How to deal with load coming from commutes?

The past two years I have decided to completely ignore my commutes. Maybe that was OK back then as I was at 3 start fitness and probably they did not make a difference. However, now I am pretty untrained and I am unsure how they are affecting my fatigue and training load.

I recently rode my usual commuting journeys with the power meter and got some interesting data. My commute consists from 2 to 6 legs of 12-15 minutes each spread over 8-9 hours. Each leg is around 8 XSS/70 Kjoules so my average day will have 24 XSS and 210 Kjoules. I have some questions:

Given that all the past data I loaded to xert are skipping commutes and only include training rides, club rides, races etc.

  • Shall I start counting the commute rides? I can use the same ride fit file and change daily the timestamp. Or shall I ignore them?
  • Is the load accumulated by e.g. 4x15 minute sessions with 2-3 hours rest in between the same as the 4 session were done as a single 60 minute one?

I would be very keen to have the planner reflecting my actual fatigue and use it as a guide instead of burning myself out because I am not counting commuting. On the other had, I don’t want to record junk rides on a commuting bike, if they don’t matter.

Any help would be appreciated.


My two cents: if you would like to count them, use real power data for every activity, not ‘reuse’ one to fill your TL.

I would think that one 60 minute session, compared to four 15 minute sessions with hours between them, will result in different strain and fatigue numbers, but the difference may be neglect-able, depending on intensity.

And depending on the required training load from ‘normal’ planned/recommended workouts, the accumulated XSS may or may not be important. Although I think that 16 to 48 (2 to 6 legs) would probably matter in most scenarios.

And again, it (also) depends on the intensity of your commute - are you freewheeling, having lots of rest due to traffic, or are you putting out a continuous effort?

I personally recorded the commute with my power meter. Then I made the activities a favorite. So when I commute without my power meter I only have to drag and drop the favorite activity into the calendar. For me this works reasonably well as when I ride without the power meter is an easy ride back home so I know the XSS is quite close to reality.


By far the best solution is to put a power meter on the commute bikes. That’s what I did, but my commutes are 2x40 min daily, with a daily XSS between 80 and 140… So that’s three quarters of my weekly “training”.
What is interesting is that my XSS changes considerably between commutes made with the same duration and comparable conditions and perceived exertion.

A left only power meter for shimano cranks costs 270€ (4iiii). Less costly: Xert is supposed to start to estimate XSS from heartrate data. I have no idea whatsoever of the accuracy because I don’t ride with a heart rate monitor but it will very probably be better than just eyeballing the XSS.

The dream situation would be to have power meters on the shoes but many tried and nobody could make them work.

Or pedals - I swap these within 1 minute from bike to bike. They will probably not fit on any bike and require shoes with cleats, but it would beat crank based power meter.

The pedal-swapping idea sounds good but is bad. Even with the new generation of pedal-based power meters (P2, assioma, vector 3), you can throw out any result in the first half hour of riding. You HAVE to do several sprints AND a few minutes of climbing at low cadence/high torque for the pedal’s axles to settle, and then need some “normal” riding for the pedals to find their orientation, and then another zero-offset. Before that I have seen results that are at least 50% off. I borrowed a colleague’s Assioma and a friend’s Vector to compare against my power2max and it was very clear that that this is a real problem that can only be found with a crank or hub-based power meter.

(old generation pedals that need a precise alignment of the pedal’s axle with the crankset like the Bepro and the exakt are a terrible ordeal to swap between crankset. I need around 4 hours with my Bepro, so I do it less than once a year. Favero improved with the assioma)

Changing a crankset is actually faster with the FSA based ones (power2max, powerbox) with their auto-extracting 8mm screw and no need for settling.

In practice swapping daily or weekly the pedals or the crankset just does not happen. Especially for commuting when the bike is chosen at 7 in the morning according to the weather and we don’t have a minute to loose.

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To each their own - not doubting your belief or science, but I simply have never experienced any problem you described. I only compare power reported to what my Neo reports and never have I seen or noticed that much of an offset, if any.

I have a dedicated bike on the Neo, one TT bike and one CX bike, swap P1 and Assioma pedals between all of them, and I have a left only Stages crank, which is permanently on the Neo bike. The Stages is the least precise, but I also have a L/R imbalance of 47/53 on average…

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Thank you all for your suggestions, that triggered a few thoughts.

