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LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
EDIT: Another good commuter discussion thread -- http://www.ridemonkey.com/forums/showthread.php?t=202207


This thread will contain all commuter discussion for now. That includes bike recommendations to accessories for surviving a brutal winter to your daily commute.

If this thread gets large, we can ask the Roadie Moderator to split it into appropriate discussion!

Let's do this thing!

1. How long is your commute? Hills, etc?
I'd enjoy hearing the details about everyone's commute.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
Here's my commuter...



I've since wrapped the coil cord tightly up against the head tube to keep the light and battery pack all up front. And I moved the pump to the seat tube.

I've ordered airfree tires and will post a review once I get them. Looking forward to not ever getting a flat while commuting.

I also purchased Planet Bike fenders this past weekend, but they weren't wide enough to accomodate the Specialized Armadillo tires -- which have been awesome! I'm keeping the fenders since the airfree tires are supposedly 20c and should fit easily.

I encourage commuters to go single speed for a variety of reasons:
1. simpler drivetrain, less to go wrong... when it comes to commuting, I'm all about maintainance-free whenever possible.
2. much better work out. It has forced me to spin better on the 'downhills' and climb better on the 'hills'. My legs feel noticeable stronger in just three weeks.


Eventually improvements, maybe:
-- dynohub for unlimited lighting without worrying about rechargeable batteries.
-- chainglider... encloses the drivetrain, but only works with 38t or 44t rings and 19-20t cogs. So I'd have to swap out the front crank, ugh. But it looks so very cool and having ring, chain, and cog all inside a case is very appealing.
-- windshield. just kiding.
 

James

Carbon Porn Star
Sep 11, 2001
3,559
0
Danbury, CT
Hot! Though I will admit that those bars really don't do it for me, but to each their own.
Couple of questions:
1. How long is your commute? Hills, etc?
2. What is the gearing? The next bike is going to be an SS, just not sure what gears are working best for around-town stuff.
3. Airfree huh? Hmm, I think that they have a bit more rolling resistance, but I certainly wouldn't want to get a flat in the winter.

Here's my current one, and yes I've since finished it. I was doing the commute in Monterey, so no real problems with horrible weather. New place I will have to deal with a bit more snow/cold, so will make some changes, esp. the front wheel.
I just have a Planet Bike 1-LED front light, and a 3-LED rear on there right now. I have a nice Marwi (I think) light, super-duper sweet, but honestly I'm not sure where all the charging plugs are. Hmm. My commute now is only about 5 miles each way, but it'll be a lot nicer come Nov. 1st.


Here's it before the couple of changes. Fork was waaaaay too flexy though.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
1. How long is your commute? Hills, etc?

Great question for everyone to answer!


My commute is seven miles each way. Almost none of it is flat. I'd say there is one steep hill, about 0.25mile, 7-8%, otherwise the rest of it is half 3% 'climb', the other half about the same 'downhill'.

Hot! Though I will admit that those bars really don't do it for me, but to each their own.
2. What is the gearing? The next bike is going to be an SS, just not sure what gears are working best for around-town stuff.
3. Airfree huh? Hmm, I think that they have a bit more rolling resistance, but I certainly wouldn't want to get a flat in the winter.
I like the bars. If I ever got back into mtb seriously, I'd have to do something different as I just don't like flatbars, even with bar ends.

2. 42-16... just tough enough to give me a good work-out.

3. All the claims about airfree tires seem to be outdated. I found so few reviews about the newer generation tires. The few I found said they found no noticeable difference in resistance or harshness. It seems that people are referencing outdated reviews, so I've ordered some.

My commute now is only about 5 miles each way, but it'll be a lot nicer come Nov. 1st.

Here's it before the couple of changes. Fork was waaaaay too flexy though.
How will it become nicer?

How as it flexy? Truth is, I'm not 100% sure what people mean by that or how it affects ride quality. All my roadies have been kind of burly steel.
 

ire

Turbo Monkey
Aug 6, 2007
6,199
4
Why does JJ always have the most killer bikes?? My commute is two miles, completely flat. I normally ride my cross bike to work since it can handle most anything. We rarely get snow, mostly rain so its not too rough.
 

James

Carbon Porn Star
Sep 11, 2001
3,559
0
Danbury, CT

Great question for everyone to answer!


My commute is seven miles each way. Almost none of it is flat. I'd say there is one steep hill, about 0.25mile, 7-8%, otherwise the rest of it is half 3% 'climb', the other half about the same 'downhill'.


I like the bars. If I ever got back into mtb seriously, I'd have to do something different as I just don't like flatbars, even with bar ends.

