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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 03-19-12, 05:32 AM   #1
essiemyra
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Tired

I have been riding for years for enjoyment and just two weeks ago started commuting to work The first week, I only rode two days. I have always done about between 10 and 20 mile rides. What I noticed is at the end of the second week when I had rode four days to work, I was exhausted for most of Fri-Sunday, with no desire to ride my bike. I used to come home from work and want to ride and not feel like I was getting enough time on the bike. Before I started commuting I was working out at the gym four to five days a week and always felt like I had energy. Hopefully this feeling of tiredness will passand my love for riding will come back. I do notice I like my ride home better because it is lighter and I can see more of the scenery. Did anyone else feel like this when they first started commuting?
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Old 03-19-12, 06:14 AM   #2
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I remember right after the first week of commuting everyday for about 36 miles RT. I picked my bike up (it felt like it weighed a ton) carried it up to my apartment. My wife opened the door, I then layed the bike down and went straight to bed. That's where I stayed all weekend long! My wife served me breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed for the entire weekend. However, I did manage to get up to raid the refrigerator and use the restroom couple of times.
If I wasn't sleeping, I was eating...

My appetite went through the roof!

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Old 03-19-12, 06:46 AM   #3
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I know exactly what you mean. And to a point, I still feel that way after two years of a 30-mile round trip bike commute. I try to do the commute 3 days per week. Any more than that, and it just feels too much like hard work instead of play time. 3 days of bike commuting allows me to get in one day of cycling on the weekends, usually a 10 or 15 mile trip with my daughter on the trailer bike.
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Old 03-19-12, 07:04 AM   #4
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I commute because I want to - not because I have to.
I don't "go for a xxx mile" ride on the weekend. I may ride to the library or such on the weekend or do a quick circuit of Dunedin but I don't go for long bashes for grins -- I did that 30 years ago.
I don't log miles, I don't use my GPS tracking to share rides, etc. I'm a 60 year old fart that rides a cruiser to work because: 1. He can; 2. He wants to; 3. Only in fair weather
I am not a masochist nor aspiring cycling champion.
I ride --- because I want to. When it stops being fun -- I won't ride.
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Old 03-19-12, 07:22 AM   #5
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You'll get used to it if you keep at it. Bike commuting is harder than recreational riding in many ways because you are carrying loads, starting and stopping a lot, and don't get the benefit of drafting other cyclists. You might also be trying to ride too fast. When I first started bike commuting, I made the mistake of trying to maintain the same pace that I would on recreational rides and it wore me out. I quit worrying about my average speeds and felt much better. This is particularly important if you are commuting every day or nearly every day. You might also need to get more sleep. If you are like me, you are having to get up earlier to commute to work, and perhaps not getting enough sleep.

BTW, I am 58 and commute 30 miles round trip about four days a week on average. I am cycling stronger than ever and usually ride on weekends as well, usually much longer miles than on weekdays. My weekend rides are usually at a faster pace because I don't kill myself trying to maintain a certain average speed while commuting.
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Old 03-19-12, 07:49 AM   #6
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I think part of my extra tiredness has to do with the fact that my body much prefers to do a 30-mile bike ride a couple hours after work, as opposed to a 15-mile bike ride, and then another 15-mile bike ride immediately after 8 hours of work.
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Old 03-19-12, 08:00 AM   #7
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It took me several months to get to the point that I can ride every day to work and not be tired. It takes me less that 10 minutes to fully recover from my 8 mile ride and then I'm fine. I go on long rides on weekends too. It'll take some time then, don't be concerned. If you feel too tired then take a break, don't push too much, it's not fun. But don't be too easy on yourself either. Take Fridays off from riding, then every other Friday. Drink a lot, take vitamins and you'll be fine.
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Old 03-19-12, 09:33 AM   #8
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Cycling daily requires a whole different kind of endurance than taking long rides a few times a week with days off in between.

Your body has to learn how to recover quickly--in hours rather than in days. And how to do it while you're at work instead of on the couch.

With the sudden onset of nice weather, I've been taking the long loop to work a lot. Since it's still early season, I haven't yet regained the ability to do those longer distances daily. Nice as it was this past weekend, I took Friday and Saturday off, except for a 4 mile banking and grocery run on Saturday.

Sunday was a nice long ride in the country, and commuting starts again this week just after lunch. This week I'm going for shorter, more direct commuting so I have some gas in the tank for a couple of club rides this weekend. We'll see how that works.

I also have to remember that all those post-ride recovery things can be done after commuting too. Through winter I get out of the habit of treating a commute like a real bike ride.
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Old 03-19-12, 09:52 AM   #9
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A couple of points that come to mind:
It's always harder at the begining. You rode 2 days the first week, then 4 the second. you may want to back ti down to 2 again this week & if you geel good at the weekend, then take it up to three & wait until you feel good at the end of th week before adding a fourth day, then 5, etc. the important thing is the long-term, not hom many miles you rode this week. It's better to take it slow & do it forever, than to have a great March 2012 & then peter out.

at least around her,e it's been pretty windy out the last few weeks, that will impact your ride a lot. Once the winds die down, it should get easier.

check your nutrition, make sure you're eating well & possibly taking a multi-vitamin, just in case you are low on anything. cut out any crap in the diet, etc. Same thing with sleep, make sure that you are getting enough. You should be fully rested when you wake up. This is extra important at the beginning, while you're still getting used to riding every day.

Most likely you are carrying more weight on your commute than on your fun rides. See if you can tweak your cargo/bike to minimize this weight penalty. I leave my shoes & toiletries at work & just carry a change of clothes. I buy lunch at work, so that also helps. And I'm a fan of carrying as little extra as possible. this is obviously not the case with everyone here & i'ts not 'right' but it does make the ride easier/ more enjoyable for me.

Good luck, hang with it & soom you will be enjoying the rides every day & still feeling great on the weekends.

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Old 03-19-12, 10:18 AM   #10
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It does tend to be windier on those nice late winter days. Which adds enormously to the work.

I see a lot of people just hammering it on the way home from work. I tend not to do that. Maybe you should think about the speed at which you ride. If you do like hammering, do it for a particular stretch of the drive and then slow it down.

Try to get your commute down to the point where it's not an enormous physical drain on you.
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Old 03-19-12, 10:29 AM   #11
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It takes time to adjust. Eventually, you'll look at every day with as a new adventure. Some days, things will go by so smooth you'll say to yourself -- "why can't I do this every day!?" Other days you'll say "never again."

For example, today's ride was somewhere between "Hi wind, nice to see you and ------------------------------------------Tour de F' you"
I will dub it day after Texas Week Spring Break ends. Everybody is hostile, hung over and is getting back into their possession of this asphalt is 9/10th the law mentality.

But honestly, it was a good day.
You'll get here, I promise.
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Old 03-19-12, 10:53 AM   #12
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Definitely takes time to adjust. I was doing half-commutes (multi-modal) a few days a week about a year ago. The second half of last year I rode at least a half-commute every day. In 2012 I haven't done any multi-modal commutes, so I'm riding ~20mi and +1500ft every day which actually doesn't feel bad at all. Although this last week I've been adding miles and elevation (for a stupid Strava challenge) and I think I'm starting to hit The Wall.
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Old 03-19-12, 11:07 AM   #13
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idc-doing the Classics Climbing Challenge? I would love to win one of the water bottles, but there is just no way that I will be able to hit the cliimbing requirement during the contest period. Good luck!
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Old 03-19-12, 11:07 AM   #14
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Commuting/utility cycling/touring requires a completely different mindset than recreational cycling. Alot of it has to do w/packing, clothing choices, weather, etc. Like the above poster says it does take time to adjust physically and emotionally.

Your consumption of carbs/water needs to increase. Sources like brown rice, oatmeal, honey, etc. Myself, in addtion to the aforementioned carb sources I take a powdered protien/carb supplement and monitor my moods. If I find myself getting irritated easily I take a couple of days off the bike. You'll be fine. Just take your time.
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Old 03-20-12, 02:52 AM   #15
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I agree; just because it's a shorter ride doesn't mean it's easier. I started riding to work (8.5 mi each way) three times a week. It took a while to get used to that. After my body adjusted, I was able to take longer detours in to work for a 15-20 mile ride in. It took a couple of months before I had the energy to do go out for a weekend ride. But eventually, the weekend rides got longer and I would do 25-35 mile ride in to work (I can take half days :-). Don't forget that you need proper fuel after your commuting rides. Perhaps you should try three days a week (MWF will give you recovery days) so that your body can get some rest until it adjusts to the new riding regimen.
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Old 03-20-12, 05:29 AM   #16
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I want to thank everyone for their input. It is nice to know others went through this in the beginning. I will have to try a few different options put out by you guys and see which one works best for me. Thank-you!!
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Old 03-20-12, 09:09 AM   #17
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Glad to see your in good spirits about it, back when I had a 40 mile rt commute I was a zombie for about a month but after that I felt like a superhero on the bike. I would go on weekend rides and feel stronger than I ever did before. Stick it out and you will love the results, once your body adapts to quickly recovering you will be loving it. Do not forget to try to take in food as soon as you finish your ride, it helps replenish those glycogen stores you are burning through to make you feel more energized.
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Old 03-20-12, 09:45 AM   #18
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Taking it easy is my answer. Used to be that taking it easy meant day off... half trip, etc. Now a days, take it easy means going at pace that are somewhere between Aerobic/Recovery. Funny thing is that same speed is what I was huffing and puffing for time trial kind of effort - about a year and half ago...
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Old 03-20-12, 02:19 PM   #19
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I did two rides last weekend, a 50 mile and a 60 mile, the longest this year and I burnt out. I crawled at 5mph on Monday on the way back home. So I'm taking a couple days off from riding to work. No need to push.
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Old 03-20-12, 05:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MK313 View Post
idc-doing the Classics Climbing Challenge? I would love to win one of the water bottles, but there is just no way that I will be able to hit the cliimbing requirement during the contest period. Good luck!
Yep! I am on target so far but I know there will be some days I can't ride coming up and have no idea how I really make them up. I only need to add about 700ft to my daily commute to make the daily elevation requirement.
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Old 03-20-12, 06:04 PM   #21
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I just started last week. I've never done seriously cycling. I rode in college for all years including off campus, but never thought twice about it. Now, my commute is 20 miles RT with some steep hills. I look forward to getting used to this...because right now, it just wipes me out.
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Old 03-20-12, 09:20 PM   #22
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Just set little goals and realize it takes a while (months/years) for your body to adapt. My commute is 15 miles one-way. I started out riding 1/2 hour in the evenings. Then 45 min. Then 1 hour. Then I drove 1/2 way to work and biked the rest. Then I biked to work 3 days, then 4 then all 5. During all this I drove to my Saturday job (20 miles one way). Then I started biking 1/2 hour on Saturdays, then 1 hour, then biking to my Saturday job as well. There are ups and downs throughout all this as your body gets used to it. For me, this took place over a period of 2 1/2 years.

One thing to think about is that killing yourself by trying to go too fast vs. cutting back to a little more enjoyable and sustainable pace will not be too much of a time difference. Probably 10 min or so.

Also, keep double checking your posture on your bike as you advance. The most important thing I learned is that on a road bike or mtn. bike, many beginners try to sit more upright, thinking that will help their butt not hurt. Putting a bend in your elbows and getting your hips tilted forward helps engage your stronger leg muscles (butt and hams) and actually relieves pressure on your butt.

So just keep increasing your time in the saddle little by little, keep learning about posture, and get enough sleep. It'll be great!
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