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Commuting questions from CP

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  • nomelettenomelette Posts: 13
    Watch out for the wind!
  • goonzgoonz Posts: 3,106
    Buy the best kit you can afford the first time round.

    Get the right kit
    Scott Speedster S20 Roadie for Speed
    Specialized Hardrock MTB for Lumps
    Specialized Langster SS for Ease
    Cinelli Mash Bolt Fixed for Pain
    n+1 is well and truly on track
    Strava http://app.strava.com/athletes/1608875
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,165

    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.

    Cheers

    Rob
    Cycling Plus

    Don't worry about the bike too much, lots of people commute on all sorts of bikes, I have commuted on, a Hybrid/road bike/MTB with DownHill tyres/a Single speed track bike/and a old MTB with light nobblies on.

    some bikes are faster some are slower etc, but they are all bikes.

    if it becomes more than just a commute and a hobby you can get more bike etc.

    do change the pedals the cheap flats are lethal when wet.

    Be very careful about cars/buses blind spots, and try not to squeeze though, give your self space and time to take action when something unexpected happens.

    cyclist are quite a mixed bunch so, some will enjoy being drafted/having some one to draft. where as others will be concerned/irritated by having someone so close.
  • mrkev83mrkev83 Posts: 184
    Not all tyres need to be 100psi. I recently dropped mine to 70psi and it's so much more comfortable

    Also put tape on your frame where cables rub to stop paint getting damaged
    http://www.strava.com/athletes/mrkev83

    Built for comfort... Not for speed
  • beanpiebeanpie Posts: 9
    Never commute without

    an 8mm allen wrench (because your non drive side crank will choose that day to work loose)
    a spare tube
    your lock
    and some lights (even they're not your main set)

    ...and never buy lights that're USB charge only. You WILL forget to plug them into a computer and be caught out.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    Just like everyone thinks they are a good driver, everyone thinks they know how to cycle safely on the road but this isn't the case. Lots of people could benefit from some cycle training and there is no shame in that, everyone had to be taught how to drive on the road after all.

    I'm not sure about the provinces, but everyone in London is entitled to four hours of free cycle tuition. I say free but really you've paid for it in taxes and as you've paid for it, you might as well use it.
    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!
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    I'm a lifelong cyclist, but only a recent convert to commuting (I usually work from home). Commuting feels different to just 'riding my bike' for some reason. I try to learn something new every day.
    • is this the best route?
    • Do I see the same conflict each day, can I avoid it or deal with it better
    • Was I running too warm or too cold today? Record the details (weather and gear) and dress better next time.
    • Is this the best bike for the job ;)

    If only more motorists didn't take the same approach.
  • Don’t be put off by a long commute. ....
    For years I didn’t try cycling to work as I thought it was just way too far - Its 26 miles by car/motorbike. I really wanted to give it a go so I bought a road bike as I thought the mtb would be too much like hard work for that distance.
    I was still convinced it was too far to cycle so I looked into trains etc to split the journey. Cost still held me back so I still didn’t try it. Then i found out it was much cheaper with an oyster card and eventually decided to give it a go. Working a late shift I cycled into work and despite the gps taking me on unwanted detour that made the journey 28 miles not 25, I found it was quite easy. So that night I cycled home too and didn’t bother with the train. Got a bit cold so caught the train part way for the rest of the week but the following week I cycled both ways, all five days. Never thought I’d ever be able to do that but I did. Quite tired by the end of the week but it was something I needed to do to prove to myself I could do it. Unfortunately I started this a bit late in the year (had surgery in feb) so the weather started to turn and now I only cycle when it’s not raining.
    Will definitely cycle a lot more once the nice weather returns. My route is down quite a lot of small country back roads that I doubt will be salted so I’m a bit concerned about riding once it gets properly cold – and the wife is not happy with it.
  • Wet weather is never as bad as you think if you have a change of clothes!
  • telesv650telesv650 Posts: 59
    How much better SPDs (or similar) are to flat pedals.
  • imatfaalimatfaal Posts: 2,716
    telesv650 wrote:
    How much better SPDs (or similar) are to flat pedals.

    When I am tired and wet I have fallen out of flat pedals - ie pushed off up a hill-start and just ended up with my foot sliding off pedal. Whereas with cleats you can forget about the cleat and do the sideways tip at traffic lights. The first was really dangerous for me (I fell across white line into opposing carriageway; the second is merely humiliating - massively humiliating - wake up in the night humiliating - but then I wear lycra tights so I am used to it.

    With cleats you need to cycle differently - but just a tiny bit. And the gains are immeasurable - not least, for me in particular, my feet stop hurting when I get to ride with a decent shoe.
  • hegyestomihegyestomi Posts: 504
    How much better SPDs (or similar) are to flat pedals.
    Way much better: if you have any hills around your commute you will instantly notice the difference.
    The help you get uphill worth the bother of clipping in at every traffic lights.
  • How much better SPDs (or similar) are to flat pedals.
    Way much better: if you have any hills around your commute you will instantly notice the difference.
    The help you get uphill worth the bother of clipping in at every traffic lights.

