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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 03-30-09, 06:40 AM   #1
mrteeth
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human powered commuting forum?

Is there a general web forum for human powered commuting?

Not that I don't like you guys, but I'd like to be able to discuss the relative merits, differences, and similarities of all forms of human powered commuting such as:
-running
-walking
-skating
-cycling
-roller skiing
-etc

I have questions such as:
-Is cycling always gentler on the body than running (over all distances, terrain types, and speeds) or does my bike just fit me better than my shoes?
-Do I really need different shoe types for optimal walking, running, and cycling comfort or can I have my cake and eat it too (I use platform pedals for cycle commuting)?
-Is skating gentler on the body than running or just less effort?
-The cycling/running exchange rate is said to be 4:1 and the skating/running 2:1. Does gearing modify these ratios (ie is a single speed or fixie closer in efficiency to skating or running)? How about recumbents? Folding bikes with small wheels? Dutch or work bikes?
-Can training make me faster running than skating or faster skating than cycling?
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Old 03-30-09, 09:45 AM   #2
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No but very nearly always.
No
Don't know
No
Probably not
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Old 03-30-09, 10:05 AM   #3
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Always, in my experience
Yes. Running with the wrong shoe can hurt like anything and even cause knee damage
I've tried roller skates. Feet are in agony within a half hour.
The exchange rates are inaccurate; not based on actual speed or effort.
I doubt it.

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Old 03-30-09, 10:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrteeth View Post
Is there a general web forum for human powered commuting?

Not that I don't like you guys, but I'd like to be able to discuss the relative merits, differences, and similarities of all forms of human powered commuting such as:
-running
-walking
-skating
-cycling
-roller skiing
-etc

I have questions such as:
-Is cycling always gentler on the body than running (over all distances, terrain types, and speeds) or does my bike just fit me better than my shoes?
-Do I really need different shoe types for optimal walking, running, and cycling comfort or can I have my cake and eat it too (I use platform pedals for cycle commuting)?
-Is skating gentler on the body than running or just less effort?
-The cycling/running exchange rate is said to be 4:1 and the skating/running 2:1. Does gearing modify these ratios (ie is a single speed or fixie closer in efficiency to skating or running)? How about recumbents? Folding bikes with small wheels? Dutch or work bikes?
-Can training make me faster running than skating or faster skating than cycling?
I know of no net discussion forum that covers all that you ask about. However, as far as which one
is "gentler" on the body I can only share what my orthopedic surgeon told me after I had both knees
totally replaced......."NO running, normal (not fast) walking ok, and bicycling is the very best and most
gentle form of execise for normal humans. If more people cycled I'd have less business."
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Old 03-30-09, 10:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
I know of no net discussion forum that covers all that you ask about. However, as far as which one
is "gentler" on the body I can only share what my orthopedic surgeon told me after I had both knees
totally replaced......."NO running, normal (not fast) walking ok, and bicycling is the very best and most
gentle form of execise for normal humans. If more people cycled I'd have less business."
He must have been a cyclist. I can't for example see how cycling would be more gentle on a body than swimming. Swimming also works your body more evenly.

Besides, I don't think there's a universal answer. For years experts told us that "high impact" was bad and "low impact" was better. Now, many are saying that high impact ain't so bad and can help improve/maintain bone density while low impact exercise like cycling and swimming doesn't.

IMHO it's better to do a variety of things for fitness rather than relying on a single type of exercise.
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Old 03-30-09, 10:53 AM   #6
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This group used to be the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, and changed their name/focus to encompass other types of human powered commuting.
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Old 03-30-09, 11:01 AM   #7
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I tried running to work on roller skis once.



Once.
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Old 03-30-09, 11:03 AM   #8
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And, oh yeah. I'd swim to work, but the river flows south and work is north, and then there's still that 3 mile walk from the river to the office. And the stares.
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Old 03-30-09, 11:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrteeth View Post
Is there a general web forum for human powered commuting?

Not that I don't like you guys, but I'd like to be able to discuss the relative merits, differences, and similarities of all forms of human powered commuting such as:
-running
-walking
-skating
-cycling
-roller skiing
-etc

I have questions such as:
-Is cycling always gentler on the body than running (over all distances, terrain types, and speeds) or does my bike just fit me better than my shoes?
-Do I really need different shoe types for optimal walking, running, and cycling comfort or can I have my cake and eat it too (I use platform pedals for cycle commuting)?
-Is skating gentler on the body than running or just less effort?
-The cycling/running exchange rate is said to be 4:1 and the skating/running 2:1. Does gearing modify these ratios (ie is a single speed or fixie closer in efficiency to skating or running)? How about recumbents? Folding bikes with small wheels? Dutch or work bikes?
-Can training make me faster running than skating or faster skating than cycling?
- don't know about a general web forum

- I wouldn't say cycling is always gentler. It can wreak havoc on your knees if your saddle isn't high enough or if you mash instead of spin

- I often ride in running shoes

- Not an expert skater by any means but I would say that it's gentler than either cycling or running

- I'm deeply suspect of any ratios because there are far too many variables. Riding a fixed gear would be closer to running since you can't coast

- I think really fast skaters can keep up with fast cyclists for short distances. I don't think a fast runner could move faster than a fast skater except for a very short distance.

One comment and I made it in an earlier post: Gentler doesn't necessarily mean better. High impact exercise has benefits that low impact exercise doesn't. A variety of exercise is better than any one type.

I have both run and biked to work. The obvious problem for running with me is that it takes longer and it's more difficult to carry stuff. The advantage is that I can still run safely when there's several inches of new snow on the ground.

Running requires only a small investment in shoes and you don't have to worry about storing a bike somewhere while you're at work.

I've never really considered skating to work but it's an interesting idea. One problem would be road conditions. I've found skating to be pretty unpleasant if the surface isn't relatively smooth.
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Old 03-30-09, 03:35 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies. Maybe this forum is better than I thought.

Skating:
I used to skate to work before I switched to cycling, but now that I've developed my cycling muscles I think it'd be healthier and more fun to mix it up. When skating poor roads can slow your roll, but then you're basically just running until you find a smooth patch. I guess it's not really the same because skates are heavier than shoes, but you get the idea.

If it hurts you feet I guess you need to develop the muscles on the bottom of your foot or maybe you need a different size.

Running:
One thing about running shoes is that, while I feel great running and ok cycling in them, I don't like to wear them while sitting/standing/walking. They just aren't flexible/roomy enough. Does this mean my running shoes don't fit as well as they could or maybe I'm just spoiled by wearing oversized shoes normally? Running shoes may be a smaller investment, but I think cycling is more forgiving of poor fit.

The thing I like about running is it's more peaceful because I don't need to stop for intersections (or stop at all), just go slower until the light changes. However, I'm concerned about my joints (though they don't hurt) and at my current fitness level even a few days of running means I can't cycle the rest of the week. I wonder if I could get fit enough to run every day like I cycle now.

Also, has anyone tried using one of those jogging baby strollers to carry stuff? I have a cart I use when I walk to the grocery store and I feel I can carry more with that than on my bike, but that obviously isn't very suitable for jogging. I know some folks use baby trailers as grocery trailers when cycling so I thought maybe...


I've also heard that skating and running can give a better upper body workout than cycling. Is this true or do you really need to use your arms like with roller ski poles? I don't want to look like a T-rex with tiny arms and huge legs. How does roller skiing compare with the others?

Last edited by mrteeth; 03-30-09 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 03-30-09, 04:17 PM   #11
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Frankly I wouldn't really believe anyone that claims skating, running, or cycling gave an upper body workout at all. Using muscles doesn't equate to actually working them out.
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Old 03-30-09, 09:27 PM   #12
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Swimming is obviously easier on your body than almost anything. Cyclists have knee problems almost as bad as runners. I took up swimming to strengthen my legs enough to allow me to ride a bike again. I got out of shape earning my Ph.D., and my knees got so bad it was hard to walk up stairs. It didn't help that my weight had ballooned over 50 pounds from the time I started working on my degree. I wanted to keep swimming, but between commuting and riding recreationally, I don't usually have the desire to go fight the crowds at the pool.

I figured this out when I went to a physical therapist. I don't remember if they tried to get me to go swimming or not. I may have discounted the idea since I couldn't swim at the time. So it took a few years, and I struggled to teach myself to swim distances for well over a year.

Last edited by unterhausen; 03-30-09 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 03-30-09, 11:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mrteeth View Post
Thanks for all the replies. Maybe this forum is better than I thought.

Skating:
I used to skate to work before I switched to cycling, but now that I've developed my cycling muscles I think it'd be healthier and more fun to mix it up. When skating poor roads can slow your roll, but then you're basically just running until you find a smooth patch. I guess it's not really the same because skates are heavier than shoes, but you get the idea.

If it hurts you feet I guess you need to develop the muscles on the bottom of your foot or maybe you need a different size.

