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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 04-02-09, 04:14 PM   #1
CliftonGK1
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Commuting and long distance riding

Anyone else have a moderately long commute (30mi r/t or so) and get involved in randonneuring?

I just got started seriously into brevet riding this year, and I've found that I'm taking more days off from my routine commuting schedule to accomodate 200k and longer rides on the weekend. Even though I'm putting in the same or longer monthly mileage as I would just commuting, I still feel like I'm slacking when I drive 3 days in a week because I'm tapering down for a long weekend ride.

Anyone else feel like they're slacking for taking a couple days off before/after a century? (I'll be honest, I think I'm just looking for someone to say I'm not a slacker.)
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Old 04-02-09, 04:15 PM   #2
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Old 04-02-09, 04:39 PM   #3
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Before I started working here, (which is in some ways actually too close to home, my commute is now 6-7 miles r/t) my commute was 30+ miles r/t with the morning commute ending in a nice steep two mile climb up to my office, some of it in excess of 12% grade. I have to say that by Friday, the early morning climb was a grind. If I had been doing long weekend rides at the time, I would have likely skipped Monday, or Friday.... or both depending on how hard the weekend ride would have been.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:30 PM   #4
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talk your employer into working 4 days/week. problem solved.
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Old 04-03-09, 09:21 AM   #5
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Man, two years ago, I'd commute my 50+ each of the five days and then do a century on Saturdays. I am so not doing that now.....barely commuting 2 days but still riding C's.

My goal is to get back up to that 5 day commuting level again though. I'm going to start by getting steady on the 2 to 3 day commutes. I should be abel to begin ramping it up again by next week.
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Old 04-03-09, 10:06 AM   #6
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my story is that I haven't owned a car for about 5yrs now.
I've been an avid cyclist/joe racer for at least 15yrs now.

and I've taken the last year and a half off from working to mostly ride my bike and do bike things.

long time ago, commuting to work everyday left me tired

these days, as I've become accustomed to 30hr/wk on the bike
i can do the hours, and the milage comes along, depending on what bike I'm riding, and how i've been training.

training: in this case, meaning exercise in prep for a certain event/occasion.

last saturday, a buddy and i did the Solvang Double 12:15hrs start to finish, 10:37hrs pedaling
then rode sunday for about 1.5hrs with some of the guys from the local club.
monday was riding around doing errands, groceries, etc... using The Big Dummy
tues was a 40 mile group ride on my Hunter 29er
Wed, was a 3hr ride, again on the hunter
thurs pm, was a group/team training ride for a couple of hours
today... will probably be a spin
saturday another 40-50 mile club ride
sunday a crit up in Santa Cruz.

the pattern pretty much repeats
with any and all of errands ran on The Big Dummy, on the in between.

when i was out on bike tour, often my days would be 6-12hr days.

what I'm getting at, is that its just a matter of time and consistency of being on the bike
and being mindful to form, nutrition and recovery.

i'm also a yoga geek
and i sit around massaging my legs a bunch.

one of the worst things you can do is exercise real hard, and then sit in a chair for a long time.
i.e. ride hard, get to work, and sit in a chair all day.

what you want to avoid is cutting off circulation.
what you want to do, is encourage active recovery.

laying flat on the floor with your back down, and legs up, against the wall, as if in an "L" position.
that helps a bunch.

naps!

these days, the first time in my life, i have time on my hands, so i also nap!
naps are awesome!

ride in the am for 4-5hrs typically, sometimes my morning routine has my ride(s) broken into 2-3hr increments. make sure to eat something. i like:
http://www.mealpack.com/
as far as solid food goes.

when finished with ride, go home, eat a decent meal, lunch i guess
shower, lay around, massage legs a bit, then take an hour nap.
usually around 3pm.

get up, do some chores, walk around the block or something
maybe ride down to the store for groceries, etc...
cook dinner, try to eat no later than 7pm
and go to be around 11pm.
wake up around 7am

repeat...
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Old 04-03-09, 10:24 AM   #7
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That is a really nice lifestyle. I trust that I'd do the exact same thing were I to ever lose my job...not exactly out of the Q these days. I guess that would be the upside to a bad situation.

