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Commuting questions.

aldricaldric Posts: 161
edited June 2010 in Commuting chat
I was thinking of possibly buying a bike to cycle the 22 mile round trip to my work as this would enable me to get rid of a car. I would be riding on the road the majority of the time with some paths being used on occasion.

I would need to ride to work 3 days a week and get there for 745am to give me time for a shower etc and return at 6pm.

I have a few questions which I hope you might be able to help me with.

1. I am completely new to bikes, is it easy to maintain a bike? Should I buy a book or are there some on-line guides which could help?
2. Other than a bike and helmet what kit is a must have for commuting?
3. I live in Scotland and it can get a bit cold in the winter. I take it I would really struggle in icy conditions? Is it possible to commute 365 days a year?
4. Cycling in the dark for a significant part of the year doesn't sounds great. Do lights on bikes these days give good visibility on dark roads?
5. I believe my employer does the cycle to work scheme and due to this I think I will be limited to shops like Halfords. I think a hybrid bike would suit me better as I don't like the riding style of a road bike. How much should I be spending to get a half decent bike?
6. The route I would take would be fairly flat with only a couple of small hills. What sort of time should it take me to ride the 11 miles?

I would appreciate any response :)
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  • CafewandaCafewanda Posts: 2,788
    Hi Aldric and welcome.

    You'll get other responses eventually, but I'll start:

    1 http://bicycletutor.com, Sheldon Brown, Youtube, this site are all useful. If you find/have a friendly lbs also. Bases covered.

    2. Clothing! Be a bit chilly without them and people around you might be amused/offended :wink: *

    3. Calling Soy Sauce and UE to the thread!!

    4. There are a wide variety of suitable lights that I know nothing about so the others will help or you can trawl through this site.

    5. More experienced will respond.

    6. As above.

    * Depending on your budget, Decathlon, Aldi/Lidl , Wiggle, outdoor shops are good places to look at.
  • soy_saucesoy_sauce Posts: 987
    welcome. :)

    1.
    I was in the same position as you a couple of year ago, all the basic maintaince information can be found in the forums as well as online guide too.

    http://www.parktool.com

    2.
    lights, Hi-viz and locks are the must to start with. the rest can get later when you need it.


    3.
    i live in Scotland too. apart from when its snowing and icy, i commute everyday (only 3 miles each way). a good baselayer and waterproof/windproof gears are all you need to handle the cold and wet weather. :)

    4.
    it will depend on what lights you are getting. price range from £10 a set to £400+ so it will all depended on what you need and what you can afford.

    5.
    again, this will up to you. i would say around £450 is a good starting point.
    "It is not impossible, its just improbable"

    Specialized Rockhopper Pro Disc 08
  • 1) Bikes are pretty easy to maintain, if you're technically minded. There are many books on the subject. I have one called, "Road Bike Maintenance", by Guy Andrews, I'd recommend it.
    2) You'll probably need a bag and some lights for later in the year. Other things will be needed as and when you work out you need them.
    3) Even in Scotland the weather's not often really awful. I rode most days last winter, on skinny road tyres. I even scalped a snow-plough one morning. I wouldn't say you'll do every day, but you can do most.
    4) There are good lights and bad lights. Cheap ones are good enough for other road users to see you, but if you're on unlit roads, you'll need to spend a bit more. There's a website called DealExtreme.com which does muckle bright torches quite cheap. I used these last winter and found them excellent.
    5) A lot of hybrids are just road bikes with funny handlebars. Drop-bars allow you to alter your position as you ride and give you more options. I love my road bike. Try both types, in a headwind, you'll wish you had drop-bars. Decent bikes can be found for many prices.
    6) How fit are you? I do 12.5 miles in an average of about 38 minutes. When I first started, on my clunker of a MTB, it was nearer an hour.
  • itsbruceitsbruce Posts: 221
    aldric wrote:
    5. I believe my employer does the cycle to work scheme and due to this I think I will be limited to shops like Halfords. I think a hybrid bike would suit me better as I don't like the riding style of a road bike. How much should I be spending to get a half decent bike?

    I think the £400 to £500 range is appropriate. You shouldn't spend any less, given how much time you will be spending on the bike. You don't need to spend any more to get a perfectly good bike; anybody who spends more than that on a bike should have a clear idea of what they are getting for the money and also be sure they will enjoy riding the bike. Or be too rich to care about the potential waste of money ;) (Yes, my bike did cost more than £500 and no, I'm not too rich to care).

