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Are there enough hours in the day to commute?

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Are there enough hours in the day to commute?

Old 10-06-11, 03:26 PM
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Alligator
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Are there enough hours in the day to commute?

I'm still new here, but I just started using my bike for all of my local commuting with great success. I say "local" because I still haven't taken it to work yet. It's 22 miles to my office, and although I have a bike-friendly office, the 22 miles just seems too far. I figure it will take me almost 2 hours if I bike to/from work, each way, right?

How do those of you who have a family and a LONG commute do it? Leaving at 6:00 a.m. to get to the office by 8:00 doesn't seem realistic. Plus, I wouldn't get home until ~8:00 at night! Are the long distance commuters all family-free?
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Old 10-06-11, 03:52 PM
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If you're in decent shape and a good rider you could do it in about 1 hour 45 minutes, depending on what kind of traffic. Faster if you don't have to deal with traffic. How long does it take you to drive to work?

My bike commute is five miles, six if I drive. It takes about 20 minutes, a few more when I go slow in the morning to avoid sweating as much. Driving takes me 15-25 depending on traffic so it is pretty much a win-win. But in your case I can see why you wouldn't want to if say your driving commute only takes 30 minutes. Maybe you could do it once a week.
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Old 10-06-11, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
I'm still new here, but I just started using my bike for all of my local commuting with great success. I say "local" because I still haven't taken it to work yet. It's 22 miles to my office, and although I have a bike-friendly office, the 22 miles just seems too far. I figure it will take me almost 2 hours if I bike to/from work, each way, right?

How do those of you who have a family and a LONG commute do it? Leaving at 6:00 a.m. to get to the office by 8:00 doesn't seem realistic. Plus, I wouldn't get home until ~8:00 at night! Are the long distance commuters all family-free?
What about a hybrid commute. Drive part way and bike the rest. Look for a decent place to park a reasonable distance from work (5 - 10 miles would be a good place to start) and give it a try.
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Old 10-06-11, 04:04 PM
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it's not likely that public transit will go right by your house and your work, but it probably can cut that distance down considerably. Do your buses have bike racks? Are there subways nearby?
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Old 10-06-11, 04:05 PM
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I couldn't bike commute if it was that far. I would look for mixed mode opportunities. For example if there was a train or a bus I could take part way, I would buy a beater bike I could lock at the train or bus terminal and use that for part of the commute.
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Old 10-06-11, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
I'm still new here, but I just started using my bike for all of my local commuting with great success. I say "local" because I still haven't taken it to work yet. It's 22 miles to my office, and although I have a bike-friendly office, the 22 miles just seems too far. I figure it will take me almost 2 hours if I bike to/from work, each way, right?

How do those of you who have a family and a LONG commute do it? Leaving at 6:00 a.m. to get to the office by 8:00 doesn't seem realistic. Plus, I wouldn't get home until ~8:00 at night! Are the long distance commuters all family-free?
I have been asking the same question since I have discovered this forum.

My family would not be very happy with me absent for an additional couple of hours a day on the weekdays.

Are any of you hard core commuter parents? How do you work the family time issue?
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Old 10-06-11, 04:06 PM
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Wow, three similar replies in 3 minutes.
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Old 10-06-11, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
What about a hybrid commute. Drive part way and bike the rest. Look for a decent place to park a reasonable distance from work (5 - 10 miles would be a good place to start) and give it a try.
Yep, I'd bi-modal that distance or only do it in full maybe 3 days a week. A pal of mine does 33mi each way twice a week, sometimes 3 days. I have about 16.5mi each way and that's the tops of my limit; when I started out with it, I drove halfway to the park 'n' ride 3 days/week.
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Old 10-06-11, 04:09 PM
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My commute is just over 17 miles and takes 60 to 65 minutes compared to a 25 minute drive. So my bike commute adds less than an hour and a half to my day a couple of times a week. On the other hand I leave for and from work an hour earlier than usual to help minimize rush hour traffic, so outside of getting up a little earlier it doesn't really add much to my day. Another 5 miles would take longer for sure, but I think I would try it once or twice a week and see how it goes.

