36 mile each way commute, am I nuts?

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  • 36 mile each way commute, am I nuts?
  • Premier Icon celticdragon
    Subscriber

    Am I mad for considering doing this a couple of times a week, from spring onwards? It’s a mix of B road, bridle way and bike paths. Probably about 1500ft if climbing is Strava is to be believed.

    After spending another hour in the car for a 25 mile trip, the thought crossed my mind, why not cycle in and enjoy the time, rather than curse.

    I’m lucky in that I do have shower access in the office.

    petec
    Member

    if I cycle to work, the route i take is about 42km, and 700m of climb, so not too dissimilar

    It’s hard. Takes about 90 minutes; coupled with showers etc, it’s a big chunk out of your day.

    But in the summer it’s lovely; [mostly] quiet roads, and a good way to relax. But i do it – at max – twice a week if it’s nice. Anymore i think would be too much, and I wouldn’t enjoy it.

    Premier Icon Bez
    Subscriber

    Mine’s about 30 miles, similar climb I guess, but I don’t get much chance to do it these days.

    I used to do it roughly once a week, though. Initially just one way, then home one evening and back out in the morning, then both in one day.

    If you’re single it’s easy. If you’re married it’s doable. If you’ve got one child you won’t have time/energy to do both directions twice a week. If you have two kids you can forget it. At least, that’s my experience 🙂

    kcr
    Member

    If you would be comfortable doing a couple of 72 mile rides in a week, why not give it a go? I wouldn’t try that sort of distance as an everyday commute, but twice a week gives you some time to recover and sort your stuff out between rides.

    It sounds like it is realistically going to be a 2+ hour ride each way, so you’ll need to be well organised to get an early start in the morning.

    Premier Icon bigblackshed
    Subscriber

    I commuted various distances for 18 years with only the very occasional car trip, probably less than 10 days over that time.  The shortest was 4 miles each way. The longest was just shy of 20 miles each way. I did it 5 days a week for 6 months over winter. It nearly killed me. I was an absolute wreck. Towards the end I had a permanent cold, I caught every bug available,  had constant niggly injuries, absolutely no fitness, I’d just used up every last bit of energy. I ended up hating my bike and anything to do with it.

    I changed jobs and stopped commuting by bike, in fact I didn’t ride for 18 months. I was utterly sick of it.

    It’s doable once or twice a week in good weather, if you have a very good base fitness before starting. But be warned it’s a very easy way to start hating your biking if you are forced to do it. If you are faced with that sort of ride home after a long day in crap weather it’s really not a very nice place to be.

    steve_b77
    Member

    I was doing up to 63km each way to work 2 or 3 times a week at the start of the year, only stopped cos the project I was on got commissioned and the office closed.

    It took a bit chunk out of the day, took lots of commitment and I ate loads, but I got to the fittest, strongest and lightest I’ve been and was a massive chunk of my training for the European 24hr championships, so in that way it was ace.

    Getting up at 4:30 to ride was the toughest bit.

    dpfr
    Member

    My scenic route to work is 55 km x 900 m and takes about 2.5 hours. I do that occasionally, and once or twice I’ve even done it on successive days. I have the advantage that I work flexible hours but even so I would hate to have to do it, especially in the winter. I have never ridden the scenic route both ways either- the return would be about 1150 m climbing- and that’s just too much for a fat old bloke after a day’s work

    tails
    Member

    Electric bike?

    I used to do 20 miles each way 5 days a week. Except I reduced the return trip by taking the train so that was only 5 miles. It was a bit of a drag but doable.

    Now I’m 12 miles each way with more climbing (600m a day) which I do 4 days a week and I love it.

    I really wouldn’t want to do more than an hour each way unless you can curtail one of the legs in the same way I did. It would become a chore.

    Drive in, bike home. Bike in, drive home. Repeat?