Running:
One thing about running shoes is that, while I feel great running and ok cycling in them, I don't like to wear them while sitting/standing/walking. They just aren't flexible/roomy enough. Does this mean my running shoes don't fit as well as they could or maybe I'm just spoiled by wearing oversized shoes normally? Running shoes may be a smaller investment, but I think cycling is more forgiving of poor fit.

The thing I like about running is it's more peaceful because I don't need to stop for intersections (or stop at all), just go slower until the light changes. However, I'm concerned about my joints (though they don't hurt) and at my current fitness level even a few days of running means I can't cycle the rest of the week. I wonder if I could get fit enough to run every day like I cycle now.

Also, has anyone tried using one of those jogging baby strollers to carry stuff? I have a cart I use when I walk to the grocery store and I feel I can carry more with that than on my bike, but that obviously isn't very suitable for jogging. I know some folks use baby trailers as grocery trailers when cycling so I thought maybe...


I've also heard that skating and running can give a better upper body workout than cycling. Is this true or do you really need to use your arms like with roller ski poles? I don't want to look like a T-rex with tiny arms and huge legs. How does roller skiing compare with the others?
There was a recent study done that claimed that long term runners don't have any more leg or back problems than the general public and maybe less. I think some people's bodies naturally tolerate running better than others. Those people that don't tolerate running as well don't become long term runners.

You might want to try some different running shoes. Do you have neutral pronation? If so then you may not need running shoes at all. There's some evidence that the modern running shoe actually inhibits the foot's natural ability to absorb impact. In response, Nike introduced a new line of shoes a few years ago called "Nike Free" that closely mimics barefoot running. I have a pair and like them a lot. You're supposed to limit your mileage until your feet get accustomed to them. It's almost like wearing a pair of slippers.

I've run with a baby jogger and I think it would be fine for carrying stuff. It wouldn't be fun to use on a crowded urban sidewalk however. That might be a problem for blading too and I'm not sure about the legalities of blading down an urban street, -though I think I've seen people do it.

I don't think your arms get much of a workout while running, skating, or cycling.
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Old 03-31-09, 07:15 AM   #14
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Swimming is obviously easier on your body than almost anything. Cyclists have knee problems almost as bad as runners. I took up swimming to strengthen my legs enough to allow me to ride a bike again. I got out of shape earning my Ph.D., and my knees got so bad it was hard to walk up stairs. It didn't help that my weight had ballooned over 50 pounds from the time I started working on my degree. I wanted to keep swimming, but between commuting and riding recreationally, I don't usually have the desire to go fight the crowds at the pool.

I figured this out when I went to a physical therapist. I don't remember if they tried to get me to go swimming or not. I may have discounted the idea since I couldn't swim at the time. So it took a few years, and I struggled to teach myself to swim distances for well over a year.
Yeah, but it's difficult to find an opportunity to swim transportationally. Besides, I'm suspicious about the health effects of so much chlorine exposure.

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Frankly I wouldn't really believe anyone that claims skating, running, or cycling gave an upper body workout at all. Using muscles doesn't equate to actually working them out.
I'm not sure because they say most of the energy spent running or skating is spent on counterbalancing with the upper body. I think this is what makes cycling easier.

Professional runners don't look frail like professional cyclists.

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There was a recent study done that claimed that long term runners don't have any more leg or back problems than the general public and maybe less. I think some people's bodies naturally tolerate running better than others. Those people that don't tolerate running as well don't become long term runners.
I think people underestimate just how much damage lethargy does to the body and I think most claimed adverse effects of particular types of exercise are relative to other types of exercise, not being sedentary like the general public.

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You might want to try some different running shoes. Do you have neutral pronation? If so then you may not need running shoes at all. There's some evidence that the modern running shoe actually inhibits the foot's natural ability to absorb impact. In response, Nike introduced a new line of shoes a few years ago called "Nike Free" that closely mimics barefoot running. I have a pair and like them a lot. You're supposed to limit your mileage until your feet get accustomed to them. It's almost like wearing a pair of slippers.
I underpronate (supinate) and have never been comfortable running on pavement in anything but "cushioned" running shoes. However, I'm perfectly comfortable running in my ASIC running shoes and doing everything else in my Rockport walking shoes. I'm just not comfortable running in my Rockport walking shoes or doing anything else in my ASIC running shoes.

I normally just chalk it up to the fact that shoes need to be tighter for running to prevent blisters, but I wonder if there's a better way because it's very inconvenient to have to change shoes after running in order to be comfortable, especially for commuting.

