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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 08-24-11, 12:56 AM   #1
bigdummy27
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Want to know how long a 14.3 mile commute will take?

I just changed locations for work and the commute is 14.3 miles. Is this a realistic commute or is it too far. My alternatives are to take public transit or drive. I done the commute twice already and it isn't bad, but it can see how it can wear a person out doing it everyday.
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Old 08-24-11, 01:00 AM   #2
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It depends on the terrain and how strong your legs are.
Then it might come down to how much weight you are packing on the bike, and what type of bike....

There are a bunch that commute that long around here.. but I doubt they can answer your question without more information.
A map of the general area and the route you are taking wouldn't hurt.. but I am guessing you already did a google search.
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Old 08-24-11, 01:32 AM   #3
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Here is the link for my commute. I'll be riding a Surly big Dummy and probably a backpack that's around 10-15 lbs. I just started riding in May.

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=42...lci=bike&via=1
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Old 08-24-11, 01:47 AM   #4
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It is impossible to give an answer to this question as there are far too many factors to be calculated... the biggest one is how fit and how fast you are.

A 14 mile commute is do-able and with a route that has few stops and with good legs you might be looking at an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes if we use an average speed of 15mph which would be considered to be quite fast under ideal conditions.

If you have only been riding since May you are far from being in peak riding shape which usually takes dedication and a few years before you really peak out so the commute will likely take much longer.

Best way to tell is to ride your route on a day off and establish a baseline and understand that the miles will start to catch up to you when you start doing this daily.

I used to ride 35 miles a day (average) and have no trouble with a commute that is 35 miles each way but I have been working at it for a while... after a back injury 4 years ago I had to start from ground zero and work my way back to being able to do this and it did take years and lots of dedication.
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Old 08-24-11, 02:08 AM   #5
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It would take me about an hour and fifteen, depending upon terrain and stops, FWIW. It's outside of my comfort zone for everyday riding, but I'm also not as hardcore as a lot of folks on here. I'd either have to break it up so it isn't every day, or do at least part of the leg with transit. Your comfort zone may be/probably is different than mine.

Do you have to pick one or the other? Do you have the option of sometimes biking it and sometimes taking transit? Or take transit for a leg and biking the rest? Or biking one way and taking transit the other? Just a few thoughts.

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Old 08-24-11, 02:10 AM   #6
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That's almost exactly the length of my commute, which takes me about 65-75 minutes, depending on how long I have to wait for the ferry and how many red lights I hit.
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Old 08-24-11, 02:25 AM   #7
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There are lots of variables that can affect your commute:

Your speed, level of fitness, tires, level of fatigue, wind (this can skew results wildly), loaded, unloaded, traffic, terrain (one way can be much quicker than the other, depending on ascent/descent), weather (if you plan on riding through snowy months, and your area sees a lot of snow, your average speed will drop considerably), road quality (if you have to ride through screwed up city streets, gravel, offroad, etc), stop lights, stop signs, and light (I usually travel a little slower in the dark) just to name some of the most apparent ones.

I'm a big, slow guy. I tend to average about 12-14 mph with moderate hills. My 5 mile commute used to take me 15-20 minutes depending on how I was feeling that day. My commute to work had more descent than my commute home. My commute home also avoided lots of major roads (because evening rush hour was much worse than morning rush hour), so that extra distance, plus riding in residental neighborhoods added at least 10-15 (about 75% additional time) minutes to my commute at the end of the day.

Based on your test rides, you should have a good idea of what it will take. Even once you're in "good commuting shape," your time probably won't be reduced too dramatically...at least in my experience.
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Old 08-24-11, 02:38 AM   #8
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If it seems like too much, you could always try a hybrid plan.

Some people with long commutes will put their bike in/on their car, drive in, ride home, ride to work the next day, drive the bike home, and then drive back in the morning. It sounds kind of complicated when all typed out...but it's actually quite simple.
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Old 08-24-11, 03:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by bigdummy27 View Post
Here is the link for my commute. I'll be riding a Surly big Dummy and probably a backpack that's around 10-15 lbs. I just started riding in May.

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=42...lci=bike&via=1
Pardon my curiosity. The Surly Big Dummy has the capability of hauling 400 pounds [rider + cargo]. Why do you need a backpack? Don't they come with the xtra-cycle bags? These Big Dummys are monsters. If I had the room I would own one, but I'd have to get rid of either my refrigerator or the bathtub.
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Old 08-24-11, 04:35 AM   #10
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Pardon my curiosity. The Surly Big Dummy has the capability of hauling 400 pounds [rider + cargo]. Why do you need a backpack? Don't they come with the xtra-cycle bags? These Big Dummys are monsters. If I had the room I would own one, but I'd have to get rid of either my refrigerator or the bathtub.
Yes, my thoughts exactly. Please tell me you're sticking your backpack in your freeloader. I cannot imagine you wearing a backpack while riding a BD.
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Old 08-24-11, 04:35 AM   #11
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My hilly commute is about 12 miles and takes me roughly 40 minutes. It's good exercise and I enjoy getting on the bike M-F. I just don't do it in the winter - too damned cold!

