Bicycle Commuter Profile: Matt Graham

Name: Matt Graham
Location: Morehead City, North Carolina
Started bike commuting: June, 2010
Commute distance (one way): 10 Miles – According to Google. With a Nor-easter, it’s more like 25. :)

Describe your commute: My commute takes place on the coastal plain of North Carolina. The only hills around here are man-made bridges. Nevertheless, if anyone wants to make any time at all during their ride, you’ll need a geared bicycle as the winds are at least as difficult as any mountain I’ve ever climbed.

In any event it’s 10 miles or so through small neighborhood streets which are potholed and shoulderless, so one learns to become a vehicular cyclist pretty quickly. The drivers here are for the most part courteous, but there are so few cyclists in town that most of them have no idea how to deal with a bicycle on the road.

My favorite part of the ride is a high-rise bridge with no shoulder and no escape in case of an accident. If it weren’t for this obstacle, my ride would be pure fun.

Describe your bike and accessories: My current bicycle is a Jamis Coda Sport. Since purchase I’ve had to replace the wheels with a big 36 spoke model because I’m a big strong guy and I kept breaking the spokes off the wheels that the bike came with. I’ve also added butterfly bars to the bicycle because the flat bar hurt my wrists and the moustache bar I tried put too much weight on the rear wheel and made the steering squirrelly. I also have a rack and a cavernous trunk rack for clothes and papers. I suppose that it is an odd looking ride, but it’ll due until I can convince the Mrs that I need a Civia; or maybe a Rivendell; oh, but those ANTs are nice, too.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: My big suggestion for those looking to commute by bicycle is: Get bigger tires. It is unbelievable how much nicer a ride is with bigger tires. Skinny tires are faster, but they aren’t so much faster during a commute that it’s worth the extra bumps and hassle that comes with them.

I started with 28s and have since moved to 35s and wish that my frame would hold larger still. My commute time is exactly the same except that my bike feels more stable, accidental potholes don’t hurt as much, and pinch flats occur much less often.

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