Yesterday I had a rare opportunity for a real life bike commute on a train. I live close to my usual workplace (5mi in the car, 10 on the bike). I do occasionally ride to work, but only when I am not working a 24hr shift (go ahead call me a whimp). But yesterday my department had an off-campus meeting that was 35 mi (on the bike) away. I took the commuter train up there (rode 12 mi) and then rode all the way home. It was a perfect experience for mapping out a route (I did get slightly lost and added about 2 miles), figuring out the train schedule, and actually riding my commute.
This probably sounds minor and unmentionable to those commuters who live like this all the time, but it was a great learning experience for me. These are acquired skills. Learning how to be efficient and proficient at them takes practice, especially with a loaded bike. Now I have more confidence and will be planning an over-night excursion. For me I find taking these baby steps is a good way to learn, practice, ride and not use any vacation time!
Here are some pics from the trip: