Author Topic: How long of a commute is too long?  (Read 5664 times)

ENL

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How long of a commute is too long?
« on: December 04, 2014, 08:40:52 AM »
First of all, let me ask this as a general question:  We all know that Mr. Money mustache recommends a short drive/bike/walk to work as a way to save money.  So, when considering where to live, what is the maximum distance a Mustachian should reasonably look?

Now, as a follow up:  in my particular situation we just had to relocate to an area where there are little to no resources for bikers (tons of traffic that drives stupidly, multi-lane roads everywhere, often no shoulders or sidewalks, stores spaced way out from each other) so our dream of going carless doesn't seem to be coming true anytime soon.  But I'd like to at least reduce our driving time, especially since there is a lot of traffic congestion around here.  The only reason for moving here was because living near family is our top priority while our kids are young.  My sister and brother-in-law are thinking about buying a duplex 20 minutes away from my husband's workplace and want us to live in the other side.  We are also looking for a place to live and I was trying to look for a place no more than a ten minute drive away, but no luck so far  in our price range.  And considering that the main reason for being here is to see family more, I feel like I should at least consider it.  Any thoughts on this?

skunkfunk

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2014, 08:45:05 AM »
Maximum commute is however far you can be and either take the bus or use an E-bike to commute. Ideally you can do it with a manual bike, but an ebike is a good compromise. I'd say a 15-20 mile commute in good weather is probably comfortable on a nice electric bicycle, though not having had one I can't say for sure.

Unless you're in Alabama. If  you are, then I'm sorry, we can't help you.

LibrarIan

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2014, 08:45:40 AM »
You could look into a few things. Could you drive somewhere close to work (or another destination you need to go) and then bike the rest of the way? Like, half and half? It would still save you gas.

Also, what's the public transportation setup like where you live? For example, I bike partway to work and then bus the rest. Despite having to buy monthly bus fare, I still save money over using a car (gas, mileage, wear/tear, parking, traffic frustration, etc.).

Anyone you can carpool with?

If I were to bike to work, it would take approximately one hour given traffic and non-interstate paths. But my biking/bussing takes about 25-35 minutes in total. This seems more reasonable to me.

ENL

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2014, 08:47:01 AM »
We live in Michigan, in one of the metro Detroit areas.  Biking to work will likely not be possible for safety reasons I mentioned in the OP, but I forgot to check bus routes.  I'll look into that.

ENL

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2014, 08:52:40 AM »
Also, what is wrong with Alabama?  lol

starguru

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2014, 08:54:00 AM »
Ive been working from home for the last 4 years.  Anything longer than "go downstairs to the basement" is too long for me :).

skunkfunk

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2014, 08:55:34 AM »
We live in Michigan, in one of the metro Detroit areas.  Biking to work will likely not be possible for safety reasons I mentioned in the OP, but I forgot to check bus routes.  I'll look into that.

You can go pretty damn fast on a homemade e-bike - my biggest traffic problem in my non-bike-friendly city is people getting upset when I'm climbing hills. They like to honk and yell when I'm rolling up a tough one-lane hill at 10 mph. If I were going 30+ they would shut up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_Detroit

According to those guys, that's a great place to cycle.

Also, what is wrong with Alabama?  lol

Well the anecdote I was thinking of is actually kentucky - http://www.kentucky.com/2014/05/01/3222461/woman-biking-daily-to-lexington.html

That said, by all accounts Alabama is ridiculously anti-bicycling. It's consistently ranked the most dangerous state for it.

ENL

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2014, 08:59:26 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_Detroit

According to those guys, that's a great place to cycle.


That's neat, though we are not living in the city, rather in one of the surrounding areas.  We need a place in the Clinton Township / Chesterfield area.

skunkfunk

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2014, 09:06:52 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_Detroit

According to those guys, that's a great place to cycle.


That's neat, though we are not living in the city, rather in one of the surrounding areas.  We need a place in the Clinton Township / Chesterfield area.

Can you find a route on non-main-roads? I've been surprised how I can get most places in OKC with barely touching the main roads. I go through plenty of low-income neighborhoods where they think I should be on the sidewalk or going the wrong way or not in a lane, but at least the speed limit is low.