    Buzzard
    Member

    Current commute is 42 miles each way.  I do this at least once each week, sometimes twice now that Im training for something in spring. Unfortunately half of that is through London which cannot be avoided but as long as you have kit, lights etc organised its a fantastic way to get fit. As mentioned, the toughest part for me is the 4h30am wakeup call (and I generally like getting up early, but that is a ridiculous time to be awake)

    Premier Icon lunge
    Subscriber

    I did a similar commute twice per week for a while. I didn’t find it too bad in the summer it but it was hard in the winter. It helped that I had the option of the train half way if needed that I used on the way in in the winter.

    I found a proper road bike helped as it was faster and more comfortable. Also, if you can find a way if leaving all your kit at work and travelling very light then that helps a lot too.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I used to do similar (25 miles each way) on an occasional basis. I was lucky in that it was lovely country roads, had some towpath options for good weather and I was usually only at that particular site one or two days a week at most.

    There was secure bike storage, lockers, a place to hang kit up to dry and a washroom but no showers so I had to be a bit careful on the way in not to smash it and get there hot and stinky. It was mostly very nice although I’d have hated *having* to do the ride.

    If you were doing it both ways 2+ times a week, it sounds to me what e-bikes were made for! Alternatively, look at driving part way & riding the rest, driving in one day, riding home / riding in next day and driving home. Or bike and train if that’s an option?

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    I do about 14 miles most days. In the winter, if it’s particularly cold/wet I drive half way. Could you do the same?

    Hob Nob
    Member

    36 each way, tough. I used to do 25 each way, could either be on road or off (SDW Whinchester end). I used to do it a couple of times a week & it was manageable, although the time aspect was fairly invasive.

    Years ago I used to do 22 each way on the road & it was an every day thing. As someone else mentioned, it’s bloody soul destroying in winter, on a Friday afternoon, when it’s freezing cold, blowing a gale & pissing with rain. I was fit, but ill a lot, ate everything & hated riding my bike. I stopped riding for fun at the weekend I hated it that much.

    It’s a lot easier when you don’t ‘have’ to do it. In the summer next year i’ll probably ride in maybe once or twice a week when the weather is nice (23 miles each way).

    bigdaddy
    Member

    I do what SandythePig suggested for a 40k journey each way – with Wed off, so drive in, bike home, bike in, drive home on Mon/Tue and Thur/Fri.

    It tends to work well most of the time, although if for whatever reason I miss one journey it costs me two! It takes some planning, but works.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Subscriber

    Is this what that Ribble racer e-bike is designed for? Will help boost you up hill and out of corners / bagging inclines. But should still be pedalable at normal ish road bike speeds once the electric assistance cuts out?

    For mtb I’m not convinced on ebikes just because I need the fitness and don’t have one to do big / long rides. But for a commute like that I’d absolutely be considering the Ribble.

    https://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/bikes/electric-bikes/

    It doesn’t even look like an e-bike in those pictures.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Seem to have lost my comment so I’ll repeat it.

    I have done Cardiff to Bristol many times. Takes me between 2 and 2.5 hours depending on where in Bristol I have to go and how hard I ride.  By far the biggest drawback for me is having to get up so early, cos I’m not a morning person.  But it was certainly feasible as long as I didn’t try to go too fast. A fast ride once or twice a week was ok, but not every day.

    I did enjoy it tbh.  But you need good logistics and a fast bike.  I left shoes and lock at work, and left my trousers there during the week. I rode with a very light rucksack too, so the luggage wasn’t an issue.  It takes me 30-40 exra mins if I go on my commuter with luggage – even though it’s got narrow tyres and drops.

    Premier Icon billyboy
    Subscriber

    I found 20 miles each way doable on an every other day basis.

    I moved and started doing 25 miles each way, still on an every other day basis. That wasn’t nearly so comfortable, so I parked halfway and did a 25 mile round trip most days, and that was ok.

    This was in my late 30s and through my 40s when I was probably at my fittest. Everyone will be different though. Do too much and your health will probably tell you.

