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  1. #1
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    how far do you commute/new to commuting possibly due to new job

    Well tittle says it all, I will be starting a new job and it is possible i will be able to commute back and forth to work. Its 19.5 miles though, is that to far to commute. What do you do to keep from smelling all day? How far do you guys commute? What else should i ask....

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    Senior Member Gravity Aided's Avatar
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    19.5 miles each way? What is the terrain like? what kind of bike will you be using? What kind of background in cycling do you have? I normally suggest something like Johnson's baby wipes to clean up at work, then new deodorant. A 19.5 mile commute will probably require cycling and work clothes . It's difficult, but doable.

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    cheese connoisseur Mumonkan's Avatar
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    i ride 5-8 miles (short way) or 9-12 miles (long way) each way, the terrain has either 3 big hills or like 6 smaller hills
    i ride on a singlespeed junkmachine road bike with risers or a fixed gear with drops

    i bring deodorant and change shirts in the bathroom and re deodorize at my destination, when i ride the good bike im using clipless so ill change shoes too

    i would second having clothes specific to your journey and separate clothes specific to work, i wouldnt say they have to be cycling specific though

    if i could take a longer way i would, 20 miles would probably be pretty nice in the morning before work
    ride bikes, eat food. the circle of life.

  4. #4
    tsl
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    This time of year, I'm doing my 4.5 mile short route most of the time. I really like the three-seasons where most days I use my 16.5 mile long loop. Those are my favorite days. At the last branch I worked at, my long loop was 18.5 miles. So 19.5 is not really a problem.

    You'll probably have to work up to 39 miles a day every day. It's doable, but you won't do it in the first week. Alternatives are intermodal--drive, bus or train for half the trip--or switching off--put the bike on the car and drive in, bike home. Next day bike in, drive home. Repeat.

    It's helpful to be able to store stuff at work. Lockers are a godsend. I keep mine stocked with a couple of small towels, deodorant, lip balm, skin lotion (for when the sun comes out again in May or June), chamois lube and extra socks in case of rain. A canister of Gatorade powder is in there too.

    Then on Mondays I load the panniers with the week's worth of work clothes, lunches and snacks. (And library books, which are an occupational hazard.) At the end of the week, (Thursdays for me) I use the panniers to haul home the laundry and more library books. Some people use cars to do this stocking instead. Others haul on a daily basis. It's up to you, but I like not feeling like a pack horse in the mid-week.

    Few places have a shower, but every place has a men's room sink. Start with a fresh shower, deodorant, and clean kit at home, then a birdbath in the sink (that's what the towels are for) and refresh the deodorant.

    I time my arrival for a least a half-hour before my start time. This gives me time to cool-down while having a recovery snack, then time to clean up. It also gives me a cushion in case of a flat or other mishap.

    Failure to recover before starting work is asking for trouble. Plan on it, and execute the plan. I start just after lunch time, so I eat at work, using my lunch for both lunch and recovery food. The Gatorade helps in the warmer weather.

    You'll also need a good bike, with decent tires and lights, and service it regularly and preemptively.

    I also found jerseys and shorts I like for commuting, then bought six of each. I have clean kit every day with no mid-week laundering.
    Last edited by tsl; 02-25-13 at 09:04 PM.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by onehandman View Post
    Well tittle says it all, I will be starting a new job and it is possible i will be able to commute back and forth to work. Its 19.5 miles though, is that to far to commute. What do you do to keep from smelling all day? How far do you guys commute? What else should i ask....
    My commute is about 17 miles one way. At work we have showers so it's no problem when I arrive all sweaty. I have clean clothes and towels in my locker at my work. It takes me about an hour each way, so that means getting up early. I ride mostly through rural areas so there's usually not much traffic and I enjoy the ride to and from work a lot (predominantly flat terrain).
    Since I ride early and arrive late, I have a bright helmet light and a head light on my bike. Attached to my seatbag I have a red planet bike blinky and my cycle specific clothing has the usual reflective striping. My tires also have reflective side walls. Basically I'm lit up like a christmas tree when I ride in the dark.

    Currently my bike is equiped with studded winter tires but I aim to get a second wheelset to be able to change tires quickly when I want to.

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    How Did It Work Out ?

    Quote Originally Posted by onehandman View Post
    Well tittle says it all, I will be starting a new job and it is possible i will be able to commute back and forth to work. Its 19.5 miles though, is that to far to commute. What do you do to keep from smelling all day? How far do you guys commute? What else should i ask....
    Wanted to see how your commuting went. I commuted regularly from Oct 2011 to Dec 2012. I have yet to get back into it regularly again. My ride is 9.5 miles over flat terrain with strong southerly head winds going home. To combat that, I attached a couple of origin 8 drop bar ends, which work really well for me, if one can forgive the horrible franken-deer antler effect. My bike is a diamondback outlook frame fitted with parts harvested from various projects. It has a road seat and 1.5" touring tires with road rims. Ok , the whole thing is franken bike ish but she's mine. I calculated 500 dollars in fuel cost savings during the time mentioned.

  7. #7
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravity Aided View Post
    19.5 miles each way? What is the terrain like? what kind of bike will you be using? What kind of background in cycling do you have? I normally suggest something like Johnson's baby wipes to clean up at work, then new deodorant. A 19.5 mile commute will probably require cycling and work clothes . It's difficult, but doable.
    I'm going to stick my neck out here and say it's too long. A colleague of mine used to do 34 miles RT. But he didn't do it year round and he often went multi-modal. Frequently he drove in and rode home. As well, he did a few bus trips in and rode home.

    In the long run, I'd be looking for a job closer to home or even moving closer to work.

    I suppose this is not always an option, but it sure makes life more pleasant.

  8. #8
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    What's your fitness level like now?

    If you average 19.5 mph, you'll be riding non-stop for 2 hours, which it quite a lot if your fitness isn't already quite high. Adding cleaning and prep on each end makes this a 2.5-2.75 hour/day activity, which is a huge amount.

    Even averaging 19.5mph (total not rolling) is quite difficult unless you're in a rural area with no lights/traffic.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  9. #9
    DTG
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post

    Even averaging 19.5mph (total not rolling) is quite difficult unless you're in a rural area with no lights/traffic.
    +1

    I agree with you acidfast7. I didn't count the real rolling time, prep time, down time til you mentioned it but now that you bring it up, I completely agree. I figured it could happen but now on the other side, that's a lot of time out your day. My commute is only 6 miles one way but ride time at 25-30 minutes and down time is an hour. My day overall is a hour and a half. I only do it Tues-Thursday but sometimes I really just want to drive but don't because I figure it's only three times a week.

  10. #10
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTG View Post
    +1

    I agree with you acidfast7. I didn't count the real rolling time, prep time, down time til you mentioned it but now that you bring it up, I completely agree. I figured it could happen but now on the other side, that's a lot of time out your day. My commute is only 6 miles one way but ride time at 25-30 minutes and down time is an hour. My day overall is a hour and a half. I only do it Tues-Thursday but sometimes I really just want to drive but don't because I figure it's only three times a week.
    Yeah, I do 22.5-25km RT/day.

    I can average 24km/h but I have about 6-10 red lights which bumps the riding time of 30min each way to roughly 40-45mins each way. It takes 5 min to pack the bag and 5 to get the bike ready/outside then another 20 min at work to shower/change/grab a cafe latte. Realistically, a 1h rolling time (usually 1h03m) easily turns into a 2h time commitment (more if I actually clean/lube the bike.)

    However, it's still a better usage of time than going to the pool to swim for an hour or something similar.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Medic Zero's Avatar
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    I commute 7-8 miles to work and 7-11 miles home 3 days a week. I have a choice of routes to take and a long one I regularly take home that is more pleasant (mostly deserted trails). My commute is rather hilly, and I often have a 8-15 MPH headwind on my way in to work, although this is partially mitigated by the buildings of the city and being on the backsides of hills for a chunk of my commute. I also commute about a dozen miles (6 each way), five days a week to school on quarters I am attending (about every other quarter for the past 3 years, every quarter except summers for the next 3 years).

    I wouldn't want to commute any further than the 7-ish (average) each way that I do now, in the terrain I'm in. If I lived somewhere flat, that didn't have significant headwinds, I think I'd be happy with a 15 mile commute (each way). Of course, road conditions (nice pavement, or the constant vibration and hazards I have to deal with), traffic conditions (heavy, light, or non-existant*), and road layout can make a huge difference as well. If you are lucky enough to be able to do most of your commute on quiet country roads or a nice bike trail/multi-use path that isn't crowded with dog walkers and moms jogging two abreast with double-wide strollers, than higher mileage seems a lot more plausible.

    In short - if your 20 mile each way commute isn't under ideal conditions (little headwind, nice roads/paths, little elevation change), it's probably a little too far for a daily commute. If you can find a way to do multi-modal**, you could do that every day. If multi-modal isn't a possibility, I'd try commuting 2-3 days a week.

