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A Commuting Clyde - 30 mile round trip - reasonable or silly?

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A Commuting Clyde - 30 mile round trip - reasonable or silly?

Old 09-13-10, 11:28 AM
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A Commuting Clyde - 30 mile round trip - reasonable or silly?

Hello all,

I have been riding steadily since March of this year and now weigh-in at 288lbs (from 317lbs). My workplace is about to relocate another 5 miles from my home for a total of a 16.5 mile commute (one-way). I have commuted into the present location a few times and it usually takes me 1:05 to go 11.5 miles - a slow speed mainly due to a relatively nasty climb at the 9 mile mark. That climb always leaves me covered in sweat and gasping - not a great start to a day in an office. I usually commute in once a week when my office mates work from home. That way , I can sit in my own stink and have my bike in the office also. Showering etc would put another 30 mins on my day.

The new location follows the old route (and hill) with the addition of the 5 miles in HEAVY traffic. In a car, I would predict at least an hours commute, more like an hour and 15 minutes.

So the question is, is it practical to think that a daily 30+ miles commute is for me at my weight/skills?

Im not worried about the endurance (I did the STP, 200 miles this summer), more the time to commute and the sweating issue...I do ride three nights per week (30-45mins) for weight-loss and 3 hours at the weekend. So I could factor that into the commute time - not having to do it anymore.

Here's the route, click on "Altitude" to view the hills etc.

https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...28439687062336

Thoughts?
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Old 09-13-10, 12:58 PM
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Try it and see how it works.
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Old 09-13-10, 01:12 PM
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Well, it sounds to me like it would be more trouble than it's worth. That's a 1.5 hour commute one way (if I can extrapolate from your current commute time), with the last half hour being through a very heavily trafficked area. I mean, I'm sure you can handle it. But would you enjoy it? It's worth trying once to see how it is, at least.
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Old 09-13-10, 01:18 PM
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I agree with Spudd. I have no doubt that you can handle the distance, but the heavy traffic would be the problem for me. My commute is 20 miles, round trip, and I only have to deal with heavy traffic for about a mile of that. Adding 5 miles, each way, of heavy traffic would make me think twice about riding.

D
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Old 09-13-10, 01:37 PM
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I've been commuting by bike to various locations, on and off, for thirty years. All those commutes have involved heavy traffic at one point on the route or another. The shortest has been about 8 miles each way, the longest was 30 miles each way. My present commute is almost exactly the distance you are now contemplating - between 16 and 17 miles - though I sometimes throw in an extra loop to make the outward journey 24 miles if I want the extra exercise.

My answer would be, ride it. And take a shower. You'll get quicker as you push yourself to do the extra distance: my commute isn't flat - about twice as much climbing as yours - and it takes me 1 hour 5 minutes out, 1 hour 10 minutes back. That's not much more time than it would take you by car, and it doesn't take much more time to have a shower at work than at home - so shower time really isn't the issue. And if you shower you can do it every day, which means:
a. your speed will improve faster;
b. it will help with your weight loss;
c. you can save some of the time you now spend on other rides in the evenings.

And 16 miles really isn't very far.

Last edited by chasm54; 09-13-10 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 09-13-10, 02:38 PM
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Some thoughts:

Based on your sig, I am assuming you are using a road bike, if that is first suggestion

Shower at home, wear bike specific clothes (more comfort, effiency), do a cool down after the hill and when you change use wipes to do a quick clean up cool down

You might want to try the drive in, bike home, bike in drive home routine at first

Go for it
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Old 09-13-10, 03:09 PM
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I say go for it. I'm a commuter although my distance is nothing like yours. Traffic is a part of many commuters days. It keeps you alert and provides a nice change of pace from an otherwise routine day.

Set up your bike with good flat resistant tires that also roll well. Look into lights and reflective gear if you don't have any. Get fenders and a rack to help keep you and your bike clean and so you can carry things.

If you can, keep extra clothing at the office. Most people have baby wipes and do a sink cleanup when they get to work. Have extra food on hand as well. If you can shower even better. I think its doable and is really up to you.

Just get out there and try it. You will become more efficient and think of the cool points you will get from your coworkers.
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Old 09-13-10, 03:20 PM
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I'd hit it.

