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Would you ride this commute?

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Would you ride this commute?

Old 04-07-11, 05:37 AM
  #1  
Lamabb
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Would you ride this commute?

I'm a full time student at a local college I commute there three times a week by car. I have been bicycle commuting to my part time job which is 7 miles away and I've been loving it and want to do the same to my college. The problem is that it's 22 miles of hellish hills away.

Now, I'm pretty confident in my cycling abilities. I do small local races, I ride brevets and if I'm not studying or working, I'm riding. I now that I can physically do the route (I have), but I don't know if it's plausible for a commute.

I need to be there at 8:00, so I figure i'd leave at 6:00 to be absolutely sure I can't be late ( I like being early too).

The first section is short hills of around 10% grade that last less than a quarter mile.

The middle is the hell. it's a 2.5 mile hill with an average grade of 15% and plenty of 25% sections.


So, would you ride this commute? 22 miles of hills with the giant hill I like to refer to as "the wall". That's one way mind you.
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Old 04-07-11, 06:24 AM
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I'd be curious to see. I'd probably try it, but not every day to start with. If it's 3 days a week to college, is it M-W-F? Maybe try one day a week to start and then give Monday and Friday a go.

Maybe the first would be my last, I don't know.

How much weight would you have to carry? I know some of those text books are monsters.
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Old 04-07-11, 06:37 AM
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Sounds like you have your weekend ride all planned out...
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Old 04-07-11, 06:43 AM
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Sounds like you have your weekend ride all planned out...
Can't agree more velocycling.

I would give it a couple of test runs 1st to be sure and then a possibly a dress rehersal as it were with a bag and some books to see how you feel.
25% grad is not something you should go up untried IMHO.
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Old 04-07-11, 06:49 AM
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My commute is somewhat similar though not that long. It's 14 miles through some pretty steep hills. There are 25% grade hills but I can ride around them.
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Old 04-07-11, 06:54 AM
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try it on a quite Sunday morning and see what you think. it doesn't sound great for regular commuting. commuting by bike is a major change in lifestyle. I used to do 17 miles each way but really enjoyed when we moved closer and the commute dropped to 13 miles each each way. 22 would just be a drag when combined with a full day of other activities. stick to your regular cycling which sounds like actual fun.
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Old 04-07-11, 07:02 AM
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Can you take a bus only on the steep hill section?
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Old 04-07-11, 07:20 AM
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2000 feet of climbing in 2.5 miles? Where is this road?
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Old 04-07-11, 08:26 AM
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+1 on the recommendation to try it first on a weekend, when you have no obligations. Maybe arrange to meet a friend for lunch near campus or something.
What kind of gearing are you running? That is some serious steepness.
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Old 04-07-11, 08:39 AM
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Do you have access to showers once you get to school? This sounds like a sweaty ride.
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Old 04-07-11, 08:42 AM
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Nope, not a chance.
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Old 04-07-11, 08:54 AM
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I might do it once in awhile, but not all the time with that hill. Maybe get a beater bike and drive until just after that hill, then ride...
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Old 04-07-11, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by achoo View Post
2000 feet of climbing in 2.5 miles? Where is this road?
Who said there is 2000 feet of climbing?
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Old 04-07-11, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by achoo View Post
2000 feet of climbing in 2.5 miles? Where is this road?
it's in New york state very near the boarder of Putnam and Dutchess counties. There's a ridge that runs most of the length of the boarder, so if i'm heading north, I'm climbing a big hill one way or another. ( I live in putnam).

I did exaggerate. It's exactly 2 miles (measured with car odometer & cyclecomputer) and ascends roughly 900 feet. The note about the 25% grade sections IS NOT an exaggeration.

I know I can do the route, but I haven't tried it at 6:00 am loaded up with school books. There are no showers where I go but there is a bathroom.

I'm using my surly LHT. It's heavy... yeah, but it has ridiculously low gearing. I'd just go slow XD
I will put my clothing and some books in a trunk bag I have, and the rest in a handlebar bag.

The area I'm riding through is rural-suburbia. Back roads through residential neighborhoods and only turning onto popular roads near the end.
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Old 04-07-11, 09:52 AM
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I ride a long hilly commute on an LHT, you have the right bike to be doing it on. Just do a test run on a Saturday with all the weight you will be carrying and see if you can do it in under two hours. I also leave at 6 am, so benefit of riding that early where I live is less traffic at that time.
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Old 04-07-11, 10:14 AM
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Almost anything is possible as long as the individual is absolutely determined to succeed. I think you should go for it. No matter how difficult it is, after a few weeks it will get easier and you will be in better shape.

Last edited by SouthFLpix; 04-07-11 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 04-07-11, 10:16 AM
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Another point, I have zero interest in driving that route, but it does sound fun riding it ;-)
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Old 04-07-11, 11:10 AM
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I admire your gumption. I'm at 24 reasonably flat miles r/t, 22 1-way with that sort of climb would put me off a bit. Look for ways to lighten the load. The pyschological benefit of a few pounds less may be way over it's phyiscal impact. Is there anyplace on campus where you can stash a change of clothing, shoes, toiletries & wipes for a bird bath, and leave the bike gear to dry out? Secure parking - is there a locked bike parking compound, an office or meeting space (friend prof, academic admin, grad student, club or organization) you can leave the bike? Definitely do a practice ride carrying a comparable load. Don't underestimate time you'll need on arrival to cool down, park/lock bike, grab something to eat, and (if applicable) change clothes. Given the roads, I'd us a bright "be seen" tail light and make sure you're complying with NY state DMV rules on night operation just in case.

A side benefit - after a few weeks/months of this even a few times a week, you'll be a monster at the rando events.
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Old 04-07-11, 11:26 AM
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I agree with most everyone here. Give it a go on a weekend and see how you feel. If you have spin up the 25% it shouldn't be so bad and by spin I mean like a 28/34 or something ridiculous like that. You'd be tired but it would be an easier recovery.

Can you go around or carpool to the top of that ridge. If you can go around it, 5 miles or so may be worth your time.
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Old 04-07-11, 11:33 AM
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I live in the middle of a 100 mile wide valley. I can ride for hours and my biggest hill is a freeway overpass. I'd LOVE that commute. Try it out this weekend and see for yourself. I bet you can do it.
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Old 04-07-11, 11:55 AM
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If you can take showers at your college, then go for it, but if you can't don't because you will be hella stinky and won't make many friends at school.

Maybe you can take public transportation to school and then ride back???
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Old 04-07-11, 03:01 PM
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My commute is 40 miles rt w/a 500 ft drop on the way in and a 500 ft ascent on the way home. The main hill is an 0.5 mi 18% grade. I think 2 hrs for your commute is a little optimistic, traveling loaded w/a 2 mile 900 ft ascent. Especially at the beginning. I'd add 15-30 mins. My best time on the way home 1:10, but then I'm in my 50s. My work situation allows me to take in a weeks worth of clothes/food in on Monday on my commuter/mule and bring home one change of clothes per day on my fg. Gotta do switch backs on the big hill as my gearing is 48x16.

Like others have said try it on the weekend loaded w/as much as you'll be taking consistantly and see how it goes. And it will get easier as your conditioning improves. Just be aware of the burn-out factor and take a day off now and then. Drink alot of water and eat plenty of good carbs like brown rice and oatmeal. When embarking on a long commute consistantly one needs to treat themselves like an athlete. And think of your commute like a tourer as you'll be doing 150-250 miprwk...that's alot.
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Old 04-07-11, 03:18 PM
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My commute is 18 miles in length, but only half the amount of climbing and the steeps nowhere near as steep. If I do it more than 3 times a week I get bored with the route. Find some alternate routes. I'd ride an extra mile to avoid hills like that. I work at a school -- I'd use the gym, if there is one, to clean up.
Originally Posted by tligman View Post
I might do it once in awhile, but not all the time with that hill. Maybe get a beater bike and drive until just after that hill, then ride...
Good idea.
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Old 04-07-11, 03:25 PM
  #24  
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Go for it and tell us how it goes. However I would try it on a weekend or something to make sure you know how long it would take.
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Old 04-07-11, 05:41 PM
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Just for fun go here and get the profile map for your commute:

http://www.heywhatsthat.com/profiler.html

It sounds way too hard for me so I would have to say no, I would not do it. But it would be nice if I could.

Here's my morning one, if this works:

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