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Thread: I really hate my commute....

  1. #21
    hozn's Avatar
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    We have hashed this out before indeed.

    But if you assume 40 calories per mile (that is a rule of thumb I have heard; it is about right for me, a little low), you can work out fuel costs . The spectrum is apparently huge. Over $0.70 per mile if you eat very healthy food, around 0.15/mile for the avg American diet ($7/2000 calories). Certainly our fuel is more expensive than car fuel. And bike maintenance is on par, cost-wise with routine car maintenance. But most bikes don't cost as much as cars.

    Obviously there are the less quantifiable benefits, but clearly there are pretty huge risks to ones wellbeing too when riding in aggressive traffic.

    I probably wouldn't ride that commute, as you describe it. I commute to take off stress; if it added stress I would just find other opportunities to ride.

  2. #22
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    I don't think I eat significantly more because I bike - rather I weigh less. If you are overweight, you can increase your calorie burn IIUC, keep your intake the same, and go to a lower equilibrium weight.

    Or you can substitute biking for other exercise.

    The analysis showing incremental food cost based on biking calorie burn implicitly assumes someone who is maintaining normal weight without deliberate exercise, either due to a physically demanding job, or to their metabolism. Such jobs are less common than they used to be, and such metabolisms not so many of us are blessed with.

    Note, similar consideration of incrementality is needed to analyze the role of food in the GHG impact of bike commuting.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 03-12-2016 at 06:52 AM.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    Aside from Freezing Saddles, I ride my bike because it usually makes me happier than not riding my bike. If that stopped being true, i would probably stop riding.
    This. I ride, mostly, because it is life enhancing. Though I keep trying to increase my commute frequency, I have also used alternate day one way bike commutes, and partial commutes involving metrobus, as substitutes.

    I have never ridden in DC east of the Anacostia. I know that the trails of NoVa and the Eye Street bike lanes have made it easier to get myself to ride. It's too bad about Maine Avenue. For me it's the only really bad spot on my whole commute, so I can accept it (though these last few days I really did miss Water Street ).

  4. #24
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    Yeah, I was making an assumption that one would be eating less if they are burning less calories.

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    If you live in the city you can save significant money not having a car. If you live in the burbs and/or far from your job then bike commuting is a lifestyle choice, not a rational financial decision if you're on the upper half of the income scale. (You might save a couple of bucks, but not enough to really matter--and that's if you're excluding the value of your time.)

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    As soon as I start thinking I'm saving money on all that gas I'm not buying, I remember all the bike bling I'm spending money on, and I come to my senses—but not enough that I stop buying bike bling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    If you live in the city you can save significant money not having a car. If you live in the burbs and/or far from your job then bike commuting is a lifestyle choice, not a rational financial decision if you're on the upper half of the income scale. (You might save a couple of bucks, but not enough to really matter--and that's if you're excluding the value of your time.)
    I couldn't have said this any better myself. Saving money (I'm skeptical that I was) is just not a significant reason for me to ride to work. Our household budget isn't influenced in the slightest by my bike commute. And let's be honest, I was only riding on average 2x/week anyway. I wasn't a hardcore rain or shine 5x/week commuter. I can do more or less the same mileage through evening rides around NoVA. Also, driving will allow me to make more regular visits to 530am yoga practice, which isn't possible during a bike commute so that's another plus (also not cheap).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ginacico View Post
    That was gonna be my input. That route does look pretty awful to ride. Does it have to be all or nothing, or are there transit or multimodal alternatives (say bike to a Green Line station and metro to work)? Find someplace for coffee before you hop on a train, suddenly your day looks better.
    I wish this scenario made more sense for my situation, but it just doesn't. The main reason being that there's an added 15 minute walk to get to my building from the metro station. In good weather it's a fine walk but hot, cold, rainy, etc? It would just be silly when I can still drive to work/home in much less time. I go against traffic for the most part. Metro's track record these days isn't great either. Who knows, maybe a better situation will present itself. Unfortunately, I think it will have to be as drastic as Hozn's suggestion of a new job. Haha. I'm considering everything!

  9. #29
    Steve O's Avatar
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    So back to the original question
    Quote Originally Posted by creadinger View Post
    So WHY then do I feel guilty for hating my commute and not wanting to do it anymore?
    I'm not sure I can answer the why for you, but if you are looking for commiseration from the devoted people who ride bikes on this forum, then I think you've gotten it. Although I can't speak for everyone, I'm not going to second guess your feelings.

    One thing you could try is to consider an occasional ride to and from work more as an adventure than a chore. Pick a day with great weather or other positives or something and decide to ride that day--not as an obligation but as a change of pace. Also framing it as just-this-one-time and knowing you aren't going to do it again tomorrow or the next day may make it feel more satisfying--not just a grind. Anyway, that's a thought.

  10. #30
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Sounds like part of the issue is the long distance. While two 14-mile trips might not be considered a lot for a Tour de France cyclist, it can grind away at people who have non-cycling full-time jobs and other responsibilities. I know I probably wouldn't bike commute 28 miles every workday.

    When I train for various racing events (bike, run, triathlon), when I start to mess up the nutrition and overdo the activity level, I start to get cranky, nervous and irritable. I also start to dislike cycling. Some advanced athletes talk about doing unfed workouts (on an empty stomach) but that can get tricky. If you mess it up, especially on a repeated basis, it can cause problems. I've gotten sick and badly overtrained on a couple occasions while doing that (not eating nearly enough for very long workouts). Bike commuting may not be quite the same as training, but 14 miles twice a day is still a solid ride, especially five days a week (plus any additional recreational rides on the weekends).

    Are you eating enough, before and after the rides? It wouldn't need to be a huge amount, especially if you're on a faster road bike. (I've been doing nearly all of my rides on CaBi or the mountain bike over the past year, so 14 miles would be considered a fairly long ride on those bikes.) Is your overall nutrition solid? When you stress yourself (with something like ten 14-milers a week, plus other rides), overall nutrition starts to become more important. Both quantity and quality matter here.

    ====

    As for the broken glass, I know about that. I've ridden through the East of the River neighborhoods quite a bit this past winter, as well as in many of the Prince George's suburbs. There is a lot of broken glass on the sidewalks. It's a shame that the County and local governments don't do more clean-up, even if it's weekly. Or perhaps they could have an online reporting form that is well-promoted where people can quickly report locations where broken glass and other debris can be cleaned up.

    I also know about some of the EOTR neighborhoods. The area north of Naylor Rd Metro is in rough shape. Parts of Barry Farm are also run-down, along with other areas. But many of the areas were much cleaner and nice-looking. You don't always hear about that in local and national reports. Even in the rougher-looking areas, I haven't had any issues, although it might be different with very early morning or late evening rides. I also wouldn't want to ride through there every day. It's interesting to explore the region, but Naylor Rd wouldn't be my choice for a daily ride. The hills provide a good workout though.

    Crime rates are higher in many of those areas, but many if not most of the worst incidents are at night, I believe, and many involve individuals who know one another. Even if there are some random attacks, I would also consider car-cyclist collisions to be random incidents where the two or more parties were not acquainted before the collision. Those collisions can and do happen anywhere. Some of the closest calls I've had (mostly as a pedestrian) have been in affluent areas like Bethesda and Clarendon. If we are to consider the risk of crime, we should also include the risk of car collisions too, as part of the overall risk assessment. That tends to even out the risk quite a bit from neighborhood to neighborhood.

    Of course, a huge factor is the state of bike infrastructure in a particular area. I haven't really sought out off-road trails while riding around those areas in DC and MD. On higher-speed roads, I always ride on the sidewalks. (I'm not riding on 35-45 mph road lanes, no matter what any signs say about "Bikes May Use the Full Lane.") I'd agree that bike infrastructure tends to be lacking EOTR and in the adjacent MD suburbs, although I did come across some decent bike lanes. (Yes, they are sometimes in the door zone, but I think it's better to have that lane than to be stuck on a straight road where most of the drivers are speeding and the speed limit is already uncomfortably high.)