Last edited by mrteeth; 03-31-09 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 03-31-09, 07:35 AM   #15
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I'm not sure because they say most of the energy spent running or skating is spent on counterbalancing with the upper body. I think this is what makes cycling easier.

Professional runners don't look frail like professional cyclists.
Depends, really. Sprinters or track athletes? No, but marathoners and other long distance runners tend to look pretty weak in the upper body.

Like I said, using muscles to do work doesn't necessarily make them stronger/bigger. You could stand up from a chair and sit back down all day for years and you wouldn't get massive guads. It's the same reason the people at the gym pressing 50 pounds for 50 reps never get any stronger: they're doing cardio.
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Old 03-31-09, 04:14 PM   #16
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I don't get how one would commute by running - if I try running with a backpack, it flails all over the place.
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Old 03-31-09, 04:25 PM   #17
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Inline skates would provide good transportation on a MUP, but not on roads. I fit inline skater can average 12 mph.

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Old 03-31-09, 04:49 PM   #18
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Aren't all of those the slow obnoxious people who wander all over the road/path/shoulder forcing me to slam on my brakes?

Really though, I'm sure in the big wide world of the intrawebs there are many, many forums dedicated to walking, running, skateboarding, rollerskating, rollerblading, dog surfing, and any other human powered form of transportation. I don't know how many of them would be about using any of those as a form of commuting though; they're all considerably less efficient than cycling and it's hard enough to get Americans to ride a bike a mile to get a half gallon of milk.
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Old 03-31-09, 06:05 PM   #19
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Inline skates would provide good transportation on a MUP, but not on roads. I fit inline skater can average 12 mph.
I've never actually seen a MUP before, but in the city inline skates are good for taking shortcuts and going up/down curbs. Very high congestion and traffic controls kill sustained averages anyway, so in such situations adaptability and acceleration are the key to going faster and inline skates give that.

This makes me wonder, does running have similar advantages over biking in the mountains? I've never been mountain biking, but it seems like feet would be in their element on soft uneven terrain.
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Old 03-31-09, 07:45 PM   #20
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This makes me wonder, does running have similar advantages over biking in the mountains? I've never been mountain biking, but it seems like feet would be in their element on soft uneven terrain.
Here are a few good threads I found related to this one:
Hiking Poles
Shoes for Touring and Hiking
Elevation gain: biking vs hiking(when does hiking become competitive with cycling)
trail hiking/running shoes...(list of good running/hiking forums)

I wonder what it'd be like to roller ski by combining hiking poles with inline skates.
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Old 04-04-09, 11:18 AM   #21
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Frankly I wouldn't really believe anyone that claims skating, running, or cycling gave an upper body workout at all. Using muscles doesn't equate to actually working them out.
On this topic here are some more questions:
  • What kind of pragmatic activities can one do for strength training/exercise?
  • Do you really need very heavy weights or can strapping "fanny packs" to arms and legs increase strength compared to using backpacks/racks/panniers? I carry 50 pound bags of rice home on my shoulders (walking, not cycling or running) does this build muscle?
  • Are there any good devices out there which make it easier to use various cargo for weight training? I'm thinking of things like a yoke for carrying buckets, but also something that could be used for loads that can't be split in two and things for working different muscle groups.

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Old 04-04-09, 11:50 AM   #22
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By skating, I assume you guys mean roller skating or inline, but skateboarding can also be great for commuting and/or urban travel. A skilled skater can easily maneuver around all sorts of obstacles and travel with much less effort than walking. The ability to just pick the board up and be walking or get on public transportation and not have to worry about changing shoes or carrying around a bike or locking up a bike, is a great benefit. Totally underrated as a commuting method.
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Old 04-04-09, 03:05 PM   #23
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dogsurfing sounds fun
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Old 04-05-09, 05:23 AM   #24
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I've got advanced arthritis in the knees. Cycling is 100 X better than walking or running for me. So, from my perspective, cycling is much, much gentler. I think that skating would be better than running. Rolling over a few bumps seems easier than jarring impact with every jogging step.

Recumbents? Check out the recumbent section here. I have found my recumbent to be a little harder on the knees than my Beach Cruiser. I am grateful for the electric technology that allows me to climb hills with a bent.
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Old 04-05-09, 09:17 AM   #25
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Tweaked my sacroiliac joint last fall, could hardly walk more than a mile all winter without serious issues. However, I could bike for hours and even rode a couple centuries without any problems. I guess that explains about where I srtand on the biking vs running question.

As for posting: Feel free to post anywhere you want about whatever you want to post about....free country. But, be ready for anything as far as responses go. It's a free country for them too.
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