Commuting Fatigue- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    pain don't hurt
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    Commuting Fatigue

    Hey everybody. I commute to work as often as I can, but currently can only bike-in 2-3 days per week due to my schedule (some days I need my car to get to night classes). I notice that my legs are considerably more tired on the third day of commuting, and by the fourth day I barely want to look at my bike. I'm wondering how everybody deals with it. It seems that it is not uncommon for some of you to commute 15+ miles each way 4-5 days per week. How do you guys find the motivation and energy to commute day in and day out?

    My commute is about 8 miles each way, and I ride in my Kona Dawg. The bike is set up for trail riding, which lets me stop by the trail on my ride home and put in some dirt time. This will be my second year commuting, but I should add that I'm a fair-weather-fan. My bike stays at home when I (usually arbitrarily) deem it too cold or rainy.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I commuted 5 days a week (15 miles round-trip) for a few years but the fatigue you mentioned got to me too. I cut back to 4 days a week and the legs feel much better for it. It's normal to feel cummulative fatigue. Rest is important.
    The truth will set you free... But first it will piss you off

  3. #3

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    It really depends on how hard your route is and how much effort you put in when you're commuting. I find that I can commute 5 days a week if I take a few rides during the week and make them rest rides. Basically keeping your heart rate below ~60% max. Mostly just relaxing and enjoying the view instead of concentrating on cadence and attacking hills.

    That said, I shoot for commuting Monday - Thursday every week(20 miles RT with a fair amount of elevation changes) and going on mountain bike rides(short rides, 2-3 hours max) on Saturday or Sunday.

  4. #4
    Bloody Bastard
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    I felt burned out after my first commute, which is 12 miles one way and it took me an hour and twenty minutes. But then again, my first commuter was a heavy generic brand, dual suspension mtb with knobby tires.

    I took the bike back to the store the next day and ordered a Montague Paratrooper as my replacement bike, which is a much lighter and better built bike all around. As soon as I get it I'm throwing on a new set of front shocks with lockout and commuter friendly tires with far less roll resistance. I'm confident that this will address the issue. It will definitely make negotiating the inclines much easier.

  5. #5

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    The bike makes some difference for sure but as long as you're not exhausting your gearing the only thing a lighter bike will do is make you go faster. I felt almost no difference riding my full suspension mtb with slicks vs my dedicated commuter road bike. If anything, the mountain bike seemed alot easier because it's more compliant of bumps and has much easier gearing. It did tack on some time to my commute though.

    Although theoretically if I went the same speed on my road bike as I did on my MTB it might be easier but it just doesn't seem to work that way. When I'm on my road bike I just try and go faster and faster if it's not a recovery ride. It's like my commute didn't get any easier, just faster. Kinda wierd.

  6. #6
    Bloody Bastard
    Reputation: Blu Falcon's Avatar
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    I actually look forward to the daily workout routine I'll get from commuting. I'm just hoping that adding a few modifications to the bike will help improve my commute time. I'm trying to build muscular strength and endurance in my lower body, and I'm training myself to always push harder, longer, stronger and faster. If I make it to work earlier than expected, then perhaps I can view that as an opportunity to go the extra mile so to speak. I hope I have the right attitude.

  7. #7
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    I've never felt like that. I ride constantly. Always on a fixed gear for commuting. Perhaps less rolling resistance would benefit you. Look into some faster rolling tires so it takes less effort to get you where you're going.

  8. #8
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    Proper tires make a huge difference for commuting. That said, there is a lot of value in easy cruising to work every other day or so. Then, make sure you do interval training on the way to and from at least 1 day per week. Intervals build endurance like nothing else can. Of course, if you have hills on your commute, intervals are almost "built in". If not, pedal hard for 3 minutes, easy for six and repeat all the way to work or home.

  9. #9
    More than a little slow
    Reputation: dskunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboasT4
    How do you guys find the motivation and energy to commute day in and day out?
    .........

    Any thoughts?
    The motivation is easy, given enough time it becomes just a habit, like walking to the bus or getting in the car, it's just how you get to work.
    As far as energy, I think you eventually 1) get stronger and 2) figure out subconciously what sort of effort to put out for a given commute.
    Right now my commute varies between 45 and 53 km RT ( a little under 30 miles to a little over ) and I've been commuting to work 5 days a week for just over 15 yrs, 13 yrs year round (it used to be a point of honour to ride every day, I'm getting better at using alternate means during bad weather in the winter). Oh, and for what it's worth, I ride a single speed mountain bike (winter) or an old touring bike (summer) or (less often) my good, geared, mountain bike and don't really notice much of a difference between them.
    Cheers, Dave

  10. #10
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    First and formost....

    get a different bike to commute on. Leave the Dawg for the trails. I used to ride my "trail bike" on my commute to work. And it wore me out! I've learned to seperate my dirt time from my commute time. I still prefer an mtb frame to a road, hybrid, or cross frame. But it is set up for pavement or bike paths. This is necessary due to the road conditions I have to put up with. It makes a HUGE difference in how much energy I use to ride a given distance on my trail bike on pavement. I usually commute on the bike 4 to 5 days a week, 10 mile round trip, and used to find it hard to stay motivated to do so with the trail bike. It did take allot of energy and fatigue played a large part in it. Since going to a dedicated commuter and setting it up as such it's ALLOT more fun and quite a bit faster as well.

