Biking at college for the total newbie?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by .JahJahwarrior., Aug 13, 2008.

  1. .JahJahwarrior. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    #1
    Last semester, I used a $50 walmart special to get around campus from time to time....it died one day and now lives in the big green filing cabinet outside.

    Today, I acquired a bike from the local used sports store...a Puch Cavalier which I think is 30 years old. Unlike my cheap mountain bike, this baby has thin tires and is pretty lightweight... Instead of living on campus this year, I'm in a house a mile from campus and I'd like to bike to class a lot if I can.

    What tips and advice can I get from people who live in a place as humid as Florida and bike often? :D

    And one of the arms that the pedal attaches to, the left one, seems to be broken. It slips around just a tad...the square hole where it attaches to the bike seems to be slightly stripped. What is that part called and where should I get a new one? It is held on with a bolt and tightening it doesn't help, the good portion of the square isn't making contact with the post much, the stripped out part is. I suspect it was loose and ridden loose and got damaged that way.


    The bike isn't huge, but the crossbar just touches my crotch when I'ms tanding. I'm 6-0...how should I adjust the seat? High up or not? Seat feels uncomfortable, but it's not easy to stand on this bike like it is on a mountainbike, it feels more natural to sit, since it has those funky downward swooped handlebars.

    Anyways...I know nothing about commuting on roads...and I don't want to get hit by a car and risk hurting my love Macbook :D
     
  2. furcalchick macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    South Florida
    #2
    stay away from the busier roads, at least to begin with. motorists in florida aren't as friendly as other states about bikes on the edge of the road (where you are supposed to be riding in as opposed to the sidewalk). and yeah, smart idea for not carrying the macbook around, too risky on these roads.

    and it doesn't get really sweaty if you're only doing a mile. i suggest to minimize the sweat to go at a slightly slower pace on quieter roads.
     
  3. dantherevelator macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    #3
    The part that's screwed up is the crank arm. I recommend dealing with that post-haste because they can fail without warning and can cause you to wreck when they do. A lot of them are the same, but some aren't and it'll take a bit of a trained eye to get you the right one.

    Try to find a real, local, small bike shop (not a GI Joe's or whatever). They're almost all staffed with really nice dudes who will help you out a ton. They can help you adjust the bike for a whole-body fit properly, too. Trust someone who's done it both ways, a good fit is really important.

    If you want to let them tune it up, too, you can (it's usually $50-$75), but if you've got any mechanical aptitude it's something you can do yourself. There are bajillions of different components and ways to adjust them. If the bike is really that old you might find that the bike books you might find don't cover your components. One that does cover a lot of the older stuff that I can recomend is the Haynes Bicycle book. I've used the hell out of mine.

    Edit: re: bike fit, check here.
     
  4. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #4
    Watch out for the rain! What university are you going to? I went to the University of Central Florida.
     
  5. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #5
    oh i love biking to campus. last year i rode my bike every day (2 miles to campus)


    i will say the cold and snow sucked but ill be damned if i was to pay the 200 dollar parking pass:D
     
  6. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #6
    Know your hand signals and use them! Remember, cyclists must follow all the rules of the road, just like cars.

    Also, get fenders for when it rains. Trust me!
     
  7. .JahJahwarrior. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    #7
    Other than the crank arm...the bike seems to be ok. I don't really have the cash to pay $50 to get it tuned up :D It doesn't shift all that well or much but it stays in the gear it is in and that's enough for me, and I know enough about that to adjust it at some point here. But I have to get that crank arm fixed and even though I don't want to pay any money for new parts I suspect I will have to :(


    And I'm actually a student at the University of Central Florida...I have a room in a house across from the stadium (the giant metal trampoline...) in Carillon. Lived in Lake Claire Apartments last year.
     
  8. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #8
    fenders definintly unless you like haveing a soaked bottom that is all grimey with road grit

    if your school was like mine, follow the road rules, if not be prepared for tickets...esp on campus. ive seen way too many high speed bike chases by the bike cops. they will tackle you off your bike (extreme and may cause med bills which i think is out of line)

    will say its funny when someone sees a bike cop, flip them off and bolt for it. some times they make it sometimes not lol

    and what is the deal with bui's seriously. the bike is 20lbs and wont kill people yet you can loose your drivers license and all that. so lame:mad:
     
  9. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #9
    Why? You flee from the police you deserve to get tackled. Just because they're on a bicycle doesn't mean they have less authority or deserve less respect.

