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First bicycle commute today!(19 posts)

First bicycle commute today!Alan B
Apr 2, 2001 9:32 AM
For years I thought I couldn't do it because we have no showers at the office and I'm a 20 mile ride away. But I finally did a "test ride" on a weekend, getting all ready for work except for dress clothes, and discovered that as long as I was completely groomed before I left home, I could get by with a quick clean up at the office after the ride. So far, no one has noticed peculiar oders or helmet hair, so I guess it works! My schedule will allow me to commute by bike twice a week, so I'll have 80 miles under my belt before the weekend while adding maybe an hour or so to my commuting time (less than I spent riding shorter rides in the morning before work). More miles in less total time: What a deal!
My coworkers think it's too much work...Red
Apr 2, 2001 10:02 AM
Usually (time and weather permitting) I ride to work.. only 10 miles, sadly, but that's 100+ miles per week that I otherwise wouldn't get.

My coworkers say "You ride your bike 20 miles every day? Man that's too much work...!" I always reply, "And you sitting in traffic for an hour to drive 20 miles is any easier?" but they never seem to understand. Oh well, their loss. :)
My boss thinks its too dangerous ...Humma Hah
Apr 2, 2001 10:18 AM
... This commute is a paltry one mile each way, on back streets, cutting thru a parking lot to avoid traffic.

Mind you, this same guy is planning to race a 40-foot sailboat to Hawaii this summer, thinks motorcycles should be ridden without a helmet, and wants to fly rockets to Mars.

Go figure.
re: Go figureDog
Apr 3, 2001 6:49 AM
My father always hated anything with a motor, especially motorcycles, and thinks cycling is really dangerous, too. He even thought marathon running was dangerous, being out there next to cars so much.

Yet, when he was a college football coach I vividly recall him yelling at players to hit people hard enough to knock them unconscious, and he was knocked out several times as a player, too (before face masks). He played as an end for Mizzou, including the Orange Bowl in 1960.

Go figure.

yup...i really miss itColnagoFE
Apr 2, 2001 12:04 PM
used to commute 5 miles each way to work...mostly along bike paths. now i work in another city and commuting isn'[t feasible anymore i really miss it. never had to shower either if i dressed right. took my clothes to work in a backpack though sometimes left dress shoes there (we had lockers and a shower) to wear for the week. it is really a great way to wake up and took me about the same amount of time it would have taken to drive as i didn't have to battle traffic.
Every daycyclotourist
Apr 2, 2001 12:11 PM
I teach at an elementary school 4 miles from home, and my goal was to ride every day, come rain, snow, sleet, or hail. So far, so good, haven't missed one yet. I usually just ride in my regular work clothes, unless its raining or snowing, changing out of my cycling shoes and slipping into the regular shoes like Mr. Rogers.

My second (and most memorable!) of the yearlook271
Apr 2, 2001 12:26 PM
I have a 6.7 mile commute. Use my mtb because it's indestructable, plus, when I get on my 17lb Look for my "fun" rides, it feels like about 2 lbs. Found out today that there are women using the men's locker room. OOPS! Free show. I have to shower; I sweat alot when riding, even in the dead of winter. Went to the PO, stopped at the orthodontist's to pay on my daughhter's braces, all in about the same time it would have taken to do this in a car. I really enjoy commuting by bike. I plan to do it more this year; at least 3 days a week (sometimes I work at another hospital and there is no good route there, plus no showers.)
re: First bicycle commute today!curtiso
Apr 2, 2001 12:40 PM
I have been gradually incorporating the bicycle into my everyday life. I started several years ago by commuting to work. I'm a firefighter, so we have lockers and showers at work. I leave EVERYTHING I need for work at work; footwear, toiletries, the dry cleaner picks up and delivers right to the station. When I ride in, I just pack underclothing and some workout gear (gym in the station) in the trunk that locks onto my QR rear rack. I've just switched to CO2 inflators, but I've only had 2 flats in 4 years of commuting. I have found that I only have to wake up about 15 minutes earlier to ride in. Of course, my coworkers think I'm nuts, but they've gotten used to the idea by now. Some of these are guys who live literally 5 minutes by car from the station.

