longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

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bovlomov
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longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby bovlomov » 5 Jul 2015, 12:03am

Is there a rule of thumb for calculating the easier route, between a longer, flatter route and a shorter one with lots of hills? It must be partly to do with physique and riding style, but it would be good to have a rough guide to work with.

It's train strike day on Thursday and I need to get from Barnet to Oxford, and back. Well, the Chilterns are in the way, so there's no avoiding hills, but I could avoid the worst ones by adding 8 or 10 miles. Is it worth it?

thirdcrank
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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby thirdcrank » 5 Jul 2015, 5:19am

I can't offer a formula but I'd say it's sometimes worth varying your route eg by returning home a different way. At least you increase your local knowledge for future journeys. (And it may make it harder for them to keep tabs on you...................so long as it doesn't arouse suspicion. :wink: )

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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby axel_knutt » 5 Jul 2015, 11:43am

Only you can answer the question, because it depends on how you personally cope with hills. For the long term, if you keep records from your rides you will be able to use the data to calculate estimated ride times in future. I've never bothered logging ascent on the bike, but when I was fellwalking my own personal Naismith's Rule was 4.2mph and 1000ft/hr. Compared with the 'standard' figures of 3mph and 2000ft/hr you can see that I was a fast walker and a slow climber.
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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 5 Jul 2015, 11:59am

Hi,
I would leave early and relax and admire the view...........
If You Don't Try You Don't Do.....Don't Do You Don't Get...I'm Still Trying....Well Very..
You'll Find Me At The Top Of A Hill...............Somewhere...After Dark..

mercalia
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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby mercalia » 5 Jul 2015, 2:16pm

bovlomov wrote:Is there a rule of thumb for calculating the easier route, between a longer, flatter route and a shorter one with lots of hills? It must be partly to do with physique and riding style, but it would be good to have a rough guide to work with.

It's train strike day on Thursday and I need to get from Barnet to Oxford, and back. Well, the Chilterns are in the way, so there's no avoiding hills, but I could avoid the worst ones by adding 8 or 10 miles. Is it worth it?


no buses? cant take a train part way? or to some where nearby. how pressed for time? adding 10 miles to a journey quite a lot

The fat commuter
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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby The fat commuter » 5 Jul 2015, 4:46pm

On a journey of that length, it maybe is. I calculate it (or rather, gMap Pedometer does) at just over 50 miles. If it was me then I'd look for the flatter route.

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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby Ant » 5 Jul 2015, 5:14pm

This is doubtless useless information for you, but anyway...

On a hilly round trip commute (remembering they give on the downs and take on the ups) of 20 miles I tended to average 15MPH. On a less hilly (it is all hilly around here) round trip commute to another place of 36 miles I averaged 16MPH. I alternated between the two places so my fitness can be assumed to be fixed for the purpose of comparison.

So flatter for me was measurably quicker, but not to the extent that it would see me seeking out a flat route which was significantly longer, as the gain in average speed wouldn't have been sufficiently beneficial for me...

On a separate note, actually remembering this information, and choosing to share it with the world, does seem to mark me out as being remarkably dull!

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bovlomov
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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby bovlomov » 5 Jul 2015, 9:52pm

Thanks to all for the advice!

thirdcrank wrote:I can't offer a formula but I'd say it's sometimes worth varying your route eg by returning home a different way. At least you increase your local knowledge for future journeys. (And it may make it harder for them to keep tabs on you...................so long as it doesn't arouse suspicion. :wink: )

I'm not sure I'll have the time to increase my knowledge. But I like your thinking about making it harder for them (more commonly known as 'THEM!!!!') to keep tabs on me. You see, the bicycle really is a political object. We subversives can travel about on the back roads - under the radar and out of the view of ANPR - spreading sedition. Did I say, I am going to Oxford to 'work'?

axel_knutt : I have done plenty of those sorts of rides in that area, but never been organised enough to take notes. Usually efficiency isn't of interest to me, but getting it wrong on Thursday will get me into trouble. I think my riding is similar to your walking. I'm faster than average on the flat and on long gentle slopes, but slower on the steeper hills. Also, on flattish terrain I could keep going all day.

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:I would leave early and relax and admire the view...........

I'll do my best! Though I must admit, I'm still hoping the strike will be cancelled.

mercalia wrote:no buses? cant take a train part way?

I think they'll all be full on a strike day. But my route could take me past a few stations: Princes Risborough, Amersham, Wycombe etc.. Especially on the way back, I might find a train to take me over the hilliest bits. That's Plan B.

The fat commuter: The flatter route (not very flat) is about 58 miles. It may be worth it if I don't have to stand on the pedals.

Ant wrote:actually remembering this information, and choosing to share it with the world, does seem to mark me out as being remarkably dull!

Sometimes dull is useful. It's not just the time that matters. It's how tiring it is. I'm thinking that the flatter route will be sustainable, even if it takes longer. The steep hills are more likely to be the cause of burn-out.

What's the chances of the RMT and First Great Western sorting out their differences?

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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby bovlomov » 7 Jul 2015, 4:43pm

:::::UPDATE:::::
It looks as though there will be trains between London and Oxford on Thursday, so I don't need to cycle both ways. I'm relieved and a bit disappointed.

In case there's another strike, I'm still interested in distance/ascent/speed/exhaustion relationships. Perhaps I should do what axel_knutt suggests, and keep records. On the other hand, there may be too many variables to be able to draw any useful conclusions (weather, road surface, luggage weight, my own physical condition, etc.).

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horizon
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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby horizon » 7 Jul 2015, 8:17pm

I've checked out routes on Google maps a few times recently and they seem to reflect terrain as well as distance as the suggested time taken varies over similar mileages. I don't know how they do this but they must be calculating a certain time against height. What is interesting is that the estimations seem very accurate - I've been coming in on their suggested times. These may be a bit slow for some people but for me they seem about right.

BTW, this was the post of my own efforts to get to grips with this:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=91015
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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bovlomov
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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby bovlomov » 7 Jul 2015, 8:33pm

Thanks horizon, both for the Google tip and for the link. I'll do some homework.

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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby Tonyf33 » 7 Jul 2015, 10:56pm

As a pretty hefty guy and not one that finds the hills that attractive, with the extra miles you're talking about compared to the total distance I'd go the shorter route.
I roughly calculated from Barnet to Oxford at 52 miles and 2000ft ascent.
If you could knock 400-500ft off the ascent for an extra 10 miles length then it might be worth it
I've saved a route via bikehike if you want it.

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bovlomov
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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby bovlomov » 8 Jul 2015, 12:14am

Tonyf33 wrote:As a pretty hefty guy and not one that finds the hills that attractive, with the extra miles you're talking about compared to the total distance I'd go the shorter route.
I roughly calculated from Barnet to Oxford at 52 miles and 2000ft ascent.
If you could knock 400-500ft off the ascent for an extra 10 miles length then it might be worth it
I've saved a route via bikehike if you want it.

Thanks Tony, but I already saved 5 different routes. Making the choice is the hard bit. That's about the tipping point: 400 ft less / 10 miles more. From experience - I've sometimes suffered unnecessarily by choosing routes without having any regard for the hills. When I have been a bit wiser I've been amazed by how easy the ride is.

Just as an example: two routes to Bristol. The pretty one, going straight across the Chilterns. The ugly one going down through west London and along the A4. The ascent for the bit as far as Wycombe, by the pretty route, is the same as the ascent as far as Newbury by the ugly route. Put like that, the ugly route seems rather alluring.

P.S. Still riding my Raleigh Lady Clubman, Tony! Though daughter No. 1 is getting a bit big for the child seat.

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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby Mick F » 8 Jul 2015, 11:31am

Are there any hills in the Chilterns?
:wink:
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bovlomov
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Re: longer/flatter v shorter/pointier

Postby bovlomov » 8 Jul 2015, 11:59am

Mick F wrote:Are there any hills in the Chilterns?
:wink:

They're more like piles.

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