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How far is too far for a commute?

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How far is too far for a commute?

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Old 02-01-12, 11:57 AM
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jcivic00
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How far is too far for a commute?

Ok, so I have been seeing a few different commutes, and this may have been covered already, but what is everyone's limit? How far is too far to commute one way? I'm interested, only because I work in a business casual office setting, and would especilly like to hear from similar commuters in this particular situation.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:06 PM
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I think sixtyfiver noted that around 45 minutes was the threshold people were willing to commute. A lot of people here work in a business casual setting and still bike. My commute is just under 10 miles and I'd say it's about 35-40 minutes.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by EdgewaterDude View Post
I think sixtyfiver noted that around 45 minutes was the threshold people were willing to commute. A lot of people here work in a business casual setting and still bike. My commute is just under 10 miles and I'd say it's about 35-40 minutes.
A good summary. When my my office moved and my commute became significantly longer than 45 minutes, it became hard to justify getting home that late. My rides during the week are mostly later in the evening after dinner, etc.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:14 PM
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It used to take me over an hour to commute to work by car or an hour and a half to commute by train. At that point, I moved closer to work.

Now that I'm biking to work, I'd consider anything less than seven miles to be too short. Right around 10 miles seems perfect, though at that distance I need to change clothes when I get to work. If I had to bike in my casual work clothes and not change, I'd probably want a ride around 3-4 miles, but it would make me sad.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:16 PM
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I used to commute 16 miles, one-way. But I was young, in the military so an hour or so commute each way could be justified for the fitness benefits. Since then 40-50 minutes is about all I can fit in.
This is a very personal decision - if I lived in a bicycle positive area I'd consider and hour or more time well spent. My 50 minute commute now is only that long due to red lights at some very major intersections with approximately 5 minute light cycles. My actual mileage now is only 6 miles each way.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:20 PM
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My commute is about 1.5 hours each way (and slightly longer in the winter). I wouldn't want it longer than that. About an hour would be just about perfect for me.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:33 PM
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Too far is when it interferes with responsibilities or relationships.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:38 PM
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Like others mentioned, time is the limiting factor for most people. My commute increased from 22 to 30 miles round-trip in October. The distance isn't an issue, but I had to start leaving about 30 minutes earlier and I get home that much later in the afternoons. Getting up at 5 a.m. is tough. My "official" time is about 1 hour each way since my computer stops counting when my bike stops, but actual riding time ranges from 60 to 75 minutes depending on wind, the number of red lights I catch and how tired my legs feel.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:43 PM
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For me, an hour(ish).
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Old 02-01-12, 12:47 PM
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as others have said, it's ALL about time. if i could bike 50 miles in 45 minutes, i'd do it. if it took me over and hour to go 2 miles, i wouldn't do it.

my current commute is 15 miles one way, and time varies greatly by season and wind:

a dry summer day with a good tailwind on my road bike - 45 minutes (all-time personal best - 42 minutes))