    As to hybrid versus road bike, the choice depends on the nature of your commute and your riding style. You've said it's flat, but is it all paved road? Is it all urban roads, all rural or a mix?
    6. The route I would take would be fairly flat with only a couple of small hills. What sort of time should it take me to ride the 11 miles?

    Again, easier to answer if you can give more information about your route.
    I would appreciate any response :)[/quote]
  • laughingboylaughingboy Posts: 248
    A few opinions:

    1/Basic bike maintenance is easy, with loads of YouTube videos to help out. Being able to do it yourself brings great savings over bike shop servicing. You could buy a book like the ones by Zinn, and this may be a good idea, if you want to understand your bike BEFORE things start wearing out/ going wrong.

    2/You've listed the only must-have - the bike. The rest are all personal preference, according to circumstances. Glasses to keep the flies out of the eyes. A decent lock, decent waterproofs, waterproof panniers, wicking underlayers (merino wool is a fantastic material), bike lights, thick socks, gloves and boots for winter have all made their way into my kit, as well as

    3/ It is possible to cycle all-year round. However, ice is the real enemy. Black ice in the dark is no fun at all. Solutions? Wide, soft tyres, cycle slowly, or even buy studded tyres.

    Also, in the wet, and especially once they start gritting the roads, bikes take a hell of a beating over winter. Chains get knackered, sprockets wear, etc. For this reason many people have 'winter bikes'. Cheap bikes that they don't mind getting abused. Others swear by the simplicity of single speed bikes. Still others say that a hub gear makes sense in a utility bike, offering a maintenance-free bombproof performance in exchange for a heavier bike. It comes down to personal preference.

    4/ Lights are now marvellous. LEDs are the greatest improvement in cycling that I can remember. Lights like the B&M Ixon range are easily good enough for unlit country lanes. I use a Fenix torch, for what it's worth.

    5/ You can get Halfords to place special orders for bikes apparently. Not all hybrids are merely BSOs (bike-shaped objects). If you are cycling on the road, however, I'd advise you to consider road bikes, for speed. On a windy day, drop handlebars can make all the difference. Cyclo-cross bikes, and touring/audax bikes can make more comfortable rides than some road bikes, and usually come with tougher wheels (more spokes, to over-generalise) and the crucial ability to fit mudguards and racks. Britain is rainy, after all.

    At a certain point, your money pays for lighter rather than more durable components. I'd suggest that - using Shimano as a guide - Sora or more certainly Tiagra components are good enough for daily, heavy use, and that you might regret spending less.

    6/ 11 miles? It all depends on the junctions, traffic lights and other impediments. But, if it's clear, most relatively fit people would manage that in 50 minutes. A fast commuter would do it in 40 minutes. A Club cyclist might get closer to 30 minutes.

    Good luck. I love my cycle to work and wouldn't give it up for the world. I'm sure that in time, you will feel the same.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I'll add to what is worth adding to.

    I've ridden in the Highlands in every type of weather except 6" snow which, for 15 miles, is just too tough. I did have to get studded tyres for the icy months but did 400 miles on them without issue and they are superb - especially when you find yourself on 20 metres of sheet ice travelling downhill.

    Merino wool is a godsend for winter commutes - keeps you warm and doesn't smell. A Buff for keeping your ears warm is welcome when it's -9C - though, at that temp, moisture can freeze your gears and brakes - especially with added windchill of a moving bike (ask me how I know). Some glasses are good too else you end up with streaming eyes.

    I bought a 220 lumens light but, even in the country lanes, I didn't find it that essential to have that much power.

    Tyres - get something with some serious puncture protection - getting a flat, especially in really cold or wet weather, is really miserable.

    Finally - buy cheap, buy twice - don't skimp on the quality of what you buy. Read the reviews (Wiggle is great for that) before you buy.

    You'll love it - I do.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • aldricaldric Posts: 161
    Thanks very much for your very quick responses. That's pretty much the basic questions all covered. :)

    In terms of the 'terrain' it will be A roads, with the possible exception of a couple of paths which I might use initially as there is a dangerous roundabout and fast moving road that I am a bit concerned about (this road is the main hill on the route and is a gradual slope which is a slight concern as it is 1 to 2 miles long). The paths are hard surface, I am not 100% if it is tarmac, I will have to find out.

