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Longer distance commute: road bike vs. fancy road bike

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Longer distance commute: road bike vs. fancy road bike

Old 07-22-21, 05:40 AM
  #26  
metz1295
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Though I could definitely applaud the 'excuse for a new bike' argument, unless you're planning to break commuter speed records every time you ride to work an upgraded bike will serve you no advantage. I think the terrain could force you to a change, but not likely if your route is like most commuter routes. However, if you intend to change up you're entire way of biking life then an upgrade would be worth thinking about. IMO.

My story: I commute some (15 miles one way). I ride some. And I used to go to a monthly local 10 mile time trial. I once asked someone that knew how much and the kind of riding I did if I switched from aluminum to carbon how much of a difference would it make in my time trial speeds. The answer was none. Basically, he was talking me off the cliff of a $3k+ investment he knew I would never get the full advantage and value out of. I still ride my aluminum for commutes and weekend warrior rides and I haven't been to the time trial in over 2 years. He knew what he was talking about.

Simply put: In my life and budget, unless I'm making a huge change say going from road to mountain, don't upgrade till after I've proven the need. Not before.
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Old 07-23-21, 11:54 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
.
Go out of your way to use bike paths whenever possible. They are safer.
Just wanted to point out that I used to enjoy the bike paths in my area, but I avoid them now because of the homeless population living along the river on my 24 mile commute to work. I now prefer to deal with the car versus the homeless.
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Old 07-23-21, 03:55 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Cactus459 View Post
Just wanted to point out that I used to enjoy the bike paths in my area, but I avoid them now because of the homeless population living along the river on my 24 mile commute to work. I now prefer to deal with the car versus the homeless.
Not as much a problem in NYC mostly due to it being too cold in winter for these encampments to happen. I'm lucky to ride more than half my commute in NYC, which has invested heavily in paths and on street lanes. I'd say more than half my commute and all of NYC uses cycling infrastructure thats mostly new since I started bike commuting in '95
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Old 07-27-21, 04:47 PM
  #29  
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There's another option that no one's mentioned; go longer. With a route that long, I'm sure you could find a longer one. Yes, it would extend your commute time, but it would give you more time in the saddle, and think what it would do for your endurance! I don't know about you, but I was never in that much of a hurry to get to work anyway; especially once I warmed up, I was always tempted to skip work and just keep pedaling. YMMV, of course.
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Old 08-03-21, 03:20 AM
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Winter?

Hello fellow Canadian. Why not get a beater bike for the winter and commute year round? They do it in Holland and Finland.
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Old 08-04-21, 07:44 AM
  #31  
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Outside of North America that commute would be a simple Dutch City Bike (City Bikes | LocalMile). More comfortable, more energy efficient than leaning forward, easier to carry stuff... And that would be all year regardless of weather. I've done a similar commute from Assen NL to Groningen NL and back. Nice ride. The exception would be someone who specifically wants to get a hard workout in.
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Old 08-05-21, 12:07 AM
  #32  
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The cheap way of seeing how much extra weight effects your time, would be getting a bike bag, and adding weights in it. Probably adds aero drag too. Otherwise I'd look into folding bikes and transit through the city or e bikes so I don't have to sweat before work, or take twice as long because of a strong headwind.
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Old 08-05-21, 01:32 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
I would not get a fancy bike to commute on. I would get a fancy bike to be my "weekend bike." My commuter is a bike I don't mind locking up outdoors, riding in the rain, and not cleaning until the weekend. An aluminum bike with 105-grade components is great for commuting.
Absolutely this. Of all the bikes I have, my commuter is my 'beater' bike. Especially if you plan to commute most of the year, you don't want the added stress of going in driving rain, mud, etc. on a fancy new bike.

Also, I'd put comfort over speed any day on a commute. After all, this is the bike you'll be riding even when you don't feel like it, when you've had a long/tough day at work, and you just want to switch off your brain and relax.
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Old 08-11-21, 10:33 AM
  #34  
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It will make virtually no difference. The weight difference of ~2 lbs will be a very small fraction of your rider+bike+cargo net load.

Some lighter or better quality wheels and/or tires might make the ride a bit faster, but possibly at the expense of durability and flat protection - you might be riding for ~2 minutes less but if you get a flat tire or other mechanical all the gains are lost.

