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  #1  
Old 02-23-2009, 08:02 AM
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Default Commuting Tips and Tricks

Share tips and tricks for commuting ....
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  #2  
Old 03-01-2009, 09:31 AM
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Default Two things

Here's a couple things that make my commute workable/enjoyable/successful:

1. I have a bunch of buckets for panniers. They're easy to organize things in; they're totally waterproof; and they're cheap, so you can have a bunch and swap them out as you need. If you're like me, commuting means taking a bunch of stuff with you--stuff that you used to keep in you car trunk. I also have a nice Ortlieb briefcase pannier, just because it's better for papers, laptop, etc.

http://www.citybikes.coop/buckets.html

2. Commuting means running over a bunch of sharp garbage in the road. The worst thing that can happen on your way to work is a flat. An inner belt between the tire and tube will save you a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, most of these belts are heavy and make your tire unbalanced. I have some made of kevlar felt, that seem to weigh nothing and do a great job. A nail can go through the tire and the belt moves with the tip on the nail to just squish the tube with no puncture.

http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...s.php?id=11244
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  #3  
Old 03-01-2009, 11:25 AM
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Default Packing the Night Before ...

One thing that really helps out with my commute is to prepare as much as I can the night before. I make my sandwiches and any other food I want the night before. I have my own drawer in the refrigerator that is only for me, so nobody else will take my food by mistake.

I have the usual stuff I need to carry already on my bike the night before: reflector vest, poncho, bungie cords, food bars, beef jerky, first aid kit, spare tube, patch kit, tools, bike computer, pump.
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  #4  
Old 03-02-2009, 08:30 PM
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  • Maintain your bike
  • Wear the appropriate clothes in layers
  • Lights - lots of lights
  • Know your route
  • Have people you trust know your route
  • Carry a cell phone
  • Don't ride without cash
  • Carry a spare tube or two, a patch kit, and some basic tools

hmmm, that's all I can think of at the moment.
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:03 PM
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+1 on packing the night before; I make sure to get my work clothes and needed items packed in the panniers after dinner. I also lay out my riding clothes, helmet, gloves, etc the night before, so I have less excuse not to ride.

Also: check your lights the night before, that way you don't have to scramble to find batteries or replacement lights while trying to get out the door. Some people like to air up the tires the night before, but I prefer to do that just before leaving the house.

If you are just starting out: plan out your route ahead of time. Drive it with an eye towards riding it, paying attention to traffic patterns and possible hazards. Ride it on a weekend to make sure you can find your way easily. It's one thing to drive the route and quite another to ride it!

Leave the house earlier than you would if you were going to drive-- it's going to take you longer, especially the first few times. If you have a commute like mine, all surface streets, eventually it'll take the same amount of time to ride as to drive. Or less.

I like to have a different route home from work than the one I took to work, just for variety.

Don't give up-- it'll be sort-of difficult the first few times you do it until you get into the habit, and your muscles get used to the work-out.
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  #6  
Old 03-03-2009, 02:08 PM
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on airing up the tires the night before - if you've got a slow leak, you'll find out in the morning

That said, my go-to bike gets the tires pumped up once a week, at most.
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  #7  
Old 03-03-2009, 02:13 PM
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I shoulda said "check to see if the tires need air in the morning" instead of "air up the tires in the morning"!

But yes, Lynn... checking air the night before will reveal a slow leak in the morning, if you check again in the morning....
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:06 AM
boneshaker boneshaker is offline
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Ahh, I always keep a spare set of batteries for all my lights in my bike bag. So I don't have to ninja through downtown at 7pm when it's dark and there is still a lot of traffic.
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2009, 08:24 AM
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Thumbs up +2 for Maintenance

Quote:
boneshaker said:
Maintain your bike
A bike that you ride loaded every day needs a LOT more care and attention than one that only gets used on weekends for recreational rides--especially if you ride through a yucky winter like we have here in the NW.

Biggest thing to pay attention to is your drivetrain. DO NOT let leaf debris and other road garbage get mashed up and collect between your rear cogs. Check every week and "floss" your cogs if needed. Keep your derailleur(s) clean and lubed as well, especially the jockey wheels on the rear. Wipe off and lube your chain every few days.

A tip I got from a bike store mechanic (Saki at Beaverton BG) was to also wipe down my rims every couple of days with a dry rag to get the gritty film off--this saves brake pads and more importantly, rims.

Also keep your brakes adjusted well, as you will be using them much more for commuting than for recreational rides--and you need them to work predictably and well.

If you notice any new or strange rattles or squeaks, attend to them right away. Find out what is causing the noise and lube it, adjust it, fix it, or replace it. Letting these things go will most likely lead to a breakdown when you can least afford it.

Of course, 90% of what I just mentioned doesn't apply to those who choose to ride fixed-gear bikes. Go ahead, fixie riders--say "ha, ha!" I don't mind. My knees thank me for maintaining multiple gears.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2009, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haven_kd7yct View Post
I shoulda said "check to see if the tires need air in the morning" instead of "air up the tires in the morning"!

But yes, Lynn... checking air the night before will reveal a slow leak in the morning, if you check again in the morning....
Oh, but I do! And I check to see that my brakes are solid, that my spokes are ok, my bottom bracket is solid, my headset is properly adjusted...

Well, I SHOULD. At least I check my tires. Or look at them. I just like changing flats in the warmth and dryth of my garage, rather than under some insufficient, drafty overhang at a place of employ.
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