Commuting to your strongest cyclocross season. by Dave Fayram on flickr

Commuting to your strongest cyclocross season. By Dave Fayram on flickr

With much of the country celebrating Bike to Work Month, Week or Day (today in the Bay Area), and (some of) the country finally getting spring-like weather, it’s a great time  to think about building your base for cyclocross season.  We’ve got you covered with great off-season training tips in Cyclocross Magazine Issue 12 (mailing now), plus great online archived content focused on cyclocross off-season plans, pre-season training advice and even nighttime training tricks.

But the biggest barrier (no pun intended) we always hear from everyone, newbies to pros alike, is finding enough time for cyclocross training and riding in general.  And the most under-appreciated way to find more time to ride? Commuting! Aka: bike to work.

Bike commuting can be fun. by Neotint on flickr

Bike commuting can be fun, especially with friends. By Neotint on flickr

Two miles or twenty, it’s perhaps the closest thing to a free lunch. Normally drive 30 minutes each way and then try to squeeze in a 90-minute ride after work?  Skip the drive, ride an hour to and from each work each way, and suddenly you’ve found yourself a free half-hour in the day.

Practice your starts at traffic lights. Run up a random staircase.  Add in some intervals between landmarks and town lines. Find hidden paths and random dirt roads. Suddenly going to work will be a lot more exciting.

If you have an interest, but don’t know where to start, try finding your local bicycle coalition or see the League of American Bicyclists’ commuter resource page.  Explore Google Maps’ bike routes. Or give it a try on the weekend if you’re not sure how it will work out.

You can have a lot of fun with it – map or find fun routes on Strava or MapMyRide, or even compete against friends and other cyclists.

And then this fall, with the additional miles and training, when you stand atop the podium for the first time of the season, you can thank your commute.