College classes have started for another semester. I’m not a student, I’m a professor, and now that we’re back in full swing, I face the same kind of challenges many riders face — how do you find the time to ride?
Contrary to popular belief, most college professors put in at least 40 hours a week. Right now, I’m averaging a little over that because of meetings that run past 5 p.m. one or two evenings.
But evenings are the obvious time for me to squeeze in a weekday ride. Tuesdays are a given, since I can get home an hour earlier than usual. Friday evenings would be a good time for a short ride. I typically do 25-30 miles on Saturday morning, so I don’t want to be tired for that, and then Sunday morning is the club ride.
So if all the stars align correctly, I can get in four rides a week. That won’t happen this week, but it’s my goal. Besides, I have other interests besides biking. I try to play golf on a semi-regular basis, but have been out on the course only eight times this year. There’s yard work to do. My wife and I are empty nesters, so I don’t worry about attending to kids. Still, it seems there’s never enough time.
To get better, you have to ride more. How do you handle it? Have you arrived at some kind of regular schedule that lets you get enough rides in? I’d like to hear some ideas from readers about carving out time to ride.
Get top grade lighting and reflective gear and you open up a huge range of possibilities in night riding. The roads are all yours at 5AM, even in urban areas. If you have shower facilities at work then you can easily get in 2-3 hours before work. BTW–don’t downplay reflective gear. I just watched Preston Tyree’s (LAB LCI from Austin) latest video on lights and reflective gear (he’s polishing it up for You-Tube distro). You don’t want to neglect either lights or reflectors. Each have there weak points which happen to be the others strong points.
Most people I know who are able to get a lot of miles in, commute to work by bike. I have one friend who drove to work on Monday with his bike on rack and a suitcase of clothes and then rode home on Monday. When he rode in on Tuesday, he didn’t have to bring a change of clothes or anything, just ride.
Mike Weiland says
I would disagree that you have to ride more to get better. You can improve with shorter duration and less miles by focusing on intensity with your weekday rides. Get your longer rides in on the weekend.
Jessica, an Austin Triathlete and Runner says
it’s said that 40% of trips outside the home are less than 2 miles long. So, figure out which trips those are and just bike to them. Even 6-10 of these shorter trips a week will add a few extra miles. For me, that’s usually trips to the bars or the park!
I also have a trainer that rarely gets used for those cold (what’s that?!) days and participate in the free spin class at Pure Austin once a month (better than nothing, and FREE!)
just random thoughts…love the suitcase idea. Can’t wait to have a job where I can do that!
I commute by bike. This time of the year, that’s about the only opportunity I get to ride other than the weekends, and through the winter it will probably be the only rides I get. The good news is that if I ride to work 5 days a week (which I do most of the time), I’ll have 85 miles under my belt before the weekend begins.
The downside is that while I get a fairly high number of miles in, they are all in 9 mile increments. That doesn’t do a lot to build your endurance for longer rides.
I’m lucky to have shower facilities at work, so I just haul my clothes in a pannier every day.
Sine Botchen says
I try to ride after work.. something as simple as bringing my bike to work and changing clothes before leaving the office saves me almost 30 minutes (as opposed to going home first to get gear/changed). I’m fortunate to be working in the Oak Hill area so I’m close to the veloway and bc greenbelt.
In the winter I get up around 5:30am and hit the veloway at six. I can ride for 2 hours before leaving to get ready for work. I only live about 5 miles away from work.
Ramon H. says
I commute to work on my bicycle everyday, but the total daily distance is about (4) miles. I am not a fan of riding in the dark since there is way too much debris on the roads around here. However, I am thinking of working something out with my place of employment, so I can work 9AM-6PM during the upcoming months. That way, I can get my ride-on in the mornings :o)
I can’t commute to work by bike, so I use the same star alignment method you do!! Three rides a week this time of year is the goal and keeps me happy.
curtis corlew says
I too am a professor. My monthly road bike mileage has dropped dramatically since school started. At least I get to bike commute, which in California is possible all year.
If there is any way you can bike commute, do so. It’s a great way to start and finish the day. I listen to podcasts, audiobooks and “The Teaching Company” lectures on my ride in, which makes it even better.
Now, I must make myself stop surfing and grade that HUGE stack of papers. I wish I had a mere 40 hour week.
I live and work at a university in PA. I bike to work until the roads ice up and rely on the trainer for evening mid week rides during the school year. It is not a matter of ugly weather (it is still beautiful here) it is just the demands of work with the shorter days in the mid latitudes.
If losing fitness after summer is your main concern, then throw in some intervals in shorter rides during the midweek. It won’t speak to your soul like a nice long ride in the country, but it will keep you from losing any ground that you gained over the summer.
Best of luck with your last TT next week.
Another bike commuter here. I really wouldn’t get very many miles in at all if I didn’t commute. And it takes maybe an extra half hour out of my day, considering that I’d be spending some time in my car anyway. An extra fifteen minutes in the morning, and again in the evening, and I get a little over a hour per day in the saddle even if I don’t do any extra miles. Of course if the weather is enjoyable, I usually take the long way home.
I get up crazy early. On the mornings I am on duty I stretch my morning cycle commute to 40 miles when in fact I only live about 3 miles from the station. On the mornings I am not on duty I just get up really early and don all of the headlights, blinking “dont drive your car up my colon” tailight and hit the road. Between family and work early morning rides are my only option and they have grown on me. As an added advantage there are nearly zero cars on the road for the first hour or so of the ride. After that its car hell.