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  1. #1
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    Thought process on commuting

    I was in the routine of riding as fast as I could to try to beat past times. I have found that I really enjoy riding to work more if I just cruise along, get my exercise and enjoy the morning or afternoon. I will save the hard ride and time trials for the weekend. Is this what you guys do as well?

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    One of the best parts of commuting, for me, is my reduction in stress. I get exercise (which is important, since I pretty much sit at a computer for 8 hours), get fresh air, and don't have to fight traffic. Adding time trials to the commute has no appeal.

    I take it pretty easy in the morning, push a little harder in the afternoon and save the hard rides for the weekend. But, I have never been a racer at heart.

  3. #3
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    The commute is my transition time during the day. In the morning, a slower pace keeps me from getting to hot and sweaty and allows me to get my head around the days work. The evening commute home needs to be done with more intensity to wake up my body and clear the mind after nine hours at a desk. This morning mindset took a little while to get accustom to when i started commuting to work. Usually when on a bike I am pushing the whole way.

    Best,
    Willyk57

  4. #4
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    I push it unless I'm recovering from the weekend. I have a "Commute" screen on my Garmin. Nothing but average speed and current speed. The game I play is to quickly run the average speed up to my goal, say 18 MPH. Then I have to keep my current speed above my average, this way I have to ride faster as the ride progresses. My commute is only 5 to 7 miles without any traffic lights.

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    I try and push it a little hard, but I don't really do any weekend riding. I ride 160-200 miles a week commuting, so for me, that is my riding. There is no saving myself for the weekend or taking it easy on Monday to recover from the weekend.

    I love riding bikes, but during the weekend, I have a long honey-do list and I simply like spending time with my family
    Last edited by skins_brew; 07-23-14 at 07:16 AM.

  6. #6
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    If I knew every ride had to be hard I'd skip a lot more rides. I usually just ride how I feel. If I'm tired I'll relax and take it easy. Generally I cruise along at an endurance pace but have a few hills/bridge that I'll go hard on if I'm feeling good.

    I often can't tell how I'll feel once riding. Yesterday I was mentally worn out from the day's work but ended up setting a personal record up the bridge on the way home and felt good on the ride. I generally make Fri a deliberately easy day regardless of how I feel. I'll keep my HR in a certain range and back off if it get's too high.

  7. #7
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    I usually ride easy in the morning (HR zone 3) and harder in the evenings. When it's raining or after a hard rain with debris and standing water that's my recovery day.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Eh ... it's hard for me to put a definitive answer to this.

    Generally, at least once a week I'll push really hard on my way to work. There's less traffic so I know my time will be better. It gives me a chance to measure myself against where I was earlier in the year. Early in the week my legs are fresher too. That pretty much defines how I'll ride on any given day. If I feel good after a few minutes of warming up, I'll chase the rabbit. It's pretty rare that I push hard all the way home. A lot of times I'll push pretty hard when I'm on the MUP if traffic is light. On the second half, when I'm on the surface streets, I don't push as hard. Today I had crazy headwinds, so it was pretty much gear down and suffer all the way to work. Tonight it'll be an easy ride home (provided the winds don't do a 180).

    Basically I mix it up to keep things interesting. I also base my effort on how much work frustration I need to take out on the bike

  9. #9
    Senior Member awfulwaffle's Avatar
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    Depends for me. Like others, I play the "don't sweat" game in the mornings so I don't make the lab smell like an armpit all day. On days when it's particularly hot or humid, I'll dial it back considerably to try and achieve this goal, though I lost yesterday. On days when it's not too hot or muggy, however, I've been making an effort to push myself. I generally pick a gear that's just a hair difficult to push on the flats and a pain on the inclines and try to ride that gear the entire way. Occasionally I'll have to gear down from a start, depending on what I've got in my panniers.

  10. #10
    Senior Member awfulwaffle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    Today I had crazy headwinds, so it was pretty much gear down and suffer all the way to work. Tonight it'll be an easy ride home (provided the winds don't do a 180).
    I hear ya on that one. The humidity yesterday combined with a 16 mph headwind on Milwaukee River Parkway almost ate me alive yesterday. I showed up at work completely drenched without a spare shirt. Nice tailwind today though since I go the opposite direction that you do

  11. #11
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awfulwaffle View Post
    I hear ya on that one. The humidity yesterday combined with a 16 mph headwind on Milwaukee River Parkway almost ate me alive yesterday. I showed up at work completely drenched without a spare shirt. Nice tailwind today though since I go the opposite direction that you do
    My ride to work yesterday was insane ... averaged just a hair under 17mph. The ride home ... wow ... total opposite experience. And hot ... felt like I was chewing the air instead of breathing it.

  12. #12
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    When my life was more hectic the commute used to be part of that training... it was a nice 16k time trial twice a day.

    But sometimes you have to dial things down and just enjoy the ride.

  13. #13
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    I usually do not push the pace on my commutes. Occasionally I will, especially if I'm encouraged by a tail wind. I probably did more before the summer heat kicked in. My average speed from spring to summer has slowed by about 1mph.

    About three mornings a week I run 3-5 miles before commuting, so pushing it after that is furthest from my mind.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by parkersdad View Post
    I was in the routine of riding as fast as I could to try to beat past times. I have found that I really enjoy riding to work more if I just cruise along, get my exercise and enjoy the morning or afternoon. I will save the hard ride and time trials for the weekend. Is this what you guys do as well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    When my life was more hectic the commute used to be part of that training... it was a nice 16k time trial twice a day.

