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52

I spent the last two years as a backcountry ranger, in Northern California. There, I wore a backpack almost every day. Now I am a bicycle commuter in Sacramento and I choose panniers first, a messenger bag second, and the backpack a distant third. There are three reasons why the backpack is my last choice in this list. Any bag I carry ends up being ...


47

Some important skills for commuters: Looking directly behind you without turning. This is a surprisingly difficult skill to master. When a rider looks directly backwards, it is common to turn in the direction they twisted their head. It takes a lot of practice to make resisting that turning automatic. The importance of looking behind you in traffic should ...


35

Yes, definitely -- if you're riding on mostly paved roads, switch to bald-ish tires. Rolling resistance is huge and equates directly to effort, though as you start going really fast it is dwarfed by air and gravity of course. Per the graph here: However, one caution: road tires tend to be skinny, and you probably want fat-but-bald tires instead. If you go ...


29

It is possible, but only in certain conditions. I live in a tropical country, so, 20 degrees centigrade is considered cold here. My conmute to work is almost flat, with only one climb, something a very steep 300 meters. If it were not for that, I'd be able to get to the office almost completely dry. What's the trick? I use a hardtail mountain bike with a ...


25

How to mount a curb. (kerb?) Start with your bike. With enough skill, you can go up a tall curb without damaging the bike. But as novice, make it easier on yourself. Remove extra weight. Backpack, panniers, etc. Remove lose items. Water bottles come to mind. Flat bars are easier. Fat tires protect your wheels when you make a mistake. Prerequisites It ...


24

Get a Bright Bike kit from brightthread.com: Bright Bike DIY kits cover your bicycle in easy-to-apply design-savvy ultra reflective vinyl for safety. It is like covering your bike with a big stickers that turn ultra-bright in headlights. The retroreflective vinyl is the same material used on the backs of running shoes, but with colors. The kits greatly ...


24

Equipment/Accessories: Fenders — keep you dry if it's rained recently. I prefer the "full-coverage" kind with a mudflap, but anything that keeps you from getting a stripe up your back is probably sufficient. Regular platform pedals (or even better: BMX style pedals) - clips or clipless and frequent stops don't go well together and might mean needing ...


24

I'm currently a senior in high school, so I understand your concern about style. In my opinion, and that of all my friends, wearing lycra shorts to school looks ridiculous, no offense. I don't know how far your commute is, but when I take my road bike to school, it's only 3 miles, so I just wear regular shorts and bring another t-shirt I can throw on so I'm ...


24

Rob, you are correct that a heavier bike will give you a greater fitness benefit over the same distance. The only real counter-point I have is that the most effective bikes for fitness are the ones that get ridden. So, if some reason a lighter bike would more fun or appealing to you (while still be a "good enough" commuter), than a lighter bike could be a ...


23

The primary reason why bike messengers use messenger bags is that you don't have to take them off to load or unload them. If you're continually picking things up and dropping things off all day, you don't want to be faffing about taking a backpack on and off all the time. A secondary reason is that the flat rectangular shape of a messenger bag is more ...


22

Mostly it depends on where and how far you commute, and road conditions (sandy, snow, salt etc etc). At a minimum what I do is: Daily: check tire air pressure. Weekly: Check brake pad wear, tire wear, clean/wipe down entire bike Monthly: Check chain tension, chainring/cogs for wear, lube chain, adjust brakes, oil all pivot points on derailleurs, brakes ...


22

My opinion: I don't believe you can effectively draft and have enough time to stop. I don't know the exact aerodynamics (and I suspect it's affected by speed and wind), but if you watch any paceline or peleton, they're never more than a couple feet (about half a meter) behind the rider in front, often only a few inches (centimeters) behind. With a ...


20

Here I'll summarize everyone else's answers (because of all the Q+A scattered through in the comments), with some additional information that I got elsewhere from reading inspired by people's answers. Wheels+tires: 700 x (28 - 38, maybe ~30), tires; slicks or light treads, not knobbly. The larger wheel makes it faster (because of 'gearing') and the ride a ...


20

I try to put out a constant amount of effort no matter what slope I'm on: A constant 'cadence' of 60 to 90 RPM (that's how fast you spin the pedals) A constant force on the pedals The useful energy you put in is proportional to a product of the force multiplied by the cadence: spinning faster at the same force results in more energy input. To keep my ...


