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Commuting questions from CP

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  • For a beginner I would make another suggestion. If your work has lockers...

    At my work, lockers are limited. Blame 8000 people in one building for that.

    Get your name down for a locker as soon as you even think about commuting by bike.

    Start commuting anyway and do all the advice above about carrying spares, stuff, clothes, food etc... then when you get your locker (in my case 14 months down the line) and it all becomes soooooo much easier!

    Hopefully your wait for a locker won't be as long as mine.
    shame the rider doesn't match the bike...
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    bigbelly wrote:
    At my work, lockers are limited. Blame 8000 people in one building for that.

    8000? Where do you work, Isengard?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Ditto. Large FS advisory firm in central london. Well over 5000 people, probs about 100 lockers (tops).

    A farce. 14 months at best.


    Best piece of advice?

    Go for it. Don't be afraid, worried or scared. Get on your bike and go at your own pace.
  • Planning makes it so much easier:
    - bring lots of work clothing to work and use it gradually
    - spare tools / tubes etc at work
    - your desk drawer is for food, not for work
    - don't be afraid to take the day off if tired, CBA, bad weather
    - don't race every ride. You'll quickly burn out

    Start off
    Tues / Thurs
    Then
    Mon / Wed / Fri
    Then
    Mon / Tues / Thurs / Fri
    Then all 5 days.

    Get some decent chamois cream. And some decent shorts.
    Have spare bikes. If you have the space. 2 commute bikes wear out at half the speed as one, and give you:

    - variety
    - mudguard options (1 bare in summer; 1 with 'guards for wet days)
    - a plan B in case of mechanicals
    - try fixed / SS roadbike. Great for the depths of winter
    - always have at least one spare light
    - when dressing in winter, think "bad taste christmas tree decorated by 4 year olds"
    Commute: Langster -Singlecross - Brompton S2-LX

    Road: 95 Trek 5500 -Look 695 Aerolight eTap - Boardman TTe eTap

    Offroad: Pace RC200 - Dawes Kickback 2 tandem - Tricross - Boardman CXR9.8 - Ridley x-fire
  • symosymo Posts: 1,743
    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.


    Learn how to lock your bike like this : Lockingmethod.jpg

    I wish I had bought a dropped bar bike first, instead of a hybrid.
    You will end up spending more than you think. :twisted:
    You will buy more bikes.
    Buy a singlespeed and then after a few weeks go fixed. 8 miles either direction every day and loving it.
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    we are the proud, the few, Descendents.

    Panama - finally putting a nail in the economic theory of the trickle down effect.
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Do tell your readers about the benefits of hub gears for city commuters - they need almost no maintenance and most importantly you can change gear while stationary, which is a boon in town for beginners who frequently have to make sudden stops until they learn to anticipate pedestrians better.

    The criticisms of hub gears that are often trotted out seem mostly to be aimed at Sturmey-Archer 3-speeds of the 70s, i.e. that they are flimsy and have narrow ranges. That's not true of modern hub gears for adult bikes.

    +1 and a 3 speed SA hub is 3 times better than a singlespeed, with the same minimal maintenance. Albeit you can't ride them in tight jeans and sandals.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    t4tomo wrote:
    +1 and a 3 speed SA hub is 3 times better than a singlespeed, with the same minimal maintenance. Albeit you can't ride them in tight jeans and sandals.
    Meh, I have a recent 5 speed SA on one of mine. It's been relegated to the shed as for fast days I take the geared roadie, for commuting I prefer the FGSS.
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    Wrong thread.

    Hmm, you can't delete things anymore
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • leodis75leodis75 Posts: 184
    Don't get drunk.

    If you do get drunk, don't post on forums.

    If you do get drunk and post on forums, don't divulge intimate information.

    If you do get drunk, post on forums and divulge intimate information hope other parties don't find out.

    If you do get drunk, post on forums, divulge intimate information and other parties find out, don't expect sympathy here.

    The exception that proves the rule

    OMFG I have 19 pages of this to read... Looks funny. Does the fella still post?
  • cristoffcristoff Posts: 229
    mancmann wrote:
    I have to agree with some comments on here with regards to hybrids I purchased one last year hoping to be able to use it as a off road ish bike and a road bike. Never knew too much about biking as you may have guessed. I paid around £600 for it which I know is not a vast amount of money for a bike but it was a lot for me,
    I should have gone for a commuting bike and a off road and been a 2 bike owner.
    I hopefully am going to start commuting to work , its about a 11m one way ride (is that classed a a good distance?) I tried it the other month and i found the traffic busy for most of the route so i m trying to ride a more friendly route.
    I would love to do the Christies 100 this year but it may be a bit too soon for me right now.

    This is exactly how i started! 11.5 mile verrrry hilly route. Been having problems with injuries running, did not want to put a load of weight on so on a whim thought, i know, bike to work!

    that was 17 months ago. Now have 2 bikes. Ride with a club at weekends. Have spent more money than i could have ever dreamed of, but love it!

    Advice, get the absolute best bike you can afford. Its only when you have experience and know what 'better' feels like you realise. My first was a decathlon special. I now have a £1300 Specialized as best and the 'better' effect is massive, not least the quality in the components.

    And invest in quality clothing that keeps you comfortable, nothing is enjoyable if you are not comfortable! Think padded shorts, windproof/rainproof jacket.
    Good advice previously, rain aint so bad, once you're wet, thats it, its the wind and the cold you need to protect against more so!

    Just go for it, you'll love it.
  • chuffachuffa Posts: 25
    Hi all,i too am new to this forum.
    started the year with urge to cycle to work each day.so far ive just about done every day including the odd weekend its a round trip of 11 miles all uphill then downhill.Used my dawes tekarra hardtail ive had for the last 10 years,was ok initially but it was cheaper to buy a new bike than replace/upgrade what i had so ive just invested in a specialized hardrock sport disc.massive improvement hydraulic brakes give me much more confidence on the steep downhills.
    I dont have much time to enjoy cycling at the weekends due to work/family commitments so at least i can keep my hand in on the commutes plus its keeping me fit and saving money.
    I have found that (excluding the monday morning blues) i quite enjoy and look forward to the rides and finding alternate routes to experiment with plus it destresses me on my ride home and i feel great when i arrive at work.
    I have noticed everybody driving seems to be in a rush and stressing out which i find quite funny especially when they race past me only to stop at the lights and i wheel up in the cycle lane in front of them (unless ive had to bunny hop onto the path to get round them because they,ve decided to use the cycle lane.
    I do have one question is it me but on every ride to and from work there is always someone who thinks you are not there i dont mean the ones who mis judge or accidentally do something iam talking about the so and so,s who dont give a s--t.!!!!
    Any way thats my first post,cheers for now
  • I started commuting about 2 years ago. I bought a BOS for £200 from JJB and thought I was the last of the big spenders. I called it Silvio (It was silver) and it served me well. I rode it almost every day and it taught me to appreciate cycling. I used it to ride the Nightrider in London last year.

    However when my employer started a Cycle2Work scheme I decided to upgrade.

    I got a Ridgeback World Voyage from my LBS in Telford (The Bicycle Hub) and I wish I had known 2 years ago what I know now. I have done a few charity rides on "Horatio" and I try and do a good long ride every weekend to supplement the commuting.

    I am doing the Cheshire Cat shorter course in a few weeks and the Blenhiem Sportive later this year.

    I am glad I made all the mistakes on my first bike because it stops me from being a bike snob when I see somebody on a BOS I don't look down my nose at them.

    I think "Good for you Getting out for a ride!"

    "Your worst day on a bike = your best day in a car"
  • mouthmouth Posts: 1,196
    My top ten commuting tips:

    1. Don't bother with the headphones. You need to hear the car/buses/mopeds behind you and not Status Quo. Even a subtle change in engine note from one of the vehicles is a sign something is about to change. Which it will. Rapidly.

    2. The traffic lights WILL change. It's not a question of IF but WHEN.

    3. You only learn through experience. If you realise you needed something this week, make sure you have it for next week. For instance I don't bother with a chain tool etc just basic p*ncture kit/multi-tool and pump on the basis I can just run the rest of the way in a serious mechanical failure. Law of averages tells me I will make it more than halfway to work.

    4. Might as well buy a road bike now, cos that's what you'll end up with. N+1 (or S-1 expressed in a more practical medium). To be fair it doesn't matter what you start with just as long as you start creating the habit. Second hand steeds can be had for ££50-60. Won't take you long to find what type of bike you prefer.

    5. Echo every call for a locker. I've got about a year to wait.

    6. On average it only rains 12 times per year at commuting time. Refer to rule number 5.

    7. After a bad day at work there is literally nothing better than getting down in the drops and having a blast. The first mile or so from my work is very very slightly down hill. No better feeling than the wind in my face.

    8. Start planning the long way home.

    9. Don't bother planning a date to start commuting by bike. START NOW. You see it every day in your work colleagues. "right, as of Monday I'm gonna stop having Nutella on my crumpets/eating sardines on the bus/buying that 'special interest' magazine".... They're still doing it a year later. If you START NOW you're much more likely to succeed. As previously mentioned though don't be scared to take a day off though. It takes 28 days for your brain to form a new habit. At least try it for this long.

    10. ENJOY IT.
    The only disability in life is a poor attitude.
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    mouth wrote:
    1. Don't bother with in ear headphones. You need to hear the car/buses/mopeds behind you and not Status Quo. Even a subtle change in engine note from one of the vehicles is a sign something is about to change. Which it will. Rapidly.
    FTFY.
  • redjeepǃredjeepǃ Posts: 520
    What single piece of advice would I give ?

