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6.4 Commuting - Is it possible for me to commute by bike?


This article is from the Bicycles FAQ, by Mike Iglesias with numerous contributions by others.

6.4 Commuting - Is it possible for me to commute by bike?

From: royce@ug.eds.com (Royce Myers)

Not everyone can commute to work on a bicycle. Some people can't cycle to
work in a reasonable time because of their fitness or because they live
too far away. Other people need their cars for their jobs, or take
children to school. Some employers frown on bicycle commuting, and don't
provide any facilities. All these obstacles can be surmounted.

If you want to commute by bike, you will find a way to do it.

A few facilities at your workplace can make commuting easier.

Minimally there should be racks in a well trafficked area. Some business
will let you park them in your cube, and others might provide a closet or
unused room to store them. My company provides enclosed lockers. If
theft is a significant danger, consider buying a second, inexpensive bike
to be used only for commuting.

If your commute is short, and the dress code where you work is relaxed,
you won't need to change or clean up after getting to work. The rest of
us need to prepare for work.

Every workplace has a bathroom where a sponge bath and change is
possible. If you're lucky (like me) there's showers and lockers. If your
ride makes you sweat a lot, and there is no way to take a shower at work,
look around for a nearby gym. Sometimes you can arrange to change and
shower there, then walk or ride slowly to work. If you want to get a
workout, but there's nowhere to clean up at work, try getting your workout
on the way home, making little or no effort on the way to work.

If your ride is too long for a round trip, and there's no place to park,
put your bike in your car and drive to work on Monday. Monday night, ride
home. Tuesday morning ride to work and put your bike in the car. If
you're tired Tuesday night, drive home. If there is a vanpool to work,
get the vanpool driver to mount racks. Then you can take the vanpool in
the morning and ride home in the afternoon.

Some people reduce the length of their commute by driving to a "park and
ride" area, then riding in from there. Another way to solve a long
commute is to find out about bicycle accommodation on buses or other
public transportation. Many people use a combination of bikes and buses,
subways, or trains to make a long commute possible.

Racks, bags and panniers: Some people drive in clothes once a week and buy
lunch at work so they don't need to carry much on their bikes. Others
need something to carry paperwork, lunch and clothes. A lot of commuters
use knapsacks rather than putting racks on a bike, but this raises their
center of gravity and increases wind resistance. Racks can be put on any
bike, and they come in handy for running errands, touring and unsupported
rides. If you're looking for a commuting bike, get one with rack eyelets
on the frame for convenience. Another alternative are touring saddle
bags, which are hard to find but are very handy on bikes without racks.

Get your bike in shape. Replace tires which have cracked sidewalls, or
worn casing. Carry a flat kit, a spare tube and enough tools to fix a
flat. If you're not mechanically inclined, have a bike shop tune up your
bike. Check every part of the drivetrain for lubrication and wear. Make
sure your wheels are true, and that the hubs are lubricated and adjusted

[I did not retain the mail address of contributors who posted to the group
without a sig; also, I may have missed some posts that weren't emailed to



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