Riding in the Columbus suburbs is very different from riding in the downtown area. That'll be true of most US cities, actually. Getting back and forth between downtown and the 'burbs can be very difficult, depending on where exactly you plan to live. Do you mind saying which suburb you'll be working in? I'm not in Columbus, but not that far away, and I'm reasonably familiar with some of the neighborhoods. There's at least one TE gal in Columbus proper.
I'd strongly suggest taking a look at Consider Biking and taking a Bike League course to improve your street riding smarts. I don't know too many of the bike shops in Columbus, but I think B1 downtown and Paradise Garage in the Short North are pretty commuter-friendly.
Considering distance alone, how far you want to commute really depends on how much time and energy you want to devote to it. 20 miles is really on the outside of what most riders consider doable, but there are people who do it regularly. Columbus is pretty flat and not terribly windy - but traffic and road conditions are an issue - you may be in the dark for part of such a long commute outside of high summer - and weather can be unreliable. How fast can you cover 20 miles on a flat country road without stoplights or luggage? Add at least 30% to that for commuting in traffic, probably closer to 50%. After 20 miles, you'd definitely need a shower unless your work is physical in nature, so find out whether your workplace has showers or whether there's a nearby gym you could join. You'll definitely want some VERY good lights and VERY visible bike enhancements and clothing if you'll be riding in the dark, especially on the suburban roads.
Just some thoughts off the top of my head ... Welcome to TE!
Last edited by OakLeaf; 02-14-2012 at 08:52 PM.
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