Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are You Missing An Opportunity To Train?

I am constantly amazed by how few triathletes commute by bike. It's one of the easiest ways to get in extra training time with far less time taken from your day than a normal workout. And if you think that because you've got traffic and stoplights to deal with that you're not getting a good cycling workout in, or that it doesn't "count" if it isn't on your supercool tri bike, think again! Over the past few years, almost 1/3 of my total mileage has come from commuting by bike, and my bike times are as competitive as they were when I was using my triathlon bike exclusively. As an example of how efficient this is, take my old commute of 11 miles each way:

In a car, the commute took me 18 minutes (no traffic) to 45 minutes (heavy traffic) one way. On the bike, it always took 45 minutes (bike lanes negated any influence from traffic jams). So on heavy traffic days, I could get an hour and a half workout with no extra time taken from my day whatsoever. On light traffic days, I got a 90 minute workout, while only using 54 minutes of time (when you subtract the time I would've spent commuting in the car). On average, I probably got a 90 minute workout for 45 minutes of time. That's a big time savings over a week or a month.

Since it's National Bike To Work Week here in the U.S., many cities have events designed to help new bike commuters make the leap. In my town, they're serving up free breakfast to bike commuters, along with putting on seminars, giving away bells and tune-ups, and having a bike-powered concert. It's a great time of year to try commuting, and with gas prices going up, more people are turning to bikes than ever before.

If you're new to bike commuting, Paul Dorn has a nice page with tips on all aspects of the two-wheeled commute, and his Twitter Feed is full of helpful tips and articles. What are you waiting for? Get on the bike and ditch the cager commute.


Becky said...

Hi Robin
What do you recommend for gear carrying on a road bike? Some friends and I are going on a three day, 300 miler. We don't need sleeping bags, just food, some clothes and misc.

Robin said...

For touring and carrying that much stuff, most people use some kind of panniers. I have some that I use for carrying stuff around town that would be fine for light touring. They're the REI store brand commuter panniers. You need a rack to use them with as well.

mywrite said...

Hi Robin,

I looked you up awhile weeks ago via twitter (@mywrite) for a story I'm writing for Runner's World about Crossfit Endurance.

Would still like to chat about your experience. Shoot me an email at m.myser@gmail.com and we can arrange a time to chat.

Some of my writing can be found at www.michaelmyser.com.

Look forward to it!