Forum home Commuter cycling forum Commuting general

Finally - my first couple of days commuting done.

spartacus74spartacus74 Posts: 19
edited August 2010 in Commuting general
Hi, just thought i'd ask peoples experience of commuting. I've just done my first couple of days commuting (8 miles each way) completed in about 35mins. I felt fine yesterday, naturally had a sore posterior this morning, but felt fine again on the way into work, but seemed to struggle on the way home. Is this normal and my body telling me to have a break for a day or 2?
Did most people gradually work upto more regular commuting or did you just bite the bullet and ride every day? I think I was averaging about 20mph a lot of the way on my knobbly tyred MTB which I was quite surprised at. But averaged about 13mph on the way home today. Hopefully it was just a case of needing to take on more fluids (didn't have a water bottle or the like).
Just interested to hear your views / advice. I'm glad i've finally done it though, now to keep it up. :D


  • CJSA330CJSA330 Posts: 9
    I started commuting the same distance each about 6 weeks ago on a MTB. Felt exactly the same, very tired homeward.

    Your time is similar too, I improved after a couple of weeks also fitting some road tyres helps.

    Now I look forward the journey, so much so that considering getting a road bike.

    Listen to your body, if it needs rest for a day or 2 don't resist.
  • 8 miles doesn't really warrant fluid uptake if you've hydrated during the day. Although, it is nice to swill about your mouth to remove the taste of traffic.

    I keep a water bottle at work and fill it every morning, the mission is to empty it every day at least once.

    Best advice for beginners is to only give it 80%. If that means slowing down a wee bit on the uphills then fine. Just try to keep it on when it goes downhill and use your gears.

    Once your body's used to it, you'll want more...
    FCN16 - 1970 BSA Wayfarer

    FCN4 - Fixie Inc
  • Your body will adapt to the stress you put it under, you are more likely to crack mentally than physically. Your post confused me a little as you say
    (8 miles each way) completed in about 35mins
    I think I was averaging about 20mph

    Theres quite some difference... 20mph avg on an MTB is damn fast in my books.

    Anyway I would say it's nigh on impossible to dehydrate unless you're wearing a bin liner and work on top on Mont Ventoux.

    If you are comfortable at that pace then stick with it. If you are riding hard then you will be depleting your glycogen stores but the more you do it the larger those stores will become and the easier the 4th ride in 36 hours will be. One sure sign is that you feel fine but your legs just dont have the energy. If you are not worried about weight loss then better to over fuel than under, if you are trying to lose weight that takes a bit more getting used to.

    You can make life easier for yourself by making sure you eat sensibly during the day, try to get something in you within 20 mins of finishing a ride, a big glass of skimmed milk if nothing else and ensure you have lots of fluids during the day.

    8 miles is a great sprint distance for working on power, try to get out for a slower longer ride every now and again just to change things up.

    Keep at it & good luck :wink:
  • R_T_AR_T_A Posts: 488
    I wouldn't worry about taking on fluids during the journey. As long as you hydrate at each end you'll be fine (I do 10 miles each way with a 10kg rucksack and don't bother).

    You'll have good days and bad days - that's just the way it is with all sports I've done.

    What you may want to try if you're feeling it in your legs later in the week:

    - Put it in the gear below what you normally do (i.e. slightly less resistance).
    - Spin your legs faster (i.e. increase your cadence).

    This means you're not straining the muscles as much when they're tired, and you get your heart rate up.

    Oh, and get some slick tyres if you're mainly on roads - you'll notice a difference.
    Giant Escape R1
    FCN 8
    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
    - Terry Pratchett.
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 4,257
    Did you have a speedo on that was correctly showing average speeds?
  • Wrath RobWrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    Most people get "Friday legs" after a week in the saddle. I've found that having a protein shake after I arrive at work and the same when getting home (I normally don't eat dinner for a couple of hours after getting home) helps stave this off. Also have something to eat, e.g. a banana, an hour or so before heading home. This will give you an energy boost to help you home.

    20mph on a knibbly tired MTB is very fast. My moving average (i.e. it only uses the time I am actually moving for the average) on my road bike is ~17-18mph, I normally cruise at around 20-22. If you're keeping up with road bikes then you're probably calibrated correctly. If you're keeping up with other MTBs but being overtaken by the roadies then you're probably over-reading and need to check the settings.
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.
  • snailracersnailracer Posts: 968
    Well done on your successful commute :)
    Mine is 9 miles each way, the home leg is usually slower. I think this is mostly due to my legs simply being less fresh in the afternoon, and a smaller part is due to the prevailing (head) wind.
  • Wrath RobWrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    There's always a head-wind ;)

    Weirdly, if the wind drops I find I'm faster on the way home. Maybe the motivation of getting home beats the motivation of getting to work
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.
  • Hi thanks for your replies and advice, i've since re checked the computer for speeds, and my average speed was a bit optimistic :roll: i'm putting it down to beginners optimism as I checked the speed a few times as I was going along, and saw 20mph, average speed on the way out was 15.2mph and 11.3mph on the way back.

    Don't think it was my legs that had had enough, more I didn't feel as though I had the energy. I'll have to look into the protein shake if they help keep the munchies at bay and stop you eating so much as i'm also trying to get a bit of weight off aswell as get fit. Got myself a computer to help keep track of how i'm doing.

    Really need to get myself a front light now that the daylight hours are reducing.
  • Wallace1492Wallace1492 Posts: 3,707
    Good stuff! I started on a MTB, now moved over do the Darkside on a Tricross (Woooohooohooo). My 7.5 miles each way has become 45 miles per day now as I try and get the 1,000 fo the month.... I usually forget a bottle for my 30-40 miles home, but its not really a problem, just makes the cold beer sooooooooo very welcome. (I do take water too)

    You ALWAYS overstimate speed. You can hit 20mph for short stretches, and then convince yourself that is your "average".
    "Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles"
  • Gratz on your first few commuting days.

    The more you do it the easier it gets. I started with a couple of days a week and built up. I have found that stretching and eating just after my commute in help me feel better later on. Maybe its all in my mind.

    If you are worried about daylight then def get a rear light as well. Some other road users have a remarkable ability to not see things in front of them.

    Keep up the good work.
  • Maybe your route is more 'downhill' on the way in, maybe you had a 'headwind' coming home or maybe you just didn't eat/drink enough during the day, possibly a combo of all 3. Some good advice above so I'm sure you'll get it figured out.

    Well done on the commute & keep going :D
Sign In or Register to comment.