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How Technical is Your Commute?

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How Technical is Your Commute?

Old 10-05-12, 08:37 PM
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How Technical is Your Commute?

If you were to rate your commute by its technical challenges, how would it rate?

Include anything you consider a challenge or obstacle: distance, traffic, road conditions, weather conditions, fierce animals, or whatever.

There is no rating system I know of, so feel free to make up your numbers or title the difficulty of your commute as logically or creatively as floats your boat....or in this instance, spins your wheels.

My commute is 3 flat miles through suburban neighborhoods with one small hill at the end. And it's in Southern California. I think it misted once this year. If my commute were longer, I might get a point or two during the two weeks a year the temps hover around 100f. But it isn't.
So, I get diddly squat on technical merits. I give my commute the rating of "Strawberry Pancake."

Tell me tales of the terrible challenges you tackle in style, and let me armchair commute with dignity.
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Old 10-05-12, 09:31 PM
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Trees, houses, cats, hipsters... I'd say very technical!
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Old 10-05-12, 09:35 PM
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My 12.5 miles round trip commute this year so far in Central Maryland which I rate as pretty easy, though harder if I go faster. Speed makes it harder to avoid trouble spots (narrowing shoulders, blind areas, glass, debris, cracks/ruts in roads). The rolling terrain gives one a good, but comfortable, workout, but not too strenuous. If you go slow, you can take in the beautiful scenery of trees, and farm roads, horses, and pretty neighborhoods. Through this Spring and Summer, I have ridden in the dark and in the rain.:

My Route to work:
Remove bike from car rack at Park-n-ride and then ride along parking lot onto downhill grassy area (tricky on grass) and onto sidewalk for about 20 more feet.Roll off sidewalk and into moving traffic and quickly ride through two traffic circles after taking the lane. I am cruising at car speed of 20mph through the first circle. But it starts going uphill. Then, I am being passed by traffic on the left as I leave the circle, and have to make my way across an oncoming traffic lane coming up on my right. Usually I get through with no problem. If traffic is too thick, I must dismount in the triangular zone where the oncoming, and straight lanes meet and wait for a break to then remount and get across the oncoming lane and get to the far right shoulder.

After crossing glass-ridden shoulder on bridge, then cruise 1/4 way around next circle, taking first exit and then turning along the crosswalk to left and onto the sidewalk, which cuts across another oncoming traffic lane. Continue on sidewalk around blind corner and then downhill about 15 yards, where the sidewalk end dumps me onto a quiet, country road of rolling terrain. I let her rip and go as fast as I can on this fun and low traffic road for a couple miles. The shoulder comes and goes. There are cracks and ruts along the road and shoulder. So I stay in the lane and only go on shoulder when traffic approaches from behind.

After passing through an intoxicating canopy of trees, I turn right and go through a suburban neighborhood ~ 20mph, as it is mostly downhill. Sometimes I get caught behind school busses and have to stop and dismount, or work on track standing while I wait for the kids to unload.
After avoiding more ruts and broken road, I turn left onto a farm road that has two hills close together. I can go ~25mph down these short hills which then helps me to vault myself over the next crest with 0 pedalling on the first hill, a little standing pedalling on the next.

Pass under a bridge (no shoulder, just drop off, and lotsa ruts), and then make a right and plod at a snail's pace through glass-strewn uphill for a short distance before descending a three-hilled tier of downhills. The last hill is the longest and I get to ~30 or so mph, taking the lane. I have to stay in the lane because there are a couple of blind areas I have to avoid and a foot wide shoulder in certain areas. At the bottom of the descent is a sharp left turn, so I have to control my speed with one hand while signalling with t'other.

Immediately start grinding out another steep hill until I crest, and then descend to the traffic light where the main road into town begins.
About a 6 block run through scrap metal, plastic, fasteners, glass, and tree branches on the narrow shoulder (down to no shoulder) until I cross through the next light and again take the lane to turn left into neighborhood road. From there it is mostly flat and breezy through the historic area a few more blocks to workplace.

