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  1. #1
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    Telecommuting is bad for you

    I used to have a 40 mile RT bicycle commute and occasional telecommuting. Now my job is 100% telecommute.

    There are good things and bad things about that. In practice my fitness has fallen off. I ride recreationally. But can't seem to work in nearly as much of that. The ride is more optional and I don't need to ride that far.

    My tolerance to heat has gone down. My readiness for a weekend of camping in the mountains is not at the same edge. I come home beat by what would have been energizing.

    The world seems to "excuse you" for spending gobs of time riding if it's a commute. So the built in support goes down, which only adds more weight to the dont-ride pressure.

    It's not that one could not overcome all this. But commuting, you don't have to.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I would be thrilled if I could work from home.

    Right now, I don't commute by bicycle at all, but if I worked from home, I'd incorporate a ride or some sort of exercise, into the middle of the day, just about every day.

    Half the year it is pitch black out there by the time I get home from work, and I'm not fond of climbing steep hills at the best of times, but really do not enjoy climbing steep hills when it is dark. If I worked from home, I'd cycle in the middle of the day, when it is light out, and usually a little bit warmer out.

    But of course, I don't know for sure because I've never been given that opportunity.

  3. #3
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
    The world seems to "excuse you" for spending gobs of time riding if it's a commute. So the built in support goes down, which only adds more weight to the dont-ride pressure.
    Please explain. If it is not your spouse what is the significance of "built in support" or "the world" excusing you for spending your time bicycling? Do what you want to do, period.

  4. #4
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    My wife telecommutes and has for the past decade. We bought her a bike and she rides with me every morning to drop off the kids at school and most mornings on my way in to work. Then she walks to pick up the kiddos at school (.75 miles away).

    I can totally see having the built in excuse help you getting on the bike though. Maybe you could strap on some panniers and use it for your day-to-day errands?

  5. #5
    Senior Member wsgts's Avatar
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    I was telecommuting around 2000 - 2003, when it was discovered that I had Type II diabetes. Health went to hell until 2012, when I started bicycle commuting (22 miles RT). So I had the exact opposite order of events, but the same ultimate effect (health = crap). I have the option to telecommute and do every once in a while, but usually make myself drive to the office even if I am there by myself.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Please explain. If it is not your spouse what is the significance of "built in support" or "the world" excusing you for spending your time bicycling? Do what you want to do, period.
    Some of it is my spouse, although that's pretty-much me projecting dissatisfaction. She is supportive of what I do. I guess it all comes down to me and my own competing priorities. I have personal goals around some investment real estate that me and my wife are managing. We stand to gain or lose significant money over the next couple years as we sell rental houses we've been managing for years.

    It is much easier for me to allocate the time if I need that time to get to work. Otherwise I tend to step outside myself and question the wisdom of what I'm doing with my time. It's not that I don't ride. But I ride a good bit less than when I commuted every work day.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bovine View Post
    My wife telecommutes and has for the past decade. We bought her a bike and she rides with me every morning to drop off the kids at school and most mornings on my way in to work. Then she walks to pick up the kiddos at school (.75 miles away).

    I can totally see having the built in excuse help you getting on the bike though. Maybe you could strap on some panniers and use it for your day-to-day errands?
    I use my bicycle for virtually all of my errands. And a cargo trailer for grocery shopping every 10 days or so. But I can go several days without the need to go anywhere at all. That's not much riding.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I would be thrilled if I could work from home.

    Right now, I don't commute by bicycle at all, but if I worked from home, I'd incorporate a ride or some sort of exercise, into the middle of the day, just about every day.

    Half the year it is pitch black out there by the time I get home from work, and I'm not fond of climbing steep hills at the best of times, but really do not enjoy climbing steep hills when it is dark. If I worked from home, I'd cycle in the middle of the day, when it is light out, and usually a little bit warmer out.

    But of course, I don't know for sure because I've never been given that opportunity.
    It is definitely nice for life to not be as structured. I not only work at home, I pretty-much work my own schedule. Like I said, there are definitely good things about this arrangement. It's just that the built-in incentive to ride as much is not there. And I can tell it has a net effect in terms of my fitness. That said, I can still ride a loaded bike 70+ miles a day for weekend camping and enjoy the experience. If I can keep that up then I'll be OK. I don't know yet if my current activity level keeps me in shape for that or if some of it is the residual effect of my previous condition. Time will tell.