That's about the same as my commute.
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Old 09-13-10, 08:03 PM
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I have ridden to work with a distance simular to your 16 mile trip. You have to consider the benefits as well as the negative. I suggest you go the the commute but you should plan, plan,plan. Riding to work reduces your stress, (unless you are in heavy traffic), reduces your weight, enjoy the outside, meet nice people. Currently my ride is only 9 miles one way. Not long enough for serious training but it is longer than the prevous job of four miles.
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Old 09-13-10, 10:09 PM
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Can you do a partial commute? Drive partway, park, and then ride the rest.
 
Old 09-13-10, 10:16 PM
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My old commute (before I moved) was almost the same distance (16.5 miles one-way). I didn't ride everyday, but 2-3 days per week. As far as the bike, it started on a cheap hybrid, then a recumbent, and most recently a Surly LHT. More recently I would even ride a longer route, getting me 20 miles one-way.

It *IS* doable. You probably don't want to do it every day due to the time it takes, especially if you are slow like I am.
Here's a local news station doing a news story on me in July 2008.

I now live a whole 3.5 miles from work, and need to come up with some creative routing to get more miles in.
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Old 09-13-10, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by dcrowell
My old commute (before I moved) was almost the same distance (16.5 miles one-way). I didn't ride everyday, but 2-3 days per week. As far as the bike, it started on a cheap hybrid, then a recumbent, and most recently a Surly LHT. More recently I would even ride a longer route, getting me 20 miles one-way.

It *IS* doable. You probably don't want to do it every day due to the time it takes, especially if you are slow like I am.
Here's a local news station doing a news story on me in July 2008.

I now live a whole 3.5 miles from work, and need to come up with some creative routing to get more miles in.
The station did a great job with the photos of you riding. Why have you hidden this film away from us here in C/A? That was great.
 
Old 09-13-10, 10:23 PM
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I used to commute on occasion, and I'm 17 miles from work. I stopped because of the time commitment, and logistical problems from my commuting at night. If I worked during the day, I'd commute when I could.
 
Old 09-14-10, 09:14 AM
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Is part of your ride on BG trail? There is much good advice above. I'd try and maybe start out two or three times a week as you are currently doing. I don't see the commute time being a factor. If you figure 1:15 for a car commute and you ride 30 45 minutes. If you can do the ride in 1:30 you probably would save time and as you get stronger I would think you might improve on an 1:30. The added distance looks relatively flat, as long as there aren't a bunch of traffic lights you are talking about doing 5 miles in 25 minutes which an average 12 MPH.
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Old 09-14-10, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by The Historian
The station did a great job with the photos of you riding. Why have you hidden this film away from us here in C/A? That was great.
I think I did post it, but it was two years ago, so I could be mistaken. I don't want to call attention to it too often, lest people think I crave attention. Not saying I don't....
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Old 09-14-10, 09:59 AM
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Thanks all for the great advice. Our office moves in a month and a lot of the tips you have provided have given me a "training schedule" to prepare for the move. I do think I will take a crack at it, at least twice a week. As I said, I usually come home and do a 30 min (6 mile) exercise ride anyways. If I incorporate that into the time allowance its almost a wash.

However, I woke this morning to drizzle and fog and the first thing I thought was "could I now climb on the bike and ride 16 miles in the cold?" and to be honest, it will take some fortitude. I think I will numb the pain by visiting the local REI at weekend and spending some $ on some commuter gear. I love any excuse to buy bike gear I already have this on my list:

https://www.rei.com/product/780465

Any suggestions on a budget-priced BREATHABLE (I sweat a lot) rain jacket? I looked at the Novara rain jacket last week but I sweated on the arms as soon as I put it on. It had a "wax-like" lining on the sleeves that did not seem breathable.

Thanks all for your advice...
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Old 09-14-10, 10:10 AM
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+1 om buying new gear... or N+1 on bikes.

There is no way we can tell you if you can do the commute. You could always try it on your day off.

P.S. Riding in the rain is zen like.
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Old 09-14-10, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by magohn
Thanks all for the great advice. Our office moves in a month and a lot of the tips you have provided have given me a "training schedule" to prepare for the move. I do think I will take a crack at it, at least twice a week. As I said, I usually come home and do a 30 min (6 mile) exercise ride anyways. If I incorporate that into the time allowance its almost a wash.

