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I've got to get in shape.
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I am agonizing over commuting, but I've got a few concerns. I'd like to ask everyone some general questions to allay my fears and concerns.

1. How long is your commute?
2. What time do you have to be "on the job"?
3. By extension, what time do leave your residence?

Personally, I'd like to start commuting, but my commute is about 16 miles each way. With traffic (this is the DC suburbs, so there is plenty of that, regardless of what time it is.), I' d estimate that my commute time (one way) would be about an hour and a half.

The drawback is that I have to be "on the job" working (not waking up with a cup of joe at my desk) at 7:30am. Working backwards, that would mean a departure time of about 5:30am. Coming home would mean a departure time of about 3:00, and returning home at around 5:30pm.

Is there anyone else out there that does something similar? I need a little bit of inspiration and motivation. Hopefully after daylight savings time I can convince myself to do this.

As always, thank you.
 

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foggypeake said:
I am agonizing over commuting, but I've got a few concerns. I'd like to ask everyone some general questions to allay my fears and concerns.

1. How long is your commute?
2. What time do you have to be "on the job"?
3. By extension, what time do leave your residence?

Personally, I'd like to start commuting, but my commute is about 16 miles each way. With traffic (this is the DC suburbs, so there is plenty of that, regardless of what time it is.), I' d estimate that my commute time (one way) would be about an hour and a half.

The drawback is that I have to be "on the job" working (not waking up with a cup of joe at my desk) at 7:30am. Working backwards, that would mean a departure time of about 5:30am. Coming home would mean a departure time of about 3:00, and returning home at around 5:30pm.

Is there anyone else out there that does something similar? I need a little bit of inspiration and motivation. Hopefully after daylight savings time I can convince myself to do this.

As always, thank you.
I started commuting last summer. I'm a long time rider, but had never rode to work before.

I have a couple of things in my favor. My ride is only 7.5 miles, and I live on top of a decent sized hill. That makes my ride to work faster, and it means I do most of my sweating on the way home, when it doesn't mattter how smelly/gross I get.

I'm at my desk working by 0715. I like to be there by 0705 or so to have time to cool down, change, get a drink. I'm on the road around 0640 or so. That gives me plenty of time. I'd recommend always leaving some extra buffer time, so you can enjoy the ride and not feel under the gun.

I can'e even tell you how much I enjoy the commuting. For me, my daily ride is often going to be the best (or one of the best) part of the day. If I've already been on my bike and it's only 7 AM, well how can it get any better? Easy. It's knowing I will be riding again that evening!
 

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C 1/5
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I do a similiar commute in DC (22 miles one way and have to be at the "desk" around 730am). My route takes me over MUTs so I only deal with about 3 miles of any road with traffic (and that is only residential).

Try it once - maybe one way. IE drive to work in the morning and ride home in the afternoon, and then ride to work the next morning. I do that when I know I'm not feeling like 44 miles round trip each day, or when I know weather will not be good one part of the day.

Start slow with a few times a week like this - and you can progress as the of your
peculiarities route become more comfortable and familiar to you.

Good luck.
 

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I commuted 20 miles each way when I lived in Minneapolis. I needed to be at work at 8ish... meaning that I was salaried, and I rolled in when I rolled in. I liked to arrive early enough to shave and shower and chow down a bowl of cereal (and set a good example). I was only late once with a mechanical. Most of my flats were on my way home. It took an hour and five minutes for the commute- but I was riding almost straight west- usually with the wind. It took longer riding home with traffic and wind.

I now live way to close to work- 15 minutes. It is so cold that I don't need to shower, but it is warm enough here in Norway that I can ride all year. Again, I do not have to be at work at any certain time.

You might want to ask about when you really need to be at work.
 

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My commute is 16 miles each way through LA traffic. I have to be changed and "working" by 7:30 a.m. I get up at 5:00 a.m. and am on the bike by 5:45. It takes me about 1hr. 5 min. to get there. Sometimes it's a huge pain to get up so early, but I guarantee you that ten minutes into the ride you'll be SO GLAD you're on the bike and not in the car. I work at a public school so the kids are gone at 3:00 p.m. I can usually be out of there by 4:00, but sometimes I have to stay as late as 5:30.

Do it, man! Really, don't put it off any longer. You won't regret it! It's therapy, meditation, fitness, eco-friendly, and much more.