    ====

    Have you thought about mixing up the trip? Not necessarily MetroRail, but Metrobus. All buses in the region are now equipped with front bike racks. Perhaps you could ride for part of your trip and then take a bus for part of the trip. That can get you through some uncomfortable areas (whether because of a concern about crime or unsafe road infrastructure). I've done this frequently on rack mapping trips, mostly because of the greater distances involved in the suburbs and also to get through some intersections and stretches that are outright hostile to cycling (such as highways and highway crossings).

    You would still be able to bike each day, if you want, while avoiding some of the worst sections of your trip. You could type up a short list of bus arrival times at particular bus stops and add them to a note on your phone. (I use Evernote. It works fairly well. Once you sync up your phone and computer apps, when you type something on the computer and sync it, it shows up on your phone too. I have noticed that longer notes and notes with a lot of formatting, such as bold type and font colors, can slow up the app, to the point where it is very difficult to edit a note. A good workaround is to have the longer apps as read-only, with shorter notes for quick edits. You can also Simplify Formatting, which seems to speed up the performance of a particular note.)

    You can back that up with the DC Metro Transit app (Android) or a similar iPhone app. DC Metro Transit is invaluable for checking MetroRail and Metrobus schedules on the road. You can find the next train or bus in near-real time. It's not 100 percent accurate but it's fairly close. It also tells you the next available two or three buses. Or if there are no buses in the next 20 min. or so, it offers up alternate routes as options. The app is free.

    Placing a bike on the Metrobus racks is easy, once you figure it out. It's awkward the first time, but you'll learn quickly.

    http://www.wmata.com/getting_around/.../bikes_bus.cfm

    There are many videos on YouTube, but I didn't see one from WMATA. Most of the racks are the same or very similar. Squeeze the handle in the center of the rack to release the rack and pull it down from the front of the bus. Lift the bike onto the rack, putting the tires into the holders, front wheel toward the right. Pull out the lever toward the right and lift it over the front wheel. Place the handle directly on the top of the front wheel. That's it.

    Unlike with MetroRail, you can choose how far you want to travel on that route. Bus stops are more frequent than MetroRail stops are. If you're more tired than usual, ride the bus for a longer stretch. If you have more energy and want to ride more, shorten the bus segment or skip it altogether. You can decide each day.

    The only possible issue is that each bus only has space for two bikes. I rarely see buses with both racks in use at the same time, but I guess it might happen. If it does, you would be forced to wait for the next bus, or you could continue riding along the route.

    I don't know about all the possible routes, but a bike/bus combination could open up the Wilson Bridge. You could ride over the bridge and then a short distance to Oxon Hill. (The NH1 bus only connects National Harbor with the Southern Ave Metro station.) From there, you could take the Harborview Ave path and then the Oxon Hill Rd sidewalk past Livingston Rd. A couple hundred feet further, you'll see a bus stop for the D12 bus. That takes you straight to the Suitland Metro station. That would let you avoid riding on St. Barnabas Rd, which appears to be a high-speed arterial, and Silver Hill Rd.

    The D12 timetable shows that the bus stops at the Livingston Rd. location around 5:25, 5:55, 6:25, 6:59, 7:29, 7:59, 8:29 and 8:59 am. The bus trip takes about 20-30 min., depending on the time of day. The bus runs about hourly in midday. The route continues to run 11:36 pm (the last westbound departure from Suitland Metro station). There is also hourly service on the weekends, if you ever need to work then.

    http://www.wmata.com/bus/timetables/md/d12-14.pdf

    http://www.wmata.com/pdfs/bus/PG_County_System_Map.pdf?

    http://www.wmata.com/bus/timetables/...e.cfm?State=MD
    Last edited by PotomacCyclist; 03-12-2016 at 10:00 PM.

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