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Any 25+ Mile Commuters Out There?

Levi_501Levi_501 Posts: 1,105
edited September 2014 in Commuting chat
Morning all.

We are looking to escape outside of the M25, possibly Woking, Dorking Sevenoaks. Exact place not decided on yet, but to give you an idea.

I wondered if there are many, if any 25+ mile commuters out there and how you get on with it.

At the moment my commute is 12 miles to the City, which takes 45 minutes. I am guessing, the further away the distance from central London, the less time it takes to cover; so may be something like 25 miles may take just under an hour and a half. However, tiredness comes into play if you are doing 25 miles twice a day, four/five days a week.

Is it possible every day? Or is it a ride in Monday morning, train home Monday night. Followed by a train in Tuesday morning and then cycle home Tuesday night?

How long does it take?

Obviously the upside of this, is new bike time!
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  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 2,221
    I live 25 miles from work (nr Redhill to Kentish Town - 25 miles by the route I take).

    I have attempted the commute, but decided it was just too much (for me) every day. I actually mix it up as work demands that I need the car in town some days (drive to office then have to head out somewhere else in the UK). When I do commute which is only 2 or 3 days a week, I drive 12 miles to Mitcham and then cycle the next 12 miles to work (and vice versa on the way back). That way I drive the bit where it is quicker to drive (partly) dual carriage ways and cycle the bit where cycling is quicker than driving.
    Even this 50/50 approach takes me an 1hour and 20mins or more each way.

    I'm sure there are people on here that do 25mile plus commutes, so it is certainly possible.
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  • 25+ miles each way? Plenty I'd imagine. Mine is a mere 20 each day.

    Do-able 5 days a week? Yes, easily. You get conditioned to it. Some days it hurts.

    Of course, it gets harder in the dark so Nov-Jan are more difficult. But March to October it's plain sailing.
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  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,521
    I lived in Reigate for 18 months, used to do the commute three times a week. It depends on your fitness, and willingness to put in miles on what amounts to, frankly, shitty roads. You can always cheat and find a station halfway back to jump on at - I used to ride in all the way to Marble Arch and then, on those days where I didn't fancy the 40KM grind back out, get on the train at Croydon for the second half of the journey.

    The best thing you'll get out of this is base miles in your legs - I grew to absolutely despise certain parts of my route, but it does make a big difference for 'real' cycling at the weekends - plus if you keep it up through the winter, it's less time you'll have to spend on the turbo :)
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  • yep have done that 46 miles each way for about three weeks last year it took it out on you too much, but like this week, I part commute in so train to upminster then 23 miles to work which is easily doable takes around 1hr 18 to do that, last night tried a new full commute route home just shy under 50 miles thanks a few wrong turns and it took around 2hr 30 this is a fairly flat route. The other factor you have to think of is fueling and more wear and tear on the bike, as you will be swapping chains and cassettes more regularly.
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  • An hour and a half is about 16mph some people can average that on a commute quite easily, I couldn't.
  • Levi_501Levi_501 Posts: 1,105
    Thanks guys.

    Part cycle part car, that may be an option.

    The other thing to consider, if I work form home a day or so, which I am able; I have to carry files/laptop etc.
  • verminvermin Posts: 1,739
    Yep, I do 61 miles round trip. It's easy enough really, just need to build up to it slowly. I stepped up from 32 miles round trip a few weeks ago. It's probably a bit much to do every day (and still enjoy it), at least at the start, so I'm currently doing 3 or 4 days out of 5 - I'd planned to take Wednesdays off, which works well, but in reality it is influenced more by work needs. Also, listen to your body - it tells you when you really need a rest.

    I try to get the best out of it training-wise, alternating days of hammering the whole way, doing intervals, and just taking it easy. On the fast days I'll look to average 20mph, for a total time of 1.35 (there aren't many traffic lights!), on slow days maybe up to 2 hours each way. Still not much slower than the car.

    Big consideration is that, when doing those distances, you need to take your kit a bit more seriously. On a 10 mile blast, you can get away with summer kit for 3 seasons. 50+ each day needs to be taken a bit more steadily, so dress for the conditions. With a commute, this means taking various options for differing conditions morning and evening. I'm currently getting lots of use out of arm and leg warmers and a gilet.

