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anyone commute 15miles+?

AzharAzhar Posts: 247
edited January 2016 in Commuting general
Hello!

Just wondering from all you cyclists if anyone cycles 15 miles+ each way for their commute (my commute is 16 miles each way)? if you manage to do it everyday and what's your tip on recovering fast?

I have been managing it a couple times a week and to be honest its been a struggle. I'm absolutely shattered when I get there and even worse when I make it home at the end of the day. I been following the food guidance I been reading in cycling magazines (porridge, nuts etc) and my fitness isn't that bad. cant figure out what's happening :)

I
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  • Are you getting enough sleep?
    I do similar mileage and struggle to sleep at night because I worry about sleeping in and being late for work. The times I don't sleep well I'm shattered at the end of the day. Also don't forget you are doing this on top of a full day at work so don't be too hard on yourself.
  • macleod113macleod113 Posts: 560
    i regularly do 40+ miles a day and have gotten used to it over time. i do eat a lot and do a sit down all day job which helps. i also do like my sleep but manage on about 7-7.5 hours a night.
    i don't go for it on my commutes and pace myself but i still make good time.
    i also vary the route as much as i can so it stays interesting.
    good luck and dont worry, the longer you do it the more you get used to it
    Cube Cross 2016
    Willier GTR 2014
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Yes, 40 miles there and back. Been doing it for years now and the biggest improvements in fitness have come from just knowing when to do do easy days and when to smash it.
    Having a fixie has helped too by narrowing my speed range; enforced easy days.

    If you are new to riding or these distances, just build it up over time until you can do back to back weeks.
  • lancewlancew Posts: 680
    I do JUST under at about 14.2 each way 4-5 days a week since Feb and I too have been suffering. My wife informed me that its making me grumpy. I feel that I'm starting to feel a bit better now, and I'm starting to add a few gym sessions to my week that I dropped when I started to commute.

    I have a few coping mechanisms that have helped:

    1) Sleeping alot. Giving myself an extra hour or two of sleep has been necessary, but I'm needing that less now.
    2) Recovery shake at work. I use the SIS recovery shake at work to ensure my body is putting my effort to good use.
    3) Finding efficiencies. Learn when to smash your way to a light that will cost you a 2 minute wait, but when to let it change and rest. You don't want to be fighting for lights that just aren't going to go your way no matter what. Save that energy for holding your scalp when it matters.
    Specialized Allez Sport 2013
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 740
    I've recently moved and found myself with a 36 mile round trip.
    I've also been off the bike for a while so I'm not at my fittest.

    I'm currently doing one commute a week with a bit of leisure riding at the weekend and occasional evening - my job can be quite active and it's got some reasonably hilly bits near home so I can find the return leg pretty tough but I make sure I've nothing to rush home for that day so I can take it a bit easier.

    I intend to just build it up from there and see how it goes, I figure that putting pressure on myself to ride too much is just going to put me off the whole idea and I'll end up taking the motorbike instead. At the moment I'm finding it hard but feeling good about getting some exercise so I'm keen to get pedalling on the cycling days.
  • All about the sleep for me.
    My commute is a 30 mile round trip, so when I was riding in for 5 days a week, I was in bed by 9:30.
    That was too much and became a chore, so now I limit it to 3 days a week maximum.
    I also give myself lots of time to get in and make sure that everything is ready in the morning, so I don't have to faff about and waste time.
    2007 Felt Q720 (the ratbike)
    2012 Cube Ltd SL (the hardtail XC 26er)
    2014 Lapierre Zesty TR 329 (the full-sus 29er)
  • telesv650telesv650 Posts: 59
    I do 13.5 miles each way, but not every day as I find it too tiring. I take the view that I do not need to cycle, so it should be a pleasure. As soon as this stops being the case with the commute I stop cycling. I've found three time a week is about my limit normally.
  • 17.5 each way for me. I don't do it every day as some days its not practical (sometimes for work I need to carry ~15kg of bulky kit), and I need to have other fitness than cycling, so cycling that much every day would leave me little other training time.

