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London Commuting Madness

oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,284
edited November 2014 in Commuting chat
Just had a couple of days in London with the family for half term and have come to the conclusion that all London commuters men and women must be mad and have big cahoonas. I commute myself all be it through towns and do over 4k a year on my bike but I have never seen the like that I have seen the last 2 days. No wonder so many people have gopro,s it was madness from all sides, bike riders, motorbikes, cars, lorries, buses. Frightened me shitless and I was in a taxi, I have been to Rome and Amsterdam and not seen as much madness. I think I will stick to towns, small cities and leave London alone unless it's shut down for a ride. I can understand why so many people get hurt, needs serious money putting into infrastructure and cyclist education. My missis is now questioning my sanity thinking my commute is the same. I think I would sooner walk than ride in London, on a better note saw a lot of very nice bikes and bike shops, wife stopped me going into Condor when she spotted the price of the nice bikes in the window. To all London commuters be careful.
Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
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  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    TL:DR
    Bumpkin can only handle horse-drawn traffic.
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  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,932
    Summer time is far worse and you're right walking would be safer but sadly not an option.

    Oh and MTFU
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • It's really not all bad (mostly) which is why there's so many people doing it, though many, many more will do it when the infrastructure is in place.

    At least drivers expect cyclists to be there...in the suburbs they don't...
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,284
    Horse drawn is to fast prefer the man with the flag in front, Seriously though i don't know hoe you do it day in day out, i would be a nervous wreck after a couple of days.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,116 Lives Here
    I find riding in the sticks far more scary. At least in London and the suburbs I'm doing similar speeds to the traffic or more likely passing it. In the boondocks you get people passing you on narrow roads at 60 odd mph.
    I guess it depends on what you are used to.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    Veronese68 wrote:
    I find riding in the sticks far more scary. At least in London and the suburbs I'm doing similar speeds to the traffic or more likely passing it. In the boondocks you get people passing you on narrow roads at 60 odd mph.
    I guess it depends on what you are used to.

    I was about to mention this, it's horses for courses really. We're used to much higher traffic speeds down the country lanes and having a 38 ton lorry passing you at over 50 (I know they are MEANT to do 40) is normal for me.

    We have our own hazards to watch out for: mud, tractors (trailing mud), fields (from where mud comes), cars (spraying mud), unlit sections (hiding mud).
    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
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Aren't country lanes statistically more dangerous? (I can't cite that and can't be arsed to google)

    But either way, I love it, its like mountain biking except the trees are metal and they can move (when not stuck in long ques).
  • verminvermin Posts: 1,739
    Veronese68 wrote:
    I find riding in the sticks far more scary. At least in London and the suburbs I'm doing similar speeds to the traffic or more likely passing it. In the boondocks you get people passing you on narrow roads at 60 odd mph.
    I guess it depends on what you are used to.

    I have to agree. Having gone through a 2 year intensive introduction to cycle commuting in London, followed by a couple of years up here in the sticks, my opinion is: Little dramas and surprises occur every 10 minutes in London, but you will never be squeezed by trucks passing at 70mph or, as happened last night, buzzed by Aston Martins travelling at over 100mph. Crazies in London keep you on your nerves; crazies in the sticks just kill you.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,932
    Veronese68 wrote:
    I find riding in the sticks far more scary. At least in London and the suburbs I'm doing similar speeds to the traffic or more likely passing it. In the boondocks you get people passing you on narrow roads at 60 odd mph.
    I guess it depends on what you are used to.

    yeah i must admit riding to and from work in the sticks is flipping horrible on the main road, close passing is one thing but people doing 100 mph or more on the straights that shite will popper spoil your day.

    if i could be arsed i'd video and use it as a counter post for all those headcam warriors on youtube but i cant so i wont, i just wish my neck was fixed so i can switch to the back roads and hills again. :cry:
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    edited October 2014
    Lorries do keep you on your toes...

    http://youtu.be/zg8XzeNosF0

    and buses:

    http://youtu.be/WtQC0M05Cv8

    and the odd car:

    http://youtu.be/Fer0Gkdkyfc

    or two:

    http://youtu.be/D52aqpT6k14

    All good fun!
    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
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    It's written 'albeit', for reference.

    I would love a 15 mile country commute, but London commuting is great fun.
  • It makes more sense when you do it. Not half as chaotic as it seems really.

    FWIW I see more serious close shaves on the Sunday club runs around the Surrey hills, etc than I do on my commute into Central London. And that's in the daytime on a weekend ...
  • to quote the OP "Frightened me shitless and I was in a taxi"

    It never crossed my mind that trying to impede cyclists would be scary for the passengers. We need to find a Judas to get in a Black Galaxy as that must be like a rollercoaster.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,932
    Tonight being wet means the countryside commuting includes a free kill or mame a cyclist voucher and as such I'm taking the lanