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Regrets, of sorts...

NgalbraiNgalbrai Posts: 279
edited March 2009 in Commuting chat
Was just thinking about how since I started bike commuting about 7 years ago distances actually mean something to me, ie the amount of effort to cycle them, it certianly made London feel smaller!

Was reflecting how I started with a 3.5 mile each way jaunt from Clapham to Vauxhall and it initally seemed hard (god i was unfit) then about 7 between Streatham and Westminster and now, in Sydney, 13 between St Ives and the city.

Was reminiscing about the sh1tty bus journeys and congested car journeys i had before being converted. How long my two bus journeys from Selly Oak in Brum to City hospital used to take, and that it was an easy 5 miles, or my trips from solihull to the business park near the NEC that was only about 8 miles and constantly beset with traffic jams due to NEC events.

In both cases above great shower and bike parking facilities were available, nobody used them though!

I find it hard to believe that it never occured to me back then, or even seemed like a viable option due to "large" distances/traffic.

If only I had known...

Any similar thoughts - what has your progression been?

For me the trigger was the realisation during the summer I moved to london that I couldnt handle a tube commute, hate buses and HAD to have an alternative - what was it for you?


  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757

    My increasing girth and the stupid amount of money I was spending on petrol. That and the stress. I very quickly realised that I was always more relaxed on the bike
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • snakehipssnakehips Posts: 2,272
    The first time I started cycle commuting it was mainly to avoid public transport , with fitness as a beneficial side effect.
    The second time , many years later in different circumstances , was on the advice of a physio. Well , she advised me to cycle to ease a back problem, not necessarily commute , but I remembered the first time and got stuck in.

    No regrets


    Snakehips Bikes
    'Follow Me' the wise man said, but he walked behind!
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    I cycled in to Uni for 2 years when I lived only 2 miles away from it and developed quite a bit of fitness from the sprint, but when a bit over a year later I was living with my parents a mere 9 miles away across hilly Brisbane suburbs, I couldn't do the distance and only tried once before giving up, the bus in a lot of cases was no slower.

    It was only after dislocating my right knee for the second time I started cycling to work, initially 2 miles, then with moving house 5 miles and changing job 6 miles, that I really got hooked.

    The alternative for the 5 mile run was the bike in under 25 minutes to and from work, of the bus (281 route through Twickenham) that could at times take closed to 80minutes as a journey. The 6 mile route would have been a choice between cycling in 25-30 minutes, or taking the train which had at least 20 minutes walking from the station alone. No contest, it was simpler and quicker to bike it and have a reliable trip time.

    My last regular commute was 14 miles each way, I didn't think I would be able to make that distance work, but I built up to it a day a week at a time on top of sunday club runs, doing one day a week, then 2 days, then 3 days, then 4 days with a "rest day" then saying stuff it, the bus is expensive and barely faster than I am (when walking a mile to the stop is factored in). In the end I was doing the 28 mile round trip every day, rain or shine, for 7 months until I was made redundant, averaging around 180 miles a week total. Great training!

    I now have another job lined up to start pending NHS HR bureaucracy, that will be a mere 24 miles or so each way. I'll not unfortunately be able to do it every day as I will have my daughter to get around as well so driving is unfortunately on the agenda (local creche hours don't tie in that well with working hours) but even twice a week, with a 50 mile club run, I should be getting in I hope around 150 miles or so a week of riding.

    I would never have thought I could do that, just goes ot show what you can be capable of when you try.

    (The NHS Trust has a guy who apparently averages on his cycle commute about 154 miles a week, just as well they have a Cycle to Work scheme in place, I'll be needing it too)
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • girv73girv73 Posts: 842
    After been a keen mountain biker and commuter for years, in the mid/late 1990's I stopped riding bikes for a long time, maybe ten years or so. I started work, got married, moved far away from the city ... life got busy and complicated, as it has a habit of doing.

    Then, on a day in early summer 2008, I woke up, realised I was 35 and overweight, and started cycling again, just like that. I started with a couple of miles into the nearby village and back again. In the beginning I had to stop to rest a couple of times per ride, even over that short distance, and the gentle incline back to my apartment was a real leg breaker. I kept at it, every other night over the summer months (rain or not), building up the distances on my rusty old Diamondback mountain bike, until I was doing 15 or 20 miles most rides and pushing out to 30 on occasions.

