Author Topic: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?  (Read 15241 times)

askew

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Location: Brighton, MA
15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« on: June 28, 2012, 01:00:02 PM »
I'm trying to psych myself up for ditching my car for a 15mi each way bicycle commute. The half closest to home will be through heavy city traffic, and the other half on a calm bike path just dodging walkers. I'm not worried about the morning commute, I can leave early when traffic is calmer and get a shower before most people get to the office. I am a bit worried about the evening rush hour traffic in the city, planning/carrying food and clothes. I also doubt I have the badassity to do it when it gets cold and dark and snowy and icey and salty and sandy. Anyone do a similar or harder bike commute, or bike through cold, nasty weather?

I'm super excited, but also kinda nervous for this change!

ThatGuyFromCanada

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
  • Location: Calgary Alberta - Canada
    • www.jonathanneufeld.com
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2012, 01:12:49 PM »
I'm currently commuting by bicycle 27km each way for a round trip distance of 55km and I love it! I'm fortunate to have many pathways in my city so it's a joy. I would whole heartedly suggest you go for it.

BTW here is one part of my commute that I videoed; obviously, it's sped up a little.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScUezOgPQGs&feature=plcp

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4760
  • Age: 27
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2012, 01:13:33 PM »
Rush hour isn't as bad as you might think. Drivers tend to be pissed off during it, but unless there's total gridlock cycling doesn't get as much worse as driving does. I suppose that's highly location-dependent though--if it were a really bad rush hour it could be a cycling catastrophe, and if it were a mild one it wouldn't make much of a difference at all.

skyrefuge

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1007
  • Location: Suburban Chicago, IL
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2012, 01:51:53 PM »
What kind of bicycling/commuting experience do you have?  Have you done the commute before by bike at all?  Are you used to riding 30 miles a day?

I ask because, while it's certainly doable, it's quite badass, and would probably put you in the 90th percentile of all bike commuters in terms of distance.  It's a minimum of 2 hours of riding each day, and a lot of people have trouble finding the time and energy to do that day after day.

In the winter, cold is actually not too much of an issue, and can even be less of an issue on longer rides like that, because you actually feel the coldest at the beginning of a ride, before your body heats up and gets the blood flowing.  But snow and ice can certainly slow you down or even make things impassable (particularly on a bike path that might not get plowed).  You'd also need lights that can work for at least 90 minutes on a charge, which thankfully isn't that hard these days.

I guess I'm saying that it sounds like an awesome goal, but don't ditch the car until you've gone half a year without needing to drive instead, unless you find other alternatives for those days when you can't/won't ride.

velocistar237

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1422
  • Location: Metro Boston
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2012, 02:29:31 PM »
Welcome to biking in Boston!

I am a bit worried about the evening rush hour traffic in the city, planning/carrying food and clothes.

Rush hour traffic can be difficult. I have a Planet Bike Ecorack with a Racktime pannier to carry my stuff.

I also doubt I have the badassity to do it when it gets cold and dark and snowy and icey and salty and sandy. Anyone do a similar or harder bike commute, or bike through cold, nasty weather?

Most die-hard Boston bike commuters give it up for about 20 work days a year. I've kept it up through a couple of winters, but my commute is only 2 miles long. Biking in the snow is fun, as long as you're not fishtailing next to an SUV. Fifteen miles in the snow can wear you out, though. If you get a second set of wheels with studded tires, you can swap out on the days that need it. I think the major bike paths get plowed.

Check out icebike.com for cold weather biking info.

Mrs MM

  • Administrator
  • Bristles
  • *****
  • Posts: 367
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2012, 02:36:41 PM »
Awesome!  Just give it a try and see how you feel.  Maybe try the ride on a weekend to test it out?

I used to ride 8 miles into work and it was fun and pretty easy to get there (uphill on the way home).  I can imagine doing twice the mileage without much trouble.  The only part of the commute I disliked was biking home in the dark in the winter.

