Re: Talk Me Out Of It

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Folding bikes are legit, but be aware of the drawbacks:

Dinky wheels and fewer gears means either more turns of your legs to get where you're going, or big hills become a problem.

Will the frame support panniers, which are much better than a backpack for commuting.

Regarding helmets, just spend a reasonable amount and you'll be fine.

(First post!)


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 5:55 AM
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Yes on the panniers, and my prospective commute has one, fairly short, hill on it. (Not that I've biked this, but the route isn't hilly, it's flat with one bump). Also, with seven gears one has to be fairly low, no?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:04 AM
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paa-paaah
pa-pa-pa-paaah
pa-pa-pa-paaah pa-pah

(Last Post!)


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:10 AM
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People on foot or in cars frequently underestimate the grade of hills. When you are on your bike, you have to go quickly (compared to walking) up the grade on your own power, so its is like getting all that steepness all at once. I prefer to take my rides to work slowly enough that I don't break a sweat, and seemingly insubstantial hills can screw that up.

In general, most bikes are overbuilt compared to the needs of commuters. Just like clothing is designed for fashion models, bikes are made for athletes and bike messengers. If you just want to tool along for twenty minutes, you don't really need that much bike.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:14 AM
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I'm not really sure about the grade of the hill -- I'm talking about the bike path along the Hudson, which stays at pretty much sea level throughout, except that it rises to go over rather than under the George Washington Bridge. But I haven't walked the bike path, so I'm not sure how steeply it rises. Still, it can't be that bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:25 AM
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And the other thing is that if I commute, it's a long one -- as a slow, out of practice biker, I expect it'd take me well over an hour. (The subway takes an hour, so not much time lost.) Someone skillful and in shape could probably do it under an hour, but not that much under.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:27 AM
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I've got a Dahon Speed P8, and I love it. The turning is more sensitive because of the smaller wheels, so that takes some getting used to. I honestly don't understand the mechanical advantage issues, but I don't feel like I'm working harder than on a bike with bigger wheels.

The two slight disadvantages are (1) when I'm really doing a lot of fast stopping and starting, the handlebars and stem they're on feel a little bendy or soft -- not at all like they'll break, but it's an odd feeling. This only happens when I'm riding more like a crazy bike messenger than I should, though. (2) It's slightly more inconvenient to lock up my foldy bike outside than to lock up a conventional bike. I usually end up folding it in half and then threading my chain through a rather small opening in the frame. This is a tradeoff, though, for the obvious advantage of being able to fold it up and carry it into buildings.

I'd go to a bike shop and test-ride a Dahon first, of course. There are other, fancier foldies too. As for gears, I have never used all 8 of mine, even riding up and down tall bridges. New York's really not that hilly.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:46 AM
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The ride sounds nice and relaxing.

That does sound like it is going to be pretty flat. You shouldn't worry about needing a lot of gears. I've never ridden a folding bike, though, so I can't speak to that.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:48 AM
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"I'd go to a bike shop and test-ride a Dahon first"

Seconded. A friend of mine likes her Dahon fold-up.


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:53 AM
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the hudson river greenway is pretty flat (but not perfectly flat - it does rise and fall a bit, very gradually - not difficult). But that hill by the GWB is a doozy. Really steep, and it actually continues for a long time. Just when you think you've reached the top, you turn a corner and there's more hill. I usually end up walking up.

As far as helmets, any helmet, even the cheapest one, meets the minimum safety requirements of (I'm not sure if it's law or industry standard)...the "fancier" ones aren't safer. They're just more aerodynamic or breathable. But as far as protecting your skull, you can feel safe buying the cheapest one available.

I don't personally ride a folding bike, but I've thought about getting one at times for commuting. I also particularly like the dahons (I'm a sucker for the glide, which is almost a full size bike). My one suggestion would be to find a bike store in NYC that carries them and try it out first. Because I'm not a particularly petite person, I feel a bit clownish when sitting atop the tiny wheels, but that's just me. I see lots of people riding the folding bikes in bike tours and such, and they work just fine from what I can see.


Posted by: sam | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:57 AM
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Can you borrow a bike from someone to test ride your route before you commit? I used to ride to work before I was working in the Loop and, while it was manageable, the hills seemed substantially steeper on the way home... Couldn't hurt to test out what you are getting yourself into before you settle on a particular bike.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:22 AM
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The folding bike seems like it would be a magnet for thieves. Even if you take it indoors at home and at work, you are going to want to stop somewhere along the way sometimes.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:30 AM
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How about a Segway? I've always been a big supporter of somebody who isn't me getting one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:32 AM
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4: Not that hard if you're standing, surely?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:33 AM
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14: You might be able to judge the angle, but you won't know that that means for your ride until you try it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:40 AM
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Not that hard if you're standing, surely?

Wasn't there a thread here in the past year discussing whether this was somehow not as doable for women riders?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:43 AM
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15 suggests I may have misunderstood 14 -- standing on the hill to assess the slope or standing as you ride to make it up the slope?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:46 AM
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17: I assumed you were making a dirty joke that I wasn't sophisticated enough to get.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:50 AM
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18: It is length that women supposedly have trouble judging, not slope.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:55 AM
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10: Apparently it tops out at 160 feet above sea level (sounds about right since the GW is about 215 feet above the Hudson at mid-span). Per sam, not just a bump when you're on a bike. For comparison, the hills (really plateau remnants) of Pittsburgh tend to be about 250 to 400 feet above river level.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:56 AM
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19: It ain't the meat, but the inclination.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:57 AM
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I see people commuting on Bromptons all the time. I get overtaken by people on them fairly regularly -- I'm a slowish cyclist (10 - 15mph when commuting) -- so they must be fairly efficient bikes despite the small wheels.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:00 AM
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20: "(really plateau remnants)"

What, it used to be flat before erosion came and put a giant slope between me and the Giant Eagle?

I'd always thought the hills were higher than that, but I looked at google maps and I can see that I'm just about 400 feet higher than the Mon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:05 AM
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The other day in the bike store I saw a Dahon that was much more regular bike-looking (maybe the Glide mentioned in 10?). So you have options for finding a comfortable ride. In general, I've always heard good things about the bike-ability of the foldies.

WRT helmets, 10.2 is certainly right. One thing to think about is your curly hair - in general, the cheapest helmets are a lot snugger, and thus would give you hat head all over. Fancier helmets (which ventilate much better) will have more isolated points of contact, which may - may - help keep the hair manageable.

Also: Go LB!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:09 AM
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Hrm. While the test riding makes sense in the abstract if one really were a sensible person, I haven't been riding a bike much at all for years and years, and I'm not sure what it would tell me -- I'm going to feel awkward on anything for a while, so feeling awkward on a foldy wouldn't be new information. I'm tempted to find someplace in the city that sells these things and just do it while I still have the momentum.

Something that I'm really wondering is how much extra it's worth paying for a lighter model, given that the point of the foldy is that I'm going to schlep it some -- looking at the Dahon models (which looked like the likeliest maker from online searching -- if anyone has other recommendations, spill?), the price changes a whole lot for a slightly lighter bike.

10: I'm saddened to realize that the GWB hill is genuinely bad, but as you say, if it's too steep, I can walk.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:11 AM
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What, it used to be flat before erosion came and put a giant slope between me and the Giant Eagle?

Exactly. God Himself is against you.

The Mon actually used to run northwards, across the East End and up the Allegheny towards the Great Lakes, but glaciation tilted the land enough to turn back the Allegheny. But the land west of Latrobe is geologically all flat, basically, with lots of carved-out valleys.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:14 AM
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One thing to think about is your curly hair

That's Dr. O. Mine's straight/wavy in a disorganized kind of way, so hathead usually isn't a problem.

Hey, Sam -- if you're still reading, you've biked my route. The maps are ambiguous on how much it dumps you on streets with traffic around 145th and 125th. Can you tell me how that works?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:14 AM
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And commuting really may not happen -- the actual impetus for riding is weekend rides with Sally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:15 AM
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25: Lightness is HUGE in bikes. And it's not just the schlepping - a few pounds makes a big difference in climbing effort. Of course, you'll be loaded down with work stuff, but there's no reason to have an extra 5 lbs. built into the bike (well, no reason other than saving $$).