    But as a biker sharing the road with multi-ton vehicles, you are more than capable of causing an accident resulting in your death or the death of others.


    Also, get both front and back lights; it's the law if you want to ride at night.
     
  10. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    Stuck in the middle with you
    #10
    Always lock your bike when you leave it. Buy one with a cable that's long enough to go through both wheels and the frame. If your seatpost has a quick-release, I'd strongly suggest changing it to a hex-wrench type or some prankster will eventually steal your seat.

    Also, to further discourage people from stealing it, you could give it a very unique spray paint job with bright colors.
     
  11. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #11
    In addition, I would top that off with a good U-lock.

    Plus, you can get hex-bolts for the two wheels as well.
     
  12. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #12
    Watch out for pedestrians. If I had a dime for every time I was nearly run over on campus by some jerk on a bike who didn't look where he was going, I wouldn't have any student debt right now ;)
     
  13. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #13
    even though youre right doesnt mean i like it lol

    ive gotten ticket for riding through the plaza before when i didnt know it was "breaking the law" lol

    oh ive ran into a skateboarder and ate it hard. wasnt fun

    granted i was talking on my cell phone.........lol
     
  14. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    The only advice I have is to keep it locked up and stick to the roads. Its far safer to be there and you can go faster too.

    People who cycle on the sidewalk (or pavement for UK'ers) are lame.

    Also at night you'll need lights, get ones with LEDs as they last more than 5 seconds (even though they cost more), and probably it'll still be better to use rechargeable batteries.
     
  15. .JahJahwarrior. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    #15
    I have lights and locks from my old bike, fortunately, and I've been biking around campus for some time, never to campus though.
     
  16. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    Stuck in the middle with you
    #16
    Also, don't do something stupid like riding on the left side of the road. People turning right onto the road from side streets won't look your direction before they turn (nor should they have to) and it could get ugly. I almost T-boned a Corolla one day (thank god for disc brakes!).
     
  17. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #17
    Or ride on the side going against the traffic (so left in the US) on a cycle lane, that is also dangerous.
     
  18. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #18
    In a similar scenario, I almost T-boned a biker with my Toyota. :eek:

    So, yes, ride in the same direction as traffic!
     
  19. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #19
    i would much rather ride against traffic so i can see whats coming vs getting sneaked up from behind. exact same reason why i will run against traffic too if i have to go on the street
     
  20. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #20
    I go to a quite prestigious northeast liberal arts college....and 3 of my friends have had their bikes stolen and one has had his seat stolen, so my perception is that nobody is safe. I'd recommend a length of heavy chain with a rubber coating on it and a real Master lock. My friend had a wal-mart lock, locked his bike outside the gym, came back after his workout and found a brick and his lock (crushed) on the ground where is bike was.

    Totally off topic, but my senior year of high school I somehow got on the UCF email list (I think I forgot to opt-out of email spam on some SAT or other test I took, I was never looking at schools in florida), and wound up getting at least 5 or 6 emails a day called "Golden Knight Ways" or "Join the Golden Knights" or "The Way of the Golden Knight". Drove me nuts. :p
     
  21. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    Stuck in the middle with you
    #21
    My situation was totally my fault. When turning right, who looks to make sure nobody is coming down the lane in the wrong direction?


    Riding the wrong way on a bike is pretty dangerous and also illegal. You're supposed to walk/run against traffic, but never on a vehicle.
     
  22. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #22
    yea but still when that vehicle goes so much slower than other vehicles going the same direction i find that more dangerous
     
  23. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #23
    As was mine. It's the driver's responsibility to look both directions, no matter what direction the traffic is supposed to be traveling. ...Luckily my passenger was paying attention!

    It's the exact opposite, in fact.
     
  24. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #24
    not in terms of being aware...... i dont have eyes on the back of my head
     
  25. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #25
    Since you insist, you could get a mirror. ;)
     

Share This Page