    I don't have any advice to offer about cleaning up. I sweat a lot, but am lucky enough to have a shower and lockers at work. Each day I wear my cycling clothes in, hang them up to dry on a rod for that purpose in the bicycle commuter locker room and change into the work clothes I ferried in on my bike after showering. Some days I bring in several nights of work clothes in panniers so I can ride light(er) for a couple of days. Sometimes I just take one outfit at a time in and home. I would ask your employer if there is a shower you can use. Some places have one squirreled away somewhere that has been turned into storage or is forgotten in the basement or garage and you might be able to get access to it. Even working at hospitals, sometimes I have been the only one taking advantage of this and arrangements are ad hoc and it took a little doing to get access to them, ask around if the first person you ask about doesn't seem to know anything or isn't helpful. Your employer may get a tax break for having employees commute by bicycle that may make it worthwhile for them to install a shower and locker area as well.

    * I used to commute home at 4AM one night a week. The city was asleep and I could basically ignore most traffic controls and had zero traffic to contend with. Under these conditions I could probably happily add a few miles to my commute, but who gets to commute both ways at such odd times?

    ** Some posters here on Bike Forums will drive their car with thier bike to a convenient point where they can ride in from. Sometimes this is a Park and Ride lot, sometimes a friendly business, sometimes a busy parking lot. Others take a train or a bus part way and then ride the rest of the way or vice versa. No idea what options you have in your area. It seems most places I've been recently have retro-fitted their busses with bike racks. I was surprised when I visited LA a dozen years ago and their new subway didn't allow bikes on board during rush hour. You should probably do a little research if you do have any mass transit options to see what their rules and protocols are. Here you are supposed to let the bus driver know that you will be dismounting your bike as you leave, which only makes sense, so they don't run you over, or worse - speed off with your bike!


    GOOD LUCK!
    Last edited by Medic Zero; 02-26-13 at 01:28 AM.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onehandman View Post
    What do you do to keep from smelling all day?
    This is what I use to keep from smelling and I use lot's of it.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    This is what I use to keep from smelling and I use lot's of it.
    I use this as it works for 72h. We don't take so many showers in Europe.

    Picture 1.png
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  14. #14
    cheese connoisseur Mumonkan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    This is what I use to keep from smelling and I use lot's of it.
    old spice rules. most effective deodorant ive ever used
    ride bikes, eat food. the circle of life.

  15. #15
    recumbent bike advocate Tractortom's Avatar
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    I'm fairly new to commuting myself, having just started my second year of riding my bike to and from work. I live in Okeechobee, FL, where is is 'pool table' flat and make a daily round trip commute of 15.7 miles. It takes me right at 30 minutes each way, and I wear cycling clothes to ride, which I hang up in my office during the day to dry and put on my uniform, which mostly lives in the office through the week. I towel off, spray my pits, and then get dressed and go to the adjacent bathroom to comb my hair and make sure I'm presentable before my work day begins at 8am. The cooler winter days are easy, but the high summer is tougher, with temps as high as 80 with 90% humidity some mornings on the way into work.

    At first it seems like a chore to get rigged and out of the house on time, carrying clothes, and lunch and spares and tools and the like, but after a while it becomes common place, and you begin to look forward to the ride twice a day.

    Welcome to the world of cycle commuting. It gets in your blood after a while and you can't get away from it...

    Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
    Last edited by Tractortom; 02-26-13 at 08:47 AM. Reason: spelling

  16. #16
    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    My commute is 11 miles one way and it takes me 1 hour normally but a little more in the winter because of the studded knobbies. I carry my change of clothes and lunch in a pannier daily. I use a lightweight hardtail mountain bike for the comfort and ability to go off road on part of my route. I leave shoes under my desk, no need to carry those back and forth. Your 19.5 miles is going to be challenging for sure as that is a fair distance to cover. It will depend on the type of bike you have and how fit you are at first. It can be done but after doing this for years I wouldn't want to do more than maybe 15 miles at the most. If I had a fast lightweight road bike and didn't have to haul anything, I could do the 19 miles.
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    I'm going to stick my neck out here and say it's too long. A colleague of mine used to do 34 miles RT. But he didn't do it year round and he often went multi-modal.
    It's certainly going to be difficult to go from 0 to 38 miles. I'd suggest starting gradually, like drive to work / bike home, bike to work / drive the car home, and drive both ways on Wednesday to get a break in. Keep that up for a while, and maybe over 6-12 months you'll be able to extend the bike commute.

