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Slow Commute

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Slow Commute

Old 02-15-11, 05:42 PM
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SurlyLaika
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Slow Commute

I commute 5 miles to campus through the pot-hole ridden, prostitute and drug addict district. I usually give myself 20 to 25 minutes to do this and as a result of procrastinating, I'm usually really stressed and forgetful. I have to mash my gears in order to get to campus on time, weave on and off side-walks, making sure to avoid potholes and cracked, raised sidewalks. This can be mentally taxing.

Today, I tried something different. I left 20 minutes early, giving myself almost twice the time to do the commute. SO MUCH MORE RELAXING AND ENJOYABLE. I had time to enjoy the ride, notice the environment, day dream. Sure, I wasn't speeding through, but I also didn't have to worry as much about running over stuff and I had time to day dream. I'll try to make a habit out of slow riding, but it's kind of hard to get everything to fall into place for a stress free morning.

Do you guys cruise or race to work/school?
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Old 02-15-11, 05:49 PM
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I cruise. I leave early enough that even if I have a flat I would still be plenty early to change and relax before work. The only times I ride faster, "just to get there" is if the weather is really nasty. I generally don't like to rush, on the bike and off the bike.

Can you detour to avoid the crappy areas? Another mile or two might be worth it.
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Old 02-15-11, 05:55 PM
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Usually I take my time to get to work, but right now it's
freezing so I'm trying to get my speed up a bit. Adam is
right, it's always better to give yourself more time just in
case you get a flat or any other mechanical issues.
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Old 02-15-11, 06:00 PM
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I'm a strong, but not fast, rider. I like it that way. It's so much more enjoyable when you take your nose off the stem cap and look around. I know there's people who get thrills racing everywhere, and there's a time for that, but commuting isn't one of them for me. I go fast enough to where I get where I'm going, usually around 13 MPH average on my loaded MTB commuter. Anything faster than that, and I'm sweating buckets. For group rides, I'll strip the bike and ride hard to keep up and get a workout, but going to work and back is my mental "quiet" time.
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Old 02-15-11, 06:06 PM
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cycle chic manifesto number 1

I choose to cycle chic and, at every opportunity, I will choose Style over Speed.

Actually, I look like a total dork, I work in an engineering office, so I chose to embrace my dorkness over speed. But they have a point that it is better to enjoy the ride than to suffer the ride.

enjoy the ride.
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Old 02-15-11, 06:17 PM
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I do both. On days I'm just not feeling 100%, or have a bad wind, I won't ride as hard. But if I have the potential for a fast ride, I'll take advantage. Works out to about 40% take it easy, 60% ride hard.
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Old 02-15-11, 06:19 PM
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I leave early for most everything so I don't feel rushed. I agree with a change in location or making a detour on your ride... unless you're looking for hookers and blow.
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Old 02-15-11, 06:29 PM
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I usually do 7.2 miles in 40-45min and with time I'm usually at the bottom if I compare myself to my commuting friends on this forum :-(
But - I do find it very relaxing, and hey, if I wanted to have stress I would just drive....
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Old 02-15-11, 11:47 PM
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My 13.4 miles section can be done as fast as 45 minutes, or as slow as 1hour and 15 minutes. When I am really rested, I will blast it at speed which I can sustain for 2 hours. When I am feeling the tiredness of leg, I will just go at fat burning zone or recovery zone ride. I just alternate around. Usually 2 days of harder ride and 3 days of easier ride.
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Old 02-16-11, 12:03 AM
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I don't race my commute for pleasure. I usually have to do it out of necessity, but I will take advantage of a gentle down slope. There probably is a way to avoid the main blvd but I haven't taken the time to find it since Valley is the most direct path with the most lights. (crossing a busy intersection with no signals can get dicey). I'll look into but I just thought I'd share what a relaxing ride I had by giving myself enough time.
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Old 02-16-11, 10:39 AM
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Eh, I know my commute so well that I can almost ride it without a light at night (not that I do). I've seen it, so let it fly by!

No, I'm not changing it up either - riding that MUP gives me only 2 stop lights to deal with in 10 miles.

If I had OP's commute I'd probably be leaving earlier just for the prostitutes...wait, what?
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Old 02-16-11, 10:48 AM
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It varies depending on my mood and how much headwind. Today I got to work in record time - I had a stiff tailwind all the way and couldn't resist flying down the downhills. Cyclemeter says I hit 34mph at some point and averaged 18mph. If the wind is still there this evening, it will me a 10mph take-it-easy ride home
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Old 02-16-11, 10:55 AM
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When I realized that reducing my speed results in a tardiness of only a few minutes, leaving earlier became somewhat of an epiphany. I save my fast riding for the weekends or at night.
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Old 02-16-11, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by pallen View Post
Cyclemeter says I hit 34mph at some point and averaged 18mph. If the wind is still there this evening, it will me a 10mph take-it-easy ride home
Does your cyclemeter count only the time you're on the move? Even with the wind, I only averaged about 13.5 mph, but that includes time stopped at traffic lights. And I think we're going in roughly the same direction.

