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b0rg9 2013-06-09 17:13

Commuting to work by bike...
 
Hey all,

I've enjoyed biking ever since a kid and used it as a prime means of transportation throughout my college years. However, I've been out of if for almost twenty years now and my health is showing for it.

I want to get back into it, and there's a real easy way literally on my doorstep which is the Pinellas Trail that can take me from my house to my workplace with only blocks of city streets to be on. This isn't something I'd necessarily do every day but two or three times a week would be awesome.

I went to the local bike store, which has been there for over forty years so I hope they're reputable, and their mechanic and other sales folk showed me a lot of options that are out there. There are so many bike styles these days I was amazed.

Anyway, through discussion and finding out what my needs were (a commute bike that could reach good speeds and was durable over less-than-friendly terrain) I am gravitating to the cyclocross type bike.

Those fat tire bikes really pique my interest and would be loads of fun, but would probably wear heavy on me to try to do my 15 mi. each way commute to work -- even on flat ground. And they probably don't have a top gear that's satisfactory for that.

So this is the bike that I'm really interested in right now. You can fit it with wider tires than what it comes with, it has a beautiful brushed aluminum finish with minimal markings which is sleek, IMO, and supposedly you can get it for less w/o the disc brakes -- but I can't find anything online about that and I kind of like the disc brakes for all-weather.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...itedisccompact

Those fat tires are still appealing, and the Origin 8 Crawler has one of those internal hub gearboxes but I bet it still tops out at low speed. Plus they're backordered until August. That's really not the bike I need for what I want to do. But damn man they look fun.

Let me know what you think about the Spesh linked above. I can get 12 mo. same as cash on it and the shop lists it for $100 less than msrp.

b0rg9 2013-06-09 19:38

...already my neighbor's laughing at me for the idea -- "You ain't never did that for like twenty years -- look at you, you're not what you were then. You better give me your number in case I got to pick you up..."

:rolleyes:

Granted, yes I haven't been biking long distances for ages. Does that mean I can't? I don't know. I'm pretty sure I can once I work up to it. It's not like one day I'm just going to decide to make the 15 mile trek to work w/o any trial. I'm sure I'll need to work up to it. It doesn't seem like an unfathomable proposition. It'll take probably an hour and a half each way starting out but that will improve over time. It's all flat and paved so that helps.

ash# 2013-06-10 13:05

That bike looks sweet. I wouldnt worry about the distances. 15 miles is manageable and you will get faster. Tell that guy to suck it.

b0rg9 2013-06-10 19:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by ash# (Post 62391)
Tell that guy to suck it.

:nod: Yeah, that's actually motivation to DO THIS!!!

I got much more positive feedback from workmates who I shared this with. And I also found out our programmer worked at a bike shop for several years, so he had a lot of input about what I'll need and how to deal with the purchase to get them to "sweeten the deal" so to speak and possibly get some accessories thrown in or discounted if I checkout w/ them at the time of bike purchase.

He thinks that bike's pretty sweet, too. We were talking about the Surlys and he's wanting the Karate Monkey to add to his collection.

Being a commute bike, and the inevitable getting stuck in bad weather I think I'm going to fit it w/ fenders. Here's a pic I found of the bike with them...

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e4...02139304G1.jpg

It diminishes the cool lines of the bike a bit, IMO, but it is function over form. I'm thinking a rack on the back is in order at some point as well, as carrying a backpack for my shit isn't what I want to do regularly. Going to work I'm going to need to carry my cell, lunch and a change of shirt.

This is a bit of a big ticket item that I'm a little aprehensive about, but 1.) I don't want to buy a cheap bike and get discouraged about achieving this moderately long commute on a regular basis, and 2.) buying something cheaper puts me in the hole and further away from what I really want to begin with.

I've biked for years before. It's not like a passing fad that I'm not sure if I'm into. Cardiovascular exercise is the best fight against high blood pressure and this can be an investment in my health and lifestyle as well as save me some gas money, wear on my car and the daily risk of life if you've ever driven US19 down here. It's always in those top ten most dangerous roads in the country polls and there are so many asshole drivers out there. I'm so lucky to have a bike trail that goes from my house directly to work. How many people have that?

FulanoDeTal 2013-06-12 23:01

Best of luck, b0rg! My gf just started doing this just a little while ago. She seems to really enjoy it. I don't think I could do it but you never know. I think once you get the bike the expense will also be a motivator since you won't want have spent so much frivolously.

RepoMan 2013-06-19 13:29

Man, I would love to have a freaking bike trail to work! That's the one thing that personally keeps me from riding to work, the crazy drivers. 99% of my bike riding is in the woods, and in that 1% on the road I've already been hit by a car running a stop sign. A bike path would be great.

I think you're on the right track here. Fenders are a must for commuters when keeping clean trumps coolness. I'd say it looks even less cool walking around the office looking like you crapped your pants.