I attach the photo just to remind you how beautiful the early mornings can be.
 

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Deliciously Ironic
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Break it down to manageable chunks...

You'll be so much happier getting out of the gridlock! Here are some tips to take the anxiety out of commuting by bike. Soon enough it'll be the 'normal' way to do things you'll wonder why you waited so long to do it ;)

Do a 'dry run' of your commute on the weekend to check the route. Sometimes a sidetrack can avoid a bad stretch. DC does have some good MUTs, and a couple of people on this board can give you route ideas. check the regional board.

Do a 'one way' run, let's say ride to the office on Sunday (no time constraints, less traffic) and take the train home (or sig. other gives a ride) Then on Monday, ride home from work.

Daylight savings is often times when everyone starts to commute by bike, but a set of lights are still a must, as much to be seen as to see the road.
 

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Big is relative
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I get up at 0425 and am on the road at 0445. My commute is 13 miles consisting of MUTs and some road sections. Mostly MUT. My commute takes approximately 45 minutes so I arrive at work by 0530, shower, review some stuff and go to my first meeting at 0600. We haven't had hot water since last October so the shower is quick. I usually leave work around 3:30 for the commute home. If I drove, I would save about 10 minutes in the morning but mostly likely break even on the afternoon commute. Traffic here in Oahu is terrible and if you add in the rainy season we are in, sometimes the afternoon drive would be an hour or more. I have been commuting on a daily basis since last January with only seven exceptions. I have developed some habits that facilitate an easier commute.
1. I spend the first ten minutes after arriving at home getting the bike ready to go for the next morning.
2. I have a large camelback that I use once a week to take clean clothes into work.
3. I take dirty clothes home on a daily basis. It helps that I am in the military.
4. I ride a fendered, dedicated commuter with a rack and lights. Fenders mean that I get to work sweaty, but not dirty.
5. Most days I wear SPD sandals so even if it is wet, I have dry shoes by the time I ride home. Obviously this won't work everywhere, but it could in the summer.
6. I wear cycling shorts and baggy underarmour type shirts. The shirts dry quickly.
7. I use a HID headlight that puts the fear of god into joggers and makes cars notice me.
8. I use lots of neon yellow reflective tape on my frame and helmet.
9. I put a reflective jogger belt around my rack bag to give me 300 degrees of visibility.
10.I have clear glasses for commute. Riding without in the dark will last until something gets in your eye.
11.Lastly, I wear an MP3 player when I am on the MUT. That doesn't make me a bad person, does it?
 

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Sticky Valentine
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My commute is only about 4 miles each way. But being in thi high 200's lbs, I'd say it's pretty good for me ;)

It takes me about 15 min to fet to school/work on my fixed gear, wheras when I started it took me about 20 min on my geared bike. I'm assming that you're already in shape, but riding every day to one place you tend, imo, to find shorter, more efficent ways, and you get to know where all the potholes and bumps are at, which smooth out your ride as well, and makes it go a little faster.

All of my commuting is done on city streets during hours of heavy traffic. I've found a few roads though that I use that are less populated. They added another half a mile or so to my ride, but for the peace of mind I get from not having to deal with so many cars, I'll take it. It's not like I couldn't use the extra workout anyhow.

And like Northcoast said, I've come to appreciate the mornings as well. I'm not usually up early enough to catch the sunrise, as I only have to be at work at 8 and I've only got a 15 min. or so ride, but I'm usually out by 7am, and even then, it's still gorgeous outside.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes! Get some pics too, if ya can!




joe
 

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Yes, I ride a practical commuting bike with reflective tape, a rack, and built for all weather. A backpack on a long commute sucks. I dress like a practical fred- wearing a flourescent vest (like everyone else around here). It is not place to be a weight weenie- be prepared.

You will hate driving to work once you start.
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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My commute is 16 mi. one way. I have to begin work at 7:00 AM. That means I leave home at 5:30. That gets me to work a little before 6:30. I like to get there early, so I can cool down, change clothes, etc. I average 4 days/week riding. I try to pick a lousy weather day to take the car & exchange clean clothes for dirty.

