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Hi all, advice for a new London Commuter?

iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
edited November 2009 in Commuting chat
Hey everyone,

First post on here, bored of lurking!

Started doing a 36mile round trip from West London (Staines) into London Victoria 4 weeks ago & have really caught the roadie bug, as hard as it can be at 7am :shock:

All is well so far but still learning, just after some pointers!

Like, is there a correct way to deal with solid traffic on 2-3 lane roads? Cruise down the inside of the cars on the right lane? Do as everyone else and go for any gap or there is no correct way, free for all?

Is slipstreaming bigger vehicles a good way of maintaining an easy 30mph, cheating, a sure fire way to injury or all of the above?

Look forward to adding to the SCR thread sometime...


edit: sorry itboffin, changed the title :P

Posts

  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,049
    Damn I was hoping for a different kind of education never mind as you were :roll:

    Edit: either you changed the thread title or I seriously need to lay off the lunch time drinking :shock:
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  • regarding slipstreaming, if the bus/lorry etc stops your unless lucky going to do a starfish impression on the back window.....

    with filtering the problem is your travelling though at lot of vehicles blind spots, so while the bikes advantage is you can filter you do need to tempter the speed so if someone does try to turn etc you don't end up being broadsided etc.

    my advice for multly lane roads is to take the lanes and to filter safely if that means missing the odd set of lights etc so be it.

    out of intrest what route do you take? A4? have your tried the A315/london road it's fairly quick on bike I found.
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Pete - welcome! That's a healthy distance to commute.

    Opinion's divided on which is the best way to filter through traffic.

    As for drafting, some do, some don't. I don't - see Greg T's post in the SCR thread, for example.
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  • mtb-idlemtb-idle Posts: 2,179
    definitely don't draft motor vehicles and only draft competent looking cyclists.

    I filter but always take care like looking out for gaps in the traffic. Why are they there? Cos someone is probably crossing the line of traffic either on foot or in another vehicle.

    Stay alert and make sure you are seen.

    Don't ride in the gutter, you have nowhere to go in case of emergency.

    Use the motorcyclists 'lifesaver' i.e. a final quick look over your right shoulder before executing any and every manouevre to make sure nothing's going to take you out.

    Probably loads more but anticipating trouble is the best. I see lots of potential accidents on my commute of the same distance as you and often other riders sail straight into the situation whilst I am slowing down/avoiding it. I think but SURELY you saw that coming.

    Oh well, must be my advanced years and experience coming out victorious over the naivety of youth :lol::wink:
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  • Firstly, kudos for starting as the nights draw in!

    For the filtering, be very wary of large vehicles, their visibility is pretty awful and they can barely see things like cyclists that are very close to them. As MTB-idle says, stay out of the gutter, and be wary of gaps that open up in traffic. Always, always shoulder check before making any sideways manoeuvre.

    Other than that, go wherever there is the most room - there's no right or wrong way.

    As for drafting, I wouldn't recommend it with any cyclist. You only have to search 'drafting' on the forum to see how much it annoys some people.

    As for larger vehicles, it's a good way to get up to speed, but be very, very careful. No driver expects a cyclist to be able to stay with them, so they will not think you're there. And it's really embarrassing to rear-end a vehicle on a bike. And potentially painful for you and the bike!
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Thanks for all the advice guys, much appreciated!
    Firstly, kudos for starting as the nights draw in!

    Picked a good time didn't I? Think it's the wet thats going to give me the biggest issues, rotating running shoes at the mo!
    out of intrest what route do you take? A4? have your tried the A315/london road it's fairly quick on bike I found.

    Currently start on the a30 past heathrow then join the A4 and use the cycles lanes after Hatton Cross/Bp garage round about (which I hate but avoids road rage) until Syon lane/Shell garage, then stay on the A4 over the Hammersmith fly-over into London till I hit the river, if that makes sense!

