Author Topic: Tell me your commuting stories  (Read 4088 times)

carloco

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Tell me your commuting stories
« on: December 04, 2013, 06:52:13 PM »
For the past few years I have been toiling with the idea of commuting by bike.  I have several reasons why it may not work.  One of them was, that there is a possibility that I get transferred for the day to another location.  Thus, I would have to transport several large boxes with me.  For a couple a years I tried to solve that issue by looking for a BOB trailer used on CL or eBay, etc... Or convert my bike to an extracycle.  I solved that issue by volunteering for transfers ahead of schedule.  The other issue that set me back for a while was the routing.  I tried riding a day as a test and in part of it I would have to ride on a 55 mph road with little shoulder.  On my test ride a dump truck passed and almost blew me off the road.  Then, after much looking and studying google maps I was able to construct a fairly safe route.  I biked that route early in the morning last fall when it was still dark outside and bought a very nice german headlight for the trip. 
The only thing that is holding me back is that the trip is 22 miles.  I would have to leave the house around 5am to be at work around 6:30am.  That's early.  There are a couple of great advantages.  I leave for home the next day around 6:30am.  And I arrive refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
I don't know why I'm having difficulty with this arrangement.  I used to bike to work to a different job.  But the commute wasn't as early and it was about 35 min.
I thought if I hear some stories I may get the kick in the butt I need to be a badass also.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 05:02:39 AM by carloco »

nikki

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2013, 07:05:08 PM »
Well, I commute using my feet, not a bike, so maybe this isn't as relevant.

It takes me about 7-10 minutes walking from my apartment to the school I work at. It's pretty awesome. Except when it isn't...

It rarely snows where I live, but last year it surely did. It wouldn't have been so bad if there was sand on pedestrian pathways for students and walking-faculty; there *wasn't*. South Korea is 70% mountainous and hilly almost everywhere, so this made for some rather interesting walking. Students ran, fell, got up, ran more, fell more, and had a blast. But I--trying to retain some sense of teacherly dignity--was petrified and walked gingerly with side-steps to make it up the ice-covered hills. I didn't fall, although I almost did a few times.

It probably took me 20 minutes to get to work those icy days.

This winter is meant to be colder. I hope that doesn't mean more slipping and sliding in my future :-(

(PS: I'm from Texas, and I'd never had to walk up an icy hill before.)

Argyle

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2013, 07:49:48 PM »
Ugh.  Your situation scares me, Carloco.  I bike to work, but it's ten minutes along a quiet street.

Maybe the answer is to move closer to work?

carloco

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 05:06:30 AM »
We have an opportunity to request transfers in January/February.  I will to a closer location near where I live.  The 4 years I have been assigned to that other location it has cost me about 5K miles and about $800 a year. 

TrMama

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2013, 12:43:41 PM »
22 miles is pretty far. I'd also work on moving closer. In the mean time:

1. Make sure you're riding a road bike or fast hybrid. Anything with skinny 700c tires will be faster (with less effort) than anything with fat, grippy tires.

2. Drive part of the way and ride the rest. This may require getting a bike rack for your car, but it really isn't as much of a PITA as it sounds. I did this last summer when I needed to drive my kids 5km to summer camp, then bike from camp to work. Everyone was in awe, but loading/unloading the bike only took a minute per transfer. Hauling the kids by bike was way more effort and cost than it was worth.

3. Don't worry about bike commuting every work day. Start with once/week. Use the driving days to carry extra lunch/clothes/etc so you don't have to haul them on your bike.

As for commuting stories, I'm also hating dumptrucks right now. The last part of my commute includes a couple hundred metres of narrow road with no shoulder and no light that's currently being used by racing dumptrucks, pulling trailers. There's some sort of dredging operation going on in another part of town and the trucks are being routed along this road to the dump site.

Most of the drivers are courteous, but there's at least one guy who thinks his rig corners like a Ferrari. The truck allows me enough space, but the trailer gets way too close for comfort.

Of course, I have no idea what kind of driver is behind the wheel until it's too late. The result is that I get panicky every time I hear a dump truck behind me. Can't wait for the days to get longer so I don't have to deal with this in the dark anymore.

FIreDrill

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2013, 01:31:45 PM »
The Wife and I have a 40 mile round trip commute that we drive, very anti-mustachian.  At least we carpool though.  I hate the time spent driving but it doesn't seem feasible to move closer to work given our current situation.  I've run all the numbers and it's about the same cost if we were to move closer and pay higher rent.  I am hoping to be within biking distance to work whenever we move out of state but that's in the 5 year plan.

lifejoy

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2013, 02:16:47 PM »
These days I am walking to work and it takes about 45 min. each way. 35 if I'm really hustling! Oh, and it's about -30 to -40 celcius, so I'm pretty proud every time I head out the door :)

carloco

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2013, 06:34:15 PM »
I definitely going to start with the weekends when I don't have to be back before my son goes to school.
 

Paul der Krake

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2013, 07:24:08 PM »
Something that works well for longer commutes is to only do one leg per day. All you need is a bike rack, which doesn't cost much. You may even be able to pick it up for free from your local bike co-op like I did.

Example week:

Drive Monday morning with bike on back of car.
Leave car at work and bike home Monday evening and back to work on Tuesday morning after a good night's sleep.
Leave bike at work and drive home on Tuesday evening and back to work on Wednesday morning.
Bike home Wednesday night and to work Thursday morning.
Drive back with bike on rack Thursday evening.

It's now Friday. Depending on whether or not you need the car and/or the bike for the weekend, pick one of the following:
- drive both ways
- drive with bike on rack, bike home and leave car at work over the weekend
- embrace your office status of superhero (or nutjob, YMMV) and bike both ways. It's the weekend after all.

William

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 07:48:17 PM »
Remember your time is worth something.  I could save $45 a month living 10 miles from work but instead I have opted to live .5 miles from work.  Why?  Simply because it would take me just over an hour longer to get to work if I chose the $45/month cheaper option.  So if I get a part-time job which pays, say, a simple $10 per hour and I work that extra 2 hours each day I will have gained $400.  Then minus the $45 I would had had by living at the farther away place = $355 gained with the shorter commute.

carloco

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2013, 05:15:53 PM »
All these are great suggestions.  A big part of my apprehension has been the wake up time at 4:30 am to leave the house at 5 am.  Instead, I could just get up later and stroll out the house at 6:15.  Needless to say I am not a morning person. Back when I used to ride in all weather conditions, it was as quick for me to ride or drive because I had to park so far from the job.  Instead of looking for a place to park I could just ride right to the office.  Now, there is a big difference.  I have been looking at doing this for quite a while.  Part of the reason of not requesting a transfer is because I feel that I didn't conquer the challenge.  In reality 22 miles are not that bad.  I ride that regularly during the summer for exercise.  I tell myself that riding to work would satisfy my need for exercise and reduce car use.  But boy that 4:30 am wake is a bear.  Recently I read a story of these guys, these bike commuters in the NYC area that put my complaints to shame.  Some of these guys START their ride at 4:30am and ride longer and ride everyday. 
real badass.
I have a nice touring bike that I bought before I got married.  It has panniers and now it's equipped with a fancy german headlight. 
My job is only 10 days a month and we stay at the location.  For example, this Tuesday I start at 7 am and don't leave until Wednesday 7 am.  The next day would be Thursday.  The first week is every other day.  The second week is 3 days and the last week is only one day.   Then, we get a 5 day break before the next cycle.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 05:38:37 PM by carloco »

PindyStache

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2013, 06:44:31 PM »
You can do it! I pretty much bike commute 5 days a week @ 20 miles round trip. But then throw on doing daycare pick-up & drop-off about 60% of the time--which is 2.5 miles the opposite direction, so 30 round trip home-daycare-work-daycare-home. I'm actually sort of jealous that you can bike in earlier--I can't with daycare hours and that leads to being out at a busier car commuting time. My route is pretty good, but here in Minnesota we get all weather (100+ degree days and plenty of snowy/icy/subzero ones too). Several folks in the Cycling Challenge threads have longer commutes than I and do so by bike regularly.

Back-of-a-napkin you're saving $10+ a day by bike commuting ~22 miles. Soon it can just become the expectation! Especially with your schedule, your ratio of time on the bike to time at work is pretty good frankly!

yyc-phil

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2013, 01:46:50 PM »
It's "only" -28 today and I am still biking to work and to run errands, but while I've cycled through -40 temperatures in the past, today felt the coldest I ever felt and I almost gave up halfway and stopped at a local coffee shop to warm up in the lobby. My commute is only about 2 miles and takes 15 mn door-to-door which seems easy-peasy but I can tell you that today was painful as hell (I've been there and back so I know first-hand...) especially for my hands, breathing through my face mask was particularly difficult, and I arrived at my work completely exhausted as if I had been running 20 100-m sprint non-stop. I am not sure whether I will keep up with this commute. Yours in comparison looks like a worthwhile commute that will give you a lot of financial and non-financial rewards, so I really encourage you to take the plunge, but not literally...
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 01:49:33 PM by ykphil »

carloco

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2013, 02:18:32 PM »
YES, that's what I wanted to hear. 

EverlastingMeal

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Re: Tell me your commuting stories
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2013, 01:17:45 AM »
Get up. Walk to computer. Work at computer.