First Ride to Work!

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Donald M. Haney, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. Or should I have titled the story "Running Scared!"

    22 miles of some of the most bike unfriendly road I've ever encountered, but boy was it fun! Chuck holes, debris, I even had to run over a stewed racoon carcass. I was on the concrete curb strip, and saw it too late to zig, 'cause there was a car next to me. SQUISHH! He was nice and soft, so I hardly noticed.

    Machine done good. Nothing rattled loose. Smooth sailing, 'cept for the coon.

    Tonorrow morning is supposed to be 45 degrees, so I may cheat and try to get this thing on the bus.

  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Good job, man!

    I've run over a few rotting animals, too. No room to zig-zag.

    But my commute is only a bit over 6 miles, one way. You guys who manage 20-something have my respect. Your hands must get numb. Or have you padded the handlebars? Gloves, maybe?

    Good luck with the bus thing; our system just won't take a bike that carries fuel.
    But riding in the 40s is not impossible. You just gotta dress up.

    Have fun.
  3. The key to less buzzing in the seat and handle bars is to keep the speed at about 15 to 20, at least that's the case with mine.

    Next month, I will change workplaces, and will only have a 2.5 mile commute. Not nearly the 'expedition' it is now. I'll install the tire chains in a couple months!
  4. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    You know, I considered making tire chains. Would've been easy enough.

    But then I realized that that would make my brakes totally inoperative.

    How'd you get around that?
  5. I was just kidding, but I've got coaster brakes. But there's no way anything like that would clear the frame. I need to be more careful with my humor. You crazy people just might try it!
  6. sjackson

    sjackson Member

    They make studded bike tires. They're not typically for road use though. I used to bike every day of the year, regardless of the weather (which can vary greatly in Chicago.) In the winter, the trick was to just keep the speed low, never power through turns, brake early and always be prepared to put a foot down. And I used to ride a road bike with skinny tires. Only fell once on an unsalted street. It was in a "historic" district, so they couldn't use salt on it. It was literally an ice rink.
  7. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Yup, I've been an Ice-Biker too. It is doable. Rode it pretty much the way you just described, sjackson.

    I'll probably do it this year. Though it'll probably be a pedal bike. I just can't help the feeling that a motor assisted bike in snow and ice just ain't gonna work.

    But I'm pretty sure to experiment a bit. I'll report the results.
  8. Warner

    Warner Member

    C'mon! You need to try a 30mph power slide on a frozen pond! would be a cool feeling. (until/unless you wiped out, which is basically inevitable). I am one of those guys who rides 20 miles each way to work and back when I can. I rode yesterday....about 40 degrees on my way in and TOTALLY dark the entire ride. My headlight setup works GREAT! 55 watt headlight lights up the road as well as a motorcycle! My battery has no trouble lasting an hour (haven't tried longer so I don't know how long it would last before dying). Part of my trip is through a forest preserve area with NO lighting...pitch black on my ride. That headlight really lights up the road GREAT. Total cost was under $100, including the headlight (with a spare to boot!), battery, charger, and switch. Not bad!

  9. Rode home from work this morning after the night shift. 40 degrees was 'bracing', but I never felt cold. Discovered a better route home in the weekday mornings when the Interstate "Express"way is a parking lot.

    Get this: Yesterday morning, by car, took me 70 minutes to get home. With my Happy Time, I made the route, coming and going, in an average time of 76minutes (per leg), and used a sippy cup of gas to cover 40 miles roundtrip.

    Sorry Henry Ford... but I may just have a 'better idea'!
  10. Warner

    Warner Member

    My ride is 19 miles each way. On my way in to work, it takes me 45 minutes as I do NO pedaling-only. On the way home, I pedal (engine off) for 2 miles of the trip and it takes me about 55 minutes.

  11. s_beaudry

    s_beaudry Member


    My best was back in '03 up in NJ in January when it was blizzard conditions and about -10 with the wind.....

    Had to get to the store and the car was plowed in, that was one bone rattling ride in those temps!
  12. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    re: get around that. I wouldn't ever put (traction) chains on a bicycle!

    But I would buy studded snow tires if I lived somewhere like Montana or Canada and just had to MB to work or doctors visit.

    Bike Nashbar ( has studded tires. They are heavy and expensive, but will save your butt if you cross some ice.

    I like to home build and jury rig stuff, but I wouldn't play with tires, I just buy them and leave them alone.

  13. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    I agree about road bikes in winter. for some reason it works. The narrow tires bite in I guess. The tall wheel has some gyroscopic effect too. I used to ride a beater with some file tread 700c tires, and a fixed hub wheel. I would never ride a MB with a fixed hub, but a coaster hub should work for feeling out your traction level and making easy adjustments. Don't undergear too much either or you could spin out.

  14. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    What winter gear would you suggest? Since you don't have to pedal very much like a regular bike (unless your motor freezes! YIkes), what kind of gear do you go with?