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The end of the world as I know it

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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

The end of the world as I know it

Old 08-01-12, 09:42 PM
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The end of the world as I know it

For the past 16 years, I've spent at least 2 hrs a day commuting -- and it all comes to an end next week. The first six years were by car which totally sucked.

Then we moved when both my wife and I got new jobs. We bought a house within walking distance of her job, but it was 18 miles from where I worked. Had I not wasted 2 hrs a day commuting by car for six years, spending that much time cycling to work would have seemed unreasonable. But I was used to long days and my wife couldn't object to the time it took because she never had an issue with the time while I was driving.

After a month of riding 5 days a week, I was in pain. After 2 months, I was in less pain. After six, I was starting to get in shape. And after a year, I was addicted. 5 years ago, I changed jobs. The new job was almost 70 miles away, but I negotiated a second office I could go to three times a week that was only 22 miles away. I can count on one hand the number of times I've driven in the past 5 years. Of course I cycle to the remote office as well, but that's a really long day so I do that only rarely.

My new job is only 2.4 miles from a place we recently bought in Portland. I doubt I'll take the shortest route, and happily there are some hills. I found a nice route that's 6.3 miles long with 1317 feet of gain and 817 feet descent one way. But who am I kidding? There's no way I'll ride nearly as much as I do now. And when I'm tired in the afternoon, I can just coast 2.4 miles home.

Tomorrow will be my last ride to the remote office. Then there's one more ride to the office that's close by. And that's it. Weather projections for my final trip could hardly be better -- clear and cool with a slight tailwind to chase me in. What a friggin' ride.
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Old 08-01-12, 10:00 PM
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I have recently been offered jobs at very interesting places, but turned them down in large part because I would become a motor commuter with no alternative (2 hrs on a bus each day at one place, or 35 miles each way at another, the third was in (eek!) Boston). My 8-ish mile ride to work is just ideal, and I have a decent bit of climbing on the ride home.

On the long term, being so close is very nice for you, as you are within walking distance if you want a changeup. And I would bet you find a way to get the miles in. But squeeze all the fun out of these last two rides in you can.

See you at Shasta!
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Old 08-01-12, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek
My new job is only 2.4 miles from a place we recently bought in Portland. I doubt I'll take the shortest route, and happily there are some hills. I found a nice route that's 6.3 miles long with 1317 feet of gain and 817 feet descent one way. But who am I kidding? There's no way I'll ride nearly as much as I do now. And when I'm tired in the afternoon, I can just coast 2.4 miles home.
Are you absolutely sure? If you have great roads, seems like it'd be easy to make the "commute" a lot longer...
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Old 08-01-12, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by milkbaby
Are you absolutely sure? If you have great roads, seems like it'd be easy to make the "commute" a lot longer...
It would be very easy -- the roads are significantly better than what I have now. So there is an outside chance I'll be in better shape than now. But it's a pretty certain bet that I won't be riding any 40+ miles RT. Plus I have friends and a river nearby so there will be other things competing for my attention.

I am glad to be off the highways in winter -- "fun" is not exactly the operative term to describe riding more than an hour each way in the cold, dark, wet, and wind while heavy traffic blows by you at 65 mph for months on end. On the other hand, the most important time to be out there is when you don't want to be. If you don't quit when you want to the most and make it through the crap, everything that follows is a gift in comparison.
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Old 08-02-12, 06:34 AM
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I hear ya. My miles have dropped about in half since my wife changed jobs and now I am the one best able to get the kids to school and after school activities on several days a week. I'm happy to do it, but I hate that my only regular chance to ride is getting broken up.
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Old 08-02-12, 07:12 AM
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You don't really *need* 40 miles RT. What you need is to ride more or less straight to work, and then take the long way home and ride hard and/or do intervals every-other day.

You could take the long way to work as well, but you would need a shower. My work doesn't have a shower, and besides, if you're huffing and puffing when you get to work it will suck for a good 30-45 minutes.
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Old 08-02-12, 07:20 AM
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["fun" is not exactly the operative term to describe riding more than an hour each way in the cold, dark, wet, and wind while heavy traffic blows by you at 65 mph for months on end. On the other hand, the most important time to be out there is when you don't want to be.

All good things must come to pass as the saying goes. I'd say you're quite fortunate not to have been hit by a car on such roads for all that time. Count your blessings on that and I'm sure you'll find yourself a new route that works for you at some point.
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Old 08-02-12, 08:05 AM
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That sounded pretty backhanded, whitemax. Why not try some positive encouragement, hm?

Banerjek, I think ColinL's idea is pretty spot on. I applaud you for your committedness, to commuting. I have tried it myself, but found the heat in Houston, and the necessary forward planning and constant organization the night before to be exhausting. I'm sure you'll find you have many, many more happy miles ahead of you.

Last edited by Dolamite02; 08-02-12 at 08:06 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-02-12, 08:14 AM
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I cannot commute at all to my place of employment. I sure wish I could.
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Old 08-02-12, 08:17 AM
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Be happy that it's an opportunity to use the time you now have to do new rides, explore and meet new people instead of making the same ride day after day solo. Enjoy your new adventure!
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Old 08-02-12, 08:38 AM
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Old 08-02-12, 09:04 AM
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Congrats, and that's awesome!
Hopefully you can have more quality family time, and make the rides recreational and great instead of have-to rides.
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Old 08-02-12, 10:16 AM
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[QUOTE=Dolamite02;14557717]That sounded pretty backhanded, whitemax. Why not try some positive encouragement, hm?

