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Commuting by bicycle . . .

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Philip, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. Philip

    Philip Speeding Up

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    To the commuters,

    I have often considered, but never commuted by bicycle. The reason commuting by bicycle never gets beyond my consideration is I must arrive at work in a well presented, sweet smelling, condition. Not the condition in which I end most of my rides.

    I know many of you commute. How do you do it? Are you lucky enough to have access to a shower? I have heard of people using 'wet wipes' to clean up after arriving at the office - this is the moment I give up! What do you know that I do not?

    When I was a kid I used to ride to school every day without any issues that I remember. Am I overstating the issues?

    Cheers,

    Philip
     
  2. gmason

    gmason Warming-Up

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    Commute

    Even in the UK when I commute the 40k to the office I have no access to showers. My secret weapon's a decent sized wet cloth and or wet wipes, plus a good can of 'Anti-Bath'! It usually does the trick, never had any complaints so it must work. I also pre plan, as Idon't do the ride every day, and leave a full set of clothes in the office so that I don't have to lug a backpack around.

    However, I find I am no dryer at the moment when coming in on the train - my shirt is usually dripping by the time I get into the office so you may be being overly cautious on this issue, give it a try and see what the comments are.

    Greg
     
  3. Phil Harris

    Phil Harris Warming-Up

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    Commute by Bike

    I`ve always had access to a shower at/near place of work.
     
  4. Edogawakikkoman

    Edogawakikkoman Maximum Pace

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    I have a locker at work with about 3 sets of clothes, a towel, deodorant, cologne etc.
    If I ride to work (and I try to do so 3 or more times a week) I make sure I get there about an hour early and take my time to cool down, wipe off, spray up and get dressed. Have a cool drink or two.... if I sweat a lot I may change shirts again at lunch time or T-shirts under my business shirt...

    I usually have to work again at night about a further 5 km away and usually don7t change for that job unles it's very hot.... I also have spare clothes, towels, sprays as well there....

    When I'm coming home I don't care what I wear or how I smell....

    I also roll my trousers and shirts to fit them in my bag without creating wrinkles and usually don't need to iron them.... roll tight, don't fold

    If I drive to work I feel sick...
     
  5. chazzer

    chazzer Speeding Up

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    Er.....sheepishly

    We have showers and, since I run the building, then a compulsory inspection every morning is necessary to ensure they are in working order. If I didn`t have this rare privilege then I think it would be Chiyoda-sen plus iPod for me......

    Get some strange looks in the morning though when arriving drenched in sweat after a mere 7kms !

    Charles
     
  6. kiwisimon

    kiwisimon Maximum Pace

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    If regulary commuting panniers are the way to go! They keep your back from overheating. Plan ahead and carry in your weeks supply of shirts and socks and things. In the hot summer days I leave earlier to allow cool down time. towel off with water in the basin in the locker room. Sometimes use the sento if i am going to ride hard in the morning. Deoderant is a must. But i think you maybe overstating the problems. Another way to look at it is claim your train pass money and join a local gym for the shower facilities and on wet crappy days take the train and use the gym to workout at.
     
  7. Ash

    Ash Warming-Up

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    I ride every day (when it is not raining) and keep clothes, shoes etc at my office, but no access to showers! An early arrival and time to cool off etc does the trick though. I have tried panniers but I dont like all that extra weight on the bike plus having to transfer stuff to other bags is a pain in the arse, so I just use a backpack (the Dueter ones are the best). As a teacher who has to go to various companies during the day I cut weight by leaving extra copies of texts at the sites so if I go by bike I am not lugging texts around.

    I recommend commuting very strongly! It is part of my life now and I couldnt do things any other way. A very nice way to start and end the day!:D
     
  8. Philip

    Philip Speeding Up

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    Developing a routine . . .

    To summarize.

    Option A: Shower

    1) Resign from my current job and work only for organizations that provide access to showers (Phil Harris). A logical solution but not entirely practical or attractive :D

    2) Convince Chazzer (whose office is just down the road from mine) to let me use his office shower :rolleyes: A practical and attractive solution but not entirely logical.

    Option B: Develop an alternative routine.

    1) Buy bathing products designed for use without water such as 'No Rinse' or 'Anti-Bath' (gmason). You have revealed a whole new world to me. I had not thought about it previously but bathing products had to be developed for astronauts who are unable to use water for bathing. These products are now available to bicycle commuters. Amazing!

    2) Plan ahead (kiwisimon). Keep supplies of shirts etc. in the office.

    3) Use commuter panniers (kiwisimon). Carry heavy loads and avoid a sweaty back.

    4) Invest in a Dueter backpack (Ash). For days when you don't have much to carry and convenience is a higher priority take a backpack.

    5) Don't fold clothes (Edogawakikkoman). Roll clothes, don't fold them to avoid creasing.

