Commute killing me…do I just need to MTFU or admit defeat..

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  • Commute killing me…do I just need to MTFU or admit defeat..
  • Premier Icon coolhandluke
    Subscriber

    MTFU. It will get better and easier. Then you’ll wonder why you posted this.

    Think of the cash you’ll save that you can justify on bike things.

    Premier Icon Lifer
    Subscriber

    Start a couple of times a week and then step it up.

    dunmail
    Member

    If you aren’t used to it then 25Km at either end of a day is quite a step. I’d do a couple of non-consecutive days a week for a while then do three before trying a full week. Your commute does sound rather hilly as well.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Do you mean you’ve literally done it twice? Or the most you’ve managed to do it is two consecutive days?

    If the former then stick with it. The £2400 annual saving would be enough to make me want to stick at it! You could get a very nice commuter bike with that!

    If the latter then there’s no point overdoing it, you’ll end up hating riding a bike full stop. Why not do 3 days a week or something, and get return tickets from Tonbridge to Chelsfield on the other two, won’t need to spend more on a season ticket, but won’t leave you as knackered.

    atlaz
    Member

    MTFU. I do roughly the same in the commute and it’s not that hard unless I hammer it or take the steeper roads (10% gradient for a mile sort of thing).

    qwerty
    Member

    My 12.5mile commute means awake at 04:30 out the door at 05:00, leave work at 18:45 (if I’m not late) and home at 19:45. Also includes nights where you can swap those AM & PM around. Requires military precision to do it. Really can’t be arsed any more. I love commuting by bike, but not enjoying the above. Bottom line is: are you enjoying it? If not pack it in.

    Premier Icon ibnchris
    Subscriber

    I’ve literally done it twice and staring down the barrel of the rest of year doing it makes me feel a bit anxious! But you’re right £2400 buys a whole lot of bike. How long will it be before I start feeling alive at the end of the day though? Feel great in the morning but pretty dead when I get in at 8ish…which might not make for a great social life!

    prawny
    Member

    I used to to 20 miles each way, stuck with it for 18 months but eventually it wore me out. Stick at it for a bit, but if you’ve got no energy left at the weekend for proper riding what’s the point.

    Premier Icon ibnchris
    Subscriber

    Good point prawny…my girlfriend might think just because I ride every day I don’t need a pass for the weekend…

    Another idea I have is to do what njee suggested but make the 2 rides I do do a bit longer. So ride in as per and then ride back with a nice 50km route on better roads…

    Premier Icon Daffy
    Subscriber

    My commute is almost the same distance, with almost the exact same elevation. It does get easier, but I usually only do 3 days (Tue-Thu) otherwise I’m knackered for the weekend.

    Headwinds are the worst thing, narrow country lanes tend to funnel the wind. I check the general wind direction and speed before setting off. If it looks menacing (above 9m/s) I don’t bother.

    hammy7272
    Member

    Just cycle when you feel like and don’t when you don’t. Build up slowly and listen to your body. I commute 27 miles each way twice a week sometimes three but it helps I can go in the car if I don’t feel like it.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Feel great in the morning but pretty dead when I get in at 8ish…which might not make for a great social life!

    Get the train all the way home then.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    13hr day? Sod that, how long is the day if you don’t ride?

    It seems like if you ride you have no tome for anything else. Do it a couple of times a week and see how it goes.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    First of all stop working in km, its only 15-1/2 miles, once you start working in proper units everything is less daunting…

    My own commute distance isn’t much different from yours OP (16 miles) the major difference for me is I generally only get to do it on Tuesdays and Thursdays due to family commitments, it pretty consistently takes an hour in either direction on a geared or fixed road bike…

    My initial question would be What are you actually riding this journey on? MTB, Road bike, fat bike BMX, Unicycle?

    And what are you carrying? Rucksac full of bricks or a wallet and keys i na pocket?

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    Nobodys mentioned fuel. you need to fuel up during the day or you will be toast.

    I used to do 25 hilly miles each way 2 or 3 times a week and it was tough. I stuck with it, got fitter, ate more food than you can dream of, but still some days were just too much. It taught me to listen to my body. If it was bone weary then it was time for a break. Eat boy eat.

    Premier Icon flange
    Subscriber

    You need to man up! I do that route but all the way into Canary Wharf…once a week.

    To be fair, you’ve got two fairly big climbs on the way in, the one to Sevenoaks and the other up to Chesfield. Are you doing it on a road bike?

    Its an interesting take on the commute too. I’d be more inclinded to get the train as far as Cheslfield then ride from there into the smoke, if only to avoid London Bridge at peak times.

    Premier Icon ibnchris
    Subscriber

    I’ve recently moved house and live out in Tonbridge and have just started to cycle from Tonbridge to Chelsfield at which point I hop on a fast train to the big smoke. It’s 25km each way with the way there involving 335m of climbing and the way back has 225m of climb, but seems to always have a headwind.

