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Long range bike-train-bike commutes

cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
edited April 2014 in Commuting chat
Aside from ITB, anyone on here do a "super-commute"?

I'm looking at how viable a two-hour plus commute from out west into the Big Smoke is, with a bike-train-bike combo. I appreciate that this may seem like madness (and it probably is), but, at the moment, it's unlikely to lengthen the working day or see me arrive home any later than I do at the moment.

From an N+1 perspective, I'd probably get an Airnimal.
FCN 2-4.

"What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
"It stays down, Daddy."
"Exactly."

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  • Madness. Are you ill?
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    :lol:

    Which bit: the commute length or the idea of a folding bike?
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • cjcp wrote:
    :lol:

    Which bit: the commute length or the idea of a folding bike?

    You think only one of those is an indicia of lunacy?

    You're a long way down the road. A long way... :shock: :wink:
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    cjcp wrote:
    :lol:

    Which bit: the commute length or the idea of a folding bike?

    You think only one of those is an indicia of lunacy?

    You're a long way down the road. A long way... :shock: :wink:

    :lol:
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 18,033
    cjcp wrote:
    Aside from ITB, anyone on here do a "super-commute"?

    I'm looking at how viable a two-hour plus commute from out west into the Big Smoke is, with a bike-train-bike combo. I appreciate that this may seem like madness (and it probably is), but, at the moment, it's unlikely to lengthen the working day or see me arrive home any later than I do at the moment.

    From an N+1 perspective, I'd probably get an Airnimal.

    You know all those posts ITB makes about being stranded at a deserted rural station in rain-soaked cycling gear...
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • agent57agent57 Posts: 2,300
    When I worked in Salford, my "door to door" was about 1h 50m. Only 2 miles on the bike at the home end, then 3 miles at the work end, with an hour or so on the train. Particularly at the "to the station" end, I always allowed at least an extra 10 minutes; in theory to give me time to change a flat and still get the same train, or walk the rest of the way if I was close enough. But in reality I could only do a front wheel in that time. Especially in the cold.

    Trains were late or cancelled fairly often, and sometimes I couldn't get on the packed commuter train with my bike (even though it was a folded Brompton).

    In the summer, it wasn't too bad. In the winter, it was often horrible.

    I didn't like spending more than half my day "out for work" (left at 7am, home at 7:30pm), and it was a major factor in me ditching a really good job for something closer to home.

    The main upside was that I got through loads of books in the 20 or so months I did it. :D
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I sample this when I do Amsterdam (my apartment) to Eindhoven HTC. It's ok but I wouldn't want to do it daily - just too much time wasted - it's about 2-hours door-to-door. I don't much like the Brompton - mostly because I can't relax into riding it.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • I recently moved out of South London to the top of hill in Surrey. It was lifestyle move for the family, the only downside is my journey to work!
    My commute is now a ride 5 miles pretty much down hill all the way to the station. Lock bike up there.
    1 hour to Waterloo.
    Then I boris bike the last mile or so over Waterloo Bridge.
    To allow a bit of contingency I leave at 7am to start at 9am.

    I went for that combo rather than a Brompton as I think that would struggle with my hill plus my train home from Waterloo is packed and I don't want to squeeze on carrying a bike.

    I only work in the office Mon - Wed - Fri so I can put up with the long day knowing I don't have to do it again the next.
    I'm not sure if I could do it every day, I'd only see the kids at weekends if I did that.

    & bizarrely I miss CS7 :( Having to dodge pheasants just isn't the same as running the gauntlet down Tooting High St!
  • stuaffstuaff Posts: 1,735
    Sounds like you've got a lot to consider there....

    Ignore all the anti-folder prejudice, just think that absolutely everything short of a Boris bike is a potential scalp. Airnimals might be a bit too big to fit in luggage racks, and they're not the smallest or simplest fold either. Very nice bikes though. 20" wheelers probably the best speed/compactness compromise. I've got a Dahon Speed Pro TT which fitted very nicely into a Cross Country luggage space the other week and goes like stink.
    Dahon Speed Pro TT; Trek Portland
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  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,804 Lives Here
    I think it would be insanity. As RJS said, look what it does to Boff. I really don't see that it could improve the work/life balance.
    Give me a knock tomorrow night and we can go to the pub for some 'therapy'.
  • agent57agent57 Posts: 2,300
    No anti-folder prejudice here. My Brompton was perfect for the trip. Fast enough, folded smaller than any other bike, and it's a cool little bike.