Also, the foldy could, possibly, feel deathly awkward, in which case you'd never ride it, and thus never get over the awkwardness, but you'd never buy another bike because, look, there's the pricey Dahon that's hardly ever been ridden. So take it around a long block before buying.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:18 AM
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re: 25

In the UK the standard small wheel folder is the Brompton. Prices are fairly expensive, though. Over £600 pounds starting price.

http://www.foldingbikes.co.uk/index.html

Has a big list -- I assume most of these are available in the US.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:18 AM
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That's Dr. O. Mine's straight/wavy in a disorganized kind of way

I was using a nicer term; really I just meant not-straight.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:19 AM
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Dr. O sounds a lot sexier than Dr. Oops.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:20 AM
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26: "But the land west of Latrobe is geologically all flat, basically, with lots of carved-out valleys."

Yes, and the economy is strong, basically, with lots of weaknesses in a few sectors (autos, steel, manufacturing, resturants, hotels, construction, banking, ...).

I've been looking at the topographical maps and I see three big climbs (300 feet or more) between me and my office by the only routes that would have sufficient room for me to keep out of traffic. I think I'll take my chances with the Port Authority before I go to a bike.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:22 AM
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Yay for cycling to work!

Afaics, the main problems with folding bikes are, wheel diameter, frame geometry.

If you do get one, get a decent one, expect to pay a bit of a premium or else it will be flexy and ride poorly. If you have smaller wheels your ride with be less smooth and stable, you can't change that. Also, make sure you can find one that actually fits you properly (you may not know what this feels like, if you haven't been riding much).

If you only have one "bad" hill, I wouldn't worry about it at all. You can always walk it at first if you're finding it too much exertion.

About helmets: I don't know how hot it gets there in the summer usually, but if you go up a step price-wise in helments they have much better airflow, and you'll notice that. Also, take the time to find one that fits really well, and you'll hardly notice it. Try many different manufacturers, because matching your head shape to a helmet is a bit random --- it should fit fairly well without messing about with foam pads.

As for lighter folding bikes.. be careful, you want stronger at the join more than you want lighter, unless it is really unreasonable to lift. Combination of strong and light is expensive.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:24 AM
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Prices are fairly expensive, though. Over £600 pounds starting price.

Even adjusting for everything being expensive there, this doesn't really surprise me. It's a lot harder to build a folding bike that will stand up to any sort of use, than a regular frame. Also, the fewer standard parts you can use (e.g. wheels), them more you're stuck with losing the economy-of-scale game.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:26 AM
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Huh. There's a Brompton (and other foldy bikes, but not Dahons) dealer in the East Village, but they're much more expensive than Dahons seem to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:31 AM
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Also, the foldy could, possibly, feel deathly awkward, in which case you'd never ride it, and thus never get over the awkwardness, but you'd never buy another bike because, look, there's the pricey Dahon that's hardly ever been ridden. So take it around a long block before buying.

Yes, this -- and it seems that you could tare your awkwardness assessment by also taking some more ordinary bike for a similar spin to compare.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:31 AM
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If you don't trust your judgment about whether a bike feels good to you, could you go to a shop that has a good reputation for customer service? There is a lot to the fit of a bike, and while I'd hope you'd notice differences from bike to bike, you say you might not. In that case, it'd be good to leave the store confident that someone knowledgeable had assessed and adjusted the fit.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:33 AM
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while I'd hope you'd notice differences from bike to bike

It goes beyond that; if you aren't inexperienced with bikes you may not realize what is adjustable and what isn't.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:35 AM
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Maybe don't buy your bike off the back of a truck is what I'm saying. Unless the seller takes the time to explain the ergonomics with you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:37 AM
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Bromptons look lovely, but Dahons are perfectly serviceable. Like I said, I love mine, and I bought it after a couple of friends had had the same model for many years and loved them.

The P8 (and I assume all the models in that general price range) isn't terribly light -- probably weighs about as much as a regular bike. I can easily haul it up to my third-floor walkup, and I'm not particularly strong.

There are two shops in Park Slope that sell Dahons, but that's probably pretty too far for you. (If you want to come out that far, you can take mine out for a spin. I should have ridden it to the meetup for you, although then I never would have made it home.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:39 AM
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||

Speaking of bikes, if anyone has a recommendation for a decent road tyre [for a mountain type bike] I'd love to know. I can't stand the wriggling instability that fat knobbly tyres have on roads and now that I am commuting by bike again, if anyone knows a good hybrid tyre I'd be grateful.

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:40 AM
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you may not realize what is adjustable and what isn't.

This is in fact the case. Seat height, angle of handlebars... what else on a bike adjusts?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:42 AM
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I can't recommend brands or anything, but I love my commuter slicks. You'll be glad you switched 'em out.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:42 AM
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re: 44

I did it in the past with a previous bike and it was great. I can't find the brand I used then [they were cheap Schwalbe tyres, but they don't seem to correspond to any of the current models].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:44 AM
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43: Not much (height of bars a bit), which is the point! Top tube length is important. Combination of frame rake, top tube, seat tube, bar position have the most interaction with your own body geometry. You can adjust post to stem effect a little bit with the rails on the seat, but not much. If you are adjusting seat and handle bars to try and account for the wrong tube length, you can't really win.

Basically, you want the frame measurements to fit your body's geometry fairly well, but what that means isn't obvious to someone who hasn't ridden a bike that fits them well. So if you're in this position, it's really worth going to a good bike shop with people who will help you with fit and actually know what they're talking about.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:51 AM
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Has anybody here actually ridden a folding bike over, say, the Manhattan Bridge? I never get down to the lowest gear on my 15(ish) speed mountain bike, but I'm usually down on the 3rd or 4th lowest and pretty miserable (i'm not hardcore).

I've been commuting from Brooklyn to Manhattan once a week or so, and I've been thinking about either buying some road/hybrid tires for my bike or biting the bullet and buying a lighter-framed street bike (mine is really quite heavy). I'm thinking the former might just confirm my desire for the latter. Any advice?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:51 AM
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Oh, and I'm 6'4" and when I first bought my bike second-hand off a friend the lady at the bike store told me it was pretty much too small for me (it's not tiny, it's just normal-sized and I'm not) and I wonder how much of a difference a larger-average frame/higher-than-average seat might make for me...


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:53 AM
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Hey Megan, I sent an email to your rhubarb pie address.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:54 AM
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48: Well, there's more than one thing going on. If you are racing, you're interested in getting the perfect geometry going because it's more efficient. Of course most people don't care much about that. However, if you're bike really is the wrong size for you, you tend to adjust both your seat & bars and your body positions in ways that make you less stable, and/or cause pain over longer rides.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:56 AM
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I ride my foldie over the Manhattan Bridge when I want to get to Manhattan. It's a long climb, but I never get down to my lowest gear -- gear 3 is what I use, or 4 if I'm peppy. I'm in reasonable but not great shape.

I should really start bike commuting again, but it would require a significant change in my morning schedule so I'd be awake enough not to endanger myself in downtown Brooklyn traffic. The Manhattan Bridge works better than a cup of coffee for arousing me from my morning stupor.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:56 AM
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50: I'm not racing and won't realistically be taking it up (well, hell, I guess I could see myself going in for one of those middle-aged-what-the-hell-let's-see-if-I-can-do-it triathlons). I'm just commuting to work (5 miles, over the bridge) and taking weekend pleasure rides.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 8:58 AM
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Here's an item on the Greenway and its elevation profile from Trimble. It's a nice ride. It can be done quickly, but probably shouldn't be done quickly. There are too many other users, many of whom are not commuting.

I think the Dahon is a good idea. If you have to haul it up stairs (like to your flat), I'd check the weight and the ease of carrying it folded.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:00 AM
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Tangentially related, but I just got back from Paris and their Velib program is a super-awesome great idea I wish other cities would pick up. (In fact, I wish they would pick up that program and ban cars in the central city). The bikes don't look that light, but there aren't many hills in Paris.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:01 AM
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51: I've been finding the Bergen->Smith->Jay St route not-too-terrifying.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:01 AM
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52: right, that was my assumption. But the stability/comfort issue is real. So if people are talking about the finer points of frame geometry, you probably don't care. But if your top tube is 3" too short for your body, you probably do.

Also, geometry is really much more important if you ride with clipless pedals (which some commuters do), as getting it wrong can do a number on your knees/hips/ankles.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:02 AM
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I can't find the brand I used then [they were cheap Schwalbe tyres, but they don't seem to correspond to any of the current models].

The marathon plus tires from Schwalb seem to have a fairly good reputation. I am probably going to pick up a pair pretty soon for my touring bike. They aren't super cheap, but they aren't that expensive and are supposed to be almost bullet proof puncture wise.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:09 AM
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Also, geometry is really much more important if you ride with clipless pedals (which some commuters do), as getting it wrong can do a number on your knees/hips/ankles.

Oh no! Another thing to worry about!


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:09 AM
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Much like the cooking threads, this thread should be able to convince anybody to stay away from bike-riding if they don't want to make it their one major hobby and learn everything about it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:10 AM
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Heh. Yes, I end up having that reaction too. But it's not true about cooking -- if you buy raw food and cook it, it generally turns out okay -- so I'm hoping the biking thing isn't true either. Really, all I wanted was a bunch of people saying "No, you're not a moron for buying a foldy bike."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:13 AM
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I've been toying with the idea of putting a chin strap on a White Sox batting helmet and using that on the bike. Any reasons why this is a terrible idea?

I found too that a great way to magnify the workout you get from riding a bike is to fail to inflate the tires properly.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:13 AM
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59: Why not? Two threads back convinced me to never pick-up a comic book again.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:13 AM
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60 "if you buy raw food and cook it, it generally turns out okay"

That does not fit with my experience.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:14 AM
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58/59

crap crap crap. not my intention at all.

only wanted to make two points:

1) if you don't know bikes, you'll probably be happier after having someone who really does help you pick one out.

2) (an aside) if you are considering riding clipless, please do get your bike set up properly, your knees will thank you.


3) most important: have fun. ride your bike !


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:17 AM
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Any reasons why this is a terrible idea?

They probably aren't going to be rated for that kind of impact. Giro makes helmets of that style that are rated for that kind of use and would probably be a better idea.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:18 AM
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61.last is really true. Also generally applies to fat tires, but the slicks aren't bad if they're properly inflated.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:18 AM
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63 s/b "That did not fit with my experience until I spent several years following recipies until I finally internalized enough cooking to not make a hash of it."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:19 AM
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So you want a bike that you can ride to work, goes really fast, is good for that triathlon you're doing this summer (snicker), is good on trails and mud, and costs less than $300. Yeah. Listen, I want a car that can go 200 miles an hour, tow a boat, has room for five adults, is easy to parallel park but can carry plywood, gets 60mpg, and only costs $3,000. I also want a unicorn to blow me. What are we even talking about here? Oh yeah. Listen, bikes can be fast, light, cheap and comfortable. Pick two, and we're all good.

Thank you, best of Craigslist.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:19 AM
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Any reasons why this is a terrible idea?

Other than lack of airflow, tendency to choke you in a headwind or at a high speed, and lack of real protection in a fall, I can't see any trouble with it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:20 AM
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NICE WORK WITH THE FORMATTING, WRONGSHORE


Posted by: OPINIONATED BEST OF CRAIGSLIST | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:20 AM
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if you are considering riding clipless, please do get your bike set up properly, your knees will thank you.

What does this mean? I have no clips and occasional knee pain.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:21 AM
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Speaking of biking, I was reading a local bike message board and somebody was complaining that cars were not making allowances for them because they had clips and couldn't take their toes off the pedals easily. I just didn't get that. I'm willing to make allowances for bikes (that don't stay in my way for very long), but being unwilling to put your foot down seems to be some kind of peevish entitlement. Am I wrong about that? My thinking is, if you can't come to a complete stop, you shouldn't be on the street.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:24 AM
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I think 'clipless' doesn't mean 'just pedals and you're riding your bike in regular shoes', it means 'some freakish method of attaching your feet to the pedals other than clips.'

I'm planning to not worry about clips or clipless or anything fancy -- is there any compelling reason I should?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:26 AM
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Airflow? We're talking about a beach cruiser with saddlebag baskets, mirrors, and a big chrome light here. All it's missing is the aooga horn. Headwinds I'll grant, but high speed isn't really an issue.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:26 AM
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71: `clipless' is one of those counter intuitive terms, in that it refers to when your shoes are physically attached to the pedal (i.e. not with `toe clips'), not when you are just putting your foot on the pedal.

I probably should have expanded. Your knee pain may well be the result of improper alignment/geometry. One thing to try is (on a nice open stretch of road) to look down at your legs as you pedal. With proper geometry, your knee should not be traveling laterally at all as you rotate, just up and down. You also shouldn't be overextending at the bottom of the revolution.


What makes it extreme in the case of `clipless pedals' is that your leg essentially has to repeat the identical movement every time. If you aren't clipped in, you'll probably unconsciously adjust things as you go, with clipless you can't.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:26 AM
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60: Yes yes yes! Riding a bike is fun! I've been riding a too-heavy too-small bike for years and enjoying the hell out of it and only have the vaguest notion that I should probably upgrade my equipment somehow for *even more* enjoyment.

I just replaced a helmet that was 12 years old because the guy at the store was like, "You know that's not going to do a damn thing if you hit the pavement, right? The styrofoam is dead." (Maybe he was full of shit! I don't know!)


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:27 AM
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That does sound cool, PGD, though I guess there might be less appeal in New York since the subway there operates 24 hours/ day. That report said that Toronto and Montreal were thinking of implementing similar programs. I'm wondering whether theirs would include rental helmets. I wonder how that would work logistically.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:29 AM
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Airflow?

Airflow I meant only from the point of view of your comfort in warm weather.

A headwind is as good as high speed, and if your helmet doesn't have good venting it will perhaps tend to ride back and choke you in that case.

I'm planning to not worry about clips or clipless or anything fancy -- is there any compelling reason I should?

No compelling reason at all, for what you're planning.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:29 AM
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Maybe he was full of shit! I don't know!

Probably not. This stuff does age.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:30 AM
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if you buy raw food and cook it, it generally turns out okay

67 already got there, but this is only true if you know what you're doing in the kitchen. If you don't know what you're doing, there are all sorts of things you should probably be doing and thinking about that you aren't even aware of, and that can be really problematic if you get them wrong, which was sort of the point of 59. Although it's all learnable, of course--59 was a bit of an (intentional) exaggeration. (I think bike-riding actually very much less troublesome than cooking in this regard, although of course it won't seem that way to anyone who'd been cooking her whole life but is a relatively inexperienced rider.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:31 AM
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Ah, gotcha.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:34 AM
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I have a friend in DC who bikes a lot. His blog used to have notes about his workouts, and his facebook wall is littered with notes about the clubb outings. He knows his stuff. I think he owns two bicycles, and his basement apartment is tiny.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:34 AM
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board and somebody was complaining that cars were not making allowances for them because they had clips and couldn't take their toes off the pedals easily

This doesn't make sense to me. There pedals aren't adjusted right. Also, typically if you ride this way, you can trackstand as long as needed.

I have to assume they're talking about at a light? They should be taking the middle of the lane and be ready to go when the light changes.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:34 AM
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51: I've been finding the Bergen->Smith->Jay St route not-too-terrifying.

That's the route I use. Jay Street freaks me out when my brain is foggy.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:34 AM
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Don't worry, guys! I answered Rob's email!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:36 AM
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83: I read the rest of the thread expecting somebody to say, learn how to stand still without removing your feet and get regular pedals. Nobody did.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:37 AM
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relatively inexperienced rider

Well, I've known how to ride a bike for thirty years, and at different times I rode fairly long distances regularly. And I understand that riding a bike is just like riding a bike that way.

Cooking, I suppose I was raised knowing the basics -- not that I'm a great cook, but I can follow a recipe, and make raw food cooked with reasonable results. I guess you're right, I don't have a real feel for how difficult it is to get from zero to adequate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:37 AM
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"I'm planning to not worry about clips or clipless or anything fancy -- is there any compelling reason I should?"

No. Don't use them.


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:40 AM
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LB, I don't use the pedals that you clip your feet into and I nevertheless arrive at work after riding my bike.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:40 AM
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I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure you'll find a bike that works for you, and will enjoy cycling.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:41 AM
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87: yeah, I just realized I was (completely unfairly) leaving out "learning how to ride a bike" from bike-side of the zero-to-adequate calculation. Once you factor that in, maybe they're pretty comparable.

Is learning to ride a bike as an adult harder/easier/comparable to learning to ride it as a 5-year-old? I don't think I know anyone who learned to ride as an adult.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:41 AM
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Do the bikey people have an opinion about the Electra Townie? I am large and have some knee trouble; does that affect things?


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:41 AM
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Those toe clip things are way to annoying to worry about. Riding a bike should be easy, and it is if you don't listen too much to cyclists.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:42 AM
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There is no compelling reason at all to ride clipless for typically commuting and whatever, and good reasons against it, as you need special shoes, etc.

In other contexts, they make all kinds of sense.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:42 AM
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as for toe clips, forget it. bad idea.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:43 AM
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That was my impression, I just wanted to make sure no one was going to say "Surveys show that if you bike more than fifteen miles a week without attaching your feet to the pedals, your legs will fall off."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:43 AM
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good reasons against it, as you need special shoes, etc the shoes make you walk like a duck.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:45 AM
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Is learning to ride a bike as an adult harder/easier/comparable to learning to ride it as a 5-year-old?