    6) I am overstating the issues (Everyone). Start commuting by bike and work out the issues. Soon it will become second nature. The pro's outweigh the con's.

    Thank you everyone. Good practical solutions (I read about a guy on the internet who bought a childs paddling pool and a cheap shower-head you can attach to a tap - he then arrived at work early and had a shower next to the wash basins :confused:).

    I have no reason to prevaricate any longer. Now I need to buy a bike for commuting.

    Cheers,

    Philip
     
  9. Philip

    Philip Speeding Up

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    What bike to use for commuting???

    Forgive me for my persistent questioning :eek:

    1) My commute will take me 10K into central Tokyo along a congested R246 (no scenic country roads) I am looking at purchasing a standard touring bike. Should I go with A) flat bar / trigger gears, or B) drop bars / STI levers?

    2) Which bike rack and panniers would you recommend?

    3) Bike security - how do you manage it?

    4) Other stuff such as chain oilers, chain guards, bells, lighting etc.?

    Cheers,

    Philip
     
  10. thomas

    thomas The Crank Engine Admin

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    No more trains!

    Lots of excellent advice here! :thumb:

    I commute to my classes and lessons every day, summer and winter, in rain, typhoon (like yesterday) and scorching heat. As pointed out before, plan ahead. My essentials are small towels, a deodorant and a second set of jerseys, socks, etc. Most of the companies and factories I teach at got used to my cycling outfit, but sometimes I have to bring more formal attire. And needless to mention, rolled in my backpack. Most factories have shower rooms, companies usually have fancy restrooms I use for refreshment.


    Sounds as if a mama-charri is what you are looking for! :D


    Panniers may be the way to go for long-distance commuting (40km+), but a simple backpack suffices in my case. I have used a rack for a while but removed it as I felt it slowed me down (too much weight on my rear wheel). I use my steel and titanium bikes for commuting, drop-down bars of course, but that's a question of taste. As for safety, I can recommend YPK Klepto chains.

    [​IMG]

    They are very long, strong and solid, permitting you to chain your frame and tyres *and* attach your bike to a pole, a fence, or whatever you deem safe. I usually remove lights, bike computer and my water bottle in case I park for extended periods of time.

    Say good-bye to the train! :bike:
     
  11. AlanW

    AlanW Maximum Pace

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    You know it makes sense!

    Philip - with your Union Jack cyling top and a 10k ride there is only one bike you should even consider for commuting:

    [​IMG]

    Specialized Langster London edition! (Even has the National Anthem / Pistols lyrics on the chainstay ;))

    on a more serious note for racks/panniers I highly recommend the Topeak range. They have a grooved track that the bag/panniers slide into and a sprung clip to hold it in place. No faffing about with straps & velcro :) Lights - yes. At least 2 at the back, one on the front. Look for clothes with Scotchlite reflective trim.
     
  12. Philip

    Philip Speeding Up

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    Not impressed with my 10km commute!

    It appears that 10km is not considered a bicycle commute :D Maybe I will take the scenic route home :angel:

    I will take your advice on the lock (Thomas) and rack and bag (Alan). I am too proud to ride a mama chari (Thomas) and that Langster is a real disaster (Alan) - a "track" frame with fixings for a rear rack (Tadashi-san will have a heart attack). So I will go with the flat bar.

    Thank you to everyone for your advice. See you in the rain :bike:

    Philip
     
  13. Aphex

    Aphex Cruising

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    Bike type

    Here's my ha'penny's worth;

    I can't see how you guys can even contemplate drop handlebars for city riding. My choice of commute bike is a similar set-up to an mtb (front suspension, 26inch wheels, hydraulic disc brakes etc.), but had nice big gears for getting up good speed the long straight sections (I particularly enjoyed overtaking Bianchi riders in London) and slightly more comfortable, lower positioned geomatry to a normal mtb, what's more it is a robust bike take can take the hurly-burly of city riding.

    It is crucial to get something that will require little maintenance and be able to cope with unexpected potholes. You don't wanna be spending valuable weekend time truing wheels or adjusting bits. Which means you may have to spend some decent money.

    Also like someone else said; lock the bike to something solid.

    You will need the whole, lights, bell kit etc. though only buy a chain guard if you're gonna ride in formal wear, other wise just roll your trousers up.

    The main thing with cycle commuting is to make a habit of it, then it becomes second nature. In the beginning it is really diffcult trying to remember all your bits of kit, clothing, toiletries - are they all in the right place? Do I still have spare shirt at work? etc. It soon becomes second nature, though one day I did forget to take a pair of trousers in!
     
  14. Aphex

    Aphex Cruising

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  15. Philip

    Philip Speeding Up

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    Thanks Aphex . . .

    As you suggest, I find that drop bars limit your 360 degree vision considerably. I did not realize by how much until I rode my wifes flat bar. You have convinced me that in central Tokyo a flatbar is the way to go.

    Comfort is important. However, I personally find mountain bike suspension heavy. As an alternative, I plan to get a bike with carbon forks and 700x28C tires which I believe will provide a reasonably compliant ride without compromising weight.

    You forgot your trousers :D That is funny. Okay if you read the news on TV I guess. However, it must be hard to do business with man wearing a shirt and tie with lycra pants on :eek:

    Cheers,

    Philip
     
  16. Phil

    Phil Maximum Pace

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    This is exactly what I got last year for riding around town/to the station/downtown etc (a Giant Escape). Though I much prefer the road bike for longer trips and anything on country rural roads, the hybrid is better for navigating busy city streets (for me at least). It also seems to be easier to get a straight bar bike with room to mount proper fenders, which are also useful items for commuting.
     
  17. Philip

    Philip Speeding Up

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    Hi Phil . . .

    Actually, the Giant Escape (R1) is the bike that is top of my wish list. Having owned it for a year, would you recommend it?

    Cheers,

    Philip
     
  18. Ash

    Ash Warming-Up

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    hi

    I agree with Thomas, seems we have the same sort of kit too! I cycle to my office though and sometimes from their to companies. I generally change into business gear when I go to the companies, but at my school I wear anything.

    I would not buy a bike for commuting, just use your roadbike like we do. A backback with a minimum of gear in it is enough.

    One thing I do worry a little about is leaving the Pinarello outside companies for long periods of time. Not too worried about it being stolen but rather taken by the bloody local ward, which periodically sweep any bicycle attached to a pole or not and take them off in a truck. If it is only a few hours though I don't worry though. Like Thomas I always remove the bike computer when I leave it outside and take the helmet with me too.

    Definitely say goodbye to the train. After you do this for a week you will get hooked and wonder why you never did it before.

    good luck!

    Ash
     
  19. Edogawakikkoman

    Edogawakikkoman Maximum Pace

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    When I do the short 5km run between jobs and don't want to change back into cycling wear, I just tuck my trousers into my socks...keeps them out of the chain and if you twist them around your ankles they won't wrinkle.

    Locking! I always try and get my bike inside the building I'm working at....better in than out if you can. (will take the front wheel off sometimes).

    I got this cool little mirror that I attach to the downt tube and I can see behind by looking down between my legs... so don't have to worry too much about turning my head back.

    As Thomas said a back pack is probably better than a pannier... The back sweat reduces as you get fitter...

    I have a Topeak back rack with the slide on tracks and I like it... however on Tues it came loose and I thought my brakes were rubbing for about a km...then figured out the rack had slid down the seat post a bit and the bag was rubbing on the tire. (small hole). It also can't take much weight. Less than 14kgs.

    I have 2 drink bottle holders and I use one for spare tubes, bike tool, spare change, levers etc. Also an under saddle tool bag that I keep tubes, and other stuff in...

    My back pack is a Coleman's and quite large... I pack my clothes in it lightly and put the heavy stuff down the bottom clothes on top. A few folded up garbage bags can also make for good wet weather gears... covering bags, or self. I have a poncho as well but not sure if a cheaper rain coat pants from the 100yen shop would be better.... sweat under rain coats is more often worse than the rain itself.
     
  20. chazzer

    chazzer Speeding Up

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    Here`s mine.....

    A flatbar Scott Roadster S1 - alloy frame, light at 8kg or so. Since modified with various hand-me-downs from the Colnago, including Ultegra up front plus Ultegra wheels. Now running 10speed as a result as the hub is a 10speeder. Clip on mudguard - effective but not so pretty. Took me a while to find the underseat bag but very pleased with it plus the largest rear LED I could find - this one is a real Christmas tree believe me. Pedals are SPD with an attached cage so that you can ride in ordinary shoes if needed.

    Bar ends look good but not a great idea actually and may be removed soon to narrow the front end a little. Pump of course and a bottle holder. Have over 4,500kms on this one and all of it commuting or Tokyo travels. Farthest afield would be Minami Osawa to the west about 35kms from home. Biggest day out was 110kms up the Tama. Lots of shoulder ache after that one as the riding position gets to be monotonous !

    I love it in traffic though with everything instantly available and with a quick dig you are flying along !!

    Bags - have tried over the shoulder types and have a good one from Oakley now however just received a Gregory for my birthday which doubles as a brief case. Perfect day bag and very secure with the chest strap. Add shirt, tie and your smalls and you are all set for work !!

    Watch out for the road rage though, the early mornings see all of the boy racers about and everyone straining at the leash to get to work. Be prepared for deep amber and red chancers at lights in particular !!!

    Charles
     

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