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Is it realistic to commute 50 miles daily for a year?

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Is it realistic to commute 50 miles daily for a year?

Old 12-19-21, 10:29 PM
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Daniel4
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Before I had retired, I used to bike year round even during the snow and thundershowers.

There are lots of old threads about how to bike commute that includes lots of advice on cleaning up when you arrive at work.

You can ask all the questions until either you or your fellow BikeForum members turn blue. If you want to do it, you're going to really want to and make it work. After your first trip, you're either going to say forget it or you'll be encouraged to iron out the kinks and make the next trip better.
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Old 12-19-21, 11:12 PM
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After cooking, eating, riding, working, and sleeping, youíre not going to have much time left to brush your teeth

if you check back in our pre-Covid editions of the mileage thread, you will find our longest distance members ringing up around 8000 miles a year. Thatís 20 miles in and 20 out every working day, approximately. In order to even do those kind of miles they have to be pretty fit which means they are doing close to 20 miles an hour. If you are an average slob who can do 15 or less, itís going to take you quite a while at first and you will have to stick with it to make it get better

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Old 12-19-21, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Ductling View Post
Hello, I'm a cycling newbie

I want to drive a car no more and I like to exercise on the road and cut down gas emissions to the environment.

My workplace is 26 miles from where I live.

It means a 50-mile total trip from Monday to Saturday, from 20F winter to 90F summer, from rain to snow.

Because the destination is a group of high-profile congregated businesses so I need to look neat, not sporty nor sweaty.

I am wondering if anyone has done it efficiently and gracefully for at least a serious year, not just a week or a month?

There is literally nobody I know who can do it in a way that is both efficient and enjoyable. Some friends tell me it is not possible not to get full sweat in summer and the road condition is always too hazardous to cycle efficiently.

Is it really possible to do it in a realist way? It cannot take two much time. I think 1.5 hours per 25 miles is the optimal speed though they are already 3 times more than driving my car.

For 6 years my commute was 42.5 miles rt. 550 ft drop into work and 550 climb homeward with one stiff climb. Mild, rolling terrain, otherwise. Would use my geared bike on Mondays to take a weeks worth of clothes. Then fixed the rest of the week w/a trunkbag for soiled clothes homeward. Took in lunch everyday. 50 rt is doable, but I'd advise working up to it. Start out 2 days and increase over time. When it gets to be a grind? Drive. Take days off. 10,000+ miles per year is alot of mileage. Get the best rig you can afford. One rule of thumb i adopted was "Never ride in your working clothes or work in your rtiding clothes." Eat alot of oats and drink plenty of water. You'll figure it out.

Last edited by GhenghisKahn; 12-19-21 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 12-20-21, 05:13 AM
  #29  
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In the 80's, I commuted 19-21 miles each way and did it most days. I also owned a car. I had to travel a lot for work and if I was jet lagged from international travel, I drove my car. I would say I was a strong cyclist, someone who would do 100+ mile days loaded touring routinely without problem. I had a shower at work and had to wear a jacket and tie in the office. I would say commuting 50 miles roundtrip by bike is hard w/o a car for backup. I did it mostly because the car trip was 35-40 minutes but I could do it in 1:00 by bike riding at a good pace. Most newbie cyclists would need close to 4 hours to cover 50 miles and even a strong cyclist is going to need 2;30-3:00 hours. Makes for a long day, every day.

I'd say you will not succeed. Sorry. If you have a car, you might be able to work up to riding most days.
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Old 12-20-21, 08:31 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
After cooking, eating, riding, working, and sleeping, youíre not going to have much time left to brush your teeth

if you check back in our pre-Covid editions of the mileage thread, you will find our longest distance members ringing up around 8000 miles a year. Thatís 20 miles in and 20 out every working day, approximately. In order to even do those kind of miles they have to be pretty fit which means they are doing close to 20 miles an hour. If you are an average slob who can do 15 or less, itís going to take you quite a while at first and you will have to stick with it to make it get better
Yeah I read "Hello, I'm a cycling newbie" and went Nope.

there is no way you can do 50 miles a day not smell like a butt and keep it under a hour 1.5 each way and be a newb. That would be hard to do with a off the shelf ebike as a newb.

to the OP do you have a public transport system? that is probably your best option. bus/bike one to work ride home.
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Old 12-20-21, 09:00 AM
  #31  
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My commute is about two hours each way, less than half of that on the bike -- a bit over an hour on the train. So that's 4 hours of commuting , which severely reduces my free time. I make up for that to some extent by sleeping on the train.

