How to ride two wheels to work

Good day, dear Khabrosobschestvo.

A year ago it was exactly the same spring day as it is today. As usual, I went to work by public transport, experiencing all those wonderful feelings that are familiar to everyone who travels in rush hour transport. The bus door, which had barely closed, propped up behind me. In the face I was constantly getting the hair of a girl who emotionally cursed with a middle-aged lady, while turning her head every half minute. The persistent smell supplemented the whole picture, as if in a cheese shop somewhere in the south of France. But the source of the smell, this lover of Roquefort and Brie-de-Moe, a follower of Louis XIV for the adoption of water procedures, was quietly sleeping in the bus seat. It was on that day that I decided that it was time to abandon public transport in favor of personal transport.


In the article below I want to tell how I came to the decision to use a bicycle as a transport for the home-work-home route, to address issues of equipment for skiing, both necessary and not very necessary, and also to share tips on the behavior on the road on a two-wheeled vehicle.

How and why I rolled to two wheels.

Having a great desire to refuse to use public transport, while remaining within the family's annual budget, I faced a difficult dilemma. The introduction was as follows:

  • The cost of public transportation was about $ 1.5 a day, or about $ 550 a year.
  • The maximum distance that needed to be covered: 8km per house-> work + 12 km work-> training + 12 km training-> house. In general, about 32 km per day. On the way there is a rather long climb (about 2 km with a slope of 8-12%) and a section of a rough road through the industrial zone.
  • I wanted to move between points as quickly as possible

Options that I threw right away:

  • Taxi / own car / car sharing - no way, even with the most cunning schemes, they didn’t fit into the budget
  • The gyro scooter, monowheel and scooter cannot provide the combination of speed / safety in that part of the road that lies through the industrial zone, where the name and sign 1.16 are rough from the road. Yes, and they are unlikely to master the rise.
  • Their legs are long. I tried walking work-> home. It turned out an hour and a half. I didn’t have time for walking training with the current work schedule, even while running.


There are two options left: scooter / motorcycle and bike. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I racked my brains, I never figured out where to leave moto for the night. No matter how I looked, it turned out either far, or expensive, or unsafe.

The result is a bicycle. It seems that the decision was made, but doubts tormented, because I had a bike about 15 years ago and then the old Stork, which I rode in the yard with the boys. But during a trip to my friends in Europe, I had the opportunity to ride a good bike in the European suburbs, and it turned out that the truth is that you learn to ride a bike only once and for life.


Cycle Analysis

I must say right away that it’s not entirely clear to me why there are so many propaganda efforts around the bicycle on the topic that the bicycle is the solution to all problems, in my opinion nothing of the kind. If you approach systematically, then for all its merits, a bicycle is generally convenient transportation from point A to point B in fairly limited conditions of use. I divided the conditions into several categories.

The necessary conditions:

  • short distances. A bicycle, as a daily transport, is hardly suitable for people who travel more than 50 km per day, although there are exceptions. Studies in Copenhagen show that most cycling is 5 km one way. As I wrote above, I get a little more, but I don’t feel much tired.
  • No need to travel on business during the working day or bring children / spouse to school / kindergarten / work. Then I was lucky - I work in the office, 8 hours. I take lunch from home.
  • Seasonality and weather conditions should contribute to comfortable movement on a two-wheeled vehicle. Here I want to say that everything is relative. If there is a desire, then no weather will stop, but still my two-wheeled spent the whole winter in a drawer behind a cupboard.


Desired Conditions

  • The presence of bicycle infrastructure. With bike paths, things are not so clear, in the CIS countries, bike paths seem to be built, but it seems difficult to ride along them. Sudden obstacles in the form of people, hatches, drains, poles and pits on bicycle paths almost level their presence.
  • Bicycle parking, locker room and shower at work. At bicycle forums they write that you can ride without sweating or wipe with a wet towel in the toilet. They also say that if there is no bike parking, you can ask the guards to look after or leave in the back rooms. But here I was very lucky - the employer provides a bicycle parking and shower.
  • Storage space for bike at home. Not quite obvious, but extremely important condition, both for bicycle safety, and for the convenience of households. On working days, I am leaving the very first one and returning the very last, so the bike is standing in the corridor right behind the front door. If guests are planning or a weekend ahead - I bring the bike to the balcony. For the winter, packed in a box and a closet.