However, I woke this morning to drizzle and fog and the first thing I thought was "could I now climb on the bike and ride 16 miles in the cold?" and to be honest, it will take some fortitude. I think I will numb the pain by visiting the local REI at weekend and spending some $ on some commuter gear. I love any excuse to buy bike gear I already have this on my list:

https://www.rei.com/product/780465

Any suggestions on a budget-priced BREATHABLE (I sweat a lot) rain jacket? I looked at the Novara rain jacket last week but I sweated on the arms as soon as I put it on. It had a "wax-like" lining on the sleeves that did not seem breathable.

Thanks all for your advice...
Do you really want the weight of a backpack on your for the ride? I use panniers, so the bike carries the weight. That can help with comfort.

As far as rain gear, you're gonna get wet. If it's warm enough, I just ride in my cycling gear and get rained on. If it's too cool for that I will wear a jacket or a rain cape. Neither will keep me totally dry, but at least I avoid hypothermia.

I don't know where you are located, but riding year-round is very possible. Depending on roads, you may want to drive when there is ice or snow, but cold weather can be dressed for.
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Old 09-14-10, 10:15 AM
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Good point - but the reasoning behind the backpack is that I have a Spec. Roubaix and a Santa Cruz Blur that I alternate on rides. Buying a backpack means Idont have to buy two sets of racks/panniers etc. Also, the Roubaix is fulll-carbon with no eyelets for mounting racks etc.

Thanks, Magohn
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Old 09-14-10, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by magohn
Good point - but the reasoning behind the backpack is that I have a Spec. Roubaix and a Santa Cruz Blur that I alternate on rides. Buying a backpack means Idont have to buy two sets of racks/panniers etc. Also, the Roubaix is fulll-carbon with no eyelets for mounting racks etc.

Thanks, Magohn
My answer to this is to put a rack on the Blur and take in two changes of clothes at a time - then you can use the Roubaix on alternate trips and carry nothing. A much better solution than a backpack imo, and one I use myself - commuting a couple of times a week on a tourer with all the gear, and the rest of the time on the road bike.

As for rain jackets, in my experience breathability and budget are mutually exclusive, I'm afraid
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Old 09-14-10, 01:03 PM
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Sounds like the perfect commuting distance to me (I've had longer) and a nice climb in the morning IS a great way to start the day.

1. Stage X days of clothing at work, plus belt, shoes, etc. toiletries, towel, wash cloth, deodorant, drinks, munchies, whatever you think you need. Then drive one day a week to swap out the old with the new. X being the number of days you want to commute by bike, plus one as a spare for Murphy days. Start off with riding one or two days a week and work your way up as you gain fitness. Doing either of these means you don't need to carry much on the bike...a rack and single rack trunk bag should be plenty.

1b. Alternatively, you could drive in with your supplies and bike, ride home, ride back the next day, drive home...repeat as makes you happy.

2. Shower before you leave in the morning, then clean up in the restroom sink.

3. Start off with nice weather forecasts only, using bad weather days as your rest days.

4. Look for alternative routes around sketchy portions...sometimes trading miles for stress pays.
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Old 09-14-10, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom
...4. Look for alternative routes around sketchy portions...sometimes trading miles for stress pays.
+1 everything Chipcom said, but especially this. The high traffic areas can take a lot of the fun out of an otherwise great ride. You can often find creative ways around, even if it means a few more miles. I do 28 r/t; I could go 22, but it would not be as much fun.

Check out: www.bikely.com . You can see the road names on top of photos, and find cheater routes and side streets that you might not have otherwise found.

Just go for it. You'll figure out the details along the way. You clearly can get the distance. And, with the time you're spending riding already, and the time you would not have to sit in traffic, you could come out ahead. Less money spent on gas means more bike money, too. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 09-14-10, 02:40 PM
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You don't necessarily need cycling specific gear. The only thing I can think of that would be considered cycling specific for me would probably be leg warmers.

Dress in layers and give it a go. Its not necessarily the cold that gets to me, but the wind. If its misty and or drizzling then a simple windbreaker usually works well. If its raining than then the $25 jacket I bought from a sporting goods store is all I got. It has vents, but I still get sweaty.
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