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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 10-14-04, 10:14 AM   #1
ShannonH
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What's a realistic distance? what's your?

Hi all,
I live in the Twin Cities, and I have a goal to commute about three time a week by spring. The real issue is, it's 32 miles each way. I live in the north and work in the south (on either side of the x94 loop, for those from up here.) Is this a realistic goal? The real issue so far is time. I can do it if I just pound out the miles, but that can take a long time at my rate :-).

How far do you commute? Has anyone tried this or am I some kind of nut?

Thanks in advance

Shannon
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Old 10-14-04, 10:25 AM   #2
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that's really far, but ok for 3x a week I would suspect. I go 35 miles RT

day 1 - drive to work, bike on car. ride bike home
day 2 - bike to work. drive car home, bike on car
repeat

gives you a needed break. but, you need a safe garage in which to park at night.

or,

ride to work, carpool home w/ bike on car

or

carpool to work w/bike on car, ride home
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Old 10-14-04, 10:31 AM   #3
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I have heard of people commuting that far, but it is definitely in the category or extreme commuting. Three days a week might be practical. The distance is not that bad, but, as you say, time is an issue. Depending on your fitness and speed you are probably talking about roughly 2 hours each way, probably more depending on stoplights, etc. The first time you try it I would allow 3 hours since you will be facing some unknowns. Is public transportation available? You could go part of the way by bike, say 20 miles, then hop on the bus or train, if your they accomodate bikes. Or you could ride in. Bus/train home. Bus/train in, then ride home. Look for creative ways to mix.
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Old 10-14-04, 10:33 AM   #4
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32 miles....wow. That seems pretty aggressive. I am used to a 10K commute. Being that a 20mph rate is fairly fast and would still take you a solid 90 minutes each way (physical conditioning aside) maybe the best thing would be to build up to it. Can you drive part way for the first month or so just to get used to it? I am sure there are people that do it and I don't think you are a nut. As long as you are nutritionally prepared before each ride and you can afford the time I would go for it. Your rate will improve with time.

I hope this helps. Other more experienced long distance commuters will be able to give you better advice.

If you keep at it I am sure you will succeed and become a commuting machine.
Best of luck.
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Old 10-14-04, 10:39 AM   #5
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Shannon, I live in the Twin Cities. I assume you are talking about starting next spring. I bike commute year around and I average 30 miles round trip, but I couldn't do longer mileage in the winter time because I've yet to find a way to keep my feet warm for that long. Otherwise it's probably doable, a little extreme, but doable.
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Old 10-14-04, 10:44 AM   #6
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Shannon

That is far!!!

I commute 13km/8miles each way (26km/16 mile round trip).

I think Peter has a good idea of drive to work/ride home and then ride to work/drive home.

With a commute that long though you will be one fit person! Go for it!
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Old 10-14-04, 10:45 AM   #7
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wow that's far. I ride at least 6 miles rt up to 30. I use 2 bikes and a train in between. Sometimes I drive partway then bike the rest. If I rode all the way it would be 25 miles each way. I could do it but it would be a long day. Biking alreay makes my day longer(not complaining) but not that long. 8/9 hour work day, 4+ hours commuting, 1 hour getting ready for work and biking plus breakfast, dinner time? This leaves you about 2 hours until bed. With this scheule I think I would grow to dislike bike commuting. FWIW I have 3 kids, wife, dog, 1.5 acres, so I must spread out my time. Hey if you're single, live in apt, have tons of free time then go for it. I like the suggestion of drive with bike, bike home, bike to work, drive home. I've done that once and enjoyed it but prefer the mini rides and trains. I like to read on the train. Charlie
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Old 10-14-04, 10:49 AM   #8
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32 miles one way. Wow. That is a nice little trip around the block. One of the big factors that I would take into account would be traffic that I would have to deal with. If the there are few lights, wide bike lanes, and bike paths (bike paths being the most important) the distance will seem shorter and safer than it actually is.

If you are talking about riding in heavy traffic, or with lots of stoplights and stop signs, 32 miles can be an eternity.

After that it goes back to your fitness level and your determination. My biggest piece of advice would echo what some have already said: Whatever you do, work up to it. Don't try to eat the whole sandwich in one bite.
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Old 10-14-04, 10:50 AM   #9
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One other note... If you do end up doing the full commute, YOU ROCK!
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Old 10-14-04, 10:52 AM   #10
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I live 30 miles from work. Fortunately, my wife and a friend work at the same company. So I am able to ride into work then throw my bike into the car to take it home - vice versa in the summer time. Would it be possible for you to do something similar with public transportation? DanO
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Old 10-14-04, 11:42 AM   #11
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Shannon, I live south of Portland OR. and work in Vancouver WA. That would make my commute about the same distance. I plan to try this on Friday for the first time. Right now I carpool with my wife to the half way point and will bike to work from there. but the ride home will be by myself. I plan on doing this no more than 2 days a week for starters. Wednesday and Friday. At least that is the plan. Good luck to us both. (Oh and I like being on the outside of what might be considered sane)
Eric.
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Old 10-14-04, 11:59 AM   #12
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i commute 16 miles one way, but most of the time I use the lite rail boost. I do ride home all the way at least once a week.