    Another downside of the bike-train-bike commute is getting soaked on the way to the station, sitting in wet clobber on the train and then having a miserably cold ride at the other end. =)
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • MonkeyMonsterMonkeyMonster Posts: 4,628
    Ignoring the bike (for now), you'd be surprised how such a long commute eats time in a bad way. An hour on a bike is glorious compared to fighting onto a train at silly o'clock to get into london "on time" with a 40 train journey.

    Winchester was lovely and even I managed to get 1 day week nominally from home but it killed my soul slowly to spend so much time on a train and having to always guage to get on the good ones or not back home.
    Le Cannon [98 Cannondale M400] [FCN: 8]
    The Mad Monkey [2013 Hoy 003] [FCN: 4]
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Interesting comments here, cheers. A station bike and a Boris bike could also do the trick, especially if space on the train is an issue.

    @Veronese - :) Sadly, can't do a beer this evening.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,804 Lives Here
    Another time maybe, I shall have to pop into my consulting rooms without you tonight.
  • d.martd.mart Posts: 88
    Interesting thread as we've just done the same as cj. Moving from South East London to Edenbridge in Kent for a variety of work/life reasons (not least that we've just had girl number 3 and need another bedroom which, where we are, is out of our reach). I'm going from a 25 min blast on not too terrible roads to a 38ish min train journey into London Br. It's about 30 miles one way which is too far to do as a daily commute but could probably do one way a couple/three times a week in spring and summer depending on shift start time. Be good to hear more of the realities of that kind of commuting.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 2,221
    d.mart wrote:
    Interesting thread as we've just done the same as cj. Moving from South East London to Edenbridge in Kent for a variety of work/life reasons (not least that we've just had girl number 3 and need another bedroom which, where we are, is out of our reach). I'm going from a 25 min blast on not too terrible roads to a 38ish min train journey into London Br. It's about 30 miles one way which is too far to do as a daily commute but could probably do one way a couple/three times a week in spring and summer depending on shift start time. Be good to hear more of the realities of that kind of commuting.
    My commute is 25 miles each way.
    I don't want to cycle that each way every day, so at the moment 2 or 3 times a week I drive in half way (the bit with dual carriageways) and cycle the last 12 miles into and across london, when it's quicker to cycle than to drive. Depends on what I'm doing at work that day really or what I'm planning on doing after work (drinks, 5-a-side etc). Occassionally I will cycle all the way there and back, but i find it too much on top of work.
    Felt F1 2014
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  • d.martd.mart Posts: 88
    Another good idea, bike rack and park up half way then cycle the rest...tempting
  • verminvermin Posts: 1,739
    Just ride all the way like iPete, are you not man enough?

    I used a pair of beater bikes when I commuted in from the West a few years ago. Ride bike 1 to Reading station and lock it up - hop on the train to Paddington - pick up bike 2 and ride to the city. It meant never having to go down the folding bike route (maybe I missed out on something wonderful, maybe not).

    Not sure this strategy would work out well using Cervelos.
  • d.martd.mart Posts: 88
    Haha, def like to work up to the 30 mile each way...just did a minor detour from work (Moorgate) to home (Charlton SE London) via Richmond Park which was quite nice. 2 hours door to door with a couple of stops to figure out where the hell I was so the distance isn't a problem but 4 hours a day is a decent chunk to spend travelling to and from work. I think probably alternating Vermin's bike at each end and taking the good bike on the train one way to do the full distance the other is possibly the way forward.
    All depends though on staying in shift based work (hopefully not) or moving to new role (0730 - 1730) which would make the decision a lot simpler :roll:
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    vermin wrote:
    Just ride all the way like iPete, are you not man enough?

    I approve this message!*

    *it is only 20miles each way!
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,147
    iPete wrote:
    vermin wrote:
    Just ride all the way like iPete, are you not man enough?

    I approve this message!*

    *it is only 20miles each way!