Also, if you can't take the bike in with you at your destination then you are better off with an older bike - I don't mind spending a few k$ on a new bike, but not so I can give it to a thief while I am at work.
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Old 08-11-21, 10:46 AM
  #35  
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Everyone always focuses on weight and speed first, but nice bikes do also tend to work better (better feeling ride, shifting and braking, fewer mystery noises) and they last longer.
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Old 08-12-21, 03:26 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Everyone always focuses on weight and speed first, but nice bikes do also tend to work better (better feeling ride, shifting and braking, fewer mystery noises) and they last longer.
Very true. I was using a Tern Joe with 50-584 ride over road imperfections for daily 20-30mile commutes, so I could just fold and grab a car or train home if I wanted to. The 3x10 gearing was designed so I wouldn't perspire too much on hill climbs on the commute.
It is a beast at 31lbs with racks and lights on.
But because of the mileage involved, if I got lazy with the maintenance of cleaning/lubing, not so mystery noises would pop up. My own experience is for a daily commuter grinder, weight isn't as big a factor as minimal maintenance and reliability. I went out and bought a Pinion/Gates Jongerius custom a few of years back, which costs nearly the price of a small car, but worth it in the long run. The pinion 18 is super smooth and quieter than the Rohloff/Alfines. The only things I do now are change the oil every 10 months or so, lube the bits and change tubes/tires at home. Haven't had any other issues or service. I used to send in the bike every 6mths for tune ups, so that cost is saved for the last few years. The only real problem with expensive bikes is security. So I carry 2 locks that add quite a bit of weight! haha
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Old 08-15-21, 12:29 PM
  #37  
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A lot of the responses make sense, but also show how individual situations vary.

A few thoughts:
As to flat protection, instead of using heavy Schwalbe Marathon Plus-Style tires, I've been considering just going tubeless and using road bike tires. Have commuted on tubed Conti 4seasons for a while and had zero punctures from penetrations over a year (just snakebites). So, switching to something like tubeless Schwalbe One tires should be reliable, but add a bit of comfort and thus speed.

A base assumption of mine for this thread is that secure indoor storage is a given (it's likely).

Over time, I have moved into the group of people who wax their chains and/or use wax-based lubes (squirt). The purpose was more to keep them clean during winter use (to not stay a lube thread: this works well for me, but I recognize that others will have differing experiences and circumstances). A nice side effect for me has been that cleaning the bike is so much less needed now. So my plan would be to just keep 2-3 chains in a wax bath rotation (or use squirt). That would not be as trouble-free as a pinion, but close to it with much less weight, cost and efficiency losses.

Lastly, I assume that (as others have pointed out), weight/aero gains will be meaningless if I have lots of cargo to haul each time. So, a little bit of storage of essentials at work and the occasional car (share) trip to replace 1-2 weeks worth of items should allow to cut down on items.

I'm not going to make this a race. But even when not cycling at 160bpm all the time, it is nice to go relatively quick. And fun, of course

Winter is a different beast, which will need its own solution (and if it's bike based, I probably already have it in my stable)

Edit: or I just upgrade my recumbent with an e-assist....

Edit2: about the route. Imagine it's your 50km Sunday ride, just each day. It's one of my favorite recreational routes, so none of the usual commuting city grind and traffic issues.

Last edited by alias5000; 08-15-21 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 08-15-21, 09:15 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
That's the thing! My current commuter isn't optimal for this kind of distance. Fairly upright, slow in the wind, heavy uphill and somehow doesn't 'fly' as nice as the road bike does.
That would drive me nuts. Even when I've got a loaded pannier strapped to the bike, I'm happy to be riding drop bars so I can still optimize the biggest source of wind resistance. That seems to make more difference than a couple of pounds either way.
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Old 08-19-21, 11:16 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
So, I've been wondering how much time I could save with a fancy road/gravel bike, over a regular mid-level aluminum road bike.
Nothing.

I've been doing this for decades. 26km means I'm not gonna be sprinting - its an endurance pace. At that pace (~150watts?) bike isn't gonna make much difference.

Really, I build an ebike to bump my speed up to 40km/hr cruising speed, and it doesn't make that much difference. Maybe 10 minutes in an hour?

