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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 11-29-13, 08:14 PM   #1
LiteraryChic
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"Commuting" When Not Living in the City

Well, unfortunately, I have had to give up my apartment in Ann Arbor, and move back home to my parent's house in the suburbs. This means that I am no longer commuting by bike, as the city my parent's live in is NOT great for commuting at all! Thus, I am very sad that I will not be living in Ann Arbor anymore, nor will I be able to "commute" as much as I was ... .

I am not able to bicycle commute to school in Ypsi, because it is an 1 and 1/2 hour car ride from my parent's house, and commuting by bike in the city/suburbs where I grew up is just not feasible.

So, I guess that I will have to live with riding around the streets like I did when I was little ... up to the Dairy Queen, maybe the local Kroger etc.

How would you deal with having your regular bicycle commute taken from you? (Not to sound mad, but I am. Although, my circumstances warrant my living situation right now, it still sucks.)
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Old 11-29-13, 08:36 PM   #2
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Well, unfortunately, I have had to give up my apartment in Ann Arbor, and move back home to my parent's house in the suburbs. This means that I am no longer commuting by bike, as the city my parent's live in is NOT great for commuting at all! Thus, I am very sad that I will not be living in Ann Arbor anymore, nor will I be able to "commute" as much as I was ... .

I am not able to bicycle commute to school in Ypsi, because it is an 1 and 1/2 hour car ride from my parent's house, and commuting by bike in the city/suburbs where I grew up is just not feasible.

So, I guess that I will have to live with riding around the streets like I did when I was little ... up to the Dairy Queen, maybe the local Kroger etc.

How would you deal with having your regular bicycle commute taken from you? (Not to sound mad, but I am. Although, my circumstances warrant my living situation right now, it still sucks.)
If that ever happened to me, I'd probably be crazy enough to try to ride everywhere still despite the distance. Maybe get an E-bike to help make it a little bit easier. It would definitely make you into a superhuman eventually with all that riding.
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Old 11-29-13, 09:32 PM   #3
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I feel your pain. Whatever you do, don't quit riding when and/or where you can.
I went from being car free in the late '70's early '80's, to not riding at all from '84 to '08. I started riding again in 2008. I feel better mentally and physically than I had in years. I will never get rid of my bike again.
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Old 11-29-13, 09:44 PM   #4
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If I wasn't bike commuting daily, I would get lethargic and overweight, so I'd need to find a gym and spin, or run, or something.
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Old 11-29-13, 10:07 PM   #5
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Lots of people split their long commutes by driving or taking public transportation a portion of the way and biking the rest. Any chance of your doing that?
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Old 11-29-13, 10:21 PM   #6
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I'm sorry to hear that. I've been following your journey and so I'm sad to hear about the changes. I would try to do all your non-school related errands by bike on the weekend in the town your presently at.

I like buzzman's suggestion of bringing your bike with you to school (on your car or by public transit) & then use it to get you from one end of the campus to the other along with various errands you can do within Ann Arbor. You would still be forging a relationship with your bike and making memories, but instead of riding directly to your apartment, you're just riding to your car/bus, which takes you to your home (just a little farther away).
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Old 11-30-13, 06:39 AM   #7
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Another option is to find someone else with a similar car commute, and offering to share some expense if they'll put a bike rack on their car. Then you can ride in with them, and finish the trip by bike. Of course this locks you in to their schedule for the return trip, but it's possible that you might find a good fit if you look hard enough.
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Old 11-30-13, 06:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by LiteraryChic View Post
Well, unfortunately, I have had to give up my apartment in Ann Arbor, and move back home to my parent's house in the suburbs. This means that I am no longer commuting by bike, as the city my parent's live in is NOT great for commuting at all! Thus, I am very sad that I will not be living in Ann Arbor anymore, nor will I be able to "commute" as much as I was ... .

I am not able to bicycle commute to school in Ypsi, because it is an 1 and 1/2 hour car ride from my parent's house, and commuting by bike in the city/suburbs where I grew up is just not feasible.

So, I guess that I will have to live with riding around the streets like I did when I was little ... up to the Dairy Queen, maybe the local Kroger etc.

How would you deal with having your regular bicycle commute taken from you? (Not to sound mad, but I am. Although, my circumstances warrant my living situation right now, it still sucks.)
I can not handle the complete commute to work so I drive my car with the bike to a point then take the bike the rest of the way....
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Old 11-30-13, 07:19 AM   #9
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I feel your pain. There was a similar thread on here in the last few days about someone else who's commuting had to stop because of a new job. I hope you can find something that works best for you.

Let's hope it is just temporary. Good luck on what ever solution you decide on.
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Old 11-30-13, 05:18 PM   #10
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look at the bright side, your commute was just taken away from you due to some living conditions, not health problems keeping you from riding...

trust me, a broken knee with no health insurance keeping you from commuting is a whole other ball game.
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Old 11-30-13, 05:27 PM   #11
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There have to be some options for riding in your new home, right? I'd look around for the local options; perhaps the bike riding there is better than when you grew up.
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Old 11-30-13, 05:59 PM   #12
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Always JRA, or as called 'Utility Cycling'..
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Old 12-01-13, 05:03 AM   #13
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In situations where I've been unable to bike commute (e.g. unemployment), or where the commute to work is too short to provide a decent workout, I figure out a workout ride that is ~1 hour/20 miles or so that I can ride on the non-working days, weather permitting. Whenever I'm in the mood, I often fit in a pub lunch along the way.
Regardless of my bike commuting situation, I also try to get at least two 4-mile running workouts per week, to keep myself tuned up in that area as well. This is helpful when I have to travel over multiple days without a bike; I can hit the ground running, so to speak, when I need to work out while on the road.
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Old 12-01-13, 05:36 AM   #14
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I spend 30% of my time commuting in CPH. In CPH now and just did some work on my city bike as it was blown over in the night (leave it parked in the square) and the front fender was bent into the wheel. All done and rides the a new (really it's a 30-year old) 3-speed city bike. In CPH, it's super easy.

I spend 70% of my time in a English market town that's kind of a suburb of a roughy 100,000 person city (which, personally, I don't consider a city until it gets to the 1-2M ppl mark) which is a different kind of commuting than CPH.

The CPH commute is ultra-urban ... I live next to the largest shopping street in Europe and the UK commute is very suburban.

I think that the commutes are mentally different even though they're the same length (20km RT).

I have much better infrastructure in CPH but it's much more heavily used (I crossed the main bridge yesterday on a Saturday afternoon at 3pm and already 6500 cyclists had crossed it ... it keeps track of bikes ... and 1.55M cyclists for the year so far) so I need to pay more attention.

In the UK, I don't see many other cyclists, so it's more relaxing, especially if I ride outside of standard commuting hours so there's little traffic.

I say that you should give the new commute a chance.

Also, as a prof, I wouldn't recommend a 1.5h (3h/day car commute) ... just in fuel you'd be able to rent a bedroom for a similar cost in AA or somewhere accessible by public transit.
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Old 12-01-13, 08:34 AM   #15
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Lots of folks in the northern hemisphere lose their commute every year thanks to winter. But it's temporary, and so is your situation I suspect. You're are getting an education, you are healthy, and you have a long journey ahead of you. Your passion for riding is unlikely to go away and when you get through this chapter you'll craft a life for yourself in which you can do it.
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Old 12-02-13, 08:53 AM   #16
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Multi-modal commute? I'd be very depressed if I couldn't ride to work. It's hard enough having to take the car on snow days.
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Old 12-02-13, 09:22 AM   #17
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Keep an old bike locked up on campus and go for rides when you have a break between classes, or any errands that you need to do while in the area.

Even by car that is way too long a commute. Can you organize your schedule for January so that you only need to go to school maybe 3 days a week and study at home the rest of the time? Or is there a bus service so at least you could study or sleep en route?
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Old 12-02-13, 03:21 PM   #18
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Multi-modal commute? I'd be very depressed if I couldn't ride to work. It's hard enough having to take the car on snow days.
That's what I do. I live in the woods and ride 9 miles to where I can catch a bus. At least my employer pays for the bus pass.
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Old 12-02-13, 03:40 PM   #19
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I have contemplated this before. I would try to do a multi-modal commute. Possibly bike to transit then bike from transit to work, or even drive to an area to start biking from. If this was to long to do regularly, I would try to do a couple times a week and build my schedule around it.
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Old 12-15-13, 08:20 PM   #20
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Keep an old bike locked up on campus and go for rides when you have a break between classes, or any errands that you need to do while in the area.

Even by car that is way too long a commute. Can you organize your schedule for January so that you only need to go to school maybe 3 days a week and study at home the rest of the time? Or is there a bus service so at least you could study or sleep en route?
For Winter/Summer (I complete my MA in August, then I'm getting ready to apply for law school), all of my classes/thesis work will be done online, so driving is not the issue, and I will be able to hit Kensington MetroPark, too.
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Old 12-15-13, 09:57 PM   #21
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..... I am not able to bicycle commute to school in Ypsi, because it is an 1 and 1/2 hour car ride from my parent's house, and commuting by bike in the city/suburbs where I grew up is just not feasible.

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For Winter/Summer (I complete my MA in August, then I'm getting ready to apply for law school), all of my classes/thesis work will be done online, so driving is not the issue, and I will be able to hit Kensington MetroPark, too.
I was wondering why you didn't mention on-line classwork.

"Commute".... is a last-century word we still hear alot from the older or older-minded folks. Not that downtown office spaces are going to close their doors next week.... or even next year. But.... the idea of workers living in residential areas.... and then regularly transporting the workforce to the "working areas" is an antiquated idea who's time has.... expired.

Not nearly as many employees are dependent on the coal furnaces, water wheels, or assembly plants.... now-a-days. And without centralized work areas.... what would a person commute too.

You have a long productive life ahead of you. Unlike your parents and grandparents... you won't have to find a job and then decide how far you are willing to drive... before you decide where to live. Your doing great to think about what lifestyle you want to live... instead of just what you want to do during the working part of your days.
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Old 12-16-13, 10:38 AM   #22
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As was said, in many parts of this country, bike commuting is of necessity curtailed or even eliminated during the winter months. I would put suburban Michigan in that category. Ann Arbor really is an anomaly in the normally car centric state of Michigan. Multi-modal only makes sense when the mechanized modes make provisions for the cyclist. Unless you ride a folder, breaking down your rig everyday to stuff it in your car... ... just to ride? Drive the car home and run on a treadmill or spin on an exercise bike for an hour. It can't be worth it to deal with all that assembly/disassembly to slog a bike several miles through weather. And it better be several miles. It is definitely not worth it to take a bus or train several miles and debark just to ride the last two!

Where I live now I ride my entire 8mi. one way. A bus parallels the route but I only use it after a breakdown, i.e. very rarely. I might have to consider a move to the other side of the city so my wife who does not ride can have a shorter commute. I will then have a ~20 mi. one way of which 8 will be the commute I have now. Given that the trains have provisions for bikes I could consider a multi-mode train/bike commute that avoids the bus. If the train went all the way to my job I would simply take the train all the way and call it good. I'd get exercise another way. Cycling in traffic is no way to get exercise. It's slow, dangerous, often noisy, smelly from truck and car exhaust... ... I ride because I am car free, not because I think cycling is such great exercise. Running is a much better cardio workout that cycling. Its drawback is its high impact. But it can be done with minimal equipment and therefore, minimal cost. There isn't significant financial difference between rowing (machine), elliptical or stationary bike. These offer a good cardio-workout.

