Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => On The Road => Topic started by: Frenchie on July 29, 2009, 08:37:14 pm

Title: "Long" commutes
Post by: Frenchie on July 29, 2009, 08:37:14 pm
Earlier in the month I started commuting short of 35 Mi a day; I'm sure someone will be coming here soon to say they do a lot more, but for me that seems a decent commute! This takes me between 55 and 65+ min. to cover each way. Even tired I manage it okay (sometimes on Autopilot I have to say), and enjoy the evening rides in particular; but I do feel tiredness building up, probably as a result of an early start, 6:45 too, and, for sure, the sudden increase in mileage (225 Mi last week). I try to feed myself better during the day and go to bed earlier. What I need to learn maybe is to pace myself and slow down a bit. On the moment, over less than an hour, I tend to push myself and/or maintain a good pace and I suspect this is what is affecting me. How do the other big commuters do? I'd like to hear about your experience and your tips, including for the autumn and winter months please! What about food and recovery?
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: PrettyBoyTim on July 29, 2009, 09:20:00 pm
I'm no expert on this stuff but surely that's going to require a fair bit of extra food to keep you going? Are you eating much more than usual?
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: GruB on July 29, 2009, 09:27:03 pm
Porridge for me in the morning.  Although with my special diet I am not one to talk really.
Listen to your body and take a chill pill on the way home sometimes.  I do.
Sometimes I fall alseep when Thursdays come, while sitting down in a chair at night.
I find coffee helps a lot.  ;D ;D
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: pdm on July 29, 2009, 11:33:25 pm
Yup, it is a decent commute and about as long as needed, though time is the main factor rather then distance, IMHO.
Although not a "BIG" commuter by the standards of some on here, I do 35 miles (55km) a day, climbing 2720 ft (830m)
Times vary between an all time best of 1h58 and 2h30, but usually clocking in at around 2h15 or so for the round trip. Times depend on time of week, energy levels, time of year, bike used, amount of carbo on board and, most important, wind direction and strength....
With a full days work as well, tiredness certainly does set in towards the end of the week.
I usually have a some breakfast (cerial or maize porridge), leave at 07:30, take along lots of fruit for elevenses, usually have a sandwich for lunch and a meal when I get home about 18:45.
Winter? Things tend to slow down a bit then. I would recommend a dynohub (I use Schmidt hubs) and a decent LED light with a spare battery LED light as backup, at least two rear LEDS. Very puncture resistant tyres are a good thing (it is hell fiddling with tyre levers in howling sleet in the Penines - I use Marathon+ and Marathon Supremes). For clothing, I use one, 2 or 3 layers depending on forecast temperatures choosing from a Merino base layer, winter training jacket and waterproof jacket (softshell or paclite). Leg warmers, water repellent bib longs and rainlegs over bib shorts as needed. Overshoes - for the very cold, I use two pairs, one neoprene and one lightweight waterproof. Headwear depends on mood and temperature as well. A buff or cap for cool months, plus a h*lmet with h*elmet cover for the very cold or wet. Gloves range from full finger Specialised body geometry though to Sealskinz to inner+outer winter gloves for the very cold though I find my hands don't get that cold usually.
Good luck and enjoy the ride!  :)
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Frenchie on July 30, 2009, 08:45:23 am
My ride is mainly flat with only about three "small" bumps into it, but the wind can be tough on part of the course especially in the morning. I ride my Pompino (69'' gear) with Dynamo hub but am thinking I may be getting something a bit more powerful (light) at the front. I plan two rear LEDs including a TL1000. I think I will need to get some more kit (base layers, better shoes and show cover, as well as another water repellent long) for the winter.

I am up at 6:10 and usually riding by 6:45 to be in the shower at work at 7:45 and at my desk for 8:00. It feels like a military operation. I typically leave work at 17:30 to 17:45 at the moment. It makes for long days come the end of the week. Maybe I should take it easy at the WE in terms of bike ride.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: iakobski on July 30, 2009, 09:11:06 am
I do about the same as you - I think it's a good distance, long enough to get a decent ride but short enough so it doesn't get to be a drag. If you throw yourself straight into five days a week, then your body will start to complain/fatigue by the later part of the week, and it's good to leave it to recover over the weekend. After a few weeks it just becomes normal and it's just part of the day, recovery not really needed unless you start pushing it (PBs, intervals, etc).

Through the winter, agree with pdm: decent tyres, hub dynamo, backup lights, lots of reflectives. Fixed is good too, from the reliability perspective. I don't go overboard with the clothing: good gloves goes without saying, but otherwise 1 hour is not really long enough to cause any problems. I have a good waterproof but wear it about once a year (handy to put on if stopped for a puncture). Otherwise I go to 3/4 lengths and double top if very cold. A foska winter top is too much unless below 2 degrees.

As for eating loads - I made the mistake when I started of thinking I could just eat what I wanted and actually put on weight! Now it's a cup of coffee before I leave @ 6:25 and an extra snack in the afternoon ready for the evening ride.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: vorsprung on July 30, 2009, 09:23:38 am
At the moment I just do a "normal" commute of 15 miles each way

But a couple of years ago I was working on the other side of Exmoor.  I couldn't do the bike ride every day, it took too long.  It was a 70 mile round trip, I'd leave just after 6am and get there at 8:45am usually.  The fastest ever time was coming back with a blazing tailwind in an hour and a half.

Food wise I remember making an extra breakfast of microwave porridge at work, eating whole malt loaves and stuff like that.

It was a splendid route though, my memories of this time include a big rainbow across the road.

I agree that marathon plus are the ideal commute tyre.  A bit slow and heavy but reliable
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on July 30, 2009, 09:27:30 am
I wouldn't like to ride more than an hour each way, which for me means 20km in a city.  And that suits me very well.  I might go further out of town, but I'd have to up my speed to manage it.