Edit: I have a wife and kid and it works fine, especially with my earlier departures.
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Old 10-06-11, 04:16 PM
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My commute is actually a little faster by bike than by car (traffic-clogged LA...), so I can't offer advice from personal experience. But I know that a lot of the long distance commuters who can't find the time every day will make a point of doing the long bike commute at least a couple of times a week.

Also, a lot of people (with and without families) regularly spend an hour or so in the gym/jogging/whatever. When you bike commute, you're obviously both getting to and from work and getting your workout for the day, so maybe you shouldn't think of it as: time to commute by bike vs. time to commute by car. Instead, think of it as: time to commute by bike vs. time to commute by car and go to the gym. This may help put the extra time in perspective.
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Old 10-06-11, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
Are any of you hard core commuter parents? How do you work the family time issue?
I'm not sure if I am a hard-core commuter, as I only bike either 5 or 7 miles to work (we have two offices), and I use public transit when there is snow or ice on the road.

I think the bike commute adds to my own quality of life and also benefits my family, as I am healthier, and less stressed by traffic, than if I drove.

For most people, on salary, bike commuting also benefits their family economically. It's harder to measure the economic impact of bike commuting in my case, since I am partially self-employed, and biking takes a tiny bit longer than driving, and public transit a bit more still, so in theory I could earn a bit more if I drove, and freed up a few minutes of commuting time every day, that I could use for billable work.

However, at the same time, I'd be more stressed by the drive, so I'm not sure I would make productive use of that tiny increase in time - I might just use it to linger over coffee a little longer each morning, chilling out before or after driving to work.
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Old 10-06-11, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
I have been asking the same question since I have discovered this forum.

My family would not be very happy with me absent for an additional couple of hours a day on the weekdays.

Are any of you hard core commuter parents? How do you work the family time issue?
My commute is 32 miles round trip. Technically I am only adding one hour to my day as I leave for work before my wife and child wake. I do get home about 40 minutes later than I would otherwise, however if I was not commuting I would be going for a ride afterwork anyway. MY sweetie is pretty understanding of my commute and knows it's good therapy
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Old 10-06-11, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 2wheelcommute View Post
My commute is actually a little faster by bike than by car (traffic-clogged LA...), so I can't offer advice from personal experience. But I know that a lot of the long distance commuters who can't find the time every day will make a point of doing the long bike commute at least a couple of times a week.

Also, a lot of people (with and without families) regularly spend an hour or so in the gym/jogging/whatever. When you bike commute, you're obviously both getting to and from work and getting your workout for the day, so maybe you shouldn't think of it as: time to commute by bike vs. time to commute by car. Instead, think of it as: time to commute by bike vs. time to commute by car and go to the gym. This may help put the extra time in perspective.
+1 - I'm also a bike commuter in Los Angeles, and attempt to avoid rush hour on the freeways like the plague. My commute to work is between 20 - 22 miles depending on the route taken, and it does take about 2 hours to go door to door. However, I have a short 5.5 mile ride to the subway, followed by a 2.5 mile ride from the subway station to my office. This takes me anywhere from 1:15 to 1:30 depending on whether or not I make or miss my subway connection. This is a routine that I have followed on average 4 days a week for the past 3 years.

My kids are all grown and out of the house now, but I can relate to the need to be around after work to be with the family. However, 2wc does raise a good point that the bike commute is a good way to combine transportation and exercise, which puts you in a much less stressed state of mind when you get home. Hybrid commutes are a good way to offset the drudgery of public transportation with the joy of cycling.
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Old 10-06-11, 04:58 PM
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22 miles each way is definitely on the long side for an every day commute. But to do it a couple of times a week or to split the difference by driving part way or using public transportation is an option that will give you the fun of commuting and riding once in a while, put on a few extra miles every week and save wear and tear on your car. Good luck!
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Old 10-06-11, 07:27 PM
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I live 26 miles from work. Normal commute is to drive 11, ride 30, drive 11. If the weather is bad, I can shorten to 10 each way on the bike, and occasionally, if the weather is nice and I have the time, I'll ride the whole way. Riding and driving take about the same amount of time or slightly longer to ride (maybe 15 minutes), so there is really no loss of time.
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Old 10-06-11, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I think the bike commute adds to my own quality of life and also benefits my family, as I am healthier, and less stressed by traffic, than if I drove.
True for me too.