I suspect you'd have (justifiably) much more fear of falling. I'm sure it's been done.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:45 AM
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97: I have shoes that make me walk like a duck. Not for cycling. Just because.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:46 AM
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"Surveys show that if you bike more than fifteen miles a week without attaching your feet to the pedals, your legs will fall off."

The real difference is that it makes you significantly more efficient. So you care if you are racing and/or riding very long distances, but otherwise you don't have any reason to care.

The frame geometry thing does matter to everyone though, although it's much more acute for longer rides etc. You can manage perfectly well on a bike that doesn't fit you (within reason) but you won't be as comfortable and you may not be as safe. Which is why it makes sense to me to get it right if you're actually buying something new, is all.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:48 AM
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93
Riding a bike should be easy, and it is if you don't listen too much to cyclists.

Heh. And how broadly applicable, too.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:48 AM
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||
Austin vignette: I'm in a coffee shop, a clean-cut, sedate one, with nary a tattoo nor A.B.D.-cum-aspiring musician in sight. A blind man just walked in asking how to get to the TX School for the Blind (a well-known institution here). Several of us offered the location, but he's from out of town so doesn't know the bus routes and has no money for a cab. That and his quite dirty clothes raise the suspicion of a possible shakedown. I have no cash, so I started looking up bus routes. Another woman gave him a couple of bucks and then a man who was on his way out offered him a ride to the school, which he happily accepted (along with the coffee in which he put 8 sugars; my teeth hurt).

I quite like happy endings.
|>


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:48 AM
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Where did my name go in 102?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:49 AM
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I had good luck with the Continental Town-and-Country back in the day, but people are claiming that production was outsourced to India and that they now suck. They made an IMMENSE difference from riding on knobbies, especially when inflated up to a good pressure.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:50 AM
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104. yes. suprisingly enough, offroad tires aren't well suited for onroad use.

nice in the snow, though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:51 AM
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I haven't bought 26" tires of any type for a while though, so I'm afraid I'm not any help on good currently available hybrid types.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:52 AM
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I know a woman who learned as an adult, and did it like kids do, in an afternoon. Bikeriding is funny to learn because it's so binary -- if you can get going at all, that's 95% of it. I'd expect an adult to learn faster than a kid, generally, because of more willingness to trust that whoever's teaching you isn't going to tell you to hurt yourself. (Sally had a hell of a time with it, being a cautious kid: she just wouldn't commit to going fast enough to get her balance for a long time. But once she got it, she got it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:52 AM
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102: How do you know it was a happy ending? Maybe one or the other gets in the car, but doesn't get out. I've been a soft-touch for the probably frauds asking for bus fare lately, but I don't think I'd give a stranger a ride unless it was clearly neglect to leave them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:53 AM
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108 is brought to you by your worried mother and the letter M.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:55 AM
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Yeah, the knobbly ones are horrible. It feels like the bike is going to come out from under me if I do even a moderate lean into a fast corner. I do need tyres that can handle mild off-road use [gentle riverside dirt tracks, not rough stuff] but which are smooth on roads.

The annoying thing is that almost all bikes that aren't 'road' bikes come with the knobbly tyres as standard these days.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:55 AM
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as for toe clips, forget it. bad idea.

Why? Increased risk of crashing? They let you pull as well as push and you don't have to wear funny shoes, what's not to like?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:55 AM
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Much like the cooking threads, this thread should be able to convince anybody to stay away from bike-riding if they don't want to make it their one major hobby and learn everything about it.

I don't think this is true at all. On a whim, I bought a cheapo $250.00 street bike to ride in a really hilly city when I was in the worst shape of my life. I'm still riding it a year later, usually several miles a day and a couple longer rides every week.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:55 AM
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My foldie is a Bike Friday, as I've mentioned previously, and I'd highly recommend test-riding one if there's an NYC dealer that's got 'em. They're comparable in price to the Bromptons, but BF stocks used models at good prices. They ride every bit like a full-sized bike (it's not true about the small wheels requiring more rotation; bigger chainrings and sprockets compensate for that).

As for the helmet, ventilation is key, and not just in warm weather. I used to have a cheap helmet that made me overheat year-round, and then I shelled out a princely sum for a well-ventilated one—what a difference. Most importantly, the comfort got me to overcome my reluctance to wear the damn thing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:56 AM
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I nevertheless arrive at work after riding my bike.

This must drive you nuts on weekends.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:00 AM
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I've drooled over those Bike Fridays before.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:00 AM
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108: I don't know for sure, of course, but they were chatting genially when they left and the vibe felt right.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:00 AM
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113: The issue with small wheels isn't the rotations (obviously you can gear for that) it's that the whole physics of rotation makes them a bit less stable in the corners... can't avoid it. But it's not a huge difference. A much more extreme version of this is motorcycles vs. scooters cornering, but it's not quite the same issue.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:01 AM
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Kids do it in an afternoon? Consider 91 retracted, then. I don't really remember the process, but I thought it took like, somewhere between weeks and months.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:01 AM
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They let you pull as well as push and you don't have to wear funny shoes, what's not to like?

If you're using them snug enough to really get the advantage, they are harder to get out of, more accident prone the clipless, and much more likely to trap your foot in a crash. Also, if you use them a lot you typically do need funny shoes, 'cause they'll destroy your normal ones. Think of them as an evolutionary step along the way to developing clipless, that has been passed by.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:05 AM
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They let you pull as well as push and you don't have to wear funny shoes, what's not to like?

If they're tight enough to really add efficiency, they're too tight for easy ingress/egress. I don't actually think that statement's true, but I think that's the premise.

I have biking sandals that don't make me walk like a duck. But they probably make some people think of Tevas.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:06 AM
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Dammit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:06 AM
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118: IIRC "learning to ride a bike" takes about 5 seconds, with weeks, months, or years of awkward and frustrating attempts preceding.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:06 AM
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Also, maybe Bave and soup also have found this to be true, but one drawback of smaller wheels is that your tires wear out more quickly.

The major drawback of clipless pedals is that 99 percent of the shoes made to go with them are fugly.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:07 AM
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I thought 'clipless' pedals were regular pedals. What are they?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:08 AM
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118: It takes kids forever to work up to the big day*, but it usually is just 1 day when it comes.

* learning to pedal, steer, watch where they're going, and get up the gumption to take off the training wheels.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:08 AM
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I don't ride that much, to my shame, so I haven't had tire-wear problems yet.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:08 AM
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The major drawback of clipless pedals is that 99 percent of the shoes made to go with them are fugly.

As with bike shorts, the solution is to look at the mountain bike market. MTB shoes look much more like regular shoes than roadie shoes do.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:09 AM
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Oh, and also with toe clips there is always the problem that when you don't have your foot placed in it (which will always happen sometimes), the dangly bits will catch in something. As kids a friend had a pretty impressive crash from that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:09 AM
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IIRC "learning to ride a bike" takes about 5 seconds, with weeks, months, or years of awkward and frustrating attempts preceding.

Is "learning to cock" the same way? Maybe I'll hit the breakthrough point any day now.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:09 AM
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Yeah, the knobbly ones are horrible. It feels like the bike is going to come out from under me if I do even a moderate lean into a fast corner. I do need tyres that can handle mild off-road use [gentle riverside dirt tracks, not rough stuff] but which are smooth on roads.

Hmm. Cyclocross tires are (by definition?) 700C, but otherwise sound like exactly what you want. I have them now, and some of my friends make fun of me, but I laugh at them when they get a flat from a piece of broken glass or almost eat it on sand.

104. yes. suprisingly enough, offroad tires aren't well suited for onroad use.

Sure. But it can be a bit surprising exactly how poorly suited they are, to someone who hasn't experienced or thought about it carefully.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:09 AM
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Um, "cook".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:10 AM
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I thought 'clipless' pedals were regular pedals. What are they?

Pedals without a platform, that the cleats on bike shoes clip into. That way, your foot is always anchored to the pedal and you can put power into your upstroke as well as your downstroke.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:10 AM
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MTB shoes look much more like regular shoes than roadie shoes do.

This is true, they're more comfortable (slightly less efficient) too. But be aware you typically have to choose between them when you buy the pedals, which should last out many pairs of shoes.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:10 AM
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Dr. Freud will see you at 3:00.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:11 AM
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118: 122 gets it. Failing to learn how to ride a bike can take any amount of time, but the transition from not knowing to knowing how happens in an afternoon. I think most adults could shortcircuit the extended failures, and do it in an afternoon from scratch.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:11 AM
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131: Oh, good. I was pretty confused there.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:11 AM
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I like my toe clips.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:11 AM
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Um, "cook".

