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observations of a newbie commuter(20 posts)

observations of a newbie commuterwaddell
Apr 6, 2001 7:09 AM
Did my first 16 mile commute (on my first road bike) from work to home yesterday and back again this morning. Here's some lessons I've learned. 1)Mirrors are for dorks but they sure would've come in handy yesterday because...2)The cars I thought I would hear coming from behind me, I couldn't. 3)It's been 20 years since I last rode a bike and the old saw "It's just like riding a bike" doesn't actually apply to riding a bike. 4)When you fill up your bottles before departing, don't forget to put them in your cages. 5) When you ride your bike to the office intending to drive your car home for the weekend, remember your car keys. 6)Dual-sided pedals rule, single-side pedals suck. Mine are single-sided. 7) That sheepish feeling I had about riding a triple set-up disappeared on the first hill. Granny-gear my eye; I would've used anything to get up that hill including your granny had she been there.
re: observations of a newbie commuterPoulidor
Apr 6, 2001 7:35 AM
Congrats on joining the ranks of the bicycle commuters!! Just a few thoughts.

You might want to consider getting some Cycleaware Viewpoint mirrors (9.99 Colorado Cyclist). They have a diameter about the same as a pencil eraser but fit on the inside of the left lens of your cycling glasses. They are fantastic. They give you great rearview visibility and don't vibrate when you go over pot holes. One of the best investments I ever made. And since they fit on the inside of your glasses, they are essentially invisible, in case you are style concious.

The Shimano dual-sided pedals (I believe the M323, has a platform on one side and SPD on the other) are also a worthwhile investment. I believe they are $40-50 at Excel sports. Don't buy them at Performance or Nashbar, they charge too much for them. These pedals allow you the greater pedaling efficiency of clipless but also allow you the quick getaway at stop signs/lights (in case you don't clip in on the first try).

Whatever you do, don't stop commuting, don't let the hills discourage you. In just a few weeks, you will be riding faster and enjoying yourself much more. When you commute, you feel great when you get to work (probably those endorphins) and I always look forward to the ride back home. You get two bike rides a day and it usually doesn't take much more time than commuting by car. So you don't have to find extra time from your busy schedule or time away from family or obligations. Best of luck.
Great mirror - what glasses?Alex R
Apr 6, 2001 8:24 AM
What type of glasses have you got? I have a pair of Rudy Project Tayo's. They fit very close to my face, as I bought them to keep cold winter wind out of my eyes. So I'm unsure whether I could get a line of sight off a mirror.

Anyway, what kind of glasses have you got?


and is re-usable?ET
Apr 6, 2001 8:30 AM
i.e. can you put it on your regular glasses and remove it, then put it on again, remove it, ad infinitum?
and is re-usable?Poulidor
Apr 6, 2001 12:08 PM
The viewpoints attach with a disk that is covered with tacky glue. The glue is reusable multiple times. They also come with 2-3 replacement glue disks. I have only had to replace the disk once in 2-3 years but I generally place it and leave it on glasses. If you are talking about prescription glasses, you might consider using an old pair of glasses exclusively for cycling (so you can leave the viewpoints on) or buying a cheap pair just for cycling.
Great mirror - what glasses?Poulidor
Apr 12, 2001 8:31 AM
I use Bolle Vigilante glasses - great glasses, work well with Viewpoints.
re: observations of a newbie commuterSkip
Apr 6, 2001 10:24 AM
I bought a pair of the Cycleaware mirrors to try --- But I can't get them to fit/work in my Oakley's (I believe M frames - the ones with vents). Any suggestions?
re: observations of a newbie commuterPoulidor
Apr 6, 2001 12:04 PM
The only problem with Viewpoints is that they work with glasses that don't fit too close to the face. I suppose the shape of your face is also a factor too. Try experimenting with positioning the mirror on various parts of the leftmost part of the lens and tweaking the ball and pivot joint to get the lens position right. It took a few tries the first time, but once you have the position right, it is not hard to replicate on other similar glasses or if you have glasses with interchangeable lenses.
re: observations of a newbie commuterSkip
Apr 6, 2001 12:23 PM
Thanks. I tried positioning the mirror all over the lens, but unforunately, the glasses are much too form fitting to allow their useage.
true, and LOL -- way funny!Haiku d'état
Apr 6, 2001 8:02 AM
wish i could commute the 4.7 miles to the office, with that nice tall interstate overpass about 3 miles in, but, alas--i must ferry the child to his appointed daycare provider. perhaps someday.

i'd have to agree with the water bottle preparedness statement. many a time have i done this. many a time have i packed it all up and loaded the mtb on the car, driven to the trailhead, gotten everything unloaded and ready to roll, then remembered my helmet -- on the kitchen table.

