Author Topic: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?  (Read 1867 times)

jamesbond007

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Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« on: April 05, 2017, 04:13:21 PM »
Now that the weather is nice and warm, I have been thinking about riding my bike to work at least 2 days a week. My typical car commute is 17 miles door to door one way. On the bike, it is about 20 miles one way. It could take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hrs one way compared to 30 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the evening when I drive.


The question is not my ability to do it (I ride a century every year and train for it every year) but my difficulty convincing myself to ride to work 40 miles. I tried looking at the money savings to motivate myself but the reasoning is convincing enough. I lease an EV for $120 a month. Free charging at work and I still need the car for colder/rainy months.


I need some motivation.
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MarioMario

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2017, 04:17:17 PM »
Sounds like doing it twice a week is a good compromise, and you will get in a great workout

zinnie

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2017, 04:23:14 PM »
I used to do that once a week, but I actually drove to work with my bike one day, biked home, and then biked back to work the next day. Would that work for you?  It's really hilly where I am so since it took me 1.5 to 2 hours one way, that made it more manageable. But I really enjoyed it! And once I was home at night with only my bike while my car was at work, I didn't have much of a choice but to bike back :)

sol

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2017, 04:41:32 PM »
What's the route like?

If I had to bike 20 miles through city traffic, with tailpipes in my face and a red light at every corner, I think I might murder somebody.  But 20 miles of flat open road, on well paved lakefront, on my carbon fiber road bike?  I'd pay good money to do that ride every day.

tralfamadorian

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2017, 05:20:43 PM »
I'm with everybody else- it depends.  Flat or hills.  Traffic or not.

I used to do a 28 mile round trip commute on roads that people take vacations to bike on- very scenic and hilly.  The physical challenge of it really started to wear on me after awhile- particularly after I got home in the evenings. 


jamesbond007

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2017, 05:22:45 PM »
Thanks all. The route is about 50% traffic and 50% trail and mostly flat.
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ulrichw

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2017, 05:42:19 PM »
Definitely not crazy. I did this for a while a number of years ago (but not every day).

I'd say do it a few times a week. If you do a century a year, you ride for enjoyment, so you get ancillary value. Commuting by bike is a great way to use your commute time to get exercise.

If you do this regularly, you'll also get faster. I used to be able to average right around 20 mph on a 17 mile flat commute through the 'burbs (including stopping for traffic lights and stop signs). My current commute has too many lights and stop signs to get close to that, unfortunately.

The other thing you can consider doing is getting an electric motor for your bike. If you help the motor by pedaling, 40 miles are quite doable with something like a 10 amp-hour 36V battery. I only recommend this path if you're handy and can do the installation yourself. I've done this on my bike for just under $600 shipped from China.

kudy

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2017, 05:58:00 PM »
I say start with once a week, and see how it goes! I ride ~13 miles each way to and from work once per week; I've tried to do it more often, but once per week seems to be my natural cadence.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2017, 06:05:32 PM »
20 each way is doable, but is a lot of distance every day.  I'm with zinnie.  Do half the commute (at least at first) and work your way up to the full distance slowly.  If you start to feel exhausted all the time, ramp it down a bit so you don't get burned out.  Even if you're driving half the time, you're still saving money and getting some great exercise.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2017, 06:32:32 PM »
My commute to work was 18 miles each way by bike through moderately hilly terrain. The biggest problem I had with keeping up this commitment was that the time it took for me to transform from a heaving sweat covered spandex maniac to a well dressed professional chewed up too much time. Furthermore, after getting to work, the last thing I felt like doing was WORKING. I was so hungry, all I wanted to do was eat and eat and eat. By then, it was lunch time. 

alison_peta

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2017, 07:14:06 PM »
I have never bike commuted before, but am motivating myself to train to be able to complete my 23-mile each way trip.  Since I am a beginner, I plan to drive 18 miles, park, and ride the remaining 5 miles.  Over the summer, I'll park further from work and hopefully be able to do the whole thing!  I plan to drive all the way one day a week so I can run errands.  The ride is relatively flat, but it's mostly rough highway with very narrow shoulders.  Other than that, I don't think it's a terribly crazy idea!

Daisy

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 11:12:23 PM »
I used to do that once a week, but I actually drove to work with my bike one day, biked home, and then biked back to work the next day. Would that work for you?  It's really hilly where I am so since it took me 1.5 to 2 hours one way, that made it more manageable. But I really enjoyed it! And once I was home at night with only my bike while my car was at work, I didn't have much of a choice but to bike back :)

I actually did this a few times in the last few years, but haven't done it much since. I learned the bus routes along the way so I could hop on when needed (e.g. rain).

I don't think I am up to that level of fitness right now, but I have been thinking about it, especially with daylight savings time returning. (Or is it standard time??)

