Year-round Commuter

Chris left a comment that deserves a posting:

Commuting by bicycle is really just a matter of how much motivation you have to do it, or what life position you are in. I live in a college town and tons of students have their bikes out all year round. Of course they are in a life position where they have a very low income. So, the bike makes sense for them. Then we have a fair amount of homeless peoples and low income peoples using bikes to get around. And there are those that have lost their driving license for what ever reason.

I would agree that there are very few people commuting by bicycle that live in a two income home with multiple cars. I live in a two income home, with one child and two cars. We have a loan against one of the cars, and our mortgage is not nearly as high as many other people my age (31). But I commute almost year round on my Redline single speed because it makes me feel good about myself due to the exercise, the money I am saving, and I guess the fact that I am putting less CO2 into the environment.

Now, I am pretty lucky that the town where I live, Lincoln Nebraska has 120 mi of paved and rock surfaced trails to ride. And my round trip commute to work, and or school is only about 6-10mi. The only days that I don’t commute are when there is ice and snow on the streets just after a big snow storm, or when the rain is pissing down to the point that no rain gear would save me from getting drenched. I commuted all the way through December last year. I did sit out most of January and Feb as there was a fair amount of snow storms. Some mornings when I left the house in December it was easily only 10F outside.

Now, I’m not looking for a medal here or anything. Just saying that I really think it is all up to your willingness to commute by bicycle. There are a million reasons you can think of why you should not commute by bicycle. Each of us just needs to decide how valid those reasons are to us.

I would really love to see a national push for bicycle commuting that involves folks driving their car to a large parking area just outside of the large city they work in, then getting on their bike and riding the 3-10mi to thier office. But, again that will only happen with a big social shift, or fuel prices escalating to levels of say twice what they are now. Can you imagine spending 120 dollars to fill up your SUV every week because gas is 5-6 bucks per gallon. That would sure make the partial bike commute much more inviting. Us Americans need to quite looking at the bike as a toy for the young and physically active, and start seeing it as a valid commuting tool.

But this is just all my opinion. Feel free to agree or disagree!

Peace out

Thanks Chris for your inspiring thoughts.

There’s nothing like riding to work on a new bike… OK, so the B27-R is not a new bike, but with the NuVinci hub installed, it feels like a different bike. This is nothing like I ever ridden, it’s kind of hard to describe…

As I started pedaling to work, I rotated the CruiseController to a cadence that was neither hard nor easy, it was just right. As I started increasing my cadence, I also adjusted the CruiseController and I started to roll at a very comfortable speed. When I reached the stop lights, I simply moved the CruiseController to an easier setting and I started pedaling with ease, the “pedal mashing” feeling that you get when you ride single speeds or fixies was gone. Also gone is the “clack-clack” noise and the “half-pedal” revolution of a multi-gear bike.

The drawbacks? The hub is heavy and you can feel it. But since I’m not riding a Crit or an XC race, the weight is forgotten once you reach a comfortable speed. My first impression is based on my short 9.6 mile commute, I’m planning to ride with the NuVinci hub on my longer 22 mile commute that features a couple of small hills and see how it does. Come back for more updates!

Tired of MPG Bulls__t

Isn’t it funny how every car manufacturer claims to have “the most fuel efficient” car line up?? And when they advertise their over inflated MPG ratings they always use the bullshit EPA Highway Estimates. Check this out, EPA MPG estimates are based on the following:

Average Highway Speed: 49 mph (Hello!!!, the speed limit is 55-75mph!!!)
Maximum Highway Speed: 60 mph (How do you expect me to pass the big rig going 80???)
Temperature at 75 degrees: (dang, my truck doesn’t have a thermometer)
No Air Conditioning (Yeah, try that in Texas)
No Passengers (then why have 7 passenger SUV’s?)
No Rough Roads (have you driven in LA lately?)
No hills (Doable in parts of New Mexico)
No wind (Chicago people, you are screwed)
No low tire pressure (have you checked your wife’s car lately?)
No Ethanol in gas (Huh?)

Here’s a calculator to check out a car’s real MPG

But the real question is, why aren’t Bicycle makers capitalizing on rising gas costs by advertising on TV????

NuVinci Hub Test Ride

B27 with NuVinci Hub

I finally finished installing the wheel with the NuVinci hub on the Ibex B27-R. I went out for a test ride around my neighborhood. I actually rode for a couple of miles and I rode a couple mild hills to test the capability of the hub.

B27 with NuVinci Hub

One word can describe the ride: SMOOTH. As I played around with the “Cruise Controller” the gear ratios changed smoothly and I was able to adjust the “gear” to the demands of the road. Riding uphill was easy, riding on the flat was fast, even riding downhill I was able to pedal and really go fast.

After also having ridden the Nirve Streamliner Ultra with auto shifting, I believe these two systems will revolutionize the way comfort/hybrid/commuter bikes are made.

Riding to work with a backpack.

When I ride to work, I usually ride with panniers

or sometimes with a messenger bag

I don’t really care for riding with a backpack because I overheat easily and sweat a lot. My lovely little dog got a hold of my CamelBak’s bite valve and made it it’s chewing toy. I was going to replace the whole hydration unit, but it almost costs the same as buying a new pack! So I replaced my CamelBak with a Deuter Race XC II.

This pack features a unique system that Deuter Calls the Advanced Air Comfort system.

and it has 1200 ci of volume, enough room for casual friday’s shorts and T-shirt. I figured, why not, since a lot of you ride with backpacks (see poll) I gave it a shot. I also rode my 22 mile commute instead of my 9.6 miler, this way I was able to have a good idea how good the ‘Advanced Air Comfort System’ worked.

Although the primary function of the Deuter Race XC II is mountain biking, I liked it better than my messenger bag. I still think that panniers are the way to go if you have a rear rack installed on your bike.

Banjo Brothers Backpack

Banjo Brothers will be sending us a Commuter Backpack to test, we’ll do a post as soon as it arrives. Meanwhile, I will be searching for other backpacks that are more economic than the Race Air II (at $109 is not really cheap) and are commuter friendly.

If you ride with a backpack, let us know the brand and why you like it by posting a comment.