A commuter fit for mr_dylan

Hey everyone. You all seem to get excited about commuters, cos you commute to work.
I drive in, 38km there, at about 6am, along the packed freeway.
Say if I wanted to start commuting to work via bicycle?
What would I need to do to my roadie, or Cx bike even, to make them better to ride to and from work?
What do I need to think about other than ‘bike, helmet, SPD shoes’?
I know there are threads about commuting via bicycle, but I’m not rolling from pascoe vale to the CBD, or fitzroy to Northcote.
I’ll get some pics up.

talk to user heavymetal. pretty sure his commute is about 32k each way.

Which he does on one of these?

Perhaps I best not sell it?

holy shit, you read my mind. i was just going into the trading access to confirm that you were indeed selling your perfect 38km commuting machine!

every second day i commute 71km return to work just threw touring tyres on my cx. And a large ortlieb saddle bag. I have mudguards but haven’t encountered heavy rain yet so they remain unfitted

Yeh, exactly. I suggest keeping the surly for commuting.
Mine’s 3x9, bar-end shifters, salsa bell lap bars, dynamo hub and light, hyper rando 32s, brooks b17 and big carradice saddle bag.
Works great, comfy, handles the load in the saddle bag well, pretty puncture-proof. Cruising speed on the motorway is up around 40km/h.
I’ve also used a front rack with bar bag, and rear rack with panniers, but I reckon the saddlebag is the best. I’ve got it to the point where there’s nothing I need to change on it, it’s pretty much perfect for the purpose.

Edit: 65km return trip.

fenders, propper full coverage fenders.

hey dyldo baggins, could you drive to work on a monday, ride home that arvo, ride back on tuesday, drive home tuesday arvo etc to break it up a little/get the fitness up first?

i’m sure you’re capable of commuting that way every day, but it’s a lot of time each day. or do you spend that much time sitting in traffic anyway?


great way of starting out on longer distance commuting

Isn’t it obvious?

Though in all seriousness get a nice comfortable fit, you don’t want aching wrists or whatever half way home after a big day of work.
A small rack and/or panniers would be a good idea, I hate having the big back sweats from wearing a backpack/messenger bag.
fenders so you don’t get caught in the wet.
Big fuck off headlight for winter.

Some days, I take an hour and a half to get home.

Yeah, so some big arse saddle bag, maybe more than one chainring up front, wider, more comfortable bars, big fenders, fat, slick tires, and then start rolling?

I was thinking I’d just start by riding in on days with nice weather, then start riding in every day when we hit summer,

^^ Dylan, It sounds like you’ve got the right idea.

The details of lighting, gearing and tyres will depend on your commute (whether its flat or hilly, well lit or dim, lumpy or smooth, empty or busy, etc, etc). You’ll sort those things out as you go along. Regular commuters use a wide variety of different handlebars — flat bars, risers, moustache bars, butterfly bars, drops, TT bars (I use bullhorns) — so whatever floats your boat.

(a) If you can get away with one front ring, then do so (simplicity is a virtue). But, if you’re going a long way, then make sure your gear range is wide enough to suit your commute.
(b) Comfort and convenience are important on a commuter. I know that isn’t sexy — but practical stuff often isn’t.
(c) 35 mm tyres can be a good idea — unless your commute is billiard table smooth. Shoe covers on a wet winter day can be a very good idea.
(d) Try to make sure your commuter bike uses the same wheels as at least one of your other bikes, so you can swap out the wheelsets in an emergency.
(e) If you’re going to leave your bike in the open, then think about how you’re going to secure it. Think about ‘dressing your bike down’ so that it’s less attractive to the thieves. You don’t need ‘bling’ on a commuter bike. Retofitting threaded axles can be a good idea (although it means you’ve got to carry a spanner).

First off, it’s 38km each way on the freeway, but how much is it off freeway on lower trafficked roads? Likely longer. That’s a solid commute every day, not impossible, but you’d want to have alternatives available.

Apart from heavymetal’s commute, Nikcee rocked a reasonably long commute earlier this year for a few months and mixed up riding both ways (roadie / crudcatcher fenders / Ay-Ups) some days and PT other days.

I second the ‘keep the crosscheck’ suggestion, and would say to add proper fenders (I gots some used but good ones for ya), something to carry your stuff, be it a saddlebag / rack&pannier / bar bag, which will remove weight from your shoulders and keep you cooler. Whack on some fatter high performance slicks like Jono’s Rando Hypers, which will give you more comfort, more flat protection with low rolling resistance.

I’d also suggest upping your lighting, be it battery or dyno, the more hours you’re riding increases your statistical chance of being hit.

Rock full lycra for that sort of distance, and either leave clothes at work or carry a change. Any showers at your work or will you have to birdbath in the sink?

There’s a sink with a cold tap, and a toilet.
That’s about it. Also, nowhere to keep spare clothes, really.
Also, I’d be riding along the princes highway the entire distance. Only way to get to work, really. And I’d have to start riding at about 5:30, I think, to get there before 7, especially if I’m gonna be in full Lycra and have to change.

So this commuting thing isn’t as simple as ‘get on your fixie and ride to work’, eh? :frowning:

Nah, it’s not simple, but worth it. I normally do 3 days a week, and then when I can’t ride I feel like shit. You just get used to riding a lot. I leave around 5.30 for a 7 start, and that’s enough time for me to get in, showered and changed. You’ll probs be quicker than me cos younger n fitter.
But yeh, as others have said, can’t get big enough lights. It’s crucial

Surly looks the goods for or commute, maybe add fenders or a clip-on rear muddie.

Another thing I’d suggest by way of building up (especially if you have 40k or more each way) is to throw the bike in the car, drive part way, bike the rest. As you get used to the everyday distance, progressively increase the cycling leg/reduce the driving leg.

at my current depot i have lockers, showers and changerooms so no issues with leaving everything i need to change into for work but i spent 3 weeks at another depot closer to home that didn’t have faciities so commuted every day 35km return. every arvo i left my work shoes in a gym bag under an office desk with a travel towel and deodorant so i only had to carry in a set of clothes.

This is what my brother does, just on his roadie with a chrome bag.

Also i dont have a dynamo or a big battery pack light with yet, so i rock 2 front lights from my other bikes, 1 flashing, 1 hi-beam.

I was having a think today at work, maybe I catch the train in, and ride home? Get home sweaty, in my jeans, and have a shower.

That’s a start but wear some nicks for your barse…