The exception would be that if your "slow" bike was so slow and heavy that you would slow down towards the end of your commute because your were tired - the faster/lighter bike might give you more endurance. But if you do this regularly, you'll be in good shape.

The thing that really slows me down is riding into the wind in the spring. Its not an issue this time of year, but spring can be brutal (as someone who rides in roughly the same weather as you). My commute in the evening is to the west, and I wish it was to the east.
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Old 08-19-21, 12:27 PM
  #40  
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In the past few weeks and most of the year from 2018 to 2019, I've been riding 36 km on my 1979 10-speed racer. Aluminum frame, so it's a heavier bike than modern carbon-fiber bikes. Not only that, I'm carrying gear and locks. I've been passed many times by other cyclists but I still manage to do an average of 15 km/hr over a 2.5 hr ride.

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Old 08-20-21, 12:25 AM
  #41  
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Go as fancy as you like rant

This is just a rant but I never understood the argument from commuter folks: maintenance is required regardless if beater or garage queen. Ignoring maintenance, is not the same as not requiring maintenance.

Not maintaining it because it's a beater is an exercise in futility, unless you have an endless supply of free components / bikes or using internally geared hubs, pinion gearbox or belt driven, which at the moment are not fitted to any bike I find appealing enough to buy.

Same maintenance items for 5 speed as it is for 12 speed: chain, cassette, chain rings and cables. For electronic drivetrains, no cable replacement required anymore.

No one buys single ply loo roll just because you wipe your ass with it, whoever does that I can guarantee it is a WAY less enjoyable experience. Go for quality if you spend a big part of your day using it ( shoes, mattress, pillows, phone, lover, etc) and at least 2 ply loo roll.

From my own experience, looking back, I'm glad I went for the fancier stuff instead of the low grade stuff for commuting, considering the amount of time (which can be significant) one spends on the bike in a week. My daily rider is a Ribble 725, 650b, 48mm tyres with Sram Force Hydro. The Peugeot I'm messing with at the moment is for a specific task, not for daily commuting. At the end of the day you can always justify whatever you want, lol.

The current crop of components are the best they've ever been in terms of durability, coatings/ platings, efficiency etc, ie. Ultegra level components should last longer than the bottom feeders, with a basic clean once a week.

If your bike only sits outside where it will be stolen, I would get a nice folder instead.
I like to enjoy what I'm paying for as much as possible, not just keep it low mileage for the next guy.
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Old 08-20-21, 04:51 AM
  #42  
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Well remember that on a Sunday ride, I'd be wearing clipless, 3 water bottles on a 16lbs bike, wearing padded shorts etc etc. With the commute, I tend to ride with work clothes and try not to perspire too much, but have a change of shirt just in case.
As for waxed chains, I went the Silca root and really, to get a ultrasonic cleaner, degreasing etc to get a chain pure for waxing, I am glad I went with the Pinion, although I have slight regret on my choice of frame. If you have the time to do all that, it does work well and obviously there isn't there much of an outlay initially. But long term, time and money spent, the pinion P18 is just much better on maintenance free fun.
If you go aero and get the proper gearing with slick thin tires, you may get 5-8 mins gain on speed, but will you arrive comfortable and ready for work? I used my "racer" once, and I arrived faster but less relaxed.


Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
A lot of the responses make sense, but also show how individual situations vary.

A few thoughts:
As to flat protection, instead of using heavy Schwalbe Marathon Plus-Style tires, I've been considering just going tubeless and using road bike tires. Have commuted on tubed Conti 4seasons for a while and had zero punctures from penetrations over a year (just snakebites). So, switching to something like tubeless Schwalbe One tires should be reliable, but add a bit of comfort and thus speed.

A base assumption of mine for this thread is that secure indoor storage is a given (it's likely).

Over time, I have moved into the group of people who wax their chains and/or use wax-based lubes (squirt). The purpose was more to keep them clean during winter use (to not stay a lube thread: this works well for me, but I recognize that others will have differing experiences and circumstances). A nice side effect for me has been that cleaning the bike is so much less needed now. So my plan would be to just keep 2-3 chains in a wax bath rotation (or use squirt). That would not be as trouble-free as a pinion, but close to it with much less weight, cost and efficiency losses.

