Bicycle Commuter Profile: Jim Thurber

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Jim Thurber
Location: Mountain View, CA
Started bike commuting: I began about six years ago
Commute distance (one way): From home to school about 4 miles – returning at least 20!

Describe your commute: I leave the house pretty early in the morning heading through downtown Los Altos (to pick up coffee and a paper) before heading up into Los Altos Hills for a day of teaching 4th graders. The advantage of riding a bicycle is that you have indoor parking – right in the corner of the classroom. It’s a good lesson for the students too – it is possible to be nearly 60 years old and not spend too much money on gasoline.

Coming home I spend at least an hour riding into Los Altos Hills helping get a bit of exercise and relieving the stress of a day full of 4th graders. Several miles of 7 to 10 percent grades followed by a blast downhill and a fresh cup of coffee ends the day.

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Describe your bike and accessories: My primary commute bike is a SOMA road framed bike but equipped with wide ratio mountain gearing – SRAM 11 x 36 cassette with a compact crank gives me the ability to climb “almost” any grade in the hills (Page Mill Road an exception). Drop bars and excellent lights permit me to ride year round. A lightweight rack (Tubus Luna) carrying a set of Ortlieb Panniers enable me to transport clothing, books and my laptop to / from work. Although a Cargo rack would give me greater load capability the SOMA frame is pretty lightweight and with 20 to 25 pounds on the back it’s at the limit of its flexibility issues, especially when “bombing” downhill at 44.3 mph!

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Most new bikes are equipped with very narrow gear ranges – go wide! Make it possible to bicycle up hills as well as down. Weight is not terribly important – the best (most expensive) bicycles weigh a lot when a couple of water bottles are fastened on – so don’t sweat the weight. My personal “boxed” choice of a commute bike would be a Novara Safari from REI or perhaps a Trek 520. They’re ready to go . . . right out of the box.

Most of the Civia bikes are also outstanding – especially the Hyland, complete with a front dyno and light. Remember to . . .

. . . think about darkness. Include on your commute bicycle a really good set of lights – they’re not very expensive anymore and make a huge difference when it comes to avoiding the “commute” driver, anxious to get home after a difficult day at work.

And don’t think you have to bike commute everyday. Take a day or two off occasionally and drive the car. You’ll find if you truly ENJOY your commute . . . you’ll do it more often!

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

Bicycle Commuter Profile: Darren S.

Name: Darren S.
Location: Laguna Hills, CA
Started bike commuting: 2008
Commute distance (one way): 15 miles

Describe your commute: 1/2 of commute is on a dedicated MUP. The rest is city roads through three different cities (Laguna Hills, Irvine, Costa Mesa and part of Santa Ana, CA). I also do a long route which is 22miles one way.

Describe your bike and accessories: 2008 Specialized Allez. Magicshine headlight, CRUD Racer fenders for when it gets wet. Continental Gatorskins keep me from getting flats. Contrary to the ideals of this website, I DO my commute wearing Lycra, and I do like to ride fast. My commute is long enough that if I were to dawdle on my commute, it would take me forever to get there.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Be realistic about how often you can bike (vs. driving) to work. If biking sucks up so much time that you miss out on family life, then back off a bit. Family is more important than principle. Also, see if you can keep several sets of clothes at the office. That way you can keep your commuting rig light.

Pretty, but Pretty Slick

Wet Leaves
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When the sun’s out, and it’s a beautiful morning, and fall colors are everywhere you look, it’s easy to forget that wet leaves can be nearly as slick as ice. Keep an eye out!

Gallery: Steve’s Town Bike Project

Steve's Bike
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Steve's Bike
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This is my beloved townie that sits behind my desk at work and ventures out on a daily basis to fetch lunch, groceries and general duties. Like most things it’s still a work in progress and I plan to tidy it up a bit more over time. The frame is an ex local postal service unit that I purchased from a market and that’s where the project started. I had the frame powder coated by a local cycling friend who owns the business and understands how to get a high quality finish. It’s truly an outstanding job. The stem, bars, chain guard, stand and rack are all sourced from Velo Orange. Seat pole is a generic BMX post as I struggled to source a good quality 25.4mm unit at the time. Saddle is Brooks and cranks are Shimano 600s. Wheels are generics I picked up cheap and the basket is from the local office supplies store spray painted black. Finally the fenders are second hand units I sprayed myself. I knocked the whole thing together but over time it will evolve. Someone at work asked me if I was going to grab a bottle of red wine and a breadstick! I guess that sums it up.

Steve O’Brien
Melbourne, Australia

Broward B-Cycle

Broward B-Cycle

The Broward B-Cycle bike share program is set to debut December 14th in Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and Pompano Beach, Florida.

Broward B-Cycle

The Brompton Crew

Brompton Crew
Photo: Ed Rae

Here’s a photo of the Brompton riders at our recent Tweed Ride in Sacramento.

Gallery: Anthony’s Kogswell P/R

Kogswell
Kogswell
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Spring ride on the Hockanum Rail Trail in central Ct. Kogswell P/R, 650b, TA cranks, Phil hubs, Brooks Pro saddle. My true companion!

Anthony Spina


 
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