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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-24-12, 05:46 PM   #1
hardcase65
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I think I'm starting to figure some things out!!!

After a grueling 3 mile first ride, I dove into this forum trying to gleam all the information I could find to survive on the bike. I read a ton of info, from how to climb hills, to cadence, to pedal stroke I had know idea there was this much to riding. So this morniing I went out and tried some of the tips I found here it was amazing. Before I was mashing the pedals so today every time I felt like I had to push I shifted to an easier gear and didn't worry about speed at all, cruised up the hills that I had always dreaded and when my legs got tired I pulled on the upstroke to save my quads, I did 10 miles and could have ridden more if my bottom wasn't absolutely killing me. Anyway just wanted to say thanks, and I know now it won't be long before I reach my goal of making my 34 mile round trip commute, and shut my coworkers up, who thought it was so hilarious when I told them what I planned to do.
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Old 06-24-12, 05:57 PM   #2
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Old 06-24-12, 06:02 PM   #3
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Funny story. I started biking to work last June, 20 miles each way so 40 round trip. My coworkers didn't actually believe that I biked the entire distance though, but they didn't tell me that. The office ended up closing in November, but we still rent out a boardroom at the building for occasional meetings. We had one meeting earlier this month, so of course I jumped at the chance to bike to work again.

On the way home, one of my coworkers was looking for a house out near where I live, and saw me biking home. The next day they all told me that they really didn't believe I was biking 40 miles a day until they actually witnessed it.

So uh... good luck!
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Old 06-24-12, 06:12 PM   #4
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Mith, I read your post about your commute and the way you prepare for it, when I get in good enough shape I'm going to put your info to the test. How long do you think it will take for me to get where I can make the 17 miles in an hour or close to that. Sounds like you have to put a lot of miles in before your speed finally picks up?
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Old 06-24-12, 06:15 PM   #5
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when commuting bro, speed does not matter. Commuting is about survival. Speed will come later.
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Old 06-24-12, 06:23 PM   #6
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when commuting bro, speed does not matter. Commuting is about survival. Speed will come later.
Agreed. I was really happy that I got 16 mph one day but it was after a miracle run with quiet streets, empty intersections, and green lights.

The next few days I had to be much more careful and I lost 2 mph
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Old 06-24-12, 07:11 PM   #7
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Commuting is about survival.
So true.

Riding during rush hour, to a predetermined destination, on streets not of your choosing, and which may be anyhting but bicycle friendly, while drives of large heavy metal things are busy rushing to/from work, drinking coffee, eating, putting on makeup, shaving, arguing with children, etc.

Don't measure commutes in mph but, miles without injury.
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Old 06-24-12, 08:17 PM   #8
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So true.

Riding during rush hour, to a predetermined destination, on streets not of your choosing, and which may be anyhting but bicycle friendly, while drives of large heavy metal things are busy rushing to/from work, drinking coffee, eating, putting on makeup, shaving, arguing with children, etc.

Don't measure commutes in mph but, miles without injury.
.... I live in an urban centre in Asia. This sounds like my EVERY ride, commuting or not. Oh and scooters. Hundreds of scooters and mopeds.
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Old 06-24-12, 08:52 PM   #9
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Congrats on the accomplishment! You will make that goal before you know it. Hope you thoroughly enjoy showing up those guys at work.
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Old 06-25-12, 05:31 PM   #10
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I was talking with some commuters in Philly and one thing we talked about was the misconception about speed. Speed is good on the weekend rides but commuting is all about waiting to see and observing other drivers and anticipating what they are going to do. Speed, for me, requires focus, timing, and rhythm. Things I cannot give when commuting because I have to pay attention to the teenage driver pulling out of the parking lot, not looking and talking with their friends with the radio blasting. One wrong move and I am dead.
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Old 06-25-12, 06:21 PM   #11
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when commuting bro, speed does not matter.
It does if you don't leave the house on time.

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Old 06-26-12, 08:51 AM   #12
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It does if you don't leave the house on time.

And one can get killed if not paying attention to traffic and trying to commute fast.

Wake up earlier.

Simple solution to potentially deadly problem
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Old 06-26-12, 10:56 AM   #13
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And one can get killed if not paying attention to traffic and trying to commute fast.

Wake up earlier.

