first 'commute'

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first 'commute'

Postby pugsly » Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:55 am

Well yesterday, being a day of leisure - I made plans to meeting up with a workmate outside work - Southgate in Melbourne - for a coffee. He rode in from Yarraville, I rode in from Glen Waverley.

We arranged to meet at 7, and since my speed isn't great yet, nor did I know the way, I allowed myself 2 hours - 5am start :shock: - urgh!

After fluffing about not being able to find my HRM, I finally set off at 5:20, and hit the Scotchman's creek trail about 10 mins after that. I can say I'm bloody happy I have a front light on the bike - I couldn't see diddly without it. These LED lights are far far better than the old things of my childhood - it was either a weak little globe powered by 2 D cell batteries, or the eternally painful generator on the front wheel. I was wearing a sports shirt that work gave me on a previous project that is made of that material that breathes (what is it called?) and some stubbies :). It was a tad cool to start with but a few hills sorted that out.

Once the sun started the rise and I could see without lights the ride got a heck of a lot better. From memory Scotchmans Creek trail turns into Gardners creek trail and then something else, then Yarra trail. Following lots of creeks, the Yarra river, riding under the freeway on some sort of suspension bridge, on the river on what I can only imagine are pontoons, and over any number of bridge - in short visual feast - it certainly made the time go quickly.

I had to stop a few times to get my bearings - I found some trails are marked better than others and at least a couple of times the sign posts were confusing - but luckily a runner who I'd passed about a minute earlier helped the first time. The second time I checked with my GPS in my bag. The third time I just followed the rest of the traffic. :)

So having left at 5:20, I arrived at Southgate at 7:00am - the total distance being 26km, which I was stoked with. Based on the cycle computer I fluffed about not riding at intersections and working out directions for about 20mins so my riding time wasn't too bad.

I caught the train home and rode back from the station (4km) which gave me 30km for the day. Not too bad for a beginner I think. :D

One feeling I got from the ride - which may have been in my head, was that the ride was predominantly downhill. That may be just in my head, but there felt like more downhill components than up, and if it's true, riding home from work will be a bitch! Has anyone here actually not got bored reading this and has made it this far, and does the ride I've outlined? I'd be interested on your thoughts.
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by BNA » Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:18 am

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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:18 am

Well done pugsly, 30k is a big distance for a beginner. Keep up the good work !!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby tuco » Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:35 am

Good work.
30km is all I've managed in a week and a half. It seems to be raining at my usual riding time (mornings) or the roads are too wet. I ride with my daughter and I don't want to endanger her on wet roads.

Check your bike computer manual, mine stops counting time if the bike is stationary, EG, at lights. Not sure what it's prerequisites are for determining a stop (I haven't read my manual and here I am telling you to read yours :oops:) but I know it does stop timing.
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Postby europa » Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:11 am

Onya Pugsly :D Dat's a big ride, especially as you started it at night. Those LED lights are rather nice aren't they.

You probably won't notice the difference in the ride home, it being uphill that is. If it's up and down (instead of a steady climb), you won't notice it. A bigger issue will be that you're riding home after a day at work so don't feel embarressed about taking the train home.

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Postby tuco » Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:13 am

Forgot to mention in the earlier post because I had a feral come into the shop. I caught him shop lifting on the camera once before but he knew I knew so put the item back on the shelf before I got to search his bag.
He walks around scratching his long hair and has to touch every item in the shop. I have to go around after he leaves and put everything back in place (then wash my hands).

He's pretty good today. Usually he zones out just standing still staring at an item in his hand, starts wobbling then puts his foot out to stop himself falling over. He mustn't have had a hit today.

I watch him like a hawk on the cameras but his head scratching makes my hair itchy.

I could write a book about the characters I had come in here over the years.

Anyway, what I forgot to mention :

You know you're getting fitter and stronger when you do a good ride then feel like another one an hour later.

They say exercise can be addictive, I agree.
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Postby uMP2k » Sat Jan 27, 2007 11:19 am

Certainly and impressive first "trial" commute!

My commute is only about 17ks each way, but I am still at the stage of riding in to work one morning and riding home the next afternoon. As Europa said, riding home after a days work is a lot harder than riding in when you are fresh in the morning. I am hoping to work up to rinding in and back in the same day at least a couple of times a week, but we shall see.

