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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 12-31-13, 12:54 PM   #1
Zap Hassellhoff
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Morning commute and running out of steam.

I Try to commute 3-4 days a week. More often than not, it's 2 days due to off-site meetings and shuttling the gremlin to daycare. Each way is 9 miles. That said, I'm pretty physically consistent on most rides but these last two days I've felt super slow. It's a bit chilly in the morning but there are no real headwinds/tailwinds until the afternoon. I start off ok and then just flat-line and struggle to stay in a decent gear. As a result the ride seems extra dangerous (slow rider v. fast cars). Anyone else have similar experiences?
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Old 12-31-13, 12:57 PM   #2
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I Try to commute 3-4 days a week. More often than not, it's 2 days due to off-site meetings and shuttling the gremlin to daycare. Each way is 9 miles. That said, I'm pretty physically consistent on most rides but these last two days I've felt super slow. It's a bit chilly in the morning but there are no real headwinds/tailwinds until the afternoon. I start off ok and then just flat-line and struggle to stay in a decent gear. As a result the ride seems extra dangerous (slow rider v. fast cars). Anyone else have similar experiences?
We are not machines. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason (at least that we can figure out) to the low spots in our rides and routines. I go with that low feeling and the high feeling whenever they arrive, and am not too tough on myself. Today I drove the car just because I thought it would be best for my body. I might be on the verge of getting a bug (who knows) so my body and mind have said "drive today" (thankful that I have that option), "ride tomorrow."
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Old 12-31-13, 01:07 PM   #3
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Sometimes its harder to make myself ride. other days I NEED to ride. Are you eating before you ride? Maybe your running on an empty stomach.
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Old 12-31-13, 01:16 PM   #4
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I have had days like that, where I just feel slow. Then typically a couple days later I feel really good and ride fast. I think some of it might do with how well I slept the last few days, how well I ate, how hydrated I am, etc. I find a ritual of breakfast, an espresso, and a glass of water before my morning commute helps me.

I have recently decided on the "slow" days I will just embrace it and slow down and enjoy it instead of pushing hard to try to ride at the level I want. I then save my push for a day when I am feeling better.
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Old 12-31-13, 03:11 PM   #5
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I ride almost daily, and like you (and everybody else) have good days and bad days. Some may be because of temperature changes, but most seem random. I've long theorized that blood sugar levels and or things like insulin level or liver sugar availibility may play a part, but it's not like I've scientifically tied it to any direct correlation.

OTOH, as I've gotten older, I've noticed that my body isn't as tolerant of riding every day as it used to be. This is more important in the summer where I'll make a longer ride of it on the way home. After 3-4 days I seem to slow down, which I take as my body asking for a break. One or two easy days and I'm back in form.
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Old 12-31-13, 03:19 PM   #6
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If I'm riding consistently, I will hit those "feels like a headwind" days around Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I find myself riding in a gear easier than I was the day before just to make it up the incline. It's not my favorite situation, but when I'm loaded down, there isn't much I can do but accept it and see how it goes tomorrow. I'll slow my pace down and put less energy into it. I was blowing up my legs trying to hold pace, when I was just making life worse the next day.
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Old 12-31-13, 04:15 PM   #7
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When it's cooler out I "feel" slower. I don't have a cyclometer, but I look at my watch. Whether I feel like I'm hauling butt, or dragging it, pedaling effortlessly, or smashing the pedals, my commute time rarely varies more than a few minutes. I would imagine you are experiencing much of the same phenomenon? Maybe not, YMMV.
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Old 12-31-13, 04:24 PM   #8
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Yep, sometimes it's nutrition, lack of sleep, cold, who knows. Rode yesterday and had every intention of riding today but just didn't feel up to it so I drove.
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Old 12-31-13, 09:00 PM   #9
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My daily routine doesn't vary much, but some days definitely are slower than others. I haven't figured out any pattern, though, I just accept that some days just don't feel right.
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Old 01-02-14, 10:46 AM   #10
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is the problem just with the morning ride in? how long is the commute? at what point do you feel less energized? do you eat anything in the morning before taking off? ever try a simple carb like a small box of raisins or banana?
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Old 01-02-14, 11:04 AM   #11
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My guess is it is one of two things. One possibility is you are feeling the cold weather; I've noticed that as the mercury falls, I lose in max power although not in endurance. The other possibility is that you are coming down with something: when I feel weak on the bike, more often than not it turns out to be any early indication that my body is fighting something - cold, flu, etc.
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Old 01-02-14, 12:18 PM   #12
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Just take it easy every few days. If anybody else notices (or cares), tell them you did a recovery ride that day.
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Old 01-02-14, 12:35 PM   #13
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Thanks for the responses. I'm glad to hear that there are others that deal with this as well. Like ridefreemc said, we're not machines. The human element is an import variable. I guess I should embrace it. On a side note, Commuting seems like such a solitary endeavor. This forum reminds me that there are a lot of us out there.
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Old 01-02-14, 01:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Zap Hassellhoff View Post
Thanks for the responses. I'm glad to hear that there are others that deal with this as well. Like ridefreemc said, we're not machines. The human element is an import variable. I guess I should embrace it. On a side note, Commuting seems like such a solitary endeavor. This forum reminds me that there are a lot of us out there.
In spades. In the winter mornings I'm just slow. It doesn't matter for me whether it's 3 days a week or 50th in a row, this fourth winter the same as the first. When everything is fine in the evening I just don't worry about it, otherwise if I'm dragging all the time it's time for a break.
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Old 01-02-14, 02:20 PM   #15
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Morning commute and running out of steam.