ENL

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2014, 09:16:42 AM »
Can you find a route on non-main-roads? I've been surprised how I can get most places in OKC with barely touching the main roads. I go through plenty of low-income neighborhoods where they think I should be on the sidewalk or going the wrong way or not in a lane, but at least the speed limit is low.

To get to his workplace, I'm pretty sure no. It is *on* one of said main roads and also on the same side as a huge airport (so no nearby houses).  We might be able to find something that is at least a short drive to his work and bikable to grocery shopping and other errands if we are really picky.  The main roads box you in fairly quickly here so we only have a few blocks to work with, but we haven't given up on it yet.

Edit: I'd also like to note that I'm still not super familiar with the area so it is possible that I am overstating the problem and would be able to find a better route once I get more familiar with the layout of the area.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 09:24:23 AM by Evil Number Lady »

catccc

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2014, 09:26:50 AM »
I have a long commute.  20 miles one way.  I gave up a 10 mile commute for this.  And it is worth every penny/mile.  It depends on your situation.  I love my town and I'm unwilling to move closer to work, but I love my new job and it is superior to the old, closer job in many many many ways.  Sometimes the numbers go up against benefits that cannot be easily quantified.  So make your best call.

eldred

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2014, 01:07:38 PM »

[/quote]

You can go pretty damn fast on a homemade e-bike - my biggest traffic problem in my non-bike-friendly city is people getting upset when I'm climbing hills. They like to honk and yell when I'm rolling up a tough one-lane hill at 10 mph. If I were going 30+ they would shut up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_Detroit

According to those guys, that's a great place to cycle.


[/quote]

I have my doubts.  Woodward is NEVER as empty during rush hour as depicted...<g>

Beric01

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2014, 01:36:33 PM »
No more than 15-20 minutes or I'd consider moving. However, I bike to work and so it doesn't cost me to commute, so technically if I could rind cheaper rent further away, I would be willing to have a longer commute. My current comfortable biking distance is about 10 miles.

SporeSpawn

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2014, 02:00:17 PM »
Also, what is wrong with Alabama?  lol

Well the anecdote I was thinking of is actually kentucky - http://www.kentucky.com/2014/05/01/3222461/woman-biking-daily-to-lexington.html

That said, by all accounts Alabama is ridiculously anti-bicycling. It's consistently ranked the most dangerous state for it.

Alabama is INSANELY anti-bicycling. In my area, even ONE mile is considered a dangerous commute by bike. How dangerous? People would rather walk five miles than bike one here. Or, in general, people would rather walk anywhere than bike one mile here. Alabama's non-automobile transit is, for the most part, so atrophied, I'm (not) surprised we're not pioneers in automobile development and safety.

Anyway, as other's have said, a commute is too long if it can't be done by bike, transit, or car pool. That's the short of it. Otherwise, you'll just have to do the math and decide if you're willing to pay the cost in gas/time/environment/whatever.

iamadummy

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2014, 02:11:14 PM »
moving is not always an option if job hopping or contracting.  you really can't move every 6 month gig.

cranilation

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2014, 02:45:04 PM »
So, for the past year, I drove a 50 minute (sans snow) commute each way, from door to desk. 

All the time, I told myself "man, i would LOVE to have a 50 minute WALK instead of DRIVE.  I would LOVE that!"

aaaaaand guess what happened.  I just got a new job about a 50 minute walk / 15 minute drive away.

how about that. 

now I have to ask myself ... how lazy am I, really?

skunkfunk

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2014, 03:00:06 PM »
moving is not always an option if job hopping or contracting.  you really can't move every 6 month gig.

That's an acceptable tradeoff. If you make a bunch more money that way so be it, but if you work in one spot don't kid yourself.

mozar

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Re: How long of a commute is too long?
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2014, 05:24:44 PM »
It also depends on your long terms goals (FIRE, kids). I live 10 miles from my job, but it takes me an hour on the bus/metro. Driving is unbearable. I prefer to live in the suburbs because of the school system. If I was going to work until 65 I would probably move downtown (and be miserable).