Like you, the first half of the bike ride was on roads and the second half on bike trails.  Enjoy!!

askew

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Location: Brighton, MA
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2012, 03:59:48 PM »
Thanks for your responses! I am pretty excited to give it a try at least for the summer/early fall. I'm going to do a trial run this weekend.

I have done a decent amount of cycling, but not a ton. 30-40mi rides on the weekends, though not too frequently lately. I used to ride my bike to grad school every day when I lived 1.5mi away, and I just remember it being extra stressful on the odd nights I went home before 9pm, Boston drivers, eh velocistar? ;)  (And I'm becoming one, ack!) I'll be riding on Mass Ave through Harvard Sq. unless I can find an alternative for the evenings.

I'm confident in my body's ability to adapt to this new level of activity, but I have no idea how toasted I'll be after a full day of work and the ride home. Also, I've never ridden that much mileage more than Saturday-Sunday back to back. 

If it does take an hour each way (I expect the ride in to be a little shorter), my car commute would only beat that by 45min on a good day and 30min on a bad day...amounts of time I SHOULD be spending working out anyways. And maybe I won't swear so much on my bike, but then again maybe not :)

JourneyingJon - looking forward to checking out your video when I get home tonight!

Btw, you probably noticed I'm new here. I'm really loving catching up on all the articles and cruising the forum. The whole fake-religion of the mustache really resonates with me. It's so much more kickass and happy and focused on action and REAL quality of life than the other personal finance sites that led me here! You guys are awesome!


nubbs180

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 04:15:04 PM »
I just started a 6 mi commute on bike back in April. I also was worried about riding on back to back days at first, so I eased into the routine by starting out riding 3 then 4 days a week for a couple of weeks before going full time. Luckily for me, I can ride the bus for free if I don't want to ride so the only additional expense to take the bus is a half hour of time each day.

TLV

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 492
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Bellevue, WA
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2012, 04:24:05 PM »
The whole fake-religion of the mustache

What!? Next you'll be saying the Flying Spaghetti Monster (may we all be touched by his noodly appendage) is a farce!

As for the bike ride: I probably wouldn't do it myself (I moved apartments just to reduce my bike commute from 4.5 miles to 1.5), but I'd say the perceived length of the commute depends a lot more on hills/weather than on traffic. We get pretty heavy rush hour traffic here, but on a bike I only notice it to think "ha, look at all those suckers in their cars." My previous route had a monster hill that was bearable in the summer, but in the winter was a major pain.

keith

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Seattle/eastside
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2012, 05:13:28 PM »
I'm currently commuting by bicycle 27km each way for a round trip distance of 55km and I love it! I'm fortunate to have many pathways in my city so it's a joy. I would whole heartedly suggest you go for it.

BTW here is one part of my commute that I videoed; obviously, it's sped up a little.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScUezOgPQGs&feature=plcp

Just have to say, watched the bike commute video, that was Awesome! some beautiful bike paths on your trip.

askew

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Location: Brighton, MA
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2012, 05:19:11 PM »
Haha! I wondered if I would get any flak for that! Did I at least spell mustache right? Let's just say I didn't mean fake like fake cheese, more like fake in that you're still allowed to be an individual and find your inner mustachian in your own way? Unless you don't like bikes. Ok, maybe it's not fake. 

You're right about the hills, I know there is one long gradual-ish uphill that will have to be tackled close to the start of my ride home, but I forget how hilly the city part is. I guess I'll see this weekend! I'd love to move closer, but for now the BF gets the short commute.

nubbs, that's a good idea. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. And, journeyingJon, that's a sweet video! What an amazing route you have!


cindyc

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2012, 10:39:36 PM »
Askew, is there any way you could combine your bike commute with public transportation, to ease your way into it?  Here in Salt Lake City, you can bring your bikes onto the light rail system, and the buses all have bike racks mounted on the front.  I live 20 miles from work and am thinking of using the light rail for 16 miles of the commute, using a discount monthly pass for the train....making it more realistic for this to be something I can sustain.  Hope something like that could work for you too, if you find that a 15mi each way commute is too much.