I am 54, that gives me perspective. When I was 24 I thought I would ride all the time forever. Little did I know I would have a more than ten year hiatus from cycling and then several years of only sporadic opportunities to ride, until the return to full time and continuous commuting afforded by the last 10 years. The o.p. sounds young. Others in this thread that think that they would not survive the loss of their beloved bike commutes without suffering medical or mental issues are all speaking from a place of inexperience. It can and is survivable. Just play the hand you are dealt. If you can't ride, you can't ride. Find another form of exercise/stress release and call it very good. FWIW.

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Old 12-16-13, 10:46 AM   #23
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As was said, in many parts of this country, bike commuting is of necessity curtailed or even eliminated during the winter months. I would put suburban Michigan in that category. Ann Arbor really is an anomaly in the normally car centric state of Michigan. Multi-modal only makes sense when the mechanized modes make provisions for the cyclist. Unless you ride a folder, breaking down your rig everyday to stuff it in your car... ... just to ride? ..... FWIW.
There are many ways and reasons to go multimodal, so bike commuting isn't an all or nothing proposition. I know someone who car pools into work with the bike on a car rack, and rides home.

For suburban residents working in a large city where biking is too far, driving to the fringe of downtown and parking free on the street, then riding the rest of the way saves parking costs, and time in downtown congestion.

Otherwise you can be a fair weather commuter, riding when it pleases you,and using a car or mass transit otherwise. Even if you bike in only once a week, maybe on casual Friday, that's still more than none.

IMO too many people get caught up in an all or nothing mentality about commuting, and end up frustrated chasing a goal they can't meet. Then they give up on the bike. If they simply said that every day (or half day) they ride is better than none, they'll find it easier to find ways that suit themselves better and stick to it.
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Old 12-16-13, 11:35 AM   #24
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I'll be facing a similar dilemma when I retire in a few years. I'm wondering if I will have the same motivation to get out ride 30 miles a day, altho I should have the time for it.
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Old 12-16-13, 11:58 AM   #25
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Otherwise you can be a fair weather commuter, riding when it pleases you,and using a car or mass transit otherwise. Even if you bike in only once a week, maybe on casual Friday, that's still more than none..
And (in this context) what is wrong with 'none'? Even a two way ride once a week is hardly worth the doing, A one way, once a week is definitely not worth the trouble. To put it another way, if riding a bike is such a good thing to do, so much so that even doing it once a week is worth it, then why not several times per week more? Or none. All or nothing IOW. I submit that an all or nothing mindset which is usually viewed negatively by most Americans has some merits as an ideology. It spurs a search for solutions. My wife calls me "solutions guy".I would never accept a once per week bike commute as a valid solution to anything. At least your earlier scenarios are a consistent use of the bike to either save costs or eliminate traffic gridlock.

I am not caught up in commuting as a cause. I don't own a car. I use a bike for all trips for which a bike can be used. If I owned a car, I would use it for all trips for which a car should be used. It makes little sense to pay insurance and govt. mandated registrations, licenses, etc. in order to keep a vehicle legal and then not drive it. All or nothing? Not quite. When I lived in NYC I owned a car for a good number of the years I lived there. I only drove it on Sundays and some Saturdays. NYC simply isn't the kind of place in which a car is really practical as transportation during the week. Ironically, now that I live in a West Coast suburb, car ownership is impossible for economic reasons, but the infrastructure and lack of crowding out here make actually using the car you own (if you own one) a more practical proposition. BTW, even though I do not own a car primarily for economic reasons, I am very committed to environmental issues.

If I owned a car, it would be electric. If not, it would not be driven indiscriminately. I would still make the weekly shopping run with the cargo bike and trailer. I would still perform most errands involving less than a mile of travel with a bike vs the car. In fact, chances are very good that after so many years without a car that even if a thick stack of thousand dollar bills fell on my head, I might not make it into a car dealership. I might never try to own a car again. I see no real need. One can rent, one can borrow, one can ride a bike. FWIW.

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