What do you do to make your daily commute more challenging?

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by Shut Up Legs, 14 Sep 2017.

  1. Shut Up Legs

    Shut Up Legs Down Under Member

    Years ago, I decided that I need to continually rethink how I commute, and introduce new challenges into it, otherwise I just get stuck in the same old routine, my legs get used to it, and I don't grow any new leg muscles. Then I started making changes:
    • increasing the distance: my commute used to only be 5-8km each way, so I deliberately moved further away from work (I rent, so not too difficult to uproot), and increased the commute to 27km each way.
    • increasing the climbing: once I got used to 27km each way, I found it lost its challenge, so I moved again, this time targetting a suburb in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. Work is at 20m elevation, home is at 160m, and there are heaps of hills between the two (in either direction).
    • eventually, even that lost its challenge, so earlier this year (partly because I needed to toughen up the legs a bit more for the European Alps), I introduced standing-up pedaling intervals to my commute, typically on some of the uphill bits, and practised these until I could increase the distance / time that I could remain standing before the legs said "enough".

    This has worked really well, and my legs are probably in the best shape they've ever been. :smile:

    What do you do to make the commute more challenging? I'd like to hear your ideas.


    --- Victor.
  2. alicat

    alicat Guru

    I see why you're called Shut Up Legs. :whistle:

    My daily commute involves a 15 min walk, mainly across a park. I like it that way...
    Shut Up Legs likes this.
  3. rivers

    rivers Senior Member

    No coffee before my ride into work makes it challenging....
    But in seriousness, once a week or so after work, I'll head out on a "long" ride, generally 30-50 miles, bringing my total for the day to between 50 and 65.
  4. User33236

    User33236 Guest

    I could go a flatter, albeit slightly longer, route but where's the fun in that? :laugh:

    In the better weather I often extend my route considerably at one of other end of the day, sometimes both, if time permits.
  5. CanucksTraveller

    CanucksTraveller Macho Business Donkey Wrestler

    Hitchin, Herts
    My old physics teacher used to carry a full load of house bricks in his panniers. What a nut case.
    BrumJim and gaijintendo like this.
  6. OP
    Shut Up Legs

    Shut Up Legs Down Under Member

    Must've had rocks in his head. :whistle:

    I was toying with the idea of using the Virtual Partner feature in the Garmin Edge 800 I use to record my commutes. I'd select one of my previously recorded commute trips to work that had one of my better times, i.e. enough to be a bit of a challenge, upload it to the Garmin, and use the Virtual Partner feature on my commute, to try to keep up with the 'previous me'. Then I'd do the same for one of my recorded trips home from work. So I'd be competing with myself. Hmm... I think there's a name for that... :laugh:
    classic33 likes this.
  7. Tin Pot

    Tin Pot Guru

    Work somewhere 50km from home.
    gaijintendo likes this.
  8. Dan B

    Dan B Señor Member

    Sometimes I make my morning commute more challenging by doing a full day's work afterwards
    GlenBen, NorthernDave, mjr and 3 others like this.
  9. T.M.H.N.E.T

    T.M.H.N.E.T Disc brakes - Stopping things since 1902

    Northern Ireland
    Ride a motorbike, brighter than standard lights, fluoro/reflective accents on jacket and helmet and a fairly loud exhaust, cage nobbers still try to kill me

    And this morning - cows out for a dander
  10. gaijintendo

    gaijintendo Über Member

    • Fixie.
    • Ride through a dodgy area in an opponent teams kit.
    • Ride one of these:
    • Wear ski boots.
    • Ride one pedal, side saddle.
    • Don't sit down - remove saddle and seatpost
    • Set up your brakes incorrectly, and burn through some pads.
    • Start at the lights in the top gear.
    • Fill your waterproof Ortliebs with water: 2*40L=80kg
    • Use flat pedals.
    • Give the finger to every van.
    • Move further away from work.
    • Counter intuitive, but try not to break a sweat - it's a type of training too.
    • Schwalbe Marathon Plus
    • Wear a jacket with a huge flapping hood (my personal choice)
    • Swim before and run after.
    • Try sleeping in to add time pressure.
    • Ride a tiny clown bike
    • Put your tyres on with the tread facing backwards
    • Fat bike - comfy option
    • Standing desk at work
    • That green too stuff in your inner tubes
    • Don't shave your legs
    • Deliveroo box on your back
    Last edited: 14 Sep 2017
    CanucksTraveller likes this.
  11. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    Pogo stick
  12. I ride with a blindfold on.
    kevin_cambs_uk likes this.
  13. MiK1138

    MiK1138 Über Member

    Thats crazy talk, hope my boss never reads this
    BrumJim, Drago and classic33 like this.
  14. BurningLegs

    BurningLegs Well-Known Member

    I live close to my place of work - the shortest route is about 6.5 miles

    I like it that way because when I need to get home quickly after work or the weather is poor, I can get to/from the office nice and quickly. But when I fancy a challenge I have lots of options - there is one hill in particular that I can tackle on a slightly longer commute home and it has various routes up/down so particularly in the summer I will play with the hill and do it a few times in a few different routes.

    I wouldn't want to move house and commit myself to a longer commute every day, because some days it just wouldn't be practical for me and I think I would end up driving more frequently.
    burntoutbanger likes this.
  15. Rooster1

    Rooster1 Hornblower

    My commute is only 5 miles, but it is in a lovely part of the country.

    I try and
    • Avoid getting squashed on the roundabout on the busy A4
    • Ignore vehicles getting annoyed with me for not using a cycle lane because the cycle lane is full of school kids walking four or five abreast
    • Prevent cars from trying to overtake me on a single width section of road (not always with success
    • Overtake lines of stationary traffic without getting beeped at, sworn at
    • Avoid the same potholes and bad surfaces everyday and discover new ones if I can

    But to make things more enjoyable, I try and do extra sections and hills if I have time.
    Last edited: 14 Sep 2017
    classic33 likes this.
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