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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-19-05, 05:24 PM   #1
notfred
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help with my commute - which route would you choose?

I know I've been talking about starting commuting for al ong time, but I finally moved into my new place. I'm closer to work now, and commuting finally seems realistic. Here are my options:

First off, I have the option of either riding both ways, or driving to work, and riding home (I havea friend and a fiancee who both live right nearby and commute by car to my work [I work ata university]), so keep that in mind.


The first part of my ride is fixed. It's 11.5 miles long, and it takes me from my house in Davis along some lightly-travelled country roads, and then along a road with wide bike lanes, and finally I cross the river and then end up on the edge of downtown Sacramento.

From downtown, I have three options:

1) Ride along the American River Bike path to work. This is 8.75 miles, all on a dedicated bike path. I wouldn't see acar the whole way, I'd jsut ride through meadows and trees. This gives me a total travel distance of 20.25 miles.

2) Ride through downtown. I take J st, which is narrow, has no bike lanes, has cars parked on the street, and has plenty of automotive traffic. This route is 5.2 miles long, and stays on J st the entire way. Total travel distance is 16.7 miles.

3) When I get into downtown, jump on the cummuter train (which is free, because I have auniversity ID) and ride the train to school. There's a half-mile ride from the bridge to the train station, and then a 3/4 mile ride from my stop to the university. Total travel distance is 12.75 miles, plus a 20 minute train ride.

Which option do you think you would start with? I have to get to work around 7:00, and I'd like to wake up as late as possible (I prefer not to get up until the sun is rising or later).

I know it's a fairly long commute, and I know the distance isn't a problem. I go on longer mountain biking trips all the time, and I ride my street bike 20 miles at a time on the road for fun. My biggest problem is going to be the psychological problem of waking up in the morning and thinking "If I take the car, I can sleep an extra 30 minutes". This was part of the reason I Was thinking of riding only one way. I could sleep in, take the car to work, and then ride home at my leisure.

I appreciate any input
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Old 08-19-05, 05:40 PM   #2
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Start with option 3 and see if you stick with commuting. If you do and when you feel you'd like a change of scenery, try option 1.
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Old 08-19-05, 07:35 PM   #3
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Yep. Start with the short, bi-modal route to get used to bike commuting.

The narrow street with on-street parking can be quite hazardous, so save it for last. Getting doored really hurts. Trust me on this one.

Early in the morning, the multi-use path may be very nice, not many joggers/dog walkers. Once you get used to the distance, you may find it to be the best way. Heck, try them all on the weekends, when (hopefully) the traffic is light.
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Old 08-19-05, 07:48 PM   #4
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There are some variables to consider.

1) Option 1 looks good to me provided the bike path is in good condition and not too heavily used by pedestrians. I guess that wouldn't be much of an issue at 6:30 a.m. Still, if there are lots of blind turns there, you can never go fast on that path because there is always a small chance that someone else is using the path at the same time as you. And if you are coming back that way, you'll most likely have to go somewhat slowly, but perhaps it's not such a big issue for you. A ride like that can be so pleasant and fun, allowing you to relax after a hard working day, that having to slow down is only a minor inconvenience.

2) Over 5 miles on a narrow road with lots of parked cars and a lot of traffic sounds like HELL. I'd probably avoid this route. However, it might be better early in the morning - why don't you check that out. It's entirely possible there are no cars parked there before 7 and the traffic is fairly light. But the return trip via this road, during the rush hour, seems like a last-resort option to me. I myself just do riding in such conditions when necessary (I have no car and if I have to go on a road like that, then, well, I go), but I certainly don't enjoy it. And I sure as hell wouldn't want to do it every day!

3) This is an interesting and workable idea to consider, provided that the commuter trains you are talking about run fairly frequently, otherwise you might end up getting up earlier than if you stick with the first option! And of course I assume it's no major hassle to get the bike on and off the train and that bikes are indeed allowed on it.
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Old 08-19-05, 07:58 PM   #5
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Try them all. Don't lock yourself down. You'll settle into one sooner or later. You might even find another route you didn't think of.
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Old 08-19-05, 09:09 PM   #6
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Try them all. Don't lock yourself down. You'll settle into one sooner or later. You might even find another route you didn't think of.
True. In fact, I just looked at a map of Sacramento, and it seems the streets run in a nice rectangular grid fashion, including side streets. M St. for one parallels J St. and looks like it wouldn't have as much traffic. However, if riding on it means stopping every 50 meters for a stop sign, that's pretty lousy too!
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