It's possible to ride 25 miles in an hour, so of course it's possible to ride it in two hours, but practically speaking, you will rarely manage the whole commute, back and forth, in a total of less than four hours. And you won't be able to sleep on the bike. While I'm sure you could do this commute for a little while, I really doubt you'd be able to keep it up for two weeks.

Some people drive to work one way, ride the bike home; ride to work the next day and drive home; repeat. I've never tried that, but maybe it would work for you.
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Old 12-20-21, 09:14 AM
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I'm not going to say it's impossible, but I think it's unlikely.

The first big problem is your appearance at work. A shower would be ideal, but you say you don't have access to one. (Is there a gym nearby you could pop in and shower every morning?) Your alternative will be to carry work clothes in panniers or a backpack, get to work, cool off (I call it "checking my e-mail), clean up in the handicap stall with baby wipes or a wet washcloth and change into work clothes.

Your second big problem is going to be time. 15 mph average is pretty good for a bike in the city. That would be about 3.5 hours a day spent riding your bike.

Distance would be tough, but you could build up to it if you want it bad enough. Either cycle every other day for a while, then two out of three days until you can ride every day, or drive the car in, ride home Monday, ride to work and drive the car home Tuesday, and cycle both ways Friday, then cut out car trips until you're cycling full time.

There's a reason houses 25 miles out of town cost so much less than houses nearer the city center. You pay in car ownership and maintenance costs what you save on the mortgage, though.
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Old 12-20-21, 09:30 AM
  #33  
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There are people who can do it. You're not likely to be one of them.
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Old 12-20-21, 10:40 AM
  #34  
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I do 32 mile round trip. Started out 1x/week and worked upto 6x. Started out averaging 14mph and now 18mph with record of 22.2mph. I also jave 4 bikes to choose from. In warm weather its the carbon road bike or aluminum TT bike. Now that its with its an old sterl frame with dyno hub n winter tires. Slow n steady when its dark n 16*f
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Old 12-20-21, 12:07 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
My commute is about two hours each way, less than half of that on the bike -- a bit over an hour on the train. So that's 4 hours of commuting , which severely reduces my free time. I make up for that to some extent by sleeping on the train.

It's possible to ride 25 miles in an hour, so of course it's possible to ride it in two hours, but practically speaking, you will rarely manage the whole commute, back and forth, in a total of less than four hours. And you won't be able to sleep on the bike. While I'm sure you could do this commute for a little while, I really doubt you'd be able to keep it up for two weeks.

Some people drive to work one way, ride the bike home; ride to work the next day and drive home; repeat. I've never tried that, but maybe it would work for you.
This would be incredible.
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Old 12-20-21, 09:55 PM
  #36  
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Here's something to think about. Cycling 50 miles a day would take you under 500 days to cycle the distance of the circumference of the Earth.
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Old 12-21-21, 03:51 AM
  #37  
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That's a bit over 82km.... I wouldn't want to commute that much daily by car if I could help it in any way. Frankly, if I had to commute 80+km every day and wanted to do it without a car, I'd use a folding bike and go most of the way by train if there is such a thing - it'd probably be about as quick as going by car. On a bike, it'd be fun to do some days of the week (washing up and changing clothes would be an issue - a surmountable one, but an issue - without a shower), but as a daily obligation every day, no matter how I feel, how I'm doing, what the weather is like... no. Hell, that's a long way off to go by car on a daily basis.

Try it and see, imo. Maybe some days going by bike and some days going by car, or being multi-modal and using a train or bus part of the way.
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Old 12-21-21, 05:20 AM
  #38  
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I will not say that it cannot be done.

For 10 months in 2006 and 2007 I commuted by bike; 19 miles AM 9 miles PM
19 miles in the morning 90 minutes was the standard time.

Hereś how the first 3 months went. Monday and Tjesday I was fine. Wednesday I was tired. Thursday, exhausted. Friday took every bit of grit I could muster to get through the day. Weekends, I did not allow mywelft to do anything strenuous because I knew Monday it starts again.

I would say, based on my experience that if you can do the distance in your timeframe that your biggest issue will be exhaustion.

