Busy City Outdoor Rides

For those of you who live in busy urban settings, how do you accomplish your outdoor training rides?

There might be a great web of commuter bike lanes and well-cultivated mixed-use paths, but those aren’t great for doing 20min high speed intervals. And if your paved roads are congested, dangerous, and/or riddled with stop points, this makes things even more challenging.

To all you big city cyclist — how do you do it?

There is usually some sort of bike trail not that far out of the city, I usually bike as a warm up to there and do my intervals there.

Find a good, small section of road and do a bunch of loops of it. When I used to live in Charlotte, a bunch of us would ride 5-10 miles, do 5-15 laps of a loop, and head back. Finding those little sections are easier than finding a long forgotten road.

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I live inner city in Aus and i get the train out 30min-1hr where the riding changes dramatically. Would highly recommend this if you have access to it. Stops me having to ride out through the traffic and main roads for an hour or two before i get to the good stuff. I have 20min-1hr climbs out there so it’s worth the train commute for me. Otherwise just on the trainer.

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It takes me 10 to 15 minutes to get to my training ground and I use that as a warm-up for all outside workouts as it has a short climb of 7% average gradient, some rollers and ending with a 3 minute climb which starts at 4% and peaks at 6% towards the end and this route contains traffic lights.

My TSS scores for outdoor workouts are 15-30 TSS higher than than the given trainerroad workout as I need to ride for 20-30 minutes to get back to the city.

I use a local multi use trail quite a bit. I have to use it early when it’s not as busy. If it’s later in the day I know a few other places I can do loops, mostly uninterrupted. It’s a 15-45 minute pedal to get to the loops. So a lot of the time I just do the workouts on the trainer.

I struggle with this at times, just finding a suitable area without traffic lights. I try back streets and do repeats of a hill close to home but for those workouts with longer intervals it is a bit hit and miss. Realistically I don’t hit all the targets all of the time, but find the structure of the outdoor workout is better than just me going for a random outdoor spin…

Segment hunting, stop signs, stop lights and safety be damned.

No, if I have a actual interval workout planned, I either adjust it to the terrain, or do it on the trainer. I’ve been known to find some double track in the parks and ride my 1-5 minute intervals by RPE/HR. Or, if the intervals are longer, its probably just as important to get most of the “time in zone” correct, so if I get held up at a light/intersection for more than 10 seconds, I just start tacking 30 seconds at a time onto the interval. It gets the HR back to the right spot for the right amount of time, hopefully hitting the right spot.

I guess it just depends on what the goals of any individual workout are.

Not the biggest of cities here, but there isn’t much in the way of quieter ‘bike roads’ around.
I’ll usually wait until the quietest time of day (at this time of year, it’s still light out at 9pm which is pretty dead) and hit the highways. Depending on your area they can have pretty wide bike lanes with gentler grades, you’re more predictable/easily seen, and there’s a lot less stopping and starting.
I’m not sure how this would compare to really big cities where the highways are always busier, but personally I find that having fewer distractions and interactions with drivers makes the whole thing a bit simpler/less stressful. That being said I’m a nervous sod at the best of times and usually hide in the garage for anything above z3 :joy:

Just chiming in. No answers from Phoenix. I did 100 miles one day recently and I counted 60 stop signs/light on the route. This was to the north-east and west of the metro. Very frustrating. Now that the heat is building I ride early and roll a lot of lights. Even rolling them it’s just not the same and not possible doing any kind of interval. So, depending on the length of interval I ride to a predetermined stretch of road and just do tempo or z2 there do the work and tempo z2 back.

Gravel riding has helped. I can ride to a trailhead and get work done on the road/trail.

Or I drive and start a ride away from the city on less busy roads. I hate driving to ride though.

I consider this at least once a week. I haven’t succumb…yet.

Thanks for all the input, peeps.
Looks like the solutions are almost universal — loops and/or dawn/dusk rides. :confused:

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