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Plans to bike commute for 1 year: likely foiled!

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Plans to bike commute for 1 year: likely foiled!

Old 03-17-18, 12:39 PM
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reidconti
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Plans to bike commute for 1 year: likely foiled!

I've been a (very) occasional bike commuter over the past decade or so. Maybe 5-10x/year back when I had a 56mi r/t commute (only on days long enough to give me adequate daylight in both directions!).

Then as I moved closer (as close as 4mi r/t), commuting occasionally on a singlespeed, but it's almost not worth it to gear up and pack my bag for so little riding time when I can just hop in the car and go, and even return for lunch! Then back up to 16mi r/t which is a great sweet spot distance, but was a crappy route.

Well, started a new job, was pleased to have a beautiful 12mi r/t commute with a glorious route full of bike lanes and leafy surface streets (other than the narrow construction hell that is Mark Zuckerberg's construction pit of doom), finished off with a bike bridge over the highway that emptied out directly across from my office.

Told myself I'd commit; I don't know, every day for the first 6mo or year. Pretty early on decided to make it a 1 year goal.

Even bought myself a flat pedal belt-drive 8 speed Alfine commuter with panniers, and was loving it. Built up a front wheel with a Shutter Precision Hub, B&M front and rear lights, the whole bit. Absolutely loved the new lifestyle. Fought belts falling off with too little tension, or squeaking and binding with too much tension, they're not as maintenance free as they're supposed to be. Fought flats and miserably difficult tube changes on the rear. Got better tires, things looking up.

Snapped a belt the other day and almost got run over, now I'm fighting the misery of trying to source a belt in the US.

Couple of days' worth of pissing down rain commutes on my road bike, nasty mud stripe all over everything, bike looks like hell, still sticking with it.

But ultimately, I think I've been done in by fate. My company was acquired and my commute would jump from 12mi to 44mi (were I to stick with it to ride out the year). I don't know when we're moving, but likely it'll be at my 8 month bike commute mark. I think if I only have 1 month left to go, I'd grit my teeth and make a go of it, but I don't see myself surviving that distance for 4 months straight.

Pour one out for the likely imminent death of my bike commute

The only good news is, my new office will be directly on the route of my wife's commute, and less than a mile from her workplace. As long as I tuck and roll out of the car, I won't even need a red light!
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Old 03-17-18, 12:46 PM
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I'd play it by ear for now...

The next 8 months should be excellent weather for commuting.

Perhaps hunt for a redundant bike for the ride... Does it have to be the "perfect bike"? Or something that will just reliably get you 6 miles down the road?

And, who knows, perhaps in 8 months, you'll be adding extra loops onto your commutes just to get a little extra riding in.

Then those 20 mile rides just won't look so bad.

Between now and then, enjoy riding.
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Old 03-17-18, 01:12 PM
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20 miles may not be bad depending on your terrain, you could even do split commutes or drive car in with bike and bike home flip flopping everyday. when sping hit I might be doing that myself
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Old 03-17-18, 01:36 PM
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My only concern with your story was that you thought 4miles round trip was too close to cycle so you drove instead. How long would your walk have been?

Before I retired, my work wad 4.5km one way. I hated the fact that forteen years I drove until I found a safe route to get to work. So I had been bike commuting for three years.
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Old 03-17-18, 03:09 PM
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I am hoping to start bike commuting soon to my 6 mile from home clinic... (new trike ordered today, then need to get used to riding it and work up stamina a bit- hopefully in a month or 6 weeks I'll be riding the 2 days a week).. my other clinic is 42 highway miles (or more non highway and still scary not rider friendly roads) away... But if you are on your wife's way- what about a folding bike/stored bike for the commute from her office to yours and back? or walk it?
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Old 03-17-18, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I'd play it by ear for now...

The next 8 months should be excellent weather for commuting.
I live in the bay area, it's always excellent weather for commuting I'm just not sure I want to invest the time involved in 44mi/day for 4 months. Particularly as the route is not quite as good; I don't mind riding my road bike 20+mph along an expressway where cars are going 50, but going slower on an upright commuter with such traffic is a bit less pleasant. It's no tree-lined neighborhood, that's for sure! But I have ridden the route before and it's not so bad, and very flat.

Perhaps hunt for a redundant bike for the ride... Does it have to be the "perfect bike"? Or something that will just reliably get you 6 miles down the road?

And, who knows, perhaps in 8 months, you'll be adding extra loops onto your commutes just to get a little extra riding in.

Then those 20 mile rides just won't look so bad.

Between now and then, enjoy riding.
I've got 8 months in; my commute will change within a few weeks; I'd need to do another 4 months of the new commute to hit the 1-year mark.

I do have a few extra bikes; I love my 'perfect' commuter but I until recently had a single speed (since donated), plus my 'nice' road bike, plus a mountain bike. None with fenders, which is a problem in the 'miracle march' rain we're having after a very dry winter.

