Lessons from my 1st commute to work

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by wheelbender6, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    Lessons from my first 50 mile round trip commute to work:

    My battery powered tail lights eventually stop working when clipped directly to the bike
    from the shock of hitting bumps. Clip them on a canvas rack bag or backpack to absorb
    some of the shock. I plan to hard-mount a 6volt, white wire powered tail light.

    The throttle cable more likely to stick on long commutes. Apply dry lube and fine-tune
    the routing of the cable. Be sure that your kill switch is working.

    An adequate headlight for the suburbs is inadequate on rural roads. However, my 6 volt,
    white wire powered headlight was totally reliable.

    My calculated average speed was 14.3 mph. I maintained the 20mph Arizona speed along
    suburban roads and had to slow to 10mph at times on rural areas due to narrow roads
    with irregular edges and darkness, sometimes riding on the dirt shoulder. The average
    speed includes time spent on stops for inspection/repair/adjustment. There was a traffic
    light or stop sign at almost every mile along the route.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2009

  2. echotraveler

    echotraveler Member

    loving your bike, thanx for sharing your experience!

    great commuting bike!
  3. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    Mountainman you should know better as you

    yes wheelbender
    my tail light also feel off into many pieces
    I had it clipped onto the motor
    come on Mountainman you should know better as you

    ride that MB THING
  4. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Are you still commuting to work?

    Have you been carrying a spare tube and pump in case of flats?

    How about a raincoat or do you keep a change of clothing at work?

    Tools and water?

    My son has rescued me twice when I had flat tires enroute to work, a 12-mile roundtrip.

    I'm gonna start carrying a patch kit and air pump on my rides.
  5. fetor56

    fetor56 Guest

    I've always found when your mounting something electrical(like a taillight) to a solid surface that's prone to vibration use a rubber spacer inbetween to cushion/dampen the vibe effect.
  6. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    You ask a lot of questions, mister (but good ones).

    I have been making the 50 mile round trip commute once per week. I have been pedaling my ten speed a lot because I'm doing a 150 mile charity ride at the end of March.

    I carry a pump, spare tube, multi-tool and patch kit in a small backpack. It's the same pack I carry on my ten speed and when I go mountain biking to keep things simple.

    I carry one of those light weight, bright yellow shell jackets in case of rain. It doesn't rain very much in my part of Arizona. I postpone my motor bike commute if heavy rain is predicted. I generally don't keep a change of clothes at work but I probably should.
    I would think a change of clothes would be a must in Hawaii. A set of full fenders should probably help a lot

    I carry only a few tools for the motor bike. Small adjustable crescent wrench, flat head, phillips head and old style pliers. The old pliers (not channel locks) are the easiest way I have found to adjust the clutch cable. Carry a few zip ties to secure wires or as a temporary substitute for a screw that vibrated off.

    There are many discussions on this site about avoiding flat tires. Make sure you are commuting on a street tire. The big gaps in a knobby tread allow glass and nails to penetrate those thin spots in the tire. A street tire has more rubber and smaller tread gaps. I slime my tire tubes but not everybody aggrees with that.

    I haven't been to Hawaii in 15 years or so. I would certainly like to enjoy the beauty of the islands from a motor bike. Cheers
  7. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Thanks for tips.

    I have a change of clothing in my office cabinet, but the pants and belt mysteriously :whistling:shrank.

    My New Year's resolution was to commute the 12-mile roundtrip via bicycle, rain or shine. There's been intermittent rain lately; I put my yellow raincoat on before riding to work, even if it's sunny. Rainpants and rubber gloves also in my bag, along with pump and tire patch kit.

    Got two flats in two months; the homeless spread broken glass along the bikepath to discourage bikes and pedestrians from "trespassing" in their territory.

    When I changed my last tire, I placed the old tire INSIDE the new tire. Maybe that'll stop the punctures.

    Same tools as yours plus 7/16", 10mm and allen wrench.

    Instead of using the bikepath today, I claimed the lane with fellow cagers. I can keep up with traffic going 35mph. Very stressful feeling, because if I fall the car behind me will probably run over me.:ack2:

    Hawaii is NOT the greatest place to sightsee via bicycle. However, with a powerful MB you have a chance of avoiding/outrunning vehicles.

    What I've learned is try not to ride side-by-side with cars. I either keep ahead or behind. If they change lanes without looking, you don't want to be in the lane beside them.

    Lots of potholes and road construction too. Hawaii is one of the worst maintained roads in the U.S.

    I commend you for riding to work.

    One less car on the road.
  8. Hawaii_Ed

    Hawaii_Ed Member

    Good tips! Thanks! I have been commuting 3 weeks now on my kit, love it! I stay on Hickam and Pearl Harbor, was afraid to venture outside the fence 5-7. Glad to know the police and not too motor unfriendly here. I was warned they are totally illegal!
  9. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Hey Ed,

    The cops are committed to checking up on those noisy moped riders.

