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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 05-12-11, 09:52 AM   #1
bluefoxicy
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Drove the car today

Biked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...

I could have made it today.

If I slap my leg, no amount of concentration will prevent the instantaneous complete loss of focus. I can't keep my brain from resetting. The muscle is extremely sore. Probably from me powering around like I'm some kind of seasoned mountain biker blowing by a pathetically easy commute on smooth road.

I really could have made it in today; I just didn't want to deal with it.

I didn't want to deal with the strain, with the soreness, with the very much trivially doable task of getting my bike from my apartment to my job. I wouldn't be able to walk up the stairs without lots and lots of pain and burning in my legs, but it wouldn't be insurmountable to pull it off, nor a major shock.

Still, I'm sore, and while I could, I just decided to drive the car today. If I was well-rested, recovered, running on fully prepared muscles with no soreness or stiffness, I'd have gone for it, sure. I just didn't want to put in the extra effort to do another day on these failing fibers and ligaments. My body is already sore all over, I really just want to lay in bed, or do some yoga.

Does this happen a lot?
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Old 05-12-11, 09:58 AM   #2
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Oh yeah, by the end of the week, I'm pretty well cooked. Listen to you body. It will tell when to take a break. You did the right thing.
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Old 05-12-11, 10:03 AM   #3
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The rationalization to drive or the pain?

Pain/soreness will always be there depending on how hard you push yourself and the physical condition you are in. The excuses to rationalize driving vs. riding a bike, usually go away as the body pain decreases and you build strength.

All of us were at this point one time, you just have to work through it both mentally and physically. It should get easier with time. If you are having serious pain issues, you should check bike fit. You position on the bike could be causing unnecessary pain simply because you are not fitted properly. There is nothing wrong with taking a day off. The body needs time to recover and heal. I would recommend taking vitamins if you don’t already.
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Old 05-12-11, 10:09 AM   #4
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when i first started commuting, which was 2 weeks ago btw, on my bike i was sore after a few days. i was so tempted to get in my car and drive on the fourth day but i decided i will ride. so on the fourth day i just left 20 minutes earlier so i can cruise at a slower speed than before. that helped to relieve the soreness a bit. since i wasn't pushing it. i still felt great that day.

couple of days ago on my way home i got a flat so i used up the only spare tube i had that day. when i got home the bike shop was closed so i couldn't go buy another one. so the next day i had to drive to work cause i didn't want to take a chance on getting a flat and not having any spares. anyways i felt bad all day. like i wasted a workout day lol.
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Old 05-12-11, 10:27 AM   #5
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I'm pretty sure whatever I'm shoving down my throat has enough vitamins. Clif Bars, pork buns, taro root (caution: toxic, handle with care; prepare properly or die), red beans, soya beans, pure sugar, eggs, oat meal, cheese, tacos, raisins ... basically anything I can get my hands on. Not to mention I can clear 2 liters of electrolyte water (Nuun!) in 16 miles, and I drink Gatorade before and after.

I'm getting much faster on my bike, but part of that is getting 1/4 way up a hill with my legs burning almost to the point that I lose feeling and just pushing harder in response. The muscles fatigue, but I don't let them stop. Sometimes I cheat, pushing up to sprinting range (150-200 RPM) to get some speed, then jumping up into high gear and maintaining my speed for half a minute with brute force before coming back into the 90-100 RPM range once those muscles have semi-recovered and I've got some oxygen in my blood.

When I get in, my arms hurt. My back hurts. My legs hurt. All my joints are stiff. They crack. They resist movement. Whatever muscles are just in front of the shoulders (on the chest) are sore, somehow. Sometimes I sneak off during work to do 5-10 minutes of Yoga, mostly Warrior and Surya Namaskara, although Trikonasana is a favorite of mine.

More meditation maybe. My top speed up a hill is only achievable under deep inner focus and I am not skilled enough to do that effectively. That kind of meditation lets me make all kinds of interesting adjustments: I can pick up on every little loss of power and every shift in my joints that's either imbalanced or improper, and cut some 10% of the load off my body and send that much more power directly into the machine. Load off my body is a good thing, makes things easier, less painful.
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Old 05-12-11, 01:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
Biked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...

I could have made it today.

If I slap my leg, no amount of concentration will prevent the instantaneous complete loss of focus. I can't keep my brain from resetting. The muscle is extremely sore. Probably from me powering around like I'm some kind of seasoned mountain biker blowing by a pathetically easy commute on smooth road.

I really could have made it in today; I just didn't want to deal with it.

I didn't want to deal with the strain, with the soreness, with the very much trivially doable task of getting my bike from my apartment to my job. I wouldn't be able to walk up the stairs without lots and lots of pain and burning in my legs, but it wouldn't be insurmountable to pull it off, nor a major shock.

Still, I'm sore, and while I could, I just decided to drive the car today. If I was well-rested, recovered, running on fully prepared muscles with no soreness or stiffness, I'd have gone for it, sure. I just didn't want to put in the extra effort to do another day on these failing fibers and ligaments. My body is already sore all over, I really just want to lay in bed, or do some yoga.

Does this happen a lot?
No, actually it does not. Most people avoid pain and painful things. Biking to work shouldn't cause pain. There is no greater impediment to the mass acceptance of cycling as a valid method of transportation than the inability of most who attempt it to want it to be as fast, effortless and convenient as driving. Rather than rest up for a couple of days and get back out there to blow up again in three days I would do as others have suggested and review bike fit and riding technique so that riding doesn't hurt.