two things i would love to have for routine after-work rides: that little mirror that fits in your glasses, and a small garage door opener. i'll add 'em to the list of 10,000 bike things i wish i had that i'll try to collect after i nickel and dime my new bike.

have fun! and keep your hands off my granny.
Take the kid to daycare in a trailerGadfly
Apr 6, 2001 8:29 AM
I do it all the time.
would love to, but impractical, and time constraints...Haiku d'état
Apr 6, 2001 9:41 AM
about 6 miles to the daycare by backroads (direct route is WAY congested). from there to the office, 6-9 miles. weather, temperature and time don't really allow for that, at this point. he'll be 12 months at the end of april (couple weeks), and he's been sick alot (virus, colds, ear problems, etc., etc., etc.) since the 6-week mark when he started communing with other droolers.

perhaps when he's older. right now, i would not want to (1) get stuck changing a poopie diaper -- or a flat tire -- halfway there, (2) not want to have to ride home like a madman to get the car and drive to daycare to get him from there to the dr.'s office if something were to come up during the day, which it often does, and (3) not want to risk pulling him across those major roads between home and the OTBP route.

good idea, though. when he's old enough to ride on his own, i'll likely encourage him to ride to school and go along for the fun of it. picking him up is another story.
Never mind.Gadfly
Apr 6, 2001 11:09 AM
Daycare = viral warehouse.

The trailer, though, might be a good idea for weekend rides. I pull both my kids (ages 3&4 now) and it's good, clean fun for the whole family.
agreed. on both counts!Haiku d'état
Apr 6, 2001 11:40 AM
have a trailer we purchased late summer last year. pulled him 'round in it for a few weeks, just in the neighborhood with my wife following close behind on her huffy. probably put around 45 miles in a couple weeks, which is a pretty big deal for her! my son loved it, most of the time, and--when he'd start raising heck, i'd just speed up, and it would quickly quiet him. interesting.

had to strap his carseat in there last year with bungees and other creative "engineering". this year he's old enough to sit upright and wear a tiny helmet, which we are window-shopping this evening from the local children's store. he LOVES to be outside, so i'm thinking this will be a pretty good source of entertainment for him and an excuse for me to ride and possibly either get the wife a few miles, or a few minutes to herself after work. he'll hate wearing the helmet, but i think if we put him in the trailer with some toys, then get the helmet on really quick and get going right away, everything will be cool.

I put a cyclocomputer on the cruiser early this year, so i'll keep close track of the miles on that trailer.
You betcha.Gadfly
Apr 6, 2001 12:05 PM
For my money, it's also one helluva workout. The way I figure, the combined weight of both kids plus the trailer, that's 90 some pounds. Pull that up a hill against the wind and you know you're riding. A few weeks later when you're out with the boyz-n-girlz on a club ride, you shine.

My kids never had a problem with the helmet. Maybe because they see me wearing mine. I don't make them wear them if we're just going around the block (we live in Mayberry, RFD). But if we go fast or far, it's helmet time. The bonus is that they can't pull each other's hair...
Apr 6, 2001 11:18 AM
I remember being riden to day care in one of those little plastic seats that sit on the rear rack. step-father says i loved it. i remember being terrified. this was back before handicap/accessable ramps were common on sidewalks, and i remember many tooth-rattling sidewalk jumps during the ride (somewhere on the south side of chicago)...

but it didn't turn me off cycling... :)
memories continuedWoof the dog
Apr 6, 2001 12:43 PM
My dad would always tie something soft around the top tube near the stem, put me there (I was four) and we would ride. My feet would always be all over the place no matter what he said. We went down the first time when I accidentally stuck my foot in the spokes. No helmets, no nothing. He brought me to the hospital with a bunch of scrapes and he scraped himself, but everything was fine. Second time, he put a rack in a back, so I sat there and again put my foot into spokes. It was a touring bike too. I believe it still misses a couple of spokes. Ah, good ol' times without a helmet.
re: observations of a newbie commuterUnderdog
Apr 6, 2001 9:07 AM
I started commuting last year and I was all set today to do my first commute of the year but the rain came. Anyway I was going to say that you should make sure you have a repair kit on hand in case of a f!@%.(for some reason I know people don't like to use that word here)Good Luck!
Congrats! Commuters Rock! (nm)Greg Taylor
Apr 6, 2001 10:34 AM
re: observations of a newbie commuterTypeOne
Apr 6, 2001 1:39 PM
So true! I have never used mirrors, but I always see them sticking out on the bars of bikes I am passing.
Be prepared to put up with your coworkers, who will think you are crazy.