Simple solution to potentially deadly problem
Agreed, though I maintain it's entirely possible to ride fast and pay attention at the same time.
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Old 06-26-12, 11:15 AM   #14
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Speed and the danger of commuting is a relative thing. So much depends on where you live and where you must go. For my morning commute I normally encounter very little traffic and more often than not have favorable stop lights, some of which are flashing yellow until after the time when I need to arrive to work. I work from roughly 7 am to 4:30 pm. I live outside the city limits on the east side of town and work just in the city limits on the western edge. I am able to take a longer county road route to get home, of varing distance depending on weather, mood, and ambition. Sometimes I'll retrace my morning route and brave the trafffic as I ride right by my town's regional university. In the morning most days I'm almost time trialing to get to work. More to the point your results will likely vary but you might count on several months or 1500+ miles before you actually see speed increases. You really need a good base if your 17 miles one way and you expect to be able to spin at a fast pace. I say this partly based on what I have noticed. Just last week I rode with the fast group on a LBS group ride. We covered a little over 27 miles and averaged 18.5 mph. They could have done a bit better but waited for me a couple of times, but I heard no complaints. As of yesterday evening I have logged 4,939 miles since I started keeping track in March 2011.

Bottom line speed takes time and effort, especially for us clydes. Put in the miles and enjoy the benefits of cycling. Do it because it is fun and you should gain even more. I justify some of cycling expenses due to not buying gas.
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Old 06-26-12, 11:49 AM   #15
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Agreed, though I maintain it's entirely possible to ride fast and pay attention at the same time.
Not just entirely possible, but sometimes safer. When I am riding in town, which is often, I am often safer and more visible moving fast, with the flow of traffic. It means I can maintain my place on the road and manoeuvre - especially when turning right (we drive on the left, remember) - rather than play the gutter-bunny and try to insert myself into the lane when I need to.
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Old 06-26-12, 12:54 PM   #16
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when commuting bro, speed does not matter. Commuting is about survival. Speed will come later.
I have to disagree, for a few reasons.

(1) I've never felt like my life was in danger while commuting; the only time I felt in any danger at all was when my bike had a severe mechanical problem and almost crashed me. If commuting on a bike was a situation where you were almost as likely to die as to live, no one would do it. That would be a really good argument for driving or taking the bus.

(2) Speed can be pretty important when you have somewhere you need to be. Going to work isn't a magical realm that's unlike the rest of cycling, where time stops being important.

This definitely isn't a common (or much appreciated) view in the commuting forum.
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Old 06-26-12, 01:21 PM   #17
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Hardcase - Good for you! I came into the bike forums for the same reasons, and the experience of the forumites has been invaluable to me. I had to work up to a 40 mile round trip commute. I started out riding to a convenient point about halfway to work and taking the bus the rest of the way in. After a few weeks of that I tried the full round trip commute.

The first couple of weeks were hard. My legs felt like jelly for a little while. At first it took about 1 hr, 50 min to get into work. The last few days I've gotten that down to ~ 1.5 hours. If I'm doing the math right that puts me at about 13.5 mph. That's after a couple of months.

I figure if I keep pushing myself it will only get better.

When I first started my limitations were my legs. I never really got out of breath. Lately I find my respiration and my heart rate is up when I'm pushing, so I guess that means that I'm finally getting strong enough to use bike riding as a cardio exercise.

To give you a point of reference about where I started, three months ago I weighed in at 309. I'm 47 years old and I have always abhorred exercise.

Today I stepped in the scale and it read 291.

I also agree w/ everyone here regarding safety. I've mapped out a route that mostly carries me through residential areas. I'm always concerned about my "situational awareness". I trust right of way the same way I trust crackheads and politicians.

I think it's possible to increase speed while maintaining safety. At least I hope it is.
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Old 06-26-12, 04:58 PM   #18
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I have to disagree, for a few reasons.

(1) I've never felt like my life was in danger while commuting; the only time I felt in any danger at all was when my bike had a severe mechanical problem and almost crashed me. If commuting on a bike was a situation where you were almost as likely to die as to live, no one would do it. That would be a really good argument for driving or taking the bus.

(2) Speed can be pretty important when you have somewhere you need to be. Going to work isn't a magical realm that's unlike the rest of cycling, where time stops being important.

This definitely isn't a common (or much appreciated) view in the commuting forum.
What do you mean but your last sentence Seattle?

You ride in Seattle which is pretty safe my friend. Camden, NJ where I commute through is not. It depends on where you are riding.
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Old 06-26-12, 05:01 PM   #19
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By the last sentence, I mean "take what I'm saying with a grain of salt, because a lot of people don't agree."
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Old 06-26-12, 05:01 PM   #20
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And to be frank, it is about surviving. He11, same thing with driving but with driving you have steel box to give you a lot of protection. In riding, you get hit, you suffer serious dangers.

With all do respect Seattle, you do not represent all of the commuting folks nor do I. We have our opinions. You ride a REAL safe city, one I lived in for 30 years. You have it made in Seattle and not every place is like that.
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