  9. #9
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
    I used to have a 40 mile RT bicycle commute and occasional telecommuting. Now my job is 100% telecommute.
    Yeah, I went from a 20 mile daily ride to zero when I got laid off. It's surprising how you get used to it. And also difficult to replicate riding that much when all the riding is recretional or utility riding.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I had almost the same experience as the OP. (I never telecommuted, but I did move to a new house that is only a 6 minute walk from work.) My riding mileage went way down, even as I was making an effort to do more recreational riding. The problem is, as I think @Walter S. was saying, that there is always so much that can be done with your time, and sometimes it's difficult to justify spending that time on a bike ride or other recreational activity.

    In my case, laziness or procrastination is also a factor. If I have 45 minutes of spare time before work, chances are that I'm going to spend it lazing around with the family or reading a book, rather than climbing on my bike and riding a few miles down the river trail.

    I think it's owning a car that's dangerous for your health. I have spent an average of about 25 minutes a day exercising when I owned a car, versus about 67 minutes during carfree periods. (I have kept a journal for many years, so the figures are pretty accurate.)


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  11. #11
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat, started working from home six years ago, deleting the 30km round trip commute. One thing I made a point of was to keep my post office box and banking downtown so I am obliged to make the ride at least once a week.

    The good:
    - I make a point of riding during the best parts of the day and can avoid bad weather
    - hardly ever have to charge my lights

    The bad:
    - easy access to the kitchen and riding less is a bad combination

  12. #12
    Lazy vegan bicyclist Drv1913's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mercator View Post
    One thing I made a point of was to keep my post office box and banking downtown so I am obliged to make the ride at least once a week.
    I work from home now, too, and do exactly the same thing. Also, besides errands and the occasional meeting, I take advanatage of my new situation to do a lot more fun things (nature walks, brown bag lectures, workshops, movies, etc.) and use my bike to get there. All combined, it still doesn't equal the amount of riding I did when I was going to an office every day, but the trade off in riding time is more than worth it for me. I have a set of exercises that I do every morning and I also do all of my lawn maintenance with manual tools in an effort to make up for some of the loss of built-in physical activity.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mercator View Post
    I'm in the same boat, started working from home six years ago, deleting the 30km round trip commute. One thing I made a point of was to keep my post office box and banking downtown so I am obliged to make the ride at least once a week.

    The good:
    - I make a point of riding during the best parts of the day and can avoid bad weather
    - hardly ever have to charge my lights

    The bad:
    - easy access to the kitchen and riding less is a bad combination
    +1! I've gained 10 pounds working at home.

  14. #14
    Senior Member loky1179's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
    Some of it is my spouse, although that's pretty-much me projecting dissatisfaction. She is supportive of what I do. I guess it all comes down to me and my own competing priorities. I have personal goals around some investment real estate that me and my wife are managing. We stand to gain or lose significant money over the next couple years as we sell rental houses we've been managing for years.

    It is much easier for me to allocate the time if I need that time to get to work. Otherwise I tend to step outside myself and question the wisdom of what I'm doing with my time. It's not that I don't ride. But I ride a good bit less than when I commuted every work day.
    Walter, I was wondering how your tele-commuting was going. I'd guess that I'd have even less success than you, were I able to tele-commute. The "to do" list is pretty much infinitely long at this point. Unlike many commuters, I almost never take a longer route home. I have an eight year-old, and I feel like I have only so much time to spend with him, so I want to get home as fast as possible.

    On the other hand, I could "save" maybe an hour and a half a day by driving - but save it for what? Bottom line is that I NEED regular exercise, and commuting is the easiest and most time efficient way to work that into my schedule.

    Before I started commuting, I'd try to ride recreationally, yet every ride was a choice. Am I too tired? Is it raining? Should I do laundry instead? With bicycle commuting, I only have to ask myself two questions, and the answers are almost always universally "yes": "Do I want to get to work, so I don't get fired?" and "Do I want to get home?" It really cuts out the distractions!

    Good for you for doing as much utility riding as you appear to be doing.

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