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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, 10:15 PM   #1
agarose2000
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Up to a 17mile each way commute! (34 round trip)

Just made 3 days solid of going bike commute from my new digs in NorCal.

17 miles each way - that's a lot farther than I've ever bike commuted before, and long enough to actually count as a workout for me, especially since I can hammer it the whole way since I've got a bike lane the ENTIRE way (gotta love NorCal!)

Unfortunately, I was perhaps the only commuting cyclist out there on a big stretch of bike-friendly road. I passed a handful of recreational cyclists , but likely no commuters. A shame, given the awesome weather.

Lights also kill your overall speed. I ended up averaging only 18mph for the entire route, despite going 22+ for most of my moving ride time on the flat stuff (most of the way).

If it weren't for the logistics of time (I have to work from 7:30AM to 6:30PM, full time) , I'd do it 5x per week, but I'm so time crunched that I can't do it 5 days per week. Probably 3x/wk is all I can do.

I've been doing it on a pure road bike (Giant Defy 3) and carrying a small camelbak. Surprisingly, despite generating tons of sweat on the ride in, I'm fine for the day, even in suit and tie after a quick wipedown in the bathroom. I think the key is to shower before getting on the bike (weird, I know) and to have clean, fresh riding clothes. Particularly socks, if you risk the chance of stanking up the office!
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Old 07-21-10, 10:26 PM   #2
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Hats off to ya, thats a considerable distance!
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Old 07-21-10, 10:47 PM   #3
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17 is quite the trek for a commute. Congrats on doing it; I hope you can keep it up. Set a goal that's super-realistic, say two or three times per week, to minimize discouragement.

What kind of headlight are you using? There are some super-bright ones nowadays that'll give you enough visibility to let you go pretty damn fast. (Edit, when you mentioned lights, I was thinking riding in the dark, not red lights.)

If I had your setup, I'd use a seatpost mounted rack and trunk bag. I don't mind carrying a Camelbak, but not one with a bunch of gear.

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Old 07-21-10, 10:54 PM   #4
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My commute is only 11 miles each way, but I'm only going to do it once a week when work starts up again. It's still a 20% drop in emissions and gas.
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Old 07-22-10, 12:14 AM   #5
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Nice ride. How long does it take you each way? My friend in Italy commutes to Switzerland across the border 18 miles each way and also does it 3X per week. He too has a nice lane manly to himself and loves the scenery. He also has backout plans like train stations along the route (at least not too far from the route) so carries minial stuff). Takes his clothes in the days he doesn't bike. Hows your scenery?
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Old 07-22-10, 05:48 AM   #6
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Good going. My commute is 10-12 miles each way, but will increase to about 15 miles next spring when we move to a new office. Red lights are definitely an average speed killer. Today I caught every single red light on my route, but that was OK because I was taking it easy due to the heat and humidity. My goal is to bike commute every day, but realistically it usually works out to 3-4 days/week depending on the weather, work schedule and errands.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:13 AM   #7
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Way to go. Keep it up. Gotta say that the day seems to go better after a nice ride to work.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
Surprisingly, despite generating tons of sweat on the ride in, I'm fine for the day, even in suit and tie after a quick wipedown in the bathroom. I think the key is to shower before getting on the bike (weird, I know) and to have clean, fresh riding clothes. Particularly socks, if you risk the chance of stanking up the office!
I think you are correct. Shower first and sweat away, then wipe dry and put on clean clothes. Sweat alone doesn't smell.

And good job on the long commute.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:48 AM   #9
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Takes me 1 hr roughly and I'm usually haulin it pretty fast for me . Love the road bike as well; at over 22 mph you really appreciate the weight n drops. Haven't even installed the rear rack yet.
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Old 07-22-10, 09:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
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......
Lights also kill your overall speed. I ended up averaging only 18mph for the entire route, despite going 22+ for most of my moving ride time on the flat stuff (most of the way).
...!
LOL! I HATE that!
Every time you look down at your computer, it says 22+, but then stopping for that group of walkers and a few red lights makes your avg go down by way more than I think it should. Not that it matters, but I do find that pretty frustrating as well. I mean, if you spend 50 minutes basically going over 20, and then like 4-5 minutes rolling slowly for various reasons, why does your average have to go down that much?! At the end of the ride, I always check the avg, and it's always lower than I think it should be, and then I'm all like "WTF?! I shouldn't even be sweaty if I was averaging that slow!" LOL.

We have the same bike too. Seems like you pretty much like yours too.
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Old 07-22-10, 11:19 AM   #11
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11-13 miles each way. I only get a couple of lights but I always hope they are red. A chance to suck up some water before the hills as there is no flat here. I'm only averaging 14 - 17mph, depending on the day of the week. Some weeks I can commute everyday, kinda depends what the kids travel requirements are. Now that there is another driver in the family I'm being encouraged to ride more often so she can have the car.
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Old 07-22-10, 05:03 PM   #12
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I go just a bit further than you do but not by much. About 18 miles one way. I'm pretty sure that I would have made it to work today in less than an hour if I hadn't been stopped by red lights and a train. How long have you been riding?

Keep up the good work!
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Old 07-22-10, 05:36 PM   #13
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Congrats, that is a good commute!

I do 12 in, 18 out mostly on hard-pack/ limestone gravel trails. I take the shortest route in because of time constraints. I can do it because I have a short route in so time is OK. I can do 16 mph at best on 32 mm cyclo tires and with the intersections that I do have to cross. The only road route I could take is on a 55 mph tight two-lane overloaded with traffic for which it would only be a matter of time before I got damaged. Count your blessings

I hear you - I think that even with a moderately long commute you really feel invigorated and charged when you get in. I am fortunate to have showers where I work so I am really refreshed and ready to go.

Maybe ens this year, next year I can hit 18 in, 18 out if I can get my speed up a little bit more

Cheers
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Old 07-22-10, 07:26 PM   #14
agarose2000
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I go just a bit further than you do but not by much. About 18 miles one way. I'm pretty sure that I would have made it to work today in less than an hour if I hadn't been stopped by red lights and a train. How long have you been riding?

Keep up the good work!
That's pretty fast! I've been riding for 2.5yrs now, but mainly as a triathlete. I was a serious runner before ever jumping on a bike (marathons) so I was fast enough to ride with competitive roadies from the get-go. I don't have enough time now to ride as much as I did during peak, but I'm finding that my top-end speed is holding up pretty well. The endurance is definitely fading though - I used to be able to hammer for hours at a time, whereas now, my speed starts to drop off a lot after an hour of hard riding.

It's nice to be able to use the commute as an actual hard workout, since my roads are fairly long between the lights. I'm probably in 150ish HR most of the way, and higher on hills. I passed a lot of club riders out there - had two try to draft me earlier this week (which I absolutely welcome!) but they unfortunately gave up after less than a mile with me.

Too bad the racing club riders around here aren't riding the same time I commute home - they're all hellaciously fast, and have dropped me cold several times before on their hammerhead rides.
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Old 07-22-10, 07:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
Just made 3 days solid of going bike commute from my new digs in NorCal.

17 miles each way - that's a lot farther than I've ever bike commuted before, and long enough to actually count as a workout for me, especially since I can hammer it the whole way since I've got a bike lane the ENTIRE way (gotta love NorCal!)

Unfortunately, I was perhaps the only commuting cyclist out there on a big stretch of bike-friendly road. I passed a handful of recreational cyclists , but likely no commuters. A shame, given the awesome weather.

Lights also kill your overall speed. I ended up averaging only 18mph for the entire route, despite going 22+ for most of my moving ride time on the flat stuff (most of the way).

If it weren't for the logistics of time (I have to work from 7:30AM to 6:30PM, full time) , I'd do it 5x per week, but I'm so time crunched that I can't do it 5 days per week. Probably 3x/wk is all I can do.

I've been doing it on a pure road bike (Giant Defy 3) and carrying a small camelbak. Surprisingly, despite generating tons of sweat on the ride in, I'm fine for the day, even in suit and tie after a quick wipedown in the bathroom. I think the key is to shower before getting on the bike (weird, I know) and to have clean, fresh riding clothes. Particularly socks, if you risk the chance of stanking up the office!
Welcome to my world. My commute is about the same distance.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:34 PM   #16
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Cool. I was up to 16 miles each way on occasion, but I have the advantage of being able to change either one of the 16 mile legs into a 5 mile bike/train/bike ride instead.

But I'm on my feet all day as a high school English teacher in a very challenging underperforming urban district. No way could I keep that up and also do 32 miles/day. 40-90 or 100 per week is a good range for me.

Even so, getting up to 2 or 3 "trainless" 32 mile commutes per week this spring was the perfect training for my first local bike club century ride. After all that commuting (a lot of it with a kid on a kiddie seat) I felt fast as heck on that century!

Keep it up, and maybe look into public transport to see if you can't give yourself a break now and then.
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Old 07-23-10, 08:11 AM   #17
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My commute is 18 miles one way. I do the reverse commute, that is, leave my car at work and pedal home. I get to ride every day, but have the option of once a day or twice.
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Old 07-23-10, 08:25 AM   #18
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Congrats! That is indeed a long commute. I hope it's nice to ride. Yes, thorough shower in the morning and changing all you clothes at work should work fine.

Adam
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Old 07-23-10, 09:04 AM   #19
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Congrats. Mine is about 19.75, one way. You go a bit faster than me though, but I have pannier and take a bike lane.
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Old 07-23-10, 10:59 AM   #20
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That's about the same as my commute, currently at 16 miles each way. I drive part way from home, which is 26 miles from work, giving me some flexibility. My favorite parking area was recently changed to permit parking only, so I found another area nearby adding an extra mile or so. 30-35 miles per day is a great workout, but with the heat we've had in the DC area this summer, I'm pretty tired by the end of the week.

Also no shower at work, so the pre-ride shower at home and a quick wipedown is my only option. Not having a shower is less than ideal, but I've found that a "last-mile" cool down in the morning helps significantly. 18.8 mph on my commuterized MTB is my highest average speed (on the ride to work) over that distance, as there is no way to avoid slowdowns in certain areas. The usual average is in the 17 mph range.
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Old 07-23-10, 11:17 AM   #21
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It sounds like a nice ride, my commute is 18 miles each way. I aim for 2 days a week, 2 days driving and 1 work from home day. I usually ride in fairly easy as I have no shower facilities, but try to hammer on the way home.
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Old 07-23-10, 07:41 PM   #22
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Gotta say, it's very difficult to keep an honest 18mph average on that hour commute. I'm doing it by Garmin GPS, so there's no cheating on the guesstimation.

I go fast enough in the few miles where I actually have zero lights to get up to 23mph for the entire mile (per my GPS), but invariably, there's another light somewhere down the road that drops me back down to 18 and below. Then there are a few mild inclines (no big hills on my route) that I have to also drop sub-20 for, and it's very difficult to get over 18 on the 17 mile commute.

I'm nearly certain that if I time-trialed this route with no lights, I'd get at least a 22mph average, if not 23-24, since I've done 23mph averge in a 40k triathlon bike leg AFTER 30 minutes of hard swimming, and not redlining completely so I can still run a bit under 6:40/mile for the 6.2 mile (10k) leg at the end.

And my route is definitely NOT light-heavy - it's actually one of the nicest bike commutes in a developed area that I can possibly think of, in fact, with gorgeous scenery, wide bike lanes, and generally very aware drivers since there are lots of cyclists around on these same roads in NorCal.
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Old 07-25-10, 07:59 PM   #23
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My ride is about 13 miles each way. I only have 5 lights and 3 or 4 stop signs. Lights I obey at all times, the stop signs....not so much in the residential areas. There's a part of my route that has one of those "your speed is" digital thingies. I'm proud to say my average is 16 mph which is good for me since I ride a hybrid. It takes me a little over an hour. I gear up every night and then decide in the a.m. if I'm biking. I'll only bail if it's pouring or if I really need the Zzzs. I average 3X/week, I need a lot of zzzzzs! Keep it up!
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