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Is it realistic to commute 50 miles daily for a year?

Old 12-19-21, 12:24 PM
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Is it realistic to commute 50 miles daily for a year?

Hello, I'm a cycling newbie

I want to drive a car no more and I like to exercise on the road and cut down gas emissions to the environment.

My workplace is 26 miles from where I live.

It means a 50-mile total trip from Monday to Saturday, from 20F winter to 90F summer, from rain to snow.

Because the destination is a group of high-profile congregated businesses so I need to look neat, not sporty nor sweaty.

I am wondering if anyone has done it efficiently and gracefully for at least a serious year, not just a week or a month?

There is literally nobody I know who can do it in a way that is both efficient and enjoyable. Some friends tell me it is not possible not to get full sweat in summer and the road condition is always too hazardous to cycle efficiently.

Is it really possible to do it in a realist way? It cannot take two much time. I think 1.5 hours per 25 miles is the optimal speed though they are already 3 times more than driving my car.

Last edited by Ductling; 12-19-21 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 12-19-21, 12:39 PM
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Why don't you try it one day and then think about what it would be like every day? Then start out with a realistic goal of doing it on nice days once a week or so and increase from there. From everything you described, I don't know that this is going to be something you will want to do long term but you need to find out for yourself.
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Old 12-19-21, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Ductling View Post
Hello, I'm a cycling newbie
...
Because the destination is a group of high-profile congregated businesses so I need to look neat, not sporty nor sweaty.
...
I'd say it can't be done. You're going to get sweaty.

Maybe an e-bike is the solution here.
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Old 12-19-21, 12:42 PM
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Old 12-19-21, 12:43 PM
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Two commutes each week might work for you.
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Old 12-19-21, 12:46 PM
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You certainly can try!!!

I was doing a daily commute in San Antonio Texas of about 25 miles every early 06:00 morning if possible. My wife would pick me and my bike up on the way back at 17:00. There was no way I could face the Five-O-Clock traffic on the way back. Winters in S.A. are mild so really the only obstacles I had were, weather (i don't ride in rain or ice), and traffic. It was nice. I actually got to become acquainted with many of the vehicles on my daily ride. A few times I had issues with flats and other mechanical problems and when I had a total breakdown was offered a ride to work. People in S.A. very much support working people.
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Old 12-19-21, 12:47 PM
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What is your Location for the commute.
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Old 12-19-21, 12:54 PM
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I did a 72 mile a day commute on a small motorcycle. Windshield and hand protection from the wind is a must.
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Old 12-19-21, 01:01 PM
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I've cycled to the workplace before, but only in a casual way with friends on holiday, not commute to business.

I am currently evaluating whether or not it is enough decision to commute on a bike. When I do it I'm going to do it in a serious long-term, which means invested time and effort.

I also need to know the general possibility like if anyone has done it efficiently and gracefully before.
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Old 12-19-21, 01:45 PM
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1) A lot depends on your route. You would have to have a good, safe route to embark on this. We don't know where you live, so can't comment on that.
2) It obviously requires a large time commitment.
3) This is probably obvious, but at first it is going to be difficult because you won't be in the same kind of shape you'll be after doing it every day for three months.
4) It will also be harder in the beginning because of the learning curve on what to take, what to wear, how to handle sweat, how to handle lunch, how to handle clothing, etc.
5) If you can mix transit with cycling that would take some of the exercise burden off. It might make for a shorter commute, as well.
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Old 12-19-21, 01:57 PM
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OP is Not going to get the real help he wants untill he tells where he lives and rides.
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Old 12-19-21, 02:05 PM
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Seems hard but possible. I know 2 people with white collar jobs who commute 16-17 miles each way every day in the suburbs of Chicago. They both shower at work and it takes them a little over an hour each way.
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Old 12-19-21, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Ductling View Post
Is it realistic to commute 50 miles daily for a year?driving my car.
Sure ... assuming you're fit enough, the route is fast enough to fit with your schedule, if you can cope with being heated/sweaty at the destination, and if you've got the equipment and foul-weather gear and features to make it tolerable.

