Christopher Valentine

From Santa Monica CA

Commutes 20 Miles RoundTrip for 5 years and 1 months
Seven days a week, my bike is my primary transportation Year Round

I take Ocean Ave bike lane to the Santa Monica/Venice Beach bike path to Venice Blvd bike lane to up National in Culver City. Ocean Ave and the bike path are great, Venice Blvd is okay but suffers from many lights, oblivious drivers, and generally poor road conditions (lots of cracks, bumps, and potholes)

I've ditched the car altogether for the last three months. have found LA to be much more bike friendly than initially expected. I have also commuted from the Back Bay in Boston to Lexington, MA along the Minuteman bike path for three years.

Passing cars coming out of Westchester into Culver City on Sepulveda at 45 mph is a real blast. Also proving to people at work that I can commute faster on bike than car up and down Venice Blvd validates my choice. I laugh these days passing the $2.29 per gallon gas prices and still arriving earlier!

Been riding a '98 Redline Cylcocross X bike with 105 components for 5 years. Added Specialized Speedzone Pro Computer (atlimeter is not as accurate as I hoped but everything else is great esp. the backlight and cadence) and Planet Bike 15w light (okay - lightweight and hasn't diminished in brightness in over a 1,000 miles but if I had to do it again I would definitely look at more powerful lights for greater vision and visibility.) In my opinion, it's the perfect commuter with steady handling, extremely comfortable geometry for commuting, high efficiency and speed with road tires, and reasonably forgiving (for aluminum frame) ride. After 10,000 miles I've had to replace the following: rims (the OEM Suns are really weak! - swapped in ALeX 300's), brake pads (I guess I should have anticipated this with the mileage but the Kool Stop ones I've put on are much more durable than the OEM), at least 7 chains (I perform chain maintenance every Sunday but one good grimy ride...), I haven't replaced the front chainrings or rear cassette but judging from the wear (no slippage yet!) I will have to soon - chainrings are a bitch to replace when your bike is 5 years old - seems I will have to replace the whole drivetrain and bb with 105 stuff - probably around $250 (but chainrings alone seem to cost near $120!).

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