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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

I am in need of some wisdom from the community of commuters... I have recently begun commuting however due to a new baby, doing my masters, and trying to sleep in there I have found that commuting regularly is a challenge so my question is how does everyone do it? How do you fit it all in? I need to get up at 4:30 am (and earlier with my next job location being 25 miles away, I work construction and my job location changes every couple of years). So any advice is appreciated.

Thanks,

JT
 

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Don't get too worked up about it. It sounds as if you have your priorties straight. The new baby, your masters and sleep are more important than commuting by bike. If a bike commute can't be fit in, then don't bike commute.

That said, here's a few things that help me.
1) My mornings can be pretty tight, but my evenings less so. I try to have all my prep work for the commute done at night when I have time vs in the AM when I don't. I load my backpack, lay out the bike togs, pump up my tires, etc so that when the alarm goes off I toss on the stuff I laid out and get on the bike and ride.
2) I sometimes multi-modal commute. This only saves me about 10 minutes but YMMV.
3) Some days I don't bike. If I have family conflicts like band concerts, scout meetings, sports practices...etc, I get in the car.

Scot
 

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I commute because of our new baby (actually a year and a half old already). It is about the only riding I can afford to manage--- so I bike year around--- winter, snow, ice, rain.... I love it all. Unlike "regular" fairweather riding, I am FORCED to be out in all weather. I would never "choose" to ride in extreme conditions--- but I never ever regret it.

I managed a 20 mile commute a few years ago before relocating. I rode a fixed beater--- so no bike worries, no maintenance, no concern for the weather. In the morning, I could manage it in 1:05, since it was generally with the wind, and it was more downhill than up. It took marginally more time than driving. It was much less time than hitting the gym on the way home (and driving).

You have some real challenges, given your circumstances. Good luck. Maybe the best approach is to commute a certain percent of the days.
 

· No Crybabies
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not all or nothing

I used to think that it had to be all or nothing, or that I had to live up to the standards of some of the other more notable commuters here on this forum. But, you don't. Don't feel like you have to ride every day, all the way, or let other things like not having a certain bike, etc., hold you back. If you can get going doing it only 1 or 2 days a week, then start with that. There are plenty of options. Drive with your bike half way, then ride from there. Ride part way, then jump on a bus, if it has a bike rack. Drive to work with your bike, then ride home, then ride to work the next day, and drive home. Lots of options.

Getting up early is a good way to go. I usually leave home in the morning before my kids get up, whether I ride or drive. So, I may as well get up earlier, ride to work, then maybe I can leave work a bit earlier and get home in time to spend plenty of time with them in the evening.

Just get going and try it. You'll figure something out, even it it's not for every day. I'd bet there are plenty of people on this forum who do not ride every day.
 

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My simple advice: Put on your cycling clothes as soon as your feet hit the floor before you've really woken up. That way your primary plan is to commute by bike and you have to change your mind, and your clothes, if you don't. Most mornings it is easier for me to just head out the door and get on the bike than re-plan things and change clothes. I've yet to regret a day of riding in the years that I've been commuting as much as possible by bike. Some days however it is necessary to pull off the cycling clothes and grab the car keys...

singlecross
 

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I've always liked the idea of a mixed auto/bike commute.

Either drive part way, park where it is free and ride the rest OR drive in, ride home, ride in, drive home..............

Lots of ways to skin the commuting cat.
 

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Fixed said:
....some of the other more notable commuters here on this forum......
:blush2:

Although I'll point out that you are right up there on the extreme cyclist rankings and quite a few years where you were at the top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all for the advice, I think I am going to drive the new commute soon to see if there is an easy spot to ride to and leave the truck at. I agree completely with getting up earlier, if I am up and my wife is asleep why not just get up earlier to ride, its just the whole getting to bed early enough which is hard. :)
 

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I have never regretted a commute.

There are days when the commute was epic such as tropical storms in Hawaii, heavy thunderstorms in Virginia, opening day of deer season in South Carolina, and snow/sleet in Washington State. I have been miserable while commuting, but when I roll in to the garage or arrive at work, I am glad I rode.

My current commute is 21 miles each way. This time of year there is a 30 degree difference in temps between the morning and afternoon so clothing choice is a challenge. I lay out my cycling stuff in the spare bedroom the evening before so I can quickly get dressed at 4:45am. The first ten minutes after arriving home in the afternoon are spent getting the bike ready to go for the next morning. Once a week I will lube and wipe down the chain unless the weather requires it more frequently. I use heavy tubes (28-38mm) in 25mm Conti Ultra Gatorskin tires so I can go 4-5 days between pumping the tires back up to 115#. I have a Niterider HID headlight with a water bottle battery. It is good for 3.5 hours when I use the tail light. I charge it every night. I don't leave the house in the morning without a round trip worth of battery life. I also use a Planet Bike battery tail light for a backup to the Niterider Universal tail light.

