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Thread: The General Commuting Thread

  1. #1
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    Default The General Commuting Thread

    Place I'm at has a shower, and I've been saying for years that if I work somewhere with a shower, I'm going to cycle to work. Now, that comes with a caveat, I've never cycled to work.

    I have a mediocre mountain bike (hardtail) that I hardly ever use, but don't think it'll be adequate (unless I'm told otherwise).

    Trip will be about 10-12 km one way, 99% Bow River Pathway, pretty level except one hill right by my place.

    What do I need to know? I've done some minor research, but nothing too crazy. Bike types (new vs used), equipment I need to carry daily, etc, i'll take all advice for it, or links to good information. Maybe a bit strange to ask on a car forum...

  2. #2
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    Get a tune-up, get some smoother road tires on and try it our first?

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    When I first started biking into work, I too had a mediocre, mid-90s model hardtail that I bought when I was in Jr. High. It took me a few hours of maintenance (all self taught via youtube) and after a few times of biking in, I eventually updated all the components on the bike to make it worth easily twice as much (original retail price that is) as what I bought it for! That ultimately led to my wife's displeasure of me now owning 3 bikes: the aforementioned hardtail, a road bike, along with a recent addition, a new full-susp bike. By the way, you don't need smooth road tires for your rig just yet; your standard mountain bike tires are sufficient until you want to improve your times.

    Anyway, my ride into work was similar to yours. About 12 km one way from home into downtown, 99% Bow River Pathway, and just one small hill at the beginning of my ride. My first ride 3 years ago took me about 1.5 hrs! I eventually lowered that time to about 45 mins consistently and could have done it in just over 30 mins on the road bike if there's limited other cyclists on the road and little wind gusts.

    For daily carry, at the very least have a patch kit/spare tube, a tire pump, a bike lock, and basic bike tools (buy one of those multi-tools from MEC for ~$40). If you're planning on commuting in all weather types, be sure to bring some rain gear with you. Don't forget your water! I'd also consider a pannier rack and decent waterproof pannier packs to pack your work clothes and tools in. Otherwise, have fun and try not to piss off too many beyonders while riding on the bike lanes!
    Last edited by mo_money2supe; 08-19-2015 at 10:24 AM.

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    I think you're overthinking this. It's just 10-12km on a paved path with plenty of traffic, not some backroads in the middle of nowhere. I just pack my lunch, a change of clothes and a towel, some tunes, sunglasses, and if I'm going anywhere after work, a lock.

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    Definitely overthinking it. Tuck your laces into your shoes and hit the road. If I'm bringing a lunch I'll throw it in a messenger bag. Leave the lock chained to your office bike rack so you don't need to carry that. If you're worried about flats just throw a spare tire tube and co2 air pump into one of those seatpost bags.

    I never needed to worry about showering/change of clothes because I live close, and you shouldn't be going crazy fast on the pathway anyway. 12km might be a bit different than my 3 though haha

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    Buys some really cheap tires and put them on your mountain bike to get started. Unless you want a new bike anyway, then just buy a new bike

    Cheap Front and rear lights from MEC, along with a bell. Extra Tube + tire levers and CO2 or Pump. $12 multitool from Mec.

    I usually end up driving in one day a week, I bring the weeks supply of clothes in on that day and take the last weeks home. If you don't want to drive, just use a backpack to start.

    I started at the beginning of last summer, I've lost a ton of weight. Haven't really saved any money on parking since I've bought a Carbon Road Bike, Cross bike and a Fatbike in the last year

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    Make sure you take some time to get a proper saddle height..

    Really easy way to get a long term knee injury, especially if you're just getting back into it after a while.

    Also download Strava! I found keeping track of your rides gives you motivation after a long week of biking, since you always want to keep your weekly pace up.

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    Just ride what you've got to start.

    Simple hard-tail mountain bike is perfect for now. First season I bike commuted, I did so on a simple old hard-tail and drove part was to Edworthy. Then extended the distance to bike all the way from home and invested in a better all-season commuter.

    I take a back pack with a change of clothes, and shower/change when I get in. Lock stays at work, dress shoes stay at work. Keep an extra set of clothes at work as you will forget something eventually.

    Have rain gear / sunscreen / toiletries in the pack. Sunglasses, and clear lenses for rainy/overcast days.

    It gets easier as it becomes routine, and faster as your fitness improves. ~40-45 mins door-to-door for me from the far NW over Nose Hill (Symons Valley).

    Bike will need front and rear lights, fenders, and a tool kit / spare tube / pump or CO2. Might want a back pack cover for rainy days.
    Last edited by CLiVE; 08-19-2015 at 11:22 AM.

  9. #9
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    Just ride what you have.

    I started with a 10 year old MB with a tune-up. Realized I could go faster on my road bike (which happened to be a carbon race bike that was 8 years old).

    I've ridden 5,500 kms since I started riding to work.

    Try it for a week or two before you go and spend money only to have your new bike sit in the garage.

    Also, unless you sweat just standing, you won't need to shower at work unless you are trying to get a workout. I "coast" into work and then the real work is on the way home (I live in Aspen and have to climb broadcast hill).

    I've been slacking this year, but I still ride 2-3 day a week.

    https://www.strava.com/athletes/1040767

  10. #10
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    thanks guys..any reccs on a tuneup shop in south calgary, I'm in deer ridge

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    Cyclepath, Pedalhead..... or just do it yourself. Unless your bike is in really bad shape, it shouldn't be that difficult. Check your derailleurs, brakes, condition of cables, clean and lube.....might as well change out the tubes too if they are old.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by benyl
    I "coast" into work and then the real work is on the way home (I live in Aspen and have to climb broadcast hill).

    Which way do you take home?

    I live in the west part of Strathcona and agree, biking to downtown is quite nice as it's downhill.

    Coming home is rough. I usually go on the bike path along Princess Island Park, through Edworthy Park, up the Edworthy park hill which pops me out at Sarcee and Bow. Finally up Broadcast hill via the bike path. By the time I get home, I'm wiped.

    My bike is only a 7 speed, but if there is an easier way to go, I'd like to hear it.

  13. #13
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    I used to go up edworthy, but that basically makes the second half of the ride home all up hill.

    I go up the trail beside the shag golf course. This breaks up the climb and allows me to recover on Spruce Drive.

    https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/51.04...d038e0!1m0!3e1

  14. #14
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    Do you take that unpaved path regularly on your road bike? I did that once on my skinny tires, kinda sketchy lol.

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    Wow, my normal commute from home to work is 25kms each way. Evanston to downtown is a pretty nice ride..

    But yes, ride what you have before you go spending on a new bike.

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    Originally posted by lilmira
    Do you take that unpaved path regularly on your road bike? I did that once on my skinny tires, kinda sketchy lol.
    Yes. With the rain we had, the path is all f'd up, but you can still find the hard pack parts.

  17. #17
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    I ride a $600 Jamis bike and it works fine. It's no cadillac so if I was doing long haul rides every day I'd probably be watching pinkbike for an upgrade, but as it is the pedals turn the wheels and that's all you really need.

  18. #18
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    Well, first bike ride done today (only 6 months later!)

    11 km, 33:41. We'll see how the big ass hill goes on way home

  19. #19
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    Good luck on the way home, the big ass hills are great training.

    I'm going to give up my parking spot May 1st and fully commit to cycling again.

  20. #20
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    I'm gonna try riding my bike to work this summer, may be once a week.
    24k each way, I'll fart on my way to contribute my share of carbon foot print.

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