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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 05-09-14, 01:36 AM   #1
KingstonWheels
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New commuter

Hello!

I am a new commuter, I have used my bike a few times over the past few weeks and this week I rode in/out of work 4 times clocking up 48 miles at around 12mph (my journey is around 12 miles). I doubled up one day and the next morning rode in so maybe that is the issue as my legs feel heavy (but not hurting), I just feel a bit tired. I cannot split my commute in any way and to be honest I find the distance enjoyable. Anyone got any tips on how to get used to the mileage so I can ride in and out of work most days of the week up to a max of 96 miles per week? Should I just do one way each day for a bit or double up (ride in then home) but have a rest day between until this feels easy and I don't have heavy legs? I can leave my bike securely at work which gives me options.

I should add my bike is being serviced this weekend as the gears have been slipping a lot and so the cables are stretched I am told so maybe my heavy legs could be resolved once I am able to select and keep(!) the correct gear.

I have on and off done a large amount of fitness work (hours every day) but before I started this all a month ago I had not done any serious fitness for over a year at least but I do build muscle very quickly and have low body fat, my cardio is almost non existent though so and that is what I am really keen on building, aerobic fitness.

Any advice/thoughts appreciated!


Last edited by KingstonWheels; 05-09-14 at 03:36 AM. Reason: error!
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Old 05-09-14, 03:41 AM   #2
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If I were you, I'd start by commuting to work every other day and going on long recreational (training) rides on Saturday. Once you adapt to commuting every other day (M-W-F) and weekend cycling, then you could just add Tuesdays and Thursdays, eliminate Fridays altogether, and rest for the weekend. That will give you a long weekend to recuperate.
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Old 05-09-14, 03:48 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by KingstonWheels View Post
Hello!

I am a new commuter, I have used my bike a few times over the past few weeks and this week I rode in/out of work 4 times clocking up 48 miles at around 12mph (my journey is around 12 miles)….Anyone got any tips on how to get used to the mileage so I can ride in and out of work most days of the week up to a max of 96mph?

Any advice/thoughts appreciated!

I am a decades-long, year-round commuter, and frankly I've never been able to ride 96 mph, even going downhill.

Seriously though, while I might never propose to anyone to take up bicycle commuting, I would heartily support such a decision. I frequently post to the commuting forum with advice derived from my own particular situation, but I think you will have to find your own way. If you ask specific questions, you’ll get focused answers.

If I was limited to one piece of advice about cycle commuting, it would be to use a rearview mirror.
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Old 05-09-14, 04:29 AM   #4
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Legs feeling heavy means you are using the full capability of certain muscle groups for long periods of time. Humans evolved an ability to outlast predators and tire out prey. Today we use this ability for cycling & long distance jogging. My advice is to keep hydrated and don't push too hard as you ease into this new set of activities. Over a few months the muscles involved will get stronger and you will find yourself less and less challenged, and your legs will only feel tired when you really push yourself.

Eventually if you keep riding enough and diet etc is not crazy, you will find yourself able to ride huge distances with not much more than a short break to let your blood become more oxegenated & wastes from your muscles cleared out. This is why hydration is important, gotta keep the wastes from muscles working constantly draining so the liver, kidneys & sweat glands can filter it out.

Good luck & keep up the good work!

- Andy
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Old 05-09-14, 04:38 AM   #5
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thank you! I do need to think about hydration, I don't take a drink with me, its only an hour or so, but perhaps I should. I am definitely not pushing at 10-12mph so hopefully in a few months time I will feel okay and can start adding more journeys.
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Old 05-09-14, 04:39 AM   #6
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Ha! That was before I amended it to 96 miles a week! Made me laugh too
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Old 05-09-14, 04:42 AM   #7
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If I were you, I'd start by commuting to work every other day and going on long recreational (training) rides on Saturday.
I can't do the long ride Saturday and the reason is a joy - I live in Cornwall on the weekends and surf there so I only ride during the week - its not just a commute and save cash thing, its a get fit for surf thing! - so I don't cycle Friday as rushing home and so it leaves me Monday -Thursday as my cycle days!
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Old 05-09-14, 04:55 AM   #8
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I can't do the long ride Saturday and the reason is a joy - I live in Cornwall on the weekends and surf there so I only ride during the week - its not just a commute and save cash thing, its a get fit for surf thing! - so I don't cycle Friday as rushing home and so it leaves me Monday -Thursday as my cycle days!
Understood...

