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Commuting questions from CP

UndercoverElephantUndercoverElephant Posts: 5,796
edited June 2017 in Commuting chat
Personally, I just wish that someone had told me how much fun it was - I'd have started ages ago.

Edit: OK, this just looks weird now, thanks for deleting the first post, Rob. For those who are looking at this and wondering; there was a post from Rob Spalding asking what you would have liked to know, or wish you'd known when you first started commuting...
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  • Doh! I did indeed delete the first post - I double posted and then...oh anyway. I put it down to a week away from the forum. Forgot how it worked. So to repeat the questionUnderCover Elephant has replied to:

    If a non-rider, or new rider, were to ask you for bike commuting advice what would you tell them? What do you wish you knew when you started commuting by bike.

    And I know there's a whole thread dedicated to pics of your commuting bikes but I spend too much time on the internet as it is, so tell me about your expensive, bargain, quirky or downright inappropriate commuting bikes.

    Cheers

    Rob
    Cycling Plus
    Rob Spedding, Editor, Cycling Plus
  • Unless your commute is huge(20 miles+) you will arrive at work awake and ready for your day!

    Think of the money you are saving initially! I say initially because before long you will inherit the natural instinct to use the n+1 rule, with n being the number of bikes you have :lol: :shock:

    Dont forget to stock up on washing tabs when you start commuting as you will find yourself washing clothes more than you could possibly believe! :lol: :roll:
    FCN 7

    FCN 4

    if you use irrational measures to measure me, expect me to behave irrationally to measure up
  • jongingejonginge Posts: 5,945
    Aw, I thought this was going to be an audience with Clever Pun...

    To answer the question:
    Learn to keep calm and let the mad things other people do go. Makes the commute much less stressful and more fun (it took me a couple of years to get this and I occasionally backslide).
    Ride predictably. If that means you don't get that tiny gap or the commute takes a bit longer then so be it.

    Enjoy it.
    FCN 2-4 "Shut up legs", Jens Voigt
    Planet-x Scott
    Rides
  • davisdavis Posts: 2,505
    I wish I'd known about road bikes, cross bikes, mudguards, racks, panniers, lights, and that hybrids are censored .

    Mostly about the gear, really.
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
  • Clever PunClever Pun Posts: 6,778
    JonGinge wrote:
    Aw, I thought this was going to be an audience with Clever Pun...

    To answer the question:
    Learn to keep calm and let the mad things other people do go. Makes the commute much less stressful and more fun (it took me a couple of years to get this and I occasionally backslide).
    Ride predictably. If that means you don't get that tiny gap or the commute takes a bit longer then so be it.

    Enjoy it.

    Seems you beat me to that...

    feel free to ask me questions though... or should I be asking questions?

    Hybrids...why?
    Purveyor of sonic doom

    Very Hairy Roadie - FCN 4
    Fixed Pista- FCN 5
    Beared Bromptonite - FCN 14
  • Mr PlumMr Plum Posts: 1,097
    Get a road bike.

    I wish I appreciated how much more efficient a road bike is than a hardtail MTB with slicks. You can't really get this across without real life experience of it though...
    FCN 2 to 8
  • 'assume everyone else on the road is a nutter'

    that one was told to me by a doctor while i was in intensive care in november after getting knocked off; best commuting advice ever.
    Giant Defy 3
    FCN 5

    All wrenching and no riding makes me frickin' angry...
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    as above, also assume that nobody can see you! Ride with Zen, being self righteous, riding aggressively at the wrong time or being impatient will leave you on the deck.

    If you must get a helmet camera, try and show the fun side of commuter cycling, its not all about getting nearly run over as youtube would have you believe:

    http://www.vimeo.com/17864192
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    People wear proper cycling gear for a reason not just to look cool. Invest in some, wicking fabric really do work. Windproof stuff really works too. It's worth the money.
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,964
    If i'd know how expensive this was going to be I might have never taken those first figurative steps.

    Ignorance is bliss, never add up what you've spent on cycling :?
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • mrushtonmrushton Posts: 5,182
    A fixed or poss. single-speed is the ideal commuter.

    Use the bike to carry the kit not eg a rucsac so a rackpack is good as are mudguards.

    MTBs (no suspension) are good commuters esp. if used with 26 x 1 tyres

    expect everyone in a car to be mad and to do exactly what you fear they will do.

    Get reliable tyres fitted and carry disposable gloves and spare tubes with a spare tube at work. The tyres may be heavy but you need the puncture resistance more than fast cornering.

    Carry a chain-tool and spare link.
    M.Rushton
  • mattsawmattsaw Posts: 907
    In no particular order,

    1. Don't worry about holding up other traffic. You're safer being more visible and taking primary. Let people past when YOU feel safe.
    2. Go clipless, flats are dangerous in the wet, and clips aren't as practical. I am definately a lot quicker with SPDs/clipless
    3. Crazy filtering may the the norm for many people, but sometimes it just isn't worth the hassle, if you'll make the next phase of lights just take primary behind the last car. Your blood pressure will thank you. You won't actually lose any ground.
    4. It IS worth cleaning your bike reguarly and investing in the correct tools for this.
    5. Two bikes are helpful :wink: Justify this to youself via the cost of travel cards when you have menchanical problems
    6. Spare tube + puncture repair when home, it's not fun by the side of the road.
    7. It's not worth getting into arguments with drivers, you're wasting your breath. If you must have a word be polite and calm to a fault, it will defuse any situation.
    Bianchi C2C - Ritte Bosberg - Cervelo R3
    Strava
  • welkmanwelkman Posts: 396
    My Ideas:

    1) Up your food intake.
    2) Love Lycra
    3) Buy a bike with drops and 700c wheels but dont get too hung up on weight.

    And above all else get a bike that is comfy you will have to, in most cases, spend an hour of your working day on it.

    W
  • If a non-rider, or new rider, were to ask you for bike commuting advice what would you tell them? What do you wish you knew when you started commuting by bike.
      It is NOT as hard as you ever think it will be. Get the best bike you can afford Plan ahead and get organised Cycling in the pouring rain is GREAT fun. No really. It's a riot. The heaver the better. Forget being wet, just be warm.
    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
  • Great stuff!

    Rob
    Rob Spedding, Editor, Cycling Plus
  • Get the best bike you can afford

    But possibly make-do with whatever you've got available until you know what kind of bike you *should* be buying. Too many people jump at whatever the bike shop recommends and in a couple of months wish they'd got something else.
  • CafewandaCafewanda Posts: 2,788
    ............ and don't insult hybrids*. They have a purpose.


    Cycle training.

    *Any more insults and I'm getting out my sharpened pitchfork :twisted:
  • Clever PunClever Pun Posts: 6,778
    mrushton wrote:
    A fixed or poss. single-speed is the ideal commuter.

    Use the bike to carry the kit not eg a rucsac so a rackpack is good as are mudguards.

    MTBs (no suspension) are good commuters esp. if used with 26 x 1 tyres

    expect everyone in a car to be mad and to do exactly what you fear they will do.

    Get reliable tyres fitted and carry disposable gloves and spare tubes with a spare tube at work. The tyres may be heavy but you need the puncture resistance more than fast cornering.

    Carry a chain-tool and spare link.

    Fixed is a really bad idea for a beginner, it's hard enough dealing with all these people trying to get past you as well as sorting out what the hell the bike is making your legs do.
    Purveyor of sonic doom

    Very Hairy Roadie - FCN 4
    Fixed Pista- FCN 5
    Beared Bromptonite - FCN 14
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    Cafewanda wrote:
    ............ and don't insult hybrids*. They have a purpose.

    I think hybrids are only good as a 'gateway' bike. The bike that gives you a taste of how much better things could be. Like cannabis is a gateway drug that leads all users onto heroin and/or crack.

    Got your road bike built yet CW?

    Cafewanda wrote:
    *Any more insults and I'm getting out my sharpened pitchfork :twisted:

    Don't worry just wear pads on your lower legs and she can't hurt you!
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • clarkey catclarkey cat Posts: 3,641
    I spent a few years riding a specialised allez (with gears) and then swapped to a gary fisher triton (single speed) and I was grinning ear to ear and definitely 'got the love back'. Single speed for commuting in a city is great fun (apart from maybe Bristol). Wish someone had convinced me to ride SS much sooner.
  • SimonAHSimonAH Posts: 3,730
    It really is about the machine.

    You'd think that a bike is a bike is a bike initially, but truly the difference between hating the grind and looking forward to the ride is the bike (I did the full suss knoblies, full suss slicks, road bike, good roadbike, properly rapid fgss progression over the course of about six months. A path strewn with abandoned bikes).

    It's also about the top layer of clothes. I ride in street clothes 99.5% of the time (lycra only for multi-hour leisure rides) but a good breathable waterproof jacket and a pair of overtrousers tucked in your bag mean that even if it absolutely sheets down I'm arriving at my destination with worst case wet feet (and you can hide that! :D )

    Finally, wear gloves. Even if you're just shooting to the shop wear gloves. That skin stuff is pretty useful and the growing-it-back process is tedious.
    FCN 5 belt driven fixie for city bits
    CAADX 105 beastie for bumpy bits
    Litespeed L3 for Strava bits

    Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.
  • tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 16,666
    Bike buying

    Buy a bike you think you'll ride. If that's a hybrid or MTB then you crack on.

    If you riding further than 10 miles each way - YOU NEED A ROAD BIKE

    If you are riding up hill - YOU NEED A ROAD BIKE

    Stay away from Argos, JJB, Asda, Tesco Direct and your mum's catalogue.

    Approach Halford's with caution, avoid their Apollo and Trax ranges.

    You don't need full suspension

    Always remember that there are 1000's of people cycling to school, to work and just to get around. They're not posting on here, they're not upgrading groupsets or investing in the latest carbon fibre Italian (Taiwanese) exotica.

    They're all ages, shapes and sizes.

    They're just riding their bikes

    You can do it to.
    Believe that a farther shore
    Is reachable from here.
    Believe in miracles
    And cures and healing wells
  • You don't need full suspension


    True dat.

    Buy a bike you like. Ride it around. Job done!
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    Buy a bike you like. Ride it around. Job done!

    So, how's the mixte? Did I miss anything?

    Still wondering what's on the frame stickers... I am a sorry state of affairs...

    Cheers,
    W.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 20,712
    Buy a bike you like. Ride it around. Job done!

    So, how's the mixte? Did I miss anything?

    Still wondering what's on the frame stickers... I am a sorry state of affairs...

    Cheers,
    W.

    You're not the only one.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    rjsterry wrote:
    Buy a bike you like. Ride it around. Job done!

    So, how's the mixte? Did I miss anything?

    Still wondering what's on the frame stickers... I am a sorry state of affairs...

    Cheers,
    W.

    You're not the only one.
    Thanks for that. I may be sad but at least I needn't be lonely... :-)

    Cheers,
    W.
  • snookssnooks Posts: 1,521
    If I was to give just one bit of advice:
    Buy Cyclecraft by John Franklin, and read it!


    From that you'll learn about the primary position and:

    You can filter down which ever side you feel safest

    Don't go up the inside of any vehicle at traffic light unless you are 100% sure that the lights aren't going to change

    Even if you are sure, NEVER go up the inside of a truck, bus lorry or van.

    The rest is just like...um riding a bike ;)

    Oh and if you are cycling for the first time. cycle one day, give your self two days off, cycle again, and have one day off, then you can cycle, (and sit down) more comfortably. Also leave as much stuff as you can at work. Do you really need to carry your D lock an a pair of shoes in each day, or can you leave your lock at work stash your work shoes in your draw?
    FCN:5, 8 & 9
    If I'm not riding I'm shooting http://grahamsnook.com
    THE Game
    Watch out for HGVs
  • BassjunkieukBassjunkieuk Posts: 4,232
    iPete wrote:
    If you must get a helmet camera, try and show the fun side of commuter cycling, its not all about getting nearly run over as youtube would have you believe:

    http://www.vimeo.com/17864192

    I do :-) Although the fun parts of commuting are the 99.9% of the time on the bike, so 45 minutes of riding usually makes for boring viewing ;-) I have however posted a few clips of the fun riding and courteous drivers I've encountered :-)

    The thing I wished I knew before I started cycle commuting is just how damn quickly you can get into London. This would have helped as I wouldn't have been 30 minutes early on that fateful virgin commute :-)

    After that I think it's what's already been said, expect other road users to behave unpredictably - this includes other cyclists! Try and remain calm (I don't always manage this...) and most importantly don't read the Silly Commuter Racing thread if you value your sanity. After you do your commutes become a constant game of cat and mouse :-)
    Who's the daddy?
    Twitter, Videos & Blog
    Player of THE GAME
    Giant SCR 3.0 - FCN 5
  • - you're commuting not racing. there is no prize for getting their faster.

    - trackstanding is for the velodrome

    - 2 bikes is useful. one of which should have mudguards and rack.

    - rubber gloves also very good

    - concentrate. don't increase you chances of losing your concentration. For me that means no trip computer, no airzound. If you are sounding the airzound, you are not braking which is probably what you should be doing

    - clean your chain

    - wear glasses

    - road bikes, always road bikes, unless you go off road!
  • ketsbaiaketsbaia Posts: 1,718
    It really isn't as difficult as you might think. Honestly. Just get on and do it. On whatever bike you have available. Once you get the bug, then you can start tinkering, fettling and upgrading. But first off, just get out and do it. You'll wonder why it took you so long to try it.
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