Shandi76

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 90
  • Location: Scotland
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2012, 06:28:23 AM »
Good luck with your commute :-) I used to have a similar 17 mile each way commute, except it was the last section that was on roads, and it was all uphill on the way home. I have to confess I never managed it more than twice a week, and was too wussy to do it in the snow.

I second cindyc's suggestion of combining cycling with public transport. I often used to take my bike on the train then just had a 3.5 mile cycle downhill into work, which was great: no need to shower before starting work. Sometimes I would get a return ticket and go home by train too, but other times I would cycle all the way home if I felt up to it. I wouldn't recommend cycling the whole distance both ways 5 days a week to begin with though, even if you are already very fit.

ThatGuyFromCanada

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
  • Location: Calgary Alberta - Canada
    • www.jonathanneufeld.com
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2012, 09:37:27 AM »

Just have to say, watched the bike commute video, that was Awesome! some beautiful bike paths on your trip.

Thanks! In fact today I hit a milestone: 1,000km of cycle commuting this season (c:

Here is Part 2 and Part 3 of the commute video. After this many km it's just my normal way of commuting. We get some nasty winter weather here in Calgary so I'll probably do a 1/2-drive 1/2 ride once the snow flies.

darkelenchus

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 290
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Akron, OH
  • True wealth comes from good health and wise ways.
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2012, 11:40:14 AM »

Just have to say, watched the bike commute video, that was Awesome! some beautiful bike paths on your trip.

Seconded! That's a commute with a great view! It's crazy how many bridges you cross!

Thanks! In fact today I hit a milestone: 1,000km of cycle commuting this season (c:

Here is Part 2 and Part 3 of the commute video. After this many km it's just my normal way of commuting. We get some nasty winter weather here in Calgary so I'll probably do a 1/2-drive 1/2 ride once the snow flies.

That's great! Congratulations on the milestone, and thanks for sharing the other videos! Puts my paltry 2.5 mile all-urban commute to shame.

skyrefuge

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1007
  • Location: Suburban Chicago, IL
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2012, 04:35:46 PM »
After checking this thread again while posting in the 27mi-each-way thread, I noticed that in my initial response, I may have taken the phrase "ditching my car" from the original post too literally.  I was thinking this was an all-or-nothing thing, "I want to sell my car and rely entirely on my bike to get me 30 miles every day all year".  If the phrase was meant more figuratively than that (ditching it for a few days a week), then the OP is still quite badass, just not "impossibly badass", which may be a good thing.

And to JourneyingJon, you got passed halfway through the second clip.  Just thought I'd let you know.  :-)

elincolnp

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Young landlord working on my Mini-Stash :)
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2012, 06:50:37 AM »
Congrats on being a Boston biker!

James

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1680
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Rice Lake, WI
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2012, 08:47:03 AM »
You've got to bite off more than you can chew once in a while just to put yourself to some limits, go for it and don't worry about how it might go, you'll find out soon enough.  Good luck!

ECrew28

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2012, 03:39:06 PM »
With regards to the food\clothes concern each day, what if you drove into work on Monday?  This way you could prep all your food ahead of time and bring it all in on one trip.  You could do the same for your clothes.  Does your workplace have lockers in the gym (assuming that's where you would shower)?  If so, then you have an advantage there for sure.  Or if you have your own office where you can keep things, that has benefits as well (including a safe place to store your bike).  Perhaps even check to see if you can have a fridge in your office, and then you are really set.  Dream scenario!   


I am actually looking into doing a combination of biking and running since I am only about 6 miles from home.  Saving money and marathon training!   

spi

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Location: Boston Area
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2012, 05:51:00 PM »
I just did my second day of biking to work this week. A co-worker started biking to work a few weeks ago and he made me finally just do it and I joined him for the ride in on Monday. I am really liking it so far, initially I am taking it easy and will probably go for 3 to 4 days a week. I still need to see how much I will enjoy nasty weather and if I continue over the winter.

