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hi all... had a question(17 posts)

hi all... had a questionjlsandiego
Aug 10, 2001 11:14 AM
Hi all, first time here on these boards so bear with me...

Im a college student in san diego who just moved off-campus, pretty far away... roughly 12-14 miles away. Im a mountain biking addict but wanted to step it up another level and bike from home to school and back everyday... but I had a few questions regarding this:

1. Say it took 14 miles to school, 14 miles back, 28 total. Is it normal for roadbikers to do 28 miles daily? When I used to mountain bike I just did 5 mile courses with the occasional 10 mile course.

2. How much will my times improve on a decent road bike? What would be the expected time of going there and back (assuming no hills were involved - even though there are quite a bit)

3. (the mother of all questions) can anyone recommend me a road bike for someone who has mountain biked for 2 years and a budget of 1500-2000?

thanks alot guy, really appreciate it.

re: hi all... had a questiondug
Aug 10, 2001 11:42 AM
1. Very normal. 28 miles on a road bike is easy
2. That depends on the motor.
3. 1500-2000 - no matter who/what will be a nice road bike. Many other posts cover this question.

Option - put high pressure slicks on your mtb (26" x 1") to drastically reduce rolling resistance of knobbies. Do this until you get a road bike.
Thats a virtually ideal commuting distance ...Humma Hah
Aug 10, 2001 12:36 PM
... and you're in about the ideal commuting county. DO IT! Take it easy to class (to keep the sweat down) and hammer home!

I just moved from Mira Mesa back to Virginia, and I do miss that riding. I often rode MTB there, usually distances of 12 miles and up. Try Los Penesquitos Canyon Reserve. If you get up in the Lagunas, Big Laguna Trail is a delight, about 10 miles round trip, and Noble Canyon and Indian Creek trails are legendary across the US. Buy the trail guide book at any LBS.

The roads are great, too. 50 mile loops are easy to put together and are a good distance for weekend rides (the Tour de Poway should be coming up this fall, a nice ride). Work on up to 100 miles or more.

Yes, road riding improves MTB. Road riding allows you to work right at your AT, at a very consistent power output. That's hard to maintain on uneven terrain.
re: hi all... had a questionbadabill
Aug 10, 2001 1:01 PM
San Diego is a great place for cycling. Get a copy of the sandag bike map(available at most bike stores), shows all the easy routes around town. If it was me I would buy a beater bike for locking up on campus,if you are going to SDSU expensive bikes dont last long. Check out Mission Cycle in Bonita, a great family run LBS.
Go to your LBSMB1
Aug 10, 2001 1:02 PM
Local Bike Shop, look for a last years model that fits. The less you spend on your first road bike the less you will lose if you decide you like it and want to upgrade. On this list you will get conflicting opinions on every price & model there is. You are thinking about spending enough to get something really nice, good luck.

Your times won't improve very much at first with a road bike-maybe 5 minutes over 12 miles, slick tires on your ATB will save almost as much. Your commuting distance is fine, the more regularly you do it the more you will improve over time. It takes a while.
re: Commuting BikeRob the Poser
Aug 10, 2001 1:19 PM
Whatever you do, make sure you get yourself a bike with rack braze-ons. A lot of racing bikes don't have them. This way you can put your regular clothes, books, notes, etc. in panniers and a rack truck so you don't have to haul them on your back all the way (very sweaty). I just got a Cannondale T800 (their touring specific bike) this spring for my own 8-mile commute to work, and I love it. You'll find that the road-style handlebars make for more available hand positions, so numbness and fatigue are easier to avoid.

Keep on riding...
Non-sweaty backpack option ...Humma Hah
Aug 10, 2001 1:53 PM
In San Diego's University Town Centre shopping mall, there is a Sports Chalet. They carry an expensive (about $80) but very good backpack, which I finally broke down and bought. Made by Vaude, this unique pack has an arched back, so there is airspace between the pack and your back. It also has a pocket that holds a hydration pack nicely.

