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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 05-30-14, 08:24 AM   #1
RyeRey521
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Balancing commuting and fast club rides...

Hey Guys,
I haven't posted in quite some time, but have come across a situation where I need some advice. Last year I started commuting fairly regularly on a cheap bike I built up which was the only road bike I owned. I commuted and did longer rides after work to get some miles under me. Well a year later and I own an all out race bike, cx bike, mtb, and still have that commuter, but I have severely slacked on actually commuting. The reasoning (I give to myself) that I have not commuted has been because I enjoy the group rides I do with local clubs after work, and if I commute, I will not be able to ride at the same level. I race almost every weekend and do well for my size and ability.
My question to you guys is if any of you balance group rides after work with commuting and if it has affected any of you as it has me. I was commuting 5 days a week for 5-6 months before I started getting invited to come ride with others at a different level from my solo rides after work. I am interested in starting commuting again (For multiple reasons), but fear my racing and training will suffer. Any Advice?
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Old 05-30-14, 08:34 AM   #2
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Hey Guys,
I haven't posted in quite some time, but have come across a situation where I need some advice. Last year I started commuting fairly regularly on a cheap bike I built up which was the only road bike I owned. I commuted and did longer rides after work to get some miles under me. Well a year later and I own an all out race bike, cx bike, mtb, and still have that commuter, but I have severely slacked on actually commuting. The reasoning (I give to myself) that I have not commuted has been because I enjoy the group rides I do with local clubs after work, and if I commute, I will not be able to ride at the same level. I race almost every weekend and do well for my size and ability.
My question to you guys is if any of you balance group rides after work with commuting and if it has affected any of you as it has me. I was commuting 5 days a week for 5-6 months before I started getting invited to come ride with others at a different level from my solo rides after work. I am interested in starting commuting again (For multiple reasons), but fear my racing and training will suffer. Any Advice?
What is it about commuting that would hurt your training? Can you commute on your road bike and then just head straight to the group rides after work?
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Old 05-30-14, 08:35 AM   #3
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Not knowing a whole lot about you, and not being a professional in any way, I would suggest that the limiting factor depends on how hard your commute is. If it's a 40mile RT with hills then that'll take some time to to get to the point where you can do it all, if ever. OTOH, if it's a relatively shorter commute you can probably work up to it. It's all miles, it's all saddle time, but an easy commute can be slow spinning recovery riding. I'm sure you realize that recovery and rest is really important to training so going full on into all of it might prove your fear of diminishing returns. I'd say add the commutes a day a week and work up to more as you feel stronger.
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Old 05-30-14, 08:59 AM   #4
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The commute is only 15mi one way, but my concern is keeping up with everyone on my slow heavy commuter bike. We all know that you can ride fast on almost anything, but 22mph avg is tough no matter who you are when you factor in loaded panniers and relaxed geometry... Also, some of the club rides take me well out of the way of home so I will have about 50 miles commuting under my legs for the day before factoring in training rides (35-45 on top of that).

There is no doubt that I can mold my commuting to assist with my training, but was curious if anyone else has had to deal with the decision on abandoning previous rides because of what works with commuting.
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Old 05-30-14, 09:18 AM   #5
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I work second shift, so my club ride/commuting days are in reverse.

I have a locker at work, and honest co-workers who leave my food alone in the fridge all week. I only use a "heavy" commuter bike and panniers on Monday to haul things in and Thursday (four-day workweek) to haul home the laundry. I just don't do club rides on Mondays and Thursdays is all.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I can ride my club ride bike to the morning club ride, ride the ride, then ride the club ride bike to work. (There aren't any scheduled for Fridays.)

If you can store stuff at work, then you don't have to haul it every day. Then you can ride your club ride bike to work on days you don't have to haul.
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Old 05-30-14, 09:35 AM   #6
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This may be a good solution for me.. I have plenty of space to store clothes and lunch, and that should really be all I would need to "load up" on i guess. I am m-f 7-5:30 generally and the tues, wed, and thurs rides are all relatively close to my work (still not in the direction of home) but if I bring lights and utilize the ride as a cool down then all should be well.

WestPablo, This issue is I am currently not commuting by bike. I generally drive in with my bike, sometimes ride to the rides from work and then drive home, or drive directly to the rides.. I want to pick commuting back up, but found myself with this logistics issue.
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Old 05-30-14, 09:51 AM   #7
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Yup. Seems like the best option here is to figure out how to use your fast road bike for commuting so you can use it for club rides afterwards. Might mean you commute with a backpack rather than rack/panniers. The abject horror.
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Old 05-30-14, 10:15 AM   #8
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I have been known to go on an afternoon group ride with a backpack on.

Lights too.
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Old 05-30-14, 11:09 AM   #9
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On group ride days, ride your road bike and bring your clothes in a backpack. If you don't feel like wearing the backpack on the group ride, leave it at work, and take it home the next day on your racked-and-panniered commuter.