2. 42-16... just tough enough to give me a good work-out.

3. All the claims about airfree tires seem to be outdated. I found so few reviews about the newer generation tires. The few I found said they found no noticeable difference in resistance or harshness. It seems that people are referencing outdated reviews, so I've ordered some.


How will it become nicer?

How as it flexy? Truth is, I'm not 100% sure what people mean by that or how it affects ride quality. All my roadies have been kind of burly steel.
Cool, I'm interested to see your experience with the tires. I will admit that it has been a long while since I've had any experience with them.
I currently have some Conti 'cross tires on there, but will be swapping them out for some of these (on different wheels):

Vredestein Carraterra.
Wire bead, but great anti-flat resistance, great in not so perfect conditions.
Come Nov 1st the commute will be about 1.6 miles each way, maybe 2 if I take the "back way," so really no excuses.

The fork wasn't so bad, but when I really honked on the front brake, it was a little spooky to see the legs flex backwards. Not really under most conditions, but I wouldn't ride it offroad or anything. Then again, I'm a little bigger than the average rider. The Easton is rock solid though.


Why does JJ always have the most killer bikes?? My commute is two miles, completely flat. I normally ride my cross bike to work since it can handle most anything. We rarely get snow, mostly rain so its not too rough.
Hey man, I've been in the industry for pretty much my entire life, and you tend to collect a lot of nice stuff. You should've seen what I threw/gave away before moving about 2 years ago.
The pay isn't always the best, but you usually have a nice quiver of bikes. The downside is less time to ride. But at least I can sit in my garage and look at them, eh?

My commute now is a little under 5 miles, no "real" hills to speak of, but a pretty decent little false flat. The new one will be pretty flat for the most part.
 

Heidi

Der hund ist laut und braun
Aug 22, 2001
10,167
728
Bend, Oregon
I don't have pics of any of my commuters - I'll have to get some up. What I ride depends on what I'm doing for lunch and after work, as well as what the weather is like or what way I'm riding to work. I am fortunate to have lots of options of bikes as well since I've kept everything I've has from my sponsorships. woohoo
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,539
3,012
my commute's 4 miles, mostly downhill on the way into the hospital. half of it is on the burke-gilman, and the half before that is a fun jaunt trading paint with the cars on a 30 mph limit arterial.

the only remarkable thing about my commuter (2000 klein quantum race) is that the rolf wheels have stood up to many bunnyhopped curbs, and that i run fenders since yes, it does rain in seattle:

 

SPINTECK

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2005
1,370
0
abc
my communte is 19.08 miles, rolling Pennsylvania with a few 3/4 mile hills.

I ride my BMC road bike because I've had multiple bikes in the past and find that I just need to get used to one and then I ride it into the ground.

I ride 700X20 Michelin Krylion tires and have had no flats, even at my portly weight of 160 (which fat for a 5' 4" roadie, I usually get down to 150 mid season). Skinny tires make me feel fast and are light. THe Krylion tires are great, but I do have a layer of velox.

I only commute 1 or 2 times at most because I work nights and it's hard for me to look forward to a 20mile midnight ride.
 

SPINTECK

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2005
1,370
0
abc
Ouch! Which is a bigger danger, drunks at night or wildlife? Do you have deer on your route?

I don't ride on Friday nights and I only see about 10 cars- it's actually safer at night than during the day on the one busy road segment I take.

I see deer all the time- never hit one. My buddy just nailed a deer at night last week at what he claimed was 30mph. He's another short wrestler type, so he didn't break anything, but was very sore.

Hitting a deer was my worst fear when riding my motorcycle years back.now I rather ride my bike- must be maturing.
 

SPINTECK

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2005
1,370
0
abc
One time I road in and thought I was going to work through a big storm. By midnight it should have easily passed through. Well, my plan didn't work and I couldn't justify having the wife drive with the baby to pick me up that late.

SO I sucked it up and road home in a July thundershower. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Like being baptised by warm rain under fire works skies. It was my fastest average this year 21.3mph. I'll never forget it.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,185
17
TN
Uh, here is my commuter bike...

...you may notice that this is also my road bike. My ride in is about 12 miles and fairly hilly. The only real commuter-ish mods Ive made is to put on an MTB cassette, but Id maybe like to get some fenders.
Im considering getting a differnt bike altogether, like a Surly LHT, that way I can run some panniers and also use the bike for fishing trips.
 