Lastly, I assume that (as others have pointed out), weight/aero gains will be meaningless if I have lots of cargo to haul each time. So, a little bit of storage of essentials at work and the occasional car (share) trip to replace 1-2 weeks worth of items should allow to cut down on items.

I'm not going to make this a race. But even when not cycling at 160bpm all the time, it is nice to go relatively quick. And fun, of course

Winter is a different beast, which will need its own solution (and if it's bike based, I probably already have it in my stable)

Edit: or I just upgrade my recumbent with an e-assist....

Edit2: about the route. Imagine it's your 50km Sunday ride, just each day. It's one of my favorite recreational routes, so none of the usual commuting city grind and traffic issues.
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Old 08-26-21, 11:45 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Hi all,
I might be changing jobs soon. The new position would be a 52km commute roundtrip (2x26km) with a total elevation gain of 220m. 40% is good city trails, 20% somewhat busier roads and 40% is quiet roads or intercity trails. Only about 40% of the commute would be subject to occasional stop&go, the rest is straight and fast. Short, but steep climbs.

I would be doing this 2-3 times a week, 3-3.5 seasons of the year. Excluding SW Ontario winter, I am hoping to be able to do as much of it on bike, as overall feasible. I love the cycling part, but am wondering what I can do to keep the commute times short. There's a good chance that a commute on a road bike (with bikepacking bag on the seatpost for daily items) is feasible from an infrastructure and workflow perspective.

So, I've been wondering how much time I could save with a fancy road/gravel bike, over a regular mid-level aluminum road bike.

My current road bike is a 2015 Devinci Silverstone SL4: Aluminum frame, 10kg, Shimano 105, standard road wheels, nothing aero, somewhat aggressive but comfortable position. There might be justifiable budget to go nuts and all out fancy. But it has to make sense. I'm not overly worried about dings and component wear in this particular scenario.
How much would I gain from - say: an aerodynamically optimized frame and build, carbon frame, aero carbon wheels, light-weight build (7.5kg range?), tubeless setup, etc?
I'm young and fit, but not a racehorse. Assume 200W FTP, to increase with that longer commuting distance.

Cheers,
alias5000
Ribble Cycles makes a damn good E Assist bike that would help flatten a commute. Check them out.
https://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/bikes/electric-bikes/
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Old 08-26-21, 12:29 PM
  #44  
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Oh, I think you're getting me here
Though the assist cuts out at 25km/h.
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Old 08-30-21, 02:33 PM
  #45  
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Most people use e-assist on climbs. I use the e-bike when I'm a little lazy to ride manually or have to be VERY fresh on arrival. It flattens the hills and going up 6-10% gradients at an easy trot. I don't think a 200W rider will need that much assist?
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Old 09-01-21, 07:22 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Hi all,
I might be changing jobs soon. The new position would be a 52km commute roundtrip (2x26km) with a total elevation gain of 220m. 40% is good city trails, 20% somewhat busier roads and 40% is quiet roads or intercity trails. Only about 40% of the commute would be subject to occasional stop&go, the rest is straight and fast. Short, but steep climbs.

I would be doing this 2-3 times a week, 3-3.5 seasons of the year. Excluding SW Ontario winter, I am hoping to be able to do as much of it on bike, as overall feasible. I love the cycling part, but am wondering what I can do to keep the commute times short. There's a good chance that a commute on a road bike (with bikepacking bag on the seatpost for daily items) is feasible from an infrastructure and workflow perspective.

So, I've been wondering how much time I could save with a fancy road/gravel bike, over a regular mid-level aluminum road bike.

My current road bike is a 2015 Devinci Silverstone SL4: Aluminum frame, 10kg, Shimano 105, standard road wheels, nothing aero, somewhat aggressive but comfortable position. There might be justifiable budget to go nuts and all out fancy. But it has to make sense. I'm not overly worried about dings and component wear in this particular scenario.
How much would I gain from - say: an aerodynamically optimized frame and build, carbon frame, aero carbon wheels, light-weight build (7.5kg range?), tubeless setup, etc?
I'm young and fit, but not a racehorse. Assume 200W FTP, to increase with that longer commuting distance.

