Author Topic: Can I really bike to work (44 miles round trip) in NE Ohio?  (Read 13538 times)

Midcenturymater

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Re: Can I really bike to work (44 miles round trip) in NE Ohio?
« Reply #50 on: January 09, 2016, 03:05:30 AM »
Ok
.so I used to do 12 Mike's through London traffic and in snow and ice.

I was a student so the $10 saving on transport each day was motivating.

I got very fit very quickly.

I got lots of complements for being hardy enough to do it.
It took 50 mins
I could not drive and did not have a car for 6 of my 10 years in London so no choice in it


However looking back
 I had at least three scares in 6 months of doing it. Not my fault but I could have been killed.
I was so hot Nd sweaty at the other end. ....no showers. That caused me discomfort.
I was so tired when I got home I would fall asleep at 9 pm.
I got a bit of dread on cold days visually imagining the 12 miles to come to be at college for 3 hours...so sometimes I skipped college.
I felt threatened more than once by males on the off road bits and having no clue cell, that could have been sticky.
Would I want my 28 year old kid to ever do it.
No
It wasn't worth it in terms of the risks I took.

Just drive your prius.

GuitarStv

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Re: Can I really bike to work (44 miles round trip) in NE Ohio?
« Reply #51 on: January 09, 2016, 06:41:52 AM »
My best tip for winter riding - Pitzips. I can't even imagine wearing a winter or spring coat now that doesn't let me vent the underarms. After that, layers, and alternate gear that you can access easily. Monday I had an hour ride at 12 F, and I had the armpit vents of my coat fully unzipped, and had to unzip the front of the coat some. I was wearing a headband and hat, and my helmet has a liner. I had to stop and remove the hat halfway to work because I was too warm. And I had multiple gloves with me; when the thick ones got sweaty I was able to grab lighter ones and swap out.

This is good advice.  Pit zips work better than any fancy breathable material that I've tried in the cold for removing/reducing moisture because the zips don't get clogged with frozen sweat.  The breathable fabrics clog up after about half an hour for me.

Some other advice: if you start to get chilled many miles from home and don't have any other clothes to put on, pedal faster.  Not necessarily harder, but try to keep very high cadence.  This will work your cardio system harder and raises your core temperature a bit . . . Standing and grinding doesn't seem to be as effective for warming up as it just makes your quads burn and you can't maintain it for too long.  This technique has saved my ass a couple times that I've worn the wrong stuff on a ride.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Can I really bike to work (44 miles round trip) in NE Ohio?
« Reply #52 on: January 10, 2016, 06:39:53 AM »
I bike commuted through 2 winters in WI (colder but less snow). My commute was half yours but I did it in every kind of weather, including several near white out blizzards.

I'm a SAHD now so now commute, and frankly I've given up on winter cycling in general and just got an indoor trainer. I enjoyed winter riding quite a bit but in my case the stress it caused my wife, worrying about me, wasn't worth it even though I've had far fewer close calls in winter than in summer.

Lots of good advice if you choose to pursue it. From the fitness perspective, you should really try and do it 2-3 times a week. Any less and the exercise just isn't consistent enough to see many of the benefits.

Two additional winter specific tips I don't think I saw mentioned:

1. Regularly blow air (use a tire pump or electric air compressor fitted with a basketball inflation needle) through the cable shrouds, particularly the shroud right before your rear derailleur. Salt and crap builds up and will rust the cable so bad it seizes up. I follow up the air with a spray of silicone lube. This is worth doing every couple weeks, whenever you think about it, anytime it's wet and salty.

2. I really liked my Schwalbe studded tires. The Winter tires have 2 rows of studs so they're primarily meant for reasonably clear pavement. For stability getting through ruts, some light off-road winter trails, etc, the 4 row Marathon Winters are what I had.

Good luck!

tobitonic

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Re: Can I really bike to work (44 miles round trip) in NE Ohio?
« Reply #53 on: January 10, 2016, 11:44:21 AM »
I see a lot of wimps around me surrounding themselves in climate-controlled comfort, minimizing any kind of physical effort.  This is a trend I try to resist.  We are more adaptable than we give ourselves credit.  I like being out in all weather, and have gear to keep me warm and dry.  I just don't know if I'm crazy for considering this.  Sometimes I go too far hoping to buck a trend.  Sometimes what people do actually makes sense.  I can't adapt to cars running into me!

You made a lot of good points in this post, but I just want to chime in and say that you shouldn't treat life as an eternal dick measuring contest. I admit that when I first started being frugal (and then found MMM), I would scoff at my friends driving brand new F150s, friends that got the new iPhone every release, friends with 4-5 tablets around the house, etc.

But life is too short man. Don't do anything to simply buck a trend and scoff at others. Especially don't start biking 44 miles round trip because other people are "wimps." Start biking solely because you want to start exercising and that you think this is the best way to get you into an exercising habit.

