Today is the first day of April, and that means my days of avoiding city streets have come to a close. I'm once again a cycle-commuter.
Amongst athletes, commuting gets a bad rep. Hardcore cyclists call the ride between home and office "junk miles" -- because you aren't riding long enough or hard enough uninterupted to provoke a training response.
For the most part I agree and would never count the hours I spend commuting towards my weekly totals. But there are two ways to get a little more out of your morning ride than just conveyance from A to B.
1) Sprint off every stop light. This will work a system most of us rarely spend enough time on. I don't know what the technical term is but I know it's the one that mother nature gave us to optimize our chances of survival in a surprise sabre-tooth tiger attack. It means you can go as hard as you can for about 12 seconds without drawing on your glycogen supplies, and before lactic acid build up can be perceieved. **Please note this blog is not edited by anyone scientific, so any clarifying or correcting is welcome in the comments.
2) Ride nice and easy. They say that a ride in your recovery zone will do more to repair the strains of training than doing nothing. So spin your legs out, get your blood carrying that oxygen to worn out muscles and be that much more prepared to stomp your next set of intervals during your workout.
I recommend starting your day with option 2 and then going home using option 1. That way, when you get to work, you won't be a sweaty dirt bag.
And finally, if you're not among the lucky Toronto commuters whose employers appreciate the odd bicycle in the office, you'll need to remember the "Rule of 50". That is, bike + lock = 50 lbs.
So if your bike weighs 10 lbs, you need a 40 lb lock. If your bike weighs 40 lbs, you need a 10 lb lock. If your bike weighs 50 lbs, you don't need lock.
Amsterdam, 2004: a city all about bicycle-commuting.
A commute that I will always remember: Paris to Versailles with my sister, by bike