Return trip to the park and ride:

Pretty much same route, but mostly uphill now. So slower and tougher. I take a different route through a neighborhood to avoid that triple downhill I rode into work, which is now a triple uphill on the return trip. There is a big black dog on one of those country roads who eyes me and once chased me the length of his property in the dark at night. I go through traffic circles before i hit the park-n-nride. It is a good feeling to coast past my church and into the park-n-ride at the end of the journey. I feel like I have accomplished something with each commute (small as it is), and I love my bike. I ride alot in the dark on the way home, but my 600 lumens lights up the road nicely. It is a beautiful ride. I really like riding at night. Cooler air, and a neat feeling riding along with the trees lit up by the bike light.

Weather:
Spring: Temps in 50's in March, going to 80's in early June. Mix and match clothing according to temps.
Summer: high 80's to 100F with humidity almost every day from mid June to the end of August. My cycle computer read at 100-105 degrees on really hot days. Rain projected almost daily in forecast, but mostly scattered or isolated showers, so you can run the gauntlet and usually make it round trip without getting rained on. I have rain gear at home and at work so I am prepared if it is raining in either direction.

Riding in the rain is actually fun, though I don't welcome it. But having to ride home in it from time to time is fun because it is a different environment than dry weather cycling and I have fenders and a poncho for this.

I really like my commute. The pedestrians I see are really friendly, and the motorists seem so, too.

Thankfully, I have only had one flat this year so far. Looked like a 6 inch piece of coat hanger.

Last edited by lungimsam; 10-05-12 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 10-05-12, 09:39 PM
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Technical: Of or relating to technology.



I really hate the way the word is used in cycling circles. It's a corruption of the word.
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Old 10-05-12, 09:40 PM
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Mine is 6 miles, flat, in 4 full Midwestern seasons (although winter here is milder than Chicago and points north). So maybe a half point for weather.

I ride in traffic, but I have chosen a route that is mostly lightly-traveled arterials at the time of day I ride them. Mostly wide city streets, 30 mph speed limit, with not many parked cars and more than enough width to share. I have a few busy stoplights to navigate and have to stay on my toes at all times watching for turning traffic, but I am thankful daily for what I consider a near-perfect distance and route for bicycle commuting. The stress level of my route is low for most of the 6 miles.

I should have started bicycle commuting earlier. I'm full-time now - we donated our older car to charity, and now I only drive on weekends or evenings - my wife uses the car.

On a food-based rating system, I would call my commute "Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread."

I'm looking forward to seeing posts of challenges others face successfully daily.
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Old 10-05-12, 09:52 PM
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My commute is cake. Sponge cake.

Go in at 5:15 AM, so there is no-one on the road. I can dawdle or hustle, ride in the bike lane or not, as I please, and still get in by 5:30 AM. Your basic city streets, reasonably well-lit, with a bridge for variety.

Return in the mid afternoon. Now there's more traffic to watch for, right hooks to guard against. But it is still cake. Cheese cake.

I kind of wish I had a longer commute. But then I'd have to get out of bed even earlier. No, this is okay.
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Old 10-05-12, 10:45 PM
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Ice, snow, cold, and darkness can make it pretty technical in the winter. Part of that is really just about preparation and equipment. The right clothes, lights, tires, etc can make the actual ride a lot less challenging.

It's been difficult enough at times that I simply could not pedal through the snow in some areas and had to walk/carry the bike. That's pretty rare though as normally the roads and trails are plowed fairly quickly. On very cold days, my goggles have iced up to the point where I couldn't see. Better goggles have helped.

My commute in the summer is a dream.
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Old 10-05-12, 11:04 PM
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My commute is only 3/10 for technical. But then again I consider myself to be fairly thoughtful and I have strategies in places for several tricky spots.
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Old 10-06-12, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie
Technical: Of or relating to technology.
No it's not. Sure, it might be misapplied when calling a route "technical," but the word certainly does not deal exclusively with technology.

[h=2]tech·ni·cal[/h]   [tek-ni-kuhl] Show IPA
adjective 1. belonging or pertaining to an art, science, or the like: technical skill.

2. peculiar to or characteristic of a particular art, science, profession, trade, etc.: technical details.

3. using terminology or treating subject matter in a manner peculiar to a particular field, as a writer or a book: a technical report.

4. skilled in or familiar in a practical way with a particular art, trade, etc., as a person.

5. of, pertaining to, or showing technique.

Anyway, to answer the question, my route is 7.5 miles. The first two are on a 50 mph 4-lane road with few streetlights. Then I turn onto a wide 2 lane (that part is nice - enough space to maneuver), over 3 train tracks, and into the ghetto, where you get the opportunity to wave at drug dealers on the corner. (I teach English at a charter school).
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Old 10-06-12, 10:16 AM
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Technical? , like those little pickup trucks , with the 50cal antiaircraft machine-guns in the back?
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Old 10-06-12, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by clawhammer72
[h=2]How Technical is Your Commute?[/h]
You tell me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0slPl...hannel&list=UL

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Old 10-06-12, 11:39 AM
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My ride is technicolor.
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Old 10-06-12, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluish Green

On a food-based rating system, I would call my commute "Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread."

I'm looking forward to seeing posts of challenges others face successfully daily.
lol
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Old 10-06-12, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor
Unfortunately, my admiration of the technical challenges of your commute are totally wiped out by my jealousy that you get to live and commute in Manhatten.
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Old 10-06-12, 12:14 PM
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My ride is 7.5 miles of slight hills, a curvy road with small shoulders and fast cars, and a very bumpy covered bridge. I'd rate it a 2.5 on a scale of 1-5, where 1 is "ride in my sleep" and 5 is "death-defying".

Last edited by spivonious; 10-06-12 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 10-06-12, 02:46 PM
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The only thing "technical" about my commute is staying on top of the saddle and pedals whenever taking bumps and broken pavement at high speed on my fixed-gear.
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People in this forum are not typical.
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Old 10-06-12, 04:32 PM
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How do you get to Carnegie Hall????
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Old 10-06-12, 09:16 PM
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Thanks everyone for some good reading!
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Old 10-07-12, 04:51 AM
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And in case anyone was wondering, 1nterceptor's video starts just past Carnegie Hall.
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Old 10-07-12, 06:04 AM
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Summer: just to prove a point I have ridden my entire 7.5 mile commute no handed (except for one stop light). So not very....

Winter: different story.
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Old 10-07-12, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster
How do you get to Carnegie Hall????
A lifetime of practice and dedication, culminating in an excellent performance worthy of the reputation of Carnegie Hall's stage.
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Old 10-07-12, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by tractorlegs
A lifetime of practice and dedication, culminating in an excellent performance worthy of the reputation of Carnegie Hall's stage.
Nah, you take the Q train. 2 of my kids have played there and they never practice. 1 of the 2 has also played Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, he practiced a little more for that one. My third child sang at La Scala

And back to cycling, the most technical part of my ride is the obstacle course they call the 1st Avenue bike lane.
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Old 10-07-12, 08:19 AM
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My house is in the SW corner of the town and I work in the NW corner. It's 4 miles, almost totally flat of residential streets along the coast. I usually take a 4 block detour to a coffee shop so I have to go through two stoplights.
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Old 10-07-12, 09:13 AM
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a section is on railroad trestles, it is not a rails to trails conversion,
the tracks are still used, there are wooden planks between and around the rails,

and over time the planks dry, and gaps open up..

but it is a place to bypass the highway traffic,

just don't drop a wheel alongside the tracks , in the gaps
and I would not want to tackle parts on this on 23mm tires,
rather than 47mm..
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Old 10-07-12, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by clawhammer72
Unfortunately, my admiration of the technical challenges of your commute are totally wiped out by my jealousy that you get to live and commute in Manhatten.
I thought it was fun commuting in New York City the 1st year that I did it;
now after 6 years, I'm getting kinda tired.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jkf__aUQpE&feature=plcp

I look forward for the weekends when I can go on long relaxing rides OUT of NYC.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U930E2lSsO0&feature=plcp
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