Your commuting progress

welkman
welkman Posts: 396
edited July 2013 in Commuting chat
Hi guys,

I'm now on my 4th year of commuting by bike and wanted to document what has been a great journey for me and I am hoping that others will follow suit and post their story.

Year 1 : MTB which then progressed to MTB with slicks and panniers, fat and drinking too much just given up fags, best commute (20 miles round trip) 18mph.
Year 2: Massive 62 cm cylocross bike (kona Jake) still doing 100 miles a week and the odd sportive, bought a Ribble Carbon and did 2 sportives, just cracked 20mph on the commute.
Year 3: Still on the Cross bike, 100 mile sportives and 100 miles per week, some vague training rides at the weekend.
Year 4: Cat4 racing --> Cat 3 :) built a cervelo R5, trained in spain for two weeks, won some TTs on my Cervelo S1 and am looking into a big challenge ride for next year, joined active club and race and train hard with a power meter.


Overall I have lost about 3 stone and am the fittest I have ever been. I am loving the racing which is not as scary as it seems and still enjoying the commute. I have just purchased a cross bike and have also ridden my fixie (specialized langster) to work this week. Now on about 200miles/week with training and racing.

I have been through 8 different bikes and currently have four plus the wife's. All I need now is a dedicated TT bike. Maybe the Raid Pyrenees next year.
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Comments

  • yeah similar

    1 year on montague paratrooper foldup bike comuting around 50 miles a week, then upgraded to Carrera TDF for around 6 months, decided I missed my cycling so purchased SCOTT CR1 Team at a bargain price have had that for 2 yrs now, commuting around 200-300 miles a week depending on weather, last year purchased a specialized sectuer sport disc as a winter bike.

    Finally cracked my first 100 miler this year in good time 5:20:00 for a 100 and 5:40:00 for 109, never been on a sportive I look at them but for some reason never enter, same in regards to joining a club. I am looking for a new challenge would love to do lejog, london to paris or ride in the alps etc.., but finances always stop me :o(

    Have dropped a jean size so that is a step in the right direction, i reckon i could drop another, but thighs then to tight in them
    Sorry its not me it's the bike ;o)

    Strava Dude link http://www.strava.com/athletes/amander
    Commuting, Domestic & Pleasure : Specialized Sectuer Sport Disc

    Please Sponsor http://www.justgiving.com/alister-manderfield1
  • Gallywomack
    Gallywomack Posts: 823
    Welkman,

    Blimey, you've made a lot more progress than me. I've been at it the same time, with roughly the same distance of round trip. Started on an old MTB with slicks, progressed onto a cheap road bike a couple of years back (Genesis Aether). Also got a hardtail MTB (Kona Steely) which I very occasionally take out for some easy singletrack stuff. I was reasonably quick in commuter terms when I started and remain the same now, but with a quicker bike. Lost 2 stone or so but that was all at once with a brief period of strict dieting, so I don't really attribute it to the cycling. Actually put on weight during the initial 6 months or so. I think it does allow me to maintain weight without trying, so it's good in that regard, but my general fitness pretty much sucks.

    I have recently started to go out on longer weekend rides and I am now thinking about a few sportives for next year. I think I can make some big improvements fairly quickly, certainly by losing more weight (I'm still 18 stone at 6 foot even), some equipment based (don't even use clipless atm for example), and by some organised training to improve my fitness. Don't really see myself ever racing but would certainly like to do some of the big sportives over the next few years.

    Sadly I don't have much money for new bikes as I have a young family, and there is no cycle-to-work at my work (the gits, they make a big deal of CSR but can't be arsed to administer CTW). I'm currently slowly building up a Pompino to use for the commute and the Aether will become my weekend bike in the short term while I save for something better.
  • Again about four years. First 650 miles were on a "mountain" bike that I bought for £40 brand-new from Aldi, many moons earlier. Weighed in at 18.6 Kg, but still took scalps of several roadies. When work finally got around to sorting cycle to work, after about four months, I bought a BeOne road bike and took my rightful place at the top of the food chain.