This is actually a day-pack, meant for serious hiking. It has too much hardware on it, and is a little heavy, but it has serious capacity and is well-made. I've used mine on a century, something that used to soak my old pack and its contents with sweat. It would make a great book-sack, allowing water to be carried, too.
try using your back-pack to carry stuffdavidl
Aug 10, 2001 1:54 PM
instead of limiting yourself to a frame set up for panniers and racks. You don't want to look like an itinerant book merchant. Travel light. With a $1,500 budget you can find yourself a regular rocket for the commute.
...And what Humma Hah said... [nm]davidl
Aug 10, 2001 1:58 PM
re: hi all... had a questionjlsandiego
Aug 10, 2001 2:49 PM
Man.... thank you all for your advice. It has helped me greatly.
I just went on over to Black Mountain Bicycles and checked out some great deals. Right now I'm looking at the Trek 2000 or 2200, both of them seem to fit really well with what I'm looking for.

I've also been to Mission Cyclery in Bonita... Thats my howetown shop (my dad's there all the time).

As for the backpack issue... I've gone from home to school about 10 times and I must say... my current backpack causes alot of lower back pain. I think its because the books fall to the bottom of the backpack and when I arch over, all the weight and stress is put on my lower back. It will probably get worse with the road bike, since you're hunched down even more, so I'll check out UTC's sport chalet tommorow. I need room to fit 2 books, change of clothes, and shoes.

I think I might need a light too, for those long studying days when I come home later at night.... =)

thanks again,

Tell Tony at BMB "Hi" for me ...Humma Hah
Aug 10, 2001 4:22 PM
... that's my old LBS. Tell Tony that the silver Schwinn cruiser, Humma Hah, is really enjoying the coasterbrake parts he obtained for it.

You must be right in my old area. Absolutely, find a copy of that SanDag bike route map. I think it is sort of a turquoise color. It shows all the secret cut-thrus and alternatives to roads bikes can't take. There's a short stretch of I-15 open to bikes just to your north, and a couple of bike paths that let you go places you otherwise could not, parallel to I-15 down near "The Q", and parallel to I-5 around the east side of Mt. Soledad, for example.

About the only things you can't ride on are the interstates, 163, and a north-county cross-county connector, 79 I think it is, and maybe a couple of other expressways. Virtually everything else is rideable.
re: Backpacks and back painKEN2
Aug 10, 2001 3:51 PM
May I suggest a bike messenger bag instead of a backpack? I use the Timbuk2 PeeWee for my commute to work (actually the same distance as you're contemplating). From what you describe you might want a larger one, though--Timbuk2 makes several sizes. I recommend looking at their site where you can "build your own bag" online.

Some bike shops also carry these and other messenger bags. The great thing about them is they balance the load better than a backpack IMO. And there is a stabilizing strap that goes around your waist/sternum.
you are asking for more troublesWoof the dog
Aug 10, 2001 6:32 PM
If you truely want to step up to another level, you need smart training, not riding in god knows what with heavy backpack to school and back. First of all, some days you will be late, no question about it. That means you are sitting all slippery and sticky in your wet clothes in class. Bringing change to school is asking for more troubles: if you change in the bathroom people walk in and are like WTF? moreover, extra load of new clothes, stinky backpack from wet clothes, washer and dryer full of stinky clothes every day!!! and just imagine getting into wet soaked with sweat clothes to ride home. If you ride back in your change, thats twice as much clothes to wash. Better buy 500 bottles of laundry detergent.
Okay, moving on. Imagine wet roads in the winter. I think you do get SOME rain. That means wet a$$ and other sh!t even with fenders. What if you forgot something home? Like an gonna do what? Get a taxi home for 15 bucks?
Moreover, your new bike will be stolen even with the U-Lock 'cause thieves pry them open with the car jack. Likely your new bike is aluminum meaning that it is easier damaged when workers move the whole friggin rack from one place to another with bikes locked in. Yeah!!! That happened to me about 4 weeks ago.
You forget all the time when you have serious knee pain or back pain because you are not used to riding on a road bike 30 miles a day. You forget the time you need to get adjusted to the right position, time to work on your pedal stroke, time to do sprints, out of the saddle climbs, put up with sh!thead drivers yelling at you to get off the road. Training on a road bike involves more than just riding it. There should be hard days and easy days and days off the bike. Riding 5-6 times a week 28 miles will mess up your real training schedule (even if you do it by the feel), but I guess its better than if you didn't ride at all. Do you think you have sufficient milage to just start off doing 30 miles a day?