Agree on the basics:  Safe storage both ends for the bike; p*nct*re resistant tyres; good lights (inc back up); basic tools inc replacement tubes & chain tool (honest!).  Consider carrying spare beake blocks if your commute is hilly.  Somewhere discreet to fettle the bike at work helps.

Oh - and be prepared to use another bike sometimes.  The mileage you're putting on your machine in crappy weather soon mounts up, and there's a chance it will be U/S once in a while.

For tyres, I would go for Panaracer Pasela Tourguard, but Marathon Plus are excellent too.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Simon Galgut on July 30, 2009, 09:56:13 am
Pretty much the same as others have said. Commute 50 miles per day, every day. Mainly flat, but a few little hills.

I use an Amazon Rohloff with a SON hub, Marathon Supremes. Home built dynamo lighting system with LED backups. Various Carradice saddle bags on SQR and a bar bag if necessary. Totally reliable. Spare bike is a Singular Peregrine with gears and SQR - already fitted with Nokian Hakkapeliita studded tyres in winter.

I carry two tubes, patches, tyre boot, multi tool including chain tool and T20 torx, tyre levers and a spare piece of chain. Never needed any of it except a tube once per year.

Clothing to suit conditions from lightweight top to Assos gator (lower than -10 only ) Best peice of warm kit is a thinsulate lined 'Benny hat' - obviously no use if you insist on wearing a plastic hat. Specialized winter gloves for extreme cold, but normally Assos thermax in winter.

I don't eat at all in the morning (makes me feel sick), but carry a litre of PSP22. Again, don't eat within 3 hours of going home.

Normally pootle into work, always the same route, average about 17mph. Take various routes home and vary effort according to how the body feels. Fall asleep in front of the tv about 8:30pm - there's nothing good on anyway !
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on July 30, 2009, 10:01:20 am
Gosh, that's a long way to ride on a regular basis without breakfast!  But hey - you're several thousand kilometres a year more experienced than me, so I'll stand back and be amazed.  As for me, I have breakfast - always coffee and either three slices of toast & honey, a bowl of cereal or, when I haven't been a lazy arse lying about in bed, porridge with honey.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: CommuteTooFar on July 30, 2009, 10:14:52 am
I have been commuting 16 miles each way since 2001 up from 11 miles before that.  My bike was perfect for the old commute but I would prefer drop handlebars on the current ride.  It was intended to be bomb proof. I tossed a coin and opted for Rohloff gears rather than fixed. An essential component of Winter commuting is no midweek maintenance. You leave and get home in the dark knackered.  This makes derailleur gears a no-no.  Similalrly you need brakes that work even when the weather is horrible. The pads on dual pivots or v-brakes will often fail to stop you or disolve completely in that special rain/sleet/mud mix.  I use Hope Mini hydraulic disc brakes. I use Conti Contacts year round, reliable. The commute has regualrly destroyed headset, bottom brackets, forks, seat posts, disc brakes, saddles,  as well as the more usual consumables.

In the winter I must vary my route.  Some sections would be lethal when ice is about so I need to use the 'bus' routes that are gritted. Even lanes which are okay on a club run at the weekend around 10am are ice tracks at 7.30. Overall I am fortunate I live in South Wales so the Winter is not normally very cold for long. It is wetter than Eastern England. Another Winter hazard is car driving is worse.  There are a lot of tired, angry drivers in steamed up boxes.

I am sad to stay I have put on weight and lost speed as time passed.  My eyes are definitely bigger than my belly now. Must have more discipline. The other undesirable problem is lack of appetite to do anything at the weekend.  In particular getting up early to do a November Audax on Satruday is impossible. You will really enjoy a lie in.
 
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on July 30, 2009, 10:29:25 am
There's another side effect:  Watching the miles mount up on Bikejournal without having to worry about 'finding time to ride' is very gratifying :)
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Wendy on July 30, 2009, 10:34:30 am
I'm on a 43m round trip commute, so about the same sort of distance.  The main difference and the bit I struggle with is that I'm also doing a physical job at the other end (skate instructor), and look after our baby during the week daytime.  I find I really have to be careful to not ride hard, because if I cane it one day, I'm usually suffering for it for a week afterwards with extra sore muscles, and loads of tiredness.  Most of the time I'm simmering away in the edge of overtraining.

Things that work for me are:
Afternoon naps during the week.  My body likes 1.5hours at a time.  Luckily I'm in a position to be able to do this.
SiS ReGo (carb+protein recovery drink) when I get home at night.
Being careful to eat well and often.
Being careful with drinking enough.
SiS Go or PSP22 in a bottle on the way there and also on the way back.
Riding a fast recumbent - lazy riding reduces the amount of work I have to do a lot compared with my fixed.
Having Mondays and Fridays off, and working Tues/Weds/Thurs and the weekends.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Dinamo on July 30, 2009, 10:37:49 am
I commute 14 miles each way from NE Bristol to SW Bristol. The route is well lit apart from track under M5. Using Cateye 500 front light running on rechargeables. Ride single speed Giant Bowery or Dawes Horizon if weather inclement !
The route is fairly flat with only one steep hill, although crossing the Avon Bridge can be tricky in high winds  :o.
In the early mornings (4:30)  a coffee and a couple of fig rolls normally power me along.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Blah on July 30, 2009, 10:55:10 am
I've been doing a 32 mile round trip between Bath and Bristol for 3 years now. I've recently clocked that going slower makes for a not so tired Blah come the end of the week. Times vary between 45mins (on TT bike) to 1:10 (knackered headwind on fixer in the dark).

I find that I'm more knackered if I use the fixed 5 days in a row. I got a Ribble Audax recently which is absolutely brilliant. I try and stick to an average of 17mph (as opposed to 20mph) some of the time, especially if I feel that pushing it isn't feeling right. It's amazing how much less sleep you need if you're not caning it.

