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Commuting Advice Needed(19 posts)

Commuting Advice Neededpeterkg
Jun 20, 2002 11:36 AM
Should I put slicks on the old hardtail mountain bike or use the old road bike? If the road bike, should I convert it to a single speed?

Backpack or pannier/rack?

I'll be travelling about 15 miles on generally flat terrain.

Thanks, Pete
re: Commuting Advice NeededPdxMark
Jun 20, 2002 11:46 AM
At 15 miles I'd use the road bike with it's current gearing and panniers. I'd put liners in the tires, or get belted tires, because the last thing I want on a commute is th change a flat. The hardtail or a fixie would give you a better wotkout, but a 30 mile round trip on a work day is very respectable. The road bike will be more comfortable so it will be easier for you to keep up the commuting.

For perspective my commute is 4 miles each way and I've been using a hardtail (with slicks) and a backpack -- though I just got a raob bike for summer commuting, so I can head off for morning/lunch/evening rides when the mood strikes.

Enjoy the commute.. it's the best way to start and end a work day.
There's no one right waycory
Jun 20, 2002 11:49 AM
Any of the things you mention will work. I have a designated commuter--an old Bridgestone mountain bike with a tall stem and road tires--but I often ride in (22 mi round trip, 500' down in the morning and back up at night) on another bike. Lately I've been using the singlespeed, which is an old Trek roadie I converted.
For carrying, I prefer a rack, but sometimes use a back pack. I leave shoes at work, and we have a shower and lockers upstairs, which makes it a LOT nicer.
Depending on the condition of the pavement, the mountain bike with its fatter tires (I use 1.4 or 1.5) could be good. Consider raising the stem (if it's a quill) or flopping it to get the bars up for better visibility. If you decide to use the road bike, whether you convert to SS is up to you--I enjoy mine for the novelty and simplicity, but it's not necessarily a better commuter just because it's a single.
re: Commuting Advice Neededpmf1
Jun 20, 2002 11:52 AM
15 miles each way is a decent commute. I'd use the road bike. I find riding a mtn bike on the road pretty tedious. Why convert it to single speed? I suppose if you want to do a fixed gear that would be one thing. You are going to encounter wind, be tired or energetic and probably want more than one gear.

I really like using a rack instead of a backpack. I've tried both. Backpacks get all sweaty and are generally uncomfortable. Get a rack if your bike has mounts for one, otherwise, get a rack that clamps onto the sseat tube.
re: Commuting Advice NeededKEN2
Jun 20, 2002 11:54 AM
Which bike depends on a lot of factors... I've commuted on my hardtail mtn. bike (screwed the preload adjusters all the way down on the front shock) w/narrow slicks. Currently I commute 28 mile RT on a Specialized cyclocross bike.

I would recommend converting your old road bike if it will accept wider tires, say 28c or so. Personally I like some gears but YMMV.

Gear toting depends largely on how much you need to carry. I would recommend riding in your bike stuff and leaving work clothes at work (change stuff out on days you drive). There's also the shower issue--hope you can get one, although you'll probably get feedback from those who do the spongebath, I much prefer a real shower.

If you can swing storing clothes and toiletries at work, I recommend a messenger bag. I use the Timbuk2 PeeWee (smallest size Timbuk2) and find it works great for a few papers, lunch, wallet and keys, etc. It's more comfortable than a backpack and your center of gravity is lower too.

Good luck--I've commuted at various jobs over the last 15-20 years and it's a great way to get in your daily ride and stay fit!
messenger bags....tronracer
Jun 20, 2002 12:14 PM
If you want a messenger bag, go here:

These two cats are great people. Custom orders are their specialty.

Bravo, bravo.


London bike garagewarriorcharge
Jun 20, 2002 12:19 PM
did anybody ever here of this place in chelsea were you can leave your bike ,shoer and change clothes,there was a mechanic and lockers,did this happen if aso is it still there or did i just dream it
London bike garageProspectus
Jun 20, 2002 3:23 PM
I assume you're talking about Bikepark.
backpack vs. rackTomS
Jun 20, 2002 12:08 PM
I used to use backpacks and messenger bags, but I recently put a rack on my old mtn bike for commuting, and it's great - no more sweaty back! Also sometimes I need to carry my laptop or a few books, and it's nice getting all that weight off my back. Just remember not to try to hop curbs :-)

If I'm planning on going for a longer ride before or after work and I ride my road bike or other mtn bike without a rack, I'll use my backpack. One thing to watch out for - I went for a long ride after work the other day, with my backpack, and actually sweated through the backpack so some papers got wet. In the future I'll leave my pack at work, go for a ride, then pick it up on the way home...