HTFU!!!

Nah, just kidding
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Old 01-02-14, 07:21 PM   #16
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I never have felt the drag in the morning commute. I arrive in good shape almost every time except if I had to ride in snow. The trip home at night is all together a different thing. I start to feel the drag about half way home and just push myself for the remainder. This is a little more pronounced in colder weather but it also occurs in the warm months too. I always eat something before heading out which helps.
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Old 01-03-14, 07:57 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Zap Hassellhoff View Post
Thanks for the responses. I'm glad to hear that there are others that deal with this as well. Like ridefreemc said, we're not machines. The human element is an import variable. I guess I should embrace it. On a side note, Commuting seems like such a solitary endeavor. This forum reminds me that there are a lot of us out there.
The funny thing that I've noticed is that even though I have good days and bad days, my actual commuting times don't seem to vary much. And I always give myself a 15 minute buffer to cover repair time in case I should have a flat, so a little variation in time is not a problem.
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Old 01-03-14, 10:26 AM   #18
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As a result the ride seems extra dangerous (slow rider v. fast cars). Anyone else have similar experiences?
Does it need to be mentioned that a bicycle is so far out of contention in power and speed vs. a car, that it doesn't matter one whit whether you are fresh as a daisy today and feel capable of sustaining 20+mph or if you are overtrained (or undertrained) and plodding along at 10mph. Traffic will be 30, 40, even 50 mph and the only sane strategy for dealing with that is to ride to the right of the traffic stream at whatever speed is sustainable for your level of fitness. Are you going anaerobic on every ride just to maintain a speed that seems less dangerous to you? What kind of average speed are you trying to maintain for the 9mi commute? i find a 15mph average speed to be plenty for a 10mi in rolling, semi-rural, Western Oregon. I can do more, of course, but I don't have a car as a back-up. I ride or I have to take the bus... ... I prefer to ride. So I ride at a speed that allows me to recover overnight. I'm 55 so I don't have the endurance reserve I used to. But I reeled in a guy last night who had at least a mile on me. Took me three miles to catch him. When I finally do, he is thirty something. At least he was commuting also and his rig was as burdened as mine. Its really sad when I reel in a young 'un on three thousand dollars worth of carbon fiber and kevlar. But it does feel good.

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Old 01-03-14, 02:33 PM   #19
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Taking some time off might force you to remember how much you love it. My buddy Daniel ran into a similar problem and just needed to miss his bike a little bit. You can read about it here if you want: http://blog.artscyclery.com/general/...ng-is-the-jam/
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Old 01-03-14, 06:50 PM   #20
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Its really sad when I reel in a young 'un on three thousand dollars worth of carbon fiber and kevlar.
not sure why this is sad... maybe the guy was just starting out and bought "the best" in order to force himself to ride more...
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Old 01-03-14, 07:55 PM   #21
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The funny thing that I've noticed is that even though I have good days and bad days, my actual commuting times don't seem to vary much. And I always give myself a 15 minute buffer to cover repair time in case I should have a flat, so a little variation in time is not a problem.
Yeah, some days seem harder and slower than others, but I go about the same speed anyway. There have been days when I was not really wanting to get out, and running late, pushed a little more even though I didn't feel like it, got there on time anyway. I think attitude helps. When you are having a down day, try to think positively... notice the flowers/trees/sky, hear the singing of the tires on the road, listen for the morning birdsong... remember the things you like about riding. Even when it's cold, raining, headwind, or whatever, you CAN HAPPILY conquer it. And you'll feel good about it when you have arrived.

I commute every day, 5348.8 miles in 2013. Just do it AND SMILE!!!!


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Old 01-05-14, 09:47 AM   #22
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Did you change your morning meal? Or even the previous evening meal? Drinking lots of water? When I'm slightly dehydrated or undernourished, my legs always fade faster.
The minor pain makes you realize you are doing something good! Enjoy, keep it up!
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