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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 11-04-06, 10:49 AM   #1
gbcb
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Artificially lengthening commutes?

My commute is a great length (about 6 miles -- with the terribly timed traffic lights in Beijing that takes about 30 minutes), and I can already feel that I'm a stronger cyclist after only a month. I just learned this week that I'm to move to Shanghai, a city built on a much more human scale. While I haven't yet spent much time there, mapping out possible commutes based on what I've heard are nice areas to live gives me distances in the 1-2 mile range. It's a sign of what this forum has done to me that I find the thought of commuting only 1-2 miles very depressing.

Who among you has a short commute that you have lengthened for the sake of a longer ride, and how do you motivate yourself in the morning (i.e. how do you get out of bed when you know you really could just sleep in and do the shorter ride)?

Any wise words would be much appreciated. And here's hoping that I can find a nice apartment in an inconvenient part of town


Edit: One thing that really scares me: How can I justify buying more bikes and accessories with such a short commute?
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Old 11-04-06, 12:08 PM   #2
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You can get yourself a fixed gear bicycle and gear it in such a way to make your 2 mile commute seem like 200 miles.
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Old 11-04-06, 01:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbcb

Who among you has a short commute that you have lengthened for the sake of a longer ride, and how do you motivate yourself in the morning (i.e. how do you get out of bed when you know you really could just sleep in and do the shorter ride)?

Any wise words would be much appreciated. And here's hoping that I can find a nice apartment in an inconvenient part of town
I also complain occasionally about my short commute. I ride 2 miles to the train station. Several folks have suggested I take a longer route but I never do. In the morning I'm in a hurry to catch a certain train. In the evening there's always some other reason I'm in a hurry. Bummer. I carry a full backpack with laptop and folders and reading material for the train ride. The few times I've ridden the route without the backpack, I feel light as a feather and almost ready to extend the ride, but have yet to do so. If you can force yourself to do so, you're a better man than I am (gunga din).
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Old 11-04-06, 01:30 PM   #4
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i have a 10 mile commute that i extend to 15 or 20 miles whenever time permits, mostly by ducking out of work a bit early. i just ride with my normal commute load (macbook in Arkel Commuter pannier on the left, REI pannier with clothes and tools on the right).. the advantage of this is that when I take off for special-purpose recreational rides on the weekend, I feel like a superhero without the extra 15lb load!
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Old 11-04-06, 01:42 PM   #5
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maybe start commuting on a soft full suspension mountain bike with big fat knobby tires, that will add some perceived miles i like changing up my route quite a bit, if im in a hurry i have a pretty direct route but if i feel like going for a ride there's 3 or 4 bike paths i can incorporate. that's part of the fun of a commute by bike, you're going to/from work, but you're also going for a bike ride.
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Old 11-04-06, 02:38 PM   #6
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Yeah, my commute is about 10.5km if I take the shortest route. Over the past year or so, I've often taken another route that is about 14km & takes me along the riverbank.

Partly it's to increase my mileage, partly to take a quiter route, partly for variety.

There has been a rumor that our office may move. One of the possibilities would cut my commute distance by about 4km I'm already trying to figure out the best way to extend the route should this happen.
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Old 11-04-06, 02:59 PM   #7
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A lot of the time I'll ride the normal route in to work (7+ miles), and if I have extra time I'll take the long way home (12-15 miles, depending on a couple of variables). This is with full commuting load, so I, too feel like a superhero when I go ride in the mountains for a few hours on a Saturday morning . Find a nice loop to ride with a couple of variants, so you can switch up the route whenever you get the urge. For me the long route is riding around the harbor, the short route involves a bridge. Either way, I still get some decent scenery...
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Old 11-04-06, 09:08 PM   #8
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So to summarise, I need a soft full-suspension mtb fixie geared to 150", with Nokians, and lead ingots in my panniers?

Well, if I can't find a way to keep the commute long, I can always do a bit of touring on the weekends. That would justify a new bike, too
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Old 11-04-06, 09:14 PM   #9
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extended commuter?
Any time i can! Yes!
fyi!
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Old 11-04-06, 09:24 PM   #10
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Yup, I extend my 13 km each way commute to 18 K and put in a decient hill climb. I try to do the hill entirely out of the saddle. Motivation...race. the extended ride is part of training. I do the regular 13 km on rest days and take it easy.
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Old 11-04-06, 09:26 PM   #11
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Yeah, well, one evening I decided my 14 mile commute just wasn't long enough, so I went the long way around.... Rode down the Platte River trail to C-470 trail, and all the way around. Ended up with about 60 miles that ride.

(ok, I went down the Platte River Trail to buy bike parts, ok? The rest of the ride was just bonus. )
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Old 11-04-06, 09:34 PM   #12
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It seems like moving to a new city would provide ample opportunity to explore on the way to and from work.

I have one job where the five-mile (RT) commute doesn't lend itself well to extending. It's just how the streets work between here and there. Even a meander wouldn't work well because it's boxed in by an expressway to the south and the railroad mainline to the north. That would also mean riding in congested arterials instead of just crossing them.

