45km Each Way Commute

Currently a 2 car family and for various reasons (cost of upkeep on the main car, rising costs of fuel and generally wanting to be more greener) I'm looking at using the bike for my commute.

The route is between 40km (460m of elevation and a decent 10% climb) or a slightly flatter 46km.

Do you think this is doable 5 days a week or am I mad to even considering it? The distance itself isn't a problem for me as I cycle regularly, but never got up to anywhere near 450km a week.

Also been thinking if an eBike or something like the Swytch conversion kit would make things more manageable.

Be good to get any views from people that do or have attempted something similar!

Cheers
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Comments

  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,217
    I used to do 30 km each way but typically only 3 days a week. Now I do much less due to age/fitness/traffic/potholes.

    I think 40 km each way is doable if you're fit but maybe not every day of the year.

    Are you planning on getting rid of 1 car? There will be occasions when you cannot ride in so you need a backup plan if you don't have a car available (e.g. get a lift, train or bus).
  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 27,352
    Sounds like a lot to be committing to every day in addition to a day's work. How long do you reckon it would take each way?
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,530
    Doable on odd occasions with the right conditions.
    5 days a week? Not for me. Throughout winter? No chance.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
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  • seanoconn
    seanoconn Posts: 11,516
    80/90 km + work is a lot to commit to. It would take a month or two for your body to adjust but you’d still be pretty fatigued I’d guess. Don’t have any experience of e-bikes, might be more doable but there’s the outlay and having enough battery for 90km?
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  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 16,011
    No chance, sorry. That is 20,000 km cycling a year just in commuting. Plus with faff at each end it's 2 hours commuting each way.

    It is a stretch more than a couple of days a week, and as others have pointed out, winter.
  • tedlarue
    tedlarue Posts: 54
    thistle_ said:

    I used to do 30 km each way but typically only 3 days a week. Now I do much less due to age/fitness/traffic/potholes.

    I think 40 km each way is doable if you're fit but maybe not every day of the year.

    Are you planning on getting rid of 1 car? There will be occasions when you cannot ride in so you need a backup plan if you don't have a car available (e.g. get a lift, train or bus).

    Might be forced to get rid off 1 car as I have a feeling the MOT will come back as uneconomical to fix and keep running so would rather spend the cash on a greener/healthier alternative. Don't want to use a car to commute but trains are expensive/unreliable hence looking at using the bike.

    Maybe a mix of bike and train could be an option but sounds like a full time cycle commute is going to be too far of a stretch.
  • tedlarue
    tedlarue Posts: 54

    Sounds like a lot to be committing to every day in addition to a day's work. How long do you reckon it would take each way?

    About 1.5 hours I reckon, allowing 2 on the way in to give me time to shower and get changed.
  • tedlarue
    tedlarue Posts: 54

    No chance, sorry. That is 20,000 km cycling a year just in commuting. Plus with faff at each end it's 2 hours commuting each way.

    It is a stretch more than a couple of days a week, and as others have pointed out, winter.

    Thought as much but thanks all for the advice!
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,766
    edited August 2022
    Admirable and understandable intentions - I think you are on the right track.

    Presumably you don't have any option at all to work from home?

    I ride 32km each way, 2 or 3 times a week - I've ridden back to back days on occasion, and it does make a noticeable difference (More than I would like) to my general fatigue.

    In your position, I would start with 2 days a week, split apart as necessary, and then take it from there.

    Do you have lockers, and the ability to leave as much as possible to reduce the weight of what you need to cart about?
    That can certainly makes things easier, and a lot more viable.

    Having said all that, if you get shot of the other car, you have no choice!

    We only have one running vehicle, and my partner needs it for her work 4 days of the week, so I only occasionally get to drive in.

    Personally I rather enjoyed the winter commutes, though you do need very good lighting (I have two powerful ones on the front that do not blind traffic, and one flashing light) to help you pick out all the pot holes/sunken drains, and some good rear lights (2 or more) as well.
    A radar light is also rather a boon.