Then have your ears checked then read the post again.
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Old 08-02-12, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ColinL
You don't really *need* 40 miles RT.
Correct. In reality, my new workplace is much more supportive of bike commuting than my old one. They have lockers, secure storage, showers, you name it.

The problem is that I'm basically a practical guy so my fitness is always related to something practical such as getting from point A to point B. It's pretty much a given that I'll stretch out my new commute a lot of the time. But when it's dark and wet in the winter, we'll see if I can resist the temptation to take the easy way. I'll stay reasonably fit, but I suspect my days of thinking of riding 65+ miles one way for a bike commute makes any sense are over. I'm OK with that.

BTW, I arrived at work before my boss today. I didn't get my tailwinds (they wound up being very soft sidewinds) and a few miles of my route was freshly graveled, but other than that, conditions were perfect. Of course I forgot to bring something to wear on my feet other than cycling shoes...

Originally Posted by Dolamite02
I applaud you for your committedness, to commuting.
Actually, I'm mostly agnostic on the commuting thing. However, there is no substitute for physical strength and mental acuity -- these things make practically all aspects of life easier and more fun. It simply turns out that cycling helps you develop these things and is an incredibly efficient way to get around compared to alternatives to boot. Plus I enjoy it. I don't ever dread riding or find it boring. Beats me how the guys that do stay motivated.
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Old 08-02-12, 10:33 AM
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I'm pretty sure you'll figure out how to enjoy yourself in Portland. Are you closer now to the Gorge, by the way?
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Old 08-02-12, 10:44 AM
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Front end the miles. Do the long way to work and then if you bag it coming home, at least you had a long ride once that day. You actually have a more ideal situation imo because now if the weather really sucks for the ride home, you have a viable option to get home fast. When I worked away from home it was a 25km round trip but I could & did extend it often. It was nice to know that when it was pouring out I could zip home relatively quickly.
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Old 08-02-12, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I'm pretty sure you'll figure out how to enjoy yourself in Portland. Are you closer now to the Gorge, by the way?
Yes. Enjoying Portland is exactly what the problem is. My new digs are on the river in the John's Landing area (not far from the aerial tram). I just bought a new kayak and the ski areas are close. Add in the great restaurants/bars everywhere plus loads of friends, and it's clear that long solo rides have some serious competition for time.
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Old 08-02-12, 11:36 AM
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It sounds like that's not really a problem at all. I haven't been doing any long weekend rides over the past month, because I've spent my weekends backpacking in the mountains, in areas that don't have snow for about two months a year. It's great!

What kind of kayak?
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Old 08-02-12, 11:37 AM
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? Sounds like a great opportunity to me. Now you can choose your miles, seek out some great roads. If you choose not to, well...that's not really bad either, is it? It just means you've chosen something else that you enjoy more.
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Old 08-02-12, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
It sounds like that's not really a problem at all. I haven't been doing any long weekend rides over the past month, because I've spent my weekends backpacking in the mountains, in areas that don't have snow for about two months a year. It's great!

What kind of kayak?
Whisky 16. It's a nimble craft suitable for ocean use. I plan on taking it off the coast as soon as I can get my skills and knowledge to the point that I won't be a menace to myself. I've tested loads of kayaks, and the first time I sat in it, it just spoke to me.

The snow is going to be hard to stay out of. Backcountry is what I like most, but being so close to Mt Hood, I may have to break down and get some downhill tele skis since everything I own has scales and I don't need those cutting my speed if I'm taking a lift up.
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Old 08-02-12, 12:08 PM
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I ski tele on Hood all the time. We could do some stuff...
Also, consider riding during lunch. That's what I do.
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Old 08-02-12, 12:28 PM
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Lunch break isn't a bad idea. I'd give the new job a few months before doing that, because I'm guessing even an 'hour' ride is probably more like 75-90 min without doing work once prep & recovery time is added on.

I was riding at least 15 miles a day 4 days a week on my lunch break until it started hitting 100 degrees. Then it was not feasible to get back to my desk without a shower. I tried one day because I was really wanting to ride. P-U.
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Old 08-02-12, 12:33 PM
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Looks like it will be pushing 100F this weekend and that these higher temps will carry through into next week... will be a good time to take to the water.

We are heading to the coast next week... might have to pack a bike or two with us.
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Old 08-02-12, 01:32 PM
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Old 08-02-12, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek
Whisky 16. It's a nimble craft suitable for ocean use. I plan on taking it off the coast as soon as I can get my skills and knowledge to the point that I won't be a menace to myself. I've tested loads of kayaks, and the first time I sat in it, it just spoke to me.

The snow is going to be hard to stay out of. Backcountry is what I like most, but being so close to Mt Hood, I may have to break down and get some downhill tele skis since everything I own has scales and I don't need those cutting my speed if I'm taking a lift up.
Looks like a great boat! I have a Looksha 17, and sometimes I find myself out on Puget Sound when I could be cycling.

I've been thinking about taking telemark up, but the last time I was on skis of any kind, I was maybe 14 years old, doing mild cross-country stuff. Any advice on how I might go about getting started? There's still a lot of snow in the highlands up here. Skis would make some descents much easier and faster for me. In the winter, they'd let me get myself to some places that I can't get without them - snow shoes are very slow.
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