a sloppy winter day with a bad headwind on my winter beast - 75 minutes

but most of my commutes average around 50 minutes on my road bike, 60 minutes on my winter bike. those times are a bit longer than i would ideally like them to be. 30-40 minutes would be much better from a "living the rest of my life" standpoint.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jcivic00 View Post
How far is too far to commute one way?
It depends. How far do you want to go? How much time are you willing to spend?
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Old 02-01-12, 01:01 PM
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My 20 minute commute became an hour commute (15 miles) last year. For 20 minutes I wore my work clothes (business casual). Now, after 15 miles I need a shower, so total time is now more like 75 minutes. This definitly at the limit of what I am willing to do.
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Old 02-01-12, 01:19 PM
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Too far? How long do you want to sit in a cage ( car) ? My commute is 18 miles one way, the last 6 miles to Boston are on bike paths. By car, it takes about one hour, by bike 20 minutes longer. Lots of days are one way by bike. I reverse commute, leave car at office, bike home, bike back to work in the AM. In warmer months with longer daylight, I take the mountain bike for 20 mile rides home with about 8 miles dirt. Works for me, YRMV.
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Old 02-01-12, 01:46 PM
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Thanks for all of the responses, they are very helpful. Currently I have a 13 mile commute, but I'm looking at all of the options in order to try and cut that down as much as possible. The mostly direct route is a little more treacharous due to extremely narrow roads with high traffic. Thank you to all who offered up information. It's very helpful.
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Old 02-01-12, 01:49 PM
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It is not the distance. It is the time that you are willing to spend commuting to and from work.
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Old 02-01-12, 02:24 PM
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I do 15 miles round trip. Takes me an hour.
I think 20 miles round trip might be my limit.
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Old 02-01-12, 02:42 PM
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I'm planning to start doing a 20-22 one way commute. It's reasonably flat, and primarily downhill on the way to work; the last 3 miles will be on an MUP that goes right by the hospital.
I agree about the time issue, but in my mind, that will be partially offset by combining commuting with training, rather than coming home and going for a ride. I'm planning to do some MTB races this summer, as well as cx again in the fall, so I'm looking at this as a good way to get base miles in, with the option to extend the ride home and/or use it for intervals.
When I used to commute in the 90s, I had a 5 mile one-way. One of my neighbors worked at the same hospital. I could usually beat her home on the bike.
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Old 02-01-12, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by EdgewaterDude View Post
I think sixtyfiver noted that around 45 minutes was the threshold people were willing to commute. A lot of people here work in a business casual setting and still bike. My commute is just under 10 miles and I'd say it's about 35-40 minutes.
I think sixtyfiver nailed it with that. It really is more about the time than the distance, and 45 minutes seems right on the money as the limit.
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Old 02-01-12, 03:03 PM
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Far isn't the question, it's time. My commute is roughly and hour each way. More than 2 hours a day would be too much given family and other obligations.
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Old 02-01-12, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by drummergeek View Post
I do 15 miles round trip. Takes me an hour.
I think 20 miles round trip might be my limit.
This is about me. I am 14 miles roundtrip. If I had to go longer than 45 minutes (one way), I would start stripping stuff off of my bike and my back to get my speed up and time down
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Old 02-01-12, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I think sixtyfiver nailed it with that. It really is more about the time than the distance, and 45 minutes seems right on the money as the limit.
An hour to an hour and a quarter of riding time each way is my sweet spot, unless it is really cold. Of course, you have to add time to get dressed, undressed, shower and bike maintenance to the equation. My ride is my workout, and 45 minutes each way leaves me wanting more. On a really nice day, I might extend my ride home up to two hours if I have the time.
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Old 02-01-12, 03:24 PM
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my commute by public transit is 45 minutes to an hour. by bike it's about the same. Less if I don't consider time spent locking the bike up and stripping it of removable valuable (and therefore stealable) things, and changing into work appropriate clothes. Wouldn't want to regularly do more than that as I value my time with my family too much. As it is, by public transit that feels too long. On nice days I'll take the long way home on my bike sometimes (or the long way in if I don't mind being a bit late), but it's not a regular thing.
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Old 02-01-12, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Of course, you have to add time to get dressed, undressed, shower and bike maintenance to the equation. My ride is my workout...
So you can subtract any time you would have spent at the gym, right? If you wouldn't have gone to the gym, you can instead subtract any time you would have spent sitting on the couch because it's too much effort to get up and do something else.
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Old 02-01-12, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jcivic00 View Post
Thanks for all of the responses, they are very helpful. Currently I have a 13 mile commute, but I'm looking at all of the options in order to try and cut that down as much as possible. The mostly direct route is a little more treacharous due to extremely narrow roads with high traffic. Thank you to all who offered up information. It's very helpful.
13 miles each way? Do-able but time consuming. And coming from Keller.... yeesh.

I'm on the SW side of Ft. Worth which I find to be very ridable.
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Old 02-01-12, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jcivic00 View Post
Thanks for all of the responses, they are very helpful. Currently I have a 13 mile commute, but I'm looking at all of the options in order to try and cut that down as much as possible. The mostly direct route is a little more treacharous due to extremely narrow roads with high traffic. Thank you to all who offered up information. It's very helpful.
It's better to ride faster on a safe road than take the treacharous direct route.

I've got two routes I take, one 10 mile through suburbia, one 12 miles along mostly rural roads. Both take about the same time if you factor in the time spent sitting at traffic lights. The shorter route is marginally safer in my case, but both are good.
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