Originally Posted by nasabiker View Post
20 miles may not be bad depending on your terrain, you could even do split commutes or drive car in with bike and bike home flip flopping everyday. when sping hit I might be doing that myself
I could. I'm just kind of an all-or-nothing type of person. It has worked so well for me to ONLY commute by bike; if I have a split commute or a sometimes kind of deal, I'm very unlikely to do it at all.

Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
My only concern with your story was that you thought 4miles round trip was too close to cycle so you drove instead. How long would your walk have been?

Before I retired, my work wad 4.5km one way. I hated the fact that forteen years I drove until I found a safe route to get to work. So I had been bike commuting for three years.
*shrug* It just wasn't worth the effort at 2mi each way, especially considering the large number of traffic obstacles to deal with. It wasn't really exercise, and it wasn't more pleasant than a drive. I walked it a number of times but, again, due to roadway crossings and the like, it took 45 minutes each way. Every commute is different; if I drove to my current job it would be a straight shot on the freeway but I find the bike ride so pleasant. That hasn't been the case for every commute I've had.

Originally Posted by khyricat View Post
I am hoping to start bike commuting soon to my 6 mile from home clinic... (new trike ordered today, then need to get used to riding it and work up stamina a bit- hopefully in a month or 6 weeks I'll be riding the 2 days a week).. my other clinic is 42 highway miles (or more non highway and still scary not rider friendly roads) away... But if you are on your wife's way- what about a folding bike/stored bike for the commute from her office to yours and back? or walk it?
I'll just have her drop me off on the side of the street near my office. I could walk, though, if I felt like doubling back.
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Old 03-17-18, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by reidconti View Post
I live in the bay area, it's always excellent weather for commuting I'm just not sure I want to invest the time involved in 44mi/day for 4 months. Particularly as the route is not quite as good; I don't mind riding my road bike 20+mph along an expressway where cars are going 50, but going slower on an upright commuter with such traffic is a bit less pleasant. It's no tree-lined neighborhood, that's for sure! But I have ridden the route before and it's not so bad, and very flat.
Most people, as they increase their commute distance, they start looking for ways to streamline their commute.

I.E. Your road bike. Or, perhaps hunting for a roadbike that you'd be more comfortable on.

70's, 80's, or 90's quality steel road bike? Aluminum road bike?

Keep your eyes peeled on Craigslist for that perfect N+1 Commuter.

You shouldn't need fenders for a summer commute.
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Old 03-17-18, 09:45 PM
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My commute would be 44 miles round trip. I am lucky that I live near the train and work pays for a train pass. I ride 22 miles to work (1.5 hours) and use the nice showers. Home is mostly train and 5 mile flat ride home. Perhaps you could do something similar. If you have a car and bike, you can ride the bike to work, car home, car to work, bike home. This gives you a one way ride every day, but you lose the use of the car. Might be OK if you are a two car family.
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Old 03-18-18, 06:08 AM
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My work moved from 11 miles from my house to 25. I still ride but not often anymore. When it as 11 miles I rode quite often, including one stretch where I didn't drive to work for over a year.

At least they finally put in showers at the new place.

Good luck.
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Old 03-18-18, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by reidconti View Post

*shrug* It just wasn't worth the effort at 2mi each way, especially considering the large number of traffic obstacles to deal with. It wasn't really exercise, and it wasn't more pleasant than a drive. I walked it a number of times but, again, due to roadway crossings and the like, it took 45 minutes each way.
Another example where traffic designs don't account for anybody else other than cars.

I assume you had tried looking for an alternate route.

Traffic engineers and urban planners must use the concept of "8 to 80" - streets to be designed so that pedestrians from 8 to 80 years old can safely use them .
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Old 03-18-18, 11:38 AM
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I don't commute for any savings or other reasons, but I do so to get in some exercise. If you consider that approach, think about driving and parking however far away you would want to ride that day and commuting from there.
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Old 03-18-18, 12:54 PM
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You might consider an ebike. The pedal assist variety have you pedaling; but you can maintain a higher average speed. So the 22mi one way might still be tractable. I'd advise an extra charger for the office.
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Old 03-23-18, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by reidconti View Post
44mi
you are inspiring. btw 44 rt is what I have to deal with so I gave it up. but eventually found a way to do it. drive car in w bike, then bike home leaving car at work. next day bike to work & drive home. I've only done it over 2 days per week during fair weather. just thought I'd it out there for ya after reading about your Wife's commute being nearby. maybe the two of you can work something out?
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Old 03-23-18, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Traffic engineers and urban planners must use the concept of "8 to 80" - streets to be designed so that pedestrians from 8 to 80 years old can safely use them .
They need the concepts for bicycles: 5 mph to 25 mph, and 18" wide to 4' wide for cargo.

Faster or slower for hills.
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