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Partial Bike Commute

My daily commute starts before sunrise and is around eighty miles round trip. It passes through a dangerous narrow winding mountain pass, the Nantahala Gorge.  Too far and risky for a bike commute, I’ve settled on a partial commute. I park yonder side of “The Gorge” just as the sun is pop’n up over the mountains.  I don’t think I’m really saving any gas.  The aerodynamic drag the bike and rack puts on the Corolla negates any fuel saving I’m getting by biking the last few miles. The true savings will be in my mental and physical health.  A half hour of brisk biking in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon seems much more reasonable than an expensive gym membership and an hour spent on a stationary bike staring at a concrete wall. 

I’m new to bike commuting so I’d be interested in any tips you may have.  How do you keep your clothes wrinkle-free, how do you clean up without a shower, how do you carry your lunch?

Thanks, Jack

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  1. April 28, 2011 at 12:00 am

    If you have to be totally wrinkle-free you can always take a week’s worth of clothes by car at the beginning of the week. Otherwise, rolling and folding clothes works pretty well, you just have to find a configuration that works for your particular bag. I never have problems with pants or slacks because they roll really well, while shirts are more unpredictable. Pre-moistened wipes are used by some people, although I just carry a microfiber towel and do a quick wash-up. Make it less of a workout on the way in, also, to sweat less, save the sprints and speed for after work.

  2. The Velo Hobo
    April 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks John,

    Next week I’m going to drive my clothes in one day. I need to drive in a couple of times a week anyway, so that should work for me. My ride is just under 8 miles, but I’m still searching for secure parking at about the 12 to 15 mile range. I’ve only done this a couple of times but so far, I love it.

    Great tips, Jack

  3. April 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Isn’t there a post office right at the top of the gorge as you exit from the NOC side? I wonder if they would let you park in there? I also recall a boot store on the left not to far from the top.

    – Zeke

  4. The Velo Hobo
    April 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    There is the Topton Post office that looks like a good place and yep, there is also an old boot store as well. There’s also a park just on the outskirts of Andrews I’m going to check out. I filled up in Andrews today, $3.95 a gallon! (I know there are Californians and Europeans thinking…wow that’s really cheap). I can see $5.00 a gallon in our near future.

    Cheers, Jack

  5. Ryan
    May 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I do the same thing! The last few miles of my trip has the most traffic so I’m usually saving time by biking the last bit. I actually ride a Montague folding bike that I can put in my trunk. They’re pretty unique folders in that they use full size wheels and ride just like a standard bike. I pretty much always have it with me in my trunk too. You should check them out at http://www.montaguebikes.com/

  6. The Velo Hobo
    May 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    That’s a very nice design. Putting the bike in the trunk would help gas milage for sure.

  7. LBJ
    May 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I have a folding bike that I use for my commutes – fits in the trunks really easily when I can’t ride the whole way. As for the clothes, I just try to fold them neatly near the top of my bag, so they’re not getting crushed by everything else…and for cleaning up at work, I’d recommend a wash cloth or hand towel.

  8. George Krpan
    May 19, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    You can eliminate the worst source of body order, your arm pits, by using an antiperspirant, such as Arid XX. It’s so effective that you only have to put it on once a week. Deodorants are not the same as antiperspirants. They don’t work for heavy perspiration.

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