Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Now's the Time to Commute by Bike

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Now's the Time to Commute by Bike

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Longenecker

It is now common for traffic to back up on Third Street at Atlantic Boulevard for three or four blocks. Most of the those drivers are likely leaving the beach, but it may be a sad symbol of the ridiculous growth of auto traffic.

Winter is a good time to try bike commuting because one will sweat little or not at all. BillLabs, my semi-tongue-in-cheek testing service, has several suggestions to make it easier.

If a 58-year-old man can commute 44 miles round-trip by bike, it seems reasonable to think younger Beaches residents can bike five miles or more to work. My long-distance bike commuting began in 1984, and I'm still alive, mostly.

The right bike for commuting can help solve traffic woes. Last week, BillLabs got excited about New Blue, my new mountain bike with a 17-inch frame, down from the previous 18-inch model.

That inch has made a positive performance difference. A bike shop can help fit you for the right bike to make a ride to work a fun challenge. Mountain bike frames are measured in inches. The "seat tube" is the standard for bike measurement.

It is the tube on which the seat sits. The standard is from the tube top down to the middle of the pedal crank arm. Road bikes are measured in centimeters on that same tube.

Buying a bike from a good shop is a great way to get started on a bike. Fit matters just like with clothes and shoes. BillLabs supports buying from dealers who help fit the bike to the rider both for a rider's needs and comfort.

Comfortable commuter bikes have become more common. They are often a "hybrid" style bike with road-bike-diameter wheels, but with tires that are wider than those on road bikes. Some are measured in inches, some in centimeters.

Several offer a seat post shock absorber and front shock. The frame geometry sits a rider more upright. They are often called "comfort bikes" and range from about $275 to $1,000. All major bike brands offer their own version.

Bike commuting can be tricky. BillLabs has found some help with useful accessories at very good prices. My first official bike commuter backpack came nine years ago from Trek. …

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