My commute is on a utility bicycle (panniers, child seats, etc) that I never think twice where to lock it. It has to be and look cheap, so no chance of putting a power meter on that, even temporarily. That means that I have to decide between, no data, manual guestimates or similar ride approximations. I will probably go with the similar rides, especially since it looks easy. Each commute feels really identical or at least I perceive the effort as identical. No traffic lights, traffic or unexpected factors usually. I will let xert try to figure it out for a while and, if I get some good conclusions, I will post them.

I like very much the idea of dragging representative commute journeys from my favourites. Thank you Carlos for your suggestion, it makes my task very easy!

For the record, pedal swapping can be a pain, at least with the vectors 1 & 2, not sure with more modern pedals. I have gone through a phase that I would swap my garmin vectors 1st gen twice a week. Later, I figured out that it was easier to swap (believe it or not) the whole crank set :stuck_out_tongue: No need to worry about torque and pedal angles that vectors are sensitive to. Now I have two power meters and I only do it once in a while that I travel or time trialilng. It took a while to understand the vectors well and optimise the swapping routine.

Thank you all guys!


Thanks, that look so easy that I am obliged to try it!

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If you record the rides on a GPS you can use Golden Cheetah to make an estimate of power. It’s reasonably accurate for “just riding”. If your commute has a lot of hills, up or down, or you’re drafting, it’s much less accurate. You can modify the estimated power in GC as well. That said I found it to be a pain to use and just got a power meter…

There is also the PowerPod power meter that uses accelerometers and costs $200. You could easily remove that from the bike.

Interesting but I must admit I have not heard this criticism or requirement for bedding in pedals on each ride before.
You capitalise the word HAVE. Can you indicate where this is mentioned on other sites please. I doubt many people do that type of calibration. I use P2s personally

I think 1 minute to transfer them is optimistic but it does not take long.

The only time I’ve seen this advice is on GPLama’s Youtube channel and even then I’m pretty sure it’s not coming from the manufacturers.

Personally I swap my Assiomas between bikes on a semi-regular basis, quite often recording vs the smart trainer and I’ve never seen a discrepancy worth worrying about - certainly nothing like 50%. Yes, there is a period during which the pedal doesn’t record power correctly right at the start of a ride as it is calculating/confirming the spindle’s orientation relative to the crank but that length of time is trivially small, unless you’re doing a 20 second ride.


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I usually wake my pedals - P1’s and Assioma’s - a few minutes before I start. Although not mandatory, specifically not so for the Assioma’s, I (occasionally) do a calibration / zero offset. My Assioma’s report about 5 Watts low compared to my Neo, the P1’s are normally within + or - 2 Watts.

This is on average, I do not / never investigate spikes, unless they are of a magnitude of > 1500 Watts, which basically is never. I have used the scaling factor for my Assioma’s, so they report the same average values as my Neo.

So far, I have never noticed any problem in either set of pedals regarding odd values at the start of a ride. Then again, I do not have my eyes on the head unit the whole time, so I could easily have missed something. At any rate, it is negligible.

And swapping both in under a minute may indeed be a bit optimistic, but I can assure you that it takes less time than changing Vector pedals. Maybe 45 seconds each, so 1:30 :wink:

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I can confirm that Vector 2s need consistently 10 minutes to get swapped. Add to this that they need you to pedal steadily to 95 rpm for the angles to get calculated before reporting any power. At 40nm, they definitely not need further tightening.

But once this is done they have been rock solid in for the past 4 years I have them. I only get spikes indoors, never outdoors which leads me to believe it may be a connectivity issue related with the laptop. They are usually one or two data points in total and easy to spot on the power-duration curve and remove with fitfiletools or GC.

The stages used to be another story before the replaced it for free with a newer model. With a bit of water, it would start reporting 5-10% more power. Funnily, once you are used to ride with a power meter, a 5% error upwards is extremely easy to spot. First thought is “I am flying today, when did I gained so much” and then the realisation that 5% gain cannot be done overnight :slight_smile:

You could put a cadence sensor on it and wear a heart rate strap (or use a watch like I do) then go into your profile and enable the use derived power (or something similar worded option), from this Xert will give you an XSS score for your commutes. Saves having to have expensive kit on a commute bike. I’ve been using a garmin cadence sensor with either a heart rate strap with an Edge 800 for recording, or more recently the cadence sensor with a garmin 735xt watch which does heart rate. Works a charm and whilst obviously not as accurate as a power meter it does give you an idea how your cycling commuting is affecting you.