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Same bike, same route, different bike ride

I read all those recommended training routines in Bicycle Magazine, but even when I have the time to try and follow them (which is rare and inconsistent) I'm usually not up to snuff.

But I've found a way to really benefit from the saddle time I have.

Nearly all of my bike riding time is commuting in the city. I get a short stretch of biking in between traffic lights and stop signs. Normally I would take the whole route at an easy pace, the kind meant for bike touring, and get restless and frustrated whenever the usual urban obstacles forced me to stop.

Now I look at my daily bike route as a series of sprints through an obstacle course. Now when I hit a red light I'm breathing hard, my thighs are burning, and I'm grateful for the 45 seconds of rest. The results:

  • More fun on the way to work, and less frustration
  • I might end up in better shape after a few months of this
  • I'm learning how to handle sharp turns, potholes, and bumps at faster speeds
  • I get to workearlier

This connects with a very popular philosophy of bike touring. Use what you've got. On a tour this means fixing a bike with duct tape, broken pens, or anything you can find because the only other alternatives are walking or hitchhiking.

In an urban bike commute, you practice this philosophy through better training. The "duct tape" is the time and circumstances you have available. Use what you've got.
Try this. Seek more challenges, fun, and rewards without changing where, when, or how long you ride. The secret is to change how you ride the bike.

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