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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 06-15-10, 07:24 AM   #1
allanmac00
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Commuting 30+ miles each way

Does anyone here commute more than 30 miles each way to work? My job is about 33 miles away, with some rolling hills, and half is on tight roads with little shoulder. I've been considering doing a commute, maybe 2 days a week. Can anybody here share their experiences with doing this type of trip?
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Old 06-15-10, 08:33 AM   #2
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How much saddle time do you currently have commuting? What kind of bike are you riding? Have you test ridden the route?

It's doable, but not for the faint of heart which is why I ask. I frequently do 30+, but my usual is right at 25. Even two days a week (I do 4-5) will have issues and best case scenarios, so a bit more detail about the ride and your conditioning would help.
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Old 06-15-10, 08:52 AM   #3
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I was commuting 18.7 each way, and doing it two days a week. Then I moved 30 miles away, and got a great idea from other posters here: I drive in Monday morning with the bike in the car. Then I bike home Monday night, get up and bike in Tuesday morning, and drive home Tuesday night. Repeat for Wednesday and Thursday. It was a beautiful plan and I tried it for my first time yesterday. I was 25.5 miles into the ride, only 4 miles from home, when a Lexus hit me from behind. I'm going to compose a nice long post now and tell all about it. But I still think the arrangement was a good idea - I'm just going to need a week or so to recover. Nothing broken, just a lot of bad bruises.
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Old 06-15-10, 09:22 AM   #4
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I am in better than average shape, and have done two 500 miles self-supported bike tours. I haven't ridden in a while, but I have done many high mile days. But I have never sandwiched a day of work in between two long rides. My ride would be relatively flat, with some rolling hills in between. The traffic might be a bit hectic at times as well.

And man, sorry to hear about your bike accident. Hope all ends well.
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Old 06-15-10, 09:32 AM   #5
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I've got a 27 mile one way commute and drive halfway park then ride. If I do the full commute it seems to eat up to much time out of my life. (Almost 4hrs a day). So yes you can do it but is that much time worth it?
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Old 06-15-10, 11:39 AM   #6
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I've had commute routes as long as 45 miles each way. Most days I would ether drive or take the bus part way then ride the rest, but in the summer I would do the full monty 1-3 times a week. Another tact I used to use was driving to work with the bike, then riding home on the bike, leaving the truck, riding back in the morning, then driving both back home...rinse and repeat.

Your body can get used to it easy enough, just like it does on long tours...but the time that it takes out of your day is more problematic.

My best advice is to stage as much as you can at work...toiletries, shoes, clothing, food, drink, etc., using driving days to replace/replenish, so you can ride light, fast and easy.
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Old 06-15-10, 11:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pharasz View Post
I was commuting 18.7 each way, and doing it two days a week. Then I moved 30 miles away, and got a great idea from other posters here: I drive in Monday morning with the bike in the car. Then I bike home Monday night, get up and bike in Tuesday morning, and drive home Tuesday night. Repeat for Wednesday and Thursday. It was a beautiful plan and I tried it for my first time yesterday. I was 25.5 miles into the ride, only 4 miles from home, when a Lexus hit me from behind. I'm going to compose a nice long post now and tell all about it. But I still think the arrangement was a good idea - I'm just going to need a week or so to recover. Nothing broken, just a lot of bad bruises.
Bummer...glad you are ok.
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Old 06-15-10, 12:20 PM   #8
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So yes you can do it but is that much time worth it?
One reason I'm considering this is because I cant seem to find enough time in the day to ride. And my car commute is already almost 2 hours a day. Might as well get the riding in on the way to work I guess.
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Old 06-15-10, 02:22 PM   #9
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I was 25.5 miles into the ride, only 4 miles from home, when a Lexus hit me from behind. I'm going to compose a nice long post now and tell all about it. But I still think the arrangement was a good idea - I'm just going to need a week or so to recover. Nothing broken, just a lot of bad bruises.
Hey man, you should be honoured to be hit from behind by a Lexus. After all, their slogan goes...

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Old 06-15-10, 04:31 PM   #10
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One reason I'm considering this is because I cant seem to find enough time in the day to ride. And my car commute is already almost 2 hours a day. Might as well get the riding in on the way to work I guess.
Well if your car commute is two hours then you are getting four hours of exercise for two hours of your time. Anyway, two hours for 60 miles comes out to 30 mph average speed. Is this even throughout the route or is there one half that is much slower than the other. If so, you might be able drive the fast stretch and then bike the slow stretch and the biking won't cost you any net time at all and you will be getting the exercise. In this case you would be crazy not to bike commute at least the slow stretch.
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Old 06-15-10, 05:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allanmac00 View Post
One reason I'm considering this is because I cant seem to find enough time in the day to ride. And my car commute is already almost 2 hours a day. Might as well get the riding in on the way to work I guess.
Well then, try it. My hats off to you. I'm sure your body will adapt. Keep us updated. I do a 7 mile commute each way and it doesn't interfere much with my normal schedule. I just know that the afternoon commute takes a bit more out of me than the AM.
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Old 06-15-10, 07:50 PM   #12
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40 miles each way. i've never ridden the full distance, opting most days to ride 15 miles and take a bus the rest of the way in (repeat on the way home). occasionally will ride all the way home in the afternoon if the weather is nice and i just want to chill. haven't ridden the full 40 into work in the am because i'd rather sleep an extra hour or 2 than ride the 3-3.5 hours into work.
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Old 06-15-10, 09:55 PM   #13
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OK, let's review strategic and tactical gains and losses.

Assuming you are giving up cardio time at the gym and have commute-specific attire:

If (((Time riding + Time changing and cleaning) - Time driving) - Time at the gym) < 0, you are on top strategically.

Tactically, it is an approximately 2.5 h chunk of time that can not be parsed out, in case of family emergency it can be a real problem.

Only you can decide....

Ride safe and have fun

SF
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Old 06-15-10, 11:00 PM   #14
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I'm 35 miles away from work. On the days I cycle (2 per week), I drive 10 miles to the end of our bike trail and cycle the remaining 25. It's mostly flat and takes about 1-1/2 hr each way. Since I don't go to the gym on the days I cycle to work, it works out about the same time. I also save a few minutes because my bike locker is 20 ft from the office door, versus car parking lot blocks away. We do have a locker room with showers.

No worries about narrow roads and little shoulders since most of my trip is on a bike path. Biggest obstacle I have is the wildlife (turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, deer, snakes) and innattentive joggers with headphones.


If I need to work late into the evening or something comes up I can always hop on public transit to get back to my car. I found it essential to have a backup plan to get home in case something happens (mechanical, weather, work, family emergency, or ???) that prevented me from cycling home.
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Old 06-15-10, 11:37 PM   #15
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It works better for me if I ride monday and friday with three days off. More than that and I can get wiped out if I have a bad week at work. Because you are wanting more time to ride, this could work to start. I second having a backup plan to get home, (or more than one) You never know when an emergency will come up. Now just try it and enjoy yourself. Let us know how it works out.
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Old 06-15-10, 11:45 PM   #16
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I ride 23 miles each way to work. I drive in on Monday and leave my truck at work and ride most of the week. I have another truck at home just in-case something comes up. It takes me about 1.5 hours to do 23 miles.
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Old 06-16-10, 05:41 AM   #17
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on the topic of backup plans:

having only a small window for taking a bus home (4:00 - 5:30pm), and being 40+ miles away from home initially was a concern for me. over time though i've become very good at managing my time. i have no problem dropping my work when it's time to run and catch a bus. additionally my coworkers know i need at least 1 day's notice before scheduling late afternoon meetings lest i'm fuc't. missing the last bus means a 3 hour ride home, and in some circumstances (i.e. leaving after 7pm) it's just not viable at all.

for the OP: if you're worried about the backup plan, don't be. worst case scenario you can catch an expensive cab ride home if you really need to. but in 3 years of bike commuting long distances, i've never once had to rush home for an emergency.
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Old 06-16-10, 08:38 AM   #18
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Mine is 25 each way and last year I rode it 5 days a week. I found that after a while, I started to get less efficient and more tired...I normally carry about 23 lbs of stuff (laptop, clothes, lunch, etc) as well. Last fall I finally decided that 20 each way would be better and drove part way...made all the difference in the world...
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Old 06-16-10, 11:26 AM   #19
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In the summer, I ride 22 miles each way 5 days/week. On nice days, I sometimes take the "long" way home and end up with 50-60 total miles for the day. Physically, it's not very challenging anymore as my body is used to this kind of riding, but I think 30+ miles each way would be hard to maintain if you're not already cycling 200+ miles/week. The main thing, as several posters mentioned, is the time involved. I spend about 3 hours/day on my bike, which is big chunk of time on a work day.

akohekohe made a great point about minimizing your commute time. I work in a city that has nightmarish traffic jams every day. Driving to work takes 90 minutes. Biking to work also takes 90 minutes. However, if I drive the fast part and park just outside of town, then take my bike the last 5 miles, I can get to work in under 50 minutes. I rarely do this, though, since we're a one car family and my wife uses the car most days.
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Old 06-16-10, 02:09 PM   #20
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i do 22 miles each way from march to december- given my busy schedule it's the only way i can accumulate mileage.
i typically will do 3 days a week, i tried for 4 this week but i had a flat tire this morning and couldn't get it changed in time (hard case tires are a bear)
30 miles is certainly doable if you have the training
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Old 06-16-10, 02:47 PM   #21
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for the OP: if you're worried about the backup plan, don't be. worst case scenario you can catch an expensive cab ride home if you really need to. but in 3 years of bike commuting long distances, i've never once had to rush home for an emergency.
Or, if you're in a big metropolitan area, you may be eligible for a guaranteed ride home program as a bike commuter. Here in the DC area, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Commuter Connections service has such a program. It extends to cover cycle commuters - not just transit users or ride sharers, etc. I have signed up for it just in case, but have never needed to use it. (Knock on wood.)
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Old 09-07-14, 12:49 AM   #22
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I used to commute about 22 miles each way, my house was at 880ft elevation and my work was around 22ft so getting to work was easy in the morning, going back after a physical demanding job was tasking at best, and the sun in Hawaii is not forgiving. So I could wait out the sun and hang at work or get skin cancer and ride home early. The buses here offer maybe two, maybe three bike slots per rack and it's a crap shoot it they are full or not, I think they've upgraded to hold even more now, but I'm not interested in using the bus really. Driving takes about 2 hours to do 22 miles unless you beat the initial rush then it takes only 1 hour. Traffic and a host of new construction has caused many lanes to close and even bike paths to be detoured. I think the exercise and savings on gas help outweigh some of the time loss from the commute. I would say just bike on days you know you can handle and save the car ride for the days you can't. I would always ride the car home on Friday cause I wanted to extend my weekend as far as possible.

My biggest gripe for me starting to commute by bike again is that an ex-employee caused a change in regulations that made it impossible for me to stay at work late because he stole from the property. I was even going to bring my xbox in and set it up in the brake room to play after work cause I hardly play it at home.
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Old 09-07-14, 06:43 AM   #23
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My commute is 40 miles RT. If it were 60 instead, I would find it hard to get all my work hours in and deal with home life too. But I'm totally car free. If I were instead considering doing this just a couple days a week, I could fit it into my schedule. You just have to look at the time involved and decide what might work for you personally. Since you drive and don't HAVE to bicycle commute every day it seems like you could do it when you have time, and not when you don't.
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Old 09-07-14, 09:24 AM   #24
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I wonder if the OP from 2010 ever commuted the distance or not?
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Old 09-07-14, 11:00 AM   #25
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My friend who is 60 just started doing 30 miles one way, twice a week. The remaining 3 days, he goes multimodal. But his multimodal route also has 10 miles of cycling one way, and he has been doing that for a long time. This is just to say it can be done, but depends on your fitness and how much time you can spare.

Gear. Zombie thread.

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