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  1. #1
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    Easy pace or 'pushing it'?

    I'm wondering what people in this forum feel about the speed issue on commuting.

    I'm noticing that if I leave anywhere too close to 'just in time' I don't enjoy the ride. Yes, it probably increases my fitness and ability to ride farther at a faster pace, but it also increases my stress, as my job requires that I clock in by the start of my shift.

    I enjoy the commute much more when I allow sufficient time to ride as I feel, which can be as fast or as slow as I want at ~6 AM on the dark empty MUP and residential streets that make up the short 3.5 mile commute.


    Brian
    Last edited by Dermbrian; 02-20-14 at 12:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    My commute is about 2 miles so I treat it as a sprint so I can get a better work out
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  3. #3
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    I usually average somewhere in between. I don't kill myself and end up exhausted at work, but I also don't take an easy pace. I tend to average 15-17mph over 7 miles with a very large hill in the middle. Flat cruising speed usually 18-20mph.

  4. #4
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I'm embarrassed to say this, but my speed depends on how eager I am to get to work on any given day.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  5. #5
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    I do a bit of both, depending on the day or on the same commute.

    Some commutes I push hard to try to make good time overall. Others I slow down and just enjoy the ride.

    I track my commutes on Strava - so sometimes even if I take it easy I may push myself on one short climb to see how I do.

    I think a key factor though is if I am pushing it because I want to push it or becuase I have to be in at a particular time for meeting. That later causes stress and I enjoy it less. If I have the luxury of time I enjoy pushing it often knowing that I am only pushing it because I want to, not have to.

  6. #6
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    I average about 13 mph, a very comfortable and enjoyable pace for my upright city bike. On really hot or humid days I'll slow down a bit to keep the sweat at bay (or at least minimize it). From a fitness standpoint I don't think there's much difference between pushing it and having an enjoyable no-sweat pace until you get beyond maybe 10 miles each way.

  7. #7
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    I'm pushing it pretty hard (for me, 17mph avg, 20mph cruise) on my 15 mile commute. As with any commute, I want it to be as short as possible!

  8. #8
    Senior Member FenderTL5's Avatar
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    I have to constantly remind myself, "Don't over do it the first 3 miles"
    That said, I average 13.5 - 15 mph on this route every day (depending on wx/wind).

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  9. #9
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    I've become less eager to ride in different traffic at a new later start time. It's become more like my ride home. Either way, it's time spent on your bike. I still kick it up a notch if I get sidetracked. Being that I'm riding for a workout, some days get more attention then others...


    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    I'm embarrassed to say this, but my speed depends on how eager I am to get to work on any given day.
    “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.”
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FenderTL5 View Post
    I have to constantly remind myself, "Don't over do it the first 3 miles"
    I can see why! OTH, I hope that same hill makes for a nice cool-down on the way home. My own ride is more uphill in the morning, downhill at night...and I'm glad about that at the end of a 12+ hour shift.

    Brian

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    I'm wondering what people in this forum feel about the speed issue on commuting.

    I'm noticing that if I leave anywhere too close to 'just in time' I don't enjoy the ride. Yes, it probably increases my fitness and ability to ride farther at a faster pace, but it also increases my stress, as my job requires that I clock in by the start of my shift.

    I enjoy the commute much more when I allow sufficient time to ride as I feel, which can be as fast or as slow as I want at ~6 AM on the dark empty MUP and residential streets that make up the short 3.5 mile commute.
    I have a year-round 14 mile one-way commute early in the morning, and my commute is my only way to train for longer distances in the nice weather. But it's tough to do intervals that early and dampen my enthusiasm for the commute; and right now it’s still too dark to read my stopwatch. So here’s an alternative I find easier to accomplish:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    …I just use “Rating of Perceived Exertion” (RPE) as my monitor (see below). I consider my usual happy-go-lucky pace is at an RPE of 11 (50 out of 100 on Jim's scale), and … ride most of the commute at a steady 60…
    RATING OF PERCEIVED EXERTION SCALE
    Code:
               RPE scale*                              Jim's scale
    •	6 - resting                                   10-20 
    •	7 - very, very light                            20-30
    •	9 - very light                                  30-40  
    •	11 - fairly light             50 (usual pace; my 60% Max HR)
    •	13 - somewhat hard                              60   
    •	15 - hard                                       70
    •	17 - very hard (Lactate threshold;     80 (my Max HR)
          breakpoint between hard but steady 
          breathing and labored with gasping)       
    •	19 - very, very hard                            90-100
    * On RPE scale, 10 times the number is equivalent to heart rate. For cardiovascular effectiveness, one should exercise to ~ 60% of maximal heart rate: Max HR = 226 – age (for women), 220- age (men).