I get everything ready to go before I go to bed at night. My alarm is set for 5:00 AM. I dress, eat, and am on the bike by 5:30. I actually enjoy the morning ride more than the afternoon trip home. Although my morning ride is done entirely in the dark, there's almost no traffic. People are also a little "mellower" in the AM, and I can't remember ever being harrassed on the way in. The ride home is different. I leave work about 3:15. Traffic at that time still isn't bad, but it's pretty steady.

Once you start riding to work & get a couple of weeks under your belt, you'll probably be grouchy on days that you can't ride. I am.
 

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1. My commute is 8.5 mi each way.
2. I have to be on the job at 8, but I do not raise any eyebrows if I am get to my desk by 8:15.
3. I leave at 7:20.

No big hills for me. 1/2 the ride is on a bike path. The actual riding portion is under 30 minutes on my cycle-computer. Sometimes I slow down towards the end of the ride in to cool down a bit (no showers at work - just my baby wipes.)

I experience a similar feeling that some of the other enthusiastic commuters speak of: how great it feels to be on the bike; and that feeling a few minutes into the ride that I can't believe I would consider travelling to work in a car instead... Nevertheless I have been cycle commuting for several months and I still usually manage it only about once or twice a week at best. I definitely think the best advice is to know your timeline and prepare for your ride in the evening. Very often what happens to me is that I simply don't apply the discipline necessary to get myself out the door by 7:20 and I end up taking the fall-back option of driving. Lame - I know, but that is my temperament.

I do still feel like I am working up to more and more frequent commutes by bike, but also I am still working out the details of what makes the overall experience practical and pleasurable. I have been experimenting with different clothing and gear. I am getting down my "system." One thing I have learned is that I really do not like the sweaty back from a rucksack or messenger bag. I am very happy with my recent purchase of a Carradice SQR tour bag. It took some getting used to having that extra weight on the back of the bike; it feels a little less nimble, but overall it is worth it.

My own piece of advice is just take it easy, see it as a process of experimentation to see what works. The best thing to ease any anxiety is to give yourself lots of time at first and once you have done it some you should develops habits that work for you, and you will be able to feel comfortable with what to expect. I highly recommend taking the plunge though, it really is exhilarating and satisfying. I have dropped off my car at the shop and cycled in 18 miles to work a few times, and when I did so I actually sort of wished that I lived further from work!
 

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foggypeake said:
The drawback is that I have to be "on the job" working (not waking up with a cup of joe at my desk) at 7:30am. Working backwards, that would mean a departure time of about 5:30am. Coming home would mean a departure time of about 3:00, and returning home at around 5:30pm.
Actually you sound like you have an ideal situation.

I get up at 5am to go for a training ride, come home shower/breakfast etc then I ride a short distance to work (and back in the afternoon), get home get take a breather for a bit then try to pysche myself into a decent training ride in the afternoon. I lose alot of time showering/changing in between all this.

You have the benefit of having your early morning training ride actually land you at your place of work. Ditto for you afternoon ride. Once you get home you do not need to think "Gee I should go for a training ride" you have done it. You get to have a shower, and nice cup of tea, and vege out for the evening.
 

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Big is relative
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I had a better setup when I was stationed in Charleston, SC. I had a forty mile round trip but the morning commute was in dead air, no wind at all and I didn't have to be at my desk until 8am. I could do an easy spin into work and still not get up before dawn. The afternoon commute could include one of several loops and during the early season the home bound trip could be 50 or more miles depending on how early I could roll out of work. I could commute on my race bike because the weather was so predictable. I had a rain bike for the bad days.
Living in Hawaii with the tropical weather and all, I use a dedicated commuter since I encounter rain pretty much on a daily basis. Because I am on an island bracketed with two mountain ranges, there is not much variation in the route. I also arrive at work an hour before dawn, so I have to use a decent lighting system. I could go longer on the way home, but I would be putting my life in the hands of tired motorists in gridlock traffic with no shoulder or MUT to go around them. I don't want to lane split, the motorists are not looking for me, and the lanes are narrow to start with.
 

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Downhill Juggernaut
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You should go for it. I have been steadily commuting by bike since last September and I love it. My commute is about 20-25 minutes one way. Downhill going to work and uphill coming home.

i get up about 0455 each morning and I'm on the bike by 0515 or so. My shift starts at 0600 so that gives me enough time to put my bike up and take a shower. Always a nice way to start the day...
 

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Another option?