BikeMike

Monkey
Feb 24, 2006
784
0
The bike:



Highlights:
  • Bike cost $23.50
  • AirZound horn scares the crap out of me early in the morning. Sometimes it stops boneheads from running me over too.
  • Fenders!
  • Rebuilt the rear wheel after destroying the old rim hopping curbs and stairs at college. Though the college commute was always short, it claimed on average >1 rear wheel/year.
  • Kick @ss grocery bag pannier
  • the rack is pretty awesome
  • Special feature right pedal: extra short to prevent excessive ground buzzing
  • Doesn't look shiny
 

BikeMike

Monkey
Feb 24, 2006
784
0
The project bike:

Not bad for a garage sale special:


Still needs a few things, but it's looking decent:

The new hoods had to be shaved to fit (thank you Shimano). Cork tape came from the same garage sale. Unfortunately no pics from before it was cleaned up.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
Today's commute was brutal. An average of 14mph headwind with some serious gusts thrown in.

I hate wind more than hail, snow, rain, or brutal heat.
 

James

Carbon Porn Star
Sep 11, 2001
3,559
0
Danbury, CT
Today's commute was brutal. An average of 14mph headwind with some serious gusts thrown in.

I hate wind more than hail, snow, rain, or brutal heat.
Wind is the absolute worst! Like when you have to pedal to go down a hill, can't coast.

Rain I actually like. There is something perverse about riding your bike when everyone else is bundled up in their cars, trying to stay dry. One of the reasons I loved living in Monterey, you were bound to get at least some fog on your rides, knee/arm warmers were part of the usual kit.

Now I have some sweet-ass heated insoles for my shoes in the winter, heat the front of your foot (where it counts) to ~100 degrees. Now all I need is a wind booty for even the colder days, no more huge shoe covers. Best thing ever.
Hell, I've come back from rides with icicles sticking straight off the back of my shoes and my feet weren't uncomfortable.
 

James

Carbon Porn Star
Sep 11, 2001
3,559
0
Danbury, CT
Agreed! I have people look at me like I'm crazy, kind of fun.


WTF?

you... must... post... details!
Soooooo great:
http://sidiusa.com/toaster.html


A little spendy, but they really pay for themselves as your feet don't become completely numb, and you don't have to bundle them with 2' of padding to make 'em work...

They're based on cellphone battery tech, so they have about a ~6 hour runtime, depending on temp. They will shut off when they reach 100 degrees, so your feet don't suffocate in the heat. Have a little wireless remote to turn them on and off, waterproof, really, really fantastic.
You'll get about 600 or so charges out of them too...
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
that is fockin' awesome!

Not sure I need that here in Denver, but if it stays cold long enough that I get sick of my neoprene boots, I'll be looking at that.

(that's the kind of gear that needs posting in our new sticky commuter thread :))
 

James

Carbon Porn Star
Sep 11, 2001
3,559
0
Danbury, CT
that is fockin' awesome!

Not sure I need that here in Denver, but if it stays cold long enough that I get sick of my neoprene boots, I'll be looking at that.

(that's the kind of gear that needs posting in our new sticky commuter thread :))
Isn't this the sticky commuter thread??? :huh:

Denver? Doesn't it get super cold there? They're soooo rad. I had to get some mega (wide) Sidis to fit them in properly, but that wasn't really a problem for me. Plus they're black, which is a lot better for the wetter conditions.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
Isn't this the sticky commuter thread??? :huh:
sorry for my convolusions... :D

Yes, this is said thread.

Denver? Doesn't it get super cold there?
Not really. Maybe you're thinking of the ski resorts up in the mountains? I guess it depends upon your definitions of "super cold"?

Coldest month is typically January and the overnight lows get down to the high teens, with day time highs in mid-40s.

So typical morning commute is about 25*F? Is that super cold?
 

James

Carbon Porn Star
Sep 11, 2001
3,559
0
Danbury, CT
Not really. Maybe you're thinking of the ski resorts up in the mountains? I guess it depends upon your definitions of "super cold"?

Coldest month is typically January and the overnight lows get down to the high teens, with day time highs in mid-40s.

So typical morning commute is about 25*F? Is that super cold?
25* is pretty damn cold, but it depends on each person's view. I think that at 25* I would not really ride without them, but then again, I don't have some gnarly winter booties.
I was in SoCal for 10 years, so 50* was freezing there, but I grew up in the Northeast, Montreal area and NY, so I understand winter.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
In my fantasy world, a dynohub could power those sidi insoles through a connection in the pedal via the cleat.

Oh, also heated hand grips :)

Basically, I want a motorcycle powered by me.
 

SPINTECK

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2005
1,370
0
abc
Unlike the booties, if your crotch gets cold you could probably take and insole out and move to area needed most:)
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
Am I ever going to stop sweating?