However, your first attempt works too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:12 AM
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It takes kids forever to work up to the big day*, but it usually is just 1 day when it comes.
* learning to pedal, steer, watch where they're going, and get up the gumption to take off the training wheels.

This was Caroline's experience. She went through a series of tricycles, bicycles-with-training-wheels, bicycles-with-training-wheels-really-high-off-the-ground, etc. Then one day she announced that the training wheels were coming off, and she rode just fine.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:12 AM
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129: No. "Learning to cook" is a process of acquiring a list of skills. They're mostly pretty easy individually, and there aren't really all that many of them to get to the point of being an adequate cook, but it's more like language vocabulary than like bike-riding.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:12 AM
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Cyclocross tires are (by definition?) 700C

yeah. Cyclocross and/or touring oriented gear is generally pretty good for commuting type use, if perhaps a bit overkill for some.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:13 AM
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My favorite step in learning to cook was realizing just how easy making a roux was.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:14 AM
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140: no shit--really? (Or: even apart from the typo, 129 was a joke.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:14 AM
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139: It's funny, training wheels work for some kids and not for others. Riding a bike with training wheels didn't teach Sally how to balance at all -- she must have been really putting weight on the training wheels all the time. She didn't get it until she spent quite a while wrestling with a bike with no training wheels.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:15 AM
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But be aware you typically have to choose between them when you buy the pedals, which should last out many pairs of shoes.

Huh? I was under the impression SPD-compatible was SPD-compatible was SPD-compatible.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:15 AM
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I commute to work 25 miles r/t on a folder-- a Xootr Swift. On weekends I pull 80 lbs of kid and trailer with it. You are fortunate enough to live in the land where they were born (http://errorink.wordpress.com/2008/01/18/reich-builds-bikes-along-the-gowanus-canal/) and you should seriously check one out. They do not fold as small as the Dahon (small enough, though, to keep in my office) but they are wicked fast and the geometry is the same as a full size bike. Also, no special little fiddly bits-- everything is standard with the exception of the seatpost, which makes maintenance much easier.


Posted by: creaturely | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:16 AM
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143: I am nothing if not humorless. (I consistently miss exactly that class of joke here -- the faux-dumb questions. This is weird, because I make exactly that joke myself all the time. I blame society.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:16 AM
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146: Thanks!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:20 AM
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Huh? I was under the impression SPD-compatible was SPD-compatible was SPD-compatible.

SPD is a shimano pedal standard that came out of purely mountain bike use and move into broader use, but there are several kinds.

Afaik, roadies are still typically using non-recessed systems like Look. I'm out of touch though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:20 AM
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re: 141

Yeah, if I'd had the money I'd have tracked down a nice old touring bike. As it happens, my MTB is fairly light, from a range Dawes did a while back under a different brand name, which has a decent light but well-made frame, but cheaper hardware than their main range. I expect it'll ride well with thinner/smoother tyres.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:22 AM
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There are two shops in Park Slope that sell Dahons

Which two? Their North American dealer page is sending me to Bed-Stuy.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:24 AM
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Afaik, roadies are still typically using non-recessed systems like Look. I'm out of touch though.

Shimano calls the LOOK style SPD-SL. The regular SPD style has taken over the rest of the market to such an extent though that I haven't seen any other kind of clipless system in use.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:25 AM
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145, 149: They certainly make SPD-compatible road shoes. I've been very happy with SPD pedals on my road bike and downhill pedals - which are SPDs within a platform - on my mt. bike. In practice, I almost always use bike shoes, but it's no problem using regular shoes on the mt. bike. Actually, what I almost always do if I don't want to put on bike shoes is to ride AB's (ultra-girly) comfort bike. I can't go far on it - the angle is so different I'm really inefficient on it - but it's perfect for running to the store. Plus it has a wicker basket!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:26 AM
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152: Ah, good to know. I'm (obviously) out of touch, as I haven't bought pedals forever.

The non-recessed systems have some advantages for on-road use, but I can't see them really appealing to anyone except roadies and long distance touring. Recessed makes much more sense for most people.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:27 AM
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They certainly make SPD-compatible road shoes.

Yes, they do, but that hasn't replaced the others. With a LOOK style pedal, you have a more positive lock and less side-to-side movement. Which is what you want on road, and what you don't want off road.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:28 AM
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Say, what if I wanted to load up some groceries on a folding bike? Basket, rack, trailer?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:29 AM
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Aren't training wheels now considered unhelpful? I learned by pushing myself around with my feet until my older sister pointed out that I could coast well enough to put my feet on the pedals. I don't remember how long this took, but I think even with small children it can be done in days, not weeks.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:30 AM
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156: Some of the Dahons have racks -- I'm not clear on other models.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:34 AM
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151: I bought mine at R&A on 5th Ave in North Slope; Dixon's on Union supposedly stocks them, too.

I have a rack on the back of mine that works okay. A front basket might be better for a few groceries.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:35 AM
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156: I use a rack and panniers. The bike folds such that the rack's not in the way.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:38 AM
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Someday I'll live somewhere nice and flat and then how I will love biking. I am a puny wimpface and to bike up and down the big incline between Cleveland and the heights makes me shudder, but pretty much everywhere I'd like to go on a bike would involve it. (Running up that hill is pretty owie too, I was freshly reminded after a stint of not running while on vacation.) Shaker Square, I guess, would be an unhilly bike jaunt from here.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:39 AM
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sorry it took so long to post again after your question LB - I actually left my computer!

As to your question re: greenway dumping between 125-145th streets, it doesn't do that anymore. Up through last summer, they were still constructing the greenway in that area, and you had to divert over to city streets around the 125th street Fairway. That portion of the greenway is now open, and it's contiguous all the way from the GWB to battery park. No street riding at all. There is one spot north of there that is heavily used as a picnic area in the evenings, and gets very crowded and there ends up being a lot of debris, including broken glass. my brother and his girlfriend both got flat tires riding through there recently. I've never had a problem, but just something to be aware of so that you can keep an eye out.

Re: clipless pedals - the naming is counterintuitive. Here are the types of pedals available:

"regular" pedals - the flat oar-like surfaces that you put your regularly-shod feet on.

toe-clips: the "baskets" and straps that can be attached to regular pedals to hold your feet more securely in the pedals - In the old days, this is what racers used. Some variations include power grips (straps that go around your feet). This is what I use. In the really old days, there was a triangular wedge in the pedal that you could have shoe attachments made to fit - your shoe would "clip in" and be almost impossible to remove without hands.

"clipless" pedals: an improvement over toe-clips in that (like ski bindings) they quick-release. Your special shoes have cleats on the bottom that click in to the pedals. The biggest advantage is efficiency - you get as much power on the upward pedal as you do on the downward. Particularly useful for racing. Disadvantages - if you're not very coordinated, it can be difficult to click in and out, making stopping a bit difficult without, say, falling. You can't move your feet for comfort, so if your bike isn't adjusted perfectly, you can end up with knee problems. You have to wear special (often silly-looking) shoes, which at the very least means carrying an extra pair for work, and most of the clipless pedals can only accommodate the special shoes, which means you can't lend the bike out to someone or take a quick ride to the store in your sneakers. There are a few variations that can accommodate both.

I use toe clips, and ride 20+ miles several days a week. I also do longer rides (no full centuries, but I did 70+ at the MS ride last year). I sometimes think about getting clipless, but then I remember that I'm a complete klutz, and think better of it. For commuting, there is no need.


Posted by: sam | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:45 AM
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||

How am I supposed to get any work done when I'm overhearing a ridiculous break-up conversation?

|>


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:03 AM
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163: I think we can provide more helpful advice if you provide more details on the conversation.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:16 AM
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Just think of it as tragic, rather than ridiculous, and you'll get work done just fine, Krabby.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:16 AM
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Bike related service question. I have a Marin city bike that I bought in California. I don't know of any dealers in the Boston area. Does anyone know of a good shop that might be equipped to handle it. It mostly just needs a tune up, but I should buy a new seat as well.--Nothing fancy, but it was a commuting bike, and I wasn't good about covering the seat when I parked it. It spent a lot of time outside in the rain.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:17 AM
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163: Walk up to the guy and say "Finally, you're free!" and lead him away, arm in arm.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:19 AM
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157
Aren't training wheels now considered unhelpful?

ISTM the advantage of training wheels is that it gets kids in the habits of not being afraid of sailing along at speeds equal to or greater than they can run, of controlling their direction with their hands, etc. The balancing-on-two-wheels training they get is roughly negligible, although still better than they would get from two feet or a tricycle.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:29 AM
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166: BG, most bikes have standard enough components that you don't have to worry about going to a dealer shop or anything. I'm pretty sure your Marin has bog standard drive train etc.

Any shop nearby with a decent sized repair business should be fine, and you'll often find they have a sort of `spring cleaning' package which is what you probably want if it's been spending time sitting outside. Tune up, check cables, repack bearings if needed, etc.

Any bostonians here who know of a particular shop?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:37 AM
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167: I need to walk up to her and say, "You're the woman for whom 'He's Just Not That Into You' was written.

They've actually left now. When he went to use the bathroom, I really, really wanted to go over to her and tell her to stop trying to talk him into wanting to date her and work on her self-respect instead. He was judgmental, condescending, and disrespectful, yet she kept telling him that she thinks he's a fantastic person and she hopes that he'll stay open to the possibility of getting back together no matter how long it takes.

They're young -- undergrads probably -- so one hopes she'll do some growing up. Him too.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:37 AM
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166: any bike shop should be able to handle it. As far as boston stores go, the porter square wheelworks is really good. the international bicycle center is also good. And I forget the name, but the shop on Mass Ave, near the MIT museum is also really good. the last one also has lots of small parts, which is really nice if you don't need a new brakeset, but just the cable hanger.

re:clipless pedals, personally, I find them safer than normal/standard pedals. I'm more worried about my feet slipping off of the pedals while I'm riding than of not being able to get out. Also, the pedals hold your feet in the correct position (balls of the feet over the axle). And standard pedals are typically barbed/serrated to hold onto shoes which means they really hurt when you slam one into your shin. The look pedals, at least, can be ridden without "funny" shoes with no issue. Worth noting that stance has a lot to do with how quickly you adapt to clipless - pigeon toed people have an easier time I think. None of this is meant to say you need to get them.

re:safety equipment, I'd vote for gloves as mandatory - if you do fall, you might not hit your head, but you will scrape your hands on the ground (probably). and skinned palms suck.

re:folding bike, it is a one size fits all bike. If you happen to be the one size, then it'll work but if you are on the edges of it's recommended size range, there could be issues. non folding bikes will have more sizes, weigh less, and cost less than a comparable folder. of course, they won't fold. Also, a bike store should be willing to swap out saddles on a new purchase.


Posted by: brian ledford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:39 AM
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if anyone has a recommendation for a decent road tyre [for MTB]

I like the Panaracer Pasela a lot, and the TG model has a kevlar layer which is supposed to prevent flats.

I just swapped to they Maxxis Xenith because my Panaracers were wearing out and I wanted to try something new, and they is both more comfortable and noticeably slower because of the larger volume of air.

Also I use platform pedals for commuting and love them.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:43 AM
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re:folding bike, it is a one size fits all bike.

False.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:43 AM
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I don't have any personal knowledge, but I hear Landry's (on Comm Ave in Allston) is good.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:50 AM
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173: the one that's linked has only one size, right?

and it looks like all the dahons are one frame size. And I think there's a limit to what can be done with long seatposts and stems.

certainly other brands have multiple sizes.


Posted by: brian ledford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:55 AM
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Go for it, LB!

I rode my bike for fun a lot as a kid, but then somehow didn't even touch a bike for 20 years. We just moved to a very bike-friendly place, though, and we moved here with golden hazy dreams of never ever driving. First weekend here, we went to buy bikes, and I discovered that the business about never forgetting how to ride is totally not true. (To say that I'm a klutz doesn't begin to cover it.) But! I learned again pretty quickly, I'm in better shape than I was a few months ago, my physical confidence is improving, and the commute is the best thing ever. Love it.

I have no idea how rear racks work on folding bikes, but for what it's worth, I've been very happy with this pannier for carrying my laptop.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:55 AM
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175: Yeah, Bike Friday has standard models in three sizes but also offers custom sizing as well as used bikes in a range of sizes. BTW, NYers can test ride at Bfold.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 12:03 PM
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158: 156: Some of the Dahons have racks -- I'm not clear on other models.

Poking through the Dahon site, I think the Glide P8 is what Yawnoc was asking after. Looking at the diff between that one and the D7, I think that might be more like what you're looking for (slightly bigger tires), since Bave Dee says he's never getting down into the low gears.

Anyways, I think you ought to take him up on his offer and go ride his (to the store, around the neighborhood if he's OK with that) and see if you like it.

I also think Criminally Bulgur might have the right idea: snag an El Cheapo that looks OK, and ride it around the neighborhood with Sally until your legs are back in shape, and then you'll have a much better frame of reference for being all soup-biscuity perfectionistic when you decide on which Dahon (or maybe that other manufacturer) you want... regardless of whether you decide to learn to cock or not.

max
['Just sayin'.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 12:08 PM
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26: The Mon actually used to run northwards, across the East End and up the Allegheny towards the Great Lakes, but glaciation tilted the land enough to turn back the Allegheny

The effects of glacial rebound (the "tilt") had some part in this, but mostly after the fact (and in conjunction with morainal deposits—leftover rocks and soil at the base of the glacier) to reinforce the southward flows already being imposed by the mongo ice sheet both blocking the northward outlets and providing a source of meltwater to help with vigorous valley downcutting. But all of these together did result in the odd phenomenon of having the St.Lawrence/Mississippi divide being located in some places within sight of Lake Erie (there was a similar effect near Chicago, where the western suburbs drain to the Mississippi).

But the land west of Latrobe is geologically all flat, basically, with lots of carved-out valleys.

"Dissected plateau" is the geomorphological term. The long hill that rtfs mentions upthread that leads up to the eastern suburbs of Cleveland is basically the northwestern edge of this "plateau".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 12:13 PM
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that's a good point, max.

I should note that some of my `perfectionism' comes from having ridden 8-12hr days for weeks on end. If you're doing that sort of thing, fit makes a big distance.

So discount that a suitable amount, but I still think that for almost any usage pattern, if you're buying a new bike getting a proper fit is worth a bit of extra time.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 12:13 PM
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168: the advantage of training wheels is that it gets kids in the habits of not being afraid of sailing along at speeds equal to or greater than they can run, of controlling their direction with their hands
One can get the latter experience without training wheels, and I wonder if it's not better to get more experience balancing at slower, safer and more difficult speeds than to get used to traveling fast on a tricycle, and then remove wheels. In any case, I would think steering a bike training wheels would be such a different experience: normally, one steers less by actively rotating the handlebars than by leaning, while this is reversed on a training wheeled bike.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 12:15 PM
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if you're buying a new bike getting a proper fit is worth a bit of extra time

Totally. And maybe extra money. A bike you love to ride is worth way more in the long run than one you don't.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 12:29 PM
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Go gearless and brakeless.

Alternatively, listen to whatever mcmc says. I think she bikes to work.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 12:41 PM
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My most cautious child's learning to ride experience sounds similar to Sally's. He is generally a perfectionist to a fault and would be crying out, "I can't do it" while wobbling along, while I was frustratedly saying back, "But you *are* doing it, you're doing it right now as we speak."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 1:00 PM
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What's wrong with clips? I used to have them on my bike and it wasn't a problem. They're easier to get used to than the clipless ones, and they're really a huge help going uphill or accelerating. The clipless ones are better, since they're easier to get out of once you've used them for a bit (practice on some sort of no traffic area first and expect a few cases of stopping and falling sideways), but the shoes are a pain for walking - completely stiff soles, and in the case of racing pedals metal thingies sticking out of them. In addition to being more efficient they're safer, at least once you're used to them. With 'normal' pedals there's always the risk of your shoe slipping off leading to a loss of balance and veering suddenly or falling. One thing you could do is just keep shoes at work and change.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 3:13 PM
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170: I overheard one once between two 35-ish yuppies. The guy was a disgusting, bitter-faced little troll who kept barking at his gorgeous girlfriend to "Name five adjectives that come to mind when you think of me!" and no matter what she said, he'd respond with some horrible accusation. "Oh, so you think I'm intelligent? Like a big fucking snob? You think I think I'm too good for everyone? I don't understand what anyone else thinks or feels? Fuck you!" And then she'd plead and beg for him to know she meant it as a compliment.

This went on for over an hour as me and my ex smiled at each other and tried to talk about how much we were enjoying the asparagus.