    My ideal weeks go something like this in terms of exercise
    Monday - commute (making an effort)
    Tuesday - no cycling, trail run + maybe circuits
    Wednesday - mountain biking
    Thursday - rest day
    Friday - casual commute.
    Sat/Sun - whatever I feel like

    Sometimes I extend the commute home in the summer if it's a nice day, I think it's important to mentally know you don't have to cycle every day.
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    22 miles each way for me, but I don't do it every day. My route is spectacularly quiet, 18 miles completely car free, so I can just pootle along with headphones on listening to the radio.

    Even under those conditions, I'm tired when I get home, but it's a great feeling.
  • AzharAzhar Posts: 247
    wow. what great replies and what a decent amount you guys cover.

    Sleep has been mentioned a few times and I do feel I get enough sleep, about 7 to 7.5 hours a night and I also have a desk job that helps recovery. After reading your replies and thinking about what my commutes have been like on the bike I think I have been trying to emulate my fitness of what it used to be a year ago. I have been off the bike for a while and I think somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that I could this hill or do this straight much faster than what it felt like I was doing on my latest commute that I was adding a lot more power and effort to get back to that standard.

    I think I have been trying too hard too fast and there should have been some element of building up. But I thought, like I've said, the fact that I can do the distance normally within an hour is taking me another 20 minutes. ouch!

    In terms of what you guys do to recover during the day is there any particular food that you consider a 'super food' to recover but also perhaps give you that boost to still put in a decent performance on the ride home?
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Azhar wrote:
    In terms of what you guys do to recover during the day is there any particular food that you consider a 'super food' to recover but also perhaps give you that boost to still put in a decent performance on the ride home?

    To be honest, I just eat everything I can get my hands on and more :lol:

    Just try to eat healthy and balanced foods. I generally go with a pre-ride banana and big bowl of cereal on arrival. Then a high carb lunch; big bowl of pasta or rice etc. and try to have snacks at hand all day like nuts.
    I try to go with eating a little a lot.
  • ex-pat scotex-pat scot Posts: 939
    I used to do 40 miles per day.
    Just eat. I used to have a drawer full of flapjack, fruit, bread.
    Make sure you have things well-organised at work - spareas of everything. Plenty of clothes etc.
    Keep a few inner tubes, tyre, tools and a couple of bits (cables, brake blocks), track pump, batteries/ light.

    In the winter, always have at least one spare light.
    Make sure you have several bikes ready to go, waiting in the garage. If you have a mechanical, then grab another and go.
    Winter high mileage - single speed or fixed is simplest.
    Use your nice bike on good days, if you can. It makes life more interesting.
    Try and have a couple of route variations to stop you going route crazy.
    Commute: Langster -Singlecross - Brompton S2-LX

    Road: 95 Trek 5500 -Look 695 Aerolight eTap - Boardman TTe eTap

    Offroad: Pace RC200 - Dawes Kickback 2 tandem - Tricross - Boardman CXR9.8 - Ridley x-fire
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    My commute is a 50 mile round trip, give or take. I do it as much as I can, usually 3 or 4 times a week. Although I sometimes do get to do it 5 days a week. The distance isn't an issue, its the climbing that knackers me - roughly 1000m a day. for this reason I try to use my best bike as much as possible, and don't carry anything with me - just 1 water bottle, keys, phone, wallet and saddlebag with PRK CO2 and spare tube. I keep my bike well maintained, most of the time, and tyres pumped up hard. I sometimes use my rusty frankenbike hybrid, generally if its wet. I'm not that much slower on it, but it is harder work and notice that it tires me out a bit more.

    Best advice I was given by someone on here is - take it easy some days, you can't race everyday. Yes this means leaving earlier and taking longer, but the way I look at it is that you're doing something you enjoy so its no hardship.

    Sleep has been mentioned, and for me at least is the biggest issue. I have 2 young children who disturb my sleep every night, so I have taken to sleeping in the spare bedroom. I try to get at least 7 hours sleep, but I'm finding that this is not enough.