    The BeOne carried me for a year and a bit (about 5,000 miles), I bought the Genesis DayOne to keep it company and to take on winter duties. After this, I sold my car and bought a vintage Orbea to commute on (it had clearance for proper mudguards). Sadly, after about 2,500 miles the Orbea died when its down-tube snapped - the frame and forks were then replaced by the Equilibrium, which is still going strong today. In the remaining time, I've also added a proper mountain bike and upgraded the now snapped BeOne frame with the CR1.

    Yes, I've managed to snap frames made of both aluminium and steel in the past four years. There you go, four and a bit years and 20,000 miles later. I weigh about the same, but have lost four inches around the middle; nobody would have ever called me fat, but I'm a lot leaner now.
  • dhope
    dhope Posts: 6,699
    Interesting, I'm on year 3 and about the same as you were then. Have the carbon bike, but had that early. Tried a couple of 4th cat races without much success so far, and getting out with the club more regularly.

    always had a fixed commuter. Went Langster that was too big, Gary Fisher that was too small, Condor Tempo that's just right.

    And changed shape a fair bit, if not weight (but then wasn't overweight before)
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • welkman
    welkman Posts: 396
    Agree with shape change. I have been stuck at 13 stone for a year! Nice to hear other peoples stories. How the hell do you commute fixed in Town? You must be mental. I am having problems on my mainly rural commute! Went out this morning and did an FTP test and it seems I have improved by 40 watts over the season so I am really happy with that. A cheap power meter has totally changed my training. Its more intense, less miles and better results now. The goal for next season is to maintain power and reduce weight by a stone! I forgot to add that I am now slightly addicted to strava as well.
  • Hot Orange
    Hot Orange Posts: 157
    Started commuting in 2008:

    Year 1: Occasional 8-10 miles to the station and back on a Scott hybrid. No leisure cycling. Long winter break. Average speed about 14-15 mph.

    Year 2: Slightly more regular 8-10 miles to the station and back on a Scott hybrid. Minimal leisure cycling. Short winter break.

    Year 3: Regular 8-10 miles to the station and back on a Scott hybrid. Minimal leisure cycling. Enforced winter break due to change of job. Cycled just over 1,000 miles.

    Year 4: Bought a Charge flat bar road bike. Regularly rode the new commute of 16 miles each way. More frequent leisure cycling. No winter break. Cycled over 3,000 miles.

    Year 5: Bought a Trek carbon road bike. Cycled the commute whenever possible, regularly stretching it to over 20 miles. Started doing some 40-50 mile leisure rides. Completed my first two sportives, of 50 and 60 miles. No winter break. Cycled over 4,500 miles.

    Year 6: Getting as many miles as I possibly can on the commute. Completed my first two century rides, with at least one more to come. Cycled over 2,700 miles so far. Average commuting speed on the Trek about 18mph, two Strava KOMs achieved. Regretting not getting into cycling about 15 years earlier...
    Summer: 2012 Trek Madone 3.5
    Winter: 2013 Trek Crockett 5
  • dhope
    dhope Posts: 6,699
    Hot Orange wrote:
    Regretting not getting into cycling about 15 years earlier...
    +100
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    edited July 2013
    Year 1, started from nothing fitness wise, picked up an Allez and landed a job with a 34 mile round commute. Took a trip to a&e with breathing difficulties after a few months, body was not used to suddenly doing 100+ miles a week. Cycled to Rome after a year.

    Year 2, office moved to central, 40 mile commute & I discovered Embankment. Coincidentally this as when I realised I was in fact not that fast. Ditched panniers for a more aero setup.

    Year 3, fitness improsed and ripped up the bike leg of Iroman UK. Treated myself to a fixie.

    Year 4, spent the winter fixed, fitness improved even more and started club riding and Cat 4 racing. Weekly mileage now 250 avg.

    There has also been a noticeable yet unintentional evolution towards ticking nearly all of The Rules. Baggies, mtb helmet, panniers, tri bars have all come and gone. Think the hair on my legs is the only thing keeping me in the realms of communter.
  • Gallywomack
    Gallywomack Posts: 823
    With the kind of power awesome we are all laying down, I think it's fair to say that there'd be a few more British GC contenders had we all gotten into the sport 15 years ago.
  • whitebait01
    whitebait01 Posts: 610
    Started cycling in May 2011 after doing a 3 day tour around Norfolk on my old tiny dual slalom bike, got a Ridgeback light tourer/audax type thing through C2W, it was too small but did the job for a while. Was commuting about 20 miles a day up and down CS7, loving every moment of it and mixing it with lots of fast people (and innumerable nodders), lost 3 stone within 3 months of starting (was 17st) but then started having knee trouble after 6 months or so, took a month off cycling then got a bike that fitted me (Ribble Audax). Moved up to Walthamstow and have kept commuting and added in more rides for pleasure, now doing about 400 miles a month, maybe a little less.

    Still smoking and drinking and eating lots of cakes, but now a steady 14st at 6'6". Would like to join a club and maybe try a bit of racing - hopefully it'll force me to quit smoking. Got a fixed gear as well now, which is rather fun and I have a 3 week tour around Northern Europe planned next month.
    Ribble Audax - FCN 5
    Dedacciai Pista - FCN 3
  • Hot Orange
    Hot Orange Posts: 157
    With the kind of power awesome we are all laying down, I think it's fair to say that there'd be a few more British GC contenders had we all gotten into the sport 15 years ago.

    Definitely. Cycling in East Anglia is ideal preparation for the mountainous bits of the Tour, right?
    Summer: 2012 Trek Madone 3.5
    Winter: 2013 Trek Crockett 5
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,547
    My story is fairly similar to many of the above. I started cycling to work about 4 years ago. Shortly afterwards I sold my motorbike and bought another one in bits so as to remove the easy option and make myself cycle every day. I started out on my old Marin MTB. Then persuaded the company to do the ride to work scheme and got a not quite so huge Kona Jake and rode that for a while. After damaging my hand last September I convinced my wife that I needed a bike with better brakes and built up the Kinesis which is a fabulous bike.
    I haven't really lost any weight, didn't have much spare anyway, but I am a lot fitter than I was. I always used to cycle a bit on my old MTB, but not nearly as much as I do now. I've not done any sportives, might have a go at one at some point, I've done a few charity rides with mates. Not done 100 miles yet, but I'm sure I could if I wanted to, I have done 85 miles off road though and will be doing it again this September. But might try it on the CX this time.
  • cyclingprop
    cyclingprop Posts: 2,426
    Started commuting 3 years ago...

    Year 1: Occasional <25 mile (flat rides) along with commute on a trek 1.5. 15-16 average. London to Brighton longest ride. 19 ish stone.

    Year 2: Increased riding, more miles and more rides but still flat ish. London to Paris longest rides (multi day and single day longest). 15-17 average.

    Year 3: Similar. L2P again. Bought a Madone.

    Year 4: Ankle surgery in April. Rode less. Then ride ride around london with WR etc... which hurt as cramped a lot. Clipped 20ish stone.

    Year 5: Increased mileage to 500+ a month. Did ride across britain, 990/9 days. Longest ever day. PB on 100 miles now under 6h20. Confirmed I have the bug. Currently down a bit on miles (sore knee) but have signed up for RAB next year. Lost 2+ stone but am still 18+stone...

    So faster than I was but still heavy. Power to weight is relatively poor. But I've targets and want to try the track...
    What do you mean you think 64cm is a big frame?
  • stu-bim
    stu-bim Posts: 384
    This should be linked to beginner thread


    edit - added it
    Raleigh RX 2.0
    Diamondback Outlook
    Planet X Pro Carbon
  • Pufftmw
    Pufftmw Posts: 1,941
    I dealt with the weight issue some years back - 11.5 stone, lost the belly, took up cycling/weights and put the weight back on in muscle. Moved back to London and started cycling everywhere, which to start was only a few miles a day. Found love in Lewisham and moved there 3 years ago & moved from an old Gary Fisher MTB with road tyres to the Ghost am on now. That's about a 7 mile each way commute going the way I do. For a period last year, I increased my route to 10 miles each way but then got too busy at work. Most of the rest of my cycling is MTB though I have done a couple of longer runs.

    Recently though, have been going up to our W10 office which has the benefit of increasing my daily mileage - 25 there/back or 30 if I visit both offices and back in a day.

    Not sure how much commuting for the past 3 years at a consistently regular rate is affecting my ability/strength/stamina. I think its degraded in the last year but some of that might be down to doing less core weights work maybe?
  • daveski12
    daveski12 Posts: 158
    Started commuting occasionally a couple of years ago on a crap MTB.

    Got a better MTB on cycle to work (had a 26 mile commute so never intended to use it to commute), started off driving half way then cycling but soon moved up to cycling all the way.

    Wanted to go faster last year so bought a road bike, a 1980s Raleigh, off someone at work. Found it difficult on the same route as the MTB because of all the junctions so started doing a 32 mile commute which was quicker. Joined a club, did a 10 mile TT, few longer Sunday rides. Did around 1400 miles on this.

    Bought my current Trek 1.2 from a guy on the club in October and rode a lot, chaingangs, Sunday rides. Had a nasty crash on one Sunday ride in December and cut my mileage right down. Ended the year on 3106 miles.

    This year I moved so only have a 20 mile commute. I'd only done 500 miles by the end of May but 1000 miles in June, 900 in July and a few hundred so far this month means I'm on 2905 for the year so far.

    Commute most days, anywhere from 16/17 - 20/21mph. Often add some miles on. Beat my TT PB by 2 minutes last month, done a couple of century rides (including one with 10,000ft of climbing) and my first Audax.
  • welkman
    welkman Posts: 396
    Great work guys! Some really positive stories. I forgot to add that cycling has really helped my mental health/stress issues as well. Good stuff.
  • stu-bim
    stu-bim Posts: 384
    welkman wrote:
    Great work guys! Some really positive stories. I forgot to add that cycling has really helped my mental health/stress issues as well. Good stuff.

    +1

    Still, non-cycling days people avoid me as they always did :)

    Started cycling in January on a 2nd hand mtb. Done around 300 miles by end of Feb and replaced tyres with slicks and decided to commute as often as possible (14.5 RT country side). Got a CX bike in April and have been extending the commute to around 30 miles a day. Not everyday now but 3/4 days a week.

    I have lost almost 3 stone (19'1'' to 16'3'') and I am hugely healthier. Longest ride is 60 miles and the aim is for a Solo Century in September and 5,000 miles for 2013. Even planning on going carbon road bike before the end of the year. Money saved on commuting is the justification.

    Haven't got the years in like most but really love the exercise and being outdoors so often. Another for cannot believe I had not done it sooner.

    BTW, thanks for the all advice on the message board. Since I did not know anyone else into cycling let alone commuting it has been invaluable. Never heard of a CX bike and absolutely love the one I have. Now have two more people in work commuting since starting.
    Raleigh RX 2.0
    Diamondback Outlook
    Planet X Pro Carbon
  • roger_merriman
    roger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    Started commuting 2007, on a big green heavy hybrid, just close range stuff, and rides in the park, at that time while I had a New MTB I had fitted the old MTB with slicks for rides around the surrey hills. and joined the local bike club.

    2008 still commuting puny distances on the big green hybrid, but given up with old MTB on slicks and bought a old racer, which I rode the odd 50 miler on. ( I also got married! )

    2009 I got around to taking the MTB out to Swinley and Surrey Hills etc, still on the big green hybrid to work. old MTB went to live with my sister and cart children around.

    2010 Old red racer hardly got used, I used the MTB for pleasure and the green lump of a hybrid for work, late in the year I got a SS (revolution track)

    2011 I now commute on the SS still have paniers, big hybrid is gone, just the unloved old racer and the MTB that spends a lot of time in the woods, I also do slightly longer rides on the SS though rarely over 30/40 miles.

    2012 member ship of bike club i let lapse since i rarely use them, be that club runs or what not. middle of 2012 my SS is nicked and I get a new one this time it's a lighter faster one, a Fuji Track, it's great fun on the commute and longer road rides, The MTB still gets used but not the old roadie who went to a far better place.

    2013 MTB gets money spent on it, new gears etc and continues to be used, The Fuji I commute and take for spins in to surrey hills, Two bikes is enough, and makes me fit enough to have a low pulse and manage to ride to brighton and back with out feeling dead!

    My fun bikes have tended to be MTB's and I've never really had much of a competitive instinct. hence really letting the bike club lapse etc.
  • welkman
    welkman Posts: 396
    Almost bought a fuji track last week they look great. Riding fixed with no power meter or intervals to worry about is nice on my off days. I am looking forward to cx in the next few months. I love building and maintaining bikes, if I won the lottery I would run a lbs at a loss !
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,547
    Roger's old roadie is in daily use going to school and back under my son. He absolutely loves it, we might strip it again come the winter and have it powder coated as the rattle can paint job is not coping well with everyday life.
    If we make it to the Roebuck at some point I'll get him to bring it along.
    Actually, I might ride it to work tomorrow as he is off out straight from school as it's the end of term.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,429
    Had always ridden a lot before, to friends, to primary school etc.

    Started properly commuting every day when I was 16. Would rarely be a day in the month where I wouldn't ride at all. No suspension mtb with slicks.

    Got my first roadie bike alongside my commuter aged 17 so that's when I started doing rides over two hours.

    Stopped commuting but continued roadie stuff at uni save for when I was back in Cambridge. Did a 150km a day week long Tour of the pyrenees at 21 - peak of my fitness.

    Had a year off when I moved to London. Sorted my life out and started again Jan 2012. Was the fittest I'd ever been for spring this year due to commute every week day and club run on weekends but my current hiatus in NYC has put pay to that and my broken elbow will keep me off for a while longer.

    So, with small gaps about 8-9 years of proper regular cycling.

    Im now 25 and have noticed how much stronger I am now than when I was 20 -21. I can ride harder for longer and reach speeds I never used to. Also seem to put on muscle quicker than I did then.
  • Initialised
    Initialised Posts: 3,047
    1994-1996 - lived in London had a BSO MTB, Broke it, got another for ~£90 from Cash Converters Bike was my main form of transport most of that time.

    2001 - Summer job, commuted most days Fenham-Silverlink, started out on bike paths ended up doing the bulk of it on the Coast Road.

    2009 - Swapped a bunch of PC parts for a half decent rigid MTB, Started Cycling to work on days when there was no rain forecast stopped around the time the clocks changed, mainly stuck to off road routes.

    2010 - Started getting into it more, a few longer rides including time at trail centres, mainly stuck to off road and started converting the bike for road use as parts wore out, 48T cranks, SPDs, Ergon Grips, Gator Skins. Got Aldi winter gear in Autumn, only skipped a few days through winter, got Snow Tyres. Gradually replaced most of the route with road.

    2011 - More riding at weekends, longer routes, more hills, equal road and bike track on leisure rides. The occasional extended commute. Started using Endomondo.

    2012 - Started doing lunchtime rides, started as a couple of laps of Team Valley, grew to a 10 mile ride over a 666ft hill hitting high 40s on the way down, by winter it shrank to 8 miles up the hill on the road, down on a flood damaged bike track. Got a fair bit of riding done on holidays. Extended commutes become more frequent. First month over 500 miles. Did over 5000 miles in total.

    2013 - Started using Strava. Finally broke the MTB on a ~45 mile ride and replaced it with a disc brake, endurance road bike, did my first 100 mile sportive, extended the lunch time rides to 15 miles started reading and using training plans and such, doing intervals, hill repeats, thinking more about technique and that sort of thing. Looking to join a club this year and get a Garmin (cheapo HRM and Cadence computer both lost or failed). Extended commutes pretty common these days. Contemplating choices for winter biking (adapt the road bike and maybe go Cross riding, adapt an MTB that is really a bit small for me and hope I don't have to use it too much or buy an MTB). Aiming (and on target) for 7000 miles this year.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • aclivity
    aclivity Posts: 94
    August 2011 - left one job, started in Manchester, decided to bike to the station. I'd not used a bike for years, but had always thought about riding to work (but car was always easier). Used my redundancy money and bought myself a Brompton - basic spec, 3 speed.

    Rode about 25 miles a week, at first it was hard, it got a bit easier.

    Bought a decent bike for the weekends in Summer 2012.

