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  1. #1
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    how do you increase distance?

    hi,
    I know this might be a stupid question... but I have read a few of you have different routes (which have different distances). Is there a way you would recommend increasing distance to "hurdle" an alternate route / distance?

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    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Not sure I understand the question.

    For me, when I'm looking to stretch my commute, instead of taking the most direct route home I'll add on to the ends. Somedays I'll head north out of the office for a few miles, and then turn back south. After I get south of downtown I'll head east toward the lake and the bike paths there, and head south from there, before heading back west toward home.

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    Senior Member Double0757's Avatar
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    When exploring new routes to places I frequent, or unknown places, I have had good luck with the google map suggested routes for bicycles.

    However, nothing's beats local knowledge. Ask other riders the suggested ride and they would tell you. Give yourself extra time to explore new routes and such, and modify as you go. That's what I do!

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    for example: I have a route that I ride for about 4.5 miles to get to my office and on the way back its about 4 miles (different way)... so I am used to that distance but if I go another route, I could increase my commute to about 12 to 15 miles. Im not sure I could do that without some intermediate steps. so I was wondering if anybody used strategies to build up to a longer distance while on the commute. like: does one try to increase the mileage a certain per cent per day, does one increase every other day? etc....

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    So you're looking to build up stamina? I've found that I can increase my distance by about 25% with only slightly more tired legs at the end of the week. You could also try loading up your panniers with more weight to give more resistance.

    Of course, a lot of it depends on the route itself. My legs are used to my 7 mile hilly commute but I could easily ride 20 or more if the terrain was flat.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Try a long-ish ride on the weekend...

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    yes, trying to build up stamina... (that does seem to be a bit better way to put it... )

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    IME, it's relatively easy to add half again to any distance you're able to ride comfortably, and there won't be much falloff of speed toward the end. So I suggest you use this half again guide to push your limit once or twice a week until it too can be ridden back to back or even daily, then push beyond again.

    In short the ONLY way to increase your range is to ride farther and longer, then doing it until it becomes "normal".

    BTW- it's not only distance, depending on geography and rider condition, the limiters can be how many hills of what height you can digest, the total miles, the saddle time, miles at speed, (ie. you can ride 20 miles, nut not at a 16mph pace) and even temperature. I know someone who's feet (the soles) get tired and crampy long before anything becomes a limiting factor.

    BTW- because of deadlines, the best time to increase range is on the way home. That lets you get to work in good shape, and not fret time or speed on the way home. If you bite off too much, stop and rest, then continue. I do this daily, taking the 6 mile route going in, and riding anything up to about 30 miles on the way home depending on mood and weather.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
    Try a long-ish ride on the weekend...
    Pretty much this ... but at 8 miles per day for your commute, I'd aim for 12-15 miles to stretch yourself a bit (assuming you've been commuting for a month or more?). See how that goes, and see how you feel the day after.

    I don't stretch my rides every day. Generally speaking I'll stretch maybe one ride per week, or every other week, often dictated by my schedule, the weather, how I feel, etc. Even then, it only takes my day from a 24 mile day to around a 30 mile day. Might help to also vary the intensity of your ride if you're able to do so safely.

    Today I pushed hard, nearly added 2mph to my average. Tonight, with that effort behind me and a temp of nearly 90 with insane humidity, as well as an expected side/head wind, I'll go easy. Tomorrow will be cooler, and if I feel like it, I'll extend that ride. Thursday I'll ride easy. Friday I'll probably drive to work and I'm hoping to do a long road ride Saturday morning.

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    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    Pretty much this ... but at 8 miles per day for your commute, I'd aim for 12-15 miles to stretch yourself a bit (assuming you've been commuting for a month or more?). See how that goes, and see how you feel the day after.

    I don't stretch my rides every day. Generally speaking I'll stretch maybe one ride per week, or every other week, often dictated by my schedule, the weather, how I feel, etc. Even then, it only takes my day from a 24 mile day to around a 30 mile day. Might help to also vary the intensity of your ride if you're able to do so safely.

    Today I pushed hard, nearly added 2mph to my average. Tonight, with that effort behind me and a temp of nearly 90 with insane humidity, as well as an expected side/head wind, I'll go easy. Tomorrow will be cooler, and if I feel like it, I'll extend that ride. Thursday I'll ride easy. Friday I'll probably drive to work and I'm hoping to do a long road ride Saturday morning.

    +2mph increase and with heat and humidity!
    CONGRATS!

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    to increase stamina I think you need to ride a little more than you usually do every day. In other words ride more explore routes, find other places to ride, go for a long ride on the weekend.
    You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C. S. Lewis

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    intensity and frequency are also very useful for developing stamina. it's a complete myth that one needs to ride long distances to comfortably ride longer distances.
    This is why motorists hate us, and why I've given up riding on the road...You should be ashamed yourself, and you should be reviled by cyclists everywhere.

  13. #13
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
    +2mph increase and with heat and humidity!
    CONGRATS!
    eh ... I was assisted by a bit of a tailwind ... that said, I did definitely push hard today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    intensity and frequency are also very useful for developing stamina. it's a complete myth that one needs to ride long distances to comfortably ride longer distances.
    I stand by the "Myth". You can get faster, and build strength, but distance and time require some getting used to. Otherwise, regardless of how fast or strong you are, saddle time and other factors will kick in. I seen the effects of folks (including fast strong folks) overreaching and bonking out often enough to have a sense of what folks can and can't do.
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

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    What i have done is alternate between a challenging route, and a less challenging route, listing ot my body, if it needs a break i take it easy, if not i tend to push myself very hard. For example, i can get to a point 1.5 miles away in 18 minutes or 7 minutes on the same route. I just have to decide where on that scale i want to land. I know what spots are harder for me, and which parts are easier, so if i really want to push myself, i have to know when to ease up so the hard parts do not burn me out. You could apply this to your routes and build up endurance. Keep in mind that it will take time no matter what method you use, be it this one or simply longer or more challenging routes, so don't get frustrated or despair.