    Fuel - eating has been mentioned quite a bit, yes, you need to eat lots. Fruit is good. Flapjacks are good. If I'm tired then a strong coffee with 2 sugars before I set off seems to help. Don't forget to drink lots of water too. I sometimes forget or don't feel the need to drink lots of water - and if I do this I find my body doesn't recover. I guess I need water to help flush the lactate out of my muscles.

    Motivation is also important. Strava - seeing improvements and getting kudos from my friends helps.

    Generally I don't ride on the weekends much, if I want to go out for a club run then I have to plan it, probably take the car on Friday for example.

    Hope this helps.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    Oh and I just thought - wearing the right clothes is important. Don't wear too much, if I get too hot whilst riding I get tired and dehydrated.
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    Azhar wrote:
    Hello!



    I have been managing it a couple times a week and to be honest its been a struggle. I'm absolutely shattered when I get there

    I

    I think this gives a clue. If you are shattered after 16 miles of riding you must be hammering it (all relative to your own fitness). You're riding to work not taking part in a race. I would suggest slowing down a bit so you feel comfortable (a few mph makes a big difference). If you want ride hard and see how quick you really are you can enter a race or local time trial.
  • telesv650telesv650 Posts: 59
    iPete wrote:

    To be honest, I just eat everything I can get my hands on and more :lol:

    I my view, one of the biggest advantages of a long commute!!! :D
  • lancew wrote:
    2) Recovery shake at work. I use the SIS recovery shake at work to ensure my body is putting my effort to good use.

    Do they actually do anything?

    I've just, today, moved offices and extended my commute from 6 miles to 13.5 miles each way.

    I took a spare banana today so had that this morning, if I can vary it and get benefit that'd be good!
  • AzharAzhar Posts: 247
    ah gee! thanks everyone. I think the important thing has been nutrition and taking it easy on some days and listening to your body on how good it feels when you can really push yourself on the bike.

    again I really appreciate all the good advice and constantly learning. i'm amazed how many miles you cover Daddy0. Your body weight must be quite low because I currently weight 100kg and I think that's my trouble too. i'm fat. hopefully from what I've learnt i'll be carrying a lot less weight at the end of summer :D
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    I would add to the 'listen to your body' comments, if it's starting to hurt at all, you are not riding at a sustainable pace, ride at the right pace and you can go on all day (and it really isn't much slower), I frequently do 50-60 miles on a weekend (on an MTB) and if I ride at my sustainable pace I can do a whole days other stuff when I finish (start early, finished before 11am). Its good to set yourself one section to 'push' a bit on, but only when your body can cope. At 100Kg you are obviously working harder than someone who weighs less!

    Protein shakes are good as they help repair damaged muscle tissue and improve recovery markedly, I don't use them all the time, just ahead of a longer/tougher ride or immediately after a ride when 'feeling it' a bit.
  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,506
    28 miles each way - North of Chorley to Manchester & back. Strangely enough when I lived down South it was pretty much the same distance (Reigate to the West End) - though I also did Croydon to West End which was only about 12 miles each way

    Your body adapts pretty quickly, but yes - if you are on the heavy side it'll be a struggle if you go too quick. You'll sweat more, your legs will get knackered quicker and you'll end up eating too much to overcompensate for feeling like censored at the end of the commute - so take it slower. You'll find you lose weight and it will start to get progressively easier.

    One thing I would say is to ignore your body when it demands more food. I had this when I was heavy (I was a fat [email protected] for nearly fifteen years before shedding a load of weight a few years back after starting riding) - it feels like you can't eat enough. It's a lie - your body is conning you into thinking you need to refuel more than you do. I'm still slightly overweight (78Kg, 5'9") but to give you an example, my commute in this morning took me an hour and 12 minutes, average speed of 32km/h and I had nothing before I left, a peanut butter sandwich when I got to the office and a duck wrap, apple, yoghurt and some chili crackers for lunch. Not sure what that is in calorie intake-to-calorie expenditure ratio, but I feel fine, and will commute back tonight before eating again. Your intake should be higher because you're heavier - but bear in mind that you will ALWAYS want more food after exercising strenuously for a long period. You'll also lose weight faster :)

    Also echo the comment above about drinking enough. I am absolutely terrible at this - I only take one bottle on my commute and often end up with half of it left over at the end. It's a dreadful habit, but I've never been able to shake it. If you can, always make sure you drink plenty of water.

    Oh - and I use my commutes for training, but if you;re not doing that, then you might want to mix it up a little so you don't get bored. Take different routes etc.
    Fat chopper. Some racing. Some testing. Some crashing.
    Specialising in Git Daaahns and Cafs. Norvern Munkey/Transplanted Laaandoner.
  • ol9ol9 Posts: 50
    15 miles in - (Saddleworth to Eccles)
    20 mile traffic friendlier route on the way home.

    The big issue for me is the traffic, I wont ride unless i'm on the road before 6 and wont leave work til 6:30.

    I have porridge when I arrive and a banana before I set off home and can eat whatever I want in between :)
  • davisdavis Posts: 2,566
    zebulebu wrote:
    One thing I would say is to ignore your body when it demands more food. I had this when I was heavy (I was a fat [email protected] for nearly fifteen years before shedding a load of weight a few years back after starting riding) - it feels like you can't eat enough. It's a lie - your body is conning you into thinking you need to refuel more than you do. I'm still slightly overweight (78Kg, 5'9") but to give you an example, my commute in this morning took me an hour and 12 minutes, average speed of 32km/h and I had nothing before I left, a peanut butter sandwich when I got to the office and a duck wrap, apple, yoghurt and some chili crackers for lunch. Not sure what that is in calorie intake-to-calorie expenditure ratio, but I feel fine, and will commute back tonight before eating again.

    You're riding 56 miles/day on that tiny amount of food?! :shock:

    Is the duck wrap an entire duck?
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
  • When I cycled to work and back (22 miles each way) I used to cycle in on a Tuesday and back on a Thursday.
  • gbsahne001gbsahne001 Posts: 1,962
    davis wrote:
    zebulebu wrote:
    One thing I would say is to ignore your body when it demands more food. I had this when I was heavy (I was a fat [email protected] for nearly fifteen years before shedding a load of weight a few years back after starting riding) - it feels like you can't eat enough. It's a lie - your body is conning you into thinking you need to refuel more than you do. I'm still slightly overweight (78Kg, 5'9") but to give you an example, my commute in this morning took me an hour and 12 minutes, average speed of 32km/h and I had nothing before I left, a peanut butter sandwich when I got to the office and a duck wrap, apple, yoghurt and some chili crackers for lunch. Not sure what that is in calorie intake-to-calorie expenditure ratio, but I feel fine, and will commute back tonight before eating again.

    You're riding 56 miles/day on that tiny amount of food?! :shock:

    Is the duck wrap an entire duck?

    I make it 48 miles but even so, I share your amazement re qty of food
  • anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
    gbsahne wrote:
    I make it 48 miles but even so, I share your amazement re qty of food

    Me too, I do 13 miles each way, and I am hungry pretty much all day. I've ended up giving in a stuffing my face more times than I should and that has equalled me putting more weight on.
  • imatfaalimatfaal Posts: 2,716
    I do 16 miles into work and 20 home (nicer ride along the canal) and tend to agree with lots of the comments above. If you are desperate for extra sleep or vast amounts of food on the back of doing 30-miles commute then you need to stop hammering it and enjoy the ride more. Microwave some oats for breakfast - great stuff and as long as you avoid the pre-made muck then it tastes great. Personally I eat when I get into the office after my shower (which is the biggest recovery source) - but I know others who couldn't dream of 50-60 minutes on the bike without having already eaten.
  • RutlandGavRutlandGav Posts: 144
    I've been doing a 16.2mile commute, about 10 weeks now.

    I was building up from pretty much zero so was alternating cycle days with car days. Then i moved on to 3 rides/1 drive, next week hopefully will be the start of all riding. I work 4 on 4off you see. Although i'm tired, and a bit slower on day 3, it's doable. The main problem, with 12 hour shifts and the time required to bike there, get changed etc. is not having sufficient time to sleep.