Cheers,
alias5000


You need to enjoy your ride, for along time coming, Life is short do what gives you more joy getting on the road everyday 😊😊😊
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Old 09-01-21, 07:23 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Hi all,
I might be changing jobs soon. The new position would be a 52km commute roundtrip (2x26km) with a total elevation gain of 220m. 40% is good city trails, 20% somewhat busier roads and 40% is quiet roads or intercity trails. Only about 40% of the commute would be subject to occasional stop&go, the rest is straight and fast. Short, but steep climbs.

I would be doing this 2-3 times a week, 3-3.5 seasons of the year. Excluding SW Ontario winter, I am hoping to be able to do as much of it on bike, as overall feasible. I love the cycling part, but am wondering what I can do to keep the commute times short. There's a good chance that a commute on a road bike (with bikepacking bag on the seatpost for daily items) is feasible from an infrastructure and workflow perspective.

So, I've been wondering how much time I could save with a fancy road/gravel bike, over a regular mid-level aluminum road bike.

My current road bike is a 2015 Devinci Silverstone SL4: Aluminum frame, 10kg, Shimano 105, standard road wheels, nothing aero, somewhat aggressive but comfortable position. There might be justifiable budget to go nuts and all out fancy. But it has to make sense. I'm not overly worried about dings and component wear in this particular scenario.
How much would I gain from - say: an aerodynamically optimized frame and build, carbon frame, aero carbon wheels, light-weight build (7.5kg range?), tubeless setup, etc?
I'm young and fit, but not a racehorse. Assume 200W FTP, to increase with that longer commuting distance.

Cheers,
alias5000


You need to enjoy your ride, for along time coming, Life is short do what gives you more joy getting on the road everyday 😊😊😊
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Old 09-04-21, 11:04 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
Outside of North America that commute would be a simple Dutch City Bike (City Bikes | LocalMile).
Outside of North America, that commute would be no more than 2-3 miles, and after that, they would take public transportation."https://www.statista.com/statistics/620169/average-biking-distance-per-person-per-day-in-the-netherlands-by-gender/"
Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
More comfortable, more energy efficient than leaning forward, easier to carry stuff... And that would be all year regardless of weather.
It's more comfortable... But for very short distances, like I described earlier. The 90-degree bolt upright position is also the least efficient position. https://thomasthethinkengine.com/201...ealth-warning/
Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
I've done a similar commute from Assen NL to Groningen NL and back. Nice ride. The exception would be someone who specifically wants to get a hard workout in.
Your round trip took well over two hours over flat terrain. Maybe the OP wants to cut that down to one hour over some steep hills.
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Old 09-05-21, 06:05 AM
  #49  
I-Like-To-Bike
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Originally Posted by satrain18 View Post
Outside of North America, that commute would be no more than 2-3 miles, and after that, they would take public transportation."https://www.statista.com/statistics/620169/average-biking-distance-per-person-per-day-in-the-netherlands-by-gender/"
What makes you think the average biking distance per day in North America is much different than the NL?

I would suspect that most commutes greater than 2-3 miles in the U.S. would be done by privately owned motor vehicles, including the commutes done by club riding road cyclists who commute in their own motor vehicles or even (gasp) use public transportation.

People who do use bicycles to get about town includes more than bicycling enthusiasts obsessed with "performance" or "fitness" and broadcast their cycling metrics on BF.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 09-05-21 at 06:09 AM.
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Old 09-05-21, 01:25 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
What makes you think the average biking distance per day in North America is much different than the NL?
I don't have the statistics on this, but I do know that many cities in the USA segregate residential/commercial/retail much more sharply than do European cities, so if you're going to ride a bike at all, you probably need to ride at least a bit farther just to get out of your residential neighborhood.

Here's a slightly dated report from the US Census about bike commuting. It notes the median bike commute time is 19.3 minutes (it's not 100% clear whether that's one-way or round-trip, but I assume one-way). If we assume a fairly leisurely 12 mph pace, that would be 3.86 miles.

The demographics of bike commuting in the USA are also completely different, which I think is important. Bike commuting in NL is normal. Everyone does it. In the USA, it's rare (0.6% of all commuters, per the above report), and the only people who do it are A) those who don't have a more convenient option, and B) those who actively prefer cycling. For those of us who prefer cycling, we'll probably tolerate longer distances because hey, we get to ride our bikes.
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