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My first commute!!!

lamchoplamchop Posts: 36
edited August 2008 in Commuting chat
Woohooo... I've just completed my first ever 16 mile each way commute on my new bike!!!

I had to get up at 4am, got lost and had to turn around 3 times on the way in, and took a little over 1hour 30mins. I found a slightly shorter route home and didn't get lost, and made it in just under 1hour 30mins!

I'm knackered, my bottom is in pain, can barely feel my legs... but I loved every minute of it.

Roads in north london are really rubbish for riding a bike though.... especially when you spot the pot holes a little too late. And carrying a rucksack for the first time while riding doesn't help either!

Now shall I soldier on for the rest of the week, seeing as the weather is good... or shall give myself a rest tomorrow?!?!

Shall I carry on riding for the rest of the week? 0 votes

Yes soldier on... you can do it...
0% 0 votes
No give your aching legs and bum a rest...
0% 0 votes
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Posts

  • Greg TGreg T Posts: 3,266
    It's a tough one....

    I find that I have to keep myself in the groove - once I am out of the routine I find it hard to get back on it....

    However if you're not used to the bike you may well be shagged and tomorrow will blow you out......

    I'd get the best pair of shorts you can afford (padded not Versace), do every other day this week and get on it large next week..

    Good luck - don't worry about your time for a while just get yourself in and out. Also don't read the game thread.

    GT
    Fixed gear for wet weather / hairy roadie for posing in the sun.

    What would Thora Hurd do?
  • downfaderdownfader Posts: 3,686
    Give your legs a day off! Thats a serious journey for a first-timer! :shock: :lol:

    Well done though! After a while you'll have legs like Thor and be as fit as a fiddle. If you find you get saddle sore there are remedies - I prefer a cold shower to sooth it, and dry it thorougly. Also, learning some basic stretching exercises can be really helpful to ol' legs. Do these for 15-20 minutes before and after, and if you get cramp drink plenty of water.

    Good luck!! :D
  • BeeblebroxBeeblebrox Posts: 145
    Took me a few weeks to feel able to comfortably (well, you know, not falling over on stairs) go everyday. That's from virtually no regular cycling to a 13 mile commute each way.

    Need the rest day 5 weeks in - but on that day I go play touch rugby, so I feel that's a legitimate excuse.
  • chronyxchronyx Posts: 455
    :shock: that's a hell of a commute, was gonna say go for it but treat yourself to a break and work up to it!
    2007 Giant SCR2 - 'BFG'

    Gone but not forgotten!:
    2005 Specialized Hardrock Sport - 'Red Rocket'
  • downfaderdownfader Posts: 3,686
    Hmm just thinking, I would reckon if you did this on a tuesday and thursday, and then went for a shorter ride at the weekend - do that for a couple of weeks and that should ease you in. Ofcourse everybody is different. :D
  • BelvBelv Posts: 866
    Yep, i like the last idea - have today off, ride in thursday, go for a short ride Saturday, then try Mon, Wed, Fri next week.
  • KyrotekKyrotek Posts: 48
    I have recently begun to commute to work and have it easy with 6 miles each way, nearly all up or down hill annoyingly no matter the route. I'm on week 3 and have found that 2 days with a day off, 2 days then a day off with a family ride out on Sundays is helping me. Padded shorts under some baggys for me on a h/tail MTB has made a massive difference to the way I feel after a ride though. Best advice I was given was work up to commuting before you commit to it.
    Don't get too close as a broken tail light often offends...
  • will3will3 Posts: 2,173
    Get yourself a pannier setup- or a bar bag or whatever suits your load to replace the rucksack.
    All the weight in the rucksack is going through your ar$e which is not helping in the pain department.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    also try and leave as much stuff at work as you can! The less you need to carry the better!
  • andrewc3142andrewc3142 Posts: 906
    As above, try to lose the rucksack. I've tried various methods but settled on the Carradice Slim SQR bag. Waterproof, bombproof, enough to fit shirt, lunch, bits of kit and tools, etc and takes A4 docs. I leave suits and shoes at work.

    And, yes, for that distance you can justify investing in some decent clothing, esp padded bib shorts. I like the Gore Xenon range a lot (Wiggle has the shorts on sale at the moment).

    You could also look at upgrading the saddle if the bike came with a fairly basic one (they often do). Opinions vary widely but I like Brooks.

    Keep going. It gets easier. Honest.

    Oh, and a few stretching exercises before setting off reduce the risk of injury and having to take a couple of weeks off, especially those to warm/loosen up the knees.

    My commute is 27 miles each way so it's about the only riding I get to do (small kids, etc) but it's well worth the time and effort (and the slightly earlier start).
  • downfaderdownfader Posts: 3,686
    will3 wrote:
    Get yourself a pannier setup- or a bar bag or whatever suits your load to replace the rucksack.
    All the weight in the rucksack is going through your ar$e which is not helping in the pain department.