    But sometimes you have to dial things down and just enjoy the ride.
    Just this morning, I posted to this thread, “how do you increase distance?”:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    As a decades long, year-round, and goal-oriented cycling commuter and occasional centurian, here's my strategy:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    I do a ten week century training program that I saw published in BICYCLING MAGAZINE years ago… and it is about the most time I can spare to train. Fortunately I cycle commute, so that's where I do it by lengthening my usual 14 mile one way distance (Commuter Rail home with bike). I find that the schedule motivates me to keep up, and it's very satisfying to plug the data into my Excel spreadsheet and watch the charts expand. My modification of the plan is to make Sunday my rest day, and Saturday is my long ride / Century day…

    Due to vagaries of New England weather, I usually begin in April, for the first Century in July…I usually retrench down to about week six through late July and August, and ramp up in September for a second late September local annual charity ride I gradually taper down and by November I slog my way through winter with my minimal 14 mile commute (as daily as possible) until April again.
    And…

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    From this thread, "Mixing HIIT & conventional exercise regime":

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    …My commute is really my only chance to train. I had long rejected the idea of intervals because getting on the Road early is a challenge itself, and I didn't want to lose my enthusiasm by punishing myself too much….

    Intervals on the road during a defined commute are more variable than what one can do on a trainer. I have quickly learned that I must watch out for traffic and not pay too much attention to the stopwatch on my cycle computer. Sometimes the stopwatch times out during an interval and I have to reset. Often the terrain is out of synch with the interval, e.g. downhills on the intensity interval, uphill on the rest interval, with stoplights interspersed.

    … I just use “Rating of Perceived Exertion” (RPE) as my monitor…
    I do find that as I warm up, though my RPE remains pretty constant, I ride higher gears and speeds. I finish feeling strong. even on rides to 60 or more miles; but I have no power meter to quantify.

  15. #15
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    I save recovery rides for commuting.

    And I try to make sure I don't do two hard commutes in a day; pretty soon that lets the psychic air out of my tires. One or two afternoon rides, and the weekend, it's fun to push it.

  16. #16
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I use my commute for training. Several times a week, I will ride my race bike and do a prescribed interval set. These rides are usually 90-120 min total, so if I am out of the house by 6, I can be at my desk by 8:30.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  17. #17
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    Depends on the day, the weather, and how I feel. Sometimes I push hard for a good time, some days I relax and enjoy the scenery. Some days I focus on one "segment" on strava to ride hard, like one of the climbs I have as a little challenge on my ride.

  18. #18
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    Cruising along would take too long for my 55 kms round trip commute but I don't push it to 100% neither. I find a good pace that allow me to cover the one way distance of 27.4 kms in about 1 hour (55 min to 1h05 depending on Wind) without being completely exhausted at the end of the ride.
    Originally Posted by Leebo

    Headwind is like a hill without a soul. Just gear down and suffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!

  19. #19
    Senior Member pavemen's Avatar
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    When I ride on my commute, it is in 4 legs. The first leg is fairly easy as I need to sit on a bus and train for 1.5 hours with a ton of other people and I don't want to be all nasty and offend. From the train to the office I can ride fairly hard as I shower before starting work.

    Going home the first leg is easy unless i am running late for the train, again I don't want to offend. These three legs are all 5-6 miles each.

    The long 22 mile ride home is a good ride, 22-23 mph for a bit, then cruise at 18, rest at 15, back to 20+ for a while, then cruise at 17-18 until the last three or four miles where I just get spent and roll in around 14-15 mph, etc. I heavy backpack does not help and the miles and stairs i walk in the office plus the 15 miles earlier add up.

  20. #20
    Let's Ride! RidingMatthew's Avatar
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    running then commuting that is tough

    Quote Originally Posted by mgw4jc View Post
    I usually do not push the pace on my commutes. Occasionally I will, especially if I'm encouraged by a tail wind. I probably did more before the summer heat kicked in. My average speed from spring to summer has slowed by about 1mph.

    About three mornings a week I run 3-5 miles before commuting, so pushing it after that is furthest from my mind.
    wow running and then commuting is tough. I cant imagine that
    kudos to you
    Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas A. Edison

  21. #21
    Member Bustaknot's Avatar
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    I find I cruise in in the morning, but by morning I mean 10am. There aren't a lot of cyclists at this point and my cruise to work is a nice long down hill (more or less). I love it.

    After work is another story. 6:30pm still has a lot of people going home so I'm in amongst the bicycle traffic. It feels very much like a race and catch myself trying to reach pole position of a group.

    I've learned to take it easy going home. It's not a race, I don't mind people passing me and will even find myself looking for people to follow behind to force me to pace myself.

    No matter what, I still commute faster on the bike than with public transit or car.

  22. #22
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    My advice is to do whatever you want to do.

    I often ride to work hard. It gets me excited and happy, and it's good for my mood once I arrive.

    On the way home, I often roll very gently, hardly pedaling at all. My commute is about 6.8 miles (10.9 km) long.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  23. #23
    Senior Member FenderTL5's Avatar
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    I tend to push when contending with heavy/heavier automobile traffic.
    There are spots where I feel compelled to keep up with car traffic simply because of the infrastructure.
    In almost every sense, the car traffic, or lack thereof, influences how hard I ride.

    On green-ways and in neighborhoods I can relax a bit.
    Nashville, like L.A. without a tan.

  24. #24
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    I find that I take it easy on the way to work, and enjoy the ride. Most afternoons however, I'm stressed out from a day at the office and I want the release, so I pick my spots where I can safely hammer it, and I do. I think for each person, how you ride a given time and route is dictated by your needs and goals. ( FWIW, I don't do a whole lot of purely recreational riding these days. It's commute/transport, training ride, or race day.

  25. #25
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    i enjoy passing or keeping up with motorists. the feeling of blowing through an intersection and leaving a line of slower cagers behind is priceless.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

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