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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 07-21-10, 06:25 AM   #1
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Maximizing Exercise on Very Short Commute

Forgive me if something like this has been done before...

I have a very short commute to work. It's embarrassingly short compared to most of the others that I've read about on these pages. One of the buildings where I work is 2.5 km (about 1.5 miles) from my house and the other one is 3.4 km (a little over 2 miles). In the little time that it takes me to ride to work and back, I want to feel like I'm getting some exercise. I'm a runner and want to use my cycling to work as cross-training. What is the best way to maximize my exercise on such a short commute? Any ideas would be appreciated.
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Old 07-21-10, 06:37 AM   #2
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The best thing I can think is to make the route longer, I do this sometimes on my ride home if I want to ride more than 18 miles.
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Old 07-21-10, 06:41 AM   #3
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Pull a car.

Seriously...riding 1.5 miles isn't every going to get you much exercise. Take a longer ride. Or walk/run to work.
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Old 07-21-10, 06:42 AM   #4
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Old 07-21-10, 06:42 AM   #5
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I've already done that by riding on side streets instead of taking a direct route on the main road.
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Old 07-21-10, 06:55 AM   #6
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Fifteen minutes per day isn't much cross training. As a former runner, I think cross training is much overrated. Why not just run to work and back? I commuted by running for years and it worked well for me.

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Old 07-21-10, 07:09 AM   #7
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Run to work, first, then back home. THEN ride back to work.
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Old 07-21-10, 07:29 AM   #8
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Old 07-21-10, 07:34 AM   #9
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There are ways to maximize your exercise on such a short ride. You want to focus on making it as hard of a ride as possible. Ride a big, heavy mountain bike with slim liners and giant knobby tires. That should make the ride twice as hard as with with your average bike, as long as you have some uphill sections on the route. You can always add a backpack or rack to create another avenue of adding weight to the ride. Then there's always the option of choosing a gear that's a bit too high to be comfortable, so you're working harder during the whole trip.

And there's nothing to say that you have to ride directly to work. You could go right past work for another 5 miles and then turn around.
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Old 07-21-10, 07:40 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ratell View Post
Haha! My kiddo's school is 2 miles from my house and that feels like plenty. But I am pulling an Xtracycle so... this post makes me feel better.
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Old 07-21-10, 07:57 AM   #11
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Do as much errands after work on your bike. Go grocery or shopping of any kind from various store in different location will help. Do you like hanging out at a coffee place? Find one that's a further out and go there. These extra route will add up in miles.
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Old 07-21-10, 08:00 AM   #12
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wake up earlier, ride 3 miles past work and then back. Do the same on the way home.
1.5 miles is barely getting yourself warmed up before stopping.

Or make your after work ride a 10 miler with intervals.
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Old 07-21-10, 08:18 AM   #13
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That is really, really short... not even long enough for a good running workout if you run a lot. You might try doing intervals, though, if the route allows.
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Old 07-21-10, 08:53 AM   #14
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Not everyone has this option, but I did and I took it.

When I moved last year I ended up 1.78 miles from work. Nicer apartment, but disappointing commute. When an opening came up at another branch, I took it. Now my minimum commute is 4.65 miles each way.

I have to second the idea of simply riding a longer route.

My new, 4.65 mile most-direct route is nice in bad weather, if I'm running late or I'm very tired after work. In the three seasons, I take a longer route in at least one direction every day. When I do take the short route, it's really flat, so I use the stoplights for intervals and sprints.

My favorite route is 9.8 miles each way. This one includes several short but steep hills for that extra huff and puff.

I also have a long loop of 18 miles that starts by heading six miles in the wrong direction, then overshoots work by a mile-and-a-half before I double back. I set a new personal best time on that route coming home last night. After I get turned around on that route, the longest leg is dead into the prevailing headwinds. I give myself extra time and try to do that on the windier days.
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Old 07-21-10, 08:55 AM   #15
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If it is not feasible to create a longer "training" route to take in the morning or afternoon, I'd suggest leaving the bike at home and going for a brisk walk instead.
Any bike specific training could be done as a separate workout.
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Old 07-21-10, 08:57 AM   #16
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make it longer and include some hills (40 min would be good)
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Old 07-21-10, 09:29 AM   #17
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I live less than 2 miles from work as well. I start work at 5pm 3days/wk, 1pm 1 day and 9am 1 most of the time this Summer I'm riding in the Texas Heat 98F +. Even with sub 10mph riding I have to change clothes and have a cool down period at work. I make up for it on the rides home where I can do intervals on a longer route or just tool along to clear my head and get into a better frame of mind (libraries in the summer here are a madhouse).

Distance home depends on the amount of aggravation I need to work off.
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Old 07-21-10, 09:31 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Pull a car.

Seriously...riding 1.5 miles isn't every going to get you much exercise. Take a longer ride. Or walk/run to work.
This. Pull a car. Ha!
You should leave earlier/later to add some mileage to your commute. Go for a run during lunch.
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Old 07-21-10, 09:43 AM   #19
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You are getting some exercise, of course. Anything you could do to make it a real workout would ideally have a warm-up period before and after, which by itself would take up your whole commute. The best way to do it is to go a much longer route. Just because your commuting doesn't mean you always have to be going in the right direction. Start out going away from work for a couple of miles. Look for roads that are fun to ride.
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Old 07-21-10, 09:48 AM   #20
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jog it with ankle weights
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Old 07-21-10, 09:59 AM   #21
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Honestly, trying to get a decent workout in just will not be possible. First, no matter what distance someone is riding they need a proper warm up if they want to avoid injury. Right there that will take half of your journey. You should also have a proper cool down after a workout, so there's the second half.

The second reason is that even if you were properly warmed up in advance (and allowed for a cool down), you'd need at least 20 minutes for there to be any benefit. That's the point at which the body begins to respond to activity. Any less than that isn't providing a benefit. Even then 20 minutes is the bare minimum.

If it were me, I'd bike the commute but set aside time in the day for a proper workout. With a commute that short I really don't see the allure of trying to combine the two activities. If I lived that close to work, I'd ride in my work clothes and not worry about being sweaty, late, etc. And since you're spending practically none of your daily 24 hours commuting, you should have more free time to budget for working out than the average adult does.
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Old 07-21-10, 02:48 PM   #22
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Extend the commute to 20 minutes....... do it as an interval 2 min warmup 30 sec as hard as possible 90 sec slow, repeat 7 mor times for 16 minutes and 2 min cool down. Not easy to do with traffic and lights....but try similar.
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