What's The Longest Bike or Walk Commute You'd Consider?

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In preparation for my move to the prairies of Illinois, I scoped out the neighboring towns where I might find a job. The nearest one is 15 miles away from my new home, and I would really love to commute by bike (weather permitting). For all you dedicated bikers/walkers, what's the longest commute you'll consider when looking for a new home?

My partner was a bit concerned when I proposed my bike-commute plan, citing two-lane roads with no shoulder and heavy semi traffic unaccustomed to watching out for cyclists. No need to worry, I assured him — I wouldn't want to do it unless I found a suitable route I felt safe on (and if I could get all the way to town on small, barely-used country roads, that would be about perfect). When I spoke with a friend in Brooklyn, she enthused, "You can totally do it! Just get so many lights and reflectors that you feel like a dork, spring for some rain gear, and you'll be fine!" She bikes 18 miles each way to work, so she's kind of my hero. Could I ever be as tough as she is? We'll see!

The idea of a nice, long bike to work has a lot of appeal to me. I wouldn't have to get a car or even a license, and I wouldn't have to pay for gas or insurance. It would be eco-friendly, and I'd get tons of fresh air and sun (always a plus for someone with a vitamin D deficiency). And while the commute would be time-consuming, I don't think it would be that different from my daily city routine. I usually take the train to work (30 minutes), walk two miles to the gym after work (30 minutes), and then lift weights or do cardio (60+ minutes), for a commute/exercise total of 120 minutes. If I can bike a mile in 5 minutes, my commute with built-in exercise would be 150 minutes. Not bad!

My situation is a bit unique, because my house sort of chose me, but for those of you deciding where to live, what's the farthest you'll live from your job? Does biking or walking that distance enhance your life, or is it a drag — or a little of both?

(Image: Roundup: Apartment Therapy & Bikes)

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