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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 03-05-11, 11:15 AM   #1
Jose Mandez
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Run for fun???? or...Is your commute your main source of exercise?

In the movie Back to the Future part III, Doc Brown is sitting in a saloon in the Old West divulging some details about the future to the saloon's patrons: "In the future, we don't need horses: We have motorized carriages called automobiles."

After some bemused chuckling, a man with an asthmatic wheeze in his voice asks, "If everybody's got one of these auto-whatsits, does anybody ever walk or run anymore?"

"Of course we run," replied the doctor, "but for recreation, for fun."

"Run for fun?" the same man asked incredulously "What the h#%% kind of fun is that?"

This quote reminds me how strange it is that the same kind of primitive locomotion that humans used for centuries to get around is now mainly reserved for exercise and for recreation. One reason I love bicycle commuting is that, not only does it get me where I'm going relatively efficiently, but it is practically my only source of aerobic/cardiorespiratory conditioning at the same time. The 6-8 hours I log in my bike during a work week (and that's not even counting trips to the grocery or to friends' houses) is more than enough to keep me in good aerobic shape. I can count on one hand the number of "loops" that I've ridden in the past year (by "loops" I mean rides with no destination done purely for training, in which I start and end at home with no intermediate destination). Even when I ride on days off, I will still pick a destination (such as a restaurant) to which I will ride, spend a few hours there, and then ride home. As for running, I run when I have to in order to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test, which my cycling keeps me in more than good enough shape to excel at. While I'm an okay runner, I don't enjoy running very much anymore because of how inefficient it is; adding 25 pounds of mechanical advantage gets me to my destination at twice the speed with less effort expended. (The only down side is that cycling doesn't build much bone density unless one stands up to pedal quite a bit).

So this is sort of an informal poll of bikeforums commuters: Is your commute your main source of aerobic fitness? Do you still ride or run on your off-time to keep yourself in shape?
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Old 03-05-11, 11:25 AM   #2
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I don't know... ride 10 miles of rough road a day and it will probably do wonders for your bone density.

As for other forms of exercise, does chasing a toddler count?
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Old 03-05-11, 11:32 AM   #3
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Commuting is only one part of my cycling lifestyle, the other part is long distance recreational rides which I do on the weekends. So yes cycling is my main form of excercise. My job is also physically demanding so I do get a little bit of excercise while I am working.
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Old 03-05-11, 11:54 AM   #4
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Commuting is it. I can't stand running and never had the motivation to go to the gym after work.
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Old 03-05-11, 12:10 PM   #5
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Commuting is only one part of my cycling lifestyle, the other part is long distance recreational rides which I do on the weekends. So yes cycling is my main form of excercise. My job is also physically demanding so I do get a little bit of excercise while I am working.
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I can't stand running and never had the motivation to go to the gym after work.
These.

I've told those around me: "I will run if my kids are spurting blood or on fire; otherwise, NO...F'N...WAY." Hurts the lower back too much.

I find it odd, and a little humorous -- I'll ride my MTB 40 miles, but I detest running 40 yards. WALKING more than about a mile or so tends to hurt the back, too, but I can do that better than the running.
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Old 03-05-11, 12:25 PM   #6
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Commuting plus recreational riding is the majority of my exercise. I used to run on a treadmill while watching movies, but got shin splints on several occassions so I stopped doing that.

I enjoy walking, its not uncommon for me to go for a 12km, 2.5 hour walk to the store for a loaf of bread (when its warmer, ie: above -20C). Walking as exercsise is ok for weight maintenance, but don't count on losing weight doing it. One summer I walked about 15km or more (3+ hours) a day and didn't lose any weight at all. I can see how people can get frustrated, but you can't expect much from such a low intensity activity.

On long walks I find the front of my upper legs get stiff. Once when I went for a 30km, 6 hour walk I think I injured the facia on one leg. It wasn't painful, just a really unpleasant feeling that took a long time to heal. Now when I feel my legs tightening up I slow down and do some stretching.
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Old 03-05-11, 12:44 PM   #7
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I commute, but I also ride for exercise (solo and group rides). I run and swim sporadically.
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Old 03-05-11, 01:13 PM   #8
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I live in the Alps and mountain sports are a way of life here. Not only do I ride to work and ride for fun on the weekends, but I also hike, downhill ski, cross-country ski, run, walk, and swim. I figure I spend something like 4 to 6 hours per day doing some kind of exercise. That may sound like a lot, but around here it's pretty normal.
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Old 03-05-11, 01:18 PM   #9
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Monday through Friday, yes. I typically do some weights and ab work in the evenings but the bike commutes are the main deal. On weekends run, do cardio-weights classes and/or do long distance biking. I like to eat a lot so I have to workout a lot.
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Old 03-05-11, 02:51 PM   #10
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Yes I run but not nearly as much as I cycle. Maybe once or twice a week. I figure itís a good change of pace, plus I want to be able to run for at least a few miles (without walking) for as many years as possible. If you never run, eventually you wonít be able to.

Other physical exercise I do on a regular bases, and plan to continue doing to the end of my life:

Martial arts training, weight training, yoga, Pilates or core muscle conditioning, and hiking. I also refuse to use a snow blower or a self propelled lawn mower, and choose to shovel or push instead. My rule is to do at least one of the above every day. I keep a simple log, and miss very few days. Like my hero Jack LaLanne would say, the only way you can hurt the body is by not using it!
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Old 03-05-11, 03:48 PM   #11
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I'm running about 25 miles a week right now (4 days of running per week, typically) along with the daily commute. The bike as a means of transportation came much later in my life than running, though, specifically after my Audi was totaled in a ridiculous accident about 8 years ago.
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Old 03-05-11, 04:39 PM   #12
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Yup, commuting by bike is my main exercise. Given that i haven't worked for the last couple of weeks, and the weather has been unsuitable for leisure riding, I have put on a few pounds. Got to get back to work before i turn into blob again.
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Old 03-05-11, 04:39 PM   #13
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My commute is too short to qualify as exercise. In summer it can be as short as 12 minutes if there's a tailwind. In winter it's only 20 minutes, but done slowly as it's on lumpy snow and ice. (I don't actually ride much in winter anyway.)

The exception is when I ride to the pool before work (something I don't do in winter as the roads leading to the pool aren't very safe then). Then I can get in 15k (25-35 minutes) plus 30-50 minutes swimming plus another 20 minutes to work. Or I sometimes add in laps of a 5k circuit near my house on the way home just to increase the distance.
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Old 03-05-11, 05:04 PM   #14
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Commuting is 100% of my exercise. I stopped for 3 months due to other priorities, and wound up on blood pressure meds. I've restarted and am now able to to taper off the meds.

I'm actually starting to do a little time on the treadmill every week. Not a lot, just a couple of miles once a week, for some impact.
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Old 03-05-11, 05:26 PM   #15
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I ran about 6 miles this afternoon. I'm not sure if I'm training for a marathon, or just enjoying the running. We'll see when it gets closer to September (MPLS Marathon).
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Old 03-05-11, 06:11 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bigbenaugust View Post
I don't know... ride 10 miles of rough road a day and it will probably do wonders for your bone density.
I'm waiting for the snow to melt so I can resume riding these to work. Maybe they'll be clear by Monday.





Back to the topic, in winter, my commute is the extent of my exercise. In the three seasons, besides being able to ride longer, more interesting routes to work, I add both solo and group rides on a couple of weeknights and on the weekend
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Old 03-05-11, 07:50 PM   #17
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I've been a runner for years, and still like it. But I hate running in the rain, especially when I'm stopping off at Minto Brown Park in Salem, OR, running 5 miles or so, then getting in my car soaking wet. Now that I'm down to must my motorcycle it's even worse. I realized toward the end of last year that I could take buses for much of my 50 mile one way commute, but needed to go the 9 miles from Falls City to Dallas. Hence the conversion to bicycle commuting. I haven't been in this good of shape in the winter for as long as I can remember. If I take a stretch of time off from work I will go running, but where I live it's all uphill for a few miles, then back down. I lift weights, do yoga, and taekwon do forms on my non-commuting days. I try to do nothing for one or two days a week, my rest days.

I walk a lot at work but I can't walk fast enough to get a cardio workout unless I'm walking up a steep hill or carrying a lot of weight with me, neither of which happens at work. I just walk to relax.
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Old 03-05-11, 07:55 PM   #18
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mt hope cemetery is great
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Old 03-05-11, 08:16 PM   #19
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I've been transitioning from running to bike commuting as my main form of exercise, but due to weather & job relocation it has been an uneven transition. I like to run at least a couple of days a week just for weight bearing exercise; that's enough to hold me. Once I get finished moving, I hope to get the majority of my aerobic exercise by biking in the summer and cross country skiiing in the winter. But running is usually an easy fallback when biking and skiing aren't practical.
And yes, I prefer to combine bike commuting with aerobic exercise, due to the time savings.
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Old 03-05-11, 08:42 PM   #20
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Running was only fun when I could go for a couple hours without getting exhausted, otherwise it is torture.
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Old 03-05-11, 08:45 PM   #21
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Ain't no way I'm running for fun or exercise. Bike commuting is both alternative transportation and cardio conditioning for me. Weight training is done via horseplaying with the kids. Abs are covered as well, since my son likes to use my gut as a punching bag.
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Old 03-05-11, 08:49 PM   #22
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In addition to cycling, I swim at least six times a week, run and strength train as I am training for Ironman Cozumel.
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Old 03-05-11, 09:06 PM   #23
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mt hope cemetery is great
Best part of my commute.
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Old 03-05-11, 09:07 PM   #24
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I do a few pushups and situps after my commute, but that is it.

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Old 03-06-11, 03:21 AM   #25
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My bike commute isn't nearly long enough to qualify as exercise, so I do other stuff to try to stay fit.
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