20

For safety reasons I prefer to be behind them. That way I can position myself on the road slightly further out then they are. This forces any overtaking vehicles to negotiate past me first and makes them provide a little more breathing space for my child in front. It certainly seems to prevent them trying to squeeze past.


20

I'd maybe ask the cyclists themselves - maybe ask them to bring useful spares and have an amount of petty cash on hand to reimburse them. They might be able to bring in old lights (let's face it many of us always leap to the newest kit and have drawers full of old kit lying around). The basic tool set should include tyre levers, an adjustable ...


20

Even a short sprint or uphill effort can make a big difference in how sweaty I am when I get to the office. Maintain a consistently low effort, using low gears for any uphills. Panniers are good, since backpacks and messenger bags not only insulate, but also hold your shirt directly against your sweaty back. Often I'll put my shirt in my pannier and just ...


20

In general panniers are more comfortable and efficient than carrying weight on your body. There are some things to be aware of, however. Safety. Every time you set off, make absolutely sure that all the pannier straps are done up. Apart from things falling out, the last thing you want is a loose strap getting caught in the spokes. This can wreak a wheel, ...


19

Short answer: Yes. You will notice a significant difference immediately by moving to a proper road tire. Unless you are doing significant amounts of riding of that bike on dirt or mud, you are better off going with the gators. Those tires are pretty tough and will do well even if you have some of your commute on gravel. (I have these on my commuter bike)


19

18km a day is not far, as long as you have an OK fitness level to start with and no health issues, it is certainly achievable, but... You will not get any rest days. I was once told, you do not get fit exercising, you get fit recovering. If you ride 5 days a week, there's no recovery time. This could lead to problems since each day's effort is stressing ...


18

My bike service guys wrote a blog article along these lines. You may find it useful. The article recommends four principals for basic bike care. These are Keep your tyres pumped If it lives outside, use it. An unused bike exposed to the elements will fairly quickly rust & seize up Lubricate - little & often, less is more Check your cables and bring ...


18

I'm not a commuter, but I believe in putting something that must not be forgotten next to something that might be forgotten. For instance, I would put my bike gloves on top of my water bottles. (I do the same thing when I have people over to visit. If there's something in the fridge that I want them to take home, I put their car keys in the fridge on top ...


18

You can probably change the stem to something shorter with more rise and not have anything else to change. This may be enough to relieve the back pressure and the drop bars will give you more hand positions which I've always found easier on my carpal tunnel. Changing the handle bars to flat bars will mean you have to get a set of shifters and brake levers ...


18

I should imagine you should be looking for some reflective gloves. Or even some glo gloves Check these out as an example ... http://lifehacker.com/395978/glo-gloves-reflective-cycling-gear Also using a good reflective jacket that has good reflective strips down the arms is useful.


17

Seems to me that your best option is choice 2: Signal to the left in advance of running out of the lane, check for a reasonable gap in the cars while still moving, and merge into that gap once you've determined that it's safe. In that option you are essentially behaving like exactly what you are - a slow moving vehicle. Your behavior is like what you would ...


17

There was a post on this subject on The Guardian Bike Blog. I think there are a couple of issues with drafting random cyclists: it could be unsafe, particularly if they don't realise you're doing it. some people will object to being drafted - it can be considered an invasion of your personal space. I think your best bet is to ask before drafting, then ...


17

Is it legal? That depends on the country's traffic laws and on the exact layout of the intersection. The traffic laws that I am familiar with (Denmark, Austria) indicate that the bicyclist you describe was wrong to overtake a right-turning car on the car's right side. If there is a bike lane that extends through the intersection, then AFAIK the cyclist ...


17

A scientific Journal, Chest Journal, published an article about the efficiency of heat exchange masks on asthmatic subjects during cold weather exercise. They found that the heat exchanger masks were at least as effective as pre-treatment with albuterol in preventing decline in lung function. I found several commercial heat exchange masks which could ...


16

The easiest way to submit data is to right-click on the map and choose "Report a problem". This pops up a small form with a marker. You drag the marker where the problem is, and you pick a category and type something to explain the problem. In a few days, a human being reads it and (assuming he/she agrees) fixes it. For instance, Google Maps would send ...


16

In my experience, no. The problem is that however polite you try to be you're taking the lane so you're in their way. My commute takes me over a narrow one-lane-each-way bridge that's a bit of a choke point, so it's busy. It's also a raised bridge, so sight lines are very poor. Since I ride it twice a day I've had the chance to experiment with some ...



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