My other job gives me lots of routing opportunities. The most direct route is about 3.5 miles each way. A nice route through a park and a nice section of the city is around five each way. The long way around via the river and canal is about nine each way. Each one has possibilities for variations too. Many times I'll use one route in, and another one home.
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Old 11-04-06, 09:42 PM   #13
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One or two miles? I have had commutes like that when I have had Company housing. I usually end up living 5 to 20 miles from work. Once you are in Shanghai try looking for a nicer and less expensive place to live that is farther away from work but near a bus or train commute line. That way you can get in a good bike ride or use public transit when the weather is very bad or the bike is broken. The best commute I have found had 13 miles of Multi User Path and 7 miles of bike lanes. When you are that far from work there can be a million ways to go. One path I could take went through the old main parking lot of the original Disneyland in southern California.
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Old 11-04-06, 09:44 PM   #14
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I generally take the direct route to work, then take the long way home to burn off stress or just enjoy the ride. My legs always feel stronger in the afternoon than the morning (not to mention the lesser time crunch), so it just works better this way.
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Old 11-04-06, 09:48 PM   #15
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My shortest route is just under 5 miles. I use this when in a big hurry or realy nasty conditions. Normally, I take 7 miles in and 11 home. I can make it even longer when I want to, and often do.
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Old 11-05-06, 02:23 AM   #16
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I've lengthened commutes before, but these days my commute is not among my more interesting rides. About the only time I bother lengthening it these days is if I have to run another errand on the way to or from work. Personally I find it preferable to just do a completely different ride either before or after work.
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Old 11-05-06, 03:54 AM   #17
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My commute is majority downhill going 40mph on a pretty damn steep hill with cars flying by.

It takes about 25 minutes to go from my home to my work. If there is heavy wind resistance (and I mean heavy, I live on an island) it can tend to take longer.

I usually leave about 1 hour beforehand rather than 25 minutes, not for the sake of a longer ride (not directly anyways) but to give myself the flexibility to switch into 5th gear and slowly move towards my work on the last stretch if anything to just cool down.
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Old 11-05-06, 08:10 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauicyclist
My commute is majority downhill going 40mph on a pretty damn steep hill with cars flying by.

It takes about 25 minutes to go from my home to my work. If there is heavy wind resistance (and I mean heavy, I live on an island) it can tend to take longer.

I usually leave about 1 hour beforehand rather than 25 minutes, not for the sake of a longer ride (not directly anyways) but to give myself the flexibility to switch into 5th gear and slowly move towards my work on the last stretch if anything to just cool down.
Is it downhill both ways of your commute? If so, you're lucky!!! I have some a mix of uphill and downhill, so my morning commute is just as hard as my evening commute, I can't really say I have any particular favorite.
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Old 11-05-06, 08:18 AM   #19
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So what about a workout ride during lunch? I used to run everyday at lunch (5, 7, 10, or 14 mile routes) and loved it. It breaks up the day very nicely.
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Old 11-05-06, 09:12 AM   #20
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I enjoy my non-commuting rides more so I just utilize the time I save with my short 2 mile commute to swap bikes and go for a real ride after work. The days are getting shorter so my plan is to plan for a couple of rides after work and prepare accordingly. I wear regular clothes and shoes for my short commute so I can hop off the bike and get to work. I'll take some proper riding gear and ride directly to the base (bicyclists can ride around the army base here) after work to get in some miles. I haven't ridden over 20 miles on my commuting bike and I sure can't ride as fast but it might be a nice change.
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Old 11-05-06, 09:13 AM   #21
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Quote:
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So what about a workout ride during lunch? I used to run everyday at lunch (5, 7, 10, or 14 mile routes) and loved it. It breaks up the day very nicely.
That's a really cool idea. I don't always get a long lunch break, but it would be a good thing to do on the days I can get a bit more time off. Thanks!
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Old 11-05-06, 12:05 PM   #22
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Commute Length

Yup, my direct commute distance is about 12 miles one way. I have multiple choices to lengthen the commute up to 20 miles w/o riding circuitously. During spring, summer and fall, I usually ride the full 20 each way. Winter snows with studded tires slow me down to 10 -12 mph, so I stick w/ about 15 each way. Sometimes the snow is so good I have to xc ski instead Cross training isn't a bad thing.
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Old 11-05-06, 12:28 PM   #23
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If I going the short way to work it's 3.52 miles. But I almost always take the way of 12 miles. And on somedays when I get off work at midnight I take the 18 to 24 miles way.
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Old 11-05-06, 02:38 PM   #24
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I do it all the time. It's less than 4 miles to the office by the most direct route but I've got alternate routes from 8 to 30 miles.
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Old 11-05-06, 03:31 PM   #25
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I look at it this way. It's easy to make a short commute longer, but you can't make a long commute shorter.

I know literally a hundred different ways to get to work. The direct toute is less than 4 miles right through downtown Lansing. My favorite is the "Three Rivers and Two Lakes Route" which is about 8 miles. The "Labor Day Ride" goes through farmland and the campus and is about 18 miles. The "Market Run" is only 5 miles but it takes me on the Rivertrail past all my favorite shops.
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