Name: John Harvey
Location: Cork City Republic of Ireland
Started bike commuting: 2 years ago
Commute distance (one way): Min of 20 miles daily
Describe your commute: Currently unemployed so cycling everywhere practicle. Car used but only when absolutely necessary.
Describe your bike and accessories: Dawes Super Galaxy 531ST frame and forks. Shimano group (from old and new). Soma moustache bars and bar end shifters. Rear rack for panniers. Brooks bar tape and Brooks saddle B17. Shimano Hub Dynamo and B and M front Light, Cateye LED rear. Shimano Peddles.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Be prepared, firstly to allow extra time for your commute in case of punctures and mechanical failure. Even allowing for these, most city commutes are faster by bike. Secondly organise your bike and gear, it pays to prepare!!
Location: West Falls, NY, USA
Started bike commuting: May 2008
Commute distance (one way): 19’ish
Describe your commute: I live in the “Ski Country” of Western New York at the top of the hill. The way to work is often very easy, downhill, tailwind, limited traffic. There are very few bike paths in Buffalo, NY so 90% of my commute is on the road but I leave at 5:30am so there is generally limited traffic. On the ride home traffic varies depending on my route, what time I leave, and weather conditions. Plus the ride home is always uphill and generally a head wind.
Describe your bike and accessories: The weather plays a huge role in what bike I ride to work. I can store the bike in my office so I don’t worry about locking it up. Rainy days I have a Salsa Vaya set up with fenders and racks and Banjo Brothers waterproof paniers. Snowy days I take the Salsa Mukluk but these days are very limited due to the amount of time it takes me to get home. Sunny days it just depends on what mood I am in on what bike I grab. I am looking for a centre-track gates bike once that drivetrain becomes available to the public. It will replace my Vaya and also be the major winter bike.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: #1 – One thing I learned is that drivers can tell if you don’t think you don’t belong on the road with them. I tell people that I am cautiously confident and stand (ride) my ground depending on road conditions. I don’t take any more room than I need but if I need to ride 4′ into a lane to avoid potholes or debris then I will. I also make a point to wave to people when they wait for me and show my appreciation to them. The more people see of me and the nicer I can be, hopefully that will make for a safer commute for me and everyone else that driver encounters.
#2 – Lights Lights Lights and more Lights. Make sure they see you!
Name: Jason Ingargiola
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Started bike commuting: Spring 2005 then again in Feb 2011
Commute distance (one way): varies
Describe your commute: Some days, the commute is easy: .8 miles down the road on one major city street. Other days: 7.5 miles over rolling hills from the city, through farmland and out to a small suburban town. The longer ride is usually at 4am and the short trip is mid-morning.
Describe your bike and accessories: Converted my Tommasso Capri starter triathlon bike to a commuter: added a rear rack, pannier to carry lunch and a change of clothes, lights and front fender (could not get the rear fender to fit on the frame, still looking). Nothing flashy or special, just a simple bike to get the job done.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Ride as you would drive: heed traffic laws, red lights, stop signs. Stay off sidewalks if possible. Ride in a predictable pattern, always stay alert to your surroundings.
You don’t need really specialized equipment or clothes to be a regular bicycle commuter, just a willingness to leave your comfort zone!
Name: Andrew H
Location: Oxfordshire, England
Started bike commuting: 2004
Commute distance (one way): 7 miles or 20 miles
Describe your commute: Depending on when I need to be in the office and what is going on that day I drive to Reading city limit, park up, cycle to the station, jump on the train and then cycle from Paddington to the office in central London (All in a suit). This route is mainly city streets but the traffic is bearable as I go in early to avoid the rush. Or – Cycle to Reading station, jump on the train and then cycle from Paddington to central London (Done in cycle gear and change at the office). This route is fantastic, 18 miles of it are allong a mainly traffic free cycle route, through woods and open contryside.
Describe your bike and accessories: For the shorter commute, I use a Brompton M3L. I have added Schwable marathon tyres, Ergo grips and use the Brompton C bag which holds everything I have ever wanted to carry on a bike. For the longer commute I use a Bianchi C2C with an Ortileb handlebar bag and Deuter rucksack. I have added Specialized Armadillo tyres and Campagnolo wheels to deal with the detritus that can be found on the trail and carry a 14st rider with 2 bags!
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Stick with it long enough to form a habit and you will never look back (unless using a mirror!). Be bold but not brave in traffic, and think long and hard about what you really need to carry in your repair/bad weather kit.
[To add your profile to the collection, please visit our Bicycle Commuter Profiles page. —ed.]
SRAM is introducing a two-speed auto-shift internal gear hub to the European market this summer. It’s my understanding that the internal shifting mechanism is controlled by centrifugal force; when you reach a certain speed the hub automatically shifts to a higher gear, and when you slow down, it automatically shifts down (the shifting points can be preset at 7.5, 8.7 or 11.2 mph). Specs as follows:
- Speeds: 2
- Gear Ratios: 1:1 and 1:1,37 = 124%
- Spoke Holes: 28 or 36
- Sprockets: 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
- Finish: Ni-Chrome-plated
- Weight: 980 gr
- Shifting points: 7.5, 8.7 or 11.2 mph
- Brake: Coaster
Automatic shifting is nothing new. From what I can discern, this hub is based upon the rare Sachs Torpedo-Automatic. Then there was Shimano’s ill-fated 3-speed auto-shift “Coasting” drivetrain. And though it’s not exactly an automatic, Sturmey Archer seems to be doing well with their 2-speed kick-shift hub.
I’m not convinced we really need automatic shifting on bikes when we already have indexed internal gear hubs, but for those who want the simplicity and clean lines of a single speed while needing the advantages of a second gear, this is an interesting alternative.
There’s no word yet on price or whether it will be imported into the U.S. The Automatix is the first among other new IGHs from SRAM due out later this year.
View the Spec Sheet [PDF] →
[Hat tip to Jeff L. —ed.]
Name: Boularan Joël
Location: Paris, France
Started bike commuting: First 1977 with some breaks (Solex 1 year, tube, 1 year, roller skate 2 years, car 1 year, motorbike 1 year), next 2008
Commute distance (one way): 18 km
Describe your commute: Form North of Paris 19 close to les buttes chaumont, crossing paris to south and then uphill to Clamart and Fontenay aux Roses. Not very cool trip due to traffic, but early in the morning 6 am, with the sunshine riding over the Seine with the sighting from the pont Notre de Dame, really wonderful. And motivating to continue to go to work.
Describe your bike and accessories: On year ago I broke my old Scott VTC frame after a bad snowy winter and pot holes comming with. Then I bought a Surly LHT Frame 56 (the blue one) and built my new bicycle with second hands spare things (often mine) : my brook flyer saddle, a tubus cargo on rear and a zefal lower rack in front. shimano 6000 levers on the frame, mavok A319 rim with shimano Deore hub and continental city tires for bad weather.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Prefer to ride early in the morning, have a breakfast and a shower (if necessary) after the ride. Try to enjoy it even in the worst condition (tell you it could be even worst by car, bus walking etc.)