For now, I hope to commute 5 days again, ASAP. My biggest problem with riding 25+ into work is the hunger afterwards. Once I get into the office, all I want to do is eat.
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Old 04-03-09, 10:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by AsanaCycles View Post
when finished with ride, go home, eat a decent meal, lunch i guess
shower, lay around, massage legs a bit, then take an hour nap.
usually around 3pm.

get up, do some chores, walk around the block or something
maybe ride down to the store for groceries, etc...
cook dinner, try to eat no later than 7pm
and go to be around 11pm.
wake up around 7am

repeat...
My day is more like:

Wake up at 4:15a, walk the dog and make lunches for me and The Girl
Ride to work, get there by 6:15 so I'm at my desk and working before 7am
Sit at a desk until 4pm, change and ride home. Arrive about 5:30 - 6pm
Take care of the dog, grab a 3 minute shower and fix dinner.
While dinner is cooking, run some laundry and clean up the kitchen.
Eat around 7pm, done by 7:30, finish the laundry and maybe vacuum, help The Girl with her PT exercises.
9pm rolls around, I check my email and maybe talk on the phone with friends.
Take the dog out once more and hit the sack around 10pm.

I'm lucky to find 5 minutes to use the can, much less an hour for a nap. I really wish I could find extra time in my schedule, but it's just not going to happen.
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Old 04-03-09, 10:55 AM   #9
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I'm at this place right now where I might be inclined to sacrifice a recreational ride in order to have the energy for my commutes and transportation cycling. The rec rides definitely increase speed, endurance and hill climbing capability but I just love getting places on my bike instead of in a car or other means.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:00 AM   #10
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I'm at this place right now where I might be inclined to sacrifice a recreational ride in order to have the energy for my commutes and transportation cycling. The rec rides definitely increase speed, endurance and hill climbing capability but I just love getting places on my bike instead of in a car or other means.
hehehe. For me it's gone the opposite way, and I'll take an extra day or two and drive to work so I have the energy to do a 200k or 300k on the weekend.
Riding to/from work in the dark means I'll just see the same old crap I've seen for 3 years of riding to/from work. (I've pretty much exhausted all possible routes to get here and home.) Riding with SiR, I'm going places I wouldn't normal get to see on a bicycle.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:14 AM   #11
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hehehe. For me it's gone the opposite way, and I'll take an extra day or two and drive to work so I have the energy to do a 200k or 300k on the weekend.
Riding to/from work in the dark means I'll just see the same old crap I've seen for 3 years of riding to/from work. (I've pretty much exhausted all possible routes to get here and home.) Riding with SiR, I'm going places I wouldn't normal get to see on a bicycle.
My commute is relatively short in comparison to yours. Though my "long version" of my commute is 22 miles RT. I can shorten it to about 17 miles if need be and there are no hills of any consequence on it so I'd really have to be either suffering from a heavy mileage weekend or really concerned about having the energy for an upcoming weekend ride to not do my commute. And I find it more exhausting to drive into downtown Boston, park the car (as much as a 1/2 mile from work) or to take the bus. I'd rather just toodle along at a slow speed to work on my bike.

I find I can ride 7 days of the week for a couple of weeks in a row (with long miles on the weekend) if I take it real easy on my daily commutes and don't do any additional miles on the weekdays. Or I'll miss a day on the weekend and tag a fast 40 mile "fun" ride onto one of my commute days during the week.

I think I just hate to drive more than you do.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:18 AM   #12
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honestly:

try those Meal Pack bars.
www.mealpack.com

take a gander at them
look at the nutrition

i lived a tight schedule for years.
(10 days in a row, 4 days off, 2pm-11pm, as an ICU Pharmacy Tech, years before that graveyard shift)
then i decided to try an "escape", so far its lasting, but I'm going to have to relent, or maybe i can keep this bike thing going... (off and on bike wrench/sag/support, etc...)
i'm the On-site Operations Co-ordinator for the Sea Otter Classic, etc...

if you can address nutrition and sleep, in my opinion and experience, that is maybe 70%.
nutrition and sleep major factors to mental health, etc... (stress)

the next thing to do if a person can
is to find "The most common denominator and most viable option."

that is... perhaps a person cannot address any one particular aspect of their life
but perhaps they all have something in common (greatest common denominator)
and maybe there is something that can be changed to affect this.
which in turn, quite possibly can radiate outward, to affect the rest of things.

sort of like root cause analysis
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Old 04-03-09, 11:20 AM   #13
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And I find it more exhausting to drive into downtown Boston, park the car (as much as a 1/2 mile from work) or to take the bus...
I think I just hate to drive more than you do.
Driving in a big city, I imagine you probably do. My drive takes me through a golf community out past semi-rural farmland 'burbs, and in 15 miles only has 4 traffic lights. Parking is, at worst, a 200yd walk from one end of the building to the other.
Now, if I worked at our downtown facility and had to take the highway and deal with construction and road closures, etc... I think I'd be less inclined to drive anywhere.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:29 AM   #14
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i remember a saying that goes something like this:

what breeds championships is consistency
(something like that)

in my experience what that often equates to is something like this:

to categorize my Life
to put things into categories

Personal
Professional
Financial
Physical

simply as examples.

maybe my personal life is awesome, i put a lot of effort and time into it.
maybe my Career is lacking
maybe my Finance is "ok"
but my Physical life, my health... is really good.

its a blend of something like that.
of course there is a lot more to it than that... its just a gross example.
you can go as micro and macro as you'd like...

maybe my Career is domineering, its got its tentacles into every aspect of my life
maybe I'm not "happy" with my Career... that would probably need to be dissected, assessed, and possibly changed.

ok... rant off

peace...d
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Old 04-03-09, 11:31 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by AsanaCycles View Post
my story is that I haven't owned a car for about 5yrs now.
I've been an avid cyclist/joe racer for at least 15yrs now.

and I've taken the last year and a half off from working to mostly ride my bike and do bike things.

long time ago, commuting to work everyday left me tired

these days, as I've become accustomed to 30hr/wk on the bike
i can do the hours, and the milage comes along, depending on what bike I'm riding, and how i've been training.

training: in this case, meaning exercise in prep for a certain event/occasion.

last saturday, a buddy and i did the Solvang Double 12:15hrs start to finish, 10:37hrs pedaling
then rode sunday for about 1.5hrs with some of the guys from the local club.
monday was riding around doing errands, groceries, etc... using The Big Dummy
tues was a 40 mile group ride on my Hunter 29er
Wed, was a 3hr ride, again on the hunter
thurs pm, was a group/team training ride for a couple of hours
today... will probably be a spin
saturday another 40-50 mile club ride
sunday a crit up in Santa Cruz.

the pattern pretty much repeats
with any and all of errands ran on The Big Dummy, on the in between.

when i was out on bike tour, often my days would be 6-12hr days.

what I'm getting at, is that its just a matter of time and consistency of being on the bike
and being mindful to form, nutrition and recovery.

i'm also a yoga geek
and i sit around massaging my legs a bunch.

one of the worst things you can do is exercise real hard, and then sit in a chair for a long time.
i.e. ride hard, get to work, and sit in a chair all day.

what you want to avoid is cutting off circulation.
what you want to do, is encourage active recovery.

laying flat on the floor with your back down, and legs up, against the wall, as if in an "L" position.
that helps a bunch.

naps!

these days, the first time in my life, i have time on my hands, so i also nap!
naps are awesome!

ride in the am for 4-5hrs typically, sometimes my morning routine has my ride(s) broken into 2-3hr increments. make sure to eat something. i like:
http://www.mealpack.com/
as far as solid food goes.

when finished with ride, go home, eat a decent meal, lunch i guess
shower, lay around, massage legs a bit, then take an hour nap.
usually around 3pm.

get up, do some chores, walk around the block or something
maybe ride down to the store for groceries, etc...
cook dinner, try to eat no later than 7pm
and go to be around 11pm.
wake up around 7am

repeat...
Ahhh, to be independently wealthy.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:34 AM   #16
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if you can address nutrition and sleep, in my opinion and experience, that is maybe 70%.

...sort of like root cause analysis
The nutrition I've managed to nail down pretty well, both on and off the bike. It's that sleep thing that still eludes me. I only manage about 5h 30m to 6h per night.


I like the RCA analogy (I'm a manufacturing engineer, so RCA is a hefty chunk of my job.)
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Old 04-03-09, 11:35 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
My day is more like:

Wake up at 4:15a, walk the dog and make lunches for me and The Girl
Ride to work, get there by 6:15 so I'm at my desk and working before 7am
Sit at a desk until 4pm, change and ride home. Arrive about 5:30 - 6pm
Take care of the dog, grab a 3 minute shower and fix dinner.
While dinner is cooking, run some laundry and clean up the kitchen.
Eat around 7pm, done by 7:30, finish the laundry and maybe vacuum, help The Girl with her PT exercises.
9pm rolls around, I check my email and maybe talk on the phone with friends.
Take the dog out once more and hit the sack around 10pm.

I'm lucky to find 5 minutes to use the can, much less an hour for a nap. I really wish I could find extra time in my schedule, but it's just not going to happen.
Ha...And, I thought I was doing pretty good balancing work with play with responsibility. GK, you have got it going on; Hat's off to ya.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:36 AM   #18
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Driving in a big city, I imagine you probably do. My drive takes me through a golf community out past semi-rural farmland 'burbs, and in 15 miles only has 4 traffic lights. Parking is, at worst, a 200yd walk from one end of the building to the other.
Now, if I worked at our downtown facility and had to take the highway and deal with construction and road closures, etc... I think I'd be less inclined to drive anywhere.
yeah, that's what I was imagining. In that case I'd probably take the car in a couple of days a week too, rest up, and then have more energy to hammer along on the weekend.

You'll probably end up a stronger randonneur that way rather than exhausting yourself on your commutes.

If you're a seasonal randonneur then you could increase your commuting in the "off-season" to maintain your fitness.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:40 AM   #19
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Ha...And, I thought I was doing pretty good balancing work with play with responsibility. GK, you have got it going on; Hat's off to ya.
Thanx! You know, you do what you can with the time you've got. On the days that I don't commute in to work, I usually manage to get about 45m to 1h of time on the trainer in the evening, either when dinner's in the oven or after I've thrown some clothes in the dryer.

I do dream of the days when, like AsanaCycles or 10 Wheels, I'll have the time to concentrate entirely on my riding... Those days will come, and they will be awesome.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:45 AM   #20
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If you're a seasonal randonneur then you could increase your commuting in the "off-season" to maintain your fitness.
This is just my first season, so we'll see. SiR has a winter training series, but no winter brevets. Since The Girl doesn't ride, I'm not going to spend my PTO out and about looking for warm-weather brevets to go jetting off to without her in the winter, so the additional commuting seems like a plan.
Come to think of it, I did ride to work more often between late October '08 and March '09.
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Old 04-03-09, 12:43 PM   #21
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Working 12 on and 2 off don't allow for a lot of recreational riding. We have 3 shops, so depending on where I am working my commutes vary from 17,33 and longest is 60 r/t. I only work the other 2 shops every other weekend so my daily commute is 60 which I only do every other day.

No, I don't feel like a slacker for driving occasionally, man has to take a break and let the body rebuild. Besides, I can hardly afford the food I buy now, I can't imagine what I would eat if I rode every day.
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Old 04-03-09, 02:43 PM   #22
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Ahhh, to be independently wealthy.
no, i just saved up cash.
i quit just about everything i could
ride my bike and thats about it

saved about 80% of my take home pay for about 5yrs
and quit my job

that was all
ride bike
eat bean burritos
quit job

in brief
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Old 04-03-09, 03:03 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
The nutrition I've managed to nail down pretty well, both on and off the bike. It's that sleep thing that still eludes me. I only manage about 5h 30m to 6h per night.


I like the RCA analogy (I'm a manufacturing engineer, so RCA is a hefty chunk of my job.)
there's a really good chance that you don't get enough sleep.
and your body is probably producing Stress Hormones

ok...
so i quit my job 8/07
and it took probably a solid year of "soul searching" to feel healthy again.
its been so long, that i actually don't know what "that is like"
in fact, I had gone thru a bunch of therapy trying to figure things out, work, marriage, finance, psyche, etc..
its a crazy ball of twine!

i was in the Army 87 to the end of 91, i was in a light artillery air assault unit, on Ft. Ord, Ca
deployed for Operation Just Cause (panama), jungle school, etc...

what I'm getting at is that i had been stressed since i was 18
then i started working, and constantly busting my butt, in serious over drive
i landed a job in a Hospital where i worked the graveyard shift for 6yrs
then for 8yrs it was the evening shift.

just like an over driven person, i rode my bike like crazy, barely slept, always early to work, always get everything done, etc... Army Programming

at 40, I think I'm pretty healthy (at the moment)
but my cash is beyond thin. the upshot i have no debt, and basically zero obligations.

my tax return, $17 for 08'

i need to find a job.

i have a job as the On-site Operations Co-ordinator for The Sea Otter Classic
and i've done some bike gigs, here and there...
but i need a touch more for the year.

so far, its been the time of my life, i love not having a job.

my buddy, an army buddy, so we've known each other since we were 18
he works for a huge HMO, as an I.T. guy
so the world is full of lay offs

he told me a study indicated that people who are laid off are happier than those who didn't
the rationale is along these lines.

the staff that was laid off, typically are the newest hires
therefor whom are left are the people with +5yrs, which puts a larger portion of that staff in managerial positions, which are salary

so the newest hires are laid off, which are hourly staff

and the salaried management remains

along with the work load

so the remaining staff, has more work, more stress, and they worry about being laid off

meanwhile, the staff that has been laid off, has gone thru the initial shock, made adjustments, and a lot of the laid off staff, have become more of friends in what used to be "outside of work".

it drives my buddy crazy.

of course none of this all rosy by far.

its just a stupid snap shot of what is going on.

on a side note: I may be applying for work at the VA

on a second side note: I just finished a 2hr easy ride on my Hunter 29er thru Ft. Ord, time for lunch, grocery shopping, maybe I'll make some chicken adobo, fried rice and broccoli for dinner.

Santa Cruz Crit on Sunday :-)

my buddy can't do this stuff to this degree. he's got so much debt, quite possibly beyond his term in Career. maybe things will change.
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Old 04-03-09, 03:27 PM   #24
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here's another stupid factoid in approx

so had this job, and the hospital is up top a ridge line, sitting at 720ft in elevation
over 14yrs i worked there, i rode to work by far more than 90%

in the last 4yrs, I had no car so every day for sure, i rode to work

i rode before and after work
i rode before work, and simply ended my rides at work.

in gross terms, i made at least a 700ft climb every day

10 days in a row per pay period (14 day pay period)
for 4 years straight with no vacations

700ft x 10 days = 7,000ft each pay period
26 pay periods per year x 7,000ft = 182,000ft of climbing per year
182,000ft x 4 years = 782,000 ft

thats just in last 4yrs.

782,000ft/Mt. Everest (29,029ft) = 26.94 times up Mt. Everest

the internationally recognized edge of space is 62.5 miles up

4yrs of commuting to work was grossly 782,000ft/5,280 = 148 miles

and that was simply riding a bike to and from work for 4 years.
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Old 04-03-09, 05:09 PM   #25
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I haven't done any long distance riding yet, most of mine is all stop and go commuting/recreational/errands but I've been wanting to get out and go for longer distances as I get more experience/endurance. How different is it to be able to go out a ride for a while and not have to stop for traffic and pedestrians? I can cruise for a while on the trainer, but I know that's not the same as being outside.
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