Hot answers tagged

78

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 ...


57

My suggestion would be: Scout and rehearse your route before you start. This is really an exercise in two parts: First part is to determine what your initial routes from home to work and from work to home (not necessarily the same, certainly not in detail) are going to be. And to work out where you're going to secure your bike for the day. Second part ...


55

Occupy enough lane to make cars think twice about 'sneaking' by you. Get fenders even on your nice road bike a wet butt sucks when you ride home and your shorts are cold. Leave early enough to enjoy the view. My best commute I watched 6 eagles in a field 10' away. Wouldn't have been able to stop for a few minutes if I hadn't left early.


54

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 ...


47

As far as I can tell, no. I've been riding 30 minutes or more every workday before breakfast for more than 10 years with no detectable ill effects. When I was riding an hour to work I'd sometimes have a small snack before riding, but only rarely. When I'm cycle touring I'll often ride for an hour before I have breakfast, as that wakes me up and gets me warm, ...


44

I've recently started commuting to work 3 times a week and my commute is about 8 miles each way. I've found if I roll my clothes rather than fold them and pack just before I leave, there are no creases when I get to work. I always put my shoes at the bottom of my bag, then trousers rolled up then shirt. I leave my ties in my desk draw and leave my suit ...


43

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 ...


43

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 ...


40

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 ...


39

My commute was fairly short, so my major burden was the rain. For this I invested in rain proof panniers & waterproof jacket & over-trousers. I had both a summer & winter jacket to make sure I didn't arrive in too hot during summer. I didn't have overshoes, so kept spare socks/shoes at office. I cycled at leisurely pace on way there to avoid ...


38

The obvious few things are: Front light Red rear tail light Spare batteries for said lights Spoke lights/reflectors for improved side visibility Bright clothing, ideally cycling clothing with reflective strips on them.


36

In the past, when I commuted to a job without showers (I've managed to luck out recently) I made sure to: Keep my hair relatively short, as to avoid helmet-hair Get in early enough that I can have a quick wash in a bathroom sink without too many people around to take notice Always bring a full change of clothes Like @curtismchale, leave a pair of 'work' ...


35

If one bike has a rear rack, you can attach the second bike's front wheel with a bunch of bungies and tow it. I've done this, and it worked fine. Now I have a cargo bike, and the towing is simpler:


35

People who are sweating when cycling but not when walking are either cycling in hot weather (worse when steeply uphill with not enough gears), or treating a bicycle as a piece of sports equipment rather than a mode of transportation. When on foot, you walk rather than run. You don't need special clothes for walking or cycling. You do for running or racing....


34

We have had much more success advertising it and doing it through a local bike shop or bike group. Once each, so far, that I've done. I think the psychology behind refusing a gift from a stranger is much as Criggie says. You're some random dude approaching people at night offering second hand lights of unknown provenance. Why are you doing that? What's ...


32

I use a sort of wave, raising my hand but with no movement in it (so not a 'Hey buddy' or 'I need help' side to side movement).... it works on my bicycle, on my motorcycle, and while driving a vehicle. It's got somewhat of a dual purpose: acknowledgement that I did something wrong, and/or 'thanks for letting me in' gratitude gesture. The motorcycle I find a ...


31

I'm not sure how you'd teach it, but I think an ability to relax and just get on with it has made my commute much more pleasant. I ride about 12 miles each way, through some fairly busy bits of London. There are some bike lanes, advanced stop lines, separated paths and all sorts of possible things to confuse the new bike commuter, but the thing that ...


31

I agree with the comments that 9 miles is a not a short ride for somebody not in shape, but you’ll get in shape for it really fast, so you should go for it. Just get ready to be sore in funny places for a couple weeks. You can make your situation better by doing a few things: Buy a road bike instead, assuming you’ll be on pavement. At the very least, ...


30

Be as visible as possible, and assume you are invisible. No matter how much neon spandex and blinky lights you have, some drivers won't notice you until it's too late, especially if it is rainy, getting dark, and their radio is on. ASSUME you are invisible and they are all out to hit you, and ride accordingly.


27

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 ...


27

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 ...


27

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 ...


26

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 ...


26

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 ...


25

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 ...


25

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 spanner/...


25

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 ...


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

Everyone else has offered good advice, but let me point out one simple thing for you: Almost no matter how hot it is or how hard I'm riding, I'm not really sweaty until I stop moving. That's because 1) I'm wearing bike clothes designed to wick moisture and evaporate it quickly, and 2) almost no matter what the weather is doing, while I'm moving I'm headed ...


23

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 ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible