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Fuel Poverty

calonukcalonuk Posts: 78
edited April 2011 in Commuting chat
I only started cycling because the car became too expensive to run every day of the week without it a/effecting the food budget. . I have enjoyed lovely weather and have cycled 2 -3 times a week throughMarch (client comitment makes it impossible to do any more) and have really enjoyed it.

Then today as I knew it would it rained.......... so at this point in time I am on a borrowed bike until my boss pays for my CTW certificate which he has already approved and i have no cycle gear. Like the complete noob i normally cycle in t-shirt and very light weight combats. I decided on shorts for today with wets over the top got into work like a drowned rat :lol: Trainers and socks soaked through t-shirts and shorts completely drenched as well rain or sweat, not sure at this point.

I am on a low budget and would love if any of you guys could give me an idea of what gear i should be wearing (over weight not sure lycra would suit) and as cheap as possible.

Did you start cycling because you couldn't afford to run the car? 0 votes

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  • ndrundru Posts: 382
    Don't wear any gear. Seriously. You don;t need it. Ride in normal, comfortable clothes. Especially since you said your budget is tight. Cycling specific clothing is for sport cyclists and it's expensive. Look at pics from NL and see what they are wearing. If you start buying gear you will soon see that the bicycle is not much cheaper then the car :).
    However do buy a rain poncho. It costs less then 20 quid and will keep you dry.
  • londonlivvylondonlivvy Posts: 644
    Lidl and Aldi both do bike kit specials occasionally at very accessible prices. There's just been a Lidl one (it started two weeks ago, I think) so you may find there's still some stuff in store.

    Depending on where you live, Decathlon may also be an option - lots of their own-brand stuff which is really not bad quality for the price.

    How far is your commute? If it's not that far you may not need that much cycle-specific stuff.
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,147
    I wear work black trousers with normally a teeshirt plus old royal mail doctor martin shoes.

    I don't get that hot, i have a very light jacket for wet/cold days. you don't need lycra. it can be a better fit but it's not needed.
  • It's all about distance, if you're doing decent miles or riding hard, you'll need the right kit. If I rode in wearing normal clothes and a rain cape, I'd be about ready to expire. The Aldi sale should be in a couple of weeks, that's a very good place to buy commuting kit.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,040 Lives Here
    No need to have lots of gear.

    Take it easy; so you don't sweat.

    Then you can ride in whatever you want.

    Observe:

    amsterdam-cycling.jpgpr2b_amsterdam_bicycle_suit.jpg
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,473
    Wear clothes approprite to the temperature - being cold is much worse than being wet.

    You then have 3 options.

    1. Get wet from the rain.
    2. Buy cheap waterproofs and get wet from sweat.
    3. Spend an absolute fortune on breathable water resistant clothing - that leaks eventually (time is usually in relation to money but no guarantee).

    Once you are wet, you won't get any wetter but keep warm. Then again, wet clothes are heavy clothes so don't wear too much either. Confused? You will be.....
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • calonukcalonuk Posts: 78
    This is the route i travel

    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/29261064

    work it quite hard as would like to try and lose some weight. takes 35 mins at the moment but i am desperately trying to aim for under 30mins. As far as sweating i don't mind as i get to work early and wash in work.

    I will have to look at lidl I thought i had missed the sale.

    really appreciate all the advice and help.

    exercise.png
  • calonuk wrote:
    This is the route i travel

    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/29261064

    work it quite hard as would like to try and lose some weight. takes 35 mins at the moment but i am desperately trying to aim for under 30mins. As far as sweating i don't mind as i get to work early and wash in work.

    I will have to look at lidl I thought i had missed the sale.

    really appreciate all the advice and help.

    Apparently you only share that route with your friends...
  • calonukcalonuk Posts: 78
    Sorry this one should work

    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/29261064

    Not a massive commute but by the end of april my plan is to cycle this route.

    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/30124884

    exercise.png
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    If you're going to wear trainers make sure there is as little padding as possible. Had a pair of Air Max and after a few soaks and not drying out the smell was... phew.. just horrible.

    No idea if you still get them but Londsale trainers from Sports Direct (or some similar cheapo sports shop) were awesome. They were pretty much leather slippers and dried out in no time. 20 quid a pair too.

    So think about how easy your shoes will dry out or learn to love the pong.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    I wear some cheap cotton shorts with a 'sports' base layer top (around a tenner from JJB) and ALDI gloves, I have spare grots and socks in the desk at work, I carry a waterproof (TK Max expenisve Howies jobbie) I also have an ALDI softshell which keeps me pretty waterproof in most showers.

    I cycle to save money and weight, but have only just paid back the bike cost!

    Simon
  • jw6jw6 Posts: 4
    daviesee wrote:
    Wear clothes approprite to the temperature - being cold is much worse than being wet.

    You then have 3 options.

    1. Get wet from the rain.
    2. Buy cheap waterproofs and get wet from sweat.
    3. Spend an absolute fortune on breathable water resistant clothing - that leaks eventually (time is usually in relation to money but no guarantee).

    Once you are wet, you won't get any wetter but keep warm. Then again, wet clothes are heavy clothes so don't wear too much either. Confused? You will be.....

    :D
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    A car is as expensive as you make it;

    Alright, fuel is a killer at the moment - we are all shafted.

    But, you can avoid a chunk of car tax by having an older car or a very efficient car. Doing your own servicing and pre-empt mechanical problems helps too.

    However, once you get the bike bug, you need upgrades, bike wieght becomes a factor - more upgrades, carbon frames..... The right kit, then Rapha kit......and so on.....

    I have spent far more on my bike in the last 2 years than I have running a Mercedes ML...(less fuel) doing my own servicing; aside gearbox oil and rear shock change - where specialist kit is needed.
  • jds_1981jds_1981 Posts: 1,858
    Although heading into summer now, sportsdirect have some cheapish thermals that'd be good as a base layer.
    FCN 9 || FCN 5
  • iandennisiandennis Posts: 238
    i was in a similar position to you and as of November I've been riding to work 2 or 3 times a week. Originally I started on an old mountain bike, but as its 11 miles I've just upgraded to a road bike via Cycle to work. With the distance I cover then getting cycling specific clothes is better than arriving a work a sweaty mess. Whilst we dont have showers I can use wet wipes and the sink to freshen up and keep my work clothes in the office.

    If your looking at cheap cycling gear then sports direct has some cheap stuff that's serviceable. I started with this before moving onto Endua and Altura kit. Get shorts and a top and a waterproof jacket. Helmet and gloves are essential. I've gone down the route of SPD's but trainers are fine if your starting out. You will regret it if you dont but gear as you will get faster and its easier to keep clothes at work (especially if your driving occassionally).

    To answer your poll, yes I gave up on using the car due to the expense, if I could cycle every day then i would but client meetings and a young family mean that until I can get the commute under 40mins then the car has to be used on certain days.

    Good luck
  • ndrundru Posts: 382
    edited March 2011
    gtvlusso wrote:
    A car is as expensive as you make it;
    However, once you get the bike bug, you need upgrades, bike wieght becomes a factor - more upgrades, carbon frames..... The right kit, then Rapha kit......and so on.....

    I have spent far more on my bike in the last 2 years than I have running a Mercedes ML...(less fuel) doing my own servicing; aside gearbox oil and rear shock change - where specialist kit is needed.

    Not very clever then mate... I don't think you need carbon and rapha kit unless you are professionaly racing. All that stuff just makes you look somewhat silly. I mean if you have loads of money and like to spend it that way - then sure go ahead - however what point can you see in giving this kind of advice to someone who simply wants to cycle to work. Unless this piece was tongue in cheek it really think you have all the gear, but still no idea.
  • ndrundru Posts: 382
    Sorry for flooding.
    To the OP - I do 8 miles there and 8 miles back every day on a heavy yet comfortable and bombproof pashley. I wear my normal clothes and hardly sweat. If you think about it there is little difference if you exercise moderately for 45 minutes or hard for 20. The calorie loss is more or less the same. What you get in return is the bicycle becomes not a form of training, but normal transport, which you then start using for shopping, errands etc - and it's easy because you don't have to do the superman thing (phone booth, ripping shirt on the chest) every time you want to use it. Wouldn't you be reluctant to use a car if every time you had to don a flameproof suit special boots and what have you? Keep it simple and make it normal - you will also get more respect from other road users. It's not worth it for your 11km commute.
    Oh and don't worry about not being fast - it's really not a race and what you save in time on your commute you will then loose under the shower.
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    edited March 2011
    I think its utter rubbish when people suggest that you don't need cycling gear.

    Cycling gear is what makes cycling comfortable (alongside having a properly fitting bike that meets the purpose).

    I doubt anyone can argue that riding in a suit or cotton is going to be less comfortable than riding in lycra that is designed (by "technology" so you know it works) to wick away sweat from the body and keep you cool and dry as possible (amongst other things like not restricting the body's movement).

    Rain and keeping dry is tricky, if you go with 'waterpoof' technology it may not let water in but said clothing often doesn't let heat out meaning you'll sweat and get too hot. I don't know about others but that leaves me feeling uncomfortable.

    Water resistant is the way forward, you'll get wet but your skin breathes and for the most part manages to maintain your body tempreture despite getting wet. Also if you wear lycra in the rain it dries quickly so by the end of the working it'll be dry for the journey home.

    I'm writing this cool and sweat free in a suit in the office having ridden 10miles. My cycling clothes that cost a total of £30 (full length tights and t-shirt, both lycra) are alredy dry.

    What cycling gear doesn't need to be is expensive:

    I buy this stuff: http://www.cycle-clothing.co.uk/Ranges/ ... horts.aspx

    And

    DHB: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/?s=DHB

    I also like Pearl Izumi mens coats I have a hi-viz one and a water resistant one £50 each. Some of the CC-UK jackets are just as good IMO.
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • mudcow007mudcow007 Posts: 3,861
    ndru wrote:
    gtvlusso wrote:
    A car is as expensive as you make it;
    However, once you get the bike bug, you need upgrades, bike wieght becomes a factor - more upgrades, carbon frames..... The right kit, then Rapha kit......and so on.....

    I have spent far more on my bike in the last 2 years than I have running a Mercedes ML...(less fuel) doing my own servicing; aside gearbox oil and rear shock change - where specialist kit is needed.

    Not very clever then mate... I don't think you need carbon and rapha kit unless you are professionaly racing. All that stuff just makes you look somewhat silly. I mean if you have loads of money and like to spend it that way - then sure go ahead - however what point can you see in giving this kind of advice to someone who simply wants to cycle to work. Unless this piece was tongue in cheek it really think you have all the gear, but still no idea.

    i think the point "gtvlusso" was making was that, whilst cycling might seem a cheap option of travelling if you do get addicted (most of the people on here are) you tend to start replacing parts on your bike(s) for lighter more exotic stuff which start adding up


    i ride 6miles each way on my daily commute, if the weather is better this can be 10+ each way though. i normally wear a "techincal" t-shirt. basically a quick drying strechey shirt. you can get them everwhere (Gelert do a few)

    http://www.gelert.com/products/clothing ... _s_t-shirt

    an shorts, unless its really cold then i wear combats

    have fun
    Keeping it classy since '83
  • ndrundru Posts: 382
    mudcow007 wrote:
    ndru wrote:
    gtvlusso wrote:
    A car is as expensive as you make it;
    However, once you get the bike bug, you need upgrades, bike wieght becomes a factor - more upgrades, carbon frames..... The right kit, then Rapha kit......and so on.....

    I have spent far more on my bike in the last 2 years than I have running a Mercedes ML...(less fuel) doing my own servicing; aside gearbox oil and rear shock change - where specialist kit is needed.

    Not very clever then mate... I don't think you need carbon and rapha kit unless you are professionaly racing. All that stuff just makes you look somewhat silly. I mean if you have loads of money and like to spend it that way - then sure go ahead - however what point can you see in giving this kind of advice to someone who simply wants to cycle to work. Unless this piece was tongue in cheek it really think you have all the gear, but still no idea.

    i think the point "gtvlusso" was making was that, whilst cycling might seem a cheap option of travelling if you do get addicted (most of the people on here are) you tend to start replacing parts on your bike(s) for lighter more exotic stuff which start adding up

    I understand, which for me is "doing it wrong". If you are addicted to cycling - cycle more. If you want to improve you fitness buy a heavier bike. I am not against buying expensive bikes - quality parts cost, what I am against is all that racing gear that people buy when all they do is use their bikes in the city environment. It strips cycling of the utilitarian function and pushes it away from being mainstream and normal. So while it's okay to recommend cycling gear to racing bikers, I think doing the same to people who haven't got a good understanding of the subject is a bit misguided in my opinion. Let them first try normal cycling - let them see the usefulness of the bicycle and that it's a mode of transport as good as and versatile as a normal car.
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    ndru wrote:

    I understand, which for me is "doing it wrong". If you are addicted to cycling - cycle more. If you want to improve you fitness buy a heavier bike. I am not against buying expensive bikes - quality parts cost, what I am against is all that racing gear that people buy when all they do is use their bikes in the city environment. It strips cycling of the utilitarian function and pushes it away from being mainstream and normal. So while it's okay to recommend cycling gear to racing bikers, I think doing the same to people who haven't got a good understanding of the subject is a bit misguided in my opinion. Let them first try normal cycling - let them see the usefulness of the bicycle and that it's a mode of transport as good as and versatile as a normal car.

    Utter tosh.

    1). Get a heavier bike for fitness purposes? How about ride more.

    2). Lycra has practicalities that benefit or aid physical activities and the subsequent byproducts like sweat. This is why it has uses in every day life beyond racing.

    3). Define normal?

    I think you have a bias against what you think isn't a normal or practical use for the bike and that hinders every post ou make in this thread.
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • iandennisiandennis Posts: 238
    ndru wrote:
    I understand, which for me is "doing it wrong". If you are addicted to cycling - cycle more. If you want to improve you fitness buy a heavier bike. I am not against buying expensive bikes - quality parts cost, what I am against is all that racing gear that people buy when all they do is use their bikes in the city environment. It strips cycling of the utilitarian function and pushes it away from being mainstream and normal. So while it's okay to recommend cycling gear to racing bikers, I think doing the same to people who haven't got a good understanding of the subject is a bit misguided in my opinion. Let them first try normal cycling - let them see the usefulness of the bicycle and that it's a mode of transport as good as and versatile as a normal car.

    Utter rubbish, if you cycle in normal clothes for more than a couple of miles then as a new commuter then you will get hot and sweaty. Normal cycling - exactly WTF does that mean. Racing gear isn't required but decent shorts with a pad will help comfort, a good top will keep wind chill down. Cycling in normal clothes then what happens when you fall off or it rains, turning up looking a mess isnt an option for most people in the work environment.
    For short distances, say upto 1 mile or so maybe but any significant distance then wear the right clothes for the job. Its not like cycling gear has to be expensive - see sports direct etc.
  • ndrundru Posts: 382
    1) I mentioned riding more in the sentence previous to the one you quoted - both things have the same effect, combining them is even better.
    2) Sure, what I am saying is that levels of physical activity that require lycra are a bit beyond what most usually get to on their commute.
    3) Normal is something the bulk of society accepts as a norm. Mind you - not cycling society, but the overall society.

    Sure I do have a bias in the same way you do. However I am not against racing bikes, where lycra and all that stuff seems appropriate. I am against the fact that bicycles seem to be treated like sport everywhere, even in the cities, even by commuters. It seems to me that you on the other hand dismiss the notion of bicycles being for anything else than proving your machismo and shaving off seconds of your commute.
  • ndrundru Posts: 382
    Utter rubbish, if you cycle in normal clothes for more than a couple of miles then as a new commuter then you will get hot and sweaty. Normal cycling - exactly WTF does that mean. Racing gear isn't required but decent shorts with a pad will help comfort, a good top will keep wind chill down. Cycling in normal clothes then what happens when you fall off or it rains, turning up looking a mess isnt an option for most people in the work environment.
    For short distances, say upto 1 mile or so maybe but any significant distance then wear the right clothes for the job. Its not like cycling gear has to be expensive - see sports direct etc.

    Compare walking to jogging - walking is a normal activity, jogging is sport. You won't get sweaty unless you will cycle hard. I don't need shorts and I commute well over 1 mile. I've never fallen of and if I ever will it's going to be on tarmac, not in mud so I don't see the problem. I arrive at work clean, my deodorant keeps my pits dry and lack of backpack does the same for my back. I don't need a shower and I don't look a mess. Amazing, isn't it?
  • Fireblade96Fireblade96 Posts: 1,123
    I'm going to weigh in partly on the utilitarian side.
    I have a nice road bike, and lycra gear and I like to ride fast (well, fast as I can). However, when I'm just popping into town (~3 miles) or to the pub, I just wear normal non-cycling-specific clothes.

    There's a difference between commuting between home and a fixed place of work where you can do your superman get-changed-in-the-bogs bit, and just riding a bike as a convenient way of getting round town.

    One does not preclude the other, both have their place according to need.
    Misguided Idealist
  • iandennisiandennis Posts: 238
    edited March 2011
    ndru wrote:
    Compare walking to jogging - walking is a normal activity, jogging is sport. You won't get sweaty unless you will cycle hard. I don't need shorts and I commute well over 1 mile. I've never fallen of and if I ever will it's going to be on tarmac, not in mud so I don't see the problem. I arrive at work clean, my deodorant keeps my pits dry and lack of backpack does the same for my back. I don't need a shower and I don't look a mess. Amazing, isn't it?

    Good for you, however the OP is a new commuter. Speaking from experience when I started I sweated every mile. Going up the hills I really struggled and if I'd been wearing a shirt and tie then I would of been in a real state and not fit for work. Most people starting out will sweat, especially if on a heavy bike. Without a decent set of shorts then I would of suffered various saddle sores. Falling off wearing a suit would probably trash the suit on tarmac, not something I want to happen in work clothes. I'd say to the OP as they can drive on certain days, take your clothes and drop them off. Then you can cycle with the mimimum to work. Getting rid of the backpack can be a big help, especially as summer is here and waterproofs might not be essential. Having the right gear helped me to continue when stamina was the biggest issue. If i'd try to cycle to work in normal clothes then i probably wouldn't of continued. Going to the pub is a different conversation as the OP was talking about going to work.
  • tiny_penstiny_pens Posts: 293
    I think ndru is referring to what is becoming known as 'Slow Cycling'

    http://www.slowbicyclemovement.org

    Its an OK idea - particularly on a nice day but personally I feel less vulnerable when travelling a lot closer to the speed of the traffic around me. YMMV.

    For the OP:Wouldn't have thought lycra shorts would be that beneficial for the relatively short distance and for me even the most expensive raincoats still get you hot and sweaty but some are more breathable than others (I personally rate Paramo kit even though its not cycling specific).
    I have some waterproof overshoes and I rate them at about a 10 min waterproof rating before the water runs down your legs and fills them up. You could always try RainLegs instead of waterproof trousers.
    I have a friend who wears sandals to cycle in because then the water rolls out the bottom. In the winter he wears waterproof socks. He claims it works well but he does look a bit of a fool dressed like that :-)
  • ndrundru Posts: 382
    I wasn't referring to the slow bicycle movement. There is a difference between pushing yourself to the max, a reasonable pace and pootling around enjoying the nature. Each of these paces have their uses. I am only saying that pushing yourself to the max is not necessary unless you're racing.
  • iandennisiandennis Posts: 238
    ndru wrote:
    I wasn't referring to the slow bicycle movement. There is a difference between pushing yourself to the max, a reasonable pace and pootling around enjoying the nature. Each of these paces have their uses. I am only saying that pushing yourself to the max is not necessary unless you're racing.

    Pushing yourself to the max - lol :)

    My 11 mile commute when i started out was pushing myself to the max with a 3 steep hills and 18 stone of me plus bike to carry around. I was grateful for the right gear when i was trying to do this and it kept me motivated. Trying to do it in jeans and a jumper wouldn't of been appropriate. 22 miles twice a week and 2 stone lighter then i'd still rather have good shorts/tights and a decent windproof top. Commuting has helped me loose a lot of weight and should help me loose a lot more but I still sweat so doing it in work clothes isnt an option.
  • I'm going to weigh in partly on the utilitarian side.
    I have a nice road bike, and lycra gear and I like to ride fast (well, fast as I can). However, when I'm just popping into town (~3 miles) or to the pub, I just wear normal non-cycling-specific clothes.

    There's a difference between commuting between home and a fixed place of work where you can do your superman get-changed-in-the-bogs bit, and just riding a bike as a convenient way of getting round town.

    One does not preclude the other, both have their place according to need.

    The ratio of everyday people on everyday bikes to the kind of cyclist who visits cycling forums is probably different in the UK to other N European countries. I think I probably see more ''cyclists'' than people on bikes in my urban neck of the woods. Much urban commuting seems to be about independence, getting from A to B quickly and conveniently, getting exercise and simply being seen. So you'll see more riders dressed for exercise and to be seen in British cities than you would expect to see in many other European cities. I think we have 2 different kinds of ''normal'' - normal within the whole population and ''normal for cyclists,''

    Anyhow, I have calculated this afternoon's commute into work. 182 metres! Then Ill be doing about 4 miles on-and-off the bike knocking on doors work before renegotiating the 182 metre commute back home. I think I'll be doing it in everyday outdoor gear with a mere hint of hi-viz adornment. For a 10+ miles urban commute-cum-exercise I'd be more dressed for the part (albeit à la ALDI) though.
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