40 mile commute possible ?

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40 mile commute possible ?

Postby p_pitstop » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:04 pm

My partner has a new job but its 20 miles away which is a bit of a trek for cycle commuting. Years ago he commuted a similar distance and cycled once a week but despite his job being mainly office based he never managed twice a week as it was too tiring. Its not the distance thats a problem, but the fact its sandwiched around 8.5 hours in the office. He has started talking about electric bikes as a possible answer to reduce the effort needed. Train assist is not really an option as its not really near a useful rail line.

Any suggestions/comments ? Or is it just a ploy to buy another bike and get home later than me so I have to cook ?

Thanks
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby eileithyia » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:40 pm

Def a ploy to get out of cooking supper :lol:

Seriously it is a long commute, I do 17 miles one way some days, which is a fairly long commute, fortunately due to the early start/early finish time on that particular shift I arrive home at a fairly 'normal' time ie 5pm or there abouts.
On top of a long day finishing at 5pm i get home at around 6.30-7pm leaving not much of the evening left, esp if up for the early commute next day.

When on 'afternoons' I employ park and ride tactics and have a useful place where I can leave the car safely (so far).
So it might be a case to scout the area about 10 miles from place of work and find a suitable venue. I am lucky this road has been turned into a no thru road and only has houses on one side of it, so I park across the road so I cannot be accused of parking in someone's 'spot'.

To ride it daily would be very tiring, if park and ride is not an option, then perhaps once or twice a week to start with and see how it goes.
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby Mick F » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:47 pm

Possible?
Yes. But could be tiring.
Where are you? Is it hilly?

I commuted 17 miles each way for some years, though I rarely did all five days in the week. I found 3 or 4 days was best. It wasn't that I was "lazy" but sometimes it was good that I took the car so I could do shopping on the way home or get home early for something.

My route was fairly easy on the way in, but hilly coming home. I could get to work in 45 mins, but took just over an hour to get home. The hard part was getting up at 5:45 so I'd be ready to leave at 6:45.

I would aim to ride Monday and Tuesday, then possibly Wednesday, then take pot luck for Thursday and Friday. Taking the car, I could take enough shirts to work - clean one each day!
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby Big T » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:03 pm

I used to commute 21 miles each way when I worked in Leicester and lived in a village just south of Nottingham. A lot depends on the roads. I had 5 miles of country lanes, 10 miles of main road and 5 miles of urban roads. A couple of hills near the start/end.

The cycle commute would take 1hr 15 to 1hr 30 depending on wind direction. It really does get you fit, but also makes you quite tired - you need a good 8 hours sleep a night, whereas now I can manage on 6. It's fine in summer, really enjoyable but not so much in the winter. With better lights nowadays, you can at least see where you are going.

I used to struggle to do it everyday (4 out of 5 was OK) and it can become something of a chore, especially if you get a prolonged period of bad weather.

I could catch a bus as an alternative, but it used to take just as long. I sometimes used to ride half way and then catch the train in, especially in winter.
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby SleepyJoe » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:15 pm

I used to cycle commute 17 miles each way. It used to take me about 1 to 1&1/4 hours depending on the weather and it was quite hilly. When I started I was already used to a 9 mile commute. However, I still only cycled the 17 miles, 3 times a week. After several months I increased this to 4, then 5 days. You need to give your body time to recover and get used to the increase in mileage. It certainly increased my fitness!
Therefore a 20 mile commute is do-able but take your time to increase weekly mileage.
One option when first starting, is to drive in-cycle home, then next day, cycle in-drive home. This would limit cycling to 'only' 20 miles 4 times a week, but is reliant on having a save parking area at work (& not requiring the car during the evening).

The other part of your question about using an electric bike is something I know nothing about.
My only comment is that electric bikes are heavier and I do overtake them when riding my road bike!
I am also not sure how long /how far they batteries will go.

Good luck
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby p_pitstop » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:38 pm

I think you are all echoing my thoughts that its a bit of a silly idea - I cycle commuted 25 miles a day for 18 months and that was plenty. It should be fairly flat or rolling slopes as its west/south west of London. I'm not sure driving part of the way would work as the Queen selfishly owns a fair bit of land making parking tricky/unpopular. I like the driving to work/cycling home idea - I had never thought of that. Our car cost £250 over 5 years ago so it will not be anyones first choice to pinch ! apart for scrap

So current top choices are cycling 2 days a week or driving/cycling one way a day.
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby [XAP]Bob » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:45 pm

If you have the means to add an electric assist then it should be possible - upping your minimum (i.e uphill) speed to 15 or so (depending how legal you want to be) mph would significantly improve your time, and reduce the required effort.

But it doesn't have to be a new bike - a hub motor on the front wheel with batteries in the panniers should be able to provide the required poke. It's not cheap, but it is cheaper than a car...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way.
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby mattheus » Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:34 pm

As well as route info, we need more info about the fitness of the cyclist.

A "reasonable" commute for Bradley Wiggins would be .... less so for me!
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby gilesjuk » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:32 pm

It does depend on the route. It might be 20 miles of hell with traffic, smog and aggressive drivers or 20 miles of pure joy.
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby alicej » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:55 pm

What would be ideal would be taking the bike on a train for part of the way, is that possible?
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby [XAP]Bob » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:27 pm

alicej wrote:What would be ideal would be taking the bike on a train for part of the way, is that possible?

And even if you are several miles out at each end it's shorter than the full whack.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way.
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby vorsprung » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:01 pm

p_pitstop wrote:My partner has a new job but its 20 miles away which is a bit of a trek for cycle commuting. Years ago he commuted a similar distance and cycled once a week but despite his job being mainly office based he never managed twice a week as it was too tiring.


So I guess he will do this once a week or less

Any suggestions/comments ? Or is it just a ploy to buy another bike and get home later than me so I have to cook ?


yes it is a ploy for n+1. You don't need a special bike for trip you are only doing erratically
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby Mark R » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:13 pm

20 miles each way sounds like a perfect application for an electric bicycle.

Get yourself a hybrid bike with hub gear, mudguards, and a full chaincase, fit a front wheel electric assist kit (heinzmann are the best). You will have the perfect low maintainance commuter.

Modern lithium batteries are available which could cover the whole 40 mile commute but if you can charge at work you could go for a cheaper and lighter set up.
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby Mick F » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:19 pm

Can you charge at work?
Surely you'd be taking electricity to charge the battery, it would be the same as taking petrol from work. Could be termed as theft - unless you pay for it.
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Re: 40 mile commute possible ?

Postby [XAP]Bob » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:47 pm

Mick F wrote:Can you charge at work?
Surely you'd be taking electricity to charge the battery, it would be the same as taking petrol from work. Could be termed as theft - unless you pay for it.

Most companies will be reasonable about some charging, but this is quite alot - talk to the relevant person and offer to pay some costs up front, they might well appreciate the offer and let you have it...

After all in theory they are getting a fitter, healthier, more productive work force.
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