This morning's commute: moderately windy, 45°F... In addition to my summer attire, I had leg warmers and a wind vest. That's it, not even a skull cap. Still got to work a bit sweaty.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
First for everything... between traffic flows and the fact that I couldn't ride vehicularly due to 18 mph headwinds, I wound up riding through a construction zone... through recently poured concrete.

Oops.

Probably psychological, but boy did my tires feel heavy afterwards :D
 

SilentJ

trail builder
Jun 17, 2002
1,312
0
Calgary AB
My commuter:


1998 Norco Bigfoot w/ original fork, headset, BB, front wheel, and seatpost. I've got close to 10,000kms on this unit. I keep looking at Kona's CX and road offerings to get on some big wheels, but if it ain't broke...

I used to run it SS with only a RH front brake, but since moving to the 'burbs I see way more road miles and a giant hill where I kept breaking chains.

Commute is either 8 miles or 20 miles each way. I do the 20 miler if I dont have anything going on in the evening and it's going to be my exercise for the day. I'll drive to the 8 miler parking lot and commute from there if I've got stuff going on or just generally have the laze. I rock the river pathway for the 8 miles either way and add 12 miles of road on the long commute.

I just throw my work clothes in a backpack. shirt, tie, etc... I shower at a gym downtown where I have a membership. The gym also provides parkade parking for people with bikes so they stay out of the weather and are generally secure. (my office building wont allow bikes)

Absolutely everyone on the pathway feels like it's their right to draft you without reciprocating...allows me to get 2-3 sprints in per trip. Maybe if I switched to the big wheels I'd just be faster than these douches and wouldnt have to be annoyed by it?
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
So my airfree tires came today. I put them on and rode home.

So far, I like 'em!

One tire feels out of true and I'm getting some wobble. Also, not sure if it's not round or if there's just a dead spot. I'm hoping that as I use them, they'll break in. But the issue isn't enough to bother exchanging them. Besides, I'm not sure how I'd even get them off :D

As for comments from people about harsh or squishy, wrong. If they are, you bought the wrong PSI tire.

...to get on some big wheels...
Why?
 

SilentJ

trail builder
Jun 17, 2002
1,312
0
Calgary AB
Do I really have to make up excuses to get a new bike? :busted:

It's really so that I have a more road oriented ride. The bigfoot works for commuting, but it isnt the most comfortable and probably not the greatest in the efficiency department. I'd like to get out and put some road miles in.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
Do I really have to make up excuses to get a new bike? :busted:
amen!

When the insurance money came in for my stolen roadie, my wife said, "hey, you can get at least two new bikes with that!" (I love her so much)

Thing is, during my research in 26" vs 700c, well, if you get narrow enough 26" rims with 'road' tires, there isn't a difference in efficiency or speed.
 

James

Carbon Porn Star
Sep 11, 2001
3,559
0
Danbury, CT
Commuter frame idea?
So I had been planning on building up a Surly Steamroller with some Nitto 3spd bars, front basket, totally sweet grocery-getter/commuter. Singlespeed (not fixed) with Surly track hubs.
But...a set of wheels recently came into my life that I would much rather use, so my plan has changed somewhat. They're disc-hubbed, 700c rims, and (I'm pretty sure) they're 130mm spacing.
So, something like a cross frame, yes? I could probably get away with using my Sibex ti fork on that, since it wouldn't have too hard a life, though I'm not sure if I can mount a rack onto it.
Any ideas on frame? I'm thinking I'd still like to build it as an SS, for simplicity, but I suppose I could use a rear derailleur possibly.
Still like to keep the look of the bike simple
 

splat

Nam I am
Soooooo great:
http://sidiusa.com/toaster.html


A little spendy, but they really pay for themselves as your feet don't become completely numb, and you don't have to bundle them with 2' of padding to make 'em work...

They're based on cellphone battery tech, so they have about a ~6 hour runtime, depending on temp. They will shut off when they reach 100 degrees, so your feet don't suffocate in the heat. Have a little wireless remote to turn them on and off, waterproof, really, really fantastic.
You'll get about 600 or so charges out of them too...
Holy crap I have to get me some of those!!!! THat is my Big problem commuting in the winter when it ges below 15 F My toes get tooo cold.

wow they are a little pricey though
 

laura

DH_Laura
Jul 16, 2002
6,260
15
Glitter Gulch
So how do you like the air free tires today? I am interested in getting some. I have got to get fenders. I got away with not having them in Memphis but that won't fly here.

I don't have a commute yet but I am getting kind of nervous. In the city there are bike lanes everywhere but so far all the jobs I've been looking at are in the burbs, and the cycling isn't so friendly out that way. I need to do some more exploring to find some "back roads".