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No Shower, No Problem

Think back to when you were a kid. Did you enjoy getting stuck in a car more than the riding your bike through the neighborhood? Then why do we default to cars as adults?

Maybe we shouldn’t and a lot of us are taking that to heart and commuting by bike to work.

There are many reasons people commute by bike. MANY. For the love of the environment, ease of parking, fiscal responsibility, workout opportunity are among some of the reasons.

Some bikers never commute. They ride only for fun and fitness. And that is ok too- biking is awesome for many reasons to many people and I welcome everyone to the road however they see fit.

I do commute to work by bike everyday for all the reasons mentioned but the main reason is for my children. I ride to show them you can do ‘it’ and the world is not just about getting from A to B by car. You can make a difference, you can do something both good for you and others AND you can share your love of biking with those you love most. Kids really do emulate their parents and the more active you are, the more active they will be in their lives.

As recently as 2013, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air (citing Roughly only one percent of commuting trips to work are by bike (Bike Commuting Statistics). But this is growing and YOU can make it grow further!

Commuting by bike is GROWING!
Commuting by bike is GROWING!

Imagine if every 1 in 10 of the cars you see on the road commuted to work at least twice a week. Imagine the investment in bike infrastructure you would be given due to the demand. Think about the quality of life, work achievements (#8 Tips for Unleashing Creativity at Work ), cleaner air and lower traffic you would have.


Now, biking to working AND being a parent IS NOT easy. Getting them to school, getting you to work and getting back home in time before sundown seems almost insane if you add biking.

Depending on how far you live from work you could face quite a trip. BUT according to the commuting statistics most people travel 15miles or less to work. This distance is do-able in 45min and provides a nice 1h 30min+ work out daily. Even just 2 times a week.

This biking would enable you to quit your gym membership AND there is chance you could ride to school with your children (Tips for Biking to School). Your kids would get more time outdoors, benefits from the exercise (Kids and Physical Activity) and get a chance to really see their neighborhood(s) maybe for the first time.

So is it easy- NOPE. Is it possible- YES! Why should you even try if it isn’t easy? Because it matters- to you, your health and your kids.

Don’t know where to start?

There are a LOT of tips for commuting. One for example is Bike Commuting which discusses new routes, tools to take are discussed here with tools to take riding with kids and absolutely applicable for your commute into work.

Seasonal Commuting By Bike Temperature Compass
Seasonal Commuting By Bike Temperature Compass

Here are a few pointers:

1.) Leave the laptop at work if you can. Remote in to your computer if possible from your home computer and ask your company if they don’t have this option to add it (this would make it safer for the company too not having assets offsite).

2.) If you have to drive into work- do it on Monday. Get the kids to school a little earlier, pack everything you can for the week- food, clothes, soap, towels, etc in the car to take to work.

3.) Do NOT forget deodorant.

4.) Do NOT panic if you cannot shower. You can still clean up after the ride. Shower or bathe at night before and using a wash cloth and soap of your choice (nice smelling is helpful) you can bath just enough to get through the day.

5.) Consider going minimalist to none on the makeup if you are a woman- some jobs may not allow this but for those that do this may help you liberate off makeup and lighten your load on your pocket book and your skin.

6.) Do NOT panic. You don’t even have to take of these recommendations. As long as you bike – it will benefit the whole family and you will see it.

7.) Know that more people are joining you. They are riding more and some cities may see the rise in bike commuting than other BUT just maybe by see you on the bike you have inspired others to join.

8.) Tell EVERYONE you know you bike. Tell them bikers need 3ft by law and 5ft courtesy when passing. This will matter when you are on the roads. Now people can put a face with the bikers out there and that IS power. You will have influenced a vast amount of drivers to respect bikers without even realizing it.

9.) Find a co-worker or friend if possible to commute with to help for safety and motivation. Bike clubs are a good way to reach out to find contacts and your company may even reward biking so motivating co-workers may be easy than you would think.

10.) SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY. Lights (rear and front), mirrors and reflective clothing preferably fluorescent colored . And eye gear PLUS be aware ALWAYS. Ride defensively.

The hardest parts of biking to work with kids is time. It may take you a little longer during the day so you may need some flexibility to work from home or on the weekend when the kids are asleep. This may sound like a lot to give up BUT each day you commute you are not having to spend extra time without the kids driving to work or the gym or biking on the weekend while the kids hang with a babysitter.