    Does wonders for your fitness though - your weekend ridemates will hate you for it.
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    I used to do a 52 mile round trip from Walton on Thames to Grey's Inn Road.

    Hard work. Used to take me about an hour and a half each way; I was always hungry and always tired. I put on weight and I didn't ride at the weekends for pleasure because I was too tired.

    I wouldn't do it again.
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  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    I think Gussio does that sort of mileage. He looks pretty good on it.

    You'll need to be well organised, have a good preventative maintenance regime, a spare bike or two and be prepared to eat lots and lots of food.
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  • verminvermin Posts: 1,739
    asprilla wrote:
    I used to do a 52 mile round trip from Walton on Thames to Grey's Inn Road.

    Hard work. Used to take me about an hour and a half each way; I was always hungry and always tired. I put on weight and I didn't ride at the weekends for pleasure because I was too tired.

    I wouldn't do it again.

    I wonder if there is a significant difference betwee doing this in London and doing it in the regions. Up here I can maintain a steady pace and just get on with riding through the fields. I imagine doing any sort of distance through the city, with all the constant slowing down, stopping and starting, would be pretty soul destroying with little real training benefit.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 2,221
    vermin wrote:
    asprilla wrote:
    I used to do a 52 mile round trip from Walton on Thames to Grey's Inn Road.

    Hard work. Used to take me about an hour and a half each way; I was always hungry and always tired. I put on weight and I didn't ride at the weekends for pleasure because I was too tired.

    I wouldn't do it again.

    I wonder if there is a significant difference betwee doing this in London and doing it in the regions. Up here I can maintain a steady pace and just get on with riding through the fields. I imagine doing any sort of distance through the city, with all the constant slowing down, stopping and starting, would be pretty soul destroying with little real training benefit.
    Yep the constant stop/starting is really tiring (for me anyway). Plus, you have to be constantly on full-alert for motor-vehicles trying to kill you, other cyclists and pedestrians walking into the road.

    I am alert on weekend rides in the country, but its just not as intense as cycling in London. You can't relax much!
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  • Your age (ability to recover), the hills and the weather (wind) will all make a significant difference.
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  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    Yeah I ride 25 miles each way - Gravesend to Crystal Palace. The distance isn't the issue, its the climbs and wind that are the obstacles. I have about 4 or 5 hills that require effort and its the same each way - about 1000m of elevation gain a day. I've also had days where you're battling straight into the headwind on the way in and then the wind changes direction and you have a headwind all the way home too. The days when you get a tailwind are AWESOME though :D

    Only been doing it since May, and only just started riding 5 days a week. Only had a couple of wet commutes, not looking forward to cold wet winter commutes, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

    There are pluses and minuses.

    Some days it does hurt as said above.
    You will feel tired, but you will sleep well - I've got 2 young children so this probably doesn't help TBH.
    You will save a fortune in petrol, but spend a fortune on more cycle gear - I still need to get a decent winter bike and clothes.
    I don't feel much like cycling on the weekends. But TBH this was the point, I have a new baby and a 2 year old so wanted to spend more time with them. The commute makes sure I still get my cycle time - but its not as much fun as hurtling around the country lanes with the club.
    Your journey will always take the same amount of time, unless you're tired and riding into a headwind, in which case it will only take you 10 minutes more.
    You can eat twice as much as a normal human being.
    You will become very very fit.

    There will be days when you are a bit fed up with cycling. For me I do miss getting home to the kids at a decent time some days, but you just need to drive once in order to be reminded that the grass isn't always greener (I had to drive today - took over 2 hours to get in due to the fog). I can't wait to cycle in tomorrow now!

    Having done the journey a little while now I think that 20 miles is about the right distance for cycle commuting. I'd only recommend 25 miles to someone who really wants to ride more.

    So yeah, DO IT :twisted:
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    We have an office in Leyton. Fastest route from home is 21 miles. However, on Friday I went home via Embankment and Putney and added a few miles. I clocked on 45 for the day in and out. While this isn't huge for a single day (I've done 100+ miles before) on the top of other rides last week it hurt and I bonked on the way home badly.