Give it a try. Let us know how it goes or went. Should be interesting.

fat biker

P.S. If you are originally from the planet krypton none of what I wrote applies.
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Old 12-21-21, 10:56 AM
  #39  
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Can it be done? Yes.
Would I do it? No. I have a 35 mile round trip with no weather issues, and don't do it every day due to the time commitment.
Should you do it? Only you will know the answer to that after trying it for a while. I suspect you will either settle into a 1-2 times a week routine, do partial or one-way with public transportation, or get a E-bike with 80 mile range.
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Old 12-21-21, 12:01 PM
  #40  
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I spoke a doctor who suggested that you just lay down until this idea goes away. Do 20 trips in lousy weather before you commit to anything.
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Old 12-28-21, 01:54 PM
  #41  
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Yeah 50 miles a day, even at a leisurely 15-17mph on flats isn't that easy, especially if you aren't in the shape for that. There's the physical and mental toll of crappy weather, crappy mood etc etc. For the last 15 years, I did about 26miles 3-5x a week + plus another 10-15 here and there for errands There are days I don't feel like doing it and just drive in. Of course, my wife will remind me that in the developing world, women young and old walk about 4 miles a day to get 10-20l of water on their heads, for survival, so I really shouldn't complain! Of course, she was the first one to get the e-bike! haha
I am lucky I have the luxuries of shower, change of clothes etc at my workplace. No one likes a stinky colleague, even other stiny colleagues! Even if you have the logistics of commuting down, you still have to slowly break into distances like that if you're a newbie. Like a few people have suggested, do it in stages if you've never done this sort of distance before, ride to a train station 20% of the way as a start, and progress to the full distance over 4-5 weeks. Good luck and let us know how you do. It's definitely a good thing you're trying to do, but do it smartly!
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Old 12-28-21, 04:02 PM
  #42  
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I'm gonna say no. Even if you're super fit, it'd be difficult to commit to that kind of daily grind. And believe me, it's going to be a grind. Maybe you'll feel great the first couple of days, or even the first couple of weeks, but 50 miles a day is going to wear you down, especially that after work ride home. Heck, I've only a 12-mile ride home each day and many times after a long day at work it's the last thing I want to do. But sometimes it's the best part of the day.

If you haven't logged a lot of miles this is going to be all but an impossible task for you. An ebike would make it doable.
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Old 12-29-21, 11:38 AM
  #43  
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Trying to get to work fast, with 25+ miles each direction, without significant sweating sort of all works against each other.
My daily commute to my office was 35 km each way, and I did this rain or shine and in one winter a couple days in snow - which I did severely regret after skidding on a metal plate hidden by snow. I left the house each morning at 6:30 in order to comfortably arrive at the office between 8 and 8:15, then 10 minutes in the communal washroom doing a hooker's shower. Extra deodorant and weekly sets of clean clothes were in my desk so I managed to appear fresh and was not offensively smelly.
Wet weather was a bit more of hassle since I needed to have an area in the office that the wet stuff could dry, as it's not good to just stuff wet clothes into a sack to brine for 8 to 10 hours. My wife forbade be from tossing my wet cycling clothes into any washload with her stuff in it. I was allowed to wash my wet stuff with the dogs towels, so guess who also smelled like wet dog after a rainy bike ride. I've had a few coworkers sniffing along the corridor asking if someone had brought a dog into the office.
My trips home were more relaxing but that again I usually would plan either my solo meal along the way on nights my wife was working her evening shift, or rush to get home so I could be there in time for dinner, usually around 6:30.
So 5 days of the week was 6:30a to 6:30-8p, and this allowed me some leeway getting to and from work relatively comfortably. Honestly miss those days now.
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Old 12-31-21, 02:27 PM
  #44  
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My daily commute is 90km, and i'm still getting faster... now it only takes me 3h30m, and is a lot easier than it was in the beginning. Few things are as rewarding as my commutes. You should definitely try it, you will learn a lot
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Old 01-03-22, 08:34 PM
  #45  
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Itís possible in that there are people who are capable of doing it. But 250 miles a week is serious mileage and lots of people who train very seriously to race bikes donít do that kind of distance regularly. Depending on the terrain and traffic it might not be ďhard,Ē in that a steady 16-17 mph pace isnít too strenuous for a fit, experienced cyclist. But over a whole week that is a big workload and even a fit, experienced cyclist riding at that pace is going to be very tired by Friday afternoon. For a beginner, while I wouldnít say this is impossible it is definitely unrealistic. Iíve been riding for about 18 years, training and road racing for 14, and I would want an e-bike for this commute if I was doing it only 2-3 days a week. Every day, I literally couldnít do on a conventional bike if I wanted to live a human life, pick my kid up off the floor or give her horsey rides, you know what I mean?

