty weather. A very inexpensive way to protect eyes from rain/snow (and heavy bugs in the summer evenings) are cheap clear construction glasses and cat crap defogger. For "mid" weather I got a cheap pair of xtra large neoprene socks and cut our cleat holes and made shoe covers out of them. Good enough for moderately cold/wet weather without having to buy those annoying and expensive shoe covers or use my winter cycling boots. Lobster gloves work well at mid temps but not below 25F. In cold weather, avoid constriction in the extremeties. Loose fitting is the way to go on the hands and feet. OK now I'm rly done. Good luck with your commute I think its great you are planning to do this.
 

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Just do it! After many years of not commuting (wife asked me to stop becuase the ride home was at 1am) I just started again on Thursday. It's and exhilirating feeling to know you got their under your own power and saved some gas. Also helps unwind on the way home. My tips:

1) Fenders are good even if it's not downpooring. Keeps your feet and legs dry.
2) Get good lights and keep them on the bike even if there's only a remote chance of a nite ride. You don't want to get caught unprepared.
3) Reflective vest for sunset. $5 at Home Depot.
4) Bath-In-A-Bag or similar product. Basically giant wet-ones. Great for cleaning up. You can do your whole body with two. Availabe at camping stores.
5) Stash the clothes and heavy items at your job. No sense carrying your work shoes back and forth every day.
6) Carry a cell phone and have an escape plan. I've only had to call for a pickup once in many many years and that was due to very heavy rains that made it impossible to see and there was no place to take cover. My wife knows to take the car with the bike rack if she needs to rescue me!
7) Persistence. It's much easier to roll over at 5am and get an extra hour of sleep rather than riding into work. This is the part I'm weak at.

Cheers.
 

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Do the ride while carrying the same amount of stuff you would carry to work on a day you are off. This will give you an idea of how much time you need. Depending on the facilities your workplace has to offer you can ride faster or slower. We have full showers at my work so I hammer it to work all the time, my day just feels better when I ride hard.
 
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