I usually get up at 6:30, if young Blah doesn't wake us up earlier and a quick cup of tea later on the bike around 7 to be at work just after 8. I 'cool down' in my lycra at my desk for a few minutes then a quick freshen up with a wet wipe*, some deo and work clothes - we don't have a shower at work. I've asked my colleagues to please be honest if any BO issues might crop up but haven't had any complaints yet.

In terms of food, banana with dorset cereal and extra nuts for breakfast when I arrive at work, normal lunch (although my colleagues seem to think the portions are on the large side  ;)), and sometimes a snack before setting off at 5. Again, going a bit slower means you need less food. I've found that even though I don't feel like I need to drink, if I take half a liter of water it reduces knackeredness.

* Wet wipe: This might be too much information, but I've found that my main issue is the nether region, chafing and saddle sores. Currently it's wet wipe, Assos chammy cream and using different bikes (with different saddles) some days of the week that seem to work for me.

Make sure you keep enjoying it, I particularly love cycling past big queues in the rain.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Frenchie on July 30, 2009, 11:01:52 am
I use Conti Contacts on the Pompino.

I am a bit concerned about the coolest part of winter as I do use some country lanes, and know that I will get nervous if there is the risk of ice; I may need to stick to the busy road into/through town then.  :-\

Yep, must remember to hang on when I feel fresh and the flat route is favourable; on fixed, keeping a high tempo means a high cadence and this could be what is tiring.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on July 30, 2009, 11:09:52 am
To keep it fresh, it's worth setting intermediate informal targets.

I try en route to:

Reach Tooting Bec within half an hour

Not drop below 20kph on Balham Hill, even if going from a standing start at the lights.

Exceed 40kph somewhere on the road

Hit 30kph in the last short straight.

Not impressive for most riders, but enough to keep me active & interested (& keeping pedalling).

Depending on your environment, it's also fun counting the bikes you pass/are passed by.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: TheLurker on July 30, 2009, 11:42:55 am
<snip>
I am a bit concerned about the coolest part of winter as I do use some country lanes, and know that I will get nervous if there is the risk of ice; I may need to stick to the busy road into/through town then.  :-\
Yeah, you will need an alternative gritted/busy* route.  My preferred route has 10 miles of unclassified then 4 on the A417.  You'll usually be OK if the weather's dry - obviously; Dec. last year was amazingly good - sub zero temps but bone dry roads. Which might be why I got suckered into the preferred route resulting in a pratfall and hike back in Jan.

You might also have to think about setting off a bit later some mornings give the roads a chance to thaw.

*Busy helps if it's been frosty but not icy, the ICE types clear the frost off for you.  
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: TheLurker on July 30, 2009, 11:55:35 am
<snip>
An essential component of Winter commuting is no midweek maintenance. You leave and get home in the dark knackered.  This makes derailleur gears a no-no.  Similalrly you need brakes that work even when the weather is horrible. The pads on dual pivots or v-brakes will often fail to stop you or disolve completely in that special rain/sleet/mud mix.
</snip> 
Are the roads around your neck of the woods particularly crap covered and/or hilly?

My cranky old grid is fitted with Tiagra 9 spd and tektra dual pivot brakes and I use it year round on a 28 mile (plus whatever can be fitted in at lunchtime) round trip and have had no probs. stopping nor any need for midweek maintenance.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Blah on July 30, 2009, 12:15:19 pm
Yep, must remember to hang on when I feel fresh and the flat route is favourable; on fixed, keeping a high tempo means a high cadence and this could be what is tiring.

I personally find a spinny gear less tiring, but horses for courses I suspect. I use 65", but part of that is living on top of gert big hill in Bath.

I know this is heresy for you but might I suggest a geared bike. It means you can find that 'sweet spot' gear that has you effortlessly spinning along whatever the wind or your energy levels are doing.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on July 30, 2009, 12:20:48 pm
True.  'Friday gears' are a recognised phenomenon.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: rae on July 30, 2009, 12:33:13 pm
I used to do Maidenhead <-> London, 32miles each way.   Some thoughts:

1) It does knock the stuffing out of you.   I wasn't much use at work on Friday when I was doing it every day. 

2) On reliability - I just had two bikes.  If one broke, I used the other until the weekend.

3) You need bail out points - I had 4, and approaching each one I did a mental and physical check before going on.   Some mornings it just mentally doesn't work. 

4) Winter is grim.  I've done 32 miles in the dark, and while I learnt to deal with the cold, it was never fun.  For 15 you're probably fine, but you're verging on the point where a daily commute is more of a mental battle than a physical one in the winter.

5) I couldn't do breakfast either.   In the mornings I hopped on the bike with a litre of squash, then had a proper breakfast at work.   In the evenings, I ate well.  If I was hungry at any time, I just ate. 
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: pdm on July 30, 2009, 12:59:46 pm
One thing I have forgotten to mention and others have intimated is that you do need to set up a bike bits budget to cope with wear and tear induced by this sort of annual mileage....
I find than I get through a couple of chains, a cassette and a tyre as a minimum every year. I tend to renew the cassette in the spring and then ride it and the last chain to death in the wet and salt of the following winter. Pedal bearings, chainring, a wheel and brake/gear cables every other year. Bottom bracket and headset every 3-4 years or so.
My "winter" commuter (VN Amazon) has ceramic rims and matching blocks which resist wear very well but I suspect the long term outlay would not be much different given the larger initial expense of ceramic rims versus more frequent replacement for standard rims. Standard rims lasted 2-3 years.
I think I will take a leaf out of Simon's book and get a Rohloff next time.
Ice and snow - they slow me down but have not yet prevented the commute. Outright snow is fun and those days are some of the few when I am often the only person to make it in to work without too much delay. Ice on dirt is no problem. Black ice on tarmac is, however, and all you can do is try to read the road and attempt to avoid it. I have considered getting a hardtail MTB with studded tyres but cannot justify the expense for the very few days it would be needed.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on July 30, 2009, 01:17:15 pm
One thing I have forgotten to mention and others have intimated is that you do need to set up a bike bits budget to cope with wear and tear induced by this sort of annual mileage....
I find than I get through a couple of chains, a cassette and a tyre as a minimum every year. I tend to renew the cassette in the spring and then ride it and the last chain to death in the wet and salt of the following winter. Pedal bearings, chainring, a wheel and brake/gear cables every other year. Bottom bracket and headset every 3-4 years or so.