Knew a guy in the Portland (Oregon) metro area who commuted a tad shorter distance (22-23mi each way, IIRC). Did it for a good long while. There's a decent light-rail system in that city, such that if pressed for time a commute could entail biking to the rail, using the train to get near the destination, then hopping on the bike for a quick ride to the place of work. IIRC, it was less than an hour's ride for him, but he was in stellar shape and had a quick bike.

Definitely have all the gear and clothing to make it tolerable if it rains or snows. Definitely have the appropriate foul-weather add-ons with your rig, so that inclement weather won't slow or stop you unnecessarily. It'd help to have a decent spot to clean up and shower at the destination (ie, showers at work, or nearby), though many do without this.

40+ years ago, I often did a 40mi round-trip route several times each week. Did this for a couple of years. Took me a bit less than an hour each direction, for me, on a late-'70s Schwinn LeTour. Didn't do it daily, but could have. Had one nasty series of hills mid-way on the route, otherwise it was flat or nearly so most of the way.
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Old 12-19-21, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Ductling View Post
I also need to know the general possibility like if anyone has done it efficiently and gracefully before.
You'll have to pick between "efficiently" and "gracefully". And sharing your location might help.

Unless you really love racking up lots of miles every day, I'm going to agree with the others that doing 50 miles a day (on top of your full work schedule) isn't going to be feasible. I predict burnout or injury.

But commuting by bike once or twice a week will still cut down emissions. It's not an all-or-nothing proposition.
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Old 12-19-21, 02:36 PM
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I'd want some good tires - winter tires - even studded tires, on a spare wheel set or more preferably a spare bike. Not sure where you are located but 20f probably means ice and snow. And I bet uphill will really suck while downhill at 20f with ice could be... Interesting ??
. If you have good days wit snow free roads it's easier and faster with "regular" tires. Just remember that like all season car tires, your bike tires will be affected by cold weather, not just by snow and ice. If you can switch wheels easily it'll be easier on you.
Final point. In the army we learned mechanical stuff (like bikes) freeze up and seize up if brought in and out from cold to hot to cold, etc. If you can store in a garage or porch it'll be easier on the bike though maintenance is critical.

I tried it years ago early spring to late fall, not all winter and even then, riding into wind made early morning rides a living hell and then there was those sudden slides and loss of control on ice to spice up the ride and I had zero hills (up or down) to entertain me..
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Old 12-19-21, 02:42 PM
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I commuted 40 a day, 3 times a week, for a couple of months, but had excellent resources at work that included a gym, lockers, a place to lock up the bike and most importantly a shower. The only problems I experienced was getting up early enough to make the ride and keeping clean clothes in the locker. The amenities made the commute possible as our business has strict business dress standards and a shower and fresh clothes is a must for me. Before starting the commute see if you can find a safe place to store your bike and to freshen up.
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Old 12-19-21, 03:24 PM
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I live in the south of the city where a straight 20-mile flat road leads to the east. Then I need to go north 6 miles to the downtown destination.
No shower or locker room nearby.

About the weather: the city has a yearly 80% high humidity level. The summer starts from May to October, with an average temperature of 90F- 100F. The winter starts from November to February, with an average temperature of 50F. Then it is a short Spring from March to April where a rain season resides. The temperature doesn't drop gradually. It goes from summer to winter by 2-3 cold waves within days. The temperature drops from 90F to sub 60F with the 1st cold wave then drops to 30F with another two cold waves. So there is no Autumn.
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Old 12-19-21, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Ductling View Post
Hello, I'm a cycling newbie

I want to drive a car no more and I like to exercise on the road and cut down gas emissions to the environment.

My workplace is 26 miles from where I live.

It means a 50-mile total trip from Monday to Saturday, from 20F winter to 90F summer, from rain to snow.

Because the destination is a group of high-profile congregated businesses so I need to look neat, not sporty nor sweaty.

I am wondering if anyone has done it efficiently and gracefully for at least a serious year, not just a week or a month?

There is literally nobody I know who can do it in a way that is both efficient and enjoyable. Some friends tell me it is not possible not to get full sweat in summer and the road condition is always too hazardous to cycle efficiently.