My commute is about 28 miles each way though.

I also found a park about halfway to work the I can drive to and then ride into work. I havent tried that yet.

jamesbond007

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 11:22:25 PM »
Thanks for thoughts. I like the idea of leaving the car at work and biking back but my work won't let us park vehicles overnight. So that's not an option. I used to bike everyday but then I lived only 10 miles away. I will start with once a week for now. Distance is never a problem for me, I somehow can't get my head around to justify biking to work that far. Get there, shower, get back home, shower again. Ugh...

But gotta do it for health..
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MarioMario

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2017, 09:40:45 AM »
Thanks for thoughts. I like the idea of leaving the car at work and biking back but my work won't let us park vehicles overnight. So that's not an option. I used to bike everyday but then I lived only 10 miles away. I will start with once a week for now. Distance is never a problem for me, I somehow can't get my head around to justify biking to work that far. Get there, shower, get back home, shower again. Ugh...

But gotta do it for health..
Do you have to shower when you get home?

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jamesbond007

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2017, 12:37:48 PM »
Showers are not a problem. Have a gym at work with 8 shower stalls and shower at home, obviously.
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GetItRight

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2017, 08:23:15 AM »
How much is your time worth? If I had to lose 3 additional hours a day to commuting I would be miserable as it leaves far less time to do the things I enjoy. Also consider logistics, for me arriving at work sweaty from pedalcycling 20 miles in summer heat would necessitate a shower upon arrival at work, even more wasted time to extend my working hours. If you enjoy pedalcycling, would do it 4 hours a day regardless, and the logistics are not a problem then go for it. Otherwise don't.

jpeizie

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2017, 12:22:33 PM »
Have you considered getting an e-bike or putting an electric motor on your existing bike? That way you still get to bike, but can significantly cut the time it takes to ride that distance. My daily commute is 10 miles each way and getting an e-bike has made it much more reasonable to bike commute each day from a time perspective.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2017, 06:02:13 AM »
How much is your time worth? If I had to lose 3 additional hours a day to commuting I would be miserable as it leaves far less time to do the things I enjoy. Also consider logistics, for me arriving at work sweaty from pedalcycling 20 miles in summer heat would necessitate a shower upon arrival at work, even more wasted time to extend my working hours. If you enjoy pedalcycling, would do it 4 hours a day regardless, and the logistics are not a problem then go for it. Otherwise don't.

I agree with you that if he hates cycling, this is a poor plan.  It would be surprising for me to find out that he hates cycling though, given that he's considering this in the first place.

Three hours a day, every day is a big chunk of time to lose . . . but there's no reason that he would have to do the commute every single day.  It can be as flexible as he wants it to be.
 Many would also argue that the health benefits from getting a solid three hour session of cardio a couple times a week are significant.

jamesbond007

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2017, 02:26:39 PM »
I am looking into ebikes. I tried the DIY route but I just heard about this company called Genze ( a subsidiary of Mahindra Ltd in India) that is selling ebikes for $1400 in the US. I just got a demo and it appears solidly built. It gives about 18 miles on full throttle and about 30 miles with assist. Takes 4hrs to charge from 0 to 100%. I might look into that to make it a bit faster.
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eddie

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2017, 06:16:14 AM »
Good luck.  I did a 20 mile each way commute 2-3x a week for 6 months once, but I was single.  It takes up a lot of time.  But if you only do it 1-2x a week that should keep you from burning out.  I really miss bike commuting.  I'm 10 miles from work now, but my wife doesn't like me arriving home 30 minutes later than normal and still needing to take a shower.  If only there was a way to bike to work and drive home multiple days a week.

SCUBAstache

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2017, 08:55:23 AM »
I think it's a great goal, and like others have said, just depends on how much the time commitment bothers you. If you have a family/lots of other responsibilities, it might not be worth it. But if you have lots of free time, might as well go for it and enjoy the fresh air and exercise!

I did a 25 mile one way bike commute one day a few years ago. It was 95% trail but LOTS of intersections where if you don't stop you are taking a big (stupid) risk so it took me about 2.5 hours. But dammit if I didn't feel AMAZING all day. Was pretty sore doing the 25 home but at least I didn't feel the time pressure and enjoyed stopping at random parks, etc. The best part of the morning was riding over the trail overpass over the beltway and looking at the gridlock, while I was in the sunshine listening to the birds sing, it was pretty awesome. Which means I need to get my shit together and start doing a semi-bike commute, if nothing else. Personally I have very few commitments and thus no excuses not to do it a few times a week at least.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Davids

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Re: Bike commuting 20 miles one way - Is it crazy?
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2017, 08:59:03 AM »
If you have no problem with the route involved for biking 20 miles each way and have a shower at work then go for it.