    I know it's not a fair comparison but if I nip to the shops on my bike wearing my trainers it's so much more hard work than when I'm clipped in and wearing my cycling shoes.
  • ydrolydrol Posts: 39
    How much better SPDs (or similar) are to flat pedals.

    And for commuting, I definitely prefer the cleats that have multi-release angle(SH 56 not the 51s) - and I have them fairly loose and I can usually pull my foot out in a blind panic ...

    Another vote for disc brakes and fatter tyres (28+) for commuting...
  • zebra67zebra67 Posts: 113
    I can't imagine now what it'd be like for a truly new commuter. But sometimes when folk are seeking advice, there's a lot of comment on Clothes. Which I don't get. Unless you're going at least 7 miles each way.

    I mean, I'd definitely say invest sooner rather than later in a good breathable waterproof jacket, and shoes with pedals (spds), but all the other lycra tops or even padded shorts: not really required for most commuters.

    So don't fall for hype about equipment, be practical, is my advice.

    ... though I would say use panniers FGS and don't try to carry a tonne of clothes & other stuff on your back. You're risking injury & wanting to quickly jack it from being uncomfortable. I've got a barbag on the Xbike I use when I commute the whole 35 miles roundtrip, since that bike can't take a rack. But no way I'd carry a big rucksack like so many do.
  • mamil314mamil314 Posts: 1,103
    I can't imagine now what it'd be like for a truly new commuter. But sometimes when folk are seeking advice, there's a lot of comment on Clothes. Which I don't get. Unless you're going at least 7 miles each way.

    I mean, I'd definitely say invest sooner rather than later in a good breathable waterproof jacket, and shoes with pedals (spds), but all the other lycra tops or even padded shorts: not really required for most commuters.

    So don't fall for hype about equipment, be practical, is my advice.

    ... though I would say use panniers FGS and don't try to carry a tonne of clothes & other stuff on your back. You're risking injury & wanting to quickly jack it from being uncomfortable. I've got a barbag on the Xbike I use when I commute the whole 35 miles roundtrip, since that bike can't take a rack. But no way I'd carry a big rucksack like so many do.


    Bar bag? Just how big is your Q factor o_O
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    Going to start commuting by bike?

    First Day: Allow much more time than you think you'll need as the route you thought would be best is full of traffic lights and clogged with traffic if mostly road or barriers, gates, dogs and foot traffic if mostly off road and you'll get lost because signage is wrong or non existent or you need to stop and check google maps and you can't get signal.

    First week: Use this time to face all sorts of inanity from co-workers, use this time to develop off the cuff comebacks, they will serve you well should you change jobs.

    First wet ride: for your first year keep an eye out on the weather and bail if it's bad. When you do commit to riding when it's wet make sure you have dry clothes at work and a spare set of riding clothes unless you can get your kit dry at work.

    First month: Keep it up, do 3/5 days per week over the next few months ramp it to 5/5 except when it's raining on the way in.

    First Winter: Bail once the snow comes. Second winter, get Studded Ice Tyres or a Fat Bike and laugh as you're the fastest thing on the road then get to work on time and shiver until everyone who drove or got the bus gets there.

    Storage is Key: If you have to wear Smart Clothes at work keep them there, bring them at the start of the week. Put them on after a shower and wear the same set all week. Take them home at the end of the week. Your locker at work should contain, Work Shoes, Trousers, Jacket, Shirt(s), 5xPants, 10xSocks + spare riding gear incase you got wet. This way you only need the backpack/panniers for 2/10 rides.

    Learn how to fix or work around basic mechanicals like snapped chain, snapped gear cable, only one working brake and of punctures. Then learn how to avoid punctures by either getting Kevlar lined tyres or going tubeless. On the other hand if you are going to be late for reasons other than mechanicals/punctures remember to get plenty of chain grease on your hands before you walk in, and a bit on your cheek for good measure, it stops the questions.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,922
    Wet weather is never as bad as you think if you have a change of clothes!

    When I had the interview for my current job one question asked was 'what will you do when it rains?'
    I wanted to say get wet but bit my tongue and said I'd have a change of clothes and wear waterproofs though this only extends to a jacket and socks. I've got a small towel in my locker for my legs though by time I've sorted out everything they are virtually dry, if still damp then a sprinkling of talc does the job.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • wdm1985wdm1985 Posts: 4
    Hi guys,

    I have joined the big bad world of cycling to get a bit fitter. My fiance is Canadian and much more into the great outdoors than I ever was. I work in the NHS so have always used long work hrs as an excuse not to do as much exercise.