As has been said here, you're never too old to ride (unless that age comes with health conditions, bad joints, etc.). You'll build up the muscles and cardio in no time. Ass conditioning takes a bit, but isn't that always the case?

b0rg9 2013-06-19 19:11

Thanks for the encouragement, guys! I just secured (well, am signing zee papers) this weekend for my home equity. Found out through that that I have a slammin' 823 credit score w/ Experian (I guess paying those student loans off actually got me something).

It may be a couple of months before I spring for the bike and accessories -- we'll see. It's brutally hot right now. I've gotten back into my regular dog walks, clocking in about 4 miles of walking per day. If I keep this up regularly for the next few months I can "reward" myself with the purchase and it will be getting closer to the end of the hot season. Also, I'd be a few months away from my home improvement purchases and it wouldn't look like I was taking on too much debt at once.

I've already felt much better getting back into the habit of the exercises I was doing previously. Thankfully my joints are still in good shape. That's never been anything that's bothered me. My vision, on the other hand -- I just had to go to the drugstore to get me some reading glasses :nerd:

I'm totally pumped for ass conditioning. Wait, what...

b0rg9 2013-06-27 23:16

I may not have thought my cunning plan through...

The Pinellas Trail is technically a county park and is closed at night. Right at the time where weather gets good to use this trail as a commute is when it is dark by the end of the work day.

I'm now going to begin researching alternative roads along the trail for the ride home. That, or I can push it until a sheriff stops me and I get a warning (been reading up a bit on this). Or -- I can find the latest bus plan southbound and throw the bike on the hitch on the front and public transit my way home at night. Thing is, those routes close pretty soon after dark too.

I'll figure it out. The thought of biking this trail -- especially through some areas, yet short, that are the hood -- concerns me at night. I should probably add mace/pepper spray to my road gear. Just as a precaution.

I need to research the alternative road routes that run along the trail in case I get chased off by the cops after sundown.

b0rg9 2013-07-06 18:07

Finally came in. Only thing is I need to wait for fenders to come in that are compatible w/ the discs.

Here's what it looks like at the moment...

http://i.imgur.com/3HjPDGU.jpg

Here's the Rokform bike mount for my iphone. It got a few comments at the bike shop. One from the guy that put it on for me when the magnet grabbed the Allen wrench out of his hand. :nod:

http://i.imgur.com/CZYSVIM.jpg

...btw, yes that's a fucking bell that came installed on the thing. It's stealthy enough and came in handy on the first ride when there was a bunch of young kids on the trail sort of zig zagging around that I didn't feel like running into.

Here it is w/ the phone on it, complete w/ greasy finger prints...

http://i.imgur.com/JsaZdCw.jpg

...it is held on by the mechanical mount, joining magnets on both the case and the mount below that, and a lanyard just to be triple safe.

I took it out for a nice 20 mi. round trip test ride that day. Rode up to Crystal Beach, which is about 2/3 of the way to my job. Was pretty exhausted the last few miles coming home. Started cramping up in my upper legs and stomach when I made the mistake of stopping a few miles from home. Thankfully it passed shortly. I don't think it'll be long until I'm up for the commute. Amazingly, the only thing that was sore the next day was my butt.

http://i.imgur.com/UGNXzXF.jpg

b0rg9 2013-07-07 10:37

I found some video of the bike trail from Tarpon Springs to Clearwater. The very beginning of this video is right in front of where I work (you can see some white signs to the left at the lot entrance) and the roofing place I'm talking to is right there at the first intersection.

There's a really fun overpass at 3:15. I hop off somewhere around 5:02 north of where the video cuts to the downtown Clearwater area (wall murals, etc).



Here's the part I covered thursday.... http://app.strava.com/activities/64741884

RepoMan 2013-07-08 8:47

Sweet bike! Glad to hear it's working out for you and that you can bust out 20 miles right off the bat.

Pretty cool mount. Welcome to the addiction known as Strava. :nod:

ash# 2013-07-08 9:58

hehehe strava. yea. wait until you are so psyched that you did a certain climb so fast and you blew away your personal best and then you realize that your phone lost its GPS signal and you got nothing.

b0rg9 2013-07-08 19:45

I appreciate y'alls kudos and look forward to subscribing to y'alls newsletters.

FendARs!!

http://i.imgur.com/IICFsp1.jpg

Yeah I was dreading them, but they really make the bike look more like a hardcore commuting machine. The shop dudes even asked to take a few pics with this bike duded out in commute gear like this. I'm sure they want to make a sale or two more based on this model.

FulanoDeTal 2013-07-09 8:53

It's looking real nice, b0rg9.

(here's some more suggestions for add-ons)

RepoMan 2013-07-09 15:16

:nod:

Those fenders are sweet. No one wants the shitass stripe and now you can hit puddles with impunity.

b0rg9 2014-05-16 8:50

Since it's bike to work day today in DC or something I thought I'd share a few quick follow-up pics of what my commuter looks like these days. Not very different than the earlier pics but I do have lights, a saddle bag w/ emergency stuff, a weird little bag up by the stem that's proven to be unbelievably convenient, etc....

http://i.imgur.com/rYt8wt2.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/UPjoYWx.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/oh1JgTR.jpg

ash# 2014-05-16 11:27

Sweet. You got that thing titted up pretty nice.


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