    My current commute is 13 miles which I'm managing 4 times a week, and that follows a step down from 16miles each way in march so I'm finding that fine and often extend on way home. As other have said I think the step up will hurt but you will adjust, at first it will make you very tired and knackered but you will get used to it. If not just think or Mr Goodwin who cycled an average of 200 miles a day in 1937 to make the world record of approx. 75,000 miles in a year. If he can do that then......
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  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    Sketchley wrote:
    ...If not just think or Mr Goodwin who cycled an average of 200 miles a day in 1937 to make the world record of approx. 75,000 miles in a year. If he can do that then......
    Yeah, but was he carrying his lunch, a shirt and a laptop?
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  • I commute 45 <> 50 miles about 4 days a week during the lighter months; it's quite enjoyable, you can ride home (mostly) stress free and appreciate the changing scenery right from early spring through to late autumn. I've done plenty of long, dark, winter commutes, they are no fun. If I had to describe them to you in a short paragraph, this would be it....

    Then the dark winter months kick in (November through to March); the sun has barely risen by the time you set off in the morning. It's cold, it's dark, and if you're really lucky there's not much wind about. After about half an hour into the commute, your fingers are pretty much numb, your face is frozen and your nose is raw from having to rub away the constant stream of snot. By the time you get to work, you can't even feel the ends of your toes - even though you wore two pairs of socks and even overshoes. To help warm up, you take a shower but have to ignore the screaming from your fingers and toes as the warm blood starts to bring them back to life. You go about your usual day in the office and before long it's that dreaded time when you have to get dressed back into those cold, damp cycling clothes. By the time you get on your bike the sun has long gone, the pitch black darkness is kept away thanks to nearby offices and street lamps. You start out on your ride home, already wearing damp clothes, it's not long before the cold sets in. After a few miles, you begin to leave the hustle of the bright city centre and start making your way through dimly light suburbia before finally entering the pitch black oblivion that is the unlit countryside. Your only friend for the next 20 miles is the intense narrow beam of white light cutting its way through the thick black darkness as you travel; your eyes become focused, almost hypnotised, on the road ahead. The only distractions are those of shock when tired commuter drivers - driving as fast as possible - pass you by far too fast and far too close, not even noticing you were even there. If you're lucky you manage to make it home in one piece ready for the next day.


    So if you do keep up a 25 mile commute during the dark months, you've done yourself proud and you're in the minority; there's really not that many people who do it, it's really not enjoyable..... During the winter months I like to try to do longer rides at the weekend and make the most of being out on the bike whilst it's daytime rather than spending all my time riding the commute when its almost dark and/or pitch black. It's not impossible, but it's not going to be enjoyable, and may even ruin any ambition you have to get out and ride your bike ;)
  • I commute 45 <> 50 miles about 4 days a week during the lighter months; it's quite enjoyable, you can ride home (mostly) stress free and appreciate the changing scenery right from early spring through to late autumn. I've done plenty of long, dark, winter commutes, they are no fun. If I had to describe them to you in a short paragraph, this would be it....

    <snip>

    So if you do keep up a 25 mile commute during the dark months, you've done yourself proud and you're in the minority; there's really not that many people who do it, it's really not enjoyable..... During the winter months I like to try to do longer rides at the weekend and make the most of being out on the bike whilst it's daytime rather than spending all my time riding the commute when its almost dark and/or pitch black. It's not impossible, but it's not going to be enjoyable, and may even ruin any ambition you have to get out and ride your bike ;)


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  • Sketchley wrote:
    My current commute is 13 miles which I'm managing 4 times a week, and that follows a step down from 16miles each way in march so I'm finding that fine and often extend on way home.

    The thing that many people don't realise is that a commute of 15 miles each way isn't bad at all, it can take 45 minutes to complete if riding fast and if doing leisurely can take an hour. It's not really tough at all, and if you want, you can just take an easy day and it doesn't really affect your time too much as it's not a long way. You can then also feel good some days and fancy going a bit further; for example, you could decide to take a 30mile route home and it would be easy enough.

    However.
    When you are cycling 25miles each way twice a day, there is no escape, there is no short cut route, there is only the "long" way home and you have to take it, you have no choice. 50 miles a day is a awful lot when you take into account that one must also work for 7 or 8 hours. Also consider that on a lot of days the weather will be bad, especially the wind. Usually a 25mile *no choice* commute means a fairly straight route from home to office (i.e. said person lives "as the crow flies" 20miles from the office). Therefore, if the wind is in the wrong direction, it's headwind the entire journey; that's tough, it's a huge ask to do it 5 days a week. I struggle on the weeks I do 4 days a week and my commute is 23 <> 27 miles each way (depending on route - and the route I choose is determined by the wind direction).
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,824
    My 2p worth, food for thought:
    - I live in Guildford and sometimes do the commute to London Bridge from there or Woking. Its a 70+ mile round trip, I do it at most once a week, sometimes not at all for many weeks due to weather, feeling meh etc. I need to have the inclination to do it, which is not always the case.
    - The ride up to Richmond Park isn't too bad, although uninspiring on the main roads. From RP over Putney Bridge, along the CS8 its all stop/start with hords of other cyclists and motorist, not funl. I take a chill pill and get on with it.
    - Its phyiscally draining, needing more sleep and mroe food to sustain myself.
    - The day is long, leaving 6.30ish and getting back after 8pm. May be your body would get conditioned to it, but it would take its toll.
    - When the evenings are dark & cold or the weather isn't so good, its really not for me, I just CBA.
    - I have really good facilities at the office - secure indoor storage for the bike, showers, lockers etc. Essential for this kind of journey. I need to bring in office clothes and prepare.
    - A friend of mine (who is able to get up earlier than me) takes a very early train into London Tues/Weds/Thusday with her bike, and cycles home. You have to be early as bikes aren't allowed on trains in the rush hour.
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  • I have to say that I wouldn't care much for a 25-mile commute. I've done 18 miles each way on an MTB with Ice Spikers through a Highland winter which must pretty much equate and, by Friday, I was done in. I can't say I particularly got used to it. And I quite like some aspects of winter riding (you feel great having beaten the elements).

    Just a thought - if you must do it, how about eBiking? Even if you alternated between bikes (eBike in, normal bike out, normal in, eBike out etc) it would make it more manageable.
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  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    eBiking
    burn the witch etc
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  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    dhope wrote:
    eBiking
    burn the witch etc
    I recently had a trainee who was in her fifties and quite seriously overweight. She had a 15 mile commute from north London to South London and used an eBike for the commute. It is a horrible stop/start commute with LOADS of traffic lights, so the eBike would help her a lot. At weekends she uses a real bike to improve her fitness.

    Using an eBike allows her to save an hour a day compared to public transport and (she says) is gradually improving her fitness so that she can enjoy her weekend rides rather than hating her commute and feeling too knackered to ride at weekends. Her story has converted me a little bit to eBikes.

    I'd never own one though.
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  • That’s a pretty long way there and back and, a substantial increase in commuting mileage. What's more, it’s not the same as extending your commute daily for pleasure. Without knowing your level of fitness (although it sounds like you have a goodish base) it would probably be worth trying it 3 or possibly 4 days a week to begin (that’s still a fair whack of commuting miles).

    Do you have a multi-modal option – train/car and then a shorter bike distance? It’s nice if you have a route that provides the opportunity to bail at a nearby train station if there’s rain and a constant 20mph headwind for 25 miles…Or you can MTFU.

    A few things to consider – do you know what your route is like in busier commuting times (high density urban traffic can be mentally tiring too). How much climbing is there (not too much long and steep stuff I should think)? Are there alternative routes – shorter, longer, harder, more stopping etc? Will you be able to travel light – obviously preferable, if not, your speed is going to drop and your time on the bike increases. Are there facilities at work – bike sheds, showers etc? Can you deal with minor mechanicals on route – you might be a quite a distance from a bike shop. Will you cycle when it's icy - if so, you'll probably need ice tyres and they're going to slow you down, big time. Winter can be bleak and a serious grind, so you might want to ease off a bit in Dec, Jan and Feb. Is your job physically demanding - if so, it's going to be harder on your body (even if not, you're still likely to be tired after a day of work). Your going to have to budget for more components and tyres, due to a higher wear rate. Finally, can you afford to spend 3-4hours + on your bike (and that's assuming a good average speed) a day?