It seems that all the stars came together, it's time to buy. The subtleties of choosing a bicycle, tips for choosing a bicycle and a meticulous study of bicycle forums on issues such as what is better than 27.5 ”+ or 29” I will leave outside the scope of this article or, perhaps, write a separate one if this topic is interesting and relevant on Habré. I can only say that I chose a mountain hardtail niner (with large wheels) for $ 300. He came to me in a cardboard box and in one evening I collected it and adjusted it for myself. That's it, tomorrow I’ll go to work by bicycle, although hey, I think I forgot something ...


After reading the SDA, I was very surprised that for a bike, the regulated minimum of equipment was only a white reflector in front, a red back and orange reflectors on the sides. And still at night a headlight in front. All. Neither the flashing red light on the back nor the helmet. Not a word. After reading dozens of sites with tips for outfitting for cyclists and reviewing several hours of reviews, I came to this list of what I carry every day with me:

  • Bicycle helmet

    The most controversial element of cycling equipment. According to my observations, more than 80% of cyclists in my city ride without helmets. It seems to me that Varlamov formulated the main arguments for riding without a helmet in his video . Also, while traveling in Europe, I also observed that people in the city mostly ride without helmets. But, as one familiar cyclist told me: Beginners and professionals ride helmets for a reason. I decided that I was a beginner, and the first purchase in addition to the bike was a helmet. And since then I always ride in a helmet.
  • Lighting

    Since I drive about 50% in the dark, I tried a wide variety of flashlights / emergency lights / fireflies. As a result, the final set came down to this form:


    Two headlights in front - one with a wide angle of light, the second with a bright spot.

    Four small dimensions - two white on the fork and two red near the rear wheel.

    Two dimensions at the ends of the steering wheel in red.

    A piece of white LED strip under the frame.

    Two red dimensions on the back - one is on continuously, the second is blinking.

    All this luminous household consumed batteries or had its own built-in small batteries, which lasted for one and a half to two hours. Therefore, I decided to transfer all the light to food from one source. No sooner said than done. It took about 3 evenings. Disassemble the case, solder the wiring, assemble, repeat. As a result, everything is now powered from one bank with a USB 5 Volt and 2.1 A and a capacity of 10 Ah. By measurements, enough hours for 10 continuous light.

    Additionally, to indicate the turns, I adapted an orange 3W LED on a bicycle glove. I fed from 3 V tablets of CR2025 format and sewed a button into the area of ​​the index finger. It shines noticeably even during the day.
  • Bicycle lock

    Another accessory that I bought immediately after buying the bike, as the bike stays in the parking lot under the office during the working day. For a long time I chose a bicycle lock, but came to the conclusion that protecting the bike for $ 300 with a lock for $ 100 was somehow too much and stopped at the middle combination lock.
  • Clothing and clothing The

    clothes are the most common bright T-shirt and pants / shorts. To be more noticeable - a bright cover on the backpack


    and reflectors on the hands.


    Little girls need when riding along the road, when dust and all kinds of midges fly. I certainly would not advise anyone to catch the May bug in the eye, even at a speed of 25 km / h. Another convenient thing is fingerless cycling gloves - they allow your hands not to sweat or slide on the steering wheel.
  • Water

    If you go close - then a bottle of water will be just overweight. But if the path is longer than 5 km, then an energetically riding cyclist loses fluid very quickly, so you need to drink often. Take a couple of sips every fifteen minutes. I first had a regular liter bottle of water in my backpack. Then a bottle holder appeared on the frame - a half-liter bottle with cold tea was perfectly placed there. I’ve bought a hydrator for myself now, but I’m not actively using it yet, because in the cold I’m not so thirsty and have enough half a liter all the way.
  • Repair accessories

    For the entire time that I drive around the city, I only adjusted gears with the help of hexagons a couple of times, but I always have a pump (small bicycle), a spare camera, a set of hexagons, a small adjustable wrench and a knife. In theory, all this may someday come in handy.
  • Bicycle

    bag , one more and one more for a personal bicycle bike First I bought myself a small bag in the triangle of the frame for a spare camera and keys, but after giving up disposable batteries and switching to a powerbank, there was not enough space. So another bag appeared, and then another one along with the trunk. But I carry so many things with me every day that there’s still not enough space and I still have to carry a backpack.
  • Bicycle

    computer Bicycle computer is not a mandatory thing, but it’s nice when you can say for sure that you have already covered 2803 km in 150 hours. And that your maximum speed was 56.43 km / h and the average on your last trip was 22.32 km / h. Well, the first 999 on the bike computer will be remembered forever.