And yeah... the ride home is gonna suck.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

Last edited by Doohickie; 02-16-11 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 02-16-11, 11:29 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by ZCow View Post
When I realized that reducing my speed results in a tardiness of only a few minutes, leaving earlier became somewhat of an epiphany. I save my fast riding for the weekends or at night.
Same here. I even stop religiously at red lights now and it still get to work in about the same time. BTW, it's amazing what you can observe while standing at a red light and looking around!
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Old 02-16-11, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
Same here. I even stop religiously at red lights now and it still get to work in about the same time. BTW, it's amazing what you can observe while standing at a red light and looking around!
Agreed! For some reason when I ride faster I feel that I pay far less attention to my surroundings and more about the destination, which makes the whole trip a complete blur.
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Old 02-16-11, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Does your cyclemeter count only the time you're on the move? Even with the wind, I only averaged about 13.5 mph, but that includes time stopped at traffic lights. And I think we're going in roughly the same direction.

And yeah... the ride home is gonna suck.
Yeah, I think I have that on - its an option in there somewhere. I suspect it artificially inflates some of the speeds as well because you may end up traveling distances when it thinks you are sitting still. I need to turn it off and compare. I have two fairly long slight downhills on the way to work though. If I gear up and pedal with a tailwind, I can really get moving. Makes for a great WWWWEEEEEEEEEE moment!

The ride home yesterday was a slow one. Headwind all the way.
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Old 02-16-11, 12:52 PM
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I have no computer so my average speed is always something like... well, I left at 5:45 and rolled in at seven, and went 17 miles so....
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 02-16-11, 01:34 PM
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Head down and cranking it out almost always. On a rare occasion, I have a day where I feel like slowing down to look around but I usually enjoy the suffering and sweating. Also, pushing hard makes me feel better about the 8 hours of sitting still between rides.
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Old 02-16-11, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by onyourback View Post
Head down and cranking it out almost always. On a rare occasion, I have a day where I feel like slowing down to look around but I usually enjoy the suffering and sweating. Also, pushing hard makes me feel better about the 8 hours of sitting still between rides.
Pushing yourself physically for a workout is cool with me. I like that sore feeling sometimes after a hard ride, but not when you're stressed.
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Old 02-16-11, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by onyourback View Post
Also, pushing hard makes me feel better about the 8 hours of sitting still between rides.
and the lunch I ate
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Old 02-16-11, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by corkscrew View Post
Eh, I know my commute so well that I can almost ride it without a light at night (not that I do). I've seen it, so let it fly by!

No, I'm not changing it up either - riding that MUP gives me only 2 stop lights to deal with in 10 miles.

If I had OP's commute I'd probably be leaving earlier just for the prostitutes...wait, what?
dude, you have no idea. They come out more at dusk, obviously. But I have seen a woman in faux fur overcoat and a nightie lingeries with high heels, at 6 in the morning. Kind of a WTF moment, right?
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Old 02-16-11, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
. . . but not when you're stressed.
Yeah, fortunately for me, the roads I ride are conducive to speed. If I were constantly weaving around obstacles as you described, or feeling pressured by the time, it probably wouldn't be as much fun.
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Old 02-16-11, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
Do you guys cruise or race to work/school?
On non-recovery weeks my 12 mile morning commute is a nice sweet spot ride except when I need to sprint to beat traffic lights (there are 24, only one of which is a right turn) or feel like a hard five minutes on the one reasonable stretch of road without too many traffic lights.

I leave the office late so the roads are empty in the evening and I can really work hard. After a brief warm up I start with the ten minutes of pain trying to beat my best 10 minutes. Where there's less distance between lights I accelerate quickly and ride above my critical power. A good ride ends up with xPower (close to Normalized Power) around 90% of critical power, average power close to that, and 500 kilojoules of work. Then I ride another mile to evaporate sweat so I'm not blinded when I stop.

Last week my four commuting days totaled 5:42 moving with 144 minutes zone 4 or harder and 68 at a tempo pace. Plus 25 minutes parked at traffic lights/stop signs.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 02-16-11 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 02-16-11, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
On non-recovery weeks my 12 mile morning commute is a nice sweet spot ride except when I need to sprint to beat traffic lights (there are 24, only one of which is a right turn) or feel like a hard five minutes on the one reasonable stretch of road without too many traffic lights.

I leave the office late so the roads are empty in the evening and I can really work hard. After a brief warm up I start with the ten minutes of pain trying to beat my best 10 minutes. Where there's less distance between lights I accelerate quickly and ride above my critical power. A good ride ends up with xPower (close to Normalized Power) around 90% of critical power, average power close to that, and 500 kilojoules of work. Then I ride another mile to evaporate sweat so I'm not blinded when I stop.

Last week my four commuting days totaled 5:42 moving with 144 minutes zone 4 or harder and 68 at a tempo pace. Plus 25 minutes parked at traffic lights/stop signs.
damn, you're really into stats, huh? Why do you like to monitor your riding level so closely? This is a level of detail I'm not sure most people get.
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