  18. #18
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Are you already commuting shorter distance and/or riding a lot recreationally? Commuting roughly 40 miles a day is a long haul, for the time as well as distance. As others said, the terrain, road quality and traffic also make a huge difference.

    My commute is about 30 miles round trip on hilly terrain, and it takes me about 2 hours of actual riding time each day (more like 2:20 including traffic lights). I have been riding for many years, so fitness was not a factor for me when I started bike commuting about 6 years ago. The time WAS a factor, and I had to start getting up earlier to make time. I now get up around 5 am so I can eat breakfast, pack my bike and ride to work in time to take a shower once there, get dressed, etc. Commuting actually saves me time in the afternoons because I used to go to the YMCA after work or try to fit in rides around the neighborhood when I got home. Now when I get home, I am all through exercising for the day.

    You make a long commute more doable with some creativity. Try driving to work with your bike on a rack, then ride home in the afternoon, ride back to work in the following morning and drive home in afternoon. Or you could combine cycling with transit or bus service if that is an option in your area. Or you could just try to bike commute 1-3 days a week. Lots of ways to crack this nut.

  19. #19
    idc
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    20 miles each way is fairly long. I'd also suggest a multi-modal commute to begin with. My daily commute's 8 to 12 miles each way typically.

    I use the same deodorant as acidfast7, and I keep work clothes at work (bring in new sets whenever needed).

  20. #20
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    E-Assist for your bike would be the "best" option from my point of view... 19.5 miles each way is just a bit too long for most people, you can go much faster average speed with lot less sweating/hard work...
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

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    well, i have a specialized tarmac, and a specialized rock hopper. Will probably ride the rock hopper, its all dirt roads(6.5 miles) untill i hit a bike trail then its bike trail the remainder of the way. Typically, when summer time comes I don't have a problem riding 150-200 miles in a week. I don't have to commute, but it will be something to put in my training schedule. I have time for an extra 2-3 hours a day. I can ride 100 plus miles in a day, i've done it.

    I don't plan on going all out the first week i realize that it is undoable, i would work my self up to riding like you guys have mentioned aboved. I don't know if there are showers there yet i start in late march...

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    My commute is 30 miles round trip. I believe another 10 would be ok. I would be going easier at least on some days than I do now. I also weight train with my wife in the mornings. I might have to do less of that or more of it on weekends. I got home last night wishing I had further to go and it was raining the entire ride Therefore, I would definitely say that 40 miles round trip is doable.

  23. #23
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onehandman View Post
    well, i have a specialized tarmac, and a specialized rock hopper. Will probably ride the rock hopper, its all dirt roads(6.5 miles) untill i hit a bike trail then its bike trail the remainder of the way. Typically, when summer time comes I don't have a problem riding 150-200 miles in a week. I don't have to commute, but it will be something to put in my training schedule. I have time for an extra 2-3 hours a day. I can ride 100 plus miles in a day, i've done it.

    I don't plan on going all out the first week i realize that it is undoable, i would work my self up to riding like you guys have mentioned aboved. I don't know if there are showers there yet i start in late march...
    good luck
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

  24. #24
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onehandman View Post
    How far do you guys commute?
    My longest commute was 18 miles each way for 18 months. Doable physically, but too much time involved for me (1 hour each way minimum). I did not get any overuse injuries but any little thing would be a big deal with those kinds of miles to do every day. My boss was understanding too. That made it possible. I am not riding through a squall line with lightning snapping all around to get to work. I remember taking two "sick" days due to weather and a handful of late days (had to wait for a gap in the weather). I was really happy to be done with those long commutes after a year and a half.

    My optimal commute would be 5-8 miles each way. I might jump out and do 15 to 50 before work on a whim now and then but given bad weather, injury, illness I could opt for the 5 mile route until the situation improved.

    I'd say if you are not Superman, and there is some alternate viable option (bus, train, carpool) that you could use when you just "ain't feelin' it" that most people could manage 18 miles each way and be happy about it so long as the rest of your life does not suffer (wife, kids, hobbies, friends, sleep, etc.)
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

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    In michigan mass transit is unheard of, whats a train, whats a bus lol. I don't plan on commuting on my bike everyday, but 2-3 isn't out of the question once in a while do 4. I'm doing it more or less to get over 100 miles in during the week, then be able to put 100 on in the weekend...

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