Commute train

I’m curious, does anybody commute to work with at least one other cyclist? Has anybody ever joined or started a spontaneous group ride during a commute?

I’m broke this month so I didn’t buy a train pass. My commute from San Jose, CA to Menlo Park is about 22 miles. This morning, a guy joined me on my commute in Mountain View. By the time we reached downtown Palo Alto, I was pulling a train of a half dozen other bike commuters at 18 to 20 mph.

Is there something like a carpool resource where bike commuters can post their start and destination and meet up at an agreed time? Would something like that be useful for people on the Commute By Bike site? How do you picture something like this working?

As for me, I start at Park & Bird in San Jose at 7 a.m. and ride to Menlo Park through Palo Alto. I’m very flexible on the route — I like going up to Foothill via Homestead best, though today I just shot straight up El Camino Real until I hit Sunnyvale, where I cut over to Evelyn. Here’s another route I often take from Mountain View, past the Googleplex and across East Palo Alto.

I favor “urban” commute bikes for shorter commutes, but for this distance I go light and ride the road bike at an average 17 mph. I don’t mind pulling as long as somebody else is willing to trade off.

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0 thoughts on “Commute train”

  1. Pushing Wind says:

    My commute to downtown Denver is about 18.6 miles along the Platte River bike path from Littleton. I usually hit the trail at Mineral around 7:30am. My average is around 19.5 going in and 17 coming home. My workward commute train experience is usually 1 other rider that I’ve passed and they tag up. Occasionally someone will pass me and I’ll tag. Going home is better for a train since most riders tend to leave work between 4:30 and 5. I’ve been in trains with 3-5 other riders, but usually only 1-2 will take their turn at the front. My friend’s advice is to not sweat the drafters. Riding point just makes you stronger. It’s best to signal once or twice to find out their willingness to lead.

  2. Noah says:

    I’m getting something like this started for people who live in Johnson County, KS and work in downtown KC, MO. For what it’s worth, this demographic is HUGE. There’s an insane migration across state lines in either direction. There’s an abundance of jobs on both side of the KS/MO state line, and an abundance of people on one side that want to work on the other.

    The bus I used to ride would carry on average more than 200 people to and from downtown over the course of 6 runs. That’s 6 buses among tens of thousands of cars, some of which were carpooled, most of which ferried only one person to and fro. Still, tens of thousands of people going each direction. The potential is huge, especially as weather starts cooling off.

    I’ve had 5 or 6 others ride with me, but never more than 3 at a time. I’m hoping to get a seriously organized “group commute” going every monday morning for people who are not yet comfortable commuting by bike but may (or may not!) be familiar with the group ride setting.

    My goal isn’t to get people to put another group ride on the calendar, though. It’s to inspire people to give it a try in a no-rider-left-behind environment with experienced peers leading the curious and new. I aspire to lead people not to and from downtown on Mondays, but to lead them to try it on their own or with some friends other days once they see how good it feels and how easy it is compared to their expectations.

    We’ll see how it goes! Although I myself am not a hardcore environmentalist, I’m working with a local sustainable community advocacy group. Maybe some will do it for fun. Maybe some will do it for the money it saves or the health it brings. Maybe some will do it so they can say they’re doing their part for the environment. I don’t care why, honestly. There are enough good reasons to commute by bike that make sense. If I can help others discover the joy of bicycle commuting, I’m happy.

  3. Chris C. says:

    I mentioned this in a blog post a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure how to organize it but I think it would be bad ass!

  4. Chris C. says:

    BTW… If your looking for volunteers to develop a web site to organize bicycle trains (pelotons) let me know. I’m an engineer for Yahoo! News and could probably find some free time to put something together.

  5. Quinn says:

    I so wish there there were more bike commuters here in Reno (it is the birth place of Greg Lemond), Plenty of sport cyclists but everyone around here has the “I’m driving my Escalade 1 mile to work” attitude.

    With riding my bike full time(no car) and a 7 mile 1-way commute, I may cruise with some one 1 time a month.

  6. Fritz says:

    Oh yeah, Chris. I enjoyed reading through your blog just now.

    I think you’ve mentioned that you commute from Campbell to Sunnyvale? It’s pretty much a straight shot down Lawrence Expwy down to Yahoo, isn’t it?

    I might post something to the SVBC list and see what kind of response I get.

  7. Chris C. says:


    I take San Thomas Expressway > Scott Blvd. > San Thomas Bike Path > Baylands > Caribbean. There are several riders on my route, we just need to get organized.

  8. John says:

    I’m always alone. 8>(

  9. sygyzy says:

    I think this is a great idea. Someone should make a national website where anyone can organize local trains.

  10. JiMCi says:

    I did think about riding with other commuters some time ago but it wouldn’t work for me since I commute FROM downtown TO the suburbs; everybody else seems to be going the other way! However, I have a suggestion for you guys. Try posting a little sign at a place that would be a good gathering point, reading sowewhat like “Bike commuter trains. Departures at :00, :15, :30, and :45 (or at :00, :10, etc) past the hour.” You never know, next time you ride by the sign, there might be commuters checking their watch for the next departure!

  11. Jett says:

    Just yesterday, I was cleaning up my desk when I considered tossing a flyer from Atlanta’s Bike to Work day back in May. I had held onto the flyer remembering how nice it was to ride that day. I tossed the flyer, but it occurred to me I could probably assemble enough riders to at least kick off a monthly if not weekly bike to work day.

    You can imagine my surprise at reading this post and finding that I’m not alone in these thoughts.

    It must be a sign. We have to do this.

  12. Fritz says:

    I’m awed by the enthusiasm at this.

    I’ve discovered that the BIkePortland site has a “BikePool Connections” forum. Noah, Chris and a couple of others are talking about creating something like this on a national basis.

    I hope I’m not letting the cat out of the bag too early (way too early?), but the domain was reserved last night just for this purpose of creating a national (or international?) bike pool resource. I envisioned a forum or bulletin board type of thing at first like the Bike Portland resource, but maybe a mashup something like a Bikely for commuters might be the result.

  13. Chris C. says:

    oops!… just kidding!

  14. Tim says:

    Most days I solo, but sometimes I hook up spontaneously with other riders along Shoal Creek Blvd which is an awesome commuter corridor in Austin TX. It’s mostly shaded with wide bike lanes and highly populated with bikers, especially in the spring and fall when the weather is nice. My commute is about 9km each way, and riding with other commuters is worth at least 2-3km/h boost on my cruising speed. It’s a combination of competition and comaraderie.

  15. david p. says:

    this is a great idea. i’d love to do it.

    i ride from the westside (LA) to downtown every day. i go along venice until i hit fig. then north on fig to the 2nd street tunnel. anyone along venice is more than welcome to hitch a long.

    altough, i’ve learned that riding with other people (you don’t know)… sometimes brings out differences in riding habits. sometimes its not a big deal, but what if the person you are with likes to fudge red lights. kind of weird.

  16. Jett says:

    Out on the Edge of Darkness there rides a Bike Train. Apologies to Cat Stevens, but his song is so appropriate:

    Now I’ve been happy lately
    thinking about the good things to come
    and I believe it could be
    something good has begun

    This morning we rode a route I published recently. Jeff from the next town over and I enjoyed each other’s company on our ride in. Smiles all around.

  17. I dont think would ride my bike to work. I would have to ride down the highway and thats a death wish.

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