Well in that case, once you've adapted to your M+W commute, then just judiciously add either Tuesdays and/or Thursday, at your discretion

PS.

How popular are single speeds in London?...I mean...Are single speeds more popular than say, multi-geared bicycles?

Thanx

Last edited by WestPablo; 05-09-14 at 05:00 AM.
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Old 05-09-14, 07:21 AM   #9
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Understood...

PS. How popular are single speeds in London?...I mean...Are single speeds more popular than say, multi-geared bicycles?

Thanx
I see a few around but most are people commuting on full on road bikes and then the people who ride foldables and shoppers and of course our hire bikes in town! When my bike is serviced if the gear cassette needs changing as well as the chain I am going to ask about getting one with reduced gears (if they exist?) - I don't need all those gears, its just for my commute and who apart from a racer would use that many gears?! It would reduce weight as well!
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Old 05-09-14, 07:42 AM   #10
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I see a few around but most are people commuting on full on road bikes and then the people who ride foldables and shoppers and of course our hire bikes in town! When my bike is serviced if the gear cassette needs changing as well as the chain I am going to ask about getting one with reduced gears (if they exist?) - I don't need all those gears, its just for my commute and who apart from a racer would use that many gears?! It would reduce weight as well!
Thanks again, Kingston!
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Old 05-09-14, 07:58 AM   #11
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When I started out on my 7 mile commute, I started by riding there and back on Saturday afternoons. Once I could do that without having to stop, I started riding into work and back 2-3 times a week (usually M-W-F). It took a long time for me to build up to 5 days, about 4-5 months.

About a month in, I had to take a week off because my legs hurt all of the time. I also changed my diet around this time to include a lot more protein (more eggs, more meat, higher protein cereals).

So basic advice:
1. Start off slowly.
2. Remember to listen to your body (if your legs start aching all of the time, take a break!)
3. Eat lots of protein.
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Old 05-09-14, 08:33 AM   #12
KingstonWheels
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So basic advice:
1. Start off slowly.
2. Remember to listen to your body (if your legs start aching all of the time, take a break!)
3. Eat lots of protein.
I am definitely going to switch up my diet! Thanks
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Old 05-09-14, 09:19 AM   #13
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I am definitely going to switch up my diet! Thanks
And pack extra food! I've found that since I've started commuting 3-5 days a week to work I'm hungry ALL THE TIME! My dinky little sandwiches don't cut it any more so I've been stocking up on snacks like nuts and hard-boiled eggs so that I can avoid an extra money-wasting trip to the cafeteria.

Also, I think transitbiker hit the nail on the head. One of the most enjoyable aspects of cycling to me feeling myself improve. It just starts feeling easier after a while, especially if you're not "training" or looking to improve your speed. I do an 8 mile round trip with a decent amount of elevation that used to get me into work sweaty as all heck. Now, even though it's warming up, I'm much more comfortable (and less gross) when I get in. I typically keep the same pace (~15 mph for the trip), but feel less tired every week than I did the week before.
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Old 05-12-14, 01:25 AM   #14
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I do an 8 mile round trip with a decent amount of elevation that used to get me into work sweaty as all heck. Now, even though it's warming up, I'm much more comfortable (and less gross) when I get in. I typically keep the same pace (~15 mph for the trip), but feel less tired every week than I did the week before.
Phew! Can't wait for that to happen!
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