    Actually, that above full post is specifically directed towards the benefit of intervals, and how I would monitor them with RPE, rather than a heart rate monitor or power meter. The above abbreviated version describes my usual regimen in prior years. Included in the full post is a reference to an excellent broadcast from a radio talk show that has inspired me to take up intervals when it gets lighter on my commute.

    But IMO just riding at a slightly greater RPE I think is more beneficial than just cruising, and more tolerable than "pushing."
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 02-20-14 at 03:58 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    I always take an easy pace, especially on the way to work. I ride in regular clothes, and don't want to get to work all sweaty. On the way home, I'll sometimes push myself a bit, but usually not. I enjoy looking around at the neighborhoods I ride through.

    My commute is just under 6 miles each way. It takes me nearly a half hour each way.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bhop's Avatar
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    I'm not a morning person at all, so i'm almost always "cutting it close" which means I usually have to push pretty hard in the mornings. Luckily it's mostly downhill to work. On the uphill ride home, I just cruise.

  14. #14
    Pedalin' Erry Day lasauge's Avatar
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    I try to gauge my effort so that I move at a decent speed, but I keep my intensity low enough to avoid becoming sweaty - when it's extra cold or extra hot I reduce my exertion a little further for the same reason. Here's how it feels relative to other kinds of riding:

    dawdling < slow < general commute/errand riding < riding for fun < riding fast < extra effort on a fast ride < sprint

  15. #15
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    As described above:

    Quote Originally Posted by lasauge View Post
    ...dawdling < slow < general commute/errand riding < riding for fun < riding fast < extra effort on a fast ride < sprint [= RPE ]

  16. #16
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    I rarely can average more then 14 MPH on my hilly commute, and it always takes me over an hour. So I'm always pushing it so I can either get to work and have time to clean up (or because I left too late) and also going home so I'm not too late getting home. Even so on days I ride, I'm gone from the house a solid 12 hours (6 AM to 6 PM) which is annoying sometimes.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    Mine is also a short (15-minute) commute, so there aren't too many variables that would make me late if I hit a snag on the way. Regardless, I always leave about an hour early so that, if some whim hits me to take a detour or stop for breakfast, I can still do that with no stress at all.

    I think whatever attitude about time prevails in the rest of your life probably just carries over to your bicycle commuting habits. For me, the risk of being late for anything, whether it's work, a lunch date, a movie, anything, produces much more stress than I want to deal with at this stage of my life. Leave early, pedal comfortably, love every minute of the ride.
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

  18. #18
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I use the commute as part of my training so some days it's a set of intervals, some days it's tempo, some days it's recovery.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Big Lebowski's Avatar
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    Depends where I am at on my ride. I push it on the busier roads, but catch my breath on the quieter ones.

  20. #20
    Senior Member devianb's Avatar
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    I prefer a nice leisurely ride to work. I am not going to use up valuable energy before starting an 8 hour shift. Maybe after I work I might ride a little quicker. If I want to push it and ride fast that is what I have the other bike for. I would rather do that on my time off.

  21. #21
    Member scububa's Avatar
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    I haven't commuted in a long time. But, I had a ten mile each way commute for a couple of years in Dallas. I would take my office clothes for the week in on Sunday while running other errands and hang them at my desk.
    My commute in was mild pace to keep from getting too sweaty. At the end of the day, I'd put my riding shorts on and stuff my days office garb into a bag and I'd bust butt riding home. We lived in an apartment or condo with a pool and I'd ride up and fall into the pool.
    When you're there, you know there's a There there.
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  22. #22
    vol
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    One important lesson i learned is that, leaving home early enough is a good safety measure, in that it reduces the chances of accidents due to rushing to catch the light, squeezing past a truck when it's not safe, endangering pedestrians, hitting objects on the road, etc., etc., just in order not to be late. I ride at leisure speed, sometimes really slow (such as these days, to avoid the splashes from the melting snow). When riding in a rush, the mind also can't fully concentrate on the road because of the anxieties--"don't be late" overrides "ride safe".

    In short, it's all about safety. There isn't much scenic enjoyment for me on my route

  23. #23
    Farmer tan f4rrest's Avatar
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    Go easy on the way in to minimize sweat (15mph average, zone 1-2). it's 9 miles with some moderate hills.

    Then, depending on how hard I rode during the weekend, either tempo (17mph), recovery (15mph), or traffic intervals (30mph between signals) on the way home.

  24. #24
    Senior Member wsgts's Avatar
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    I try to go easy, doesn't always work....

    T
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    2013 Surly Long Haul Trucker

  25. #25
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    I find 5 or 10 mins makes a huge difference in the amount of traffic on the road so, I try to leave a bit early.

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