    I have been told of an alternative route which I will have to check out. Apparently it is a paved path through a forrested area which would avoid the main road and the hill I am concerned about.

    I don't really have any traffic lights or any other issues and the traffic will always be free flowing.

    I guess I thought that the road bikes would not be durable enough and I am concerned about the narrower tyres and the drop handle bars as I remember trying a 'racer' when I was a child and I hated the riding postion.

    I would really like to get some tyres with puncture protection as changing a tyre would be a nightmare. Ideally the bike would come with these tyres already fitted as I would just be wasting money buying new ones.

    I hadn't thought about getting 2 bikes due to the bikes getting worn out over the winter. I do have a mountain bike which I guess I could change the tyres to a narrower type which would speed things up a bit as I couldn't justify getting 2 bikes?
  • Paul EPaul E Posts: 2,052
    Having bought my first road bike late last year I wouldnt go back to a flat bar on the road, only on my mtb which I will refuse to use on the road now, it's so much more comfortable to vary your hand positions during the ride, if you are worriesd about it being strong when off the road on paths, go for a cyclo cross bike (cx bike) slightly beefier frames and more space for wider tyres etc.
    bartman100 wrote:
    The OP is a troll = moron
    The OP actually believes this = moron
  • itsbruceitsbruce Posts: 221
    Cyclocross would be a great suggestion if it weren't for your aversion to drops. But if you haven't tried drops since you were a kid, maybe you should check them out again - you may find you've changed ;)

    Otherwise, as long as those paths aren't gravel/dirt trails, then you should be fine with a hybrid; something like one of the cheaper Specialised Sirrus models would suit, I think.
  • Wallace1492Wallace1492 Posts: 3,707
    Hi, and welcome to an obsession!!

    I started off commuting on a MTB with slick tyres, and was doing it 3 or 4 days a week. Last year I got a Tricross - a CX bike with drops, and have never looked back. My commute is 7.5 each way in North Glasgow, and a CX bike can handle light off road and canal paths with no problem, I have also done the Etape Caledonia on it and am just back from Mallaig on a lovely wee tour on the same bike.

    Drops give you more riding option for hand positions and are great, especially the large bars I have, totally different from racers of years ago.

    I now commute everyday and sometimes wish i lived further away from work! But do take quite a few diversions home, just to get up the miles... (see SCR Stats)
    Riding all year round in Scotland is fine, just need to keep bike clean and well oiled, but it does get dirty and gritty quickly. Be prepared to replace chain and cassette maybe twice a year. As for tyres, I have Marathon Plus and have done over 2,000 miles without a punc*ure. If you get one, so what, its quite simple to change, even at 7am on a cold, wet, Maryhill Road!!
    For the 11 mile trip, look to start in under an hour, in a month or two you will have that down to 50 minutes, then lower... For winter, keep hands and feet warm, the rest will take care of itself. Hills are your friend, and will improve your fitness and stamina.. in a month or so you will be actively seeking out more... Next year you will have a full road bike and have entered the Etape...
    "Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles"
  • aldricaldric Posts: 161
    Thanks again guys.

    The cyclo cross seems to be coming up a lot in the last few posts. I have never really heard of that type of bike before and am definately open to suggestions.

    I just rode what I think will be the hardest part of my journey (hilliest) and was surprised how easy it was on my mountain bike which is a heap of junk really. It should be a doddle on any sort of decent bike.

    I went along the path which had been suggested to me and although it is tarmac it goes through the woods and there is a lot of debris etc. I would be concerned about taking anything other than a mountain bike on that route.

    I am actually starting to think that I should go for a road bike, but how would a road bike cope with the wet, cold and ice in the winter? Can you get puncture resistant tyres for roadbikes as well? Punctures / mechanical breackdown are definately my biggest concern to be honest.
  • itsbruceitsbruce Posts: 221
    If you decide you want a regular road bike, it isn't going to be up to the difficult off-road paths; you either need to square up to the fast main road and the roundabout or keep looking at hybrids, tourers or other more rugged alternatives.
  • aldricaldric Posts: 161
    itsbruce wrote:
    If you decide you want a regular road bike, it isn't going to be up to the difficult off-road paths; you either need to square up to the fast main road and the roundabout or keep looking at hybrids, tourers or other more rugged alternatives.

    Sorry, yes that's pretty much what I was meaning. I definately wouldn't be going the path route which was suggested as it has too much debris on it and in the winter I imagine it will be very, very muddy.

    I came back the main road, although chickened out staying on it as I wasn't sure how I would cope with the hill and went along the path at the side which had lots of loose stones and glass here and there.

    I understand that I would have to 'man up' and use the main roads if I went for a pure road bike. Looking at the hybrid tyres they don't look like they have that much more grip?
  • tomb353tomb353 Posts: 196
    edited May 2010
    be prepared for the fact that 22 miles a day on a bike will not be free commuting, you'll go through tyres, chains, cassettes, clothing etc in a way that you would never do for leisure use. I typically spend £20-30 per month minimum.

    In your position unless you are working to a deadline on the cycle to work scheme I would invest in 1.5 inch semi slick puncture proof tyres for your mountain bike, if possible adjust the suspension to as stiff as possible, buy a track pump so you can get the tyres up to maximum, then hit the road (around £45). You will figure out over a few months what your route is, what you need and what priorities are.

    Studded tyres at least on the front fitted december/january are a must if you want to reliably commute this distance 365 days a year, to cope with this you need a bike that can cope with 35mm / 1.5 inch tyres or wider which rules out road bikes but includes cyclocross and just about anything else. If you have to buy now to use cycle to work I would not go overboard on the bike, do £3/400 on something that feels light and comfortable, then spend several hundred on locks, lights, spare tubes, spare brake blocks, spare chain, rack+pannier or saddlebag i.e. stock up on a years worth of running parts and some kit that will last you even if you upgrade the bike in a 6 months time (which you probably will).
    vendor of bicycle baskets & other stuff www.tynebicycle.co.uk
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  • davisdavis Posts: 2,566
    aldric wrote:
    I am actually starting to think that I should go for a road bike, but how would a road bike cope with the wet, cold and ice in the winter? Can you get puncture resistant tyres for roadbikes as well? Punctures / mechanical breackdown are definitely my biggest concern to be honest.

    Road bikes can cope with the wet and the cold if you can. I'd recommend at least trying a few. Most bikes are pretty scary in ice though, although some really quite unhinged people seem to enjoy the challenge (I think I'll get some studded tyres for winter this time round).

    You can get puncture resistant tyres for just about anything. I'm not going to list the many options, because I still think the most important thing is a bike that fits and is comfortable. Once you've found that, then you can change tyres (possibly before you buy it). Suffice it to say I think I've done around 4000 miles and have had maybe 3 unexpected deflations, one of them being due to my stupidity.

    As for maintenance stuff, you'll probably be wanting something like Sora/Tiagra components, because riding in mucky conditions will wear stuff out more quickly, so I wouldn't go more expensive than that. You'll want to learn about at least three things to start: cables, brakes, and drivetrains..... (list could get longer here ;-) )

    Cables: new cables stretch a bit, and might need adjusting. This is easy.

    Brakes: the pads will wear out, obviously. The rims of the wheels wear too, and you need to keep an eye on how they're fairing

    Drivetrains: chains and cogs/sprockets, really. Chains should be clean (devoid of muck), and lubricated (so they move). Eventually chains will wear, but don't worry about that for now.
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Just a thought. If you're buying a CTW bike from Halfords, would it be worth signing up to one of their maintenance programmes? I have no idea how much they are or what they include but, in your case (unlike a lot of folk) it might pay off. Just an idea.

    And the advice to buy as much gear as you can through CTW is sound. Getting started was more expensive than I'd anticipated but, now I'm sorted, my monthly running costs are pretty low. I keep an eye out for offers on parts and clothing I WILL need - (bought 3 chains recently for less than the normal price of one) - which will help.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • itsbruceitsbruce Posts: 221
    aldric wrote:

    I understand that I would have to 'man up' and use the main roads if I went for a pure road bike. Looking at the hybrid tyres they don't look like they have that much more grip?

    I don't know which hybrids you've been looking at, or what you are judging by. If you've been looking at hybrids with knobby or inverted tread surfaces on their tires, then those actually have less grip on tarmac (more grip off road). But you can always change the tires.

