Thursday, June 17

Seasonal Commute Adaptation

Front End of the Roadbike in Summer Commuter Trim
No "See" Light is Needed this Time of Year

Minimal Equipment in the Rear as Well
Seat Bag Keeps the iPhone and a Sandwich
Fall, Winter, and Spring, I ride my Specialized Tricross to work. Buddy is almost ideal for my 20 mile North Texas commute, because it combines speed, carrying capability, stopping power, and rugged comfort for the long commute. Still, this is the time of year that I make a seasonal adaptation and bring the road bike into duty, because the days are long and the mornings warm.

Most of the year, the road bike is not well adapted for bike commuting. There’s nowhere to carry stuff, like a cycling jacket that isn’t needed in the afternoon after it has warmed up, not to mention sweatpants and mittens. Skinny, 23c slick road bike tires do not play well with potholes and rough pavement that evade headlights (but not wheels) in the dark.

By May, when the morning temperatures climb into the 60’s and 70’s, the cycling jacket becomes extraneous and “the layered” look reduces down to “the less the better – within reason.” Some bike blogs advocate commuting in work clothes, but I do a 20 mile commute in 100+ North Texas heat. Office clothing is simply not meant for such things. What’s more, Buddy is ready for its 5K overhaul, so it is time to take a minimalist approach until the “Hotter ‘n Hell 100” shortly before Labor Day.

With a cell phone, I COULD just forgo spare tubes and pumps and such for the road bike and simply call for help if something goes wrong, but I have discovered the flat fairy is most likely to appear when I am furthest from convenient help of any sort. On my road bike, I carry a spare tube, a patch kit, two pumps, and tire irons, using one of the water bottle mounts. In the seat bag, I carry my lunch and my cell phone. If I need more carrying capacity, I can bring along my SPI Belt. Conveniently, light mounts on the road bike are the same as on the main commute bike, so the lights move around easily as needed.

Panniers and racks, who needs ‘em? Clunky handlebar or tube bag? I sneer at them. During this season, I can ride Buddy occasionally or drive in “the Laundryschlepper” for laundry exchange. The rest of the time, the road bike keeps Buddy’s mileage down AND it is a good five minutes faster to work.

The "Water Bottle" Carrier Makes it all Work. There's a Spare Tube in There, Too


Chandra said...

Red is a great color! Quite visible too!!

Peace :)

John Romeo Alpha said...

All for for riding lighter when it gets hotter. Big fannypack fan am I. PB Superflash: great bang for the buck in a tail light, too. Hmm. Two pumps. I'll have to read back in your blog to find stories about that.

Rantwick said...

Wearing your work clothes for your ride can only work for people going awful short distances, I would think... but what do I know? Enjoy the roady goodness while you can... FYI that grey/black container thing does not match the frame of your bicycle. Bravo! Carry on.

Big Oak said...

That pod for carrying the spare tube and patch kit is cool!

Rat Trap Press said...

I always laugh when I read commuting tips like riding to work in your work clothes. Those tips are of no use to Texans, unless you don't mind smelling like a wet dog all day.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Well, I have to agree about the work clothes not being practical in Phoenix or Texas in the summertime...but we could still discuss the relative merits of lycra/bicycle jersey vs. shorts and a t-shirt on a short to medium commute. I'm not against the race-ware--I own lots, wear it on longer rides, know it's superior in comfort and performance to cotton. I just don't view my commute as a workout or race. I don't time it or measure it. My job is enough of a rat race itself.

Steve A said...

This time of year, the costume is usually cargo shorts and a tank top for my 20 mile commute. I've been pondering cycling MTB shorts for a while. Roadie shorts lack pockets.

cafiend said...

(In creaky old man voice): Back when I started touring and commuting you could get real nifty touring shorts. They looked like normal hiking cargo shorts, but had a chamois and the crotch seams were arranged to avoid pressure and abrasion. You could have rideworthy shorts and still blend in when walking around. No one seems to make anything as good anymore. Baggy shorts flap in the wind and all the designs I've seen can't seem to resist calling attention to themselves as something at least vaguely different from just plain walking-around shorts.

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