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    If I have to get to the top of the hill & I have 2 choices ..

    A short and really steep, way or come around the other side which is further,

    but the route, that way, though it takes longer to get to the same place,
    feels like a bit less work because the slope is not as steep ..

    same rise , longer run.

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    i'm assuming you haven't been riding or doing cardio of any kind, for very long?

    if so, the weekend ride will do just fine. and what the folks say about increments threaded onto your regular distance will be no problem.

    for most people that are even able to actually ride a bike, anything that doesn't involve drastic intensities or distances will be no problem. what is "drastic" varies, but if you can ride your route at minimum distance, adding a mile or 3 won't hairlip you at all.

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    Riding a bike isn't like walking or running. A completely untrained individual should be able to jump on a bike and bang out 10 miles at an easy pace. A trained but untrained ( winter lay-off) individual ought to be able to do 20. The only difference would be the time it takes. If you wanted to do a much longer commute at the same average speed as the regular one that would have to be worked up to. The effort, not the distance. I don't at the moment, but I should and most of us should, incorporate some additional cardio and even some weight training into our overall fitness plan. I've signed up for this program that will pay 40% of my health club membership every month that I go at least 3x/wk. Its a nice gym and I couldn't normally justify the $40/mo , but its only a block from home and is open 24/7.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I stand by the "Myth". You can get faster, and build strength, but distance and time require some getting used to. Otherwise, regardless of how fast or strong you are, saddle time and other factors will kick in. I seen the effects of folks (including fast strong folks) overreaching and bonking out often enough to have a sense of what folks can and can't do.
    sure...but some naive racer dnfing on a brevet is a different thing altogether from preparing for a club/charity ride. and, in my experience, cyclists who ride frequently often fare better on their first century than people who focus on a few longish training rides.
    This is why motorists hate us, and why I've given up riding on the road...You should be ashamed yourself, and you should be reviled by cyclists everywhere.

  20. #20
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by e0richt View Post
    yes, trying to build up stamina... (that does seem to be a bit better way to put it... )
    When I started out, I used my weekend rides as training rides for my commute. My goal was to make my weekend rides the hardest so that my commutes seemed easy. Works for distance too.

    As for actually extending my commute, I started by extending the ride home once or twice a week. When I got really brave, I extended my ride to work on Saturday mornings, stopping at the diner a couple of blocks from work for breakfast before continuing to work. This gave me a time cushion along with recovery and refueling before work.

    These days it takes me 17 miles to cover the 4.5 miles to work, 13 miles to do it coming home. My ride to work starts by heading 6 miles in the opposite direction.
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    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    A completely untrained individual should be able to jump on a bike and bang out 10 miles at an easy pace.
    That wasn't my experience. When I started out, well, my first ride was home from the LBS. It's 0.67 miles at -0.5% grade (yes, slightly downhill). I had to stop and rest halfway. It was weeks before I could ride all the way to work without stopping to rest. The commute at the time was two miles to one job, three to the other. It was three or four months before I could "bang out 10 miles at an easy pace".
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    That wasn't my experience. When I started out, well, my first ride was home from the LBS. It's 0.67 miles at -0.5% grade (yes, slightly downhill). I had to stop and rest halfway. It was weeks before I could ride all the way to work without stopping to rest. The commute at the time was two miles to one job, three to the other. It was three or four months before I could "bang out 10 miles at an easy pace".
    I appreciate you saying that as I was a bit shy to say that when I started out that a couple of miles was daunting... add in that there also was some break-in time for sitting on the saddle...

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    Yes, people here are already cyclists, and have long forgotten what it's like to start. Also, many started when they were younger, lighter and fitter. That doesn't translate to what most new riders experience, which can be a very tough 5 miles, after which they're pretty much crapped out.

    If someone can't run more than 1/2 block or so to catch a bus, they're going to suffer on their first few rides. However once they get past the initial "break in" phase, then improvement can happen pretty fast, and most healthy people can get to where they can ride 50 miles in under 5 hours within half a season or so (if they work at it).

    When helping folks get faster or stronger (longer) I usually advise mixing hard, fast shorter rides with slower buy long rides in some sort of alternating pattern. I also try to find short steep hills, and long grades and mix in some riding of both. The key is to focus on your weakest issue, and work on it, mixing in general training of other rides.

    In any case, even if your first time out you couldn't ride a mile, that's still one more mile than before.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I stand by the "Myth". You can get faster, and build strength, but distance and time require some getting used to. Otherwise, regardless of how fast or strong you are, saddle time and other factors will kick in. I seen the effects of folks (including fast strong folks) overreaching and bonking out often enough to have a sense of what folks can and can't do.
    Er...
    Depends upon what you mean by long.

    Metric?
    Century?
    200k?

    That's as far as I have gone in a day...

    Frankly, fit issues show up only over time / miles and fatigue.

    I'm a huge fan of intensity, and intervals even. But there is no replacement for seat time.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
    Er...
    Depends upon what you mean by long.

    .
    Long is whatever it means to the individual involves. There are people who think about 5 miles the same way some think about 50 or a hundred or more. But in a general sense, I'd say anything that takes more than 2 hours is long for most non-cyclists. (unless they're fit or do other sports)
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

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