H
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Old 05-12-11, 01:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
I'm pretty sure whatever I'm shoving down my throat has enough vitamins. Clif Bars, pork buns, taro root (caution: toxic, handle with care; prepare properly or die), red beans, soya beans, pure sugar, eggs, oat meal, cheese, tacos, raisins ... basically anything I can get my hands on. Not to mention I can clear 2 liters of electrolyte water (Nuun!) in 16 miles, and I drink Gatorade before and after..
Ah... I am getting it. You are young, and male, and American. You have huge challenges ahead. Good luck young sir, you will need it.
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Old 05-12-11, 01:20 PM   #8
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If it hurts that bad, where it can get in the way of your workday, something is being done wrong.

I don't know if it is a choice of cadence, wattage, or fitment, but it shouldn't hurt to bike. The only thing that is hurting on my commuter right now is the hard as wood Brooks B17 saddle I just put on. It is nowhere near broken in yet, so that is the only pain I have right now. I agree with getting fitted and checking what you are doing on the bike. Powering away from lights in a hard gear can make your knees ache if you aren't careful.
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Old 05-12-11, 01:37 PM   #9
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If it hurts that bad, where it can get in the way of your workday, something is being done wrong.

I don't know if it is a choice of cadence, wattage, or fitment, but it shouldn't hurt to bike. The only thing that is hurting on my commuter right now is the hard as wood Brooks B17 saddle I just put on. It is nowhere near broken in yet, so that is the only pain I have right now. I agree with getting fitted and checking what you are doing on the bike. Powering away from lights in a hard gear can make your knees ache if you aren't careful.
My thoughts too. I mean, there is no shame in a rest day, andassuming this isn't just hyperbole, you sound like you are in rough shape. No need to be a hero out there.
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Old 05-12-11, 01:40 PM   #10
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I drove today for similar reasons. 45 mile team ride chasing a World Champion on Sunday. 34mi r/t commute Mon/Tues/Wed. Yesterday it was dumping buckets of rain and my shoes were still wet this morning. Pre-dawn alarm rolled around way too quick, and I hurt a whole lot, so I went back to sleep for another 90 minutes instead of eating breakfast and heading out for my ride to work. I can ride again tomorrow, but being sore and sleepy in morning traffic, or on the 40mph descent part of my commute... That can be dangerous.
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Old 05-12-11, 01:47 PM   #11
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Ah... I am getting it. You are young, and male, and American. You have huge challenges ahead. Good luck young sir, you will need it.
Yeah pretty much. Still, never saw the point in vitamin pills; I mean the Clif bars are pretty fantastic, they contain tons of vitamins, but even without that... food, you know? That stuff you eat to stay alive? Unless your life is fluffy non-enriched white bread and chocolate chip cookies, you should be getting what you need.

I could do with a few more fajitas though. Tomatoes and lettuce and green peppers and fried onions and beef and sour cream and flour tortilla and cheese...not much missing, unless you can figure out how to stuff a bacon cheese burger with fried mushrooms in there. Ooh, that's a good idea... I should pick up some portobella caps and make burgers.

I started eating 3 times as much when I started biking and I lost weight anyway. Now I'm gaining weight, but still getting skinnier. Strange world. Bicycles are magic.

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45 mile team ride chasing a World Champion on Sunday. 34mi r/t commute Mon/Tues/Wed.
My round trip is 15-18 miles depending on route.

You win. I've gone 47 this WEEK.

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If it hurts that bad, where it can get in the way of your workday, something is being done wrong.

I don't know if it is a choice of cadence, wattage, or fitment, but it shouldn't hurt to bike.
Yeah, Sheldon Brown says not to start off and immediately do cross country running, try 1-2 miles nice and easy a day... I started off on 8 mile commutes through hills.

Last edited by bluefoxicy; 05-12-11 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 05-12-11, 01:56 PM   #12
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I ride year round, and every now and then I get sore. Luckily my commutes are pretty short distances so I can push through the pain. But if your body needs rest, it needs rest. There are not set days, times, or distances that commuters have to adhere to. Just enjoy the ride.
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Old 05-12-11, 01:57 PM   #13
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You're riding too much, too hard, if the hurt is building up over the week.

Relax.

Try to take every other day as a recovery ride to and from work. That means you'll go slow, yeah, but you'll keep the streak going, and you'll be building up (mentally and physically) through the week for the weekend.

On your recovery day rides, you gear down for the hills. You never get out of breath, although you may notice your breathing, you're never breathing hard. It takes you an extra three minutes to get to work, but you'll speed up the next day after recovering.

And try putting your bike shoes on the floor in front of the refrigerator overnight to dry them.
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Old 05-12-11, 02:36 PM   #14
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Why do I need to build up for the weekend? I don't work weekends.

I never breath hard anyway. I tend to breath slower and deeper when I start moving faster and working harder, keeping air in my lungs for longer; purging is faster than inhaling.

Extra three minutes? Not on my commute. It's the difference between coming up the hills that make up 50% of my ride at 3-5mph or at 9-14mph.

My shoes are always dry.
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Old 05-12-11, 03:45 PM   #15
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When I first started biking to work, I had serious soreness by Thursday every week and it didn't go away until Monday. That lasted for about two months, and four years later I have to ride 100 miles in a day to get that sore. Keep in mind that when I started biking to work I was 37 years old, 70 pounds overweight and had just pulled a 20 year shift as a total couch potato, so your body will probably adapt much quicker than mine did. That said, I now know that my body would have adapted much quicker than it did if I had taken more days off.

Eddy Merckx once said the Tour de France is won in bed. It's all about recovery. Eddy could ride hard for 200 miles and recover enough in one night to be ready to do it again the next day. You can't. If you want to get faster, you need to rest. The main idea behind athletic training is overload and adaptation. Believe it or not, you make performance gains when you rest, not while you are working hard. If you push yourself really hard for five days and then rest, you've wasted two days that you could have been adapting to the higher workload.
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