Quote:
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Pardon my curiosity. The Surly Big Dummy has the capability of hauling 400 pounds [rider + cargo]. Why do you need a backpack? Don't they come with the xtra-cycle bags? These Big Dummys are monsters. If I had the room I would own one, but I'd have to get rid of either my refrigerator or the bathtub.
Why does the OP need to commute on a Big Dummy in the first place. That's a rather heavy bike to commute on. Does he really need that cargo capacity I wonder?
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Old 08-24-11, 07:22 AM   #12
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My commute is almost exactly the same distance, 14-15 miles (~30 miles a day). I make the commute about 4 days/week. The biggest factor for me is the wind. It takes me 35-50 minutes. I generally travel around 20-22 mph, but wind and hills can slow me down to 15-18 mph range.

I ride a road bike, weigh 200lb, 6'3" and carry a backpack containing office clothes, lunch, laptop (not a light netbook), and lots of other gear and tools.
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Old 08-24-11, 08:01 AM   #13
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Sundance89, Hammandegger - Yeah, I'm definitely using the free-loaders for my backpack, which is what I store my papers in. I just wanted to give everyone an idea of how much I usually carry to work plus I'm a student so I usually have one textbook and a notebook so that I can get some studying time in whenever possible. I'm using the BD because sometimes I need to carry one more case of equipment to work with me. I work in a commerical printing company and sometimes I need to bring different testing equipment, plus I don't have any bags for my Bike Friday ticket and I usually arrive with a wet back even on much shorter trips.
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Old 08-24-11, 08:09 AM   #14
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It would take me about an hour and fifteen, depending upon terrain and stops, FWIW. It's outside of my comfort zone for everyday riding, but I'm also not as hardcore as a lot of folks on here. I'd either have to break it up so it isn't every day, or do at least part of the leg with transit. Your comfort zone may be/probably is different than mine.

Do you have to pick one or the other? Do you have the option of sometimes biking it and sometimes taking transit? Or take transit for a leg and biking the rest? Or biking one way and taking transit the other? Just a few thoughts.
Thanks for the suggestions. I think I should work myself up to the full commute. At first on the days that I don't need to lug extra items to work besides my backpack I'll ride my tikit half way and take the train half way. And on the days that I have more cargo and the weather permits I'll ride my BD. I'm hoping that it works out to be alternating days but things never work out that way. And on the really bad days I'll just drive, or maybe just get one of those trailers that converts to a cart that I can pull behind me to take on the train.
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Old 08-24-11, 08:09 AM   #15
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as others have said, there are WAY too many variables to give a straight answer to your question other than to say it will likely fall somewhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours.

my commute is ~14 miles each way. i ride everyday. the route is dead flat (chicago, duh). 8 miles of it are along the lakefront path where i don't have to deal with stop lights and car traffic and such. it usually takes me anywhere from 45 minutes up to an hour depending primarily on wind (lake michigan can get stupid windy at times) and which bike i take. in winter, the time jumps up to the 55-75 minute range (studded tires, ice, slush, snow, etc. can really slow you down).

however, i've been doing this for 4 years now. when i first started out, i wasn't strong enough to ride all 30 miles of my commute everyday, so i used a folding bike in tandem with public transit to make the journey. as i became strong enough to ride the whole way, both ways, it was taking me roughly 1 hour 20 minutes each way. as i got stronger, and as i changed from a folding bike to a hybrid bike and then to a proper road bike, i chiseled away at that time to where i am today.

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Old 08-24-11, 08:12 AM   #16
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That's almost exactly the length of my commute, which takes me about 65-75 minutes, depending on how long I have to wait for the ferry and how many red lights I hit.
I have ridden the route 2 times already and I probably can fine tune it to avoid certain traffic lights and high congestion areas. The thing that slows me down the most are the lights.
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Old 08-24-11, 08:30 AM   #17
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The BD has more of a MTB geometry and I'm trying to tune the seat height, handlebars so that I can have a more upright riding position and so does the tikit. For my 14.3 mile route would a road bike be more appropiate for the commute?