Originally Posted by rhm View Post
It's possible to ride 25 miles in an hour, so of course it's possible to ride it in two hours
It is possible to ride 25 miles in an hour, yes, but doing it for one hour on one day requires a very committed, very strong rider. Doing it twice a day for a full work week is already into terrain that very few humans are capable of even with years of committed training. Twice a day for 49 work weeks (Iím assuming 3 weeks vacation) is a level beyond even that. 1.5 hours each way is actually somewhat plausible for a very fit and experienced but otherwise fairly average cyclist, depending on the roads, but still a huge amount of work to do every week and I donít think there are many people who could handle that for a year, unless they were getting paid to sleep.
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Old 01-03-22, 10:14 PM
  #46  
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Over 50 miles a day ? Wow. Another thing is your route .are you on a safe road, bike trail, weather etc. . I wonder if anyone in the Netherlands does this dailey being they have such great bike infrastructure.. ?
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Old 01-05-22, 08:33 AM
  #47  
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From my experience, in a word: No. It's not realistic.

I had a 50 mile commute from '04-'20 (until covid and work from home blahblahblah). I managed on average half the work days over that time, above average in the summer and fall and fewer in the winter and spring here in Minnesota (Jan-Dec averages listed here).

Average 3 4 8 9 10 11 13 11 13 13 11 3 109

My age was 41-57, so if you're younger, that's to your advantage. All I could handle at first was 3 days a week and built up to 4. I did a five week stretch of 5 days a week and by Fridays, my legs were pretty tired. I can't imagine doing that for twelve months even with decent weather.

And weather here in MN makes or breaks a commute for me. I avoided commuting in rain if I could help it. It makes a mess of the bike (lots of left over winter sand splashes all over), everything gets wet from rain, road spray, or sweat, etc. Just not fun nor worth it to me. I tried a few rides with a temp of 5F but got softer over the years and upped it to 10F. The highest heat index was 119F (maybe 95F temp and a record 80+% dew point in MN) and that wasn't fun. I can't imagine facing stuff like that every day down south. But I did prefer it to the 5F rides.

Available roads and trails around here for winter biking are subject to snow removal. I biked through several suburbs and St. Paul and Minneapolis and each has its own snow removal "quirks." Studded tires were a must over traction in snow. A fat tire bike with studded tires would have been the ultimate "get through anything" bike, but pushing that thing through 25 miles of crap? Not for me. Plus, if conditions are that poor, I don't trust the drivers, especially as streets narrow, etc.

The route has a big say on how trashed out your legs will be. Intersections killed my legs far more than free rolling miles. A couple of places, an additional half or full mile to avoid some lights was worth it.

And as others mention, it's also a big time sink/commitment. I couldn't have done it when the kids were younger and I needed to be a dad more hours of the day.

re: looking graceful and not sweaty. Three words: Forget about it. You're biking 25 miles. You could probably bike at 10 mph, but do you have the time and patience for that? I survived without a shower at the other end. My company was pro-cycling to work and co-workers didn't mind seeing me drag in looking like hell some mornings. They were impressed.

You can ask for opinions and advice, but the best piece of wisdom I can give you is just try it. I highly doubt you'll be able to pull it off in the grand fashion that you ask, but you'll have fun trying and you'll settle into what works for you. The logistics of everything--clothing, food, cleaning up, lights for 9 months of the year, regular bike maintenance, frustration from flats when you need to get to work, etc., are at a whole new level.
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Old 01-05-22, 08:45 AM
  #48  
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The only two cyclists that I can recall who successfully commuted those types of distances daily are Pete Penseyres and Scott Dickson. Two top level ultra endurance athletes.

I took the long way (21 miles) vs short way (19 miles) to avoid stop signs and lights. It was a flat route. If OP has lights, stop signs, or hills? Forget it. If he/she is a very fit athlete, it could be done. 5x per week yearly is not impossible but close to it for mere mortals.
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Old 01-07-22, 04:57 PM
  #49  
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You say you need to look presentable at the end of the ride and you don't have access to showers, and summer temperatures reach 90įF or higher.

This is unrealistic.

If you simply stood outside in 90įF weather, under shade, for the time it would take to ride 25 miles, you'd be sweaty. If you ride 25 miles in 90įF weather, you will be sweaty at the end of the ride.

In the beforetime, I commuted in all weather; the temperature range where I live is similar to yours. My commute is 7 miles each way, and takes about 25 minutes. I'm an experienced cyclist and ride pretty fast. I would ride in cycling gear, shower when I arrived at my workplace, and change into street clothes—if I couldn't do that, it would have been impossible.

If you're serious about reducing your dependence on cars, move closer to your workplace so riding is more feasible, or find a job closer to where you live.
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Old 01-07-22, 08:25 PM
  #50  
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As some said above, it could be done, but only a few special riders - very strong both mentally and physically - could do it IMO.
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