YOU and the KIDS CAN then bike together on the weekends and hone you biking skills to go to school during the week. You CAN talk about why you ride and how much better it is than driving and you CAN inspire you kids to aspire for more and challenge what is normal.

This all just from changing your commute from drive time to bike time!

Change the world from your garage- one family at a time!

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The Perfect Commuter Bike : Quick Update

Long Haul Trucker

Currently the Long Haul is sitting as pictured above.  I installed the Schwalbe tires by chance, not thinking they would fit, but they did.  The tires I think have taken the bike a completely different path than originally I thought it would go.  The bikes looks have changed.

Yesterday, I worked on installing the Velo Orange 60mm 26″ fenders.  I need a new L-Bracket to install the front fender but I did a quick mock up photo, as you see above.

The handlebars installed right now are Nitto North Road handlebars, attached to a Misfit Psycles stem. I’ve been really impressed with the change of ride quality between the fat, balloon type, tires and the swept back handlebars..  There are still several handlebars to work through before I can give you an honest opinion on which handlebar I prefer, but I like the swept back and comfortable feel as it is.

What do you think so far?

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Handlebar Side Thoughts : Continued

Several weeks ago we went down the road of handlebar selection during the group build of the Surly Long Haul Trucker. I’m still venturing down this road slowly and have ordered in several various handlebars, with many more on the way. The biggest issue I’ve had is trying out handlebars that use road brake levers, or not and also bar-end shifters or not. To continue on my test I have also ordered in Paul Thumbies and Shimano long pull brake levers. *


Bars to be tested

Soma Sparrow (In upright position)

Soma Clarence (In white of course)

Soma Noah’s Arc

Velo Orange Tourist Bar

Nitto Promenade

Nitto North Road

Civia Loring

Titec H-Bar

Testing Process

Currently the process for handlebar testing is to install, document and measure.  Test ride on normal road riding, semi off-road and crushed gravel type situations.  Adjust, measure and document as needed.  Wash, and repeat with next bar..  What are your thoughts on the process? Anything to add or remove?

Because of the list above, and on-going handlebars that will probably be added this process may take a month or so but I will update you as I go through bars.

*Long term if I end up with a mountain style brake lever and Paul Thumbies I will be switching to the Paul Brake Levers and Motolite V-brakes.

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The Perfect Commuter Bike : Fenders

Velo Orange FendersOur group build is about half way through it’s original phases. After many discussions about bicycle type, exact frame set, the type of shifting and finally the component type. We’ve determined the Long Haul Trucker with a stock build is the bike we are going with.

We’ve moved on to accessorizing and the important question now is fenders, what type, style and such. I’ve used various fenders over the years, and had great luck with SKS, Planet Bike and Velo Orange. For personal lust I have a set of Velo Orange fenders I’ve been saving for a moment like this. The idea of all silver/chrome parts on this bike with the blue paint makes me giddy!

As I’m leaving this as a sounding board for all of you to tell me your favorite fender and WHY, I’m not making this a poll but instead an open forum.

Planet Bike is a Commute By Bike sponsor, this doesn’t sway my opinion for them but by law I have to tell you this.
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The Perfect Commuter Bike : Bike Lights

Our group build is about half way through it’s original phases.  After many discussions about bicycle type, exact frame set, the type of shifting and finally the component type, we’ve determined the Long Haul Trucker with a stock build is the bike we are going with.

On to my favorite phase of this build, the lights.  I have a slight obsession with bike lights, mainly due to night riding is my favorite thrill of cycling.  Currently my personal favorite are Light & Motion up front and Cateye or Planet Bike in the back.  I’m also a mountain biker so really enjoy a multi-purpose light but also have been using the Vega 200 from Light & Motion a lot lately.

I’m listing various light brands, please add brands but keep comments below so not to clog up things too much.  I’m open to making this two post of “to see” and “be seen” types of lights.


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This Week in Commuting News

My goal in these weekly round ups are not only to highlight what was talked about here, on Commute By Bike, but across the newswire, blogosphere and maybe even in my shop.  As long as it is about commuting, it may find its way here.

Continue reading This Week in Commuting News