Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Commuter

Over the last 3 years or so, I've commuted to work by bike or bike/ metro quite a bit.  I've had the same bike most of the time - a Cannondale Bad Boy (link is to current version) - which has worked pretty well for me (with a few modifications).  My current commute is a little under 5 miles one way, but I've had commutes up to 17 miles one way and done fine on this setup (it just took me a while to get there!).

A lot of people wonder what type of bike is "best" for commuting.  The answer - of course - is "it depends" - on what you're used to/comfortable with, the type of roads or trails you take to work, how far you have to go, what you need to carry, etc.  Here's MY setup and why I chose it.

Mountain style frame: I'm a mountain biker at heart, and I've always been more comfortable with that riding position as a result.  It also gets you slightly more upright - it's easier to look around.  The C'dale frame is basically a mountain bike frame.  This also means it's a little heavier-duty than many road frames.

700c (road) wheels/tires: Road tires are generally bigger (in diameter) and skinnier (in width) than mountain tires (there are exceptions, but I'll address those in a different post!).  To make it really simple - this means you can go faster with less effort.  My tires are a little wider than racing-style tires, but nowhere near what mountain tires would be.  NOTE: normally you can't mix a mountain frame and road tires!  This bike is designed to do this.

Seatpost-mounted rack and trunk bag: There are many ways of carrying stuff on a bike.  This works for me most of the time - it keeps stuff off my back, the bag mounts quickly and securely to the rack, and the rack can be moved from one bike to the other if necessary.  Topeak makes what is hands-down the best system for this.

Funky handlebars: Due to a wrist injury several years ago, certain riding positions hurt after as little as a few minutes.  These bars are swept back at the ends to allow for less stress on my wrists - and more riding enjoyment!  Handlebars are easy to change out in most cases, and can really change your perception of how a bike rides and how comfortable it is.

Lights: Lots of them!  I run a Planet Bike headlight/taillight set and (as of Christmas 2010) a Bikeglow system.  If you can't see me, you probably have your eyes closed.

So there you have it - it may not be everyone's ideal commuter, but it works pretty well for me!

Next up: What about rain snow?

Disclaimer: I have not been paid, bribed, threatened, or otherwise encouraged to promote specific products or brands in this post.  The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my experience - nothing else!  If any of the manufacturers happen to know who I am it's only because I've complained about something...

1 comment:

  1. Very concise and informative post. Thanks for the info! And I appreciate the pictures and links. I need to get one of those Bikeglow systems!