I have a pretty easy commute of 8.5 miles with 5 miles being a dedicated bike path(Minuteman bike path from Arlington center to Lexington center and then over to the Waltham/Lexington line for those Bostonians). I am really enjoying it so I say take the plunge. I also biked straight to my TKD class after getting home on Monday did an hour workout and then biked home. Great day overall.

I have a bike rack and bag but plan on getting a pannier to make it easier to bring in everything I need. I also haven't had any issues with feeling sweaty so far at work as the weather has been really nice so far this week.

skyrefuge

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1007
  • Location: Suburban Chicago, IL
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2012, 08:23:33 PM »
I am actually looking into doing a combination of biking and running since I am only about 6 miles from home.  Saving money and marathon training!

Ha, I had great plans to do this too, because what's more badass than bike-commuting but run-commuting, right?  After a couple weeks of marathon training, I was like "hey dumbass, remember that time you thought you would have the energy for marathon training AND bike-riding in the same day?  That was hilarious."  Then again, perhaps you'll be more sensible in your marathon training than I.  :-)

galaxie

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 370
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2012, 07:10:02 AM »
I bike 10 miles each way to work (Somerville to Bedford), and I got used to it pretty fast.  I'm not very fast, personally, but the ride feels like it's getting shorter because I've got it mentally divided up into landmarks and segments.  I've also started being more serious about timing myself and tracking my speed, which is fun for people like me who like to optimize and look at graphs. 

At first I basically just wanted to go to sleep after biking home, but that stopped after the first week or two.  A couple of days ago I stopped for groceries on the way home (at a store that has a very bike-stressful entrance) and cooked up some soup for dinner before I settled down.  That was a milestone.

I do this 2-3 days a week.  2 days a week are jiujitsu practice in Brookline, so I drive, and many weeks I work from home on Friday.

I have an Ortlieb Office bag, which I like because it looks more professional when I have to carry it around the office.  It's slightly smaller than your average pannier, though.  On bike days I try to pack clothes that aren't bulky and don't wrinkle, like a dress.  And small shoes.  Shoes can take up so much space.

elincolnp

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Young landlord working on my Mini-Stash :)
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2012, 08:57:58 AM »
I bike 10 miles each way to work (Somerville to Bedford), and I got used to it pretty fast. 

Can I just say how totally bad-ass you are.

galaxie

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 370
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2012, 10:40:57 AM »
Aw shucks.  It's only 2.5 times a week.  I have decided that Brookline is A Bridge Too Far (teehee).

jbhernandez

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2012, 05:57:28 AM »
For those that think biking in traffic is too challenging. Check out this guy's commute.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=xBWuHEtTo1w&feature=endscreen

masont

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2012, 09:43:29 PM »
My advice (and what I did last year before a 20 mile each way commute) is to sell your car, then worry about trying to make the commute work. 

You'll find a way to get it done.  It will suck at first, and you'll probably sleep the whole first weekend (I did) but it sucks less than getting fired.

Kriegsspiel

  • Guest
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2012, 08:54:56 PM »
For you all with these longish commutes, what kind of bike are you riding?  I'm assuming for that kind of distance, you picked up a road or cyclocross bike? 

kudy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 945
  • Age: 36
  • Location: RV Traveling the U.S.
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2012, 10:49:08 PM »
I recently bought an old beater road bike and a new electric power trailer to commute 14 miles to work a few times a week.  So far, I've only used it once a week, and I am not geared up for winter riding, but I'd like to continue to replace driving with riding with the electric assist.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 08:26:33 AM by kudy »

Two9A

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 92
  • Age: 35
  • Location: England
  • On the long road to zero net worth
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2012, 06:38:39 AM »
A related question: I currently work the closest to home that I have ever worked, 8 miles one-way. So obviously the thought of biking it enters my mind.

The only problem: the mountain in the way. My workplace is in the next valley, and there are no roads around the mountain, only over. Does anyone else have a hilly/mountainous commute, and how do you deal with it? (And am I just being lazy for not wanting to take it on?)