I think everyone is wondering why I'm torturing myself by riding such a monster of a bike. I like the utility that it affords me if anything comes up and i need the cargo room.
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Old 08-24-11, 08:36 AM   #18
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For my 14.3 mile route would a road bike be more appropiate for the commute?
again, it depends on many variables. however, if your route is entirely paved with reasonably decent pavement, i personally would choose a road bike for a commute of that length (at least in fair weather), but then, i never do any hauling on my commute, i just wear a backpack with a change of clothes, wallet, keys, & phone. i try to keep my load down so that i can keep my speed up.

my foul weather/winter bike is an IGH/disc brake hybrid that's about 9 pounds heavier than my road bike, but it's the appropriate pony to handle the job of inclement weather.
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Old 08-24-11, 08:43 AM   #19
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At the speed I can go on my route (with my bike), it would take a little over an hour, which I think is a reasonable time. That said, you'll want to leave early to account for extra-long lights or technical difficulties along the way.

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Old 08-24-11, 08:50 AM   #20
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I have ridden the route 2 times already and I probably can fine tune it to avoid certain traffic lights and high congestion areas. The thing that slows me down the most are the lights.
Uhm, uh, er, well, how long did it take to ride it those two times? Average the times, multiply by 1.5, add a 15 minute random variable factor, and you should be close for a daily commute. Considering that there is a whole lot of city on your route there will most likely be random variables, road construction, car/truck/pedestrian collisions, assorted other urban stuff to deal with. Have a couple of alternate routes in mind "just in case".

And I think we need a pic of your rig, please.
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Old 08-24-11, 09:12 AM   #21
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It would take me about an hour and fifteen, depending upon terrain and stops, FWIW. It's outside of my comfort zone for everyday riding, but I'm also not as hardcore as a lot of folks on here. I'd either have to break it up so it isn't every day, or do at least part of the leg with transit. Your comfort zone may be/probably is different than mine.

Do you have to pick one or the other? Do you have the option of sometimes biking it and sometimes taking transit? Or take transit for a leg and biking the rest? Or biking one way and taking transit the other? Just a few thoughts.
You're not as hardcore as folks here claim to be when they're posting to a Internet forum.

I enjoy target shooting, and use to regularly read one gun forum. 90% of posters to that forum could out shoot the IPSC champs pretty every day of the week with a $150 pistol and "white box" ammo from Wally World. It made me wonder why those ISPC champs wasted all that money on $3000 pistols, custom ammunition and years of training, when simply subscribing to that forum obviously led to the same (or better) results.

I believe your time and The Chemist.

This is probably best handled empirically - ride it a couple of times on a day off (best if you can do on a workday with the traffic you'll encounter commuting). Average those.

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Old 08-24-11, 09:16 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by bigdummy27 View Post
I just changed locations for work and the commute is 14.3 miles. Is this a realistic commute or is it too far. My alternatives are to take public transit or drive. I done the commute twice already and it isn't bad, but it can see how it can wear a person out doing it everyday.
I do my 19 mile commute in about 1:15 - 1:20 depending on the headwind and how rested my muscles are. My very first attempt 7 weeks ago was 1:30.

Depending on how many hills you encounter, 14 miles shouldn't be a problem, and you can probably expect it to take about an hour.

I would recommend riding the route on a day off first just to see how long it takes you and examine what obstacles you may run into. That way you won't be surprised by anything when you do the commute and are under a time constraint.
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Old 08-24-11, 09:16 AM   #23
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I enjoy target shooting, and use to regularly read one gun forum. 90% of posters to that forum could out shoot the IPSC champs pretty every day of the week with a $150 pistol and "white box" ammo from Wally World. It made me wonder why those ISPC champs wasted all that money on $3000 pistols, custom ammunition and years of training, when simply subscribing to that forum obviously led to the same (or better) results.
Hahah, I think penny arcade have their next strip!
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Old 08-24-11, 09:47 AM   #24
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If no Bike rack on the busses, Folding Bike offers the option,
to take the bus part of the way as a bail out , if tired..

or weather closes in before the work day is out..

Or its a long ways just to get to the Bus route stop.

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Old 08-24-11, 09:54 AM   #25
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A job change increased my commute from 5 to 15 miles. The commute is mostly level and much on rural roads. I average 56 minutes but range 52-60 depending on wind. The 5 miler was a daily "just do it". 15 miles requires attention to weather, proper packing, and I need to shower before work. I did the 5 miler on any bike. I limit myself to my 1980's touring and 'sport' bikes for the longer commute. I need the drops for the wind. I also need a rack for that distance as I hate back pack sweating. I am averaging 3/week compared to 5/week on the shorter commute.
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