    Easy.

    Read "Cyclecraft". Thoroughly.
  • 8. Start planning the long way home.
    +1

    Also, your rucksack is not waterproof no matter what the label may say.

    Put your dry work clothes in a bag within a bag or you will just end up swapping one pair of soggy pants for another!
    One for the road.....
    The beer not the bike!
    FCN 11

    http://app.strava.com/athletes/399251
  • 8. Start planning the long way home.
    +1

    Also, your rucksack is not waterproof no matter what the label may say.

    Put your dry work clothes in a bag within a bag or you will just end up swapping one pair of soggy pants for another!
    Unless you get a Gourdon drysac... mine was proven waterproof in the deluge of a Queensland rainforest; arguably one of the best bits of kit I've ever bought
    Invacare Spectra Plus electric wheelchair, max speed 4mph :cry:
  • Advice. Don't move to a job too far away to commute to.
  • u33dbu33db Posts: 68
    Advice: Don't be a bike snob!

    Just because someone rocks up next to your Specialized/Boardman or whatever at the lights on a Halfords Apollo it does not mean they should be classed as sub-human! Likewise just because you choose to spend £700+ on a bike does not instantly mean you're a better rider/higher up the food chain.

    Treat other riders with respect as we're all out there for the same reasons!
  • jonomc4jonomc4 Posts: 891
    My advice - start saving because whatever you spend on your first bike you will probably spend 5 times that on the next one - OK I did and I am sure I am not the only one here.
  • iclestuiclestu Posts: 503
    jonomc4 wrote:
    My advice - start saving because whatever you spend on your first bike you will probably spend 5 times that on the next one - OK I did and I am sure I am not the only one here.

    definitely not the only one! ;)
    FCN 7: Dawes Galaxy Ultra 2012 - sofa-like comfort to eat up the miles

    Reserve: 2010 Boardman CX Pro
  • eykoeyko Posts: 68
    Also, your rucksack is not waterproof no matter what the label may say.

    My waterproof rucksack is waterproof from the top, the front, the back and the sides :D, not however the bottom :(, and guess where most of the water comes from, even with guards!

    Dry sacks are very, very useful!!!
    FCN 7
  • MonkeyMonsterMonkeyMonster Posts: 4,628
    If you cycle warm and end up a bit sweaty at cycles end, make time for an extra 10 minutes cool down at the other end. Makes for a much more pleasant shower and feeling after.
    Le Cannon [98 Cannondale M400] [FCN: 8]
    The Mad Monkey [2013 Hoy 003] [FCN: 4]
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    jonomc4 wrote:
    My advice - start saving because whatever you spend on your first bike you will probably spend 5 times that on the next one - OK I did and I am sure I am not the only one here.

    I spent £644 on my first road bike, for commuting. I'm thinking the next will be a Ultegra Di2 equipped £3000 beast lol, I don't even have a car, how can I justify the cost lol
  • mudcoveredmudcovered Posts: 725
    jae-so wrote:
    I spent £644 on my first road bike, for commuting. I'm thinking the next will be a Ultegra Di2 equipped £3000 beast lol, I don't even have a car, how can I justify the cost lol

    Easy. You don't have a car. :lol:

    Mike
  • jae-so wrote:
    jonomc4 wrote:
    My advice - start saving because whatever you spend on your first bike you will probably spend 5 times that on the next one - OK I did and I am sure I am not the only one here.

    I spent £644 on my first road bike, for commuting. I'm thinking the next will be a Ultegra Di2 equipped £3000 beast lol, I don't even have a car, how can I justify the cost lol
    My bad. £400 on my first 'proper' commuter bike less than three years ago, just spent £4K on a Di2-equipped Eye-talian thoroughbred.

    Order of magnitude, anyone.... :oops:
    "Get a bicycle. You won't regret it if you live"
    Mark Twain
  • If you do the bike2work scheme get the best bike you can afford.

    Carry two spare inner tubes as double flats can happen

    always wear gloves as scraping the skin off your palms is nearly as painful as breaking your wrist.

    Don't try and carry out bike maintenance any less than an hour before you leave for work, it always takes longer than you think.

    Try not to wobble when a car passes you giving you only a tiny bit of room.
  • Never underestimate the pettiness of other road users.
    Never buy cheap bike lights or locks.
    It is suprisingly easy to break a road frame commuting on East London roads.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    Never underestimate the pettiness of other road users.
    Never buy cheap bike lights or locks.
    It is suprisingly easy to break a road frame commuting on East London roads.

    Every now and then you have a REALLY bad day.
    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
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    Ride in the gutter to avoid cars passing you REALLY close.
    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!
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