Commuting by Bike
To get myself into a more efficient riding style I decided to get a very light and sporty bike. I’ll try to log some of my joys and pains with the bike here for others and my future self.
Things I’ve learned
One of the most important things I learned way to late is to check if your chain is well lubricated every 100kms this has made commuting much easier, and less stressful. Dirty and dry chains will not only have more resistance, they will also be quite loud during the whole time of your commute. Checking the chain from for dirt and sand is also a good idea, not only after small excursions on gravel. A perfectly treated chain will not be black but but shine silvery. If you neglected the chain for as long as I did this is quite hard to get back, you’ll need to deep clean and scrub it. I started to sometimes stop by car-washes with high pressure wash guns and quickly give the chain and spokes a high pressure wash. Always add back lubrication after cleaning the chain.
Using reflective clothing does not only help you to be seen by cars, but also other bikers and pedestrians. It’s super cool to wear bright yellow safety wests and snap on reflectors, no matter what other people say.
Please, listen to your body, but also to your family and friends. I did ride my bike again two weeks after a infection, against the better judgement of my wife and was knocked out again for a week again.
Hercules Rocco Lite
I bought this bike in 2013. It feels for me like the ship of theseus, but within ten years only the bottom bracket, both wheels, various tubes and sleeves, multiple chains, bell, brake cable, shift cables, grips and recently the right hand shift lever were replaced. Most replacements where due to regular usage, the broken shift cable was caused by excessive force with a frozen shift tube at -9°C.
I’ve used this bike for trips inside of the city during my combined work and studies from 2014 - 2018 then for commuting 11km to work with a colleague for half of 2019, where I flattened a tire and left it unfixed in the basement. In 2022 and 2023 I did most of my commutes by bike and also started tracking trips, first with pen and paper then with a smart watch. With (super) bad weather, non work days but also small free time trips this accumulated to over 2.000 km per year.
During my Teens I rode a yellow silvery downhill bike, after some years the front suspension failed on my and shortly after that the fork broke. My wife still remembers that she could always see my bike from far a way when we met as teens.
Random Mountain Bike
After the downhill bike I got a rather basic black mountain bike, which again had suspension issues, I switched out the fork for one without suspension. That fork was to short which rendered the bike useless.