I find that driving to work induces an overwhelming feeling of guilt so I avoid it at all costs. With current gas prices, each round trip commute is worth $14 in gas. I fill my truck up once a month and most of the driving miles are between the house and WalMart/Home Depot/Lowes.
 

· had it in the ear before
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bigbill said:
My current commute is 21 miles each way. This time of year there is a 30 degree difference in temps between the morning and afternoon so clothing choice is a challenge.....I find that driving to work induces an overwhelming feeling of guilt so I avoid it at all costs. With current gas prices, each round trip commute is worth $14 in gas. I fill my truck up once a month and most of the driving miles are between the house and WalMart/Home Depot/Lowes.
you rule, thanks for the inspiration and rational that my 16 mile commute in any weather isnt insane but can be a "normal" way to get to work.
 

· Seat's not level
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MB1 said:
I've always liked the idea of a mixed auto/bike commute.

Either drive part way, park where it is free and ride the rest OR drive in, ride home, ride in, drive home..............

Lots of ways to skin the commuting cat.
I just did a mixed commute this morning on my fixie. Work is 32 miles from my house so riding the whole thing isn't very practical with family responsibilities in the mix. I drive part way and park about 13 miles from the office and ride in from there. It works great. I still get in some miles and it's a great way to wake up in the morning. In the afternoon can still get back to the car and get home in time to pick my daughter up from baby-jail. It works great.

The best day for me to do this is on Fridays. Traffic on the highway is really bad and the difference it time over the 13 miles from riding to driving is only about 15 minutes longer. I still have to drive the rest of the way in sucky traffic, but it beats having to drive the whole way.:thumbsup:
 

· Yo no fui.
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I know a guy who drives to work, bikes home, bikes to work, drives home, etc. . . . That's an option.

Everyone's made great points.

Another thing to think about is the marginal difference in time. My bike commute is generally in the 50 minute range, but if I were to drive, it would be about 30 minutes, so I'm really only "spending" 20 more minutes commuting.
 

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One of the pleasant surprises about bike commuting was how much time it actually saved me. I used to try to squeeze in rides after work on the weekdays, and my wife was never too fond of that and eating later. Now I'm all through riding when I get home, and it only takes me about 20 minutes longer than it does driving.

Definitely try to keep it up. I quit running and cycling when our child was born for many of the same reasons you cited. It's very hard finding the time, or justifying it when there is so much to do with regard to young children. Anyway, I gained about 15 lbs that I've never been able to totally lose even after I started up riding again. Cycling also helps clear your head and keeps your spirits up.

Lots of things you can do to make your commute easier: pack your gear and lunch the night before; bring extra clothes, food and other supplies to work on days you drive so you have less to carry when you bike to work; get up earlier in the morning and leave work earlier in the afternoon if possible.
 

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tarwheel2 said:
One of the pleasant surprises about bike commuting was how much time it actually saved me. .


+1

I have been commuting about three days a week(11mi each way) and I ride 13 miles at lunchtime. I get 35 miles in with maybe an hour out of my "free" time. I get up a half hour earlier to commute and it only takes me about 15 to 20 minutes extra time on the road each way.
 

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I go with the observation that commuting shouldn't be an "all or nothing" thing. You have a lot on your plate and doing construction is hard physical work so you need to get your rest so as not to get sick. Mix and match all the suggestions. Maybe its a drive in, ride home thing for a couple of days. The next, you need to be home earlier, so you drive part way. Whatever makes sense it the ticket.

For me, any riding is great. Commuting is commuting however - its work, not pleasure. So I don't make riding to work a mission. When its raining or I'm feeling rundown because I've ridden four out of the last five days, I drive.
 

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This is a bit out of left field, but a motorcycle might be the way to go. You will still get the rush of the wind in your face, and it is more of a work-out than sitting on the bus or alone in your car, although it won't be as good as cycling or off-road riding. I love motorcycles, but I don't have one now. Can't beat 80-100 miles to the gallon either!

MTT:idea:
 

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There have been alot of amazing ideas on here and Id like to offer an incentive idea rather than actual commuting advice. Figure out what mileage your car gets and then at the end of every third month use your bike computer to figure out the total commuting miles that youve put in. Then divide those by the mileage of your car and you can see what amount of gallons youve saved. Multiply that by the cost of gas and theres your quarterly bonus to buy fun toys for your bikes and such. Even after bonusing yourself the toys youre still ahead because youre also keeping all of those miles off of your car which will make it last you longer and save on the car repairs that you would have racked up. On a side note talk to your insurance company, some actually offer incentives for non auto commuting because the reduction in driving equals decreased odds of an accident or claim for your insurance.
 
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