I think this is the most valuable post in the thread.

music lover

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Re: Can I really bike to work (44 miles round trip) in NE Ohio?
« Reply #54 on: January 10, 2016, 12:24:16 PM »
My current commute is 45 minutes one way.  Google Maps says 2 hours on a bike, I have not (yet) biked it, but it's clearly not feasible 2x/day, 5x/wk.  I don't know if it would be more like 1 hour on an ebike, or more like 1.5 (2 hrs vs. 3 hrs round trip).  If it was 1.5, doubling my commute, I probably wouldn't commit to it.  If it was 1 or 1.25, the extra 30 or 60 minutes a day is productive exercise that can also save me money.   I need to find some time to get fit, converting my commute to fitness time sounds appealing in theory...

You can get fit with 30 minutes a day if it's done right. If you lengthen your commute by 2 hours you're basically wasting 1.5 hours every day. What's your free time worth to you?

GuitarStv

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Re: Can I really bike to work (44 miles round trip) in NE Ohio?
« Reply #55 on: January 11, 2016, 06:24:35 AM »
I guess that depends on your definition of 'fit'.  One person might call being able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath 'fit', while another might call being able to sprint up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath 'fit'.

Time spent training is not really a great measure, because training is very sport dependent.  Training for power lifting for example, will lead towards 6-8 hrs a week while training to ride the Tour de France you're probably looking at closer to 30 hrs a week.  The benefits are quite different for these sports too . . .

That said, while you can certainly get a lot done in half an hour a day, that's a lower than optimal amount of time for any activity that I've ever read about.  You will get stronger, faster, and better by increasing your training time from half an hour a day.  In my mind, that's more 'fit'.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 06:29:39 AM by GuitarStv »

homestead neohio

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Re: Can I really bike to work (44 miles round trip) in NE Ohio?
« Reply #56 on: February 04, 2016, 02:52:57 PM »
OP here, I did a partial commute this week.  I almost didn't do it as that day I was in an all day meeting with customers.  Then I figured there would always be some reason not to and just did it.  I spent some time and money beforehand gathering equipment and getting the bike ready.  Head and tail lights, reflective vest, new tubes for each tire, reflective tape on frame, etc.  I cleared a secret bike storage location with the Facilities manager at work, and there is a shower at work if I really need it.

Conditions:  30F and dark riding there, 45F and sunny on the way back, roads and bike paths clean and dry after a recent thaw.  I drove 14 miles, parked, biked 7 miles, changed, worked all day and rode/drove home. 

Observations:
1) I'm out of shape, it took a long time, and I was sore.  This is why I want to do it more often, though.
2) Cresting a hill is sometimes a triumph, sometimes a disappointment, depending on if you meet a 20mph headwind
3) I got the timing and clothing/layering mostly right, pit zips are good. 
4) This takes a lot of planning.  As much as I planned ahead, I accidentally brought my laptop home from work the night before (force of habit) and had to store it in a backpack for the ride in, along with extra clothes.  My laptop is heavy.
5) My car is amazing!  I just press very lightly on this little pedal and it zooms up giant hills amazingly quickly, with no additional effort from me.  Those hills that I used to think were small and insignificant are only truly so to a beastly metal and plastic contraption which contains constantly exploding, highly-refined ancient sunlight.
6) I really enjoyed it!  I think it is way more satisfying to me knowing my biking is a partial commute, rather than commute by car and ride before and/or after work.
7) I could see it being scary or uncomfortable if the paths/roads are covered in snow/slush or some other condition that would make it slippery or reduce visibility to drivers who aren't expecting me to be there.

I'm going to keep after this and see where it goes.  I can see maybe doing this 2 days per week, more would be difficult just due to the time required, and the distance I cover can increase as I get quicker.  At the recommendation of a MMM forum member I started body weight training for fitness when I have less time or conditions make a bike commute scary.

As for my original question, I'm not pursuing the ebike or going down to less than 2 vehicles for the family.  The partial commute seems to be a promising balance to get some fitness in and feel productive during biking (going somewhere I need to go) while keeping it safe and having flexibility to choose when and how far I bike. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Can I really bike to work (44 miles round trip) in NE Ohio?
« Reply #57 on: February 04, 2016, 05:17:57 PM »
Right on, it sounds like you've got a good approach.  You'll find that after a few weeks 7 miles just isn't enough . . . so it's kinda awesome that you can add distance on for those beautiful summer days.  The planning gets to be more and more second nature.  After three years of commuting, I take about 5 minutes to check the weather, lay out my cycling clothes, stick my repair kit/spare tube/pump and change of clothes in a pannier, and pack lunch.

KCM5

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Re: Can I really bike to work (44 miles round trip) in NE Ohio?
« Reply #58 on: February 05, 2016, 07:52:14 AM »
Excellent work!

Also, I love that you started in February.

Second the planning aspect. It will become normal and quick.