Very prudent.  I wish my cashflow were organised enough for me to be so organised.

Quote
I think I will take a leaf out of Simon's book and get a Rohloff next time.

I have been thinking about this one, and I like the idea of minimising the gubbins exposed to the elements.   I intend to set my commuter up so that I can run two rear wheels by choice: Fixed (or S3X) and Rohloff/SRAM iMotion 9.  My only issue is that I remember the 3x7 I had borrowed last January not changing in the worst of the cold.  Although I never had that problem with my Sachs 2x6 orbit...
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: CommuteTooFar on July 30, 2009, 01:18:33 pm
<snip>
An essential component of Winter commuting is no midweek maintenance. You leave and get home in the dark knackered.  This makes derailleur gears a no-no.  Similalrly you need brakes that work even when the weather is horrible. The pads on dual pivots or v-brakes will often fail to stop you or disolve completely in that special rain/sleet/mud mix.
</snip> 
Are the roads around your neck of the woods particularly crap covered and/or hilly?

My cranky old grid is fitted with Tiagra 9 spd and tektra dual pivot brakes and I use it year round on a 28 mile (plus whatever can be fitted in at lunchtime) round trip and have had no probs. stopping nor any need for midweek maintenance.

Not always mucky. Mostly poorly maintained A roads.  Occasionally water will run off a field bringing god knows what with it.  There are the occasional blocked drains. First thing in the morning the council or whoever has not had time to fix the fixable problems.

Not particularly hilly. If I rode back and fore to get to 100km it would have half an Audax AAA point. Occasionally I pass people pushing bikes up the two biggest hills. They are not that big or rough.

You are going out mid day. 28 miles is a lot more pleasant then than 16 miles at 7.30.  As I pointed out in the earlier post.  7.30 is not the same as 10.30.  You are going out in the most benign time of the day. You can see any fault with your bike.  I suspect you may not always go out every lunchtime. High wind, heavy rain (even without flooding), a touch of the sniffles. None of these can be allowed to stop a commute. If you see something wrong with your bike you will fix it and have a shorter ride.  The commuter can not see the fault in the black shed and does not have any time to fix it.  If the problem is more major you can get to the LBS in opening hours. Even basic maintenance such as oiling the chain and topping up the pressure in a tyre do not happen during a Winter commute time. That is for the weekend, unless your doing something else, even I have a life.
  
My old commute used to start down a 1 in 11 hill that ended at a T Junction with a busy road. This was great fun zipping down the s bends but sometimes an unexpected car waiting to turn onto the main road appears suddenly and braking is needed immediately.  The degree of stopping I get with rim brakes is unknown. It is the first time I would of touched them since I started out.  Will I stop or plough into the back of the car? I find the behaviour of rim brakes in cold icy rain very variable.  Hydraulic Disc brakes just work.

 



Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Simon Galgut on July 30, 2009, 01:31:46 pm

I have been thinking about this one, and I like the idea of minimising the gubbins exposed to the elements.   I intend to set my commuter up so that I can run two rear wheels by choice: Fixed (or S3X) and Rohloff/SRAM iMotion 9.  My only issue is that I remember the 3x7 I had borrowed last January not changing in the worst of the cold.  Although I never had that problem with my Sachs 2x6 orbit...


Yes, I thought about that too. However the fixed chainline is 42 and the Rohloff is 52. And the OLN of the Rohloff is 135 and the fixed is 120. And then I gave it up as a bad job.

I'm sure there are ways around it, but not quick and easy ones.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on July 30, 2009, 01:33:24 pm
OLN of S3X is apparently 135mm ???

Chainline is an issue I'd need to think about :-\
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Frenchie on July 30, 2009, 01:49:45 pm
One thing I have forgotten to mention and others have intimated is that you do need to set up a bike bits budget to cope with wear and tear induced by this sort of annual mileage....
I find than I get through a couple of chains, a cassette and a tyre as a minimum every year. I tend to renew the cassette in the spring and then ride it and the last chain to death in the wet and salt of the following winter. Pedal bearings, chainring, a wheel and brake/gear cables every other year. Bottom bracket and headset every 3-4 years or so.

On my fixed the transmission costs, even for good components, are low. I use cheap pedals (Time ATAC), which I like but will happily to replace as they need.

I need to check my rear rim; maybe upgrade to a ceramic. I ugraded the brakes on teh Pompino but am still not very pleased with what I have; in the wet I need to pay attention. That I don't know how to fix!

I have a spare bike ready, my Langster, which has also been recently checked and has a new chain and sprocket and a new rear wheel.

I also have a Raven with a Rohloff which I could use in the winter. At the moment the bike sheds are full and the Raven has paper-thin walls which "ding" very easily; in the autumn and winter things may well be different and I could consider taking the Raven.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: TheLurker on July 30, 2009, 01:54:36 pm
Quote from: CommuteTooFar
<snip>
You are going out mid day. 28 miles is a lot more pleasant then than 16 miles at 7.30.  
</snip>
 
Nah, I'm leaving at 0630 for a 14 mile jaunt to work,  going out for a 10 or 12 mile bimble at lunchtime and then going home.  It sounds as though you've got noticably steeper hills to deal with than me, but the road conditions don't sound any worse.

Quote from: CommuteTooFar
<snip>
Even basic maintenance such as oiling the chain and topping up the pressure in a tyre do not happen during a Winter commute time.
</snip>
 
Wiping the chain down and (re)anointing "midweek" only takes me a few minutes and unless it's been pissing it down (like last night) it doesn't happen at all. Otherwise any and all other maintenance is done on Sunday ahead of the next week's travelling.

[edit]
Hmmm, feel a bit of fraud posting on this thread with such a short commute.
[/edit]
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: hatler on July 30, 2009, 02:57:41 pm
Well, I do a meagre 20 miles a day and I find that my appetite for weekend cycling is definitely reduced. Not that I can't do it, I just don't have the same burning desire that I had before I started the commute. Of course, I'm much fitter than I was before the commute so weekend cycling is lots easier !
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Wendy on July 30, 2009, 03:14:15 pm
Well, I do a meagre 20 miles a day and I find that my appetite for weekend cycling is definitely reduced. Not that I can't do it, I just don't have the same burning desire that I had before I started the commute. Of course, I'm much fitter than I was before the commute so weekend cycling is lots easier !

On my days off I have approximately this much desire/capacity to go for an extra ride:0.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on July 30, 2009, 03:24:31 pm
Oh I want to ride seven days a week, but I'm definitely on the low-lower end of 'long' commutes. Enough to make non-cyclists say, 'How far???', but nothing compared to what some of you multimilers do.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Frenchie on July 30, 2009, 03:38:35 pm
So far I still want to go out when I can... I don't ride the same at the WE. I do longer rides, faster, with friends; mind, this could explain why I do get tired too. Come the autumn things may well change though.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: GruB on July 30, 2009, 04:58:05 pm
I carry much the same as Simon re: spares and tools.  I also use a Carradice in the winter but this time of year cope with a large Topeak saddle pack.
I also agree wholeheartedly with Pieter about a good tyre choice.  As you know I prefer Michelin Krylions - whatever your flavour as long as puncture resistance is high as there is nothing worse when your hands are cold. Stopping and starting again in the winter can be a drain too as you cool down.
Base layers and layers are the key. I have found more layers work better than thick layers.
Good mileage deserves good kit so I have Assos bibs / tights and Gore overshoes / jacket.

My summer mileage is always quicker as I can corner with confidence and my brakes work reliably unlike in the wet.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: border-rider on July 30, 2009, 05:07:29 pm
One thing I have forgotten to mention and others have intimated is that you do need to set up a bike bits budget to cope with wear and tear induced by this sort of annual mileage....
I find than I get through a couple of chains, a cassette and a tyre as a minimum every year. I tend to renew the cassette in the spring and then ride it and the last chain to death in the wet and salt of the following winter. Pedal bearings, chainring, a wheel and brake/gear cables every other year. Bottom bracket and headset every 3-4 years or so.
My "winter" commuter (VN Amazon) has ceramic rims and matching blocks which resist wear very well but I suspect the long term outlay would not be much different given the larger initial expense of ceramic rims versus more frequent replacement for standard rims. Standard rims lasted 2-3 years.
I think I will take a leaf out of Simon's book and get a Rohloff next time.

This is why I started riding fixed seriously.

I used to do 35 miles per day on a very rural route, and the bike was taking a thrashing - not just gears & chain, but rims too - especially in the winter.

I put together a fixed bike with a hub brake (and later hub brake with dynamo), and that would go about a year without needing attention; it got a new sprocket and chain as needed, and the occasional tyre.  That reduces the budget a lot, and it makes for fewer failures on the road.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Frenchie on August 01, 2009, 10:25:19 pm
I had Thu off and what a difference it made: I felt very fresh on Fri morning and was quite literally flying to work.

I got the Langster back today with a new rear wheel. I think I'll ride that bike as much as I can and will go back to the Pompino in the autumn/winter. The Pompino may well need a new rear wheel build too.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: chris n on August 03, 2009, 11:55:12 am

I have been thinking about this one, and I like the idea of minimising the gubbins exposed to the elements.   I intend to set my commuter up so that I can run two rear wheels by choice: Fixed (or S3X) and Rohloff/SRAM iMotion 9.  My only issue is that I remember the 3x7 I had borrowed last January not changing in the worst of the cold.  Although I never had that problem with my Sachs 2x6 orbit...


Yes, I thought about that too. However the fixed chainline is 42 and the Rohloff is 52. And the OLN of the Rohloff is 135 and the fixed is 120. And then I gave it up as a bad job.

I'm sure there are ways around it, but not quick and easy ones.

On-One 135mm double fixed hubs (currently £15, On-One | Rear (http://www.on-one-shop.co.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Rear_231.html)) have a 52mm chainline.  Ok, so you miss out on the multiple fixed gears, but you could still flip the wheel.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: chris n on August 03, 2009, 11:56:08 am
To keep it fresh, it's worth setting intermediate informal targets.

...

I like to try and complete my ride without putting a foot down - rather than going fast.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on August 03, 2009, 11:57:46 am
Absolutely impossible on my ride, unless I massively improve my trackstanding.  This morning, a fast ride consisted of 10% not moving.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: chris n on August 03, 2009, 12:01:25 pm
I am a bit concerned about the coolest part of winter as I do use some country lanes, and know that I will get nervous if there is the risk of ice; I may need to stick to the busy road into/through town then.  :-\

For this coming winter, I've already got two sets of tyres for the 'rat: 35mm CX tyres and 37mm touring tyres.  Both will fit under a set of 45mm (?) mudguards so should see me through most weather.  I might invest in a set of studded tyres I can fit if it looks like it's going to be really bad.

I've also got the option of the main road all the way - it's 5 miles shorter, but it's a very busy trunk road. :-\

Absolutely impossible on my ride, unless I massively improve my trackstanding.  This morning, a fast ride consisted of 10% not moving.

Fair enough - I only have a handful of junctions where I might need to stop, and one set of traffic lights.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: chris n on August 03, 2009, 12:02:50 pm
What about food and recovery?

Lots of both.  Don't eat breakfast before you go out in the morning if you want to lose weight, but make sure you eat plenty when you get in to work.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on August 03, 2009, 12:09:07 pm
Fair enough - I only have ... one set of traffic lights.

You lucky Barstard! ;D


I have been thinking about this one, and I like the idea of minimising the gubbins exposed to the elements.   I intend to set my commuter up so that I can run two rear wheels by choice: Fixed (or S3X) and Rohloff/SRAM iMotion 9.  My only issue is that I remember the 3x7 I had borrowed last January not changing in the worst of the cold.  Although I never had that problem with my Sachs 2x6 orbit...


Yes, I thought about that too. However the fixed chainline is 42 and the Rohloff is 52. And the OLN of the Rohloff is 135 and the fixed is 120. And then I gave it up as a bad job.

I'm sure there are ways around it, but not quick and easy ones.

I see from the catalogue link that the S3X is available in two flavours: 120 & 130mm, but both still have 42, 43, 44, or 45mm chainline :(
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: GruB on August 03, 2009, 12:35:43 pm
With regards to winter / ice riding, I found the country lanes much nicer to ride on than the supposedly sugar gritted main roads.  I felt much more slippy on the main roads  ::-)

Of the three falls I had last winter, all three were on massive chunks of icy snow that I really should not have been attempting to ride on.   ;D
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: CommuteTooFar on August 03, 2009, 01:38:26 pm
With regards to winter / ice riding, I found the country lanes much nicer to ride on than the supposedly sugar gritted main roads.  I felt much more slippy on the main roads  ::-)

Of the three falls I had last winter, all three were on massive chunks of icy snow that I really should not have been attempting to ride on.   ;D

When you commute you learn every point on the commute where there will be trouble.  You know all the old pot holes in the dark and where ice forms.  My problems.

Radyr lane through Golf course mostly fine but the open part collects water and the wind blowing across the wide section forms black ice. Worst case solution use bus route out of Village. 

A4119 westward at the Castell Mynach Pub.  Snow and Ice get compressed by light stopped vehicles and persists. The slight down hill is slightly hairy.  No way around this.

From Hendre to Coed y Mwstwr (East of Bridgend) High point sometimes gets slippy. Low points collects water and long sections of ice you can not stand let alone ride over. Solution - Avoid.  Use foot path along A473 between Pencoed and Coychurch. Or if really cold and icy use A473. [Past several crashed cars last Winter]
 
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: GruB on August 03, 2009, 01:49:53 pm
I agree totally about knowing the road, intimately  :thumbsup:
I am adept at seeking the smoothest line.  I have one section of really bumpy stuff and I think of it as my own little bit of Paris Roubaix type cobbles  ;D
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Frenchie on August 03, 2009, 02:01:55 pm
May get some cyclo-x tyres if needed. Even if I (get to) know the route well I still am no big fan of riding on ice and snow.

In any case it works this long commute thing; when I switch to a lighter bike, and with a bit of a rest, I am feeling absolutely great and fast! Riding at pace to work and back is very good training!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: pdm on August 03, 2009, 08:40:47 pm
This is why I started riding fixed seriously.

I used to do 35 miles per day on a very rural route, and the bike was taking a thrashing - not just gears & chain, but rims too - especially in the winter.

I would love to go fixed but I don't think its practical on my route - me being a lardarse and the route with lots of long gradients of up to 15% and a maximum of about 4km of "flat". I could probably cope with the uphills - I have tried and succeeded doing them on a 65" gear but the downs are too long and fast for such a low gear - it would probably slow the commute too much  :(
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on August 04, 2009, 09:36:21 am
I like to try and complete my ride without putting a foot down - rather than going fast.

I made a note of some details, for my own interest.

Yesterday morning was a pretty fast ride.  50mins riding; 45 moving.  10% standing

Last night: 1h6 riding; 59m 35s moving.  11% standing

This morning: Almost uninterrupted ride.  1h3 riding; 56m moving.  8.9% standing.

Yup, this morning was amazingly continuous.  I decided to count the number oif times I needed to put my foot down.  It was eighteen times.  Sure, I slowed right down at some junctions almost to a halt, but they didn't count.  If i did trackstand, I'd've needed to do it for an average of about 23s.  That sounds quite manageable, really :)  And I was riding for an average of 3m40s (c.1.3km) in between stops, though it must have been more frequent than that in the latter half, as I had only dabbed seven times in the first half hour (approx 12km)
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Morrisette on August 04, 2009, 12:00:49 pm
I've been following this thread with interest as I'm looking at the option of doing my whole commute on the bike rather than giving the train company another 1000 pounds. It would be 16 miles each way, country roads/Sustrans route with the last 3 miles or so through town. My bike is a Specialized Vita (the women's design of the Sirrus I think?).

At the moment the plan is to do it until the clocks change (or until it is pitch dark at ~6pm - towards the end of October I think) as I don't fancy the route in the dark. I'd then pick it up again in mid-March when it gets lighter again. I'm under no illusions that starting again in March will be anything but torture!

I have done it quite a few times before, so I know the journey is possible in a reasonable time, but I've only ever done it on consecutive days once, and I did feel that in my muscles the next day. I think I'd be aiming at doing Monday-Tuesday, take the train on Wednesday and then doing Thursday-Friday. This will also enable me to take all the clothes I will need in to the office on the 'train' day.

I guess this is reasonable? My fitness level isn't all that, I don't seem to be able to get faster than 1.20 on the route at the moment but I guess this may improve if I do this much more riding - have people found this or does the improved fitness get cancelled out by tiredness?

My other question is - are any of you long-distance-commuters girls? The people I see on the road whenever I've done this route are 99% males in full racing kit....

Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: GruB on August 04, 2009, 12:29:07 pm
It will take about 4 weeks for your muscles to adjust.  The trick I reckon is to keep pushing, within reason.  Let them get used to the extra miles but do not do anything massive on the speed front.

As for stopping - don't take that darker months off.  In many ways riding at that time of year is easier as you can see the cars in advance but you may need to slow down slightly due to the slipperier surfaces.  Invest in some decent lights, front and rear.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on August 04, 2009, 12:32:17 pm
I used to commute on the A19 from a village outside York.  I used to work long and irregular hours, and generally finished midnight or after.  The ride became quite hard after a while, and I was glad to move into the city. 