    As long as we observe the laws and be courteous and considerate to EVERYONE on the road, police will probably not bother us. They have never given me a second glance, and I ride every day, from Kalihi to Waipahu, on the main road and the bikepath.

    But Ed, ya gotta make sure that your bike engine is quiet. When you see a cop, show some respect. Idle your engine, check your speed and pedal your bike.

    Police really don't want to hassle a bicyclist. Each bike means that there's one less car(potential people-killer) on the road.

    Motor bicyclists commuting to work...

    :idea:that's fantastic.

    Ed, watch out for broken glass on the bikepath under the airport viaduct.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2009
  10. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Flat Tire Commuting

    Got another flat heading home from work three days ago. Luckily it was a slow leak so I rode it in.

    This was the front tire; I installed a new thorn-resistant tube ANNND an old mountain bike tire casing INSIDE the front tire.

    Had to slice off 258 nubbies off the old mountain bike tire before it'd fit INSIDE the tire casing.:ack2:

    Now I have double-walled tire casings front and rear.

    THAT should help prevent flats while commuting to work.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2009
  11. robin bird

    robin bird Member

    what a great idea i think ill try that too
  12. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Well, it's been a month since I installed a tire-within-a-tire and no flats yet.

    I try to avoid the bikepath to work. Been riding the two-mile highway even when the roads are wet. Riding slower on wet asphalt.

    Surprisingly absolutely no one honks, yells or cuts me off. That would be spooky while riding 38mph.:ack2:
  13. igore

    igore New Member

    I put a thorn liner(wall mart) in my tires no flats yet
  14. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    I got another flat with my tire-within-a tire this week. It's still a mystery to me. The tire was losing pressure when I left home. At the endo of the workday it was completely flat.

    I changed the worn tire and tube that night. Although I didn't have time to look for the leak, I filled the tube with air and set it aside.

    A few days later the tube's STILL holding air!

    Go figure. It might've been a prankster who flat my tire, or a mystery leak.:detective:
  15. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Other than the flat tires it is pure joy to commute to work, even when it's raining.

    I've found a shorter(5.6miles) safer route, so commuting takes me as fast as 13 minutes.

    Previous best time on "The Dragon Lady" was 17 minutes for 6 miles.

    Best time on a single-engined MB was 25 minutes.

    Best time pedalling on a 24-speed bike was 37 minutes.

    Best time on a cruiser bike was 45 minutes.

    Best time walking the route was one hour and 45 minutes.

    No more screaming down the highway at 38mph for the 2.5 miles stretch of the commute.:sweatdrop:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2009
  16. fm2200

    fm2200 Member

    That's nice being able to use it everyday to get to work. Just keep trying to stay safe, I had to learn how to avoid bad accident situations. Keep yourself alert and if ou feel tired after a days work be careful not to get into a rush while going home.
  17. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Thanks for props,fm.

    On Thursday the social workers invited us staff for hors duvres, karaoke and drinks at a nearby bar. This was in appreciation for our dedicated work. Party started at 3pm; I arrived an hour later because I had work to do.

    So I tied "The Dragon Lady" to a fence at the bar. No Pepsi so I drank Coke. Made sure not to drink because I need to be super-alert motoring home. Made sure I left before dark also.
  18. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    Put a 26x1.5 slick in a 1.75 slick/knobbie, or maybe a 26x1.75 slick in a 2.0 slick. Do you get a lot of tire squirm (that feeling of drifting/wandering caused by the tread knobs or sidewalls flexing)?

    Or try these:
    Slime tire liners. Mixed reviews say they cut tire tubes. I would suggest tire glue on the bottom to lock down the strip, and not cutting the ends as the box warns against it.

    Walmart and many places sell Bell kevlar lined 26" "comfort bike" tires and cruiser tires too.

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  19. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    The tube will hold air for days with a pinhole, just sitting there. Blow it up a little more and stick it in a bucket. You will see the bubbles: likely places are thorn holes where the tread was located, or cracks around the valve stem.

    Pranksters usually put a rock in the valve cap and run away while it deflates slowly. Or loosen your valve cores. The worst ones will blow your tires up hard and then put glue in your valve so you have to either ride a brick or cut your own tube!

  20. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    secure your bags!

    I haven't ridden mine to work yet but I have been testing it at longer and longer rides. Today my handlebar bag tore loose! It launched off the front wheel into my path but I avoided it.

    I have a $10 Bell handlebar bag with zipper. Its very good and reflective, but I put 11lb of stuff in it (battery and tools). It would have stayed on the bike had I secured also with good zipties or hose clamps and extra stitching.

    Be careful guys!