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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Posts
    487

    Impossible to Ride to Work????

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    I want to ride my bike to work so badly-- at least once this year -- just so I can say I DID IT! It's only 16 miles (well on the roads) so I know I can do the distance. We have a shower at work, too.

    It just doesn't look like it is possible though. I have to ride on several busy streets for several miles which are not bike friendly. Then there are two freeways to get across and the only way to do that is to go about 5 miles out of the way. The cross streets are super busy as well. Then it's about 5 miles of really hilly and curvy roads.

    So, does anyone have any suggestions how I could maybe try to ride to work at least once?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    Can you park somewhere and ride part way? To avoid the worst of the roads? Have you talked to any other commuters about routes (are there any others?)? Sometimes there are back ways. Any bike clubs that might have good resources? Do you see other cyclists on the roads you would have to ride?
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,391
    Try it on a day that you actually have off....then there is no pressure to have to be on time, you can simply try out the route, see how long it takes and scope out the possibilities.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    Great suggestions above.
    I would also say- can you google map a bicycle route? Click on the bicycle and it will take you the best way via bike (although sometimes they goof and put you on terribly busy roads anyway).

    For a couple years I worked 27 miles away from home. I rode my bike only 3 times in two years. It was not only really far, but I had to ride in the dark through some sketchy sections of town and had to ride on some crazy busy roads. If you can do a park/ride option that might be best.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,982
    Right now is good weather to try cycling a few times to work (and practice beforehand).

    You'll feel so good afterwards. And yes, that 5 mile detour will be worth it!
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Posts
    487
    Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. Unfortunately, I tried the trail map look up thing. That doesn't seem to be an option. I am still looking for a way, though. I just hate the idea of riding on streets on during rush hour. I am not the best rider . . . yet.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    perpetual traveler
    Posts
    1,302
    Quote Originally Posted by kajero View Post
    Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. Unfortunately, I tried the trail map look up thing. That doesn't seem to be an option. I am still looking for a way, though. I just hate the idea of riding on streets on during rush hour. I am not the best rider . . . yet.

    Many years ago before I became a fat sloth I rode my bike to school in St. Paul from where I lived in South Minneapolis. Back then the traffic wasn't as bad but I did get run off the road intentionally once by a truck. I came close to getting "doored" a few times too. In restropect it was a dangerous ride but I loved it. I would be hesitant to commute there now, unless I could plot a route of bike paths and side streets.

    A few years ago my cousin lived by Lake Calhoun and she commuted by bike to the Main U. She managed to figure out a route that worked, mostly via bike paths. The worst was over by the university, where everyone behaves unpredictably.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 08-20-2012 at 06:53 AM.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    If you are uncomfortable riding in traffic, perhaps you would benefit from a cycling class like those offered by the League of American Bicyclists. Getting doored is particularly avoidable once you know how to ride outside of the door zone, for example.

    Are there parallel routes that you can take? Often the best driving option is not the best for bicycling. Once you start looking at alternate routes, you might find some worth exploring on your bike.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    14
    Have you Tried cyclopath? Although, it sounds like you have a tough route, you should check into the bus & ride options to get over the hard parts.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Posts
    487
    Quote Originally Posted by AnnB View Post
    Have you Tried [URL="http://cyclopath.org/"]
    The site is down for maintenance but I can't wait to look. THANKS. It looks like a really fun site!
    kajero
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    37
    Maybe browse around Strava.com to see if any other locals commute or ride along the routes you're thinking of using. I only live 5 miles from work but there's about 500ft of elevation between the two and a mile long hill with 10% grade. I looked at the maps on Strava and found that many riders take that hill, but I need to be comfortable hitting speeds of 30-40mph on a bike with cars coasting up to 50 (limit is 35 on the stretch). Armed with that I decided I need to do some climbing training (if I want to get home!) and really learn handling on my road bike at high speeds before I go barreling downhill to work.
    2011 Trek Lexa SLX "Silver Surfer"
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by kajero View Post
    The site is down for maintenance but I can't wait to look. THANKS. It looks like a really fun site!
    I think it looks like a great tool as well. I wish that Rochester would have something similar.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Longmont, Colorado
    Posts
    23
    The suggestion for parallel streets instead of huge busy roads is a great one. Googlemaps is also a wonderful tool, but as others have mentioned, its not a complete work. It's hard to see elevations on it, and if unfamiliar with the roadway traffic, you could end up with lots of cars. A detour is a perfectly viable option. You could also perhaps find a sympathetic coworker who might be able to drive you partway, or maybe take a bus partway? That's never worked for me yet, but it doesn't sound too complicated.

    If your route has reasonable bike lanes, uncomplicated sidewalks, or other accommodations, you can simply take the time to acclimate yourself to heavy traffic slowly. In addition, once you get out there it gets much easier, and you might start encountering the same car commuters who will figure out quickly how to get along with you. If, on the other hand, you would be out in the thick of irritated motorists without adequate room, I'd say that you shouldn't attempt to get used to that type of riding, since its only a matter of time and statistics before we read about you on the news.
    For the freeway, are there any light-controlled intersections you could use, or over/underpasses?

    Sorry I can't be more help, but I completely understand your desire to get out there on your bike. You have even more guts than I do to attempt 16 miles at first.
    I hope you figure it out!!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    1,365
    My full commute to work is 28 miles and takes me through 6 towns, on country backroad (hills!), skeevy neighborhoods, strip-mall highway, suburb, bad-part-of-city, and city streets. I start in the dark and, on the way home, end in the dark. It takes me two hours one way. But that two hours flies by. It is one of the most interesting ways to see where I live, and I enjoy it very much. But I don't do it every time. Sometimes, I ride to the halfway point where there is a park-and-ride, and do the more reasonable (and flatter) 14 miles in. Other times, I ride to the bus (5 to 12 miles from the house, depending on which bus I take) and put my bike on the rack and ride. When I first did it, I chose a Saturday and did the full thing, and got really lost, and had some fun with it, and mapped it when I got home on mapmyride.com When I finally commuted with traffic, it was hairy at first but after awhile you really do get the hang of the flow, and how to be visible, and communication with drivers (mostly good), and packing a backpack, and all that good stuff. I guess I just wanted to say it is DOABLE and the best way to do it is to do everything above and just go for it. Give yourself extra time, and be willing to get off the bike if you have to or change your plans. Have a backup plan. Keep trying.
    I can do five more miles.

 

 

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