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I'm a reasonably new rider so excuse my ignorance, but I'm thinking of taking my commuter bike for a 70km ride some time in the near future.

I have recently been on several 30km rides without issue and recently had my bike serviced and adjusted.

The majority of the ride will be in light traffic and there is a shoulder where cyclists regularly ride, so the main concern is not safety. I also consider myself fit enough so fitness should also not be an issue.

So what are the negative aspects of doing this?

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Your title asks if this is safe, but your question indicates that safety isn't an issue. This is also difficult without knowing more about the bike and how it's set up. Do you have specific worries? –  Neil Fein Jan 5 '12 at 6:06
    
@Neil - I'm wanting to know if the bike will last the distance. I'm also want to find out if anyone would say it is a bad idea for whatever reason. I'm not sure if the downvotes are for a poorly written question or because they think it's a bad idea. The question is an honest one because I'm definitely looking to attempt it. So I'm after some opinions. –  xiaohouzi79 Jan 5 '12 at 9:40
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@xiaohouzi79: Maybe the downvotes were because people regarded the question as overly rhetorical? A bike that can be used for thousands of kilometers of commuting over the years isn't going to care if it gets 70 of them all at once. But it's quite a reasonable question (+1). –  Jefromi Jan 5 '12 at 13:58
    
My downvote was both for the wording as well as for a vague question. –  Neil Fein Jan 5 '12 at 15:31
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You've got some good answers, but just to add a bit... I ride centuries most every year and I've seen EVERY kind of bike on these rides. Including unicycles and tall bikes. So, provided that you are reasonably fit and your bike is in good condition, a commuter bike is just fine. –  user313 Jan 5 '12 at 20:41

5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Reliability
True commuter bikes are built for day-in and day-out reliability. As far as breaking down, you have little to worry about as a commuter bike is designed to take massive amounts of abuse and neglect and still function. While you could have a part failure like any other bike, these are uncommon and the most frequent (the flat tire) is easily fixed. On a group ride, someone will likely have a repair kit in their bag, or if you are more proactive you can carry one yourself.

Comfort
While commuter bikes are designed with comfort in mind, they do not have long distance comfort in mind. In particular, a commuter/comfort bike with a wider saddle may prove to cause more chafing on a long ride like this than a narrower and seemingly less comfortable road saddle. Also, depending on your handlebar setup, there may only be one legitimate hand position - which means your body is, by default, forced into one position for the ride. In both cases if after your 30km ride you did not have issues, than whatever issues arise on this longer ride will more than likely be tolerable. While it may not be ideal, you are not going to get any serious injuries due to the bike setup.

Speed (energy expenditure)
Compared to road bikes, commuter bikes can be slow and heavy. You will spend more energy going the same distance, but if you have the fitness and patience to do so then it's a non-issue, unless you are riding in a group with fit riders on faster bikes where you may hold the group back. Additionally in a strong wind you will have a harder time in an upright position then on a road bike with drop bars, where you can tuck forward into the wind.

While there are better bikes built for longer distance traveling, there is no reason a fit person couldn't finish a 50-100k bike ride on a commuter. Since you have completed 30k I don't think 50k will pose a major issue. If you step up the distance incrementally you will know where your physical limit is. Enjoy your ride!

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Nice answer, and IMO the best one here! I've edited it a bit for wording and have, I hope, clarified things a bit, but please revert my edit if I've missed the point. –  Neil Fein Jan 5 '12 at 17:47
    
@Neil Thanks for the cleanup edit –  Glenn Jan 5 '12 at 17:55

Your bike will most probably be fine - there's nothing inherently different to riding 50-100k as opposed to 30k, assuming all the components are in good condition (which since you've had it serviced, should be true). Obviously check the brakes, oil the chain, and check the tyres (nothing lodged in them, pumped up to the right pressure) before heading out. Make sure you have adequate puncture repair equipment - spare inner tubes (2 should be ok), pump, levers, and a patch kit just in case. If you're riding 100k for the first time make sure you take enough food & drink or cash to get some!