This winter I started commuting in the cold weather. Used my mountain bike with fenders and lights. I didn't commute every time, in fact, I drove more than I rode (contrary to my fair weather schedule). It takes 15-20 minutes longer to ride the same 14 miles, but I think I've maintained better base fitness. Check out for great tips on winter riding, for both pleasure and commuting.

A few years ago, I dusted off my old beater Peugeot for daily use. Come summer time, I use it for grocery shopping, trips to the video store, trips to the barber shop....all sorts of little trips that would only take 5-10 minutes by car, I now do by bike. Saves wear and tear on the truck, saves gas and is a lot more pleasant.
Every day - rain or shineBiking Viking
Apr 2, 2001 1:46 PM
Alan B congrats on discovering that you can kill two birds with one stone - 1. Transport yourself and 2. Get some riding in.

For me it started with having to justify ownership of two very expensive bicycles.

Solution: My wife has a car, I don't so I commute every single day on my bike(s). Roadbike when it's not raining, i.e. most of the year (SF Bay Area) and mountain bike when it rains. Every time car insurance, DMV fees or service are due on my wife's car, I have hundreds of dollars to spend on bike parts and equipment

We have a shower in the office, but the mornings here are usually quite cool. By the time I've read through my first e-mails, my body has cooled down enough so that I just change into work clothes. There's no way you can work up a bad odor on a 13-minute ride, if you're clean before you start.

It is not dangerous (motorists around here know how to deal with bikes). The one or two times per year I borrow my wife's car, I can't believe how lame the same commute is when I'm not on a bike.

The commute is only 4.5 miles, but that still adds up to 45 miles a week. Having the bike at work also makes it easy to go for a lunch ride, which I do frequently. And - every Wednesday I get up really early and do a 45-mile detour on my way in with some decent hills.

I don't ride a beater. My VaMoots with Ksyriums is an excellent commuter. I don't know why I shouldn't ride it and ENJOY my commute. People with nice cars don't drive a beat-up Chevy Lumina to work, do they?
I bifed on my way home from work today :)donalson
Apr 2, 2001 3:04 PM
I work the 3rd shift (11PM-7:30am) so it's a bit more fun for me to bike the 6.5 miles to work, gota make sure all the lights are working and all that, and by the time i'm riding home it's light out, but i'm dead tired as it's like riding after a full day to everyone else (i'd say riding at about 9-midnightish in regular ppl hrs). as for clothes i toss em in a backpack, i work light industrial and sweat anyway so the little sweating i do on the way to work isn't a big deal, i have a locker at work that I will one day have the forsight to leave clothes in, but untill that day i get to toat the dang backpack :) lol

i've riding about 2-3 x a week, when my road bike has wheels (my rear wheel is going to HED for warranty work) i'll ride at least 3x a week, like one of the other guys, it's justifying my expensive bike, yes an $800 bike is expensive when your a 21Y/O newly wed...but then agin i think its worth more than "our" car hehe.

but anyway, i rode last night to work on my MTB, fun stuff, not as fast but very calming, on my way home I was dead to the world, i had to stay for some dumb safety class (hey gota love the OT) but on the way home I wasn't paying much attention and droped off the side of the road in the rut between the grass on one side and the road on the other, i tried to get back up on the road but couldn't get the angle, all the sudden ouch, i've got road rash on my shoulder, my hand, and my helmet (man i just baught it to :(

the joys of getting to bike while not fully functionable :) hehe


PS yes i'm ok, yes it looks worse than it is
Apr 2, 2001 3:28 PM
I ride a hard 10 miles to work each way, usually 4 days out of a work week. But on the one day I take off, I am groggy after stepping off the bus, and sometimes in a foul mood. There is probably a valid scientific explanation--endorphins or something. My co-workers can tell the day I don't ride (and maybe it's the absence of odor, I don't know) because I am so quiet and drowsy. I jokingly tell them, it's not the exercise that wakes me up on my commute into downtown, it's the daily near-death experiences. Nothing like a car blindly pulling out into my lane to get the adrenaline flowing.
Congrats on the commuting by bike. Soon, maybe you'll be a junkie like me.
re: First bicycle commute today!mm
Apr 2, 2001 4:17 PM
I've been commuting 40 Miles round trip for several years now. I've got the same set up at work as you...clean up in the restroom a bit when I get there. I usually ride 2-3 days/week. This allows me to get fresh clothes to and from work and keeps me from burning out.
Keep it up. Those commuting miles are great at solving two problems at once!
Nothing but UpsideRich Clark
Apr 2, 2001 4:59 PM
My commute is 26 miles round trip, and it really takes little more time than driving would. I try to do it four days out of five, but I admit I don't ride if it's both cold and wet.

I highly recommend Huggies Ultra baby wipes for post-ride cleanup if a shower isn't possible. On really hot mornings in the summer sometimes I dump the rest of my water on my head about 3 miles out from my destination, and then ease up so that the last part of the ride serves as a cooldown.

And I hope you're not stinting on the headlight and tail lights.

My opinion is that there's nothing but upside to bike commuting. It's cheaper, cleaner, far less stressful and much more fun than driving. It makes you more fit instead of less. It's often less time-consuming than the combination of motorized commuting and going to the gym. Statistically, it's safer than driving, too.

Congratulations on joining the true elite!

fun huhfuzzybunnies
Apr 2, 2001 6:13 PM
I commute 5.8 miles each way at least 3 of 5 days, 4-5 out of 6 in the summer, in upstate new york. Usually only have an overheating problem in the summer and usually nothing that can't be solved at a sink. There's usually a 10mph or higher wind and the last 3 miles are on a w-e 4 lane road so the wind tends to keep me cooler while still giving me a work out, I just pedal slowly the last half mile and cool right down. TTFN
Right On!bike_junkie
Apr 2, 2001 8:43 PM
Commuting is awesome, doing your part, and not being stuck in traffic with all the lemmings! I have a 25 mile round trip commute that I do as much as possible, and I always feel better all day when I ride than when I drive. Keeps the fitness up, and I think it helps mental outlook - I look forward to the ride home (and the tailwind that usually goes with it!

I'm even looking at a cyclocross bike purchase here real soon, as I think it'd be the ultimate commute vehicle.

Congrats Alan, if more folks rode a bike to work, the world would be a better place!
Good choicemuncher
Apr 3, 2001 3:21 AM
CX bike is the way to go - used to do the summer (caad)/winter (mtb) swap thing, but then got a jake with two wheel sets and that is the way to go - faster, less maintainence, more comfy, and you can take whatever route (on/off road/bad road) that you fancy or the traffic dictates (if you are lucky enough to have the choice). Plus, you don't trash your pride and joy roadbike...
Good choicebike_junkie
Apr 3, 2001 5:21 AM
Exactly! Seems like you'd be less prone to flats running CX tires as well, and I can opt for canal/dirt road most of the way if I want to.
Also, it's easier to jump curbs and do other stuff I wouldn't want to do on my roadbike.

The LeMond 853 framed Poprad looks like it'd work just fine...
re: First bicycle commute today!bike n veg
Apr 3, 2001 6:26 AM
It's great to see so much enthusiasm for bicycle commuting. I think it would be worthwhile to have a bike commuter list on here as well.

I commute by bike 2 or 3 days a week, about 14 miles each way. I was commuting with a hybrid, but I've switched to a steel roadbike (bianchi eros). I think a hybrid or mtb is fine if your commute is 5 to 10 miles, but once you get over 10 miles each way, a lighter bike is preferable. I'm not talking about commuting with a $1,000 + racing bike. Any sturdy road bike will do.

I keep most of my clothes in my office. We have one shower in our fitness facility, so sometimes there is a wait. I've skipped the shower many times over the winter, but I won't be able to do that as summer approaches. D.C. is ungodly humid in the summertime.
re: First bicycle commute today!Alan B
Apr 3, 2001 9:40 AM
WOW! What a response! Thanks for all the encouragement. The ride home last night was a great way to end the day, but I'll try to eat something before the next ride home. Lunch was already burned off and a single gel didn't make it. I live in the foothills and work on the coast, so getting to work is fast and easy, but it's all upslope going home, finishing with about a 4 mile climb. I'm used to the climb, of course, but was out of energy at the end of the day. Maybe some Cyto or Gatorade in the bottle for the trip home. All in all, the best dang commute I've ever had!