I started out really unfit, and obese, so I started by using the stationary bikes at my local gym for endurance. I set them on low, and pedaled for up to an hour. (I had to start at 15 min.) Within two months I was ready to give the real thing a try, I could do the hour, and not die.

Also, whenever I am going longer than I am fit, I give myself liberal permission to shop, stop and watch the animals, or anything else that gives my body a chance to regroup.

I did 35 miles yesterday, it took 5 hours, but I am *Way* better than I was 70 lbs. ago.
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Old 10-14-04, 12:09 PM   #13
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How hilly and/or windy is your route? I do 16 miles each way a couple times a week, but I think the terrain is more telling than the distance, usually.
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Old 10-14-04, 12:12 PM   #14
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32 miles each way would be a bit of a superhero effort!

I'd second kf5nd's suggestions - use a combo of bike and car each day. As an extension of that, is there a possibility that you could drive or catch public transport for part of the way to cut down the length of the commute? You'd still get the exercise and cut down on some mileage and time.

My commute is 12 miles each way, which given traffic lights and a 600ft elevation gain on the way to the office takes me about 45-50 mins on the way there and 35-40 mins on the way home. We're about to move so this will be extended to about 15 miles each way.
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Old 10-14-04, 01:08 PM   #15
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I think that's a little too much. I've commuted 26 mi. r/t for the past 2.5 years, and I don't really think I could do more than 15 mi/each way within the context of time and effort. Perhaps if your situation was perfect, with shower, pasta bar, maseusse, etc. at work, but I second (third? fourth?) the other posters -drive 7-10 mi. from work, find a safe parking lot, (they have "Park 'n Ride" public transport lots around here) and ride in from there. Save up the whole ride for special occassions. Whatever you choose, good luck!
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Old 10-14-04, 01:14 PM   #16
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I have a little 32 mile training loop I do. I would not be a happy camper once I got to work if I did 35 miles one way. Of course, this is on a XC bike and pushing pretty hard. Takes me roughly two and a half hours with all the cursed stoplights.. And signs, and hicks, and animals and other cyclists.....


Edit: Doh! I always get CX and XC messed up. It's on a mountain bike. When my Cyclocross bike gets here I should be quicker.

My commute is 15 miles.
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Old 10-14-04, 01:30 PM   #17
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I do 20 one way, 40 RT, almost every day. Adding 12 miles to that would not be fun, for me. As others have said, alternate or find some way to decrease the distance.
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Old 10-14-04, 02:29 PM   #18
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I think that might be a little excessive. 25% of your time just for commuting. That is not including your work time nor any other stuff you might've wanted to do.
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Old 10-14-04, 03:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonH
Hi all,
I live in the Twin Cities, and I have a goal to commute about three time a week by spring. The real issue is, it's 32 miles each way. I live in the north and work in the south (on either side of the x94 loop, for those from up here.) Is this a realistic goal? The real issue so far is time. I can do it if I just pound out the miles, but that can take a long time at my rate :-).

How far do you commute? Has anyone tried this or am I some kind of nut?

Thanks in advance

Shannon

I think you're kind of a nut. A buddy used to do Chanhassen -> Downtown, which was about 18 miles I think. Thats pretty far for winters in these parts. Depending on your route, could you ride downtown & take light rail to the mall & go from there? Could be a good break / warmup in the cooler months...
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Old 10-14-04, 03:07 PM   #20
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You need a motor bike. Not to be confused with motorcycle.
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Old 10-14-04, 03:27 PM   #21
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How about taking the bus or train?
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Old 10-14-04, 08:46 PM   #22
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Hmmm. That is a fare distance. However, I used to commute by car from Montgomery, MN to Savage, MN. Some days I think it would have been faster by bike than by car. I thing crossing the "cities" by car may be as time consuming. Have you timed your other commuting methods? Personally, I wish I had a commute closer to your distance.

Several great suggestions above. Good luck and let us know what and how it goes.
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Old 10-15-04, 04:55 AM   #23
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Thanks for the advice! There are quite a lot of ideas I hadn't really considered, but will look into, especially the public transit ideas. I can stay mostly on paved trails by staying along the Mississippi, except for a small part of northern Minneapolis. I'll definitely be working up to it, and not doing it this winter. it seems unrealistic in winter at all, because of the short days. A good goal for spring. Thanks again everybody!

Shannon
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Old 11-03-04, 11:57 AM   #24
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I live in NE minneapolis and have gone back and forth to rosemount (~25 miles) multiple times. Luckily like you said you can follow the mississippi and be on very nice roads with very minimal traffic the entire way. I'd say if you have the 2.5 hours before and after work to do it there's no reason not to. A beautiful ride along the river on a nice trail before work can't be all that bad.
I can maybe help with the route somewhat if you're headed in that general direction (NE mpls to eagan/rosemount).

Andrew
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Old 11-03-04, 12:14 PM   #25
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I live 30 miles from work and have, on occaision, made the round trip in the summertime when there is a lot of daylight. The biggest problem is getting up at 5AM to hit the road so I have time to shower before work starts. You also get home a bit late so it takes a lot out of your day. But seeing your coworkers jaws drop when you roll up makes it worth the effort.

I normally commute 16 miles round trip to a vanpool pickup. That's just about right.
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