    I’ve done it two days in a row so far and whilst I love being on the bike I’m finding it hard graft and it means I’m leaving the house at 7am and getting back at 8pm at the earliest. Do I keep doing it and MTFU (it would also save me £200 a month on as season ticket) or do I admit defeat and just do it a couple of times a week?

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
    Subscriber

    Started commuting in the last few months and found it hard to do back to back commute rides and still get MTB on an evening.

    It’s now getting easier and can do 3/4 times a week plus a night ride. is about 12 miles in, 13 back and 1800ft of climbing. Even added a 20 mile Cragg Vale loop last night. Did regret it as all i’d eaten all day was an apple and an orange.

    So, MTFU and keep at it.

    Premier Icon rhid
    Subscriber

    I agree with the 2-3 times per week. My commute is about 15km each way but with possible a bit more climbing and 3 times a week is plenty!
    If its a fantastic week I may do 4 but honestly I’m tired out after 3. Its still saving you cash and does wonders for your riding.

    I vary between road and MTB with different route to liven it up a bit but you know when you are tired and those are the days you don’t bother!

    scaled
    Member

    You could make a flexible working request under the new legislation and have a shot at working form home 1-2 days a week to break it up and help with the old work/life balance.

    brooess
    Member

    That distance and altitude gain sounds like quite a big ask to me
    A few thoughts:
    1. It’ll take some time for yr body to get used to that kind of effort
    2. Try and do it twice a week with at least one day in-between
    3. You’ll need more sleep and a lot more to eat – night before/breakfast and during the day before you ride home
    4. If you don’t enjoy it, find some alternative route – maybe train further into to London and then ride the last bit. London riding tends to be more stop start and I find that easier

    P(edelec)TFU!

    Premier Icon cloudnine
    Subscriber

    3 or 4 times a week I do a 32km round trip with about 600m of climbing.. I’m the fittest and lightest I’ve been for years. Turn it into a challenge, give up drinking, go to bed early and eat healthy. It does hurt but you don’t get fit and healthy sat in a car. MTFU and get pedalling….

    shuhockey
    Member

    Don’t think anyone has said it yet and I will probably get flamed massively but what about an e-bike? Take some of the strain out of the commute and still get some exercise.

    rewski
    Member

    I do a similar distance, I built up to it though. I used to do 5 days a week but was a bit of a tired and grumpy dad at the weekend so cut it down to 3 days, sometimes 0-2 depending work commitments and gales.

    Sounds like you dived straight into the deepend, why not just commit to 3 days a week and aim for Sevenoaks, then Chelsfield when your naturally ready.

    Do you have to stand on the train from Chelsfield, that would do my head in after a 15+ mile ride, asking for cramps too, you must be a sweaty mess 😉

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    2 ways (maybe 3)
    1 the hard as nails route, just MTFU and do it everyday you’ll be a wreck by weekend but after a month or two you should be reet.
    2 the sensible route, start with mon, wed, fri, thn after 2-4 weeks do mon, tue, thur, fri. after a month of that consider going 5 days a week.
    I ride Tuesday night and try to get out at weekend, I also don’t like carrying work gear with me so 4 days a week cycling and 1 on the train suits me.

    It’s damned hard work at first but you get used to it. Been commuting years but 18months ago I switched from a road commute to same distance xc and that took me a good few months to get over and back up to being able to ride properly tues night and weekend aswell.

    3 is give up, but you don’t want to do that, commuting is free riding time and training time, not to be given up lightly.

    oh and if you’re used to playing the commuter race game, stop it, your legs really wont take it, learning to soft pedal recovery rides is important

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Feel great in the morning but pretty dead when I get in at 8ish…which might not make for a great social life!

    The fact you’re feeling OK in the morning suggests to me you could stick at it for a bit and see if the energy levels improve across the board.

    Eat more.

    devash
    Member

    Ask Lance for some ‘performance enhancing tips’.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    The best way to make the commute bearable is to make it as efficient as you can, make the bike and kit you use suit the task, carry as little extra weight as you can manage…

    If a Road bike isn’t an option at present, then consider some slick tyres, and maybe some bar ends to let you switch positions.

    If you’ve got no possibility of storing kit/clothing at work, I’d still suggest you avoid using a rucksac/camelback, consider a panier bag, or a beam rack/bag to take the luggage off of your body and place it on the bike, the less crap you have hanging on your body the comfier you are and the better you operate on the bike.

