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  #1  
Old 01-28-2008, 09:54 AM
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beelnite beelnite is offline
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Default "Power" Commuting Tips

Hey forum - Calling for tips and advice on training/commuting.

I've been reading a few books on performance cycling - they're full of great information on nutrition, fitness, etc. All the usual stuff - like choosing a proper ride/fit/clothing/etc.

Also many different workout programs and suggestions.

But what isn't really covered is the commuting/training combo. Many programs recommend days off, varied schedules and intensities for different days in order to maximize growth as a cyclist.

My goal is to make an 8 mile urban commute (5 days a week) take approximately 30 minutes! That means I have to average about 16 mph with stoplight/traffic times considered. AND I have to do it twice a day (gotta go home).

Is this unrealistic? I'm averaging about 10-11 mph right now, but I want to improve power/speed and get the benefit of commuting each day without "overdoing it" as many of the experts are quick to caution.

Any advice, observations and personal experience are welcome. Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:59 AM
mike_khad1 mike_khad1 is offline
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Default My 2 cents

I commute 13 miles each way but I don't really consider it training.

I'm on the side of the roadway in a bike lane and I need to be aware of moving vehicles, parked vehicles, pedestrians, traffic lights, animals, and road debris. I've had numerous close calls with all of those listed. I believe that the reason I haven't actually hit or been hit by any of the above is because I take it easy. I don't treat my commute like a race or a training ride.

Even if your commute was on the Springwater corridor, though you wouldn't have to worry about vehicles, you would still have to watch for walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, other cyclist, and animals.

Just a thought
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  #3  
Old 01-28-2008, 11:06 AM
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Schrauf Schrauf is offline
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I think you can ride hard without increasing risk too much. Not in all locations all the time of course. Downtown is especially difficult. But depending on the route it may be fine.

16 mph average should be achievable for most people, depending on bike, route, age, sex, etc. Don't worry about overtraining on just one hour a day. When you are sore and tired back off - otherwise don't worry about it. It's overrated unless you are ramping up quickly and/or riding hundreds of miles per week. Strains and sprains - pay attention to. Overall tiredness - back off a little but it will make you stronger in the long run.

You will get more training benefit by mixing up the intensity. For example, one day where you go as fast as you can with a consistent effort the entire 8 miles, followed by a day where you sprint for one minute and pedal easy for one minute, on and off all the way home. Of course traffic will interfere at times, but you will still get some benefit. Be careful where you sprint, as that is definitely more risky than just an overall hard pace for the entire ride.

Last edited by Schrauf; 01-28-2008 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:56 AM
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bonny790 bonny790 is offline
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Default Also...

Search around for the best routes on days off. Give yourself plenty of time. If it takes you half hour, leave an hour before clock in. Not only does it give you a margin for flat repairs etc, but also, some days you just don't have the steam. In the Summer I was taking a class at South East center on 82nd and Division. Living in St Johns it was almost exactly 15 miles door to door and took one hour almost to the minute. That's with stopping at stop signs and waiting at red lights. I always gave myself no less than 1.5 hrs. It also gives you a chance to cool down and dry out a bit.

You might want to consider a cadence counter. I've found it useful for overall efficiency. My cadence was 85rpm's with brief periods at about 95, but soon went to regular cadence of 95 and being able to hold a steady 105 when needed. Just being able to see what I was pedaling allowed me to more easily improve it.

Plus the usual, warming up, plenty of fluids, etc...
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:27 PM
lazlo lazlo is offline
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Some of those training guidlines can make your head spin; just use some common sense. The most important factor is riding consistently. Find opportunities on your commute to push yourself a little harder - resist the urge to shift down on small hills. Definitely alternate what you do; you can create intervals of a sort by sprinting when you can then taking it easy to recover. Find some hills on your route and see if over time you can make it up in a higher gear. Gradually you'll become more fit and stronger.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:57 AM
Oldguyonabike Oldguyonabike is offline
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I commute 8mi each way every day 5 days a week but I don't consider it "training". Commuting traffic can be perilous and unpredictable as we all know. When I'm training I find that speed and stamina take precedent over right hooks and other stupid driver tricks I am constantly vigilant for to/from work. On my daily ride, I want to get to work and back home safely. There's also the issue of expectations from mother nature. Take today, for instance. Nice spring day with a little tail wind and I get home in 30" using my good bike. This morning I rode by trusty (heavy) steed into a driving rain and head wind and it took an hour.
I guess I'm saying that the daily commute is background "fitness". If I didn't do it I would be 25# heavier, have less energy during the day and have high blood pressure. When the weather gets nice I take a longer, scenic route home that is ~25 miles and involves a long, safe stretch of the Spring Water where I can open it up. I don't ride weekends in the winter. I do on nice days in the spring, summer and fall.
But I'm old enough and have enough traffic accident scars that I don't really "train" anymore. Its a lifestyle. Weather permitting I ride far and fast. Today, just get me home.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:56 PM
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beelnite beelnite is offline
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Default I second that...

Rest assured forum mates - your's truly will never sacrifice safety for speed.

I have a few stretches on my route that are ideal for aggressive riding as well as a few stretches where it's better to ride ready, aware and sensibly.

This is great advice, please keep it coming!
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  #8  
Old 01-30-2008, 12:43 PM
zeldabee zeldabee is offline
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When I did a lot of distance cycling, I also commuted 13-15 miles each way every day. I could do this quickly if there was no traffic, but not if there was. I didn't consider it training, but would sometimes leave from work and go on a longer training ride, then circle around and head home.

A computer with cadence is a good idea. It's good to develop good habits with that.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:20 AM
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Default What is too fast?

No disrespect to any poster intended... but something occurred to me during a ride as I mulled some of the advice in this thread:

What really is "too fast"? I appreciate concern folks had for the potential of reckless riding trying to meet a performance goal in an urban setting.

BUT - what is too fast? What is reckless?

Consider - I ride SE Lincoln. Currently I can get speeds well over 25 mph downhill. (Yes I am speeding if I hit 30 mph). Now what if I could maintain on the flats, even uphill for more than a minute or so?

That's how fast the cars go, right? So if I'm going the speed limit - 25 mph there's a good chance I'll be out ahead of cars, passed less and can even take the lane in most situations (unless they want to speed through the neighborhood and over the bumps).

Too me - that seems safer than constant head checking to be sure I'm not squashed at the roundabouts.

It's all stop and go and legal - Race to light. Stop. Go. Race up to speed. Repeat. Perfect interval training!

Heck if the bike lane is full and I'm not impeding - shoot, take the lane, go 30-35 mph and feel like a King! Albeit a vulnerable, cautious one with eyes waaaaay forward and behind.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:24 AM
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beelnite beelnite is offline
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Default The point of power commuting.

Why attempt it?

Personal goals, sure -but there's more.

Having testimonial on a commute that takes as much or less time via bicycle as it would in a motor vehicle - and certainly compared to mass transit:

Priceless.
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