Author Topic: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?  (Read 32922 times)

RadicalPersonalFinance

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how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« on: October 08, 2012, 02:55:17 PM »
Question: how long would it take someone who is a semi-experienced commuter to bicycle about 11 to 13 miles over flat terrain but through the city?

I live in South Florida (so the terrain is completely flat) and am considering how feasible it is for me to bicycle to work from time to time.  I have no idea how long it should take to bicycle that amount of time. I don't currently have a commuting bicycle--just a beach cruiser--so I don't know what a reasonable speed is to estimate.

We currently live about a 1.5 miles from my wife's job, so she rides her bike most days and I drive the 15 minute commute. 

I do have some other challenges to fix too:
-I wear a shirt and tie every day.
-I often have to leave my office and travel to clients during the day.
-I live in Florida. High temperatures plus high humidity equals mucho sweat.
-No shower at work.
-No gym facilities nearby.
-I don't have a fast bicycle.

Guardian

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 03:18:50 PM »
I cannot speak as much on the amount of time it will take - but here's some ideas.

I bike 4miles each way to work in sunny Arizona - also nearly 100% flat and it takes me 14-18mins each way, including stop lights/turns. I ride a Trek 820 Men's 26in MTN Bicycle. Comes out to about 4min/mile. 11miles would then be about 44-50mins, and 13miles would then be about 52-58mins each way. Feasible on a faster bicycle.

Can you leave clean clothes at work? I don't have a shower but I do have desk drawers where I can leave some of my clothing for easier transport. Try to think outside the box here, even if you're only biking to work 2-4 days a week and driving for 1.

Best wishes.

bo_knows

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2012, 03:33:43 PM »
I used to bike ~14mi on 1/3 streets, 2/3 paved trail.  It took about 1hr and 10mins. 

I will say this: I think it will be very difficult to not arrive at work as sweaty mess.  However, do you have a bus line near your house? You can always use the bus to get you 1/2 the way or more, as long as the bus has a bike rack on the front.  Also, make sure to pedal leisurely, not hard.

Some people will tell you that you don't have to shower, and that you just need a wipe-down. I think this is a personal preference.  On my 14mi commute, I don't think I could have lived with myself sitting in my own stench like that.  Though, I would push it to get to work fast.

jrhampt

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2012, 05:02:48 PM »
My avg speed is about 15 miles per hour, so I'd expect it to take about 50 minutes.

RadicalPersonalFinance

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2012, 05:53:37 PM »
This is really helpful info.  I appreciate the ideas!

50 to 70 minutes is about what I thought based on other comments that I read.  And that's what Google Maps estimates for a bicycle trip.

@bo_knows That's actually a good idea.  There is a bus stop very close to my house and it would drop me off extremely close to my office.  I've never in my life taken the bus in my hometown, so I'd have to test it out.  Based on their schedule, it seems like it would take about an hour on the bus one way.  I have to compare that to a reliably 15-minute commute.  But I could ride my cruiser to the bus, hop on, and then ride from the final bus stop to my office quite easily. 

The route that I drive is 12.6 miles.  Using the IRS mileage allowance numbers, that would come to $7.40 one way of driving costs. The bus ticket would cost $1.50.  So, using round trip numbers it costs me $14.80 vs. $3.00 per day for a total daily savings of $11.80.

I wouldn't be able to use the bus each day because there are days when I have meetings outside of the office that I have to drive to, but let's pretend that I could adjust my schedule and ride the bus 18 days per month.  That would be a total savings of $212 per month.

This option would also allow me to keep my current bicycle without having to purchase a new non-cruiser.

Hmmm...is it worth being on the bus for 2 hours per day vs. 30 minutes in the car?  Perhaps if I put the time to good use studying/reading/working.  I have plenty of things that I could study.

Then I would have to compare that to the time/exercise potential of riding a bike.

@Jason I could leave clean clothes at work.  That's about the only way I think it could be made to work.  I can't come up with any other way to make it happen.

Prof Penny Pincher

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 07:10:08 AM »
The bus sounds ideal. Remember that you can be productive during that time so it isn't fair to compare it directly to driving. Could you drive in and leave your car at work during the week? That way you have it if needed and can drive home on Friday.

bo_knows

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 07:36:37 AM »
Hmmm...is it worth being on the bus for 2 hours per day vs. 30 minutes in the car?  Perhaps if I put the time to good use studying/reading/working.  I have plenty of things that I could study.

Then I would have to compare that to the time/exercise potential of riding a bike.


This is what it boils down to it seems.  My commute is actually similar to yours, except that there are no good bus routes to my office.  I could bus part of the way, then ride part of the way, but I currently work 4 10hr days to get Friday's off. The extra 1.5hrs on each side of the commute would completely ruin my working days for me.  It's just not worth it to me.   If I were on a 5 day schedule... it'd be a harder decision.

sheepstache

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2012, 07:58:54 AM »
I feel like you can do a modified version of bike commuting no problem.

In addition to the other good advice already given:

Doublecheck your route.  You may find a more pleasant or even shorter route.  For example it's inconvenient (and kind of rude) to take shortcuts through a residential area in a car, but not necessarily by bike. 

Are you sure sweating will be such a problem in the morning?  Sometimes when the big giant burning thing hasn't been in the sky for as long, it's cooler.  And you're leaving 45 minutes earlier than you normally would.  You might even try coming in to work an hour early to get more done and to beat the heat.

If you do bring extra clothes, you can drive in Monday morning with a week's worth, then you don't have to carry as much on the bike. 

Don't forget to bring extra snacks.  Particularly when you first start, the ride will make you hungry.

Definitely think about your options with biking some days and driving others and think about juggling whether the car or bike stays at work.  Since you have a long ride and it takes a little while to build up endurance, it's great to have options like biking in in the morning, taking the bus home at night, taking the bus in the next morning, riding the bike home that night, etc.  So you don't burn out biking 24 miles a day right away.  Along the same lines, I would give yourself plenty of time to bike in the mornings.  Nothing ruins a nice ride like having to push yourself to go faster, plus that will help with sweating (eventually you'll get competitive with yourself about how fast you can make the trip and that will make you a stronger rider, but that's different)

Personally I would stick to the cruiser at first.  That way you're not out any money just for trying and you get a feel for what you would really want in a bike.  Of if you already know what you want, for a good deal to come up on Craigslist.

Good luck!

Bakari

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2012, 11:51:59 AM »
Too many variables:  headwind or tailwind? basically flat - but imperceptible grade positive or negative?  how many stoplights?  how many stopsigns?  how heavy is the bike?  how heavy are you?  etc etc

Given the distance - and all the variables I listed - anything from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours is totally realistic, and that is a very big range.

Best way to get a good answer, and not someone's guess, is just do it, on the weekend when there is no time pressure.
Take a stop watch, and whatever answer you get, add 5-10 minutes for unexpected stuff.
There is always unexpected stuff.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 04:14:58 PM by Bakari »

KingCoin

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2012, 09:05:41 AM »
Seems like you'd be a good candidate for a scooter.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/19/guest-posting-get-rich-with-scooters/
At 30mph, you'll be cutting down the commute to something more reasonable, and the sweat situation will be largely alleviated.

Posthumane

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2012, 09:49:03 AM »
I agree with Bakari about just timing it yourself, as there are many things you don't notice about the route when driving a car. I live in the prairies, which everyone thinks of as being pool table flat when they drive a car, but even a 0.5% slope can make a significant difference. Where I live we have a strong prevalence for westerly winds, and when I bike east to the city I live next to it is slightly downhill (about 0.5% - 1%). These two factors combined make my average speed usually over 30km/h on the way to the city, and sometime less than 20km/h on the way back when I'm tired.

Taking a look around for various route options is a good idea, as sometimes the alternatives are not obvious when driving. To use my own riding as an example again, I used to think that taking the highway was the shortest route from my house to my GF's work rather than snaking through the city, but after some fiddling on Google Maps I found going through low speed residential areas was actually the same distance.

I wrote a short post recently about choosing the right vehicle for getting somewhere, highlighting an example route where biking could actually be significantly faster than driving with the right route choice (http://gettingaroundcanada.blogspot.ca/2012/09/choosing-your-weapon-er-vehicle.html).

RadicalPersonalFinance

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2012, 12:42:51 PM »
Seems like you'd be a good candidate for a scooter.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/19/guest-posting-get-rich-with-scooters/
At 30mph, you'll be cutting down the commute to something more reasonable, and the sweat situation will be largely alleviated.

That's what I thought as well.  I put it into the decision spreadsheet!

Rev

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2012, 01:13:56 PM »
In terms of sweat, you might consider keeping handy wipes and deodorant at work as well as your clothes. I used to bike seven miles to work, and that was my solution.

HumanAfterAll

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2012, 03:46:21 PM »
An electric bike will get you there faster than a bicycle with less sweat.  It can be faster than a car or scooter if traffic is bad.  I pass hundreds of cars every morning on my e-bike :)

desrever

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Re: how long would it take to bike 11 to 13 miles?
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012, 10:27:20 AM »
+1 to practicing on a day off. Just do it! Riding bikes is super fun. Don't forget to oil your chain (so easy!) and inflate your tires.

If you're trying to bike in a sweat-minimizing way, avoid carrying a backpack. You'll feel much cooler with airflow over your back. It took me a few months of bike commuting before I learned that trick. Some kind of rear basket is swell. You can get a cheap bike rack and google for "milk crate bike rack". Much more efficient to get the weight off your body. But you don't need to solve this for your first ride. You have everything you need. Just go.