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Possible long commute

Old 06-15-15, 12:08 PM
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Possible long commute

Hey guys. I've been riding for a couple months and want to start commuting to work. Here's the thing, it's about 20 miles one way with good climbs both ways. Do you guys think this is practical? It would turn my 30-45 minute drive into a 1.5-2 hour bike ride. I'm really struggling to make this happen as that would be more time away from my family in the evenings. I'm trying to work with work to get an earlier schedule, but not sure if that's going to happen.

My question to you guys, do you see it as being worth the hassle of doing the commute to lose some family time?
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Old 06-15-15, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by cdrewferd
Hey guys. I've been riding for a couple months and want to start commuting to work. Here's the thing, it's about 20 miles one way with good climbs both ways. Do you guys think this is practical? It would turn my 30-45 minute drive into a 1.5-2 hour bike ride. I'm really struggling to make this happen as that would be more time away from my family in the evenings. I'm trying to work with work to get an earlier schedule, but not sure if that's going to happen.

My question to you guys, do you see it as being worth the hassle of doing the commute to lose some family time?
Is there any transit/bus route along the way you can use for part of the trip?

I have the same issue, it would be 40 miles each way for my commute on bike, but I use express bus and commuter rail to cover 30-35 of them (I get off at different stops depending on how much time I have and ride the rest of the way in or back).

Another option would be to take the bike on your car part way, then park the car somewhere secure and ride in the rest of the way. Park farther and farther away as you get more and more comfortable riding in and back.
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Old 06-15-15, 12:44 PM
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My 18 mile commute only take about 1:20 or so. Car takes and hour. Price of a happy, well exercised commuter? How big are those hills in CO? Drive to work with the bike. leave car there. Pedal home in pm, then bike back in AM. Only 1 bike commute in a day that way. Lots of options. Dare I say E bike?
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Old 06-15-15, 01:10 PM
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Thanks guys. It's not the distance, or hills that are causing me issues. It's the time away from the family.

For myself I want to do it to get into better shape. My family has a horrible history with heart disease. It's what killed my dads parents, and probably their siblings and parents as well. My dad was number 3 of 10 kids and all but 2 of them have had some sort of bypass surgery. Just 2 years ago my brother had quintuple bypass surgery at the young age of 42. It's possible that everything I do won't make a difference and I could still end up having to have bypass surgery at some point. However, I want to do everything in my power to make that day come much later than 40's or even 50's.

So, all that aside, I'm going to go for it. I will work out the work schedule and family schedule to make it work. If I don't make getting healthy a priority now, then it never will be and I'll be another statistic of heart disease deaths.

Thanks guys.
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Old 06-15-15, 01:49 PM
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I was about to state here that in your case cycling to work may not be worth it because you won't be able to spend as much time with your family. However, since you have shared your health concern and seem determined to achieve a healthier lifestyle, I think this is actually doable as long as you try to strike a balance between driving and cycling. Leebo's suggestion is actually very clever and easy to implement, and I'm sure that following such a middle-ground option will enable you to both cycle more and remain healthier, as well as still be able to spend as much time as possible with your loved ones.
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Old 06-15-15, 02:03 PM
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You should go for it. If the time loss is a little too much, I like the e-bike suggestion. You can still put in the same effort but will be moving faster.
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Old 06-15-15, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cdrewferd
Thanks guys. It's not the distance, or hills that are causing me issues. It's the time away from the family.
One of the things I did to spend more time w/ the family was to fold dropping off the kids in to the commute by getting a cargo bike. Now this is a huge outlay and only really works with younger kids who are not staying home, but I thought I'd put it out there. The Yuba Mundo has easily been the best $1,600 I've ever spent; nothing else even compares. I drop the kids off at primary/pre-school and then ride in to work after that.

One can also add an e-bike component for anywhere from < $1,000 for aftermarket or ~$2,000 for the kit supplied by Yuba. That could help significantly on the climbs, though it would take away from part of the reason for your commute.
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Old 06-15-15, 02:17 PM
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1.5 - 2 hour commute is just way too long for me. The last thing I feel like doing right after a long 8+ hour shift, is spend another 2 hours on getting home. Its not practical and I would definately take a car, bus or train for a distance of that lenght. Maybe do it once a week at the very most if I like the route. But this is under normal circumstances. If your doing this for health reasons then there is no excuse that should keep you back. Better to stay away from the family an hour more and be around for many years than other way around. Health always comes first.