Think about a time loss: you need to get out of bed an hour and a half earlier in order to make it over the hills and not get too sweaty. I believe you could average a maximum of 17 miles an hour with hills...thats if you are like an expert mtn. biker. If you do get yourself another beater bike, it is likely after excessive milage on both (your new bike and beater) you will develop biomechanical problems due to the differences in positioning. So, if you get a beater bike, make very sure the position is EXACTLY the same on both. And don't forget the times when you get a flat tire. That is why you need to carry another 400 grams worth of stuff (tools, pump, patch kit, miscellanious) Thats an extra pound in your backpack, plus a huge lock.

Do yourself a favor: buy a car or a scooter and get into running or swimming. Commuting 14 miles when you are a student is a huge pain in the a$$, especially for a new rider on a new bike. I've been riding my bike around town for as long as I can remember, and even half a mile to class and back is a major pain in the neck. I've been riding too often not to know what its like. Good for you you are not living up north...'cause when you have to ride and there are 3 inches of snow on the ground, you will be beating your head with the hammer. I don't think other posters here really know what they are talking about. Buy a new bike and take a bus to classes and back, and train right after or on weekends. You will become much faster this way and will save at least two hours a day. I suggest before you proceed with a new bike, borrow a road bike for a week and try doing that commute with all the books, lock and stuff.


Woof the dog.
Who said anything about TRAINING???KEN2
Aug 10, 2001 8:02 PM
Man you have some serious personal issues... and your answer doesn't address the original poster's question. You've read your own prejudices into it (which I'm sure we all do to some extent)--but this is so over the top that I reread it to see if there was some irony intended.

He wants to start riding his frickin' bike to school, not train to win the TDF next year! Your response sounds like my officemates who are intimidated by traffic and horrified by the idea that without their cars they might not be able to drive to lunch across the street and pack on a couple more pounds.

And I resent the statement "I don't think other posters here really know what they are talking about." Sorry, but I've bikecommuted for over 20 years in several different cities/towns and climates (including "up north" in Wisconsin in the winter) and I certainly do know what I'm talking about. I say give it a try, it grows on you.

Woof's bark is BS.
yeah whateverWoof the dog
Aug 11, 2001 7:17 AM
No, I was seriuos, and I respect your opinion 'cause some opinion is better than none. I think you took it too personally. What I said was my personal view of things based on experience, how is that a problem? Maybe it is a bit jaded view, but I cannot find any flaw in what I said...everything is completely clear,logical and true to me. The clothes will get wet, it is harder to climb the hills with the backpack, you will worry about the new bike locked up in unfamiliar place,etc. etc. etc. I truely believe the original poster will have a lot more fun and will get more fitness riding in the time alotted (sp?) to that. I think he said he has 1500-2000 dollars to spend. You could buy a super racing bike for that money, why then spend money on backpacks and bikes with racks? Are you on a cycling team in college? If so, wouldn't you want to do a road season as well? Please don't buy an expensive bike, spend like 300 max on something used with good parts like shimano 105 hubs/tough wheels. Wheels get the most abuse on the road. If you buy a racing bike, you will see it won't be as durable as a mountain bike.

You still want to ride your bike to school and back? Fine, do whatever you like. The only way to find out is to experience it, ain't that right? Maybe I was a bit prejudiced when I said that others don't know what they are talking about, but that's because no one mentioned what I did. There is a difference between commuting to office and class. And lets stop with these personal attacks and derrogatory "you have serious issues" sayings, I bet you wouldn't have said that to my face, while what I said in my first post I would repeat a thousand times!!!

Woof the dog. And stop making fun of my screenname, it ain't cool.
you are asking for more troublesRich Clark
Aug 10, 2001 8:38 PM

It's true that bike commuting usually requires extra time, although frequently not all that much. If your commute involves auto-choked high-traffic rush hours, and car parking where you then have to walk a mile or two to get to class, bikes can often compete very well.

Yes, you'll have to make allowances for changing clothes. Assuming you have no resources at all -- access to showers and lockers in an athletic facility, say -- you can do quite well with baby wipes (carry them in a ziploc bag) and a toilet stall. Give yourself 15 minutes to cool down before you change.

I agree that theft prevention is a real issue, and that a brand new $2000 bike isn't going to last long parked outside on a typical campus. If that's the situation, a decent MTB disguised as a pile of crap, fitted with slicks, is the way to go.

But whether the set of hassles that comes with bike commuting is worse than the ones that come with other kinds of commuting is subjective. Getting in an automatic 10 hours a week of aerobic exercise is a huge plus for some people, especially if that's time that would normally be spent sitting in traffic or riding on busses. Saving the costs and stresses of car ownership is a huge plus for some people. Traveling in an environmentally friendly way is very important to some people.

No question that bike commuting involves preparation, adjustment, and some sacrifice. But I don't think the bleak picture you paint is the one everyone sees.

re: hi all... had a questionRich Clark
Aug 10, 2001 6:33 PM
I understand San Diego is like Bicycle Heaven for roadies. Anyplace you can ride year-round without needing a drawerful of tights and balaclavas must be great.

I commute 13 miles each way, year-round, here in Bicycle Hell (Philadelphia). I ride a touring bike (Novara Randonee)or a sport/touring bike (Airborne Carpe Diem), and use a rack, a rack trunk, and (optionally) panniers depending on the load. It's a nice ride, a good way to rack up miles, and no big deal on a road bike. And I'm a 50-year old heart patient with bad knees; for a healthy, strong youngster like yourself it should be cake.

Hills really do affect total time, even on the road. But a strong rider in good shape could easily do 14 miles in well under an hour, hills, traffic lights, and all.

Perfect fit is critical on road bikes -- IMO more important and harder to achieve than on mountain bikes. Pick your bike shop, and let them help you pick the bike. Your choice of shop should depend heavily on which ones you find that seem to understand and support road bikes and roadies, and that are willing to spend lots of time working with you on perfect fit.

Your budget is more than adequate. Leave enoughspare change for critical accessories: LIGHTS, tools, cool-weather clothes, hydration stuff, and LOCKS.

The type of bike you select really depends (IMO) on what else you might be doing with it, since lots of different bikes can be set up for commuting. A mountain bike with slicks (such as Specialized Nimbus EX) can work perfectly well, and makes sense if you do a lot of off-road riding -- just buy an extra set of wheels, mount your slicks and a higher-geared cassette, and swap 'em on for the road.

A racing bike makes sense if you also race, but often racing wheels and tires sacrifice durability and toughness for low weight and aerodynamics. Almost all of the riders with flats that I see in my travels are riding racing bikes with racing tires. And many racing bikes don't have clearance for wider tires, or for fenders. IMO touring or sport/touring bikes are incredibly versatile for riders who do a lot of solo riding while carrying stuff, and can be set up more easily for use on bad roads and in foul weather.

So if I were in your shoes, I think the first thing I'd do is either get some road tires for your MTB (assuming you're otherwise satisfied with the bike and it's a good fit) or a complete extra set of wheels and tires, and then try the ride a few times. 14 miles is not a log ride on the road. While the MTB might limit your top speed, you really won't spend that much of the ride going slower than you would on a road bike. I'd guess that the MTB might add 5 minutes to the average trip.

After you've made the trip for a while you'll have a much clearer idea whether and how you want to get seriously into road biking, and what type of road bike might be appropriate.