    I can second that. A rucksac will also increase the sweating - ok in the winter when you need extra warmth I find.
  • lamchoplamchop Posts: 36
    Thanks for the advice everyone, I decided to give today a rest... Not out of choice though, I got up at 4am to start the day and both my thighs and shoulders were aching... so I went back to bed and work up at 6! :p

    I'm definately gonna be investing in some padded shorts or a more comfortable saddle, but what are gel saddle covers like? Will they fit a road bike?

    I think i'm gonna have to stick with a rucksack coz I'm not sure if my bike will fit panniers, unless someone says otherwise. I got a Spech Allez Sport.

    My next planned commute will be Friday... Coz I need the car tomorrow to take more kit to work. I already leave all my stuff at work, so the only thing I really carry is my lunch.
  • downfaderdownfader Posts: 3,686
    Some of the gel saddles I have seen have a tendency to slip, though I've only seen cheap ones. I tried out my mothers on her bike and really didnt like the feel of it. A soft seat might be another option I suppose. I think some saddles come with gel, dont they?

    If your bike doesnt have rear suspension you should be ok with a pannier rack. Any decent dealer will be able to check your bike over for suitability if need be. You also might be able to get a deal on the bags and rack together, some racks and bags ae designed specifically for each other - like the quick release ones.
  • andrewc3142andrewc3142 Posts: 906
    Padded shorts and a comfortable saddle! Others may differ but I don't rate gel saddles/covers at all. There is the "modern" route, Fizik and the like, or the more traditional, ie Brooks. Personally, having tried both I prefer the latter. The Team Pro is good, the Swallow brilliant. Not as pricey as you might think armed with the power of Google. Some breaking in required, though.

    Do check out the Carradice SQR bags. They fit via a clamp on the seat post so can fit to pretty much any bike. Massively better than a rucksack.
  • BelvBelv Posts: 866
    For that distance i would say padded shorts and a proper saddle - not cheap, not gel, with cut-outs (or at least an anatomical shape). Don't bother with gel saddle covers - they will only help for an extra mile or so and mine slipped around too much anyway. If you haven't been a regular cyclist up to now, then it might take a few weeks for your backside to become 'conditioned' to sitting on a saddle for a long time. Watch out for pain and numbness, but be prepared for a lighlty bruised-type feeling on your sit-bones NOWHERE ELSE. It might take the purchase of a few saddles before you find the one.
  • samivelsamivel Posts: 81
    When I first started riding I rode in, caught the train home. Then the following day I did the reverse. This way your not going from 0 to 32 miles a day. Once your happy with 160 miles a week, up it so your riding both ways 3 days a week, then four until your up to your five.

    Hope that helps
    Samivel

    Black Allez, FCN 5, will always try to say hello.
    Normal commute - Eltham, Greenwich, London Bridge
  • MattHybridMattHybrid Posts: 27
    I've just started doing a 12-13 mile commute to work, raising the bar from my previous 6 mile commute. Padded shorts are a must, boxer shorts are really uncomfortable don't know how anyone can cycle in them! I'm sure you all secretely wear thongs.

    It takes me 50 minutes, so averaging just over 13-14 mph which isn't too bad. Does mean getting up at 4.30am for work, but the cycle ride wakes me up for the day. I've fitted a pannier rack, but following my house move I've just not been able to get organised enough to have anything to carry on them! Just riding a revolution courier race at the minute, would love a proper racing bike tho :)
  • Chapeau!
    All of the above advise.
    32miles, good ride. Good qual shorts are a must, have a look at the Wiggle DHB bib shorts/tights, really good value. Seat covers don't work, they just give you an even bigger wedgie :shock:
    Listen to your body, and don't forget to eat and drink, which if you like your nosh is a real bonus.
    If you see the candle as flame, the meal is already cooked.
    Photography, Google Earth, Route 30
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    MattHybrid wrote:
    I've just started doing a 12-13 mile commute to work, raising the bar from my previous 6 mile commute. Padded shorts are a must, boxer shorts are really uncomfortable don't know how anyone can cycle in them! I'm sure you all secretely wear thongs.

    You know you're not supposed to wear anything under padded shorts, right? Seriously? You'll get terrible chafing.
  • lamchoplamchop Posts: 36
    Why dont people tell you these things before you cycle!?!? I didn't know you should ride in boxers... I've just found out the hard way.

    I just completed my second commute to and from work today. This time I didn't get lost and the journey was a little quicker. However I didn't enjoy it as much as I was in pain.... not just the "sit bones".

    There was something stinging on my left inside leg, and when I took a closer look the skin on my inside leg just next to my.... errr "sack" had been rubbed SO much the skin had come off. Before my ride home I could only plaster up and bear the pain for 16 miles!!!