fwiw, I leave a pair of shoes at work and carry other clothes each day. If you need to carry a laptop, you can get padded laptop sleeves that will fit into a pannier so you have some protection, but don't have to carry a big bulky laptop bag. My commute's only about 6.5 miles each way, and it's cool in the morning, so I shower before I leave and just change when I get there.
re: Commuting Advice NeededMXL02
Jun 20, 2002 12:21 PM
I use Continental Town and countries on my old ATB...they have a slick tread in the middle and a cleated tread on the sides. they work great. I use a backpack, but it gets too hot, and I am considering something like the Topeak Trunk and Rack combo.
re: Commuting Advice Needednewhouse
Jun 20, 2002 12:42 PM
if you go with the backpack, buy yourself a vaude sienna 40. it carries enough stuff and has an arched back so that your back doesn't get all sweaty. it's also comes with some nice features - built in rain cover, lots of pockets, and even a place to put a water bladder to use like a camelback.

the road bike would be my choice but it's really your personal preference.
Another vote for Vaude BackpackstheBreeze
Jun 20, 2002 1:03 PM
I commuted 7.5 miles (one way) to a previous job, on my mountain bike. Left the knobbies on because 3 of those miles were on dirt. I'm in a fairly rural area. Because I worked at a gym, showers and changing were no trouble. When I had to carry stuff my Vaude pack was great.
If I could commute now on my road bike, I would try to find a way to carry as little as possible, and not use the backpack. They seem to feel more comfortable when riding upright.
Or Deuter packs n.m.Andante
Jun 20, 2002 1:08 PM
I use road & MTB.Miklos
Jun 20, 2002 12:51 PM
When its dry out and not going to rain, I ride my road bike. All other weather that Portland Oregon can dish out I tackle on the MTB with narrow slicks.

I always ride with a backpack because that leaves me the out of being able to hop a curb to get out of harms way. I have had to hop'em before and I imagine I will in the future since drivers don't seem to be getting any better.

My commute is 25 miles each way from home or when weather is bad, 12 miles each way from the park-n-ride.

Select your routes with safety in mind, not just for the shortest distance. Sometimes it is better to add a mile or two to avoid bad areas.

Since you already have both bikes, try them and decide for yourself. Resistance to flats will become a driving force in equiptment decisions. Kevlar belted tires are your friends. Since the MTB is rode in wet weather and tires puncture so easy when wet, I cut the beads off a kevlar belted Specialized Armadillo and used it for a liner inside another kevlar belted tire. Heavy- yes, but there is 1/4" thickness of rubber and two kevlar belts.

I haven't tried the single speed since I do have hills and some strong winds.

Jun 20, 2002 2:09 PM
I used to commute to work, 20 miles RT, and I almost always used my road bike. Mainly because its much easier on your legs. With my MTB i found myself getting too sweaty. I also used a backpack with all my stuff in it, which made me get stronger on the hills since it weighed ~8lbs. Occasionally I used my mtb but I found it to be rather cumbersome and slow, but did serve as a back up.
Also, in case you get a flat, carry a CO2 inflator, tube and a pump just in case the co2 inflator does not work.
Both and both ...Humma Hah
Jun 20, 2002 2:20 PM
I'm sitting here with the "old roadbike" (the Paramount frame I just bought) behind me, waiting for parts, and the rear wheel of the cruiser sitting beside me about to be torn down, cleaned, and regreased so I can ride it home. It's nice to have a spare, so when one old clunker commuter goes down, the other is ready.

Keep your options open on carrying. Most folks like panniers better - keeps the weight low and keeps your back from getting sweaty. However, some things just won't fit in 'em, and some days you need to carry more. A bungee or two to hold things on the rack, and a backpack to carry the overflow, are low-cost enhancements that can nearly triple your payload.
A little of each.look271
Jun 20, 2002 7:00 PM
During the winter it's the mtb with slicks. As soon as it gets a little warmer, though, I get out the purple people eater, an old Nishiki road bike. I also use the fixed gear for a better workout. I prefer a backpack for several reasons-I don't like the feel of extra weight on my bike and, since my commute home is at midnight, the backpack gives me more area to put reflective stuff-you can never be too visible! BTW-my commute is 5,5 miles each way.
re: Commuting Advice Neededdtm
Jun 21, 2002 6:28 AM
Depends on the what you can to minimize flats.

mr. tuffy's, a mountain bike, kevlar tires, whatever.
Word of caution with messenger bags/backpacksGeardaddy
Jun 21, 2002 10:59 AM
I commute year-round in Minnesota, so I use various bikes. In general I'll use the lightest, fastest setup that is practical for the conditions. Thus for warmer weather/clearer roads I'll use a road bike, with no special setup. Why convert to a singlespeed? - Just stay in one gear if you want. For cold weather/debri-filled roads, I'll go with the MTB.

I prefer carrying the load on myself rather than on the bike, because the bike handles better. However beware if you are going to put a lot of weight in the backpack/messenger bag. I had persistent problems with neck pain from carrying too much weight for too long of a ride. The messenger bag made it worse because all the weight is draped over one shoulder. A backpack is better for heavier loads, and is much more stable.

Comfy bike commuting is all about preparation. A cold rain is the worst - even worse than ice and snow at 0 degrees F. The ol' plastic bread bags secured with rubber bands over the feet works remarkably well at keeping feet dry. They have the added benefit of being thin enough to be able to clip into clipless pedals without cutting any holes - plus, they're disposable.

Hope this helps.