    Anyway, go for it...
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Oh almost forgot, you will need a new bike for this. N+1 applies big time on 25 miles round trips.
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  • Paulie WPaulie W Posts: 1,492
    Getting on for 10 years ago now I had an approximately 70 mile round trip commute in West Wales (5 hours in time on average although often longer on dark wet windy days). Other than moving house or changing job (which I eventually did), at the time I didnt have much choice (as no public transport and I had no car).

    I did it 5 days a week (occasionally 6) for about 6 months. The ride could be glorious - no traffic, amazing scenery - but it could also be hell - weather was bad a lot of the time! I became very fit - dont understand the putting on weight thing! - but was tired nearly all the time and after a hard ride in poor weather a day's work could be pretty tough.

    As someone else said, regular long commutes have a significant impact on your bike in terms of how often you have to change bits of the drive train etc and also forces you into having absolutely the right set up and the right clothing. I spent a fair bit on kit and new parts even over 6 months (although I no doubt 'saved' money over what would have been the cost of driving).

    It also made the days very long. I started work at 9 and finished at 5:30 or 6 normally (although sometimes later). I had to give myself an absolute minimum of 3 hours to get there as although i could do it relatively comfortably in 2.5 hours I had to build in time for mechanicals, punctures, etc and good old fashioned head winds as well as a shower when I got there. This meant setting off at 6 and getting back no earlier than 8 and normally closer to 9. I basically had no life which at the time didnt matter that much (although that's another story)!

    On balance then while these longer commutes can obviously be done, spending 3-4 hours (or longer) on your bike on a daily basis in fair weather and foul and working a full day in between takes it toll on you and the bike and it's best to have options so that it can be as many days a week as you want it to be!
  • dhope wrote:
    eBiking
    burn the witch etc

    Fair cop :wink:

    Given the choice of:
    a. Pubic Transport
    b. Grinding through city traffic in a car
    c. eBike

    I know which I'd choose - witch or not :wink:
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  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,692
    I did a couple of years doing a 50 mile round trip and as others have said it spoilt my social riding enjoyment and left me tired and less efficient at work, luckly at the time I had a boring senior management role.
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  • j_mcdj_mcd Posts: 470
    I do 22 miles each way but generally only in the summer, in the winter months I tend to do the 22 miles in and then 7 miles back (I cheat and jump on a train on the way back).

    It's not that bad, except when it's bad. Sounds like a stupid thing to say but there'll just be days when you hate it (for me, they're usually Wednesdays for some reason) but you don't have a choice apart from just plowing on. I think the key thing is to not get obsessive about it, if you feel like missing a day then miss a day. No one cares and it's not like anyone is judging you!

    Most of the time I really enjoy my ride in (and will even more when my new frame for the road bike finally arrives).
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  • Sketchley wrote:
    Oh almost forgot, you will need a new bike for this. N+1 applies big time on 25 miles round trips.

    It's a 50 mile round trip isn't it?

    50 miles is a good length ride on a weekend, nevermind on a work day when you have a full days work to tackle too.

    Plus you'd need to set aside an hour or two at the weekend for bike maintenance, e.g. giving the bike a proper clean down, including chain and cassette, relube etc as 250 miles a week will takes it's toll quickly. tbh you (the OP) would need to have a full stocked workshop with replacement parts ready to go.
  • I do 40 mile round trip and if I do 5 days a week get progressively more tired... what I do find is that work/social life usually give me natural breaks. You will slow down to preserve yourself to ride that far.

    I don't know route in from Sevenoaks but would say that in from Woking is flat and pleasant whereas from Dorking it is relatively hilly then you have the full length of CS7.

    I am about to move to Epsom or Ashtead and find myself talking up Epsom to keep the round trip down by a few miles.

    In conclusion it is doable but not much fun though you would save thousands of pounds.
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