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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Rodie AND commuting?

Old 12-20-11, 07:18 PM
  #1  
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Rodie AND commuting?

I had for years heard of people that do just road riding about commuting to work. Given that until not long ago I was just 10 miles from work, it never made any sense to do it given I would need a shower there too. The ride was just not long enough to justify it in my mind. Recently, I started to work in another town that puts me 35 miles door to door to work. Today I decided to ride to work. The ride up was awesome as it was cool, dark and peaceful, no traffic at all, and had a 10 MPH tail wind the entire time. I took advantage of the ride to do a few intervals on the way up. The one thing I clearly hated was having to carry a backpack with clothing in it to change into and other things. Simply hated it!! On the way back, it was 100% the opposite: tons of traffic, tons of redneck-mobiles (big trucks), all kinds of idiots driving trying to erase me from the map, and a nasty 15 MPH head wind the entire time. The wind simply tore me up. I think my legs were also tired form not being used to riding 2 rides in one day like this, but the return leg took me 45 min longer. I felt as tire as I have not been in a long time!!! I couldn't do anything but to calculate how much longer I had to go the entire time.

My question is to those that commute and use the rides for specific "work outs".

-What do you do in one leg vs the other?
-Do you use both legs or use only one? Which and why?
-Do you alter your food and liquid intake during the day to accommodate the ride on the way home later? How?

Thanks
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Old 12-20-11, 09:29 PM
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I have a 12 mile commute in to work, and a 16 mile return due to traffic and survival instincts. Going in is usually with the wind, home against. I used to push harder on the way in, but figured it took me a long time to recover once at work. Typically now the ride in is fairly casual, with typically one trip per two weeks set up as a race to get my fastest time.

The ride home I treat more as a training time. First six miles is pure survival, get out of the city, then I have three plus miles that are a MUP and guaranteed stiff head wind, which is a nice stretch. I have repeated it if in the mood. Also have a back country hill after the park that I have done repeats on.. prolly not the best hill for it but better than nothing.

At these distances, I do nothing different as far as nutrition.
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Old 12-20-11, 09:33 PM
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you can avoid changing and showering if you keep it below 15mph. biking doesn't take much more effort than walking fast as long as you take it easy.

If you want to turn your commute into a ride (which makes sense if it is 10+miles), then I can see bringing stuff to change into and really RIDING to work instead of just pedaling.

I'm also lucky, I don't sweat much.
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Old 12-20-11, 09:42 PM
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I ride 19 miles to work and back. I use both legs and attempt to set a record each way. If I feel weak, I will take it slow. Traffic is better at 4am but the return trip is not usually too bad.
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Old 12-20-11, 10:10 PM
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my trip is 10mi each way. Usually I take it easy on the way in to keep the sweating under control. On the way home, I'll do some kind of interval-ish things and ride much harder. I also will attack the small hills around here if I'm feeling like a workout. Get a commuter bike and load it down with all your stuff for additional training.

35mi is a pretty ambitious commute. Not that the mileage is that hard, its just a lot of time to spend on the road in rush hour.
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Old 12-21-11, 02:07 AM
  #6  
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Riding close to four hours after working all day is just a tad much on a daily baisis, I think. That's seven hours every single weekday. That's especially so, if you're approaching dusk on the return trip. That could prove to be exhaustive and might dilute your ability to focus when attempting to make good riding decisions.

PS.

Assumptions based upon 12mi/hr average speed...
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Old 12-21-11, 05:55 AM
  #7  
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I live 14 miles from where I work. I do 50 to 65 mile rides each way. There is no reason on earth why you should be confined to riding directly to work. The only place I take a bike directly to is my sunday mountain bike trip to the store. Riding is an adventure, there is an infinite number of ways to get somewhere. I keep a locker at work that has spare gear, a weeks worth of work clothes. I shower at work. I keep a fridge in my office to accommodate food so I can eat properly. I may be an extreme, however there is ways to manage the riding if you desire.
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Old 12-21-11, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by pallen View Post
my trip is 10mi each way. Usually I take it easy on the way in to keep the sweating under control. On the way home, I'll do some kind of interval-ish things and ride much harder. I also will attack the small hills around here if I'm feeling like a workout. Get a commuter bike and load it down with all your stuff for additional training.

