Bicycle Commuter Profile: Nate

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Nate
Location: Gainesville, FL, USA
Started bike commuting: 7 year ago
Commute distance (one way): 5 miles

Describe your commute: My commute includes bike trails, bike lanes, as well as residential streets. Currently, I am taking a one mile detour on a forest path to avoid road construction that has obstructed the bike lanes on my normal route. I am fortunate to be able to park my bike indoors both at home and at work.

Describe your bike and accessories: I ride a Stevens City Flyer. I purchased the bike in Germany in 2006 while living in Europe. I had intended to buy a very different sort of bike, but when I saw the City Flyer on the wall in the bike shop I was intrigued because of the 8-gear Shimano Nexus hub. I had not previously heard of internally geared hubs with more than three gears. I took the bike for a test ride and was sold. I have since added fenders and a rack and carry my computer and papers in an Ortlieb Office Bag.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Bicycle commuting is a great way to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors while getting to and from work. Like all vehicles, bicycles require maintenance. A well-maintained bike will make your commute more enjoyable. I just got my bike back from the shop yesterday after a complete overhaul and now it glides silently down the road with much less effort. I spend a fair bit of money keeping my bike maintained. However, I don’t mind because I don’t have to pay for fuel or for parking at work.

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Bicycle Commuter Profile: Vicki

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Vicki
Location: Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Started bike commuting: Since 1996 (on and off)
Commute distance (one way): 5km at the moment, has been up to 12 km

Describe your commute: Gradual downhill through quiet suburban streets. then onto a busy main street which has very slow traffic due to the amount of pedestrians crossing and traffic lights, so I just keep up with the traffic which is not hard to do, and it keeps me out of the car door death lanes. Then I ride along the footpath for a short distance where it is quite dangerous to be on the road but the paths are nice and wide and empty. Through a park, along a bike track beside a scenic river and I am there. I get to check out the other riders as well as the pelicans on the river on my way, it only takes about 20 minutes and I don’t travel far enough to need a shower. A great start to the day.

Describe your bike and accessories: My old Speedwell is my preferred mode of travel, it is a single speed with back pedal brakes and an old style wire basket on the front, which I simply throw my bag into. I have had it since I was a child and I love the classic loop frame. I also have a Giant hybrid bike with 24 gears and much better brakes than the Speedwell but I prefer the Speedwell if the weather is good. The Giant also has a bag-carrying-rack on the back which is useful. My lights are a variety of blinkies which I can attach to the bikes, bags and my helmet.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Work out which way to ride before you do it the first time. Look at maps and do a weekend trial ride as you will probably find shortcuts you did not know were there for bike riders. Try not to use a back pack as they are hot and uncomfortable, use a pasket or panniers. Work out your clothes and whether you can just ride in work clothes or whether you need to carry an extra set of clothes with you. If there are no showers at work, you can probably do a wash and change in the rest rooms at work. Make sure you have a good lock or can store your bike safely at your workplace. Your co workers will be in awe at your athletic prowess in riding to work, even if you just pedalled a few blocks to get there!

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Bicycle Commuter Profile: Ken

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Ken
Location: Portland, OR
Started bike commuting: Four years ago
Commute distance (one way): A little over 4 miles

Describe your commute: The first third of my commute is on one of Portland’s “bicycle boulevards” that is designed to be low traffic with limited stops for cyclists. The next third is on a cycle/pedestrian path that runs along the Willamette River and the last third is medium density stop and go traffic close to the city center.

Describe your bike and accessories: My daily ride is a Salsa Vaya with disc brakes, brooks B17 saddle, Planet Bike Cascadia fenders, and four planet bike lights (two superflashes in back, a beamer and a blaze up front). A planet bike rear rack and Axiom panniers completes my setup.

Bicycle Commuter Profile

When I need to carry lots of stuff, I use my new CETMA cargo bike. I just recently built it with a NuVinci N360, BB7 disc brakes and Schwalbe big apple tires. By the end of the month, I’ll add a box and rain canopy up front to carry the kids.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Commit to making bicycling as comfortable and easy as possible. If your bike is comfortable, working well, easy to access and you have the right clothes for the weather, you will enjoy it much more and do it much more often.

For me, that meant buying a bike, panniers and rain gear that kept me comfortable and dry. Making this choice meant that I had to decide to make a financial investment, but the cost of my bike and gear is 1/20th the cost of a inexpensive (relatively speaking) new car and far less on an ongoing basis knowing that I no longer pay for insurance, gas or maintenance for a second automobile.

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Bicycle Commuter Profile: Jason Repko

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Jason Repko
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Started bike commuting: several years ago
Commute distance (one way): 9.3 miles

Describe your commute: I commute from Seward Park along Lake Washington, up to the Arboretum and to the University of Washington. The first 6+ miles is a lower stress road along the lakefront with 25mph limits, although cars typically travel 35mph or more in morning rush hour. Signs post that bicycles have the right of way, though I don’t believe a quiz of most automobile drivers would reveal their knowledge of the sign’s existence. The last three miles include a short climb and then a descent into heavy traffic. I vary the last part from time to time through different neighborhood streets.