I'm guessing at least half the guys who show up for the Tuesday Night World Championships are coming from work.
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Old 05-30-14, 12:17 PM   #10
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I have gone on group rides about 30 miles long after my commute, which is also about 30 miles round trip. I was dragging the pack on hills and pretty wasted when the ride was over. However, my biggest constraint is time. In order to join group rides after work, I have to rush home, eat something real quick, pack my bike gear in the car and drive to the group's meeting point -- which is hard to do during the limited amount of time between the end of my work day and the start of the group ride. I have also tried riding directly to the group ride during my commute home, but that makes for a very long ride carrying all of my commuting gear -- plus I would end up riding home in the dark. As a result, I rarely participate in weekday group rides any more. About the only times I do are on days when I can't bike commute for some reason, or on days when I drive because it's raining in the morning but the weather clears off by the afternoon.
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Old 05-30-14, 12:21 PM   #11
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How long is the direct commute? How long is the group ride? And how long is the group ride plus commute?
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Old 05-30-14, 12:30 PM   #12
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This may be a good solution for me.. I have plenty of space to store clothes and lunch, and that should really be all I would need to "load up" on i guess. I am m-f 7-5:30 generally and the tues, wed, and thurs rides are all relatively close to my work (still not in the direction of home) but if I bring lights and utilize the ride as a cool down then all should be well.
Ride the Monday and Friday commutes at a recovery pace, and you have everything covered.

Monday recovery, midweek hammerfest, Friday recovery, weekend races.
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Old 05-30-14, 02:13 PM   #13
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I do what you describe.
For people that have day jobs, any saddle time is good time. I find with commuting, shorter workouts twice a day is better than one long workout. The more seat time the better. Nothing pushes me like a hard club ride though (other than actual race day)
Commute time can be recovery time. Or, It can be training time – i.e. do intervals on the commute. That is what I do.
If you are riding from work, just store what you need at work for an extra day, so that you can do the run to the group ride without the heavy bike and panniers. I don’t use a heavy bike for my commute – after trying multiple things, I end up using my road bike with a messenger bag to carry a laptop, clothes/toiletries, and maybe some food. But yeah, if I am doing a club ride on the way home, I leave that at work, along with whatever I need the next day, so I can do the club ride unburdened.

Yeah, doing club rides and commute on the same day can end up a 70 mile day for me. Its all good…
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Old 05-30-14, 04:18 PM   #14
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I have been struggling with a similar problem so seeing the responses here is helpful. I want to join a weekly group ride that starts/stops along my commute home (near the end of my commuter home). I am concerned with being too tired from commuting for the ride and with what to do with my backpack.

As for the backpack problem, I may see if I can get someone to hold my backpack in their car or at the LBS that it leaves from. Alternatively I might drive to where the ride starts in the AM and commute to and from there. I might try to figure out if I can leave my bag at work on the day of the ride - never thought about that. Maybe I could get stuff back and forth the days before and after.

As for the being tired problem, I am not sure what to do yet. I hope I can work up to it. I may try doing a multi-modal commute on the days I do the ride to start, taking bus or ferry part of the way, at least until I build up to this ride.
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Old 05-30-14, 05:47 PM   #15
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I don't race, but I find that I get back in shape the fastest if I ride hard every time I'm on a bike. Force those adaptations.
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Old 05-31-14, 11:32 PM   #16
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Combining commuting and hard group rides? Philippe Gilbert says "Oui."

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Old 06-02-14, 06:27 AM   #17
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I have gone on group rides about 30 miles long after my commute, which is also about 30 miles round trip. I was dragging the pack on hills and pretty wasted when the ride was over. However, my biggest constraint is time. In order to join group rides after work, I have to rush home, eat something real quick, pack my bike gear in the car and drive to the group's meeting point -- which is hard to do during the limited amount of time between the end of my work day and the start of the group ride. I have also tried riding directly to the group ride during my commute home, but that makes for a very long ride carrying all of my commuting gear -- plus I would end up riding home in the dark. As a result, I rarely participate in weekday group rides any more. About the only times I do are on days when I can't bike commute for some reason, or on days when I drive because it's raining in the morning but the weather clears off by the afternoon.
The mileage is not really what I am concerned about as much as being able to hang with groups I usually pull considering my bike. Like many have suggested, I could just double up what I need for the next day and commute on my race bike those days.. I am only really bringing in a change of clothes and the occasional packed lunch. I suppose a backpack would work also but it is starting to get too warm for that.

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How long is the direct commute? How long is the group ride? And how long is the group ride plus commute?
The commute is 14 and change one way and the rides are usually 35-45 at 22-23mph pace.. Its not the distance that will get me as I can just spin it is to work and home, but being able to do the rides with my commuter bike was the issue.
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Old 06-02-14, 11:15 AM   #18
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. I suppose a backpack would work also but it is starting to get too warm for that.
I use a messanger bag - I got tired of the sweaty back I would get from a backpack. The messanger bag has a cross strap in the front (to keep it planted) and sits on my tailbone, so no sweaty back.

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The commute is 14 and change one way and the rides are usually 35-45 at 22-23mph pace.. Its not the distance that will get me as I can just spin it is to work and home, but being able to do the rides with my commuter bike was the issue
.
Sounds like what I do. Certainly need a fast bike for that.
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