James

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1680
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Rice Lake, WI
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2012, 07:32:58 AM »
A related question: I currently work the closest to home that I have ever worked, 8 miles one-way. So obviously the thought of biking it enters my mind.

The only problem: the mountain in the way. My workplace is in the next valley, and there are no roads around the mountain, only over. Does anyone else have a hilly/mountainous commute, and how do you deal with it? (And am I just being lazy for not wanting to take it on?)

I sympathize that biking over a mountain is much different than biking on flat land.  8 miles isn't a short bike commute, and with a mountain in the way it's hard to know how well it would go.  Having said that, you really need to try it a couple times, there is no reason it can't be done.  Try it on a weekend, or when you have plenty of time to make it to work.  Maybe it's something you could start doing once every week, and then if it works you could progress with adding another day.  Maybe eventually it would turn into every day, but even if it stayed once a day you would benefit hugely from that.

So my suggestion is to let us know how it goes, how long it takes, how much effort you expended, and that will help us give you better advice.

kudy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 945
  • Age: 36
  • Location: RV Traveling the U.S.
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2012, 08:26:17 AM »
The best thing about a mountain in the way is that you will eventually get to easily coast for a part of the trip :)

ThatGuyFromCanada

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
  • Location: Calgary Alberta - Canada
    • www.jonathanneufeld.com
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2012, 09:26:12 AM »
For you all with these longish commutes, what kind of bike are you riding?  I'm assuming for that kind of distance, you picked up a road or cyclocross bike?
I recently moved from a hard-tail mountain bike to an entry-level road bike and the difference has been astounding. The new bike is probably 1/3rd the weight and I'm easily 20% faster on it. If you're doing a long commute frequently I'd highly recommend it.

mindaugas

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
  • Location: Littleton, CO
    • Mike Says Meh
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #32 on: August 29, 2012, 09:54:12 AM »
Funny, I just went from a light road bike to a heavy mountain bike because of the wear and tear. I used to commute 18 miles each way and did it consistently 3 days a week. 50/50 trail/road. I have a 10 mile commute each way now. Denver is pretty good for bike commuters though. I use a swiss wenger laptop backpack which is incredibly durable and came free with a laptop from work. Holds all my clothes, I wear laced shoes that look fairly normal with cleats on the bottom for clipless pedals. (why are they clipless btw, they clip :P )

The biggest thing with riding in traffic is to be courteous and follow the law. Stop at stop signs and stop at stop lights (at least when cars are around). Don't ride up on the left/right of a line of stopped traffic to be the fist one at the light, wait in line behind a car like the rest. Pull to the right and let cars pass you when you're slow. Take a sidewalk on a long climb if you can so you don't block traffic. Ride on side streets, stay off major thorough-fairs and boulevards whenever possible. Just being mindful and courteous will get rid of a LOT of honking, cursing, swerving and other shenanigans drivers do. However, there will be bad drivers just like on your normal car commute so be careful.

And congrats, that is an awesome commute!

ivyhedge

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 290
  • Location: United States of Farse
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2012, 11:33:39 AM »
**Btw, you probably noticed I'm new here. I'm really loving catching up on all the articles and cruising the forum. The whole fake-religion of the mustache really resonates with me. It's so much more kickass and happy and focused on action and REAL quality of life than the other personal finance sites that led me here! You guys are awesome!**

Hi, Askew: welcome to the forum.

I'm also in Boston - I work on High Street and commute from Burlington. Unfortunately, due to a lack of cleansing facilities at work, biking is not an option for me: at least, not now. I might bus to Alewife when the weather is cooler and bike in from there, though...

mindaugas

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
  • Location: Littleton, CO
    • Mike Says Meh
Re: 15mi-each-way bicycle commute?
« Reply #34 on: August 29, 2012, 11:40:58 AM »
Quote
Unfortunately, due to a lack of cleansing facilities at work, biking is not an option for me: at least, not now

Toughen up! You must be a warrior for mother earth. I took a bath in the bathroom sink this morning :) jk. I wouldn't do this if I had to meet with people or wear a nice suit or something. However, I will be going on a hunt for showers.