Need some help upping my commuting game!

When drugs don't work: training and health tips!
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Need some help upping my commuting game!

Postby pyrowill » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:37 am

Hi guys,

Just after a bit of advice. I ride as much as I can to work, its 12 miles each way so 24 a day. Can sometimes take the long route back via windsor which is 15. I ride on a Giant Defy 1 2014, clipped in. I think I'm an ok cyclist, I do the 12 miles anywhere between 43 mins to 48 minutes if theres no traffic and the lights are good. Averaging 15-16.5mph typically over the ride (i go through a couple of town centres that are pretty much unavoidable).

Thing is ....I'm really not improving. I think once I've done it in 39mins 55 seconds or something, and if I really cane it I can bust it out in 41/42mins. Averaging about 17.5mph. But conditions have to be great and I need to be on top form. I'd really like to be a regular 40 minute-er. Even a 35 minute on a super speedy day. Any tips to improve my game?

I say to myself I should do other cycling like on weekends, longer rides, but often I never get around to it, I do a lot of other training (weights and running) so at the moment the majority of my cycling is pretty much kept to my 90 mins/24 miles on the saddle a day. So I'm ideally looking for tips techniques to help me improve my commute, WHILE I'm commuting, if thats at all possible.

I'm a reasonably overweight guy, 5ft9 15.5 stone so I'm sure that slow me down a bit but not that much on a flat, thighs of steel! I have tried puttiing more effort in and doing fast slow fast slow etc, but I find that just burns me out after 4 miles and the rest of the ride is even slower than it would have been without.

The commute isn't hilly really at all. Pretty flat. Here is this mornings ride which I would say is pretty typical

Oh also I should say I'm terrible at getting up. Quite often I get up 20 mins before getting on the bike so almost every one of my bike rides in the morning is fasted with no food since night before. I don't think that'd make a huge difference since its only 45 mins, plus a bit of fasted exercise is good for the old weight loss. happy to hear otherwise though.

Thanks very much for reading this mini essay and I'd appreciate an tips from the wisdom of the bike radar guys and gals!

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Re: Need some help upping my commuting game!

Postby Camcycle1974 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 13:49 pm

How do you cycle 25 miles a day and be 15.5 stone at 5"9 as well as other exercise (unless it's all muscle?)

To me it seems you are about 3 stone over weight which is a lot of extra lbs to be shifting. You may find it hard to improve your times without shifting some of it.

My advice would be to get a single speed and focus on weight loss. Having said that a guy I ride with is 6"4 and 16 stone and he can shift along at 20mph for miles on end on a single speed so weight can't be the full story.

If I was doing 25 a day I would be like a whippet within a month. Diet maybe needs looking at. I commute fasted too so no issue there far as I am concerned.

Sorry to sound negative but you did ask for advice warts and all.

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Re: Need some help upping my commuting game!

Postby JayKosta » Wed Nov 20, 2013 14:27 pm

You've mentioned several conflicting goals -

1) concern about improving cycling speed.
2) limited time & distance for cycle training.
3) exercise types - weight, run, cycle.
4) body weight.

Doing the fast-slow (intervals) routine is good for TRAINING to increase cycling speed, but the results might not be noticeable on your commute riding. You would see the results on a non-commute ride when you've eaten before and drink during.

The commute riding is fine for basic cardio fitness. But if cycling speed becomes the primary goal, then it would be best to reduce the non-cycling activities, and concentrate on specific cycle training.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA

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Wrath Rob
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Re: Need some help upping my commuting game!

Postby Wrath Rob » Thu Nov 21, 2013 23:28 pm

Training = more time on the bike, riding harder = improved fitness = faster

So, spend more time on the bike riding harder and you'll naturally get faster over shorter distances. So extend your commute to/from work to 20 miles twice a week at the same intensity and you'll soon reap the benefits.
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Re: Need some help upping my commuting game!

Postby lukasran » Fri Nov 22, 2013 01:12 am

looks like some nicely spread out strava segments on your commute. id try to max out yourself on 4 or 5 of them (the longer ones) and steady recovery in between. get a heart rate monitor to check how hard you are pushing on the segs.

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Coopster the 1st
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Re: Need some help upping my commuting game!

Postby Coopster the 1st » Fri Nov 22, 2013 09:19 am

Aim to ride one segment faster on your morning and afternoon commute.

I would choose the segment between the reservoirs to do this(as much to get this road out of the way as fast as possible as I think it is a horrible road to cycle on!). I would aim to do this at 20mph average daily in one direction (depending on the wind)

Doing this regularly should up your overall pace although achieving this in the winter will be harder
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