    October 2012 - had a stroke, spent 3 months wondering what I was doing on my bike, balance was a bit off.

    January 2013 - back to work, balance getting better so rode to the station again. Only fell off a couple of times (on the towpath!)

    Ride longer trips to and (mostly) from work - up to 6 / 7 miles on the nice days.

    Total miles - must be around 2500 on the commute, at weekends I am building up to longer rides but my son wants to come with me so that keeps my miles down, probably only a few hundred miles on that.

    Weight is still at 18st, but I feel healthier for it.
  • welkman
    welkman Posts: 396
    Great news from the last couple, especially the guy with the stroke, much kudos. I wonder if ITB will pitch in here, the first thread I read on this forum was him shaving his legs! I do now shave myself which confirms me as a full on roadie!
  • dhope
    dhope Posts: 6,699
    welkman wrote:
    Great news from the last couple, especially the guy with the stroke, much kudos. I wonder if ITB will pitch in here, the first thread I read on this forum was him shaving his legs! I do now shave myself which confirms me as a full on roadie!
    ITB is just a tart though, the shaving his legs has little to do with cycling.
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • welkman
    welkman Posts: 396
    Best thread ever though! I do miss LiT, wonder what she is doing these days?
  • dhope
    dhope Posts: 6,699
    welkman wrote:
    Best thread ever though! I do miss LiT, wonder what she is doing these days?
    Gaming out in the sticks
    https://twitter.com/oliviadgrace
    http://wow.joystiq.com/2012/07/22/about ... via-grace/
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078
    Hey all, bit of a lurker on the threads, but thought i'd chip in this time.

    Started cycling last year, about September time, mainly for leisure and bought a Felt Z6 2012 at a bargain price. This year i've started commuting, 2 or 3 times a week, 12 miles each way. I live near Redhill and work near Camden. I don't fancy a 24 mile commute each way (at least not yet) so drive to Mitcham and cycle the last 12 miles each way, through Colliers Wood, Tooting, Balham, Clapham, Millbank, Whitehall, TCR. So i guess I'll only see the SCR mob on Millbank and round PS.

    I've lost a stone since Christmas, which i'm fairly chuffed with.

    Do at least one long ride each weekend, but not done any sportives or races yet. Attempting London to Bath this weekend, will go on to Bristol if feeling ok!
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
    Tall....
    www.seewildlife.co.uk
  • MrSweary
    MrSweary Posts: 1,699
    Prior to 2001 : Experience of bikes is limited to a Raleigh Grifter, the heaviest BMX ever made and a rather ropey mtb. Not sure what lycra is and think a MAMIL is somfin what is tort in biology innit.

    2001 to 2011 : Living in Limehouse working in the city. Begin commuting all of a few miles in to the office on a decathlon hybrid (triban 7 or something). Have vague idea what a road bike is but would have referred to it as a 'racer' which tells you everything really. Think wearing lycra is at best extreme vanity and at worst akin to kiddie-fiddling. Laugh openly in the faces of MAMILS.

    2011-2012 : Living in Isle of Dogs, purchase a Marin hybrid which compared to the Triban is a featherweight speed machine. Commute goes up by a couple of miles. Think wearing lycra is perverse and unnecessary. Get into cycling and go to a few trendy bike events with wife. Make rude gestures behind the backs of MAMILS.

    2012 to present : Join the great SW Diaspora living in St Margarets. Initially commute on the Marin in baggy shorts a few days a week. Swallow self loathing and realise the utility of lycra and the NEED for a faster bike. Learn to love the feel of fresh chamois cream on my undergoolies. Get interested in the history of pro-cycling and gradually sucked in by the romance and mystique of the sport. Learn The Rules. Buy first road bike - black with red bits for 10% speed bonus. Begin SCR-ing along the route and telling the whoppers that are integral to this. Start going in to Richmond Park on the commute to add distance and seek out HILLS. Thinking of N+1.

    I AM A MAMIL!!!
    Kinesis Racelite 4s disc
    Kona Paddy Wagon
    Canyon Roadlite Al 7.0 - reborn as single speed!
    Felt Z85 - mangled by taxi.