    I get my bike all prepped the night before, panniers ready to go, alarm set for 4:50, out the house by 06:00 or earlier if I can, and then usually at my desk (wide awake and ready for the day) post shower before 8.

    Admittedly the ride home is not quite as enjoyable, due to more traffic, but it still makes me smile to know I get to go and ride my bike for 75-90 minutes, rather than sit in a car/train/bus whatever.

    An ebike could be well worth a look though if it would help make the commute more viable, and as long as you can charge it at work (if required) as I suspect if you are going to want assistance it will be on the return leg.

    Does your employee offer a C2W scheme of any sort?
    If not, might be worth hassling them and explaining what you are trying to do.
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  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,659
    Ebike might be the winner if you can get up some good speed but it’s a long commute e/w regardless.

    Think you’d be spent if did that every day ontop of work
  • tedlarue
    tedlarue Posts: 54
    daniel_b said:

    Admirable and understandable intentions - I think you are on the right track.

    Presumably you don't have any option at all to work from home?

    I ride 32km each way, 2 or 3 times a week - I've ridden back to back days on occasion, and it does make a noticeable difference (More than I would like) to my general fatigue.

    In your position, I would start with 2 days a week, split apart as necessary, and then take it from there.

    Do you have lockers, and the ability to leave as much as possible to reduce the weight of what you need to cart about?
    That can certainly makes things easier, and a lot more viable.

    Having said all that, if you get shot of the other car, you have no choice!

    We only have one running vehicle, and my partner needs it for her work 4 days of the week, so I only occasionally get to drive in.

    Personally I rather enjoyed the winter commutes, though you do need very good lighting (I have two powerful ones on the front that do not blind traffic, and one flashing light) to help you pick out all the pot holes/sunken drains, and some good rear lights (2 or more) as well.
    A radar light is also rather a boon.

    I get my bike all prepped the night before, panniers ready to go, alarm set for 4:50, out the house by 06:00 or earlier if I can, and then usually at my desk (wide awake and ready for the day) post shower before 8.

    Admittedly the ride home is not quite as enjoyable, due to more traffic, but it still makes me smile to know I get to go and ride my bike for 75-90 minutes, rather than sit in a car/train/bus whatever.

    An ebike could be well worth a look though if it would help make the commute more viable, and as long as you can charge it at work (if required) as I suspect if you are going to want assistance it will be on the return leg.

    Does your employee offer a C2W scheme of any sort?
    If not, might be worth hassling them and explaining what you are trying to do.

    Yeah, thinking a hybrid solution may be the best way forward.

    - WFH is unlikely to be an option - sadly not working for the most progressive thinking company...
    - no lockers but it's a secure office so I do have the option of leaving stuff in the office. Thinking that doing it part time gives me the option of bringing a bunch of gear in the car and leaving it there, then doing the opposite at the end of the week/when needed.
    - For winter I guess it's lighting and clothing that will be areas for investment to keep dry and warm. I'm not too put off by the weather as have commuted year round in the past a much shorter distance so think I'd be OK with it part time.
    - Don't know why but I thought C2W schemes had died out from being all the rage years back. Will do a bit of research into that option.

    I'm just begrudging putting more and more £ into running a car when I could be on my bike and not setting fire to the planet.

    Have also thought about a train/bike combo but a Southern Rail season ticket seems to be priced to prevent people wanting to use their services.
  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,217
    tedlarue said:

    Yeah, thinking a hybrid solution may be the best way forward.

    Myself and a least one other on the forum drive part way then ride the last 8 miles or so to the office.
    There's at least 2 others that do the same thing along the same route :smiley:

    It still requires a car though, just saves a bit on mileage and parking.
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 16,011
    thistle_ said:

    tedlarue said:

    Yeah, thinking a hybrid solution may be the best way forward.