I'm lucky to have a few options. I'm around 10 miles from work, and I can take car/bus + train (45-55 mins), bike (35-45 mins), drive (25-35 mins) or, what I often do: drive + bike. The distance I drive varies as there's plenty of places to park in between, but it's usually between 3 to 5 miles each way, leaving my shortest bike commute only 3.5 mi each way. The hybrid commute usually takes about 30-40 mins. I'd consider a hybrid commute for a 22 mi journey. I'm dorky enough that I just alwasy gear up as if I'm biking only so I'll be in my biking gear and wearing my helmet while I drive (to save time during the transition).

I've always wanted to get to the point where I ride the whole way every day when the weather is nice, but my hours are something like 7am-3:30pm so some mornings I just can't do it - although at 3:30pm I always wish I had!

My wife is fine with my biking, I'm pretty sure she agrees I have more energy and a better mood when I commute by bike. For a couple years I would only take public transportation and that took even longer (although I smelled better when I walked in the door).
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Old 10-06-11, 08:47 PM
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You could cut your driving significantly this way:

Monday, drive to work with your bike and Tuesday's clothes. Monday evening, ride the bike home.
Tuesday morning, ride to work, put on the outfit you left there Monday. Drive home Tuesday evening.
Wed, repeat Monday.
Thursday, repeat Tues.
Friday, you either drive, or ride, both ways.

That way, if you need it you always have a car at work, but depending on your car situation maybe you don't have one at home all the time. Coworkers with long (30 mile or so) one-way commutes used this - not ideal for me, I only have an 8-9 mile ride.
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Old 10-06-11, 09:06 PM
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Yes, 22 miles is on the long side for doing a regular bike commute. If there isn't any convenient mass transit to shorten the distance, would a carpool be possible with a co-worker who lives along the way? I.e. ride to their house and then drive in together on some days and maybe other days you could drive all the way and pick them up along the way - or whatever arrangement is mutually agreeable.
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Old 10-07-11, 05:54 AM
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When I commuted 18 miles it took me 65 to 70 minutes to bike vs. 45 minutes to drive. So, at most it was an added 30 minutes each way. The additional morning time didn't detract from family time due to everyone else was still asleep anyway. So the only impact to family time was the evenings. The wife and kids approve of me being healthier rather than getting home a little earlier. And, I drive those days that require events after school.
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Old 10-07-11, 06:12 AM
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My commute is about 22 miles round trip, but will increase to 30 miles in a few weeks. It does take more time to bike to work than drive (for most of us), but some of that time would have been wasted car commuting as well. In addition, if you are someone who cycles or exercises daily for fitness, then bike commuting isn't a waste of time at all because you are actually combining two activities. I found that I actually had MORE free time after I started bike commuting because I was all finished exercising for the day when I got home from work, while previously I would get home and then head to the YMCA for spin class or try to squeeze in a ride around the neighborhood after work. I did start getting up about 30 minutes earlier when I began bike commuting, but that was mainly to avoid the heavier rush hour traffic. When my commute distance increases in a few weeks (my office is moving), I will have to get up about 15-20 minutes earlier than now, which will be painful because I'm already getting up at 5:30 am.
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Old 10-07-11, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Joemess View Post
My commute is 32 miles round trip. Technically I am only adding one hour to my day as I leave for work before my wife and child wake. I do get home about 40 minutes later than I would otherwise, however if I was not commuting I would be going for a ride afterwork anyway. MY sweetie is pretty understanding of my commute and knows it's good therapy
My wife would call "only adding one hour to the day" because I leave for work earlier utter nonsense - if I left earlier and drove to work while they were still asleep, I would be home earlier and be more available.

She would not buy the comparison between "get up early and ride" and "sleep in and drive" is valid. She'd want to hear about "get up early and drive - and get home early".

Oh well, it's interesting to hear how people work these things out.
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Old 10-07-11, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
How do those of you who have a family and a LONG commute do it? Leaving at 6:00 a.m. to get to the office by 8:00 doesn't seem realistic. Plus, I wouldn't get home until ~8:00 at night! Are the long distance commuters all family-free?
My commute is 21 miles one way. I have to be at work at 6:00am. I get up at 2:00am, leave the house by no later than 3:30am and arrive to work by 4:45(ish)am.
I get off work at 2:00pm and take the train home. I get home by 4:00pm. Including ~5 miles of leisure riding, I usually do ~32 miles a day, Monday through Thursday.

I also have a wife and an elementary aged boy. They don't mind my odd hours. The only part that they notice is me getting home at 4:00pm and being in bed no later than 8:00pm. They're still asleep by the time I get to work, so that part doesn't inconvenience them at all.

Yes it is possible and very do-able. I've been doing it for over a year. Its a lifestyle change, but I feel its worth it.
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Old 10-07-11, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
My family would not be very happy with me absent for an additional couple of hours a day on the weekdays.
4 kids. 20 mile commute each way. Takes me about an hour and 25 minutes on the way to work, and an hour 35 on the way home. However, being realistic, that's only about 25-35 more minutes each way than it would take me to do it any other way. DC traffic means driving would likely take at least an hour each way (and paying $13-18 a day for parking). And while Metro can cut the travel time down to 45 minutes or so, once you include the time spent waiting for trains and getting to/from the stations, it works out to an hour or more -- and both of those are without any extraordinary delays like accidents or disabled trains. So I charge 45-55 minutes a day to commuting, which is less time than many people spend going to the gym, running or otherwise getting their daily exercise.

However, during the school year, I turn multi-modal, as I drive one of my daughters to school, and ride from there, cutting the bike trip to 50-60 minutes each way.

Obviously, if you live in a place with less traffic, then the 'cost' of biking goes up. But if you deduct gym/workout time (presuming you'll consider your riding a significant part of your fitness regimen) it probably won't cost you as much as you think.

Last edited by CptjohnC; 10-07-11 at 07:53 AM. Reason: fix typo.
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Old 10-07-11, 07:55 AM
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My commute is 17 miles one way, and I was riding fairly regularly. Then this summer, the heat came and I just couldn't stand the thought of riding in temps approaching 110 for that distance, so I started riding at night. I now do most of my miles at night, and find that I'm riding far more than I did when I was commuting by bike regularly.

The problem isn't the time out of the day for me; it is the time of day that I ride. If I commute I usually get home at about 6:30 or 7:00, maybe later if I work a little late or have a strong headwind (typically there is a headwind for the ride home). In my house, 5:30 to 8:00 is prime time: face time with the wife, feeding & walking the dogs, cooking & eating dinner, etc. After that, my wife, a teacher, usually has to grade papers or plan her lessons so she is busy. That's when I take off. I'm typically gone anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours (sometimes I'll stop in for a "ginger ale" at a local pub or meet friends for a group ride). I am able to ride virtually every night and actually get a lot more miles in then when I was commuting.

If I get home late, I drag for a while in the morning, but at least my prime time with the wife that afternoon is intact.

When I first started commuting, my distance was only 7 miles each way. Then it was easy in terms of time- maybe an extra 15 or 20 minutes in the afternoon. But 17 miles is just too much.
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Old 10-07-11, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
Are the long distance commuters all family-free?
Family men who voluntarily spend an estimated 3 extra hours a day on riding a bike instead of helping raise/support the family probably will be family free in short order.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 10-07-11 at 08:37 AM.
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