Is it really possible to do it in a realist way? It cannot take two much time. I think 1.5 hours per 25 miles is the optimal speed though they are already 3 times more than driving my car.
I think itís possible for an experienced cyclist. For a newbie? Nope.
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Old 12-19-21, 04:48 PM
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You say the winter temps go down to 30F. Will you see ice? If so, that's another hurdle to be addressed. (You know, if you simply told us the city, anyone who's lived and ridden there could pitch in and share their experience.)'

Simple math - 50 miles/day times 50 weeks/year is 12,500 miles. At 24 years old, I worked a simple labor job, commuted 24 miles/day (no car), raced, trained and rode 10,500 miles. (Lesser but still big mile years on either side of that year.) I loved it but I had no outside life. Something worth thinking about.

Last edited by 79pmooney; 12-19-21 at 08:11 PM. Reason: mis-spell
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Old 12-19-21, 04:49 PM
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Depends on how humid it is in your area too. Can't do that very easily in Houston.

I like Tyrion's idea. Get an ebike. Use the throttle in the morning. Pedal on your way home.
You can get a good commuting ebike for $1500-2000.
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Old 12-19-21, 06:46 PM
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My round trip commute is 40 miles. Pre-pandemic I did it 4-5 days a week, using our local bus system for the majority of the return leg in the steamy summers of the mid-south (talking 90s and corresponding humidity). I don’t handle heat all that well, thus the bus was a great option for me since all our city buses have racks, Winters here are not all that cold, getting down to the teens (F) at the lowest, and those were easily doable with the appropriate gear. In rainy conditions having the bus as a backup was useful. So it is doable, although I do suggest (like others) working your way up to it. I also ride on a MUP for the 2/3 of my commute, so my traffic interactions are reduced.

Post pandemic I aim for 3-5 days per week, but I absolutely do not use the bus at this point. Never mind the additional health risk to myself and others, I have no desire to live in the backyard, per the wife. But I do have a friend/coworker that I often catch a ride with (no more heavy rain or hot days if I can help it).

Do you have a place to shower or at least sink bathing with a washcloth? Getting cleaned up is nice to my coworkers, especially in summer.
Do you have panniers? Good waterproof panniers are key, and I suggest Ortlieb as they are built like tanks.
Do you have a place to store changes of clothing? I have ample storage space for my clothes, keeping changes on hand at work.
Do you have backup transportation? Bus, spouse, or friend.
Protected lanes or MUP?
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Old 12-19-21, 07:23 PM
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My immediate reaction was that a 50 mile round trip commute is too far to drive. I went for years riding a 25 mile roundtrip every day,. I loved it, but it was two hours plus out of my life every day.
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Old 12-19-21, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Ductling View Post
I live in the south of the city where a straight 20-mile flat road leads to the east. Then I need to go north 6 miles to the downtown destination.
No shower or locker room nearby.

About the weather: the city has a yearly 80% high humidity level. The summer starts from May to October, with an average temperature of 90F- 100F. The winter starts from November to February, with an average temperature of 50F. Then it is a short Spring from March to April where a rain season resides. The temperature doesn't drop gradually. It goes from summer to winter by 2-3 cold waves within days. The temperature drops from 90F to sub 60F with the 1st cold wave then drops to 30F with another two cold waves. So there is no Autumn.
I experienced a change from autumn to winter in 1 hour in Poland. From 75 and sunny to a cold front with hail in mid September. Drastic change, the sun didnít come back until after a bit of snow.

That would be a tough place to do long distance bike commuting in.
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Old 12-19-21, 09:14 PM
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even with a decent e bike is going to take some work. I could manage 40 miles a day even with my only so so health but its still a fair amount of time. y0u can go faster on a ebike hough and that helps. but no way a cheap e bike I going to cut it. the snow and cold will really slow you down. you will need at least two batteries or a way to charge it at work. if I didn't to have to stop for lights and such I can keep my speed at about 20 and choose how many watts I am willing to put out myself.
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Old 12-19-21, 09:23 PM
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Back 20 years ago I used to do a 60 mile round trip commute. Iíd do that 2-3 days a week and the days I drove Iíd bring in clean clothes and food for the commuting days. I had a very small backpack Iíd use sometimes.

I never rode it in the cold weather. But did some rain rides to and from.

now Iím 20 miles from work but needing to carry my laptop back and forth would complicate things. Plus at my current job the shower isnít as convenient.

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