Describe your bike and accessories: Omafiets classic loop frame Dutch bike. 8 Speed internal Nexus rear hub, internal hub roller brakes, front generator hub runs both front (B&M Lumotec IQ Cyo RT), and rear (B&M) lights. 29″ wheels, full coverage fenders, Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, Brooks B67, Clarjis rear paniers, Basil briefcase, full coverage chaincase, AXA Defender wheel lock + a chain and a NYC Faghettaboutit U-Lock.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: If you have a substantial bike commute and you ride it regularly, get yourself a bike you really like and a couple of good locks for it. If you’re putting the mileage on, you’ll want to love what you ride. I certainly do.

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Bicycle Commuter Profile: Teemu K.

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Teemu K.
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Started bike commuting: –
Commute distance (one way): 7 km

Describe your commute: Around 7 km (one-way), mostly on cycling trails along car roads. Depending on traffic lights this route takes 20-25 minutes. In pretty weather I often ride a longer route along parks and trails. Snow and ice are an issue during winter months; in winter I run studded tires. My employer provides a shower and lockerroom at work, and I have a towel, and office clothes waiting for me in my locker.

Describe your bike and accessories: My current favorite commuter is a brown Surly Cross Check 2010 which I assembled myself last winter. I have removed all Surly logos and decals. The Cross Check absorbs bumps well providing a smooth ride, and with 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires I think the bike is very fast despite of being made out of heavy steel. I’ve setup the bike with Nitto B105AA drop bars, and prior to that I ran a Soma 3-speed moustache bar; I still haven’t decided which one I like better. Since there is not that much elevation around here, and because I enjoy simplicity, I run 1×8 gears with a Shimano bar end shifter in friction mode on the right hand bar end. To the left I have a mirror, I really don’t want to ride without a mirror in traffic. For some luxury I have a Brooks B17 Special honey-coloured saddle and matching handle bar tape. The cranks and 44 tooth chainring are from Sturmey-Archer and mudguards are from the SKS chromoplastics line. This is a perfect commuter and a comfortable touring bike. I’ve ridden it some 3000km during this season, out of which 245 km during a single day, with a rear rack and Ortlieb panniers. I transport my lunchbox, spare tire, pump and basic tools and spare clothes in a Ortlieb handlebar bag (not pictured).

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes.”

[Visit our Bicycle Commuter Profiles page to add your profile to the collection. —ed.]

Bicycle Commuter Profile: Brian

Name: Brian
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Started bike commuting: I started riding and commuting this year.
Commute distance (one way): 20-30 miles

Describe your commute: There is a very nice trail that was part of a “rails-to-trails” project that runs directly North and South into the city. Driving my car (with bike) to any point on the trail allows me to alter the distance but my usual point of entry onto the trail makes for a 20-22 mile one-way commute. I live 10 miles east of the trail that requires riding on a busy 4 lane road, if I ride the entire distance on my bike it is about 30 miles one way. I shower in the basement of our building.

Describe your bike and accessories: I wanted a road bike to ride on the weekends which is also good for commuting long distances. I bought a road bike from an online site it has Shimano Tiagra/105 component level ($599). I have clip-in commuter shoes so I can get off the bike and walk easily. I sometimes ride with a backpack. I have a tire change kit in a pouch under my seat. In the early morning or late evening I use a tail light and front light.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Commuting to work via bike is a great way to get in shape and stay in shape. Try to get comfortable riding on the roads and always look for new routes. If you are riding a long distance get creative and try meeting up with a bus or ride home at the end of one day and to work on the next (leave your car at work). Make sure you know how to change a flat tire.

[Visit our Bicycle Commuter Profiles page to add your profile to the collection. —ed.]

Bicycle Commuter Profile: Dan Dodds

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Dan Dodds
Location: Helena, Montana
Started bike commuting: Since 1971 with some breaks. Continuously since 2000.
Commute distance (one way): 12 miles

Describe your commute: Mostly rural highway shoulder with a couple of miles on back streets in town. Mostly flat, but with a big hill at each end (600 ft elevation gain at one end, 400 at the other).

Describe your bike and accessories: My main bike is a 2008 Rans Rocket. Homemade rack and seat-back bag and a pair of blinkies front and back. My backup bike, which was my only bike for 35 years, is a 1973 Peugeot PX-10, with everything but the brakes and seatpost worn out and replaced at least once.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: There is a lot of good advice here and elsewhere, but most of it should be prefaced with “Here is what works for me. It may or may not work for you.” Experiment, think, and figure out what works for you. What works for me is that the more I ride, the more I want to ride.

Be nice to the poor people in cars. Most of them are spending eight to ten hours at a job they don’t like without the benefit of a bike ride before and after.

[Visit our Bicycle Commuter Profiles page to add your profile to the collection. —ed.]

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