I currently have a 20 mile roundtrip, but may be moving in the next few months. The new commute would probably be around 40 miles roundtrip. With this in mind, and really wanting to continue daily commuting, I am trying to make the fastest commuter possible, within reason. I already know about strengthening the motor .
Currently I ride a Trek 520 touring bike. I like it alot, and am planning on using it for the longer commute also (it's got 7,000 miles on it, and I want more ). To speed things up a bit, I went with 25c Armadillos the last time I needed tires. This is from the 35c stock tires. Speed definitely improved. I then decided if I could use just one pannier instead of two, it would help the average speed also. It did, up to 1.5 mph on the downhills just from lesser wind resistance. This is all I have done so far.
My ideas now:
Switch to an Arkel Tailrider instead of the pannier. This should decrease wind resistance a bit. However, I usually carry pants, shirt, socks, emergency tools, and lunch. It might not be enough room?
Better wheels. The current wheels are 36-spoke Bontrager fairlanes (stockers). Great for touring, but I could probably get by with less for commuting. I am thinking about maybe some slightly more aero/light wheels, particularly for the front. Pricey though, probably a minimum of $200 for a set. Any ideas?
Aerobars. These would probably help a lot, particularly doing 40 miles a day. Not too pricey either, and a little bit of extra weight doesn't concern me too much. I have found wind resistance to be a much bigger factor. Can you run a headlight with aerobars, or do they interfere?
I have full-fenders, which I could take off, but the day I do that it will be pouring the next morning. I live in AZ though, so this could be an option, as long as I watch the weather every night. I don't think it would be worth the hassel though to save 5 seconds on the trip.
Any other ideas? I am already planning on upgrading to slightly lighter components whenever anything wears out, but it is a heavy tourer anyway, so I am not going to be a weight weenie. I just want to be sure I save a little bit of time and energy, so that I can commute as far as possible.
Thanks for your help.