I keep seeing that guy around the neighborhood, and he's always got that same expression on his face, like he's waiting for someone to speak to him so he can totally flip out on them. During that dinner, my ex and I tried to think of subtle ways to suggest to her that she doesn't have to take that shit, but she was a goner.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 3:21 PM
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I ride an Airnimal. Slightly bigger wheels and a very stable ride - you can beat the crap out of most of the other cyclists you meet, and that's the most important thing about cycle commuting, obviously. Avoid Bromptons: they are slow and wobbly.

The winner of this folding bike race - the last two years running - rides a Dahon. That might be a recommendation for Dahons, but then again, I think that Dahon pays him. The runner up in 2008 rode an Airnimal, but they've been disqualified.

I have my helmet, but I don't wear it, not around town at any rate.


Posted by: Charlie Whitaker | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 3:42 PM
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And I second all the recommendations for 'clipless' pedals - they are a joy to use. They might not be necessary in town, but the experience is improved. There are some decent MTB shoes where you can attach the cleats in a recess, allowing an approximation of a normal walk (you still make clinking noises on pavement). Are they safe to use in a city? I still get a bit freaked out with unclipping hurriedly in certain traffic situations, but I haven't yet fallen sideways while still attached to the pedals.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 4:03 PM
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There are some decent MTB shoes where you can attach the cleats in a recess, allowing an approximation of a normal walk

Have these improved much? In the earlier days of these "hybrid" shoes, I broke (as in snapping the midsole) three pairs in a row and gave up on them.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 4:07 PM
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In 189 "midsole" should have been "shank" I think.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 4:09 PM
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I don't have enough experience to say. I have a pair of these, and they haven't snapped yet - sounds like something one wouldn't want.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 4:14 PM
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191: Oh nothing too terrible happens, just the stiffened sole breaks and make the shoe useless. Regular road shoes or offroad shoes that don't try to be comfortable to walk on don't have this problem because they don't really flex much at all.

I was riding a bit hard for the design I think, but maybe they've got better. On the upside, I don't really ride at all now so my scrawny legs probably aren't any threat to the shoes integrity. Maybe I'll get another pair and try them.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 4:19 PM
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179: I'm out by Latrobe a fair bit, so I can see that the actual mountains very clearly start not far east of there. I suppose I spend too much of my time near the rivers to see how I'm actually on a plateau, but I can now see it on the map.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 4:33 PM
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193: Yes, the plateau is pretty well dissected around us. It is mostly one of those nerd geography things you can bring up by saying, "There are no hills in Pittsburgh" and everyone says, "No way", and then you explain it and then everyone is very impressed and buys you drinks and sucks your cock and stuff.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 4:44 PM
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194: Just like all of the adoration I got by repeatedly explaining that 1/1/2000 wasn't the start of the new millennium?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 5:53 PM
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Paging Dr.Jung -- I walked out of my office to see a guy unfolding a Brompton. I asked him about it and got ten minutes of delighted explanation of how great it was, and a recommendation for Bike Fridays as well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:44 PM
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196: Maybe he was a stalker lurker.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 6:54 PM
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If he is, he was nice (biscuit!) -- let me pick up his bike to see how heavy it was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 7:05 PM
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Thread FAIL.

I was not talked out of it.

I just spent a ridiculous amount of money on a Brompton, after riding it around the block. It's very adorable. I will pick it up after work and ride it home. Wish me luck.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 12:53 PM
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Don't die, LB!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 12:54 PM
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Good luck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 12:54 PM
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Yay LB! Have fun with it. Report back (flickr group?)...


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 12:55 PM
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Put up a picture of your gorgeous new bike! I want to see!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 12:59 PM
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Not flickr group! Here, please!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 12:59 PM
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I'll see what I can do. It's red and black, and it has a little luggage rack on the back, and a bracket where I can attach a bag on the front, and it has ridiculous little wheels. But I bumped off a curb on it and didn't die, so I figure the tiny wheels aren't too much of a problem.

(I feel very silly having done this. While I'm not in bad shape, I literally haven't gone more than a couple of miles on a bike since the early '90s. Someone tell me it's just like riding a bike, right?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 1:11 PM
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LB, you'll be fine. I expect you'll be surprised how quickly you get used to the ride, too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 1:14 PM
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Way to go! Also, what soup said.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 5:23 PM
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I think it is Too Late Now, but also:

There is nothing to prove. You can stop and walk if you want. Or hop on the subway to get the rest of the way home. It is going to be so great!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 5:54 PM
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Please let us know if you make it home alive.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:04 PM
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Ten miles home from the bike store, so not the full thirteen miles to work but most of it, and a very pleasant ride. That one hill discussed above is ridiculous, and I walked up it, but the rest of it was lovely (well, riding in traffic crosstown to get to the bike path worried me a little, but I'll get over it.) I may be sore tomorrow, and I think I'll probably wait till Monday to bike into work, but I'm feeling good now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:05 PM
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199: Thread FAIL. I was not talked out of it.

Ah, but you did not by the bike you were gonna buy. So, technically, thread DRAW.

Also, my goal through two threads has been to get you on the bike. So, YAY!

(I feel very silly having done this. While I'm not in bad shape, I literally haven't gone more than a couple of miles on a bike since the early '90s. Someone tell me it's just like riding a bike, right?)

It's just like swimming when someone throws you in the water. Probably gonna get a mouthful and a noseful and earful, but hey, bike riding.

I suspect you're gonna be kinda sore, probably tomorrow; don't push it too much, eh? Don't wanna start off with an injury. (This is exercise advice, not biking advice.)

max
['Yay!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:09 PM
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210: That one hill discussed above is ridiculous

It seems like they could have kept it down by the water, go by the little lighthouse and all. In fact, I looked at it via the satellite images and it looked like there were some manner of paths down there, but I guess they don't connect up or you can't ride a bike on them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:27 PM
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Ten miles in 6 hours...that's better than I could do!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:30 PM
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Yeah, the path down by the water there turns into a dirt footpath, and I'm not sure if it connects back to anything. Walking up the hill is really not onerous -- the hill's so steep that it's very short.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:31 PM
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re: 210

Well done, LizardBreath!


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:32 PM
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213: You are cordially invited to bite me.

I don't actually know how long it took me -- I forgot to check my watch.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:33 PM
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That's fantastic. I bike commute too, but mine is only 2 miles or so (one way). So short that I felt pathetic weighing in on the discussion, at any rate. I find natural hills to be much less awful than fucking freeway overpasses - they designed them for bikes to be going over, but I suspect that none of the engineers has ever actually ridden a bike over one. Flatter! Or, underpass. I love them.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:36 PM
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YAY!!! I am very happy for you. I hope (and kinda expect) that this will be a noticeable increase in your quality of life.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:41 PM
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Did the kids know ahead of time? Or was it like a '50s (or my) dad just showing up one evening with a new car.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:49 PM
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Congrats, LB. Super great.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:58 PM
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Meanwhile I just spent a bunch of money to get a replacement for the tiny and presumptively inexpensive yet impossibly hard to find and obsolete piece that fell off my bike in shipping, so soon I will get to once again exprience the infuriation of riding in Boston. Woot to us all!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 8:01 PM
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I hope (and kinda expect) that this will be a noticeable increase in your quality of life.

I predict a series of crises of faith when the first snow storm hits NYC.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 8:03 PM
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Speaking of bikes, I really want to get a pair of these for the girls. So cool, aren't they, and all the other bikes for kids that age have gender-oriented design. But damn, they're expensive.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 8:15 PM
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I admit I don't know from the price of kids' bikes, but isn't $270 per not that much?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 8:23 PM
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Not that much for totally cool bikes, right? Keep talking me into it!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 8:31 PM
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I totally love my Trek. As noted above, I'm not a serious biker, but they seem perfect for kid's use.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 8:38 PM
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222: I am a fairweather biker -- I'm not planning on biking through ice storms.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 8:58 PM
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I am a fairweather biker -- I'm not planning on biking through ice storms.

Come on it's fun.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 9:09 PM
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What is snow?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 9:17 PM
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I may be sore tomorrow, and I think I'll probably wait till Monday to bike into work, but I'm feeling good now.

Be forewarned, your butt is probably going to hurt a lot when you wake up tomorrow.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 9:18 PM
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Jesus McQueen, those are the cutest things I've ever seen.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 9:19 PM
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It seems like they could have kept it down by the water, go by the little lighthouse and all. In fact, I looked at it via the satellite images and it looked like there were some manner of paths down there, but I guess they don't connect up or you can't ride a bike on them.

The path does go past the lighthouse, which sits directly underneath the george washington bridge. immediately after the lighthouse, there is a steep hill to bring you from the river up to "street" level. That part of upper manhattan is the highest point in manhattan, so it ends up being pretty far from sea level. Given that LB lives not at sea level, even if they continued the greenway "below", he's have to climb up that hill (or an even higher one as he gets further north) no matter what.

LB - I've found it somewhat more pleasant (although traffic-filled) to ride up riverside sometimes. A lot of bike routes that are "planned" to get you to the cloisters/fort tryon actually suggest diverting somewhere in the 160s/170s and cutting over to fort washington or broadway.

Also, if you're going to ride regularly, may I suggest the great website ridethecity.com - it's like google maps, but with all of the city bike path information input in, so that you get the optimal "safest", "safe" and "fastest" bike routes through the city (note that "fast" sometimes suggests going the wrong way down a 1-way street. "safest" will take you out of your way just so that you can ride on protected bike lanes). It might be a good place to figure out the best crosstown route to the greenway.


Posted by: sam | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 10:01 PM
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Given that LB lives not at sea level, even if they continued the greenway "below", he's have to climb up that hill (or an even higher one as he gets further north) no matter what.

I live on top of what you're calling the higher hill (although it's actually not quite as high -- Bennet Park, a little north of the GWB, is the highest point in Manhattan. So I go up over the GWB, back down to sea level, and then up again through streets to get home.) Also, not that it matters, but for future reference I'm female.

Funny, I didn't see the Little Red Lighthouse at all -- I suppose I was focusing on making sure I knew where the Greenway was going. I'll look at it another time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 5:35 AM
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Wait, did you ride home in your work clothes, or had you brought a change of clothes to work? (For this purpose? Which would suggest more premeditation than 199 implied.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 7:06 AM
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oops, sorry about that LB! (if it's any consolation, people always assume me and my androgynous nickname are male too, but i'm also a girl).

hmm. now I'm wondering which way you ride - the way I go passes you directly under the GWB, after which is a really big hill.

this is what I see on my route.


Posted by: sam | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 7:28 AM
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Way to go, LB! Maybe (just maybe!) I'll bike to work on Monday, too, in solidarity. I'm trying to redo my morning schedule anyway, so I hope I'll be more awake and able to deal with traffic.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 7:44 AM
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230: Be forewarned, your butt is probably going to hurt a lot when you wake up tomorrow.

...no, no, it's too easy. I won't say anything.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 7:47 AM
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235: Huh. I think you must have left the bike path, and biked on a footpath. There's a spot just before the bridge where it forks -- I accidentally took the footpath fork for 100 ft or so, and then turned back when it stopped being paved and found the sign indicating the split. Do you, right before the bridge, find yourself on a dirt path to the left of a fenced in [basketball/volleyball/I remember that it was some sports thing but not what] court? Because that was where I turned back, and found the base of the ridiculous hill that took me up over the bridge.

And I'm not too sore -- my legs are tired in that I-am-overly-aware-of-the-fact-that-I-have-quadriceps kind of way, but no actual soreness as such.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 7:56 AM
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234: I had workout clothes in my desk, for going to the gym on my lunch hour.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 8:01 AM
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Further to 238: Actually, after looking at the Greenway on Satellite closeup, I can see how I missed the LRL -- there is a fork to get to it -- but I'm totally wrong about that hill. Like you said, it seems to be immediately after the bridge rather than before it. How I confused myself about that, I don't know. ( I think I must have passed under the bridge without noticing it because it was right where I took that 'wrong turn' that would have taken me to the LRL, and I was focusing on where I was going rather than looking up.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 8:09 AM
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I like the look of those Airnimal bikes, because the wheels look a lot bigger than the ones on the other folding bikes.

But I don't even have a place near me to store my bike, since people used to keep some in the basement, but when they put in a new boiler that was determined to be a firehazard. We had a bike in the closet, but when I moved we put both of them in someone else's basement. It's a shame, since the Minuteman path is right behind me.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 8:26 AM
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I'm amazed this thread stayed on topic this whole time. Updates as facts on the ground changed helped, but still.

A co-worker of mine bikes to work, and I think he might even have farther to bike than me, but it would take a lot to get me to consider it. For one thing, it looks like I'd have to choose between biking along the freeway and down the middle of Arlington National Cemetery. (Searching Google Maps for a walking route defaults through the cemetery. A suggested alternative is more than a mile longer.) I suppose I shouldn't rule that out, though.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 9:25 AM
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I'm feeling vaguely lazy that I don't bike given that I can walk to my office in less time than LB's estimate of how long it would take her to ride. Maybe I'll compromise and get a Vespa.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 9:31 AM
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I walk to work every day, but it's just a little over a half hour walk. I wonder what would be the sweet spot of route and distance that would encourage me to ride instead.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 9:38 AM
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Citation stuff: Any academical types use Zotero? Do you like it? I've never used EndNote and am not about to buy it.; This is more for persona; use. I do a lot of research on health care policy and would like to find a way to keep track of it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 9:42 AM
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I do a mixture of cycling and walking. It's around 2.5 miles, I think. So I usually either ride all the way, or I catch the bus about half way and then walk the remaining mile or so along the river bank, depending on weather and time. it's jsut far enough that walking all the way takes a little too long to do in the mornings, although on nice evenings I walk all the way back.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 9:45 AM
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245. Knew the blogroll here had to be good for something


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 9:48 AM
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That's where I read about it OFE, and I couldn't get it to install properly. Something about the DB having a newer version of SQL. I'm running a 4 year-old computer. It's a 1.5 GHz PowerBook G4. Is my computer too old?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 9:56 AM
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244: Huh, that sounds like it would be really in the sweet spot for biking -- a 25 minute walk should be, what, ten or so biking? But you said there were bad hills.

If I lived half the distance from work, but as close to the bike path as I do now, biking would be unambiguously superior to the subway -- probably faster, even for a slow cyclist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 9:57 AM
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244: Huh, that sounds like it would be really in the sweet spot for biking -- a 25 minute walk should be, what, ten or so biking? But you said there were bad hills.

There is a huge hill -- and the reason it's not in the sweet spot for biking is that it's in the sweet spot for walking. Why get a bike involved?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:03 AM
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(It's 35 minutes, incidentally, not 25 -- but still, a nice walk.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:03 AM
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249: Sounds like just the opposite of a sweet spot to me. Long enough to work up a sweat biking, short enough that even walking will get you there in a reasonable amount of time.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:03 AM
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248: Support the stimulus and get a new computer every year and new car every two years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:05 AM
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Half an hour is just about the perfect length for a walk. It's also a nice way to mentally transition between work and home. I really miss walking to work/school.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:06 AM
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254: When I took the bus, on nice days I would get out about a half hour from home just for that transition. And because the liquor store was that far from my house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:15 AM
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the reason it's not in the sweet spot for biking is that it's in the sweet spot for walking. Why get a bike involved?

True. I was so pleased by my ride home yesterday (once I figured out I wasn't going to die) that I'm being a little over-enthusiastic about the bike thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:20 AM
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There is a huge hill -- and the reason it's not in the sweet spot for biking is that it's in the sweet spot for walking. Why get a bike involved?

I genuinely enjoy a bike ride more (wind in the face, etc.), unless in a big city neighborhood.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:23 AM
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Moby, I'm unemployed. That ain't gonna happen. My BF did buy a new powerbook about 6 months ago when my ibook died, and I had to replace the powercord, so I'm doing my little part.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:25 AM
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Sorry, I'd didn't recall that. Due to house maintence issues, I'll at least be doing a fair bit for the local economy this summer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:27 AM
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255: Liquor also helps with the transition. From home to work, that is.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:28 AM
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260: Yes, unfortunately, it is illegal to drink it while walking home. The paper bag fooled nobody.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:32 AM
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Yes, unfortunately, it is illegal to drink it while walking home. The paper bag fooled nobody.

That's why vodka and water bottles were invented....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 10:48 AM
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LB,. you are being just the right amount of enthusiastic. The ride will keep getting better for a while, too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 12:02 PM
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Bostoniangirl, I used Zotero for a while. It worked fairly well; most of the reason I switched was that it couldn't be used for bibliography-building in my word processor. Also, IIRC there's not a good way to do a batch import of your pre-existing PDF library, and I found the interface somewhat cumbersome. (I am super lazy about extra mousing steps.) But it's free and it does have a lot of good features. I think it would do well with the sort of use you're describing---more of an elaborate bookmarking system than a reference library per se.

If Zotero keeps not working on your system, and if you can spare ~$80, I highly recommend Sente. Excellent feature set and a responsive development community.

Also, yay LB!


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07-10-09 12:20 PM
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