Riding home from work on Thursday was a bit of trial - the temperature here in Perth was about 41 degrees at the time and the last 5 ks was a real march in the desert!
Last edited by uMP2k on Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mulger bill » Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:59 pm

Nice one Pugsly, keep it up mate :D
As for the hills, keep exploring, you'll find the best way for you. It probably won't be the same way as your run into work, but that just adds to it anyway.
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Postby Hotdog » Sat Jan 27, 2007 6:18 pm

uMP2k wrote:As Europa said, riding home after a days work is a lot harder than riding in when you are fresh in the morning.

It's the other way round for me, so either I don't work very hard, I'm even less of a morning person than I thought, or I'm more motivated heading home than to work... :wink:

My 21km commute to work (Surry Hills to Epping) always feels harder than the return trip, and typically takes a least 10 minutes longer too. I put it down to the fact that while my ride is fairly up and down, it is predominantly up when heading toward work.
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Postby uMP2k » Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:18 pm

Hotdog wrote:
uMP2k wrote:As Europa said, riding home after a days work is a lot harder than riding in when you are fresh in the morning.

It's the other way round for me, so either I don't work very hard, I'm even less of a morning person than I thought, or I'm more motivated heading home than to work... :wink:

My 21km commute to work (Surry Hills to Epping) always feels harder than the return trip, and typically takes a least 10 minutes longer too. I put it down to the fact that while my ride is fairly up and down, it is predominantly up when heading toward work.


I am definately more a morning person - that combined with the heat over here on a summer afternoon makes my ride home about 10 minutes longer than the other way.

Well that and one long hill that I absolutely hate going up but love coming down on the way too work!
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Postby TriggerFish » Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:33 am

Awesome work Pugsly! I hope that you don't have to start work at 7am every day though. Those 5 am starts can get tiresome, particularly in winter. They killed my efforts last year. I am finally getting back into the swing after winter only now.

If I had a train for the ride home I would be taking it let me tell you! My ride home is an extra 20 minutes and all the hills are at the end. Then again, it is probably better for me that we don't have trains here :wink: . Mind you, the buses here have bike racks on them and I have been tempted to use them on more than one occaision.

Great start Pugsly. Keep up the good work!
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Postby pugsly » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:14 am

TriggerFish wrote:Awesome work Pugsly! I hope that you don't have to start work at 7am every day though. Those 5 am starts can get tiresome, particularly in winter. They killed my efforts last year. I am finally getting back into the swing after winter only now.

If I had a train for the ride home I would be taking it let me tell you! My ride home is an extra 20 minutes and all the hills are at the end. Then again, it is probably better for me that we don't have trains here :wink: . Mind you, the buses here have bike racks on them and I have been tempted to use them on more than one occaision.

Great start Pugsly. Keep up the good work!


No, 7am was just a pre-arranged time. 9am is the usual, although my workplace is fairly flexible.

I did my first proper commute in this morning. Left at 6:20, arrived at 8am. Enjoyed a coffee on the river, then went for a shower.
I even tracked the route. Let's see if this works.
My Ride

I've totalled 109km so far since I got the bike. :)

Thanks again!
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Postby tuco » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:33 am

Having original come from Melbourne I can say that's one hell of a commute especially with traffic.

Good work!

I don't bother riding to work. I only have 2.5km to ride and it takes me longer to get the bike out and my helmet and gloves on than it does to get there.
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Postby europa » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:38 am

tuco wrote:I don't bother riding to work. I only have 2.5km to ride and it takes me longer to get the bike out and my helmet and gloves on than it does to get there.


At that distance, it'd be better for you walking anyway :D

Wasn't life easier when we just left the grid rusting outside the front door and all we did was walk out in our street clothes, leap on and ride away. We make this caper too darned hard sometimes.

Hey Tuco, maybe you need to find an old single speed bike, the sort of thing that no-one's going to pinch and which you probably wouldn't mind if they do, and try the 'gentle ride to work in me work clothes' game.

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Postby tuco » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:44 am

europa wrote:Hey Tuco, maybe you need to find an old single speed bike, the sort of thing that no-one's going to pinch and which you probably wouldn't mind if they do, and try the 'gentle ride to work in me work clothes' game.

Richard


My wife does that with the Starlet. She never locks it and no bastard will steal it. If they did they'd dump it 100m away because it needs a new engine mount and sounds like a chaff cutter.
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Postby europa » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:48 am

They reckon one of the joys of fixed gear riding is leaving it unlocked and then sitting back and waiting for some idiot to try and ride it away :twisted:

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Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:30 pm

europa wrote:They reckon one of the joys of fixed gear riding is leaving it unlocked and then sitting back and waiting for some idiot to try and ride it away :twisted:

Richard



:lol: :lol: :lol:

Could you try that with a video camera set up, I'd love to see that on youtube 8)
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Postby pugsly » Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:25 pm

Today I tried my ride to work in reverse - that is, I rode from the city to home. I rode to the station first, caught the train in and rode home. This ride was far far more painful than any other ride to date.

* the wind - a southerly at 20km/h - puts the brakes on when trying to ride in a south easterly direction :(

* There is definitely more *uphill* bits going home - and they're steeper

* This ride was later in the day, and it was hotter - between 22 and 30 - not that that is super hot I know. :)

The ride took from start to finish a bit over 180 mins (versus 90mins for the ride in) with actual in-the-saddle-moving-time of 126 mins. I burned (according to the HRM) about 2300kcals.

I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes, but I bought clipless pedals and shoes last night from the LBS and fitted them. Apart from actually attaching to the pedals I found taking my feet off the pedals fairly natural - so no falls (yet :oops: ).

I also bought a floor pump - I put it on before I went riding and found the tires at 40psi, so I pumped them up to around 70-75 - if anything I would have hoped that would make the ride a little easier.

Ah well. I can't expect to all be easy. Clock up another 33.3km :)
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Postby TriggerFish » Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:35 pm

OMGosh! 3 hour ride. I humbly bow before thee ! Super bonus points for tenacity!

So going to sleep all this weekend then? :wink:

I think if I had that sort of ride facing me everyday on the way home, I would be setting up camp in the office. Thought of catching the train part of the way and riding the rest? Maybe that could be a good way of building up stamina and consistency. A way of getting on the bike more often you know?

I commuted to and from work 4 days this week for the first time ever. I rode Mon. Tues, Thu, Fri. Although on Friday the ride home was a little daunting, so I put the bike on the front of a bus for half the trip, they have racks for that here (anywhere eles?). Then I hopped off at a stop and had a 25 min ride home up the tough bits of the ride isntead of a 55 min. ride finishing with those same tough bits. So I managed to commute a little bit more than the 3 days I did the two weeks previously and I think with the confidence I gained from that, I will make it 4 days next week! If not, I can always use the bus again!

Seriously inspired by you Pugsly. 3 hours! Awesome!
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Postby pugsly » Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:56 am

Nah, it's not that big a deal. Of that 3 hours I spent nearly an hour taking breaks and swearing at myself for letting myself get so unfit.

Your idea of catching the train part way is a good one. I wanted to try the ride first to see how bad it was actually going to be. The good thing is that the track isn't that far from a few stations. East Malvern is probably the best one.

I think for starters, I'll ride in a couple of days a week, and just do the ride home from the station - that's 30km. Once I've done that for a few weeks, I'll start getting off at earlier stations.

It's the hills that are killing me. After a few long rises I'm just saped of energy. I don't want to use any supplements as I've got a huge energy supply around my middle that I'd rather my body used.

Good work on the commute for this week! I'd love to be at a level where I was doing that! I think Canberra is the only place with bike racks. For me, the train is ok.

From the way you're going, you'll be commuting 5 days a week - I'm inspired by you. I want to be there. Well done!
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Postby europa » Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:35 am

The mistake people make with riding, commuting especially, is to make it too hard. There's this mind set that commuting has to be door to door and it has to be every day. Well that's just asking for failure - even Mikesbytes who'd have to be among the fittest here (and maddest - don't deny it Mike, I've read your training logs :D ) admits to using the train sometimes.

The trick with commuting is to enjoy it. Yup, going to work is fun ... well, it can be and that's what you want to aim for. If the lumpy bits are too darned lumpy, take the train. In fact Pugsly, I'd suggest that you ride to where the hills start, take the train through them, then ride for the rest of the trip. You'll find that some days you'll ride most of it, others, you'll train all of it. Keep a log of the station you climb on at and use the train stations as your targets.

Being a 'head down, bum up, go like blazes' type, I'm slowly being dragged to the conclusion that easily achieved but often is better in the long term than going too hard. Yes, it's different for those who are already very fit and training for racing, but we're talking bodies that aren't all that fit.

I hit a real slump this week, I'm guessing it's a result of pushing too hard too often over a couple of weeks. Bang, all of a sudden I had the power in my legs but not the energy to keep driving them nor the pleasure of riding me bike. So I've taken a couple of days off and tried to strangle the guilt feelings :roll: Your emotional state intrudes also and there are times when it is better to take it quietly and let your fitness take a backward step so that you can regain that fitness later rather than turning yourself against the whole thing.

I'm thinking that if Pugsly were to try too hard to do those hills too often, he could find himself doing the same - becoming overtrained basically. While this is a trap usually thought of in terms of really fit gits, I reckon it hits us unfit types harder and more often, and it's harder to come out of.

So take it quietly Pugsly. Do what feels right and don't fuss about taking the train. There's enough stress in commuting without adding guilt about not riding the beast and one thing is certain - if you only ride when you're enjoying it, you'll keep doing it for a lot longer. You'll have a lot of down time now, but you'll still be working those pedals this time next year whereas if you go too hard at it now, the chances are you won't be riding next year (guess how I know this :wink: )

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Postby mikesbytes » Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:41 pm

Pugsley, when I started commuting in 2000 I rode 1 day a week and eventually built it up to 3 days a week, where it stayed for a long time.

Keep up the excellent work you have done with your commute and that 3 hours will steadly decline.
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Postby pugsly » Sun Feb 04, 2007 4:11 pm

Thanks for your wise words Richard and Mike. I think I have a personality much like yours Richard. My first thoughts with the commuting thing was to just do it every day. Get in and give it everything. Good advice from this and other forums stopped me from being so silly, as did a fear of a fairly important chest muscle reneging on the deal. So I've been easing into it.

The ride on Saturday was just to get a feel to see if the ride was going to be bad - it was. So I now know to catch the train back. I'll be pacing myself and getting the ride in under control first. I plan on doing it twice a week then building up the ride home on top of that. I have swimming I do two other days and I walk (not run yet) for two other mornings - which leaves me with one day to take a break.

I take your point about enjoyment, coming home yesterday was just a pain - the novelty of new shoes/pedals simply weren't enough to keep my mind off it. I'm just going to have to get used to hills - and they are the real bummer for my riding as I live in the middle of a bunch - I'd be surprised if there is a 100m long stretch of flat ground around here anywhere and a bike carrier is still a few weeks off. Please don't think I'm complaining :) just stating the facts. I'll be keeping things up - just today I rode to the shops to grab some lunch - pie and sausage roll for the mrs, couple of apples and a banana for me instead of driving. Which gives me more hill practice. :)

I just ticked over 150km on the bike computer. So that's 50km a week so far. I'm hanging out for when 150km a 'just going for a ride' distance. 8) :P
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Postby timbo » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:42 am

Did my first commute for ages last Wednesday. The reason being a flat battery in the car. as I was doing night shift, the ride from Wattle Grove to Lidcombe (45km round trip) was done in the evening and then early morning, and I have to say during summer it is a very pleasant ride. I took quite a few more back streets than if I was driving, and the change of scenery from normal helped make things more interesting, and the aroma from Pizza shops in the evening, and bakeries in the morning was great. I do rotating shift work so next time night shift comes around, I will definitely commute by bike again (perhaps 3 days), as normally having your body clock turned upside down, just makes you feel lethargic and not wanting to do any exercise at all, so i'll be able to at least maintain fitness insread of just lying on the couch feeling like a blob.
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Postby europa » Mon Feb 05, 2007 12:32 pm

I spent a year in road design, driving a desk all day in mony balony city. It was the commute that kept me sane, even when I didn't feel like it.

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Postby MJF » Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:04 am

pugsly wrote:I think Canberra is the only place with bike racks.


I've heard they had them up in Brisbane, but some of the bus drivers hated them and would nudge them into something solid... they stopped replacing them in the end.
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