    Myself and a least one other on the forum drive part way then ride the last 8 miles or so to the office.
    There's at least 2 others that do the same thing along the same route :smiley:

    It still requires a car though, just saves a bit on mileage and parking.
    I do (did) that in winter as well. Still the issue of a functioning car, mind you.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,301
    edited August 2022
    Not doable, not even in summer. Impossible in winter. You can probably do it a couple of times a week when the weather is fair. Find an alternative solution. It would be 20 hours on the bike per week, you are in Ironman training territory for someone quite serious
    left the forum March 2023
  • Unless you are used to a big weekly riding volume already and have decent W/Kg FTP, 400Km+ of commuting sounds brutal to impossible.

    For me i'd guess 1.5-2 hours each way at z1/2, but I'd be wrecked within a fortnight I reckon, its hell of a step up from the daily 25mins+ I've done for the last almost ten months with usually approx 7-10 hours a week.
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  • Is moped / motorbike an option for you? A potential option to keep the living cost less than owning a car, perhaps.

    I used to commute average 100miles/week (14-16miles, 110ft elevation each way) which is about 160km/week (22-26km, 335m elevation each way) and that was tiring. I realise the distance and elevation isn't same as your route. So it's a heck of a commitment.

    My two pence for the Swytch kit. I got Swytch kit nearly two years to help me with the commute, but if you haven't got any experience with "ebike" or basic electric repair skills/knowledge, the swytch kit will be more hassle and nightmare than benefit. Swytch kits are for casual users, not for a daily extreme commuters (low capacity, unreliable PROPRIETARY parts which means if anything breaks, you're held hostage to their customer service and their overly priced replacements). If you have a bike shop with ebike expertise, have a chat and you'll understand much better what to expect from ebikes. Overall, I still like the Swytch kit and it was the cheapest option to get into "ebike." But now that I learned much more about ebike, I'd either do my own research to kind a DIY kit on eBay / Amazon or buy a purpose-built eBike.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,530

    Is moped / motorbike an option for you? A potential option to keep the living cost less than owning a car, perhaps.

    ...

    Seems like a logical solution.
    Motorbike/scooter most of the time, cycle when you feel like it.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • davidof
    davidof Posts: 3,065
    People who do courier riding are covering 80 to 120km per day and I've read it takes quite some time for the body to adjust to that - they have trouble initially eating sufficient calories because they are so tired after a few days. They don't do a full time job.

    I do a 2x12km commute 2 to 3 days and one day of 60km over a col so similar climbing to the OP, that is hard enough for me. I used to do Didcot <-> Thatcham which is 30km and 200m D+ twice a week and that was pretty tough tbh. That was in the summer.
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  • andyrr
    andyrr Posts: 1,822
    I used to do a roughly 28km each way / 56kms daily commute on fairly rolling terrain normally 3 times a week alongside training and racing so would be sometimes hitting 300kms a week. With that I ended up pretty fatigued when the weekly totals were at the top end and the rides home could be fairly draining. Upping the commute mileage I think would both worsen that for most people I’d think plus the time spent away from home at start and end of each day would mean you’d end up tired and probably have a weakened immune system if your working full time each day - I certainly experienced colds probably a couple of times a year - would you still ride to work if you weren’t seriously I’ll yet felt under par since you had no alternative means of transport?
    During summer it might sometimes be a nice experience to spend this time on your bike but at other times, when the wind is blowing and you’re wet going in and wet going home, having put on your still damp clothing, will be less fun for sure.
    If you’re set on living sans motorised transport then you could give it a try and if it’s overwhelming then source a cheap runabout to enable you to break up the cycle commute.
  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,217
    Move house/job? :wink:
  • Wheelspinner
    Wheelspinner Posts: 6,608
    I had a client for a while that was 30 km each way, an almost pan flat run into and across the city, on relatively good cycling route. Was always about an hour each way. But no way would I have done that 5 days a week in all weather, and that was in Australia, not UK!

    If you're considering doing that kind of mileage on a bike commute, don't forget to factor in the hours of bike maintenance (and cost) you'll need to do in addition to the actual riding. 400+ km a week will mean lots of drivetrain maintenance, tyre/tube repairs, and especially brake pads stuff. Faff.
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  • tedlarue
    tedlarue Posts: 54
    thistle_ said:

    Move house/job? :wink:

    :D

    Like my job and where I live. But sounds like the only option if I want to cycle in to work every day!
  • If you're intent on avoiding driving a car or taking the train then a scooter or motorbike would be the best bet given the distance you have to commute. I've tried many methods to achieve the same aim as you, albeit somewhat different circumstances but I think motorbike would be the best and I'm likely to get one soonish.

    The issue with cycling is that I never liked having to put in an effort early in the morning. I've tried electric hybrid bikes, electric folding bikes and a normal bike to do the full commute but never managed a whole week of commuting that way. This was back in pre-covid days. I only have to go 2-3 days a week now so I have a folding bike from decathlon that I take on the train for the journey to and from work. Being in London, I'm paying normal fares (off peak mostly) and not having to fork out for a season ticket.
    I've considered the costs of everything and a motorbike seems the best option where speed and comfort are the other things that are important in the mix. Luckily, I've a full licence so the decision is a bit easier for me.
  • dannbodge
    dannbodge Posts: 1,152
    Yeah I don't think it's feasible.

    I used to 40/50km per day 5 days a week and then worked a full normal day and I was always glad it was the end of the week.

    No way I would want to do 45km each way each day, I think you'd probably burn out very quickly.
  • tedlarue
    tedlarue Posts: 54
    abishek_l said:

    If you're intent on avoiding driving a car or taking the train then a scooter or motorbike would be the best bet given the distance you have to commute.

    Not intent but it would be the ideal for both financial and environmental reasons. Just frustrating that one green option of the train prices itself out of the equation - a one day peak return is £31.30!

    Maybe thistle_ was right...
  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,217
    tedlarue said:

    abishek_l said:

    If you're intent on avoiding driving a car or taking the train then a scooter or motorbike would be the best bet given the distance you have to commute.

    Not intent but it would be the ideal for both financial and environmental reasons. Just frustrating that one green option of the train prices itself out of the equation - a one day peak return is £31.30!

    Maybe thistle_ was right...
    Bus?
    Can you alter your hours to avoid peak time on the train?
  • katani
    katani Posts: 135
    edited August 2022
    tedlarue said:

    The distance itself isn't a problem for me as I cycle regularly, but never got up to anywhere near 450km a week.
    Cheers

    450km a week in a flat terrain, nice weather on a lightweight road bike, isn't a problem if you have the health and fitness, have off days between rides to recover, can get 9-10 hours of sleep daily, little stress and eat properly (lots of quality carbs in each meal). Doing +40km twice a day, 5 days a week on a commuter with a backpack or panniers, while having work to do in between is a different thing though. I have once done a flat 30km each way 4 days a week for 2 years, with a Wednesday being a recovery day driven in to replace the office clothing with fresh, which I tried to up to 40km each way towards the end of that period to further build up fitness and long term it just didn't work as I was too knackered end of the week and never had the energy to ride at weekends which I had always enjoyed before. Even though I was on a fairly lightweight road bike with no luggage. Time spent on bike maintenance was significant though especially in the winter. I am guessing you aren't based in the UK seeing you use km instead of miles?


  • N0bodyOfTheGoat
    N0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 5,992
    edited August 2022
    Folding electric bike to have option of all public transport?

    Or if you're brave, try non electric, the Halfords 9-speed Carrera hydraulic brake is a bargain at £405 with 10% British Cycling membership discount.
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  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,791
    45km is probably close to the max range for the electric Piaggio. It's also pretty slow for that length commute.
    I would be wanting a bit of leeway on range to cover occasional road closures/diversions.