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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 04-23-01, 04:32 PM   #1
Cheryl
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I'm wondering how you guys feel about bike commuting for short trips. My "commute" is 3 miles one way. I can extend it to @ 5, but is it worth it?

Any comments??
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Old 04-23-01, 05:49 PM   #2
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Originally posted by Cheryl
My "commute" is 3 miles one way. I can extend it to @ 5, but is it worth it?
I think it is!

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Old 04-23-01, 07:34 PM   #3
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I'd say it's well worth it: 5 miles is 66.66...6% more than 3 miles!

One way I extended my commuting miles was to go out to lunch on my bike. With an hour lunch break it's easy to do. Or sometimes I'd go to the library or the thrift store.

That was the easiest way for me to extend my 10.4 miles daily to something like 13 or 14. I always fantasized about extending it by getting up and leaving earlier, or coming home later, but I'm too much a critter of habit. In the evenings, I was just like the old horse coming home unaided to the barn....
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Old 04-24-01, 02:06 AM   #4
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Well, my commute is a 32km round trip. I just wish it was a little longer. It ends just as I warm up.

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Old 04-24-01, 05:37 AM   #5
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For a 3 mile trip you dont need any special clothes. If you take it easy, you dont even need a shower at the end. Just breeze in and get to work.

I sometimes feel the urge to do some more miles in the evening. My 2 1/2 mile trip is just too short.
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Old 04-24-01, 09:13 AM   #6
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Cheryl,

Keep in mind I am not disagreeing with Michael in the least.

But if you really want to boost your metabolism, commuting is great for that. This is because when you exercise
intensely (as opposed to a more relaxed pace), you boost your metabolism. The longer you work intensely, the
better. After such a workout, you will continue to burn calories at a significantly higher rate for as long as 4 hours!
This is in addition to the calories you burned on the bike. Now, figure you do the same intense workout twice,
first in the morning, then in the afternoon coming home. This is a great prescription for weight management, by
keeping your metabolism higher most of the day.
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Old 04-24-01, 09:16 AM   #7
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Yes, it is worth it. Look at it this way. Even at 3 or 5 miles it saves some money over either driving or taking the bus and probably doesn't take any or much longer. Those of us that commute farther started off doing it because that was how far it was. I started off doing my 20+ mile round trip 2 days, then 3, then 4 until I built up to 5 days per week. You could do 3 or 5 miles right off the bat. You are still getting a nice bit of exercise. I dare say most bike commuters only go 2-5 miles. After you get use to it you might feel like extending the ride home, or not; it is strictly up to you. But your are still doing something for yourself and everyone else. And it is FUN! Give it a try.
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Old 04-24-01, 12:11 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone. Now that the weather has warmed,(I am a wimp,ya know) I will begin the bike commute.

Pete, the only problem with really working up a sweat on the way to work is there is no shower. I can do a sponge bath thing but I'd hate to be smelly all day. I will kick it up a notch,ala Emeril, on the way home. Is that ok?
I just need to learn to ride with a back pack.
OOOOO scary
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Old 04-24-01, 02:20 PM   #9
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I was reluctant to ride with a backpack till I actually tried it and found it was easy. I don't know why so many articles and books frown on backpacks for cyclists, asserting the danger of imbalance, topheaviness.... It's the most practical way to carry a lot of stuff, more so than panniers in many cases, since you don't have to leave your laptop computer, say, at the mercy of thieves while you go shopping. (Granted, you may end up leaving it at the mercy of the store personnel, as increasingly all of us are made to feel like shoplifters by the asinine policy of "check your bags." But that's another problem.)

I have no problem at all riding with a backpack on either my road bike or the mountain bike.

P. S. Where there's a wash basin, there's all that's needed, besides a cloth and maybe soap, for sponge baths! Also the disposable moist "towelettes" are adequate in many cases. The clean-up problem is another one that's been greatly exaggerated. No sweat!

The only cleanup I found to be a real chore, is after a muddy ride, which means almost any light-rain ride in the city, alas. And several times I arrived at the office soaked to the skin (I kept a change of clothes there) and had to string my things out over filing cabinets, the bike itself, doortops--and hope they'd dry. Sometimes I'd just have to lug the sodden stuff back home in a plastic bag at the end of the work day.

But personal cleanup, in terms of sweat, was always easy.

Last edited by JonR; 04-24-01 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 04-24-01, 03:02 PM   #10
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Ive ridden with a backpack and with panniers. In hot weather, you get a sweaty back with pack. There is a limit to how much weight you can carry.
Panniers let the bike take the weight. Modern versions clip off and on instantly, so there is no need to leave them on the bike. If you want to stop off at the shops after work, you can carry a good load. I usually use one for my commute, but dont find balance a problem.
The 3rd option is a proper sized (15l +)saddle bag. Carradice are the only people who make them, but who needs better. They are bombproof and last forever and you dont need a luggage rack.
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Old 04-24-01, 03:24 PM   #11
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While it's not hot, extending your trip in either direction will be nice. When it warms up, you may want to restrict your wandering to the ride home.

I have been doing shopping and bike outfitting on my rides home. In fact, today, I need to pick up a couple of things at the grocer. I can extend my ride a couple blocks or a 2-3 miles depending on which store I choose.

Have fun!

Jonathan
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Old 04-24-01, 03:27 PM   #12
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Oh, yeah.

I've been using a Gap Messenger bag to carry my laptop and papers on the bike. It's a little heavy, but not a real problem. I'd say, use your backpack. If you start getting too sweaty, try a different bag. My messenger bag rests lower than a backpack, so it's not as much of a factor in sweat problems.

I've seen backpacks in outfitters that have a net cover over the back to help control heat build-up. It aids ventilation to your back.

Jonathan
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Old 04-24-01, 06:40 PM   #13
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You guys are a wealth of info!!! I guess that's why I stop in. I guess clean up before work really won't be a problem, but we girls worry 'bout that stuff. :blush: I'm a convert and I'll start........tomorrow!!!!!
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Old 04-24-01, 08:44 PM   #14
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In the summers we get in this part of the world, a back pack is not always advisable. Heck, it's not unusual for me to go through 10 litres of water in a day in any case, so I don't particularly want to lose any more through sweat.

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Old 04-24-01, 08:52 PM   #15
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Cheryl,

Bike commuting changed me totally! I'm a different person than ever before. It really gave me "cycling legs," flat stomach, even my face doesn't match my DL pic! Sooooo satisfying. I never dreamed it would happen that way. :confused:

Now I'm about excited as a kid in a candy shop! (And I think I can beat some of those other cyclists who only do it when it's not winter!)
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Old 04-25-01, 06:57 PM   #16
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I didn't know it ever snowed in Tucson!

Re: riding in rain (preferably on a mountain bike!)--I was so surprised to find it enjoyable. Even a downpour is OK, and the streets aren't as slick as in a drizzle. It's a good time to have a VistaLite or other bright taillight, and a good headlight, though.
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Old 04-25-01, 07:15 PM   #17
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I didn't know it ever snowed in Tucson!

Re: riding in rain (preferably on a mountain bike!)--I was so surprised to find it enjoyable. Even a downpour is OK, and the streets aren't as slick as in a drizzle. It's a good time to have a VistaLite or other bright taillight, and a good headlight, though.
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Old 04-25-01, 08:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ba-Dg-Er
Winter sucks for road riding, I have take it almost entirely indoors because of the snow, ice and cinders. I thought we were done with all that crap, but no, it went and snowed AGAIN last Saturday. Please tell me it's over now.

Commuting is a whole different story, since I ride my mountain bike, I will ride in the worst of weather with it and love it. It's a lot of fun to walk into work during a huge monsoon after just commuting in and be dripping on everyone.
Badger, you da man! :thumbup:

But it NEVER snows in Atlanta (don't count on it).

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Old 05-10-01, 02:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cheryl
I'm wondering how you guys feel about bike commuting for short trips. My "commute" is 3 miles one way. I can extend it to @ 5, but is it worth it?

Any comments??
Yes, I have some comments.

"Short hops" (title of this thread) are perfect for bicycling. In my opinion, this is the main function of a bicycle: "short hops."

The bicycle is one of the most beneficial modes of transport there is. Healthful, but much faster than walking. In fact, driving, with it's ridiculous waste of fuel and resources, is far inferior to cycling, especially for short trips.
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