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Old 06-15-15, 02:18 PM
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My commute is 40 miles each way. I have no public transportation available, but I ended up keeping a bike at my office that I use for commuting at lunch. There aren't any nearby restaurants, so I typically bike around 6 miles a day going to/from lunch....just another idea to throw out there.
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Old 06-15-15, 02:29 PM
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I did a 60 mile commute for a while (round trip) and had opportunities for 98 mile round-trip commutes on certain days. Not much in the way of hills/climbing, but I am a climber - so there's "hills" and then there's "hills," for all of us. It was a MASSIVE time commitment, but it was fantastic training. Due to the massive amount of time, I was generally only able to make the full trek by bike a couple times a week... if you plain run out of time to get on the bike and ride in, you just plain run out of time - gotta get in the car.

But speaking of car, I also would occasionally drive in halfway and do the rest on the bike. Still a big time sucker, because driving also still takes time and a 30 mile drive is still a hell of a commute even by car, in the city. But a lot more doable. In fact, when my commute changed to a location over these here West Hills, I would generally drive all the way to the bottom of the hill and ride up and over. Still netted me about 4000' of gain and took about the same amount of time as doing the full flat ride in (1:20-1:30 each way), but HO LEE FUK what a great training week.
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Old 06-15-15, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by cdrewferd
Thanks guys. It's not the distance, or hills that are causing me issues. It's the time away from the family.

For myself I want to do it to get into better shape. My family has a horrible history with heart disease. It's what killed my dads parents, and probably their siblings and parents as well. My dad was number 3 of 10 kids and all but 2 of them have had some sort of bypass surgery. Just 2 years ago my brother had quintuple bypass surgery at the young age of 42. It's possible that everything I do won't make a difference and I could still end up having to have bypass surgery at some point. However, I want to do everything in my power to make that day come much later than 40's or even 50's.

So, all that aside, I'm going to go for it. I will work out the work schedule and family schedule to make it work. If I don't make getting healthy a priority now, then it never will be and I'll be another statistic of heart disease deaths.

Thanks guys.
I think you answered your own question. Good luck!
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Old 06-15-15, 05:35 PM
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You could try riding 2 or 3 times a week to see how you and your family feel about it at first. You may find yourself not getting home much later than when you drove. I know for me, my bike commute was an incentive to not work late.

As a single parent I actually worked out my schedule that allowed for me to drive the kid to school, park in the student / visitor lot at the high school next to the elementary school, and bike 20 miles to work. It only took me 1:30 to ride vs. a 30 min drive most days, with a good amount of hills along route. After school she'd stay for the after school enrichment program (funded by my tax dollars so why not take advantage of it) then hang out with her cousins in town until I picked her up around 7:30. We still had about 6 hours a day of 'family time'. I'm sure it would've been harder to work out a different routine to squeeze in an hour or two of riding in the evenings without leaving her home alone.
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Old 06-16-15, 04:38 AM
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If you are not used to riding 20 miles at a shot, twice a day, then you will do this one or two times and give up because it is a lot of time and energy that you're using every day.

My advice is to build up to it. Drive the car for 10-12 miles and bike the rest. It's much easier to do 8-10 miles each way. Then slowly add more bike miles to your commute as you drive shorter and shorter distances.
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Old 06-16-15, 02:02 PM
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You have to take time to exercise at least a little, don't you? Commuting by bike takes less time than driving plus going to the gym. Maybe you could do this once a week. You could put the bike in the car on Monday, drive to work, and ride home Monday night. Ride to work Tuesday morning and drive home Tuesday night. Drive to work and back on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

An alternative is to take fun rides on weekends and tow your kids in a trailer, if they're little. That's what I did when my kids were little. My kids never got bored of riding in it. I rode my racing bike. The trailer doesn't affect handling at all. It slowed me down on uphills, and I had to brake carefully on downhills.
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Old 06-16-15, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by cdrewferd
My family has a horrible history with heart disease. It's what killed my dads parents, and probably their siblings and parents as well.
Thanks guys.
You can't spend time with your family when you're in a hospital for CHF.
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Old 06-16-15, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Craptacular8
My commute is 40 miles each way. I have no public transportation available, but I ended up keeping a bike at my office that I use for commuting at lunch. There aren't any nearby restaurants, so I typically bike around 6 miles a day going to/from lunch....just another idea to throw out there.
What a terrific idea!
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Old 06-16-15, 09:32 PM
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My commute went from 2 miles to about 16.7 miles & to cope with this 5 days a week I went the electric assist bike route. It tops out at 20mph for the assist & pushing it while following some stop signs/lights I can make in just about an hour. I'm only 10-15 minutes longer average with the normal bike but much sweatier. There are e-bikes that top out at 28mph assisted that 20 miles could be done in about an hour & w/o a need to change clothes/shower.
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Old 06-17-15, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by cdrewferd
My question to you guys, do you see it as being worth the hassle of doing the commute to lose some family time?
Depends, how much do you like your family?

