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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 06-05-06, 12:59 PM   #1
sgbdeals
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Three weeks into my commute... Observations

Ok... This is my third week now of commuting (14 miles one way). I do have to say it feels great! I have only been able to make it 2 times each week due to the need from healing time and other responsibilities that required a vehicle (unfortunately).

A few things I've noticed:

1. Today, I had to drop my car off at the dealership for service which is only 4 miles from my office. It seemed a LOT harder for me to ride this 4 mile ride than my normal 14 mile!?!? Why is that???

2. My legs don't feel like they have ever completely recovered!?! Do I need to wait until I feel NO more pain / soreness to ride again?

3. I try using the stairs as much as possible at work (only 4 floors); however, I haven't noticed any good cardio "gains" from riding my bike. I'm still pretty winded after running up the stairs.

4. I still haven't purchased a frame pump and a patch kit... I guess time is just ticking for a disaster to happen and me walking 10 miles home!

5. (and finally) I have reduced my time from 1 hr 30 minutes to about 57 minutes so far on the 14 mile commute! I'm happy with that improvement!

Thanks all for the great posts / encouragement!
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Old 06-05-06, 01:19 PM   #2
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I started ridding on Jan, 16 this year. I have ridden every day from then to now. I did not take time off the bike. I find that if I don't ride that my legs get stiff and do not want to go fast at all.

I have made that 10 mile walk. now I carry 2 tubes and a patch kit and tools.

Biking and stairs are not the same. Stairs will help your biking. But biking will not help that much with the stairs.

I have a 35 mile commute each day. The frist week it took me 1 hour 55 min for 17 miles to work. Now I do it in 50 to 55 min. Just keep on doing it and the time will get better. Right now you have a average speed of 15.78 mph. That's a good average.
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Old 06-05-06, 01:37 PM   #3
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That's good to know about the stairs! Maybe I'll do a few sprints up and down the stairs daily to help my cycling! I just hope nobody tries to talk to me after I'm done. I won't be able to speak between my shortness of breaths!

Also, I think you could be right about the stiffness. I should probably spend a little more time stretching before and after... I do feel stiff!
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Old 06-05-06, 01:49 PM   #4
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I started riding 4 out of 5 days a week in March of this year. I noticed pretty immediate gains in stamina, well-being, weight loss, ect. I think it may have more to do with frequency than duration. I now try to ride everyday (including weekends) and have noticed that as long as I "take it easy" a few day each week when riding that I don't get overly sore. I do take a day off from time to time if the weather is really foul or if my legs start feeling especially heavy.

When you are able to incraease your riding frequency, I think the noticeable gains will quickly follow. My wife recently started riding with me as often as possible and it took her nearly 3-4 weeks to really start noticing the health and wellness benefits and get over soreness quickly. Don't despair, riding even one day a week is better than not riding at all! Keep it up. Stretch after every ride, so that's twice a day if you're commuting! Zinn has some good basic stretches outlined in one of his books that I perform after every ride, only takes about 2-3 minutes.
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Old 06-05-06, 02:01 PM   #5
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I think cycling will help your cardio on stairs - it just may take more than the 6 days or so of riding that you have done.
You may still get winded by running up stairs - especially if your job is to light a torch on top of the statue of liberty.
If you are really running up stairs, you are probably going anaerobic. I find that my commuting doesn't do much for anaerobic fitness unless I intentionally start sprinting up hills or mixing up your speed to create workouts. I've been commuting 75miles/week for 6 months, and have noticed great gains in aerobic fitness, resting heartrate, and blood pressure, etc. But... I'm hitting a wall w/ speed and anaerobic improvements, so I'm working on a routine to mix it up a bit.
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Old 06-05-06, 02:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgbdeals
1. Today, I had to drop my car off at the dealership for service which is only 4 miles from my office. It seemed a LOT harder for me to ride this 4 mile ride than my normal 14 mile!?!? Why is that???

2. My legs don't feel like they have ever completely recovered!?! Do I need to wait until I feel NO more pain / soreness to ride again?

3. I try using the stairs as much as possible at work (only 4 floors); however, I haven't noticed any good cardio "gains" from riding my bike. I'm still pretty winded after running up the stairs.

4. I still haven't purchased a frame pump and a patch kit... I guess time is just ticking for a disaster to happen and me walking 10 miles home!

5. (and finally) I have reduced my time from 1 hr 30 minutes to about 57 minutes so far on the 14 mile commute! I'm happy with that improvement!
1: I have no clue. Something strange with your patience?
2: Give it more time. Soon the 14 miles will be nothing and your legs will be amazingly strong.
3: Try carrying your bike up and down the stairs. Ugh!
4: Order a $10 pump from performance. Better than nothing.
5: Cool! I love seeing my time improve. I've gone from 90 minutes for 15 miles to 45 or less if I push it.
My 28 mile commute in the morning used to take me 2.5 hrs. Now it is a bit under 2 hrs.

I would recommend a decent cyclocomputer to help acheive your goals. Just don't stress if you miss them.
My current goal is what I call the 28\15\90 goal. 28 miles at a minimum of 15mph and a minimum cadence of 90. That is one heck of a workout considering how many stop signs and lights I have. My acceleration is much improved.
I still need to decide upon my afternoon goal. It has been fairly warm here lately. Kind of hard to ride that fast.
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Old 06-06-06, 04:09 AM   #7
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One thing you might think about is going a little slower and going every day. Pushing to your edge and then not riding may not work as well as a regular ride every day. Not sure, but it is the old 80/20 rule. You can probably expended a lot less energy, and achieve not that much worse results - but still be able to ride every day.
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Old 06-06-06, 07:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgbdeals
A few things I've noticed:

1. Today, I had to drop my car off at the dealership for service which is only 4 miles from my office. It seemed a LOT harder for me to ride this 4 mile ride than my normal 14 mile!?!? Why is that???

Thanks all for the great posts / encouragement!
Perhaps your subconscious has learned that 14 miles is respectable and anything less is bad. It takes me a couple of miles to get warmed up. Next time preplan a 14 mile route from the dealers to work.
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Old 06-06-06, 08:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ken cummings
Perhaps your subconscious has learned that 14 miles is respectable and anything less is bad. It takes me a couple of miles to get warmed up. Next time preplan a 14 mile route from the dealers to work.
That could definitely be the case. After the 14 mile commute, the 4 miles seemed somewhat trivial (although I know it is not...). I think it was also a bit like DataJunkie said...I was a bit impatient! When I get ready for my 14 mile ride I expect it to take a while and I just "sit back and relax" when I start riding. On the 4 mile ride, I just wanted to get to work.

Not to mention the fact that the dealership is on a VERY busy road that I don't typically ride anywhere CLOSE to. So far, I have only ridden on easier / uncongested streets with VERY wide sidewalks / paths for when I get uncomfortable with the traffic. No sidewalks on this street!

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Old 06-06-06, 08:25 AM   #10
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It sounds like I'm getting a consistent message to get out and ride more often! I'll have to try that! This week I've been trying to get one of our vehicles sold, so I have had to drive it to work in order to allow for "test drives". I'm hoping to get it sold by the end of this week, and then it's back to riding!

Unfortunately, it will be a couple of weeks before I'm going to be able to try to consistently commute since I'll be out of town next week!

I'll be on vacation in Orlando next week, and unfortunately, I don't have a bike rack to tote my bike along with me... I was hoping to be able to ride around Orlando a bit while I was there... oh well!
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