  • Fenders for a bicycle

    Helps to ride during and after a rain. Not so sloppy clothes and shoes. And in dry weather they will not be superfluous, because it is impossible to predict whether the road will turn into a river after a water pipe breaks on the way.


At first, my route lay along large city highways, as it seemed to me that the road there was smoother and seemed to be shorter and faster. A special pleasure to drive along standing in a traffic jam. The travel time from home to work was reduced from 60-90 minutes by public transport to a stable 25-30 minutes by bicycle + 15 minutes by shower in the office.


But once, on Habré, I came across an article about a service for constructing interesting walking routes . Thank you JediPhilosopher. In short, the service builds routes through interesting sights and parks. After playing with a map of day 3-4, I built a route that consists of 80% small streets with slow movement (speed limit 40) or parks. It has become a little longer, but subjective sensations are much safer, because next to me are now cars that leave the yards and travel a maximum of 40 km / h, and not minibuses that go at 60 km / h while being rebuilt three to four times in two minutes. From which the following advice - build a route through small streets and courtyards. Yes, the courtyards have their own specifics in the form of marginal elements, dogs and children who suddenly run out. But each of these “specifics” can be negotiated without prejudice to them and to oneself. But with KAMAZ,

To work on a bicycle in a big city. Survive by any means.


According to popular wisdom, it is better to learn from the mistakes of others, therefore spent several hours watching a video from a bicycle accident. Subjectively evaluating the video on the part of the traffic participants fulfilling the rules of the road rules, I came to the conclusion that in about 85-90% of cases, the cyclist is to blame. I understand that videos on YouTube are not representative at all, but they formed some patterns of behavior on the road. The basic rules that I would advise to adhere to on the road:

  • Be noticeable on the road. During the day - bright clothes, at night - the maximum amount of light and reflective elements. Believe me, this is important. Even Uber'a autopilot could not recognize the cyclist in black clothes at night. I, too, somehow nearly knocked down a fisherman in camouflage clothing on a bicycle without reflectors and lights. I saw him, just a couple of meters. And if my speed was not 25 km / h, but more, I would definitely catch up with him.
  • Be predictable. No sharp rebuilds (if there is a pit ahead - slow down, look around, and only then rebuild). When rebuilding - show the direction of the turn, but remember that even if you showed the turn, it is not a fact that you are understood / seen - be sure to look around and make sure the maneuver is safe. Better twice.
  • Follow traffic rules - no comment here.
  • Try to predict the movement of cars. If the flow on the left slows down, then maybe someone with an oncoming one wants to turn ahead and they let it pass. At the intersection, even at the main one, slow down until you see that the driver leaving the secondary noticed you.
  • A separate topic with parked cars is that the doors of such cars can open and people can very quickly get out of them. And if drivers at least somehow look in the mirrors before opening the doors, then passengers open the door as wide and fast as possible. Another parked car may decide that it is time to move to a brighter future and begin its movement without turn signals or any other frills. Moms with prams come out from behind the parked cars, and the pram rolls out first, and only then does Madame herself appear. And also children jump out, sometimes animals ... In general, keep as close as possible and expect everything.
  • Do not hurry. Even if you are late, always leave room for maneuver.

Instead of a conclusion.

Over the past year, I drove a little more than two and a half thousand kilometers on city roads. I hope this article is useful to those who decide to try their hand at this matter. Not once a year under the action a bicycle to work, but at least four days a week, six months a year.


And in early February, I bought and installed myself a 350 W front front wheel drive. I drove it for about 400 km. But this is a completely different story, which, however, I can tell you in the next article.

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