Goodbye bicycle commute

It’s finally happened. On Monday, I plan to accept an offer on a job that has no bike commute. Now I need to figure out how to stay in shape and what to do with my stable.

Definitely didn’t see this coming. I’ve always considered a decent bike commute a requirement for a job to the extent I’ve actually specifically negotiated it into the last couple jobs as a matter of acceptance. I wasn’t looking for a job, and wouldn’t have even considered this company had they not approached me.

Of course, I’ll still ride to get around town but it won’t be the same. It won’t be baked into my day, and as much as I like cycling, I’m simply not going to put in significant miles regularly since I don’t just ride for the sake of exercise (though I will be out for a rec ride today).

Not sure how or if it will affect my interest in cycling issues. It’s hard to imagine being actively engaged with something all the time, but it’s also hard to imagine not being actively engaged with something I’ve done my whole life.

As much as I’ll miss my commute, I gotta say that urban commuting will never hold a candle to commuting in less populated areas. The best day in a city is only as good as a mediocre day in a rural area. But still a million times more fun than driving.

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Congratulations & best wishes on the new job.

Without meaning to pry, I am curious about what prevents commuting by bike. Is it simply time/distance? Or is there a specific route obstacle? From what you’ve said other times, it would have to be quite a barrier!

 I gotta say that urban commuting will 
 never hold a candle to commuting in 
 less populated areas.

Yeah. For me, industrial areas and suburbs are the least pleasant (nearly all Portland is suburbs outside downtown and the Pearl). Even most county roads near town - “subrural” - have too much, too fast traffic on too narrow road space for me to feel comfortable. Day trips I’ve done in Utrecht and Groningen had many options connecting between urban and rural without the bike/ped-hostile feel of American ‘burbs. Grossly simplified, we’re missing a coherent overlay layer of dedicated bikeways.

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Nothing like that. In fact, I prefer what are considered longer commutes by PDX standards – I like at least 10 miles each way simply because it takes me about 1/2 hour to get fully warmed up and find my pace. Ideal length for me is probably about 15 (sweet spot between getting my blood pumping and the time commitment being difficult), and I can and have tolerated noticeably more. And as you’ve guessed, conditions aren’t an issue.

The real problem is that it’s a 100% telecommute job. I’d normally consider that a major minus (my commute is one of my favorite times of the day – I wonder how many people can say that). But it’s a great team, there are significant incentives, and they pointed out that I can work from anywhere I can connect so if I figure out a reasonable satellite backcountry connection, they’re cool if I work off a mountainside.

Agreed. In all honesty, you have to get out pretty far before you get a real rural (or better yet, mountain) experience for the simple reason that people access places that are accessible.

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Bwhahaha! I totally missed that option, and I’ve free-heel commuted for 20 years. :joy:

I hope it works out as well for you as it has for me. For me, one of the key parts to making it work is a bit of discipline around a schedule. Otherwise, I tend to get lost in my work, not put it down, and not make time for the rest of my life.

My colleagues make a game of remote logins. They’ve ticked off airplanes, cars, trains, boats from a canoe to an ocean ferry, bars and restaurants, airports… I’ve packet-bagged a few peaks in the Cascades. That’s all just mobile data, satellite would be whole new vistas.

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I’ve been WFH since March 1st and I’m still trying to figure out how to work it in more regularly. My original goal was 3 times a week going up to top of Rocky Butte (a 10 mile round tripper for me). I wanted to make it a “bike to work” (do it before work) commute thing — or to make it my lunchtime routine. I have failed miserably. I still run most errands and go to dr. appointments via bike. but it’s not the same baked in, 10 guaranteed rides per week.

I was talking to someone recommending that I do exactly that same time every day thing and make it the ritual for starting and ending my work day. He also recommended committing to minutes of riding, not routes or miles, just the same amount of time to make it easier to build in.

Sounds like a good plan. I was about to try it and the fires hit.

I agree with the suggestion to plan rides each day in your schedule. You can even do it right before and after work.

Re: "reasonable satellite backcountry connections” - I worked in the remote interior of Papua, Indonesia from 8/2016 till 4/2020, and used a satellite internet connection. There are two main problems:

  1. The cost is extreme: we paid about $150 a month for 5 gigabytes of data. Keeping down to that limit meant no videos, very limited audio calls, and no updating software. We had to turn off all sorts of hidden auto-updaters on our laptops and phones.
  2. The satellite connection does not work during heavy rainstorms. Raindrops interfere with the signal. I believe this can also be a problem with cellular connections in more remote areas, where the microwaves have farther to travel.

If you are using the connection in the PNW during the summer when you can be 99% certain of clear skies, or if you can afford to wait 24 hours until the rain stops, and you are not worried about the cost and annoyance of dealing with the limited data, then it could work.

But you’ll want to pick a permanent residence with access to a reliable, wired or fiber broadband internet connection.

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I’m dealing with a lot of the same issues. I clocked about 3,000 miles /yr commuting to downtown but all of the sudden I’m 100% work-from-home.

Here’s what I’m doing to replace it:

  1. I developed a little neighborhood route that takes me up Tabor, through the Rose City golf course, etc, and back home, almost all on greenways. I can crank it out in 45 mins or so, enough to squeeze in before or after work, or during a lunch break. This is my go-to / don’t-want-to-think ride.

  2. I’m visiting new city parks that I’ve never been to before. Just pick one on Google Maps, find a greenway-ish route to get there, and head out after work with a blanket and a couple appropriate beverages. Great way to explore the city and break out of a rut without the expectations of a recreational road ride.

That said I’m not going to hit 3k this year; I’m simply not doing enough of this. And it’s all too easy to skip my ride if it’s raining. So I’ve bought a stationary trainer for the winter months and am looking into Zwift, etc.

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