My commute is 30 miles one way. I need to be at my desk at 7:30 am and I like to sleep so riding to work isn't really an option. I take the bus to work in the morning and ride home. In addition to eliminating the early wake up call I don't have to worry about showing up at work sweaty, rain soaked, etc.
A messenger bag takes care of getting the laptop and what not home in the evening.
 

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My commute is aprox 25mi (depending on my route). I must be "working" a 7:00 am. I finish work @ 5:00. I leave the house @ 5:00 am and return @ 7:00pm 4 days a week. Yes I have a family( two children, ages 5&8). In additions to weekends it's the only time I have to train. It' all about choices, I don't "do" anyhting else. When I get home i'm in full Dad mode, baths and reading time. I crash @ about 9:30.
 

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Bacon!
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Just really got back into commuting again

I just finally got my rear end back onto my bike and riding seriously again to work and back. I had no excuse whatsoever to not ride as I only have 4 miles or so to cover. I used to commute everday where I lived before due to the MUT that literally dumped me in my office's back yard. Now I live in a smaller, dirtier, and glass filled town that provided some really challenges, at least mentally, in getting to the office. But, since I started back up I've found myself actually doubling the length of my ride just to get the extra miles and time in on the bike. I'm loving it again.

The key aspects for me were:
1. Study and predrive your routes if there are no MUT's. Try to get a feel for what you'll be riding through and the best possible routes. I started with google maps and then drove several routes.
2. After you have decided on the best route ride it on a weekend and time yourself. If traffic is going to slow you down allow for it. By riding it ahead of time you can also see the condition of the roads first hand and if there are any obstacles. We have a large problem with gangs, drunks, and drugs in the neighborhoods I "chose" to ride through. There is far less traffic in these areas and the people ignore me so I actually find it easier to ride. But, the downer point is that there is glass everywhere. The little short sections of MUT are a minefield of glass and debris. By preriding this I realized that in my case my MTB with tubeless tires was a far better choice than my roadbike.
3. Keep clothes at work. I usually drive in on Friday's so I can bring a bag of clean clothes in along with my gym bag and other necessities like food. Much easier and less to haul in during the week.
4. If you do not have access to a shower or somewhere to hang a towel and washrag keep a store of body wipes. These little guys do a pretty good job of refreshing you and cleaning up a bit.
5. I keep a fan at the office that I run for the first half hour. I had a real problem cooling down and found the fan helps a lot to chill my bones back down to a normal level.
6. During the winter, wear booties or other items to keep your feet warm. Good gloves also. I can endure just about anything if my hands and feet are warm enough. It's been in the low to mid twenties here everyday and I've been too warm rather than cold.
7. Be prepared. Extra tubes, a couple of tools, and a good sense of humor about things.

Other than that, have fun, watch for crazy drivers, and enjoy the ride.
 

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I have a 10 mile commute, and I have to be at work at 6:00 AM. I get up at 4:15, and I am out of the house before 5:00. I have time to change and have breakfast before work. I have a 3 mile hill at 4% to get to work, so the ride home is much less time than getting to work. I absolutely love doing it, and my wife doesn't complain about me doing it. That means 100 miles a week of non-complained-about riding.
 

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Good gloves also.
I use motorcycle gloves - the type that has a long cuff so you can tuck your long sleeves into them and get a good seal (velcro) . . . plus, they look cool (ha).
 

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northcoast said:
My commute is 16 miles each way through LA traffic. I have to be changed and "working" by 7:30 a.m. I get up at 5:00 a.m. and am on the bike by 5:45. It takes me about 1hr. 5 min. to get there. Sometimes it's a huge pain to get up so early, but I guarantee you that ten minutes into the ride you'll be SO GLAD you're on the bike and not in the car. I work at a public school so the kids are gone at 3:00 p.m. I can usually be out of there by 4:00, but sometimes I have to stay as late as 5:30.

Do it, man! Really, don't put it off any longer. You won't regret it! It's therapy, meditation, fitness, eco-friendly, and much more.

I attach the photo just to remind you how beautiful the early mornings can be.
Hi-
Curious to know if you are a teacher? and if so, do you change clothes when you get to school or do you wear what you ride in? I thought about communting to school, but I haven't decided how to handle a change of clothes/wear what I ride in, and all the stuff I usually carry (ie, laptop, graded paper, lunch)
 
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