    Premier Icon BlobOnAStick
    Subscriber

    Similar to mine. I do it 2/3 times per week spring to autumn. I do get a bit sick of the lack of route variety (alternative routes are too traffic-filled)  but it can be a nice wind-down after the day.

    I do have the option of a train for one of the trips so I’ve cycled home about 300% more than I’ve cycled in. The ‘drive in cycle home, cycle in drive home’ option would be a good way of testing the water.

    I’d say that two 36 mile rides is actually much more tiring than a single 72 mile ride (something about warming up / cooling down twice and that fact your mindset is ‘this is a 36 mile ride’ so getting the pace right is a challenge).

    Do it and revel in the amazement of your work colleagues!

    philjunior
    Member

    You can do that occasionally, and you’ll enjoy it, but be realistic about how long it’ll take you.

    I spend about an hour (including showering/changing) to commute about 10 miles which I could do in the car in around half an hour most of the time. I’d need to shower once a day anyway, sometimes twice a day, so I’m probably adding about half an hour a day but getting 1-1.5 hours exercise out of it, and I find when I occasionally drive or take the train in I’m just not as ready to work!

    scud
    Member

    As for someone above, i was made redundant for a third time in 5 years, savings had gone and when car went, i started a new job and decided i try and cycles the 28 miles each way, five days a week. Started in the November and through that first winter i was OK, then as it turned to summer felt good, had lost lots of weight etc, but by the time i got to about 10 months in and it started turning cold again, i started to really suffer, as soon as i sat down at night i was falling asleep, my mood was terrible and i started to feel powerless on the bike.

    I had basically completely exhausted myself, it took me a good 8 months to get to a point where i could ride 10 miles again at a half decent pace and for my mood to improve, in that time each time i got on the bike i had absolutely nothing in my legs.

    So just watch yourself, done right, commuting can be great and add a lot of time on the bike you may struggle to get normally, but don’t become obsessive and at first sign of real fatigue, rest.

    I think ideally doing it 2-3 times a week, with a rest week every fourth week would work well

    Premier Icon djflexure
    Subscriber

    I think much will depend on your genetics/physiology. For some it would certainly be sustainable two or three times a week, others are likely to get a bit run down. How tiring is your job? Do you have to work when you get home? Fast bike is a must over that kind of distance IMO – winter road bike frame, full guards etc. I have sustained a 20 mile each way commute for 3 or4 months at a time, then work gets busy and I just can’t spare the time. For some strange reason I find it easier to get into the routine in winter – suppose with dark nights there is less to rush back to family for. The fitness and fresh air are great when it’s going well.

    hooli
    Member

    +1 for splitting it over 2 days. Drive in Monday, cycle home, cycle back in Tuesday and drive home etc. Better for energy levels, not having to carry too much stuff as well as not having to put wet kit back on at the end of a long day.

    Premier Icon celticdragon
    Subscriber

    Thanks all, I do have the luxury of being able to get the train should / If I want to, but I’d have to look into the peak trains, thank you Thameslink, I know they have restrictions int he mornings, not sure about the evening.

    I’d agree the early start is the bit I’m most concerned around as I would estimate a 2 – 2.5 hour trip time.

    I don’t have any family (single) or work commitments once I leave so no problems there. I also have a locker at work, so could drive in on Monday with a weeks clothes, shower kit etc and not have to carry anything unless I wanted to take my own lunch in (which given the increased physical effort, I’d probably end up the canteen for food anyway).

    At the moment its just a thought and wouldn’t be more than twice a week.

    fasthaggis
    Member

    My longest commute option is a 20 miler each way,but I only do that over the Spring/Summer months.I can also mix and match with shorter routes 15 and 17. Any bigger mileage (even for 2 days) than that and I would be looking at using an e-bike or motorbike.

    As you say it’s the early start that would be hard during the week if you have fixed hours.

    Premier Icon nwmlarge
    Subscriber

    Ride in one day, ride back the next?

    Or do you have to be able to drive?

    Painey
    Member

    Not mad at all. I live just outside Brighton but used to ride to work in London and back. Beats using bloody southern rail as well!

    Premier Icon peekay
    Subscriber

    My commute is 25 miles each way (85 mins) by bike or 30 miles each way (55 mins) by car. I do the round trip by bike 1-3 times a week

    I find that I’m more inclined to do it on the bike through Autumn/Winter/Spring than in the summer.

    During summer months when the days are longer and weather better, the extra time that the commute takes has a greater opportunity cost. I would rather drive and get back home to go for a decent mountain bike ride or do something else outside to enjoy the weather.

    During the dark months and poorer weather, mountain bike night rides are much more faff (still manage 1-2 a week though) so I see the additional 1 hour a day that the bike commute takes over driving as worthless time that I have managed to get 3 hours of riding out of.

    I certainly wouldn’t like to have to do it every day, and OP’s journey is longer still. If there is an option or drive-ride then ride-drive over two days then that would be a good start to help figure out the feasibility

    Definitely doable – I used to.   I work approx 10km away but would extend it every day except Fri to a 2.5-3h hilly loop on the way in, then 10km flat at night (I work afternoons and have most of the morning free which helps).  But there are no showers, or even hot water, at work, and I had to carry my lunch, clothes, dry set of kit if raining, etc and it became a pain.  I still get the 3h/day in, but finish at home for a shower and food, then get the train in 😉

    thecaptain
    Member

    It’s certainly possible as an occasional ride but I wouldn’t like the arrangement. Much better to have a reasonable daily commute.

    I did used to ride Bedford to Cambridge occasionally when I lived in the former and had work meetings in the latter, but this was always a short day (I mean short at work: long enough in total!) and only very rarely. 30 miles but pancake flat and easily under 2h on a very ordinary commuter bike (which was all I had back then).

    Ride one way sounds like a half-decent option if you can arrange it. But honestly with a commute like that I’d move house or job anyway. Single, no commitments, what is stopping you from moving?

    Premier Icon celticdragon
    Subscriber

    nwmlarge: No need to drive, but where I live is 4.5 miles to the nearest train station, and next to no public transport which seems to run either side of the commuting time.

    Doing it as a round trip makes life easier in terms of logistics.

    Saccades
    Member

    Do 125km round trip to work once a week from spring to autumn.

    ~42 miles and 650m climbing each way, mainly on a Friday.

    Takes me about 2hours 20 and take full advantage of the lockers and showers at work.

    I’m still tired on a Sunday when doing the club 50 mile run.

    Needs planning with weather (wind direction mainly) and when schools are on (traffic massively increases).

    Also  depends  what you  do at work. Sat in  chair  surfing the web , doing some dba every so often V working on your feet / manual labour  If its the  first option , thats OK , if its the second , not so great.

    Wind direction will  also  make it either a slog , or a joy , as will gradient.

    I would look at a mildly modded E-bike so you can really motor along , 15mph is shite , but 18 – 19mph all the time  would be ace ,

    Even if you did  once a week you should notice a fitness /speed improvement , twice a week with proper sleep / food  and you should be  flying after a month at it

    Premier Icon sockpuppet
    Subscriber

    Drive in, bike home. Bike in, drive home. Repeat?

    This. And travel light.

    so long as you can cope without the car overnight.

    Also, I just discovered that my autocorrect now changes “long” to “KOM”. I may need to have a word with myself.

    dirtyrider
    Member

    i used to do 30-35km each way 3 times a week when i was on days (13 hour shifts so 6am leave and 10pm home) flat as a fart so could it in a hour easy – 50 minutes with a favourable wind, then they shifted the shift start time 15 minutes earlier and leave time earlier, but i moved 10 miles further away, made it too much, final straw was a particularly horrid evening against the wind, with a slow puncture, think i stopped 5 times to sort it,

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