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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 11-13-12, 11:23 PM   #1
thenomad
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short commute is not too motivating

After about 10 weeks of a mere 4 mile one way commute I have lost a lot of the motivation that i had with 12 miles one way. I really noticed the past few days that my fitness has taken a massive dive (also less time to ride on weekends) and some weight is creeping back on.

I just mapped a 10 mile route and I'll try to keep at it, and pretend that its the only way in i guess (and cut out the snacks).

Anyone else need to change your route to make the ride more challenging, longer etc?
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Old 11-13-12, 11:40 PM   #2
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Yeah, that's what you gotta do, even if that means looking for a route that you can take a couple laps or if it's out and back, you may just have to stretch it a little further and double back.

You might even want to push threshold a couple days out of the week to increase the intensity. Or add a SSFG to your stable.
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Old 11-14-12, 12:00 AM   #3
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It's amazing how quickly conditioning takes a nosedive. I'm just back on the bike after almost a month off on doc's orders (biopsy and stitches in the "saddle area" - don't think there's enough gel-comfort-foam in the world to have made that doable) and after my first ride, I could NOT hoist the bicycle + panniers over my shoulder and carry it back up to my apartment, when a month before it was almost effortless. My legs just couldn't do it. Now, half a week later I can. At least it's coming back quick.
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Old 11-14-12, 12:15 AM   #4
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My most direct route is also about 4 miles, which is why I have probably a dozen alternate routes which can add 2 to 30 miles.
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Old 11-14-12, 08:28 AM   #5
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I had a shortish commute like that this past year. To compensate, I made a point of taking long rides on the weekends, which I find easier to do and more pleasant than add time to my commute - I hate getting up earlier than I absolutely have to, and after work, I'm more interested in getting to that first beer than spending extra time tooling around in rush hour traffic.
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Old 11-14-12, 09:00 AM   #6
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Maybe riding that distance in your smallest cog up front and spinning your way to work and back, and as mentioned longer rides on the days off.
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Old 11-14-12, 09:11 AM   #7
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I really like getting to the office early, so I take the 10 km (6.5 mile) route in the morning. On the way home however, I have time to enjoy the ride, so I take the 16 km (10 mile) route.

My shortest route is 8 km (5 mile), but it requires a fast and narrow road which I do not like riding on.
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Old 11-14-12, 09:30 AM   #8
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My most direct route is 4km (~10min) but I generally take a circular route that is 16km (40-45min) because I want to improve my fitness and when I want to do a longer ride, I have a 27km route with an 8% grade in it (I can't remember how long it takes, I've only done it a couple of times).

In the summer, I have the interest to do fitness rides (my favourite is 60km) as well as ride out to the cottage (32km 2-lane highway, 26km dirt road, both with hills) and some rides around cottage country (20-32km, speed dependent on whether I spot a bear in front or behind me).

Me too, my fitness will drop through the winter months as I bike commute less frequently and shorter distances but I figure that it is better than taking the car/bus every day.

My father had a heart attack at the age of 54, I'm 52 and I want to pass 54 without a heart attack and continue. Our diets are both good, neither of us are smokers or significant drinkers (although, you know, the staff Christmas party is this Friday and I can't be held responsible for the fun I'll have).
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Old 11-14-12, 11:15 AM   #9
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My motivation is to get to work. I don't much like driving it either. 4 miles is farther than I would happily walk twice a day.

I do mix up my routes, especially on my way home.
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Old 11-14-12, 11:20 AM   #10
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I truly look forward to the day when I have this problem!
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Old 11-14-12, 11:20 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by silmarillion View Post
Yeah, that's what you gotta do, even if that means looking for a route that you can take a couple laps or if it's out and back, you may just have to stretch it a little further and double back.

You might even want to push threshold a couple days out of the week to increase the intensity. Or add a SSFG to your stable.
My "direct commute" is also short at 15 miles round trip. I added a fixed gear bike for other reasons, but found the ride was much more challenging, especially towards the end of the week when my legs were tired.
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Old 11-14-12, 11:26 AM   #12
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I have a 2 mile commute (shortest way), but have always extended it to at least 6 miles, and usually 10 plus. 2 miles is not even enough to warm up. It is nice to know that I have a shorter bail-out ride when weather gets nasty.

-G
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Old 11-14-12, 11:41 AM   #13
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My most direct route is also about 4 miles, which is why I have probably a dozen alternate routes which can add 2 to 30 miles.
I do the direct route in to work, which is about 4.3 miles. On the way home, I rarely go less than a 9 mile route. It's hard to get much more than about 14 though, without really going out of my way.
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Old 11-14-12, 12:45 PM   #14
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chefissac gave me a challenge to ride 420 miles this month. I'm gonna need to add some miles to my commute because I am not riding as far as I used to during summer, darn kids and getting dropped off at school. Looks like I'll need to add a few miles to each side of the trip for the remainder of the month. I'm only at 133 miles so far and have an average of 15 miles RT. Need to add 10 RT miles to make my goal.

My point...set yourself a mileage goal and ride to that goal so it is not arbitrary riding and you can keep the fitness and motivation up.
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Old 11-14-12, 01:03 PM   #15
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My commuter is a SS and I used to have rack/fenders/panniers loaded and still busted great averages on my 12 mile commute. I rarely freewheel and I've commuted many times on a FG I built up and I just don't feel much difference other than the slowing down or down steeper hills part...

I'm used to spinning higher cadences and previously considered changing to a more challenging gear ratio than 70gi.

I noticed recently how hard the bike was to pedal up some normal hills, like it was rubbing on the brake... uh no, just weak legs! Guess I'll keep it at 70gi for a while longer.

So today I did the route but missed a turn so I turned 10 into 15, but boy did it feel GOOD! Not nearly as strong but after about mile 6 I just felt "right", enjoying the sunrise and brisk air again.

Today I'll scout the route home and its slightly uphill all the way back so that's a plus. I really hope fitness returns quickly (as I've heard) since I was in the zone for a good couple years.
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Old 11-14-12, 03:02 PM   #16
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Anyone else need to change your route to make the ride more challenging, longer etc?
I wish I had the option to do the opposite. My route is close to 10 miles minimum, and these days with crappy snow-covered roads, I would welcome a shorter commute. I might be more motivated to cycle all winter if I only had to ride half the distance.

This past summer, I did lengthen my route by about 1 km (.6 miles) for a while so that I could get an extra hill in (I was training for some long distance mountain rides). And on days when I worked from home, I would do a 12 mile "commute" in the morning before starting.
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Old 11-14-12, 06:16 PM   #17
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The beauty of a short commute is that you can make it any length you want depending on conditions, schedule and how you feel. I also have the benefit of an odd schedule. I don't start until just after lunchtime, and come home well after rush hour.

My most direct route is 4.3 miles, but it's a terrible route--nearly all four- and six-lanes with granite curbs, no shoulder, and bonus on-street parking in some places. But, they plow and salt the bejesus out of it in the winter, so I use it a lot then.

My typical short route is 4.6 miles, mainly of residential side streets. I use it in standard time coming home and inclement weather going to work.

Whenever possible, I use my long loop (16 miles) or my hills, parks, cemetery and trails route (9 miles) or variations of those. In daylight savings time, I can use them coming home too.

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Old 11-14-12, 06:28 PM   #18
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My 10.3 mile ride to work is pretty much the shortest, flattest (only ~150' elevation gain) route I can take, and I prefer that, since I'm already leaving my house at 6am, and I'm not a morning person, and there are no showers at work.

My route home, on the other hand, sometimes looks like this or this.
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Old 11-14-12, 06:34 PM   #19
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Sell your car. That'll motivate you!
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Old 11-14-12, 07:16 PM   #20
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the obvious solution--move further away from work!

train safe
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Old 11-14-12, 07:43 PM   #21
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I got a 3 mile commute and I keep it interesting by making everyday a time trial.

Quote:
after my first ride, I could NOT hoist the bicycle + panniers over my shoulder and carry it back up to my apartment, when a month before it was almost effortless.
good to know I'm not alone! 3 flights of stairs + 60 pounds of bike and gear.
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Old 11-14-12, 08:55 PM   #22
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Sell your car. That'll motivate you!
If I don't cycle to work I take the bus. So, no, selling the car wouldn't motivate me.
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Old 11-14-12, 10:15 PM   #23
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I got a 3 mile commute and I keep it interesting by making everyday a time trial.
This is what I do. I am still new to it, but I make my 2+ mile one way commute a race against my own clock.
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Old 11-14-12, 10:29 PM   #24
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I think I have the perfect commute. 13 miles each way; first 3 miles in residential school zone areas so everyone is driving slow, 20mph; next 6 miles along a 2 lane feeder road with a wide shoulder, then 4 miles of residential school zone areas. I time trail the feeder road but just enjoy the school zone areas.
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Old 11-14-12, 10:39 PM   #25
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My "direct commute" is also short at 15 miles round trip. I added a fixed gear bike for other reasons, but found the ride was much more challenging, especially towards the end of the week when my legs were tired.
I have a 9 mile (round trip) commute and ride a single speed bike. I find this very enjoyable and I've never felt like the commute is too short. I think that riding the single speed completely shifts your thinking while on the bike. You don't focus on gearing and instead I look at every uphill and downhill as a new challenge of how fast can I go up/down them. Some days are easier to go fast up the hills and some are not so easy...
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