The only real disadvantage to using commuter bikes for this kind of ride is that they are (generally) heavy and slow when compared with a dedicated road (racing) bike, but unless you're trying to ride in a group at specified speeds this isn't really much of an issue - you just won't cover as many miles.

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The full tire repair kit is probably unnecessary. All one really needs in that regard is a cellphone and money. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 5 '12 at 12:36
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@DanielRHicks until your cellphone is out of battery or you have no reception, and there's no-one about. Besides which it's a bit selfish to rely on others! I would argue that a pump, levers and inner tube(s) should be with you on every ride! –  tdc Jan 5 '12 at 14:46
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@DanielRHicks - A tire repair kit is never unnecessary, unless one is on a supported ride. Even then you can save time by fixing your own tire; the SAG wagon can take some time to get to you. –  Neil Fein Jan 5 '12 at 17:29
    
But for someone who wants to do a longer distance ride, adding the additional requirement of a full tire repair kit (and the knowledge to use it) is more discouraging than useful. So long as there is an "exit strategy" there's no need to saddle a beginning distance rider with this stuff. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 5 '12 at 22:47
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Not sure we'll ever agree on this, but presumably someone who uses a bike regularly for commuting would also benefit from knowing how to fix a puncture. Plus I've been in a position when we've had new riders join our group, and it's pretty annoying when they a) don't know how to change a puncture, and b) have to borrow inner tubes etc from other members of the group. I carry two, but that doesn't mean one for me and one for you!! –  tdc Jan 6 '12 at 11:55

I've done a couple 70 kilometer rides on my hybrid (what you might call a commuter) bike. It's mostly about being in good enough shape and not about the bike. In the rides I was on, people rode all kinds of bikes from carbon road bikes, to mountain bikes, to recumbents, to long tails, to fixies.

Like others have said, make sure you bring enough food and a few simple tools to fix your bike if something should go wrong, also, ensure everything is in good condition before you leave. This is where a commuter bike can actually be an advantage. I wasn't afraid to pack a few extra tools because I had a rack, and put a pannier on there. I had the pleasure of helping out a few less prepared people who thought they could do a 70 K ride without anything but a bike and a water bottle (ride organizers had food/rest stops at a couple spots along the way, so they didn't need to carry food).

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As long as the bike and you are properly prepared for the trip you should be fine.People have been riding for 100km rides long before they made lightweight, multigear,Hi-Tech bikes.The only difference beteen doing it on a commuter is it might take you longer,you might tire more easily,and you might not be as comfortable as you would on a performance road bike.If your bike fits you well and you are comfortable with your fitness level just take your time and enjoy the trip.

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I can recall, a few decades past, some riders who did a week-long, 80-mile-per-day ride on Huffys. And they were self-contained (carrying all their own baggage in panniers). (The Huffy is the prototypical department-store bike in the US, and these bikes were not known for high quality or light weight.) The Huffy riders appeared to survive, probably better than some with fancy bikes.

So long as the bike is comfortable for you (you don't experience significant hand/shoulder/back problems after an hour or so on the bike) and so long as the seat doesn't wear too much on you rear and thighs, you should be fine.

Since it sounds like you'll be riding in a group, you don't need much in the way of emergency supplies -- maybe a spare inner tube, a little extra cash, and, if possible, a cellphone. A few snacks (candy or fruit) is also a good idea. And of course, at least one bottle of water. (In fact, you don't need much more than that if riding solo, so long as you won't be out in some barren wasteland.)

Do make sure your tires are inflated to near their maximum pressure before you start.

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+1 Nice answer, although I disagree with your point about water. Unless you want to be stopping constantly, a backup bottle of water is good to have. (I make sure I drink at least full bottle every 10 miles/16km.) –  Neil Fein Jan 5 '12 at 17:36
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Yeah, but the amount of water you need depends on many circumstances -- how hot it is, how hard you ride, simply how much water you normally drink, et al. I generally drink a bottle about every 20 miles, except when it's hot, and I can easily do a 30 mile ride without water. If the OP has done 30km rides he'll already know what his water needs are. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 5 '12 at 22:52
    
Yeah, that's why I upvoted anyway. –  Neil Fein Jan 6 '12 at 0:10

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