I see you've already decided to give it a go, but 3-4 hours out of every day is a LOT of time for a family man. I strongly suggest you listen to all the other good ideas on this page and consider shortening that time with a mixed mode (car/bike or transit/bike), or do only some days each week.

Another option that you should consider: move.

I used to live 25 mi from work, got back into cycling, and could only manage biking to work (2h each way) once a month or so. And even then, I would drive in with the bike, ride home, rest overnight, and ride back the next morning. 4 hours taken out of just one day was too much for me.

Also my kids went to a private school not far from my work, so my wife was making round trips up there once or twice a day (depending on carpools). I had been working there for many years, but after a few years of all the driving to school, I finally woke up and we decided to move to where our life is. We sold the 4br detached house with yard, and bought a 3br townhouse with no yard (and no yard care! yay!!). Now I am 5.5 mi from work and bike full time, and the kids don't have to waste half their life in a car.
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Old 06-17-15, 10:11 AM
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I recommend you do it once a week to start with. I have a young family and do a 36 mile RT commute 3 days a week.

After you have done it for a few weeks you should be able to do it in under 90 minutes fairly easily, especially in the summer.
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Old 06-17-15, 10:24 AM
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20 miles...Westminster to Boulder?, or NW Denver? Do you have a safe route planned?
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Old 06-17-15, 11:54 AM
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Thanks for all the information guys. Yes I do have a safe route planned. I have driven it many times and there are either designated bike lanes or wide shoulders. Some of the roads I'll be riding are popular biking roads so there are always bikes on them.

The electric assist sounds cool, but way past my budget unless it's around $100.

I won't be doing the whole thing to start with. I will be driving to work and then riding home, then riding back in the morning. This is going to give me a great idea if it can be done more often. I have also spoken with work and they are willing to work with me on how late I stay. This could mean me leaving at 4 which would put me home about the same time as taking the car and leaving at 5.

Thanks again for all your help. I'll let you know how it goes once I'm able to start this.
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Old 06-17-15, 07:21 PM
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Commuting is out for me, 40 miles one way on a treacherous stretch of 2 lane for about half that. I just take my bike to work with me on my trusty carrier and pound out 10 miles at lunch. Works for me
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Old 06-17-15, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cdrewferd
I won't be doing the whole thing to start with. I will be driving to work and then riding home, then riding back in the morning.
This is what I was going to suggest. Great idea. I work with a guy who does this. As a side note: Cycling by itself is not the solution to long term health unless you combine it with other activities/exercises. I'm not trying to imply you would be unhealthy if all you did was cycle, but you would be much better off if you combined cycling with other activities that use the muscles cycling doesn't. It's is a bit of yin-yang. For every push you should do a pull. Otherwise, latter in life you will/might develop an out of balance muscular skeletal system. Ask me how I know. Thank goodness it is correctable. I'm only mentioning this for one reason: (1) that cycling doesn't become a burden for you and that you can still feel good about yourself when you can't ride, and instead come home and do some push-ups, squats, lunges and most importantly ... stretch.
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Old 06-19-15, 06:33 AM
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That's tough to start out with. I don't think it's practical for most people to do every day, but you might do it one to three times a week.

My current commute is about 13 miles, the company is moving next year and it will be a 26 mile commute. I'm planning on doing it but I've switched to telecommuting two days a week, and on days where the weather is bad, I'm going to investigate using a bus to cover about 15 miles of the route.

Good luck.
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Old 06-19-15, 07:37 AM
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I suppose what a "long commute" is is in the eye of the rider. The roughly 10 mile each Way (double my current) commute I'm going to be doing in about a year is long, in my opinion. Double that, i.e yours, is crazy.

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