    Think I'll be investing in some padded shorts this weekend, and hopefully I heal up for next week so I can continue my rides! Right now I can bearly walk properly let along cycle!!!
  • biggsteviebiggstevie Posts: 112
    I only take the rucksack twice a weeek monday & friday then leave my shirts in the locker for the week downside is the other half moans when i bring 5 shirts & 3 pairs of trousers home. What is the best sort of bag to carry all my stuff in ?
  • karl jkarl j Posts: 517
    some really good stuff in this thread.

    My votes'd be for having at least one days rest a week. As well as fiiting a Brooks (worn in, B17) saddle, Carradice saddlebag and padded shorts
    Morning route (when i don't get the train)

    Evening route ,
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    I got into my 14 mile each way ride to work last year by balancing my Sunday club ride with a wednesday ride, then changing that to Tues + Thurs, then doing it Tues-Wed-Thurs, and then after a Sunday ride felt a bit short I decided I may as well balance that out by riding in on Monday as well, and finally did every day the weather was less than lethal (I ride next to a 100kph traffic stream on an open highway)

    It of course helps if the alternative in my case a bus trip takes as long as cycling in and is as expensive, and in the case of Bus Eireann my bike has a more comfortable seat, and as a bonus I can leave home to go to work, and vice versa whenever I want, rather than having to stick to an (unreliable) bus timetable.

    I would suggest as winter approaches invest in some good quality waterproof gear. I use Pearl Izumi Amfib tights and a Amfib jacket, and of course well rated shoe covers. It is expensive to buy but its worth it if you can afford it. I've ridden home into a blustery gale on the open highway, being hit with rain and sleet and with the temperature at around 3C, and while it wasn't anywhere near enjoyable it was bearable if slightly cold. If I had to stop for 10 minutes to change a flat I probably wouldn't have got hypothermia either, which should be a consideration in winter if you have no support backup like a work colleague who can pick you up or a taxi and the option is to walk the last 10 miles home.
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    biggstevie wrote:
    What is the best sort of bag to carry all my stuff in ?

    I went for a Vaude rucksack last year, the 15L version which is big enough to carry enough but not so big I'm tempted to overfill it. Bright yellow with reflective strips for night cycling.

    I used to Carridice panniers when I was in London.
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • lurpaklurpak Posts: 78
    Hi all,

    I have started commuting to work properly now...although mine is not as impressive as 16 miles each way at only 12 miles round trip. Have started to cycle it everyday and found it so much easier since changing my commute bike from a Spesh hardrock Pro to a Trek 7.2Fx.

    Having committed to cycling the distance everyday i am thinking about using panniers instead of the Camelbak i use at moment. I like using the camelbak as it has the versatility of a bladder with being able to carry all my stuff, however it does get heavy when full.. what do people reckon? I could always use a waterbottle instead of bladder or have a smaller Camelbak Classic instead of the larger cross 20 that i use at mo. Which racks/bags do people recommend? (not too expensive tho please)

    Also, with commuting every morning i leave hom at 630 so son't have breakfast before i leave but when i get into the office. What do others do in similar position? Whats the usual breakfasts? I currently have some cereal and fruit.
  • downfaderdownfader Posts: 3,686
    I personally dont eat much at breakfast. For some reason I dont get too hungry until later. I have read of others just eating something like a banana or two to hold them off until the can eat at work. Maybe that would work for you?
  • lamchoplamchop Posts: 36
    I seemed to be plagues with bad luck...

    I got my padded shorts which are fantastic, still come off a bit sore but not as bad as before... but at least there is no chaffing!!!

    Anyway I had a really good start to my commute... but when I got to the top of my third long hill, on the way down I think I hit a horrible pot hole and heard a "Pop, pop" followed by hissing.

    However I was really surprised and extremely grateful when two cyclists stopped to give me a hand at 5:30 in the morning!
  • andrewc3142andrewc3142 Posts: 906
    As well as fiiting a Brooks (worn in, B17) saddle, Carradice saddlebag and padded shorts

    Of the various Brooks saddles I have on various bikes, the Swallow on my road bike is the best (albeit the most expensive). The Carradice saddlebags are good but perhaps the Slim with the SQR mount is worth a look at. For me is the ideal size/shape for commuting and has the added advantage of also acting as a rear mudguard, without having to fit mudguards.
  • andrewc3142andrewc3142 Posts: 906
    I didn't know you should ride in boxers... I've just found out the hard way.

    I suppose changing out of them on the side of the road was not a good idea :shock:
  • Greg TGreg T Posts: 3,266
    lamchop wrote:
    I got my padded shorts which are fantastic, still come off a bit sore but not as bad as before... but at least there is no chaffing!!!

    The full solution is to get some Chamois Creme....

    It's lube for your bits.

    It's OK it's not kept out back or anything - Just ask for some in the bike shop and they won't even give you a knowing glance.

    A 50p sized blob applied liberally to the "hot spots" will make a significant difference.

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    And you get to rub your nut sac with lube too. Win win.
    Fixed gear for wet weather / hairy roadie for posing in the sun.

    What would Thora Hurd do?
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