Author Topic: How long is a long bike commute?  (Read 5172 times)

MexMustachian

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How long is a long bike commute?
« on: April 08, 2015, 01:04:57 PM »
Since right now my tranportation expenses are around 14% of my monthly income and a total of 20 hours a week im looking to change this. I cannot buy a car atm or a motorcycle for the next couple of months... Sooooo a bike is my next option. But is 15 miles to work and 15 back home too much of a commute in the city? Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico to be exact..


Adjusted Gross Income:    10051 total take home pay monthly (11500+1380 cupon+800 cupon-1495 savings fund- 360 social security deduction-15% tax)
Current expenses:  All monthly

Rent:                      0 since house is my uncles and he lent it to me free of pay for a few years.
Groceries:            3000
Transportation:  1300
Eating out:          300
Electricity:           200
Gas:                     100
Tv:                       220
Phone:                300
Baby needs:       1300 (baby formula, diapers. Maybe 6 more months and no more diapers or baby formula)
Misc:                   1000 (wife school occasional fees, books)
Clothes, etc:       0      (till done with debt)

Total expenses:    7720
Money left over:   2331  (right now used to pay debt)

Debt:                12125 @ 0% interest. This I owe my dad (was originaly 18000 3 months ago)
Credit card:        1995  (paying that of in 1 month)

Hoping to pay of credit card in this month. And the 12125 I owe to my dad at 0% interest thank God, witch I plan to pay on july with the savings fun of 12000.


grsing

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2015, 01:11:53 PM »
15 urban miles each way is certainly doable, but it's a significant commitment. My 9.5 mile each way suburban/urban commute, with decent cycling infrastructure, is about 45 minutes (with mostly good attention paid to the rules of the road, I'm not jumping red lights and such). 15 miles is at least an hour each way unless you're on wide open roads the whole time, potentially more.

That said, it sounds like your other option is public transportation that is probably taking you at least as much time? In that case, getting some exercise, maybe saving some time, and definitely saving money makes this a potentially good proposition.

I'd recommend trying it out one day, maybe on a weekend, to check out the route, make sure you know how to get there, there aren't any crazy dangerous things, etc. If it seems doable, go for it. No need to spend much on a bike to start with, just get something that goes and is reasonably comfortable and give it a shot. Even better if you could borrow a bike just to try it.

jeromedawg

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2015, 01:30:48 PM »
I agree with the recommendation on scoping the route out on an off/weekend day. That way you have it mapped out exactly. The best is when you find off-street bike paths as well - it seems to help shorten the commute (compared to feeling lousy when 5000 cars pass by you as your riding on the street). I just started doing a really short commute (4.5mi each way) and am wondering why I didn't do this earlier. I was always afraid of street traffic (still am at times) but once you start riding it's not as bad... just use common sense. The other qualm is making sure you're warm when riding early in the morning. I need to invest in some leg/arm compression sleeves or UnderArmor or something.

MountainBeard

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2015, 02:02:07 PM »
I'm both an avid cyclist and motorcyclist, and lived in Guadalajara for a short time about 10 years ago.  Unless the traffic has changed and it's become a bit more bicycle friendly I'd just wait the few months and get a motorcycle.  Something like an old Super Cub should be easy to service and inexpensive to operate.  (That's of course assuming that the buses still take as much time as they used to to get anywhere.)

Carlsky

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2015, 02:10:53 PM »
For your information, I ride 11 miles or 18 km to work and back on mostly open roads with  few stop lights.  The ride takes between 40 and 50 minutes with a lot of effort. 

I think your commute would be quite challenging especially in the summer.


MexMustachian

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2015, 02:21:46 PM »
Thanks for your opinions guys.. Its just i have the 1 hour 45 minute bus ride to work and the same time back home.. Ill borrow a bike to test it out but im pretty sure it wont be a walk in the park.. I just want to save time! The other option is waiting a few months and getting a motorcycle.. cant move closer atm..

Retire-Canada

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2015, 03:04:52 PM »
I had a 16 mile [one way] bike commute for years. Actually more like 32 miles, but I normally took the train halfway and biked from there.

Took about 1hr each way. It got me really fit, but I spent a bunch more on food and was hungry a lot!

Definitely give it a shot. It's well within the range of what's possible.

-- Vik

Mari

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2015, 03:30:47 PM »
I rode a 12 mile commute from Brooklyn to upper Manhattan for 4 years.  Started out riding just once or twice a week, but once I got accustomed to it and in better physical condition, I was able to manage the 24 mile round trip every day as long as the weather cooperated. I was fortunate that most of the ride was on a separate, protected bike route along the Hudson River. Being separate from car traffic makes for an enjoyable ride.

Is Guadalajara getting more ciclovias? I visit family there every year and from what I've seen, traffic is a beast. I commend you for being willing to give it a try. Stay safe!

MexMustachian

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2015, 09:27:01 PM »

Is Guadalajara getting more ciclovias? I visit family there every year and from what I've seen, traffic is a beast. I commend you for being willing to give it a try. Stay safe!

Actually Mari there are NO ciclovias (bike routes) on my specific trajectory. I do know its kinda risky but since i work nights im off as soon as the sun comes up and i get to work as sook as its going down. Basicaly when every one is rushing in to the city im heading out and when everyone is heading out of the city to go back home im heading in to go to work. So even though i do hit both rush hours, im on the opposite lane so not much trafic on my side of the street. Honestly a motorcycle get me to and from work in 25 minutes. a car in about the same time.. Bus is 1 hours 45 minutes and that is the fastest route -.- freakin´hate it... a Bike commute might take me 1 hour or less on Lazaro Cardenas witch is a highway, so im saving 90-120 minutes a day..Motorcycle would be option one but buying here isnt like in the states.. a cheap suzuki 2000 125 cc motorcylce on craigslist might be 900 usd witch is savable maybe in 1 or 2 months top for the average joe.. hear its the same 900 usd.. but that is more than my total income for the month so gotta wait maybe 5-6 months at a minimum to save up for one.. Hate it!!!!!

kpd905

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2015, 10:56:56 PM »
Start by alternating.  Bike to work, take the bus home.  Take the bus to work, bike home.

darkadams00

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2015, 07:11:54 AM »
Three points and an observation:

Points:
1) 15 miles one way for someone who hasn't been cycling already will be a beast for the first few months, even if you have isolated bike paths surrounded by spring wildflowers. Starting from 0, 30 miles per day every day will likely lead to soreness in places that won't feel better the next morning when it's time to do it again. Depending on your age, current fitness, and bike/cargo weight, your cardio/muscles/joints will possibly take a while to acclimate to that heavy of a daily load.
2) Your bike might not be well-suited to that long of a trip every day, so you might entail some start-up costs to retrofit with better commuting gear--better tires/brakes/rack/bag, etc. (a backpack would be crushing for me at that distance)
3) Only you can judge your traffic situation. If the 15 miles involves 13 miles of heavy traffic, you might be so scrambled mentally by the time you arrive at work, that you're already exhausted mentally. Riding in traffic takes time to gain familiarity and comfort while learning practical safety measures. You don't want your first riding mistake (and you will make some) to be in heavy traffic.

Observation:
You said you wanted to save time. I posit that by the time you do everything to prep for your AM/PM commutes, you will not really save time over a 1hour 45min commute. At my typical pace (and grsing's as well), 15 miles would take around 1hour 10 mins at least in the beginning. Rides that long in warm weather will require showers in both directions. You might already take one in the AM, but you will now need one in the PM as well. Loading up your gear, changing clothes, etc. takes a bit longer for bike commuters. I personally don't mind it because I like my commute, but the time factor is there. "Saving time" by biking usually happens when the ride is shorter and you have bike route options that bypass heavy traffic congestion. This is likely not true for most 15-mile commutes.

mskyle

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2015, 07:17:56 AM »
This is definitely a long bicycle commute. I know people with equally long bicycle commutes, but they are more "cyclists who live on a bike path and want to get in 30 miles a day" than "people who want to save time commuting." That said, you do have the bus option so you can start with one day a week. If you have a safe place to leave your bike at work you can even start with one one-way trip a week.

I doubt you will find yourself wanting to do this every day.

ThatGuyFromCanada

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2015, 08:06:13 AM »
This is definitely a long bicycle commute. I know people with equally long bicycle commutes, but they are more "cyclists who live on a bike path and want to get in 30 miles a day" than "people who want to save time commuting." That said, you do have the bus option so you can start with one day a week. If you have a safe place to leave your bike at work you can even start with one one-way trip a week.

I doubt you will find yourself wanting to do this every day.

I would agree with this. I have a 25km one-way commute and even in my best shape I only do it 3x per week. I'm completely bagged if I try and do it 5 days/wk

Fodder

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2015, 09:12:08 AM »
Yeah, that's a really long bike commute.  I'm about 15 miles from work - DH and I carpool in the morning and then I bus home.  My hope this summer is, ONE day a week, bring the bike in with us, and I'll bike home, but I'm slow and in....average-ish....shape, so I expect it will take me about an hour and a half.

I personally would be nervous about safety as well, if you don't have a good route to ride.  Make sure you get lights/something reflective so cars will see you. And WEAR A HELMET.

kendallf

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Re: How long is a long bike commute?
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2015, 09:29:00 AM »
I currently have a 15 mile (one way) commute, and for years I had a ~20 mile one way commute.  I did 2-3 days a week for many years.  As somebody mentioned above, I'm a cyclist who basically used the rides as free training. 

Ironically, now that I have a shorter commute, I am not riding in very much because I'm also working on my old house (20 miles away) after my normal job and often need to carry tools and supplies, as well as go home afterwards, which is another 20 miles.  I miss my riding commute and hope to get back to it when the house is done and sold.

There are a bunch of cycling equipment threads on this board, so I won't recap all of that advice.  For 15 miles I would definitely try to find a road bike (an older steel frame bike would be great) and make sure you have excellent lights -- USB rechargeable ones are fairly inexpensive now. 

Good luck!