    Grip is almost entirely determined by your tires - by their pressure, surface (knobby/inverted tread/slick) and width. Of those three, width is the only one that's absolutely constrained by your choice of bike (to be specific, your choice of frame). Hybrids tend to allow wider tires , so they potentially offer more grip.

    OTOH, if you've been looking at urban/commuter bikes (that is, variations on the basic roadie pattern that sacrifice some speed for commuting utility, mostly of the flat bar road bike type), those tend not to be any more roomy than standard road bikes. (Note: some roadie purists call these bikes hybrids, either just to be arsey or because they don't know as much as they think. Conventionally, a hybrid is a cross between an MTB and a tourer style).

    Pretty much anything you would ever need to know about tires can be found here. (Hell, pretty much anything you need to know about bicycles can be found there).
  • aldricaldric Posts: 161
    Thanks again guys, much appreciated and great food for thought!!!

    I was at work today and found out that the cycle to work scheme isnt currently running but they are likely to start it again in September.

    Due to this as I only have an old mountain bike which I definately don't want to try communiting with so I was thinking of getting a 'cheap' bike to give me an clue if cylcing to work is possible for me.

    I just had a look for bikes locally to me and this is the only one:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/RIDGEBACK-ADVENTU ... 35a9c01c99

    I really don't know anything about the make of bike as there isn't much info provided, age etc.. I do notice the tyres are half decent with some puncture resistance, but other than that im lost. It clearly isn't a top end bike, but would be useful to give me an idea of how long it would take me and if things were successful possibly be useful for a back-up / winter bike if required.

    I see its a 17" frame, im a 29" inside leg so the size is 'about' right i think.

    What sort of price would it be worth paying? Any advice would be appreciated yet again.

    Thanks.
  • davisdavis Posts: 2,566
    aldric wrote:
    I was at work today and found out that the cycle to work scheme isnt currently running but they are likely to start it again in September.

    Due to this as I only have an old mountain bike which I definitely don't want to try communiting
    with so I was thinking of getting a 'cheap' bike to give me an clue if cylcing to work is possible for me.

    That's only three months, or around 60 working days. I would try your old MTB to see if you can make it last, probably putting some slicker tyres on it. 11 miles would be doable like that -- I wouldn't buy a bike just for that amount of time*

    If that works for you, cool, and come September you'll have the option of buying a shiny new one on C2W, or the secondhand ones will still be around; keep an eye on eBay etc to see what comes up in your area.

    *: Edit: Who am I kidding? I'd buy a bike just for a trip to the local booze emporium.
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
  • aldricaldric Posts: 161
    davis wrote:
    aldric wrote:
    I was at work today and found out that the cycle to work scheme isnt currently running but they are likely to start it again in September.

    Due to this as I only have an old mountain bike which I definitely don't want to try communiting
    with so I was thinking of getting a 'cheap' bike to give me an clue if cylcing to work is possible for me.

    That's only three months, or around 60 working days. I would try your old MTB to see if you can make it last, probably putting some slicker tyres on it. 11 miles would be doable like that -- I wouldn't buy a bike just for that amount of time*

    If that works for you, cool, and come September you'll have the option of buying a shiny new one on C2W, or the secondhand ones will still be around; keep an eye on eBay etc to see what comes up in your area.

    *: Edit: Who am I kidding? I'd buy a bike just for a trip to the local booze emporium.

    Yeah 60 days isn't far away, I just thought that it would be better to try this out in the summer months and that bike is cheap at the moment, is exactly where I am trying to commute to and might be ok for a spare/bad weather bike. If its a really censored bike and not worth considering then that's fair enough.

    My mountain bike goes but the gears slip badly when going up hill (i'm sure this could get sorted somehow) and putting new slick tyres on that seems like throwing good money after bad.

    I am just really impusive and when I get something in my head I have to do it right there and then!
  • davisdavis Posts: 2,566
    Ok, fair enough. I'm not going to try to dissuade you from buying a bike. Although, it's probably worth pointing out that the MTB could quite possibly be sorted by a new chain and cassette, but I'm going to assume that it's a lost cause.

    Yay! New bike required!

    I've just noticed you're doing 3 days a week, bringing it down to 36 days' commuting before C2W might be available. That's not long. The Ridgeback from eBay is certainly cheap enough (at the moment) to be justifiable in my eyes, and I'd think it'd last. From what I can tell, Shimano Nexave stuff is probably long-lasting (I know diddly about their touring range). If you think it'll fit (you have to go and see it first!*) , and you like the look of it enough (and a rack is always handy), then I'd say go for it.

    * your inside leg measurement seems a little short. Is that your trouser measurement or your inseam? That's why you should probably see it first.
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
  • aldricaldric Posts: 161
    davis wrote:
    Ok, fair enough. I'm not going to try to dissuade you from buying a bike. Although, it's probably worth pointing out that the MTB could quite possibly be sorted by a new chain and cassette, but I'm going to assume that it's a lost cause.

    Yay! New bike required!

    I've just noticed you're doing 3 days a week, bringing it down to 36 days' commuting before C2W might be available. That's not long. The Ridgeback from eBay is certainly cheap enough (at the moment) to be justifiable in my eyes, and I'd think it'd last. From what I can tell, Shimano Nexave stuff is probably long-lasting (I know diddly about their touring range). If you think it'll fit (you have to go and see it first!*) , and you like the look of it enough (and a rack is always handy), then I'd say go for it.

    * your inside leg measurement seems a little short. Is that your trouser measurement or your inseam? That's why you should probably see it first.

    The MTB is about 4 years old (not well used), cost about £100 from ebay and it seems a waste to buy a new chain, cassette (I know what this is now :P) and 2 new slick tyres.was new and under £100 about 4 years ago, although to be fair it hasn't been out that much!! So agreed, its a lost cause :)

    The bike looks fine, I don't know anything about the spec or how old it might be. I wouldn't want to pay a massive amount of money for it either.

    29" is my trouser measurement, i'm 5' 8" - just checked how to measure inseam and I seem to be 30", which should be ok for a 17" frame bike I think.
  • davisdavis Posts: 2,566
    As far as I can tell, that bike is supposed to be towards the "comfortable" end, not particularly fast on the road, but still faster than an MTB. I suspect it's intended for long distance touring of the countryside. According to Shimano's own website the Nexave groupset is the top-end of their "touring" range, so I'll assume it's at least good and durable. It might be great.

    In all honesty, I doubt it's a bad bike. I suspect it might be a good bike for its intended purpose, and I really think it'd cope admirably with the commute. My reasoning for this is this:

    . It's got an 8 speed cassette and chain, which'll be cheaper to replace than 9/10 speed.
    . It's got mudguards. That's a real plus. I understand Scotland has been known to experience something called "rain"
    . It's got a rack for panniers. This is good for commuting.
    . I *think* it's got a non-integrated headset, which is a plus on an all-weather bike
    . The tyres are Specialized Armadillos. Some people don't like them much for their grip in the wet, but they are pretty damn tough.

    Perhaps some forumite has a Ridgeback Adventure and can say "yay" or "nay".

    Personally, I don't like it. I'd want to change the saddle, and the bars, and everything below them, but it's a very subjective thing. If you like it, and it fits, then go for it. I've been trying to find some details of the geometry of that bike to try to work out if it's roughly the right size, but I can't I'm afraid.
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
  • aldric wrote:
    I was at work today and found out that the cycle to work scheme isnt currently running but they are likely to start it again in September.

    Due to this as I only have an old mountain bike which I definitely don't want to try communiting with so I was thinking of getting a 'cheap' bike to give me an clue if cylcing to work is possible for me.

    Perfect opportunity to save money in the long run based on my experience of taking the more expensive route*

    Buy a cheap 2nd hybrid and by September you will be wanting a road bike for the speed and thus bve able to max out your C2W scheme and buy the road bike.

    This also gives the benefit of giving you a winter bike (the Hybrid).

    *I brought a cheap hybrid on C2W scheme to see if I would like cycle commuting. 7 months later I could wait no longer(having put it off for 5 months over winter) so brought a fully priced road bike :oops:
  • Zulu dawnZulu dawn Posts: 11
    Aldric,
    Much wisdom has been typed here. I can only add my own experiance from which you may draw your own conclusion which you seem to be close to anyhow. I had ridden a few bikes during eighties and into early nineties enjoying club racing and mountain biking etc. There was then a break for nearly twenty years until about 20 mnths ago when for various reasons inc fuel cost, time, fitness de stress I took to the saddle once more. I bought myself a £400 specialized hybrid and some bits and bobs to get me through shift pattern working and the associated night riding bad weather etc. This was soon equipped with mud guards and along side the Disk brakes became a superb all weather any surface (armadillo tyres one pop in 12 mnths) stead.
    As the old skills re emerged inc bike handling, traffic negotation, speed and fitness increased I went twelve months later to the LBS with a shiny chit from the C2W scheme and bought a Specialized Tricross comp. This bike has been brilliant since and on the first ride took 15 mins off the hybrid's best time over my 15 mile journey to work !
    Thus I would conclude that yes get the cheap hybrid / revamp the mountain bike and use this to get some base skills / fitness. It will later serve as a good winter / bad weather bike esp if you can find a hybrid with disk brakes and poss internal hub gears.
    Then when sure this is what you are doing long term add to your stable with bright shiney and new after many more hours reading on here as to what you will get.
    However my money is on a Tricross !!!! Good luck and flies in your teeth.
    ..............................................................................................

    You have much to learn Padawan.

    Do or Don't ... there is no try.
  • aldricaldric Posts: 161
    Thanks for all the excellent comments, I decided not to buy the bike on ebay in the end as I think it would be a waste of money and a bit of a rash decision.

    I know someone who has a boardman hybrid and somoene else who has a road bike, so I think I might try to have a few trials on those and see how I like them.

    I have looked at some of the tricross bikes and they certianly look fab, but seem to have a good amount of added weight? Unfortunately I don't know anyone with one so will have to try a LBS or Halfords who don't seem to stock much of a selection.

    This should get me sorted for September when my work does the C2w scheme again, I am restricted to Halfords so it will be interesting to see what I end up with. It looks like you can order other bikes that they don't stock, but I will wait and see how that turns out!

    Thanks all.
  • aldricaldric Posts: 161
    Well I just cycled home on my friends Boardman Hybrid. The 11 miles took me 49 minutes and I stopped 3 times as I thought I the back tyre was a bit flat and was concerned I was getting a puncture!

    I am going to do the return journey in the morning which is a LOT more 'downhill' so hope to do that in 45 minutes at worst.

    Couldn't have picked a better night for it, fantastic weather up here tonight. :D
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    If you're in Scotland you should visit your local Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative, branches in Aberdeen and a few other cities as well I think. They're really helpful and will do the cycle to work scheme.

    Their own brand Country tourer is well worth a look, I've done 1000s of miles on mine. A bit heavier than some bikes but it's luggage rack will take panniers big enough for a good sized supermarket trip.

    Not sure if anyone else mentioned it but don't buy a bike that doesn't have mudguards or the ability to fit them.
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • aldricaldric Posts: 161
    Cheers mate. My cycle to work scheme is limited to Halfods, although my wife's work also does it but hers allows you to use LBS. I will definately be getting mud guards, paniers etc. I have a shower at work so will take all the bits and pieces I need on the 2 days every 2 weeks that I will have a car.

    I might try and get my wife to do the bike to work scheme instead as mine isn't currently running, although I guess I would have to be careful on the type of bike as they ask for the make and size etc? Do any companies actually check that you are using the bike to commute?

    I quite enjoyed my ride home tonight, although the back tyre definately has a slow puncture as its almost flat now! I also had a bit of a pain at the top of my back and the saddle was a bit sore.

    I liked the boardman hybrid its this one (the £500 one)

    http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_165534

    What sort of hydrids are equivilent to the boardman in spec, something like the specialized perhaps?

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/spe ... pezialized hybrid
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,014
    tomb353 wrote:
    be prepared for the fact that 22 miles a day on a bike will not be free commuting, you'll go through tyres, chains, cassettes, clothing etc in a way that you would never do for leisure use. I typically spend £20-30 per month minimum.

    I'd struggle to get anywhere near that sort of spend per month - currently doing anywhere between 19 and 50 miles a day. In 18 months and 5600 miles I've worn away 3 chains, one cassette, one gear cable, a set and a half of brake pads and two knobbly tyres (replaced by slicks which will last 1000s of miles). Cost for that lot is less than £100. Clothes for commuting come from Aldi or Lidl and were very cheap to buy and seem to be pretty indestructable. I'd say more like £5 a month. Hard to be precise as I am increasing the mileage all the time but even if you commute all year round (and it is winter that wears bikes out), as long as you keep things clean, it really shouldn't cost much to run.
    Faster than a tent.......
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