    As others have said, nutrition is big. Try to bolster carb intake at the expense of fat, maybe have a large breakfast on arrival at work at the expense of a smaller lunch (i understand that the first couple of hours after exercise, your muscles are more receptive to replenishing their glycogen reserves). What's the problem specifically, running out of energy, sore muscles (I had that at first) , or sore knees (bike fit issues, ongoing) ?

    I'm lucky because my route is very flat. What you find is, that pedalling (say) 130watts is easy, uses mostly fat and doesn't stress the muscle fibres, but 160watt might (if you're as unfit as me) shift you entirely into carb burning mode and give you sore legs (if new to cycling). So, put especial effort into pacing yourself, don't try to maintain the same speed against a gradient or against the wind. Power meters are the ultimate answer but still very costly, maybe a heart rate monitor (these are now very cheap) will give you some idea if you're overcompensating for difficult conditions.

    I check the met office web site the night before, so i know to set off 15 minutes earlier if facing bad wind.
  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,506
    gbsahne wrote:
    davis wrote:
    zebulebu wrote:
    One thing I would say is to ignore your body when it demands more food. I had this when I was heavy (I was a fat [email protected] for nearly fifteen years before shedding a load of weight a few years back after starting riding) - it feels like you can't eat enough. It's a lie - your body is conning you into thinking you need to refuel more than you do. I'm still slightly overweight (78Kg, 5'9") but to give you an example, my commute in this morning took me an hour and 12 minutes, average speed of 32km/h and I had nothing before I left, a peanut butter sandwich when I got to the office and a duck wrap, apple, yoghurt and some chili crackers for lunch. Not sure what that is in calorie intake-to-calorie expenditure ratio, but I feel fine, and will commute back tonight before eating again.

    You're riding 56 miles/day on that tiny amount of food?! :shock:

    Is the duck wrap an entire duck?

    I make it 48 miles but even so, I share your amazement re qty of food

    I just double checked - it's actually 41/42km each way factoring in central Manchester's sprawl (I usually start/shut the Garmin off before I get into or just after I get out of Salford). That's not an exaggeration on the food though - scout's honour. If you think about it, it's only a quick training ride each way - and you don't eat like an animal after pootling around the lanes for a couple of hours do you?

    Some days I feel hungrier, and I'll eat more then, but providing I have a big evening meal I'm generally OK.
    Fat chopper. Some racing. Some testing. Some crashing.
    Specialising in Git Daaahns and Cafs. Norvern Munkey/Transplanted Laaandoner.
  • RutlandGavRutlandGav Posts: 144
    zebulebu wrote:
    I just double checked - it's actually 41/42km each way factoring in central Manchester's sprawl (I usually start/shut the Garmin off before I get into or just after I get out of Salford). That's not an exaggeration on the food though - scout's honour. If you think about it, it's only a quick training ride each way - and you don't eat like an animal after pootling around the lanes for a couple of hours do you?

    Some days I feel hungrier, and I'll eat more then, but providing I have a big evening meal I'm generally OK.

    25 miles, wow that's still impressive. I only do sixteen (on a mtb), and start to bonk on the third consecutive day of commuting. I eat a decent bowl of porridge and a few yoghurts for breakfast, jacket potato with beans and more yogurts for lunch and a yazoo milk shake or two in between. I'm still loosing weight fast, like 2lb a week or more. Then again my evening meal is pretty small - just can't be bothered by the time i finally get home!

    Your fat metabolism must be tons more efficient than mine. Then again, i've only been at this 10 weeks, I'm sure i'll improve.
  • guineaguinea Posts: 1,177
    I'm similar to zebulebu.

    I ride 26km each way every day.

    I have no breakfast before I go and have a protein bar for breakfast at my desk. I have a lunch (burrito, sandwich or similar) and maybe a snack in the afternoon if I feel tired.

    At night I have a fairly large dinner.

    However, I am hungry most of the time, but that's in my head rather than in my belly. If I eat carbs at breakfast I crave them all day, hence the bar.

    I don't get particularly tired towards the end of the week, but my times definitely get slower unless I try hard to go faster. If I cycle every day then I'll definitely have at least one day of rest at the weekend.

    My commute takes me on average an hour each way. This plus 2300-2500 daily calories keeps my weight steady. If eat more I put on weight.
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