    Have experimented with the A315; cycle lanes are integreated into the road which is good, keep getting lost though, will try it again tonight thanks..
  • GussioGussio Posts: 2,452
    iPete wrote:
    Currently start on the a30 past heathrow then join the A4 and use the cycles lanes after Hatton Cross/Bp garage round about (which I hate but avoids road rage) until Syon lane/Shell garage, then stay on the A4 over the Hammersmith fly-over into London till I hit the river, if that makes sense!

    Have experimented with the A315; cycle lanes are integreated into the road which is good, keep getting lost though, will try it again tonight thanks..

    Wow - that is a busy route that you take. Sanity, enjoyment and life expectancy might be increased by cutting down through Hounslow (A3006), Isleworth, Richmond, Putney then along the King's Road to Victoria?
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    I regularly slipstream vehicles but always at a reasonable distance and focused on the brake lights ready to stop. Not the best idea behind buses unless you know where the stops are.
  • iPete wrote:
    Currently start on the a30 past heathrow then join the A4 and use the cycles lanes after Hatton Cross/Bp garage round about (which I hate but avoids road rage) until Syon lane/Shell garage, then stay on the A4 over the Hammersmith fly-over into London till I hit the river, if that makes sense!

    Have experimented with the A315; cycle lanes are integreated into the road which is good, keep getting lost though, will try it again tonight thanks..

    I do your route upto Kew but the reverse direction to you so know it well.

    Personally I find the A315 the quickest route rather than the cycle lanes of the A4 as you are stop, start too much on the cycle lanes and the route is around 0.5 mile shorter.

    I take the cycle lanes of the A30/A4 when it is dark though as less cars pull out on you compared to the A315. From a safety point of view I use A4 cycle lanes against the traffic flow and then you have all your problems in front of you(if that makes sense, i.e. right hand cycle lane heading into London, etc).

    Another tip for the A315 route is to cut through the Hounslow town center pedestian zone before 9am and after 6pm to avoid a lot of stop/start lights and probably the worst of the traffic. It keeps you moving and saves a bit of time.

    From Kew you can easily get onto the A4 via the Chiswick Roundabout.

    And there is lots of potential SCR heading in your direction which I find mightly frustrating heading the other way!
  • Or head north through Hounslow / Brentford then the Chiswick High Road to Hammersmith. You're a brave man if you cycle over the hammersmith flyover, i am not even sure if that is allowed.
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  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,948
    36 miles? Respect 8)

    Eyes and ears open, make sure you're SEEN - eye contact, clear gestures, etc.

    Don't cower in the gutter and make sure your brakes are always tip top!

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • GussioGussio Posts: 2,452
    My brakes were hopeless in this morning's drizzle :?

    Note to self - wipe Autumnal grime off rims ASAP.
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Fantastic guys, lots of great information, just what I was after!

    As my commuting partner is out of action, going to have a go at all the different routes suggested.

    Going to have another go at working out the A315 tonight. Heading from Victoria across the river towards richmond sounds ok but think I'll have issues navigating the A316 on a bike, bigger fly overs etc.?


    Here is my current route.. Am I mentalist?

    route1.jpg

    You're a brave man if you cycle over the hammersmith flyover, i am not even sure if that is allowed.

    It feels safe up there, it has essentially an unofficial cycle lane down each side but of course no escape route beyond that. However if its illegal to use then I'll reconsider using it, can't find any solid information with a google but won't be suprised if its discouraged.


  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,426
    SecretSam wrote:
    36 miles? Respect 8)

    No one gives me any respect grumble grumble :cry:
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  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    prawny wrote:
    SecretSam wrote:
    36 miles? Respect 8)

    No one gives me any respect grumble grumble :cry:

    *Gives Prawny respect*


    So yeah, big thanks guys for the suggestions, tried the A315 route properly, heavy wind ruined my home trip but my commute this morning was marginally shorter, about the same time and felt much much safer, nice to have a decent cycle lane on the road.

    Lack of any SCR action though, scalping people of the same standard doesn't count, need to find some smooth legged racers!

    Oh and do I still get respect now that I've stripped my commute down to 33 miles? :)


    Again big thanks...
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