Author Topic: "Long" commutes  (Read 4750 times)

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #50 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.

Getting there...

iakobski

Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #51 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.

Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #52 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.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #53 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.
Getting there...

Morrisette

  • Still Suffolkating
    • Now Suffolkating on the internet:
Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #54 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!
Not overly audacious
@suffolkncynical

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #55 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.
!nataS pihsroW

TheLurker

  • Goes well with magnolia.
Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #56 on: August 04, 2009, 01:25:25 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 of the bike (mainly keeping things clean) 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.

[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]
Τα πιο όμορφα ταξίδια γίνονται με τις δικές μας δυνάμεις - Φίλοι του Ποδήλατου

Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #57 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.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #58 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!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #59 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  ::-)

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #60 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
Getting there...

Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #61 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)

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #62 on: August 04, 2009, 03:00:43 pm »
Fair call.  Some of us are off camping at weekends ;D
Getting there...

Blah

  • Not sure where I'm going
Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #63 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.  :-[

Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #64 on: August 04, 2009, 04:55:10 pm »
I solved it by not washing my bike all winter.  :-[

And me. :thumbsup:

Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #65 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

Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #66 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. :-\
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

bloomers100

  • ACME's Head of Sexual Health and Family Planning
Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #67 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.

Re: "Long" commutes
« Reply #68 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
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse