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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 08-21-10, 08:41 AM   #1
nubcake
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Motivation for early commutes

I was wondering what you guys do to get yourself up in the am. My commute is about 15-18 miles one way and about 3 of that is on an actual mountain bike trail. It takes me a little over two hours door to door and despite me always dreaming of a longer commute that also takes me through a mountain bike trail I have a very difficult time getting myself up at 5am to get on the bike when I can wake up 2hours later and drive in.

Are there any tips or tricks to getting yourself out of bed earlier than you have to? I can't get to sleep much sooner than 10 because I just can't fall asleep that earlier even if I could try (we have a newborn as well which also does not help things but this problem was there before he was born so I am not using that as an excuse)

Thanks for any advise in advance
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Old 08-21-10, 08:45 AM   #2
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How about driving half the distance then biking in, and slowly weening yourself off the drive
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Old 08-21-10, 09:03 AM   #3
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I used to have trouble motivating myself in the morning. I have a similar length and departure time as you. The waking up is the hardest part. Once I am on the road, it feels great. My ride in is much better than the ride home, it's just so peaceful in the morning. I also pack and set aside clothing and everything the night before so all I do is wake up, eat a light breakfast, get dressed and go. If there were too many steps in the morning, I'd be too tempted to not go.

If it helps, start doing it on Fridays. You can make up for any sleep deficit on the weekend and once the Friday ride becomes habit you can expand it more easily from there. Getting started was the hardest part.
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Old 08-21-10, 09:15 AM   #4
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Drive to work one day, bring the bike & Ride home. Next day, with the car still at the office, you have instant motivation. Aside from that, are there any things you can do to speed up the commute, 2 hours each way is a really long time to commit to. Things like faster tires on the bike or tweaking the commute to be shorter/flatter, anything like that? Motivation is the hardest issue to solve (or at least it was for me). Good luck with this.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:25 AM   #5
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Hang the car keys on the handlebar. Or sell the car.
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Old 08-21-10, 02:16 PM   #6
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I think of the streets. The beautiful, empty, quiet streets.

I hate sitting in my car in traffic. Part of the reason is that it's an 88 Honda with no A/C and Parkinson's disease. So I guess I could sleep in and drive, but I'll arrive aggravated and hot (without a corresponding endorphin rush).
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Old 08-21-10, 04:19 PM   #7
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My commute starts at 320am. It takes me 1hr 40mins to travel the 25 miles. I have to go to bed by 8pm to get up at 2am. I feel your pain. We only have 1 car, and the wife needs it, so I take the bike. There is no motivation to take the car. There is no car to take.

This is the sig picture I use on my other forum. It helps.
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Old 08-21-10, 04:38 PM   #8
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Well personally I don't have a car, so I have pretty good motivation.

But 2 hours each way? I don't think I would do that. I love cycling, but I like to pretend I have a life off my bike sometimes.
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Old 08-21-10, 04:45 PM   #9
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That's a pretty long commute! One of the main thing that motivates me to ride instead of drive is: I just feel SO much better when I ride. I have energy all day long and don't have my 3 PM post-lunch crash.

Also, to me driving in to work feels like I'm trapped in my car. Biking it in feels like freedom.

Finally: it might help you to think about the oil spill. Every little bit you can do to cut down on our addiction to oil helps.
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Old 08-21-10, 05:10 PM   #10
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I get up at 5AM because I'm excited to get on the bike, especially in the morning. In the winter it's harder, but in the summer I have to get up that early if I'm going to ride in the dark. It's a lot more fun in the dark, and more peaceful too.
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Old 08-21-10, 05:45 PM   #11
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My job doesn't start until 1pm. Easy to get up early for that.
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Old 08-21-10, 06:37 PM   #12
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you figure out a trick to get yourself out of bed and on the bike reliably, let me know. the best motivation i can think of is knowing how great you'll feel after the ride.
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Old 08-21-10, 06:54 PM   #13
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Leave your gas tank sitting on empty. Just the thought of having to fill the tank is my motivation to take the bike.
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Old 08-21-10, 07:09 PM   #14
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Do you have to commute on a mountain bike trail? Two hours seems like an awful long time to travel 15-18 miles. I'm no speedster, and I can easily commute 15 mph average on my road bikes.
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Old 08-21-10, 07:12 PM   #15
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Hey no way... I have a newborn too. I haven't been able to wake up on time for 3 weeks. That and I have to go to bed at 9pm to get up at 3:15am for my 1hr and 15minute commute that's 17 miles one way. I really miss commuting and want to get back to it asap. It just drives me crazy to take the car. ha ha. No pun intended
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Old 08-22-10, 06:46 AM   #16
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The commute takes so long because there is a ton of climbing on my route but it is really the only safe way to get to where I work. Other than the route I take there is one highway with good shoulders I could ride but its also twisty and the cars are almost always close to 70mph...not to mention where there are bridges the shoulder dissapears.

I commute on a cross bike so riding mountain bike trails with panniers on the back I do have to slow down a bit cause the trails here have lots of rocks and roots.

I do like the leave the gas tank on empty approach though...haha
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Old 08-22-10, 07:16 AM   #17
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..

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Old 08-22-10, 02:23 PM   #18
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My commute is only about a half an hour. However I usually get up at around 5am, and am usually out the door by a quarter to 6. Nobody else shows up at my office before 8 or 8:30 which gives me between an 1.5 and 2 hours with no interruptions. in IT you can get a lot done in that time
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Old 08-22-10, 02:52 PM   #19
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My basic underlying motivations for an early morning commute are job, especially to get an early start; additional time to cycle for fitness; and early morning peace and quiet. These basic background motivators are less effective though at 4:30 AM. Of more immediate effect is the thought that I will feel really good almost as soon as I hit the road.

It's a good idea to do everything possible to prepare for the ride night before. Sometimes I tell myself at about 4:15 AM that I will just get up, do those things that have to be done that morning, e.g. brush my teeth, and then I can lay back down for a few more minutes, Usually that gets me going and I forget my promise to myself.
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Old 08-23-10, 02:37 PM   #20
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Well personally I don't have a car, so I have pretty good motivation.

But 2 hours each way? I don't think I would do that. I love cycling, but I like to pretend I have a life off my bike sometimes.
2 hrs to go 15-18 miles? Is it all uphill? One concern is that work, exercise, the newborn, and your wife will constantly be tugging time from you. You just have to find a balance that is achieveable. Sure we would like to train for 15-20 hrs a week, but usually only single people without kids have that much time to dedicate to exercise unless they are sponsored.

As for motivation? heart health, healthy body weight, lower body fat, the ability to eat more food and not get fat, the fact that nobody is on the road and there is no traffic like said above. Biking in the mornings give me some of the best peaceful time I just love it. As a married man with children I'm surprised you don't cherish that time. Also if you don't get your exercise then then you may not get exercise for the rest of the day due to work, taking care of the child and your wife. Life just isn't fair, but we all have to make good decisions to keep the healthy balance in our life. Sacrificing sleep for exercise doesn't always go well with ones energy if done too often.
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Old 08-23-10, 10:53 PM   #21
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the cold crisp morning air and the street is mostly empty or lined up with cars. But either way it just feels good and I get alone time to think.
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Old 08-24-10, 01:58 AM   #22
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Riding so early, have you ever encountered skunks or other crepuscular animals?
With my 11PM commute, if I don't see a skunk, armadillo or whitetail deer every mile or so, I look extra close to see what scared them off.
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