35mi is a pretty ambitious commute. Not that the mileage is that hard, its just a lot of time to spend on the road in rush hour.
I disagree. If I am going to do some commuting, the mileage has to justify the extra time and effort. Ride there is not rush hour and ride back varies, but neither one is on roads that have less traffic during non-rush hours.

Originally Posted by dmcdmc View Post
you can avoid changing and showering if you keep it below 15mph. biking doesn't take much more effort than walking fast as long as you take it easy.

If you want to turn your commute into a ride (which makes sense if it is 10+miles), then I can see bringing stuff to change into and really RIDING to work instead of just pedaling.

I'm also lucky, I don't sweat much.
Not going to happen. I am not going to increase any more the time it takes me to get there and back by "just rolling along". Not sweating in south FL even in "winter" is almost non-existant!!

Originally Posted by JaceK View Post
I live 14 miles from where I work. I do 50 to 65 mile rides each way. There is no reason on earth why you should be confined to riding directly to work. The only place I take a bike directly to is my sunday mountain bike trip to the store. Riding is an adventure, there is an infinite number of ways to get somewhere. I keep a locker at work that has spare gear, a weeks worth of work clothes. I shower at work. I keep a fridge in my office to accommodate food so I can eat properly. I may be an extreme, however there is ways to manage the riding if you desire.
I figured as much as far as the locker too. I brought some stuff there a few days ago anticipating that I was going to give it a try. It made it easier, but I still need to plan ahead more with the clothing and such. The other thing is that I am not going to leave a week's or even a day's worth of wet/sweaty clothing locked up in a closet for days. For the one day, I took an extra set of jersey/bibs for the return trip and brought back the sweaty ones fro the morning.

I am going to sit down and do some searching on the routes to see if I can find a less traveled road for the return during the day, but that is not going to alter the first 5-8 miles by much, which is where most of the nasty happened.

Oddly enough, it normally takes me 50 min door to door in my car, and it only took me under an extra hr to get there by bike. The return, not so much LOL..............
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Old 12-21-11, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dgasmd View Post
I disagree. If I am going to do some commuting, the mileage has to justify the extra time and effort. Ride there is not rush hour and ride back varies, but neither one is on roads that have less traffic during non-rush hours.
Lucky! enjoy the ride. I would love a long ride like that every day, but I have a feeling my wife wouldnt appreciate me getting home at 8 every night. My commute is about 15min longer than driving in traffic. So, I get 100mi a week without any significant cost in travel time.

I am able to bring my bike into a storage area at work. I hang my sweaty clothes on the bike to dry. They rarely smell, so I wear them for the ride home. Start off clean and they probably wont stink.
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Old 12-21-11, 08:36 AM
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I always used the commute for 'base miles,' and punctuated my weeks with one or two days of interval training. I could never get motivated to go super hard with a backpack bouncing around, so I'd just keep it to medium intensity for the T-W-F commute, and then Monday and Thursday I'd drive to work and find an 90 minutes at some point during the day to kill myself with hill repeats, over/unders or 30-second sprint intervals. It's a sound training plan, and I got much faster during that period. It also enabled me to minimize the crap I had to carry on my back, as on Monday I'd bring clothes (the shoes are the killer) for the week and leave them there.

BL
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Old 12-21-11, 08:44 AM
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I do a 30-mile round trip. Seeing I have a messenger bag with clothes weighing me down I usually just try to ride at a solid pace that's not so hard I'm sweaty as hell, nor do I lolligag. The leg home is another story, sometimes I'll push harder because I don't care how sweaty I am when I get home, I just use it as a method to keep me shape until my weekend rides when I really push myself.
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Old 12-21-11, 09:41 AM
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I did this for years.

