questionsdoes anyone commute via a bike? any gear…

vote-for33vote-against
vote-for4vote-against

Oh man I just read that as communicate via bike, I need more coffee...

vote-for4vote-against

I try to ride when the weather & my need for a car after work allows (eg. if I don't have to pick up my daughter from school). This usually works out to a maximum of 2 days a week when she is in school & 3 when she isn't. (Unfortunately, I haven't biked to work even once since October, though the weather has not been much of an obstacle.)

My driving commute is about 8 miles round trip & a mile less by bike, due to vehicle restrictions on some roads on the college campus where I work. I get ~16 MPG on the drive, so gasoline isn't much of a factor.

As I'm heading to work & looking to avoid a shower before changing, I take it easy on the way in: it normally takes about 20 minutes (I have done it in under 10 minutes).

My gf gave me a Cannondale Adventure 400 a few years back & it is still mostly stock. I've added lights & an odormeter/computer. I keep saying I should put a rack on it but just end up using a messenger bag to carry a change of clothes.

I do not wear spandex bike shorts.

vote-for6vote-against

In addition to a good helmet, it is also good to carry a small tire pump or canned air (not sure of the correct term), a small cloth in case of rain to dry things off, maybe a water bottle holder too for the warmer days. A horn or bell is good too, especially if you will be around pedestrians.

Though I do not commute for work outside the home, if I am not walking, I am using a bicycle to run daily errands. I always take my backpack and I have attached extra reflectors and an LED light to the rear of the bicycle to use after dusk so cars can see me better. I pick them up at the dollar store and they last for months w/ daily use.

Good luck, that is quite a distance. But I am sure your heart and physique will be happy with the choice.

vote-for5vote-against

I bike 9 miles round trip to work every day. I don't actually currently have a car, so I bike despite weather (thankfully this winter was incredibly easy in New England!). I bike or walk for most errands, too.

I have a good helmet, a mount for my iPhone (2/3 of my ride is on bike paths, so I listen to podcasts), reflectors (need LED lights, but I don't ride in the dark currently), a basket, a water bottle, a first aid kit in my bag, and a bell. I want a "rat trap" in the back, but haven't had the cash recently. I also need to learn how to fix a flat, but until then I check the air pressure once a week.

I put a change of pants in my bag each day (keep a back up skirt at work), keep dress shoes at work, and in the summer change my shirt, too.

Enjoy! Biking is a wonderful way to get to work!

vote-for3vote-against

@kophia: I'm good on a helmet - a decent shape bell model with a visor - It's kept my noggin safe for years now. I keep a small pump in my backpack(though I should mount it on my mt bike). I don't have a bottle cage, but I plan on picking one or two up. I've got a flasher/reflector and a reflective belt attached to my backpack - light on the front that I set to strobe. My most recent edition was some green nite ize wheel lights that assist drivers to see me front the side (perpendicular). http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DZMAAY/ref=oh_o02_s01_i00_details

Thanks for the tips.

vote-for2vote-against

@phoenixgirrl: For your phone mount, do you just turn it on speaker or do you have an ear bud in curiously? (I might look into it since a good chunk of the area I'm moving too has bike trails.)

What's the "rat trap"? I'm guessing a basket/panier set on the back? I've got a rack on the back of my mountain bike, and I'll probably get a rack and set of saddlebag/panniers for my commuter bike (something ideally that could hold a set of combat boots, uniform, shower gear, and school supplies if possible. I'll still use a backpack if I can't fit everything, but it'd be nice to unload some of it)

Any recommendations on clothing for inclimate days? Right now I just ride in my uniform because my commute is short (~1.5 miles), but I generally don't ride during inclimate weather.

---------------------
Does anyone out there use studded tires and ride through the winter?

vote-for3vote-against

From some of the quick research I've done, it seems like a hybrid bike is probably better for commuting than a road bike. Would this be a safe assumption?

vote-for1vote-against

get a good health plan, aflac, and a good death & dismemberment policy.

vote-for2vote-against

@atomicorange: That is situational. If your commute is on roads that are well paved and well setup for bicycles, you might want to save weight (and energy invested*) and go for a road bike. On the other hand if you're going through pothole city then you may want to consider a hybrid or even a mountain bike. Of course it also comes down to what you're comfortable riding.

I would recommend above all other things that you get a good rear rack for your bike so you don't have to carry things on your back. Easier on your back, better for visibility and reaction, and you won't have a huge sweat mark when you get in. You can often put your bike lock (if you need one) on your rack as well.

I'd also recommend two bottle cages. Maybe keep one empty in case you need to buy a bottle of whatever, and keep your bottle in the other.

*Road bikes generally have less knobby - and hence lower rolling resistance - tires. Of course that is easy enough to change yourself...

vote-for2vote-against

Also, choose your route carefully. Google maps will give you the most direct route for a bicycle, but that might not be your best choice. Consider hills, traffic, speed limits, visibility, and most importantly driver behaviors in any given area. There are some road features that seem to drive a significant portion of the population to suddenly believe they are qualifying at Talladega...

After all, if you don't survive a collision with a car, it doesn't matter who was in the wrong as you won't have any way to collect compensation. I hate to be morbid but I live in a town that is overrun with epically bad drivers. If people in your home town regularly manage to flip cars over on warm, clear, sunny days, you might want to reconsider as well.

vote-for1vote-against

@lparsons42: The area I'm moving to I would guess actually has good roads, lots of seperated bike paths - near a town that calls itself the "Bicycle Capital of the Midwest". I haven't actually seen the roads yet, but I would guess they're decent.

I'll admit, I've never actually tried a road bike before, I've always rode on my mt bike - big knobby tires, lots of effort, heavy, etc. So the prospect of a bike that's sleek, lightweight and fast sounds fun. If I ever hit an area that's really rough roads, I can always switch back to the mt bike.

I don't typically use my mt bike for much off-roading anyway. I'll go on the occaisional trail, but realistically - I don't have any suspension and I'm not really confident on jumping over larger logs, small drops, etc. I've effectively used it on hiking trails/paths, and the potholed streets of New Orleans and other areas.

Thanks for the advice on other drives, I always try to be hyper-aware because I'm very untrusting of other drivers.