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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 06-02-11, 09:33 AM   #1
bluefoxicy
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It gets faster but not easier

I did my commute in 45 minutes. Still averaging under 10mph. I don't many times go over 12mph and I'm ragged climbing hills (still thinking about dropping the chain rings to 26-38-48 instead of 30-42-52).

This used to be a 1 hour commute. If I can sustain 18mph with climbs around 10mph I should be able to manage it in half an hour.... maybe less.

My heart's still not taking it well; I'm running myself out to the end and then further, pounding hard and fast in my chest, gasping for air, and still going. My legs seem to be able to take it way better than they used to.

I'm getting faster, but it's not getting easier ...
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Old 06-02-11, 09:36 AM   #2
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Did you have a question?
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Old 06-02-11, 09:48 AM   #3
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Work hard and you can expect that in 2-3 years you will hit some peak shape... improvements in one's cycling take time and miles and it never does get that much easier as once you hit a plateau you seem to kick it up another notch to keep the challenge and adrenalin flowing.

My ride out in the morning is leisurely as I ride with my daughters who can cruise along at 20km / 12 mph and I just gear down and spin to warm up for the legs for the ride back to the shop... I usually pace cars on the return. I do the reverse in the afternoon when I pick them up and the ride home is usually a cool down although sometimes those girls like to crank it.

Was so busted up three years ago I could not walk or ride and it has taken some time to get back into a semblance of the old shape I was in... last year was a good season and since I ride all winter I come into the nice season in pretty good shape.

When it gets easier you know you are either slacking or need to kick it up a notch.
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Old 06-02-11, 09:53 AM   #4
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There is a quote from Greg LeMond where he says "It never gets easier, you just go faster". Whether that is actually him or not I don't know, but there is definite truth in it.

As time goes on and I've been getting into light racing and group rides I can see how much I have progressed from where I started and it's pretty amazing. When I see it week by week the improvements are small, but over the months and years it has added up to a completely new level of fitness.

Congrats on your improvements thus far and keep taking good care of that body!
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Old 06-02-11, 10:11 AM   #5
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I'm not looking to gain much speed (though a little would be nice). I'd love though to be able to do my ride in to work at about the same pace, but not be as sweaty/tired when I get here. I think that means working on the ride home/weekends to get my speed/endurance up so the ride in will be a lower % of my top speed.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:24 AM   #6
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As Skribb mentioned you're not really posting a question so I'm not sure if you were soliciting advice or not.

On the chance that you are, I'd recommend that you take rest days as needed, work on your cadence and try not to push too big a gear. But then again since you are already considering moving to a smaller crank maybe you already knew all that.
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Old 06-02-11, 11:25 AM   #7
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Totally lower your gearing.

I run 24x34x45 with 11x32 in the back. I sometimes wish I had lower gears, but I never need more than that. It might not make you faster, but it will be much more pleasant.
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Old 06-02-11, 11:44 AM   #8
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Standard 22/32/42 mountain bike gearing rocks for hilly areas. Especially when you're just starting to get good on hills. Just make sure that you don't accidentally drop too low and go like a hamster. You're heart will want to pop. A cycling computer with cadence measurement helps a lot in controlling the hamster affect. You can learn your sweet spot in cadence, and use the computer to help keep you in line.

I really love the 42/34/24 on one of my mountain bikes. It's a nice compromise for a heavy mountain bike on hilly pavement.
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Old 06-02-11, 11:44 AM   #9
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When I first started biking to work (4 years ago), it took me about 50 minutes and I averaged 12.1 mph on a typical day. Last week, I had my best time with 35 minutes for an average speed of 17.3 mph. Most days I'm around 38 minutes and 16 mph.

Hills, stop signs and wind are always going to be a major drag on your average speed. It takes an awful lot of riding at 20+ mph to make up for the 30 seconds or so that you spend coming to a stop and then getting back up to speed, but you'll be able to "flatten out" many of your hills as your fitness improves. The hard ceiling imposed by your heart rate probably won't last through your first year.
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Old 06-02-11, 11:47 AM   #10
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You're doing well!
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Old 06-02-11, 12:16 PM   #11
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I'm still getting a little faster, the easier part is debatable some days.
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Old 06-02-11, 12:32 PM   #12
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To up your speed, get a cycle computer that doesn't count slow speeds . I use a Garmin 305 that I got off craigslist and I set it to not record anything less than 12 kmph. Then when slowing for a light or starting from a stop, that real slow speed isn't counted. It is cheating - but it does provide a more consistent result and you can gauge your progress better.... just my 2 cents.

Plus, you can download all your data to your computer so you can see stuff like - how fast you were going when you got cut off by that car...

As for gearing - I don't really get why you need a lot of gears. I ride 3 maybe 4 of my 27 speeds available. Overall, try to keep cadence around 80 to 90. With the Garmin, you can measure cadence and heart rate so for me, I keep in the gear that gives me 170 to 180 beats per min heart rate and then about 90 on cadence. That turns out to be the middle ring (42 teeth) on my bike and the 14 to 18 teeth cogs on the rear.
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Old 06-02-11, 01:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volvostephen
As for gearing - I don't really get why you need a lot of gears. I ride 3 maybe 4 of my 27 speeds available.
do you have a triple crank and a 9 speed cassette, and stay consistently on the middle ring? Maybe lower gearing would open up that upper ring to you.

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Overall, try to keep cadence around 80 to 90.
With more gear options you can more easily adjust to accommodate wind and hill conditions to maintain your optimal cadence.
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Old 06-02-11, 01:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
My heart's still not taking it well; I'm running myself out to the end and then further, pounding hard and fast in my chest, gasping for air, and still going. My legs seem to be able to take it way better than they used to.
Sounds like your cadence is too high for you right now. Try a smaller cog or a bigger chain ring, which means your legs will be working harder, but your heart and lungs will take it a little easier.
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Old 06-02-11, 01:35 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
My heart's still not taking it well; I'm running myself out to the end and then further, pounding hard and fast in my chest, gasping for air, and still going. My legs seem to be able to take it way better than they used to.

I'm getting faster, but it's not getting easier ...
Well, if you are pushing as hard as you can, how could it get easier?
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