    I'd changed jobs as well and the company had just moved to a brand new building, complete with showers and bike sheds. I started cycle commuting a couple of days a week, then sometimes three, now regularly three and sometimes four plus long Sunday rides over 40 miles when I get the chance. The original 7 mile downhill route to work has been replaced by a flat 9 miler that I more or less sprint the whole way. I extend my return journey once or twice a week and usually incorporate a hill I knew six months ago as the "Hill Of Legular Death" with no trouble.

    When people hear that I cycle to work, then they hear it's 9 miles, they look at me like I'm a crazy person for cycling "that far". I look back at them like they're crazy for thinking 9 miles is a big distance on a bike, I consider it a warm up!

    My only regret is that lost decade of rides.
    Today is a good day to ride
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    The comment about the distance makes me laugh. It's 8 miles to my mums and I cycle over. When I said I'd cycle as it was a waste of petrol, she offered to pick me up as it's so far! :lol:
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    I used to do 6 miles each way across town - it was about as quick to ride as it was to drive it, but more fun, them swapped jobs and discovered that 20 miles to work is not much bother on a bike. I like the one above about it being 8 miles to his mum's house - my parents are 50 miles away so 2-3 times a year I do that ride, but have stopped telling them when I'm going to do it as it causes such a kerfuffle, with offers to come down and collect me, or to give me a lift to the station maybe... I'm only 46¾, with a family etc. They won't have it that 50 miles / 3½ hours on a bike on a Sunday morning is a good thing.
  • c12345c12345 Posts: 99
    I'd always cycled a bit here and there. during Uni, summer work was 8 miles across canock chase. No shower though. Looking back it was a gift, but it would freak my parents out, especially in the dark, to know that if I came off, no one would find me.

    Skip 10 years and I'm essentially sedintary and working 25 miles away. One day I woke up and said to myself "I'm going to change this" and a week or so later I set off at 6.30 am on an MTB with soggy knobblies and no with no tools or puncture repair kit to do the commute in, train home. Took 1hr40, and was almost the first person in, plus I felt good. decided to cycle home too. Was knackered by the end, but did it at least once a week from then on.

    I'm better dressed now, better prepared, and been through a fine list of equipment failures. One trip in an ambulence. Countless neer misses, but I'm better at anticipation, more patient, fitter, asthma has disappeared, saved a small fourtune (all my bikes have paid for themselves in petrol) and I sleep like a baby.

    Looking back, the canock chase commute was a gift. It had big hills, great runouts, lots of route variations, but I always saw it as a chore. I think it takes traffic jams to realise how lucky I was.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    c12345 wrote:
    Looking back, the canock chase commute was a gift. It had big hills, great runouts, lots of route variations, but I always saw it as a chore. I think it takes traffic jams to realise how lucky I was.

    I've been over Cannock Chase a few times myself, and there's this one hill - that was one of the few times I've topped 50 on a bike. God it was scary!!! :shock:
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • inceince Posts: 289
    I use to ride my motorbike into work for the best part of five years so nothing could compete for speed. Then when the bike went off the road I migrated to my car, now I have done the commut for the best part of the past year on the bike I do think why didn't I start this sooner.

    I commut is 9 miile and flat for the most part and I can do the distance in almost the same time on the bike as in the car. I do feel this change is one of the best things I have done for my own welfare and now with a new toy to play on I can't wait to get more miles under my slowley getting smaller belt. :D
  • Christophe3967Christophe3967 Posts: 1,200
    Commuted from the sticks into London for years. One night at Waterloo Station, I had just missed the last train home and was waiting for the milk train, when I heard a drunken voice behind me. " I know you, you're on the telly" Assuming he was talking to someone else I ignored him. "You're that Dale Winton." I walked away but he followed doggedly, pointing me out to a small crowd of people outside Burger King. It was at that point that I decided to move to London so that I would always have a plan B. Managed 3 months on the tube and then bought a bike. So thanks, Dale. :)
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Fed up with the Northern Line. Then took up triathlon after I came back from travelling and now really only ride my bike. I do sometimes wonder why I bothered driving around in London traffic most Saturdays for a couple of years to play football when I first arrived in London. Ho hum.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
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