    If you’ve not already get some Lycra kit, its clothing for cycling in, it minimizes drag, lets you sweat when you need to and dries out quicker if you get damp, cycling 30 miles every day certainly justifies wearing the most appropriate clothing… Piss takers can eff right off…

    Also look at your route, it’s that there London, so lots of traffic to deal with I’d imagine, but the more “stop/start” any ride is the more it tires you IME, a longer route with fewer pinch points to slow you down, might actually mean you finish less knackered at the end…

    But do crack on with it now and get yourself used to the regular mileage, because you’ve not had to do your commute through a winter yet…
    Come November – February the Dark/Wet/cold mornings, and then the same in the evenings add a whole new dimension to commuting by bike and challenge your commitment much more than riding during lovely sunny June/July/August will…

    If you can actually manage riding 5 day every week, you’ll be bashing out 600 odd miles a month (excluding losses from holidays, and gains from any weekend miles), that’s very respectable IMO, and you’ll be “Conditioned” to ride on a daily basis with minimal rest inbetween, the health benefits are potentially huge, plus there’s the obvious financial advantages…

    Premier Icon ibnchris
    Subscriber

    some interesting thougts here guys thanks.

    I’m not sure about training to Chelsfield and then last bit on the bike into London though – surely the nice countryside bits are way nicer riding? Lived in London for 15 years and whilst I always commuted through town I never felt it gave me any real fitness…

    Sadly can’t really ride in and train back. Can’t take bike on the train.

    I’m riding a Singular Swift with Midge bars and 37mm hybrid type tyres with a fairly grindy alfine hub…Would love to do it on my road bike but on balance I’d rather the Swift was knicked than the road bike. Or maybe I’m being overly paranoid? Not carrying much. An ipad and some jeans and a t-shirt (work in w@nky tech world so smart not a problem…)

    And not too bothered about a seat – I usually slump on the floor in a sweaty mess because I fel bad sitting next to anyone!

    atlaz
    Member

    So you’re carrying a bag? My commute is far less fun with a bag so I tend to leave all but essentials at home/office. I bring clothes in every couple of weeks and take them home whenever I drive.

    Premier Icon grenosteve
    Subscriber

    When I started to ride a lot (about 7 years ago), I rode an XC MTB 14 miles each way, on the road, with a 200m + climb up to work each morning. Started with 2/3 times a week, then eventually every day.

    Kept going for a couple of years (until work moved and the 2 mile ride didn’t seem worth it most days).

    It was very hard, but I went from 19stone down to 13 and started riding with a local club. I haven’t been that fit ever since work moved and I started only riding at weekends.

    It’s worth sticking with, but then again, I didn’t have a train or London at the end of my ride… I’m sure that would drain enough mental energy to make it almost impossible…

    But if it’s not fun (most of the time), your probably just going to put yourself off riding…

    The £2400 annual saving would be enough to make me want to stick at it! You could get a very nice commuter Kalkhoff pedelec with that!

    Shame that pedelecs aren’t more widely championed in the UK as useful, range-extending timesavers yet so easily attract ‘burn the witch/MTFU’ commentary. Cycling should be enjoyable, long commutes too. Doubt I’d ever own one as an only bike (excepting serious mobility/health issues) but could definitely see the use if I was commuting 50 miles there and back in a day over hilly terrain

    A. I’d hate to be defeated ie get in a car
    B. I honestly rarely if ever enjoy turning up at work in a rushed exhausted sweat
    C. Like to conserve time and energy for leisure/sport cycling on other bikes after work and weekends.
    D. Like fun in general, and zipping across challenging terrain for 40-50 miles for a 10p charge sounds like fun

    Seems the simplest and most effective solution.

    I tried out a Kalkhoff Sahel compact recently, a total blast and grinningly well-made/engineered IMO. In fact am looking at somethign similar as a cargo option for carrying all my studio gear so I can get over the hills fast to further climes (= more work done quicker)

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    Shame that pedelecs aren’t more widely championed in the UK

    I just championed one !

    globalti
    Member

    I just wouldn’t do it; I love cycling too much to have to do it. Back in 1980 I worked a full summer season as a leader for Rambler’s Holidays taking parties up the Alps and by the end of it I was heartily sick of walking up and down mountains.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    This is what you need (best advert ever content):

    http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/tern-folding-bikehave-fun-get-fit-lose-teeth?replies=7#post-6218027

    The sense of impending doom will take your mind off your mere physical suffering. 🙂

    traildog
    Member

    I would build up. I worked out that if I rode three days a week then I would save on a weekly season ticket. So get two in, then recover and try for Thursday. You can then see how you feel Friday and either ride it or recover for the weekend. It gets easier and eventually you might look forward to it, especially if you haven’t had a weekends riding.

    Just thinking of the money was motivation enough. But have a backup plan as the thought of having to do it can be spirit breaking.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    The electric bikes are only good for 15mph though aren’t they? So whilst they would reduce the effort they’d likely increase the time taken.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    Only if it’s dead flat. If it’s hilly, you’ll be doing 15mph uphill (provided the motor is powerful enough for that?) and a gravity-provided 30+ downhill so I’d imagine it’d be faster unless you’re averaging more than 15 up all the hills.

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