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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 03-30-11, 12:48 PM   #1
coolio
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My yearly mileage has been dropping. A family commuterís analysis.

Ok, I got back in to riding in 2008 (Iím 43YO). I started keeping mileage when I started in 08 and that year I did 1629 miles. In 2009, I logged 1303 miles. Now, I finally compiled my miles from 2010 and it turns out that I did 1003 miles.

Iím not a recreational cyclist and basically use my bike(s) to get to work. I will occasionally do errands on the weekends like running to the store etc, but thatís about it.

I can attribute this to 2 reasons: My job moved to a closer location in mid 2009. 2nd. Our in-laws moved out in mid 2010 since our daughter is now going to a regular 8-3pm school. Before, she was in preK and they would pick up and drop off. I was free to bike in to work and bike home. Now, with me shouldering the drop-off duties. I will sometimes take the car to do the drop off, come home and ride to work. I admit that a lot of times I ride the whole way to work after the drop off (non bicycling day).

Man, I hope Iím not getting old and subconsciously avoiding biking. 2011 will be the true test. I think I need to stay stable from what I did in 2010 or at least improve on that. What do you all think?
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Old 03-30-11, 12:52 PM   #2
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How far away is your daughter's school? You could perhaps have ride with her to school, or take her in a Burley.
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Old 03-30-11, 01:10 PM   #3
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Once my kids reached driving age my number of bicycle commute days and mileage skyrocketed. There is hope.
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Old 03-30-11, 01:13 PM   #4
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I only started riding regularly last summer, so I don't have the volumes of data, but I share your concern. I am about your age (45 next month), a parent (4 kids, ages 10 to 18) and have responsibilities that preclude me riding as much as I might like. I drive my daughter to school most days (~10 miles), and then I park, get on the bike and ride. My issue is that during the winter months, I started driving a little further and biking a little less. I'm trying to break that habit now. I don't think it is 'age' but there is a value to time which is undeniable - in the mornings, I generally cover the additional 3 miles a bit faster by car, even allowing for traffic delays, and it saves me 10-15 minutes coming home (it is almost all uphill).

Perhaps the secret here is to use your ego - getting on the bike more will make you look and feel younger? Don't compare yourself to the young studs... compare yourself to the old guys (you know, the 40 year old guy in your office who looks 50...) and remind yourself that you don't want to be him? Just a thought.
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Old 03-30-11, 01:57 PM   #5
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I make my school age son ride his bike with me to his school (mile away). The wife racks it when she picks him up after school.

As far as riding mileage, all you can do is set out to make a set number weekly. Eat an elephant one bite at a time, and by the end of the year I think you'll see much higher numbers.

Heck, 100 miles a week isn't impossible. That would put you close to 5200 miles a year.
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Old 03-30-11, 02:27 PM   #6
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If you have a smartphone with GPS (or other way to track your miles as you go), I'd recommend using an app like RunKeeper or Cyclemeter. It sounds like you're tallying up your miles at the end of the year. I find it's much more motivating to see charts updated every ride showing me how many miles I've gone so far this week/month. This makes it obvious to me whether I'm slacking off one month and makes it easy for me to see how many miles I'm no pace to do for the year.
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Old 03-30-11, 03:04 PM   #7
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This summer I'll have to drive my oldest son half way across town to his summer camp day care, in an opposite direction from work. I don't see how I'll fit in the time to drive back and hop on the bike, work my full day and bike home again in time for dinner. I knew this when we were comparing summer camp/child care options, but the quality of this facility was a higher priority than convenience.

Previously I've been able to drop the kids off very close to home and double back, and when I had only one kid I dropped him off using the Burley.

On the bright side, at the end of the summer everything will be close to home again, and my oldest son will ride the bus.
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Old 04-04-11, 08:22 AM   #8
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This summer I'll have to drive my oldest son half way across town to his summer camp day care, in an opposite direction from work. I don't see how I'll fit in the time to drive back and hop on the bike, work my full day and bike home again in time for dinner.
Do you own a rack? I take my daughter to school with the bike on the back of the car, and then park and ride from there... is that a possibility? Or is it just too far?
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Old 04-04-11, 08:58 AM   #9
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coolio, I still see you as someone who rode a bicycle 1003 miles more than most people in the U.S. do. Keep up the good work.
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Old 04-04-11, 09:08 AM   #10
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coolio, you say that you "sometimes" drive your daughter to the drop off, does that mean that you also sometimes take her by bike?
Why is the yearly mileage relevant? Would you say that you are riding mostly because of the exercise, to reduce driving (for the environment) or save money?
If you ride for the exercise, it would be smart to do longer rides regularly (once a week or so), or even develop a more ambitious training plan, in that way you can just decide what yearly mileage you want and go for it!
If you ride to reduce driving, obviously you should try to figure out a way where you can ride with your daughter to school, perhaps with a new piece of equipment (like a burley or tug-along). That would be a good way to show her by example that there are alternatives to driving and normalize alternative transport in general.
If you ride mostly to save money, we will need a whole lot of more information to calculate the costs of all the alternatives (which could include walking, riding, taking the bus, car-pooling and driving).
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Old 04-05-11, 07:29 AM   #11
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Do you own a rack? I take my daughter to school with the bike on the back of the car, and then park and ride from there... is that a possibility? Or is it just too far?
I do have a rack, but my house, my workplace, and the summer camp are spread apart like the vertices of a triangle. The ride between the summer camp and work is also longer and less pleasant than from my home to work. It's not worth it to me to ride back to the summer camp at the end of the day to fetch my car and drive it home; I'd rather drive the car home in the morning and bike from there.
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Old 04-05-11, 02:45 PM   #12
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Thanks for the suggestions, all. Cycling with my daughter to school is pretty impossible. The road infrastructure around the school is not bike friendly. First, there is an uphill bridge with a slim sidewalk that would be very tight with a burley. It is a 4 lane road and I would not like to subject my daughter to the honks that would undoubtedly come if I took the lane. A tag along would work, but she is getting heavier and I’ve noticed that the tag along sways more with her increased weight. There’s just a natural fear that she could sway left and go into the road with a car hitting her if I took the sidewalk.

This bridge goes over a 6 lane highway. I could go further down the road about half mile and cross in a pedestrian bridge. It has its own set of issues. On both ends there is a pole dividing it that would make it very difficult for a burley to fit thru. Also, for some reason the surface is metal and on wet dewy days, the rubber on my bike slips and slides. I haven’t tried it on icy days but I imagine it would be worse.

I ride because I enjoy the feeling of it. Gas savings and exercise are good side benefits, but really I just enjoy getting out and riding. Someone had a signature here that said something like, “Work is what separates my bike rides.” And, that’s just how I feel. Right now, I drive her to school and on the best days, go back home and ride to work.

Great to hear from commuters who have kids and work and try to get their rides in. Thanks, again.

Last edited by coolio; 04-05-11 at 02:46 PM. Reason: too much spacing.
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