I think it was the dazzle of oncoming lights meaning I couldn't see the road edge for a few moments after that was the hardest part.

Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: iakobski on August 04, 2009, 12:42:54 pm
That sounds emminently sensible. Especially taking all your stuff in on the train day. Yes you definitely get a bit quicker as time goes on. The good thing about cycling is you can take it as easy as you like - when I re-started I had a BMI of 35 and couldn't run to the end of the street. Like you I only intended to do it until the clocks changed, but after a few weeks not cycling I was so wound up I went and bought some really good lights.

Out on the country roads I see about 85% male, rising to 100% in the winter. Not sure why. The ones who are just going to the next village are in normal clothes. If by "full racing kit" you mean lycra, then as soon as you are doing 10 miles or more in various weather it just makes so much difference to use kit designed for the job.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: GruB on August 04, 2009, 12:49:40 pm
The benefit for me of cycling specific clothing is the ease in drying it in-between rides.  I admit I do not wash my kit day in day out.  I change my jersey say once or twice depending upon how warm I have got during the week.  My base layers in winter do not even get sweaty as I have mastered the layering to keep warm and do not over heat.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on August 04, 2009, 12:54:49 pm
+1 for decent bike-specific clothing.

For those days when you've been rained on on your way in, lycra is the only thing that's got a chance to dry before you get changed again.  You'll have to change for work anyway, so why not?

Unlike GruB, I change my kit every day (I'm probably more sweaty), which is a problem as I've only got three pairs of bibshorts, and two of bibtights.  In winter, I will ride with Altura leggings over my bibshorts, and in Summer, I rely on someone being more efficient than me with the laundry :)

Another advantage of lycra there - it dries quickly on the line/radiator/airer/whatever, so it's good to go again quickly.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Morrisette on August 04, 2009, 01:16:08 pm
Thanks guys. I do already have some cycle-specific clothing, tops, shorts etc. I think the guys I see out are from a team (triathlon maybe?)

Re the dark months - I am ready to change my mind about this (depending how it goes in the first few weeks), but at the moment I don't feel that safe out in the dark on the country roads. It's not the traffic so much as seeing where you're going - it really is pitch dark for 80% of the route. Additionally, my mechanical skills are, ahem, below average, and I'm not sure about the personal safety aspects of either walking or sitting waiting for a rescue/lift on the verge in the dark....

But as I say I am prepared to change my mind - maybe if I start at the full moon!
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: ian on August 04, 2009, 01:18:49 pm
I've been following this thread with interest as I'm looking at the option of doing my whole commute on the bike rather than giving the train company another 1000 pounds. It would be 16 miles each way, country roads/Sustrans route with the last 3 miles or so through town. My bike is a Specialized Vita (the women's design of the Sirrus I think?).

At the moment the plan is to do it until the clocks change (or until it is pitch dark at ~6pm - towards the end of October I think) as I don't fancy the route in the dark. I'd then pick it up again in mid-March when it gets lighter again. I'm under no illusions that starting again in March will be anything but torture!

I have done it quite a few times before, so I know the journey is possible in a reasonable time, but I've only ever done it on consecutive days once, and I did feel that in my muscles the next day. I think I'd be aiming at doing Monday-Tuesday, take the train on Wednesday and then doing Thursday-Friday. This will also enable me to take all the clothes I will need in to the office on the 'train' day.

I guess this is reasonable? My fitness level isn't all that, I don't seem to be able to get faster than 1.20 on the route at the moment but I guess this may improve if I do this much more riding - have people found this or does the improved fitness get cancelled out by tiredness?

My other question is - are any of you long-distance-commuters girls? The people I see on the road whenever I've done this route are 99% males in full racing kit....



I generally work from home, but recently for various reasons I've been commuting a lot more, and often four to five times a week. I have a 22 mile round trip. I usually do on it a heavy mtb-style bike with pannier which takes a considerable bit more effort than my hybrid or road bikes.

I'm quite fit, and I've not found it too challenging - legs and knees get a bit sore occasionally, but I think the important thing is pacing. It seems to be the British thing that all cycle commuters must be red-in-the-face and belting along in abject fear of being overtaken. There's a lot to be said for easing back a little. My trip, in London, with traffic lights aplenty, usually takes about 55 minutes. I'm fine with that. Gets me to work with a moderate aerobic workout, but without the cascades of sweat, or frankly the stress.

I mostly can't abide Lycra - I wear running stuff (cheap and cheerful from Decathlon), it's comfortable, light and dries just as easy. I just throw a change of clothes, some deodorant and a netbook in my pannier and I'm ready to go. I do have to remember to eat a bit more but that's it.

I'm not a girl though.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: TheLurker on August 04, 2009, 01:25:25 pm

And look forward to that wonderful feeling of the first sunny dawn commute after the long dark.  Difficult to beat.

[edit]
Oh and I forgot the most important thing. You can eat so much more food without having to think about calories.  Now, pass me that trifle...
[/edit]
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: GruB on August 04, 2009, 01:33:29 pm
  • If the route is 16 each way on low traffic routes you'll have no very few problems with a year round commute. 
  • Get a very good headlight and a "get you home" for the front and you won't have too much trouble with dazzle from oncoming ICE types. 
  • Be prepared to do a bit more routine maintenance (mainly keeping things clean) of the bike during the winter / wet weather.
  • At that sort of distance you will be more comfortable wearing the full Max Wall than in civvies and has been pointed out it dries out more quickly for the return trip.

And look forward to that wonderful feeling of the first sunny dawn commute after the long dark.  Difficult to beat.


Perfect reply +1  ;D

In the winter / colder months the trick I reckon is fettling once a week.  On Saturday / Sunday morning I generally check the commuter over.  It can be very very cold on the hands to wash the bike in winter so I have experimented with cheap and cheerful baby wipes and found they shift most gunge really well.  Your hands do not get frozen either.  Fettling regularly can help to prevent that unexpected mechanical.  If in doubt about a commuting component, change it.  It is not worth taking a risk and then finding yourself stranded in the dark and cold.

There are loads of great powerful cycling lights out there.  Dinotte, Lumicycle, Hope - all are really great at making the road in front like daylight.  In my experience, you get what you pay for.  I personally use Dinotte on the rear, Lumicycle up front and also have a USE Exposure joystick as a spare front and one on my lid in winter so I can see my cycling computer.  I do that as my commute is generally a Tour de Commute each day as I am competitive.

One other thing, perhaps an Ipod for your entertainment?  If you don't mind cycling while listening to music, not too loud so as not to hear the cars behind you, then you could get an Ipod shuffle quite cheaply now.  They are light and keep the moisture out well.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: mattc on August 04, 2009, 02:22:54 pm
My other question is - are any of you long-distance-commuters girls? The people I see on the road whenever I've done this route are 99% males in full racing kit....

In the dark, thick winter clothing, throw in some mud ... noone can tell!
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Simon Galgut on August 04, 2009, 02:30:11 pm

In the winter / colder months the trick I reckon is fettling once a week.  On Saturday / Sunday morning I generally check the commuter over.  It can be very very cold on the hands to wash the bike in winter so I have experimented with cheap and cheerful baby wipes and found they shift most gunge really well. 

I solved that problem by using hot water  ::-)
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on August 04, 2009, 02:31:36 pm
Ah but if you haven't anywhere with enough light outside where you can get a hose to (and many people haven't), baby wipes are really excellent
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Simon Galgut on August 04, 2009, 02:36:22 pm
That may be true, but I use a bucket and fettle on a Saturday morning when it is light even in winter up north. (well, northish)
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: clarion on August 04, 2009, 03:00:43 pm
Fair call.  Some of us are off camping at weekends ;D
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Blah on August 04, 2009, 04:53:57 pm

In the winter / colder months the trick I reckon is fettling once a week.  On Saturday / Sunday morning I generally check the commuter over.  It can be very very cold on the hands to wash the bike in winter so I have experimented with cheap and cheerful baby wipes and found they shift most gunge really well. 

I solved that problem by using hot water  ::-)

I solved it by not washing my bike all winter.  :-[
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: chris n on August 04, 2009, 04:55:10 pm
I solved it by not washing my bike all winter.  :-[

And me. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: GruB on August 04, 2009, 06:40:40 pm
That may be true, but I use a bucket and fettle on a Saturday morning when it is light even in winter up north. (well, northish)

I am down Sarf, and obviously soft  ;D
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: TimO on August 04, 2009, 06:54:00 pm
I made a note of some details, for my own interest.

Yesterday morning was a pretty fast ride.  50mins riding; 45 moving.  10% standing

Last night: 1h6 riding; 59m 35s moving.  11% standing

This morning: Almost uninterrupted ride.  1h3 riding; 56m moving.  8.9% standing.

Yup, this morning was amazingly continuous.  I decided to count the number oif times I needed to put my foot down.  It was eighteen times.  Sure, I slowed right down at some junctions almost to a halt, but they didn't count.  If i did trackstand, I'd've needed to do it for an average of about 23s.  That sounds quite manageable, really :)  And I was riding for an average of 3m40s (c.1.3km) in between stops, though it must have been more frequent than that in the latter half, as I had only dabbed seven times in the first half hour (approx 12km)

My commute times are not too dissimilar to Clarions, which shouldn't be surprising given that our routes aren't that far apart (crossing somewhere near Clapham Common).

I reckon on stopping for 5 to 10 minutes with about 45 minutes of cycling (over a twelve mile commute).  With over 50 set of lights which can stop me, around one third of them are red in the mornings, although if I travel back later in the evenings, less are red, so I get home a bit faster!  That does give me around the same number of stops as Clarion.

All the lights and junctions do hammer your average speed. If I try to go as fast as I can, which means over 20mph whenever I have enough time to get up to that speed, I've managed an overall moving average of 15.9mph.  If I just pootle along, my moving average is typically 14.5mph. :-\
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: bloomers100 on August 04, 2009, 07:46:26 pm
My commute is between 17.5 and 20 miles each way depending on choice of route, the shorter route has more uphill on the way in though.

If I feel weary with it I have an 'easy' day and say to myself that I'm not to change gear and choose small ring (42) I think and say a (19) sprocket once I get into it I usually end up changing up a couple of times.

I have a Topeak rack and bag and a bikebins.com pannier box, I'm happy to ride loaded up because when I get on the race bike it feels super agile etc.

In the winter I have a couple of cateye battery lights on the front and carry spare batts, on the rear a selection of leds, up to three between the pannier and my helmet.

Clothing wise I cant do waterproof unless its peeing down, just get too hot. Layers are merino thin and medium and a l/s club jersey over the top, never cold last winter. On the legs I wear dhb merston bib tights, very comfy and at £37 great value, waterproof overshoes are a must. For gloves I manage with windstopper fleece ones, never needed anything more.

I dont ride if it looks frosty, too risky.
Title: Re: "Long" commutes
Post by: Frenchie on August 04, 2009, 09:56:48 pm
I felt my WE ride today but still managed it okay to my surprise; no pain, not much slower, just less envy this morning, maybe because I didn't sleep so well last night. Tonight was better!

As for full racing kit bike specific clothing, I can't think of anything better for that sort of distance really! I too don't like waterproof clothing as I know I will overheat; windproof is okay on the coldest days. If it is really chucking down then I may put a rain jacket on, on top of a lighter long sleeve jersey. In addition I can turn some of those commutes into fun/training rides too. I should add that after the week on the Pompino, albeit w/out paniers (as much as I can!), going on a lighter bike at the WE feels won-der-ful!  :D

PS I do need a shower at work though!  :P