The ride to work was training and the ride home was recovery. I would often extend the ride to work as needed.

The trick is to leave clothes at work. I used to drive one day and ride the next so I don't need a backpack.

IF you can shower at work (or at a gym near by) it is totally manageable and a great way to squeeze in some quality training.

Plan your food so you are not dead on the way home.
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Old 12-21-11, 10:21 AM
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My commute is 30 miles each way. I only do it every other days so in between I brought clothes and foods so I don't have to carry a backpack or put pannier on the bike. That makes the ride much more enjoyable. Going home always take a bit longer because of traffic and headwind. How I ride each leg depend on what weakness/goals I'm working on. Sometimes, it's too hot or too cold so there isn't much of an option. I just want to get there.
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Old 12-21-11, 10:38 AM
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I only commute 10 miles but I try to add extra miles either before work or on the way home whenever possible. I bring in a weeks worth of t's socks and briefs on Monday. I also keep shoes and a weeks worth of dry cleaning in my office. The dry cleaner is only a couple of blocks away. This way, I only have to do one round trip with a light backpack for the week.
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Old 12-21-11, 10:48 AM
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My commute is between 11mi-15mi each way depending on the route. I have a cross bike set up for just this purpose. It has a Topeak MTX rack/pack/pannier system on it, along with lights and fenders. We have no lockers or showers so I keep a duffel bag in a spare room with my clothes (4-5 days worth), a towel, deodorant, and a hairbrush. I can hang my cycling clothes up in this room to dry during the day.. In the bathroom I keep a fresh box of baby wipes for cleanup.

I don't use these commuter rides for training although I track them. Once the daylight lasts longer I will use the commuter bike as a pack mule two days per week and take the race bike the other days. I'll ride to the club events from work and then ride home.
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Old 12-21-11, 12:09 PM
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I used to commute 31 miles each way (got a job closer to home now). No matter how you did it there were some pretty steep and longish hills both ways. I didn't have the luxury of having a locker I could keep clothes in for a week, so I had to take a backpack. If you're forced that route a good backpack is essential. I went through quite a few before settling on the Ortlieb Velocity. It lifts the bag off of your back so air can flow down your back, and is so water proof you can submerge for short periods and it will keep your stuff dry.

No way in Texas to not sweat either, btw. I had to shower and was fortunate enough to have a locker room.

I used to play 'games' on the way in, such as shoot for a pr in average speed, or try to keep my speed in double digits the whole way in, and so on.

Another thing I used to do was put a change of street clothes in my car, along with my bike and bike clothes. I'd drive in, then ride home, and then ride in again in the morning. I'd then grab the extra change of clothes I'd left in the car at the office. If I did that I could avoid riding with a backpack.
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Old 12-21-11, 12:11 PM
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I ride home nearly every day (18.5 miles one way). I am lucky enough to car pool right now with a guy who drives a Suburban and we just throw my bike in there for the drive in, then I ride home. I used to ride both ways a lot more, but coming in at 6 AM right now, I'm not motivated to get up and ride in the dark. I'm like most others who've responded here, I keep clothes at work and have a shower, and I'll bundle the clothes to bring home one day a week or I'll do a bag drop with my car pool buddy.

I do most of my weekday training on the way home; I'll vary the route sometimes to get up to 50 miles, depends on what I have going on. If you have a hard day/light day schedule, you can ride the race bike home on the hard days, then bring a commuter bike with racks to carry stuff home on the light days.
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Old 12-21-11, 12:20 PM
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I ride slow to work (15kms). Even on the warmest days I don't sweat much.

I'll roll a training ride into the ride home most days. I prefer to have a different bike for commuting, since I don't like riding with a backpack, but if I'm doing something that requires my sporty ride I'll just change at work at buy lunch that day.
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Old 12-21-11, 02:15 PM
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When I was cycling to work, my commute was only 7 miles each way. I didn't have a shower so I would ride in super slow, not even breaking a sweat.
Then I would often extend my ride home and time trial as fast as I could.
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