    True though if CJ is planning on going west the trains to London paddington are busy but they are quick. I could get to Central London from the Breacon beacons in give or take 3hs it's a 20/30 min bike ride to the station and about the same central
  • j_mcdj_mcd Posts: 470
    I do this kind of commute. Quite enjoy it myself!

    On the way out:

    Cycle to Guildford - 2.5 miles
    Put my bike on the train
    Get off at New Malden
    Cycle to Canary Wharf - 17ish miles

    On the way back:

    Cycle to Waterloo - 5.5 miles
    Train to Guildford
    Cycle home - 2.5 miles

    In the summer (i.e. from now if I wasn't such a lazy git) I cycle to Surbiton in the evening and get on the train there. So a lot more miles.

    Some things to consider:
    1. I can get my full size bike on the slow train out of Guildford so I don't have any problems there. I have got a Montague folder as well though for when the guards are arsey.
    2. It does take a bit of time. More than just usual commuting. Still, it's exercise and it gets me on the bike most days of the week. Something I'd never get around to if I didn't do it.
    3. It's so much better if you don't have to carry a laptop.

    The great thing is that as I've got faster I can move out a station at a time and up my mileage but 3 or 4 miles.
    Giant Defy Advanced 0 - Best
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    Montague Fit - Foldy thing that rarely gets used these days
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    I do roughly 18 miles a day* on a Brompton and it's absolutely fine, it's a beautiful ride. The hour on the train sound like killer for your potential commute though - mine is sub 20 mins.

    * I can cut this to 12 by using a nearer less frequent stopper station with a shorter but steeper home to train leg.

    Showers lockers and secure bike storage make that side of things easy.
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  • Stag onStag on Posts: 99
    J MCD - I must have bumped into you at some stage, in that I do a very similar commute albeit on the FGW trains to Dorking, then 14 miles or so to Crawley. Sometimes get off at Gomshall and go via Abinger Hammer. Full distance is 28 miles but that includes scaling the North Downs and Greensand ridge, it is possible.

    Impressed you can get the full size bike on the slow trains. I thought anything heading into the smoke of a morning was a big 'no no'.
  • d.martd.mart Posts: 88
    18 - 20 miles each way I would probably do as that's most likely round about an hour but like said up thread 30 is that bit too far to do all the way. Nigh on 4 hrs travelling a day then shower on top isn't feasible, 2.5 to 3 yes...4 no. The train line goes through Hurst Green, Oxted, East Croydon then London Br so train to E Croydon then cycle from there would cut cost and make it manageable distance wise although not sure what the ride in from E Croydon would be like. Seems a shame to ride through twin and miss the nice roads but that could be saved a good length weekend ride and with three girls anything that cuts costs has to be adopted
  • cookeeemonstercookeeemonster Posts: 1,960
    Can't be bothered reading the whole thread again but has any one suggested doing the whole journey once per day?

    As in cycle 30 miles in...leave at work, get train home and in again next day...then ride home etc etc?? Will need a secure place to lock your bike at work though...
  • d.martd.mart Posts: 88
    Yeah that was one of my initial thoughts but with taking the bike on the train the other way. You're right though leaving it in our secure underground card access car park probably a better idea




    They really need a facepalm emoticon
  • verminvermin Posts: 1,739
    d.mart wrote:
    I think probably alternating Vermin's bike at each end ...

    Do I get a say in this?
  • KoncordskiKoncordski Posts: 1,009
    I'm struggling with the same train/ride/part-train combo at the moment. I'm not too far from d.mart in Tonbridge so they have 35 min trains to LB. My current best solution is t ride to the station (5mins), fold the brompton on the train (35mins to LB), ride from LB to Canary Wharf (25mins).

    It works but it's not enough mileage, i've tried the ride all the way in (28 Miles) but as it's up over the north downs with some steep climbs and rough roads. I can do it in 1hr 45 but then you've got to shower and change, it's just not any fun if you do it every day.

    Full ride in then train home, and reversed the next day is ok but needs proper organisation, taking a full size bike part of the way is the answer but you play pot luck with the station staff as officially they shouldn't allow it but usually do. Don't fancy the hassle of them refusing at random. So at the moment it's train and brompton with the odd full ride when i remember to get my kit ready in advance. God i miss the flat 19miles to surbiton....

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