    For her birthday I bought us both bikes. I got the Carrera subway 2 ( which what I gather from reading people have a love hate relationship with- esp Halfrauds) I did get mine from a cycle republic though. I got her a Intuitive 13 Lambda- which i think is a lovely bike. Anyways I digress...

    I have started the 15 mile commute to work and have done it twice now. Once it was like cycling in the sea I got drenched.

    In terms of kit Ive got...
    Tool
    mini pump
    spare tube
    helmet
    i bought some dhb cycling gear so I wouldnt get flattened.

    I have really enjoyed it so far. I have signed up to the Manchester 100 as a goal to get fitter in september. I can see myself getting a road bike at some point (but with the wedding in Sept cant afford anything more than my subway)

    two quick questions.

    After the commutes im getting quite a bit of iliotibial band pain at the top of my fibula. is this technique related? Ive been suggested that changing my flat pedals to SPDs may help?

    If i do this... would i go for hybrid pedals so that i can pop to the shops etc or do people prefer proper pedals? my other half wants to cycle with me but that will only be for leisure.

    Secondly, Ive read about rolling resistance and tyres. The carrera tyres make me feel safe on the road but would/has anyone moved from these to a less bulky tyre.

    Many thanks and Happy cycling

    -D
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Tyres wise I would highly recommend schwalbe Durano raceguard. fast, supple and good grip and puncture protection.

    Itb is a funny one. I had pain and saw a physio about it who recommended a foam roller. - look in the "training, fitness and health" section for more details. Basically they are pure agony but the consensus is they do help with stretching. My physio said itb pain was caused by knots in my quads. Others may disagree but it worked with me and the people in the other thread have seen good success with using them after a while.

    Check your saddle height too
  • wdm1985wdm1985 Posts: 4
    Hi,

    thanks. Yeah one of my bosses suggested a foam roller too- he said he had a similar problem and it worked well. Im hoping it settles down given that I'm not used to the commute yet.

    Unfortunately the downside of the subway is the 27.5 wheels. At the time I came close to buying a voodoo marassa which has the 700cc wheels and this in hindsight would have been a better choice. Its hard buying a bike the first time when you have no clue!
  • imatfaalimatfaal Posts: 2,716
    Iliotibial band pain - I got rid of mine by stretching before and after and more importantly getting a bike fit. Your knees are best going straight up and down / forwards and backwards (ie always in the same plane as the wheels) - any amount of bad fitting and there will be lateral movement too. Mine got a fair bit better by using all the charts / methods on the internet to get saddle height right - but Condor Cycle's bit fit noticed that one leg was shorter than the other and this was causing a rocking side to side motion. A small shim in my right shoe combined with better arch support and not had any real recurrence
  • wdm1985wdm1985 Posts: 4
    Hi guys- thanks again.

    Did my 13 mile commute today in 50 mins but I got absolutely soaked! Think will need to invest in some proper shoes as my feet were soaked and feet slipping on the pedals.
    Has anyone any experience of the Spiuk risko shoes? 45% off on wiggle at the moment. Trying not to break the bank as I'm skint at the moment. Think £50-60 is my limit at this point in time.

    Thanks again for all the excellent advise
  • imatfaalimatfaal Posts: 2,716
    wdm1985 wrote:
    Hi guys- thanks again.

    Did my 13 mile commute today in 50 mins but I got absolutely soaked! Think will need to invest in some proper shoes as my feet were soaked and feet slipping on the pedals.
    Has anyone any experience of the Spiuk risko shoes? 45% off on wiggle at the moment. Trying not to break the bank as I'm skint at the moment. Think £50-60 is my limit at this point in time.

    Thanks again for all the excellent advise

    Lots of shoes are permanently (or seem to be) on sale - no need to jump for a bargain.

    I would try on shoes first or buy from an online retailer with free returns - the sizing in cycling shoes is pretty variable. You should be able to get away with less than 50 notes for a simple pair of shimano spd (metal cleat that attaches you to the pedal) shoes.

    If you want shoes to help you stay on flat pedals then do not buy spd shoes - but flat shoes designed for no cleats. You can get cycling specific or general. Personally I used football shoes designed for asphalt for about a year before I took the plunge to change to cleats - I picked up a pair of diadora asphalt shoes for 19.99 which were tough, nice stiff sole, and supportive
  • Hell27Hell27 Posts: 21
    Get some merino wool t shirts, they dry quickly. CX bike is the best commuting bike I've found and learn to roll shirts as they emerge crease free!
  • Mr _TibbsMr _Tibbs Posts: 46
    Remain as graceful as possible
    Keep calm (same thing really)
    Be predictable
    Be assertive not aggressive
    Know your positioning (understand that you have a reason and a right to take a certain position)
    Communicate
    Communicate
    And
    Communicate
  • Saulius RSaulius R Posts: 2
    I cycling 32 miles every day it's fantastic feeling
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