    And it doesn't have to cost allot. I simply took a rather trail weary hardtail frame and used some of the stuff I had sitting around in the parts box. All the components are mountian and quite durable. The only things I had to buy were the spokes for the wheels, appropriate pavement tires, a ridged fork, and a set of grips. Everything else was onhand. It ended up reasonably fast, very easy rolling, and a full 5 1/2 pounds lighter than my FS trail bike! Down to riding a 24lb bike from a 29.5pounder has made a big difference on the commute, even though it doesn't sound like much.

    That would be my advice. Quit hauling around the extra weight, and set up a good ridged commuter. Pick a day now and then to ride the Dawg and hit the trails on the way home, but for the most part seperate the commute from the trail. You'll have more energy and suffer less fatigue. And do pick a day or two now and then to rest from the bike.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboasT4
    Hey everybody. I commute to work as often as I can, but currently can only bike-in 2-3 days per week due to my schedule (some days I need my car to get to night classes). I notice that my legs are considerably more tired on the third day of commuting, and by the fourth day I barely want to look at my bike. I'm wondering how everybody deals with it. It seems that it is not uncommon for some of you to commute 15+ miles each way 4-5 days per week. How do you guys find the motivation and energy to commute day in and day out?

    My commute is about 8 miles each way, and I ride in my Kona Dawg. The bike is set up for trail riding, which lets me stop by the trail on my ride home and put in some dirt time. This will be my second year commuting, but I should add that I'm a fair-weather-fan. My bike stays at home when I (usually arbitrarily) deem it too cold or rainy.

    Any thoughts?

    Keep riding...don't worry about what type of bike etc...

    You need to look at how hard you are riding, it is okay to hit it hard a couple of days a week, but you need to treat the commute more has base miles, that means that you need to go at a rate that doesn't burn you out by the end of the week...

    Slow down, look around starting on Tuesday, if you are feeling good then hit harder on Thursday or Friday.

    Give it three weeks then you can up your riding speed and effort, bit by bit...

  12. #12
    pain don't hurt
    Reputation: TurboasT4's Avatar
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    Well, this is all pretty good advice. It did occur to me today while I was biking in that maybe my commute just sucks. Most of the roads are narrow 2-lane streets where the cars pass by at a brisk 40-50 mph. It takes some effort at the big intersections to determine when I need to aggressively assert my position, and when to fear for my life . I don't plan cutting back on my commute, and hopefully I'll be able to bike to work more when the semester is over. I do find it helps my mtb'ing considerably. Plus the trail is that much more exciting and challenging compared to the boring monotony of road riding.

    On a side note, I am very glad this forum up and all the enthusiastic commuters out there. I've been absent from the forums for a while, and I'm in the process of sorta "rediscovering" all the info here. Seeing a dedicated commuter forum is very encouraging!

  13. #13
    No e-drama please!!
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    I wish the interstate would pave a separate bike lane with a barrier within 25 miles of every big city. I live just a few miles from the highway & work hundreds of feet off the highway. Round trip is 40 miles.
    An alternate route is impossible,would be 2x the distance,plus i would never do that on these Tennessee side roads!
    Oh well,i drive 60 mph in the confort of my vehicle for now unless i'm late,then it's 75mph!
    DEMO8
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  14. #14
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    Been a 4-season commuter for almost 8 years now...the only thing that gets me off my bike is slick/icy conditions, or snow too deep to slog through. I ride a mtb, cuz I have other obligations that keep me from getting more than one bike & I want the most versatility I can get (plus suspension for the bad back). Thought about a 'cross bike, but I'm hard on bikes, and I don't think it would survive me too long.

    I had the good fortune to get used to the idea during the better weather, and when the stuff turned cold, I looked at it as an adventure -- and it was! The most fun I had that first year was about a week after the first snowstorm of the season, when it was about 2/3 melted away, but still with mounds of plowed snow everywhere. Riding a steel rigid over frozen plowpacks was the highlight of my winter!

    There are still days when I don't feel like it (shameful now, since my commute has changed from 18+ RT to as little as 4, depending on circumstances), but I do it anyway, and I'm discovering that the days I don't feel like it are the best days I have for the week.

    Let it creep into your soul; once there, fatigue is just something else to handle, nothing big. No different than staying up an hour later the night before. I still get a rush from the first 50 feet of the ride, the feeling of near-flight, and being home -- really home -- when I'm on my bike.

    Don't know where you stand on supplements (vitamins & such), but consider an extra B-complex...works for me.

    Like anything else, you get out of it what you put in -- and I'm into it 100%; don't even OWN a car anymore! Car-free for three+ years now, and I love it.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  15. #15

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    I started feeling the fatigue of riding my bike to work everyday while I was petsitting for a friend at a house within 4-5 miles of work. I kept going, but my 17-18mph average speed dropped to about 14-15 near the end of the week. Still nicer than driving to work everyday. =)

  16. #16
    is buachail foighneach me
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    my cummute(@40 miles round trip) is definitely more difficult and a little slower by friday. it helpss having a couple of different bike/wheel/tire setups. my commuters are all ss, so i have a high geared cx/road bike, and my mtb. on the mtb i'll go from really knobby, to kind of knobby, to semislick cx tires if i want it to be really easy.

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