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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 08-14-04, 11:00 PM   #1
notfred
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How far is too far... 25 miles each way?

I'm thinking about commuting to work on a regular basis by bike. I currently carpool with a coworker. The problem is the distance. I live in Davis, CA and my work is in Sacramento, about 25 miles away. The route between the two places is about as ideal as a bike commuter could want. Davis is known as one of the most bike friendly cities in the country and Sacramento has the American River Bike Path which follows the river practically to the door of my building. It's 11 miles between Sacramento and Davis, which is usually travelled by car on Intersate 80. Parallel to the freeway is the convenient Yolo Causeway Bike Path connecting the two cites.

My concern is time. It currently takes me just under 1/2 an hour to get to work. Even if I was a competitive time trials rider, I'd still be doubling my commute time, and realistically, I'd be taking 4 times as long. Is it really practical to spend 4 hours a day on a bike? Think I could get significantly faster than that?

Any opinions are welcome.
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Old 08-14-04, 11:33 PM   #2
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25 miles. THAT is a commute. If you're a really strong rider, and you're willing to put in the time, then why not? That's 50 miles a day, 1000miles a month, of riding. You could always do it 2 or 3 days a week. Or, drive 1/2 way and park your vehicle in a reasonably secure area. Its really up to you. But just think of the worst day you've had at work as of late. At the end of that day, did you want to soak in a hot bath? Have a few beers? Or was it go for a bike ride? Think of that. It'll happen.

But if you can do that, then more power to ya! I'd love to see that. Talk about hard core commuting. Yikes!
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Old 08-15-04, 12:12 AM   #3
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It's a pretty long way..... but I doubt you'd add an hour on to your current commute, given Sacramento's heavy traffic. I'd get a good, light bike to do it however! Any old tenspeed will serve you well for a 5 mile commute, but you're going to have haul ass to make this work.

The upside is you have the chance to be a very good club rider if you wish, knocking down 100 mile rides with ease, leading the pack.
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Old 08-15-04, 12:19 AM   #4
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if I haul buttt om ny MTB, I can pull off about 18 miles in an hour, so depending on your physical soncidtion, it may work. You are the one who has to decide this. 18 often leaves me extremely exhausted, so I don't consider it even close to feasible as someting I would try to do everyday.

It may be best for you to do a practice run on a saturday, and see how well you do and how fast you can make it there. Then weight in fatigue and other factors and see if it is really feasible. I know guys who on occaison do a 30, but not everyday...but they only seem to be about on par with me for condition, and I may be decent for how long I've been doing cycling, but i'm not all that great either.

Basically if you can hold 25mph on your bike for say....an hour and a half....maybe two...then it just might be right up your alley.
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Old 08-15-04, 12:56 AM   #5
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I live 30 miles from work and have done the distance now and then. I would do it several times per week if I could drag my sorry butt out of bed at 5 AM.

Do it now and then and see how you like it.
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Old 08-15-04, 02:33 AM   #6
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My commute is 26 miles..I do it once week..My work week is four days....Should the 26 miles be relatively flat you should do it in 90 minutes...Sometimes traffic, biking is almost competitive with driving...It takes me two hours to bike the commute...In bad trafffic it can take 1hour 15 minutes...If the commute were flat I would do it more often..
I have four significant hills to climb...I have a unique start time, making this possible...Have to get to work at 7 AM might make it more difficult.?
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Old 08-15-04, 02:51 AM   #7
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For who? For me about 5 miles each way is as much as i would want to ride to work everyday. Any farther and i would move closer to work. I have to do it in snow too.
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Old 08-15-04, 07:42 AM   #8
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I typically ride 14 miles in and 25 miles home, typically on a modded MTB. Occasionally I ride the 25 mile route in and back. Wouldn't want to do it everyday, but my route is rural and quite hilly. And I'm getting old and grey.

If you are really keen on it, try just one day a week for starts. If you like it, ratchet up to Tuesday & Thursdays. Then Monday/Wednesday/Friday. And then everyday if it suits you.

Thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to ride in everyday. I generally try to plan my week out in adavance, figure out which days I can afford the luxury of a longer ride and which days I may need to cut it short, or heaven forbid, drive.

So far I've avoided the drive (since April 1st). But I cheated one dreadful rainy day and took a vacation day so I wouldn't break my streak.........so technically I didn't work, so I didn't need to ride and I'm still batting a hundred.
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Old 08-15-04, 09:48 AM   #9
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can you leave your car at work over night? If so, drive to work, then bike home, then bike back to work again the next day... Try that a few times, then try both ways in the same day. Unless you ride all the time now, you will have to work your way into it. i commute 13 miles each way every day of the week. Now that i am used to it, a few more miles wouldn't be that big of a deal.
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Old 08-15-04, 10:21 AM   #10
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I used to commute 22.5 miles each way ~ 4x/week. I really enjoyed it and stayed pretty fit. I think it took me about 1:10-15 to do the ride if no flat tires, stopping to help people etc. In my case the drive was pushing an hour for the same commute (traffic). I found that on the days I drove, I arrived at work/home frustrated (from the traffic). On the days I rode, I felt so much better and am sure that I did better work / was more plesant to be arround as a result.

FYI this (Powell Volvo -- Scottsdale, AZ) was the only place I have ever worked that had a shower. That's one of the big reasons I really enjoyed working with them.

My current employer (18 mi away, 500+ ft elevation drop) has promised to install a shower next month. I can't wait. The ride in takes exactly an hour ( I'm not fit, but the elevation drop helps), while the ride home takes 1:30 or so (almost always a headwind in the PM and up hill).

It's not too far if you have the time, and the time spent on your bike will pay dividends elsewhere.
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Old 08-15-04, 11:33 AM   #11
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I think we need naisme to chime in on this thread. He has been doing year round commutes in the Twin Cities over 20 miles since have been a member of this board. (often on a fixie!)

My commute is 6.5 miles to work and around 20 miles home when I take the scenic route. I commute 5 days a week.

IMHO, your commute is do-able. It will require you to make the commitment to doing it. As others have said, start slow and work your way up to daily commuting. As turtlendog said, "time spent on your bike will pay dividends elsewhere." So true, so true.

Good luck!

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Old 08-15-04, 12:42 PM   #12
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My commute is 17 miles. I will do it 3 days a week if the weather is nice. I am 62 and overweight. Think of it over 1 hr a day saved car riding. The bike ride takes me twice as long as the car ride. It is 2.5 hrs per day quality recreation, and it still gives me a couple of hours per day channel surfing in front of the TV and drinking beer.
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Old 08-15-04, 02:15 PM   #13
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I have a 28 mile commute one way from the top of Philly to the Navalyard. I generally park the car at the 12 mile mark or the 17 mile mark to ride in. Generally I use the 12 mile mark about 2 -3 time a week and the 17mile mark on a friday night if I do not have to be somewhere. The full 28 x2 is a bit much for a work day. So I like the compremise of driving part way and riding the bike through or aroung the really bad traffic. Though someone did smash my window in the car the other week. and took my fishing gear
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Old 08-15-04, 03:17 PM   #14
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I don't think it's unreasonable. I just got my bike back after over a year without (long story. But I took my bike to work and rode it home Friday. 26.2 miles. Then I got up saturday morning and rode it to work to pick my car up. Nice thing is there is a shower at work so I plan on doing a commute one day this week that is there and back on the bike. This should be a lot of fun considering how out of shape I am. It took about 1:40 both times.

My only concern is leaving for work in the morning while it is still dark
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Old 08-15-04, 03:56 PM   #15
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My commute is 25 miles each way. I have cycled about 4000 miles this year. Club rides are usually 30 or 50 miles.....BUT.....it is not like commuting. 1.5 hours before work, then work 8.5 hours then 1.5 (to 2hours) hours after work and that makes for a long day. I've tried it. The next day, I can ride into work, but it is a bear to get home. My whole day is riding to work and work. Not working for me. So I only cycle in 1 day per week, and try for another day with leaving my car at work and cycling home, sleeping and cycling to work the next day. However this is hard, because I don't want to cycle home after working, but if my car is at home and that is the only way to get there, then I cycle home. I have been looking for a place to leave my car, and cycle only 15 miles. The difference between 15 miles and 25 miles is the same as the difference between a club ride of 50 miles and a century when it is rode after work. 25 miles is too long in my opinion.

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Old 08-15-04, 06:09 PM   #16
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Don't forget the wind direction on the way home. The winds between San Jose and Newark give me a quartering headwind on my homeward ride in the evening. It's sometimes taken almost 3 hours to get home at night. Does the wind blow from the west in your area? That would give you a headwind all the way home, and a fierce one at that.
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Old 08-15-04, 10:50 PM   #17
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I went for a ride with a friend this morning, a guy who's a way better cyclist than I am, but a total sport rider who doesn't commute. He spends at least 15 hours a week riding and now has a new baby at home.... something has to give timewise.

The best part about commuting is that it leaves more time for your family and you still get your riding time in. I'm not sure I could fit in a 50 mile R/T commute in with the family commitments I have. I find if I don't ride, I'm not as good family man as I should be and the same if I ride too much. Riding just the right amount makes me stronger, smarter, more in tune with my wife than anything else. There's no anger I can't *ride out* and I'm always more emotionally stable when I'm riding to work. It's a tough thing to balance and it's different for all of us and it's always changing with career moves, kids growing up, marriage issues.

So there's a lot more to the 25 mile commute than physical endurance (that's something you can build up pretty easy)
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Old 08-16-04, 09:11 AM   #18
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This could be another thread..But,I find if after about 4 days I don't get in my rides; I am not worth being at home...Not family issue, but WORK issues and other hassles need be worked out with my Bike time..
After about the fifth day, I get way beyond a little contankerous..There have been ocassions about day three the wife says, go out and get your ride in.
How many days before some of us get a little edgy..?
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Old 08-16-04, 09:28 AM   #19
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Mine is 20 miles each way. I don't think of it as doubling my commute time but rather getting 2 1/2 hours of workout/riding for the price of 1. I would ride most days anyway so why not combine it with my commute instead of riding and commuting(by car). Besides, it sounds like you have paths that bypass many of the red lights, that is worth a lot. I lose a good 10 mins - 30mins a day to those stupid things (they get a little frustrating when you deal with 50 of them each way every day). I wish they had bike freeways.
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Old 08-16-04, 09:54 AM   #20
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Quote:
I wish they had bike freeways.
Amen, brother.

One of the things that really impressed me about Corranado(sp?), CA. They still have lights (their own) though.
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Old 08-16-04, 10:53 AM   #21
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My commute is 37km each way - close enough to 25 miles as not to matter.

I'm not doing it as often as I should, primarily due to client meetings that are all over heck's half acre and it's just easier to deal with them when not on the bike.

I ride eastward in the morning and it takes about 1:35 - riding westward on the way home takes more like 2:10. On days when I'm biking in, I rotate my day earlier (I'm normally a 10-6 kinda guy) so that I'm leaving the office by 4pm or so.

I agree with above poster about how cranky I get when I haven't ridden lately. It's been more than a week and I'm all twitchy... it just didn't work out today. If I don't ride tomorrow, I don't want to be near me.

As for the health benefits of the long ride... well... in less than a year, I've gone from a 44" waist to a 36" waist... this morning I forgot a belt on my 38" jeans and I'm looking really fashionable with the low-slung-falling-off-my-hips-even jeans that I only dreamed of wearing when I started this, let alone the fact that I need to buy new everything several sizes smaller than all the clothes I got for xmas.

I wouldn't change a thing about my commute.

Oh, but be sure you've got a safe place to leave your bike overnight and an alternative way home (I use public transit) for those days when you cannot face the idea of more than 2 hours into a strong headwind after a crappy day at work. Some weeks I've only gone one direction per day and supplimented with public transit.
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Old 08-16-04, 11:56 AM   #22
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Wow, that's a lot of physical exercise each day. Not only that, it's a big time consumer. Would you normally spend that much time exercising? If not, are you prepared to increase your exercise time that much?

If it were me, I'd try it once week or something, and see how I felt. Maybe on a Friday, or Monday. I thought the ideas people had of driving half way were pretty good too! I never even would have thought of that.
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Old 08-16-04, 12:07 PM   #23
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Do it, Notfred! I'm trying to convince my wife to move to Davis just so I can have a 25 mile commute!

I'd say that if you work along the ARBT (Campus Commons?), you've got just about the ideal bike commute. Think about leaving the car and alternating days, at least in the beginning. And I know you probably know this, but you'll want super tough tires for riding through West Sac.
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Old 08-16-04, 12:38 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caloso
Do it, Notfred! I'm trying to convince my wife to move to Davis just so I can have a 25 mile commute!

I'd say that if you work along the ARBT (Campus Commons?), you've got just about the ideal bike commute. Think about leaving the car and alternating days, at least in the beginning. And I know you probably know this, but you'll want super tough tires for riding through West Sac.
I work at CSUS. The actual route is, like you said, pretty ideal. It's just the length that is a concern. I think trying to do it once a week to start with is a good idea. I also need a suitable bike for it. If I'm going to be riding 50 miles a day, I want a decent road bike.

But hey, I was planning on selling my car anyway. I can get a good bike for a lot less than the $9,000 the car is worth.
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Old 08-16-04, 01:22 PM   #25
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Go for it, Notfred. I, myself, commute 44 miles roundtrip, from Newark to Sunnyvale and back, MWF. I used to run (read: jog) in the morning before going to work. Then I realised, I could have a better workout by cycling to work and consume the same amount of time (if I run, shower, eat, & drive to work). Been doing it since last winter. this summer, I've been sneaking in one more day of riding (4 days total, MWThF). Ride lite. My max bike weight, 22 lbs (w/ L&M lights, tools, patchkit, water bottle., bike computer).
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