Bill's Commute Details
My regular commute bike is a Bottecchia road bike. It is an old retired road race bike. I use 700x25 tires with tuffy tire liners. I like using the 25's because they soften the effects of the tire liners. I've found the tire liners to be a harsher ride, but invaluable for commuting. I've dug big pieces of glass from the tires that would have easily caused a flat had the liners not been there. I have a dual beam Classic NiCad Nite Rider, with a simple Cateye light for back up. I use two cateye rear flashing lights. I also have reflective tape around my forks, seat stays, and crank arms. This provides reflectivity from all directions. I also wear a reflective vest. The powerful Nite Rider allows me to be able to see the road when it's dark and rainy and there are oncoming car lights!
My usual commute route combines driving with riding my bike. I will drive from Novato to the Penngrove Park & Ride, then ride the remainder on my bike. The bike part is 30 miles round trip and mostly flat with a few minor rollers. I will sometimes add onto this by riding through the Sebastopol hills on my way back to Penngrove. I will also occassionaly ride from home in Novato. This is a 76 miles round trip and has significantly more hills, one which is particularly steep!
On my usual commute route from Penngrove, the traffic on Petaluma Hill Rd in the mornings is moderately heavy, but in the reverse direction for me. In the evening on my way back, I use Stony Point Rd which has very heavy traffic, but mostly again in the reverse direction. But there is significantly more in my direction too. I use a mirror on my helmet and am particularly aware of cars coming up behind me. I have noticed an increase in the number of preoccupied drivers who drift over the edge line and onto the shoulder. I will sometimes ride in a very tight serpentine manner which seems to catch the eye of these distracted motorist better than by just riding a straight line. I also need to pay attention to motorists turning left in front of me and from pulling out of sidestreets in front of me. When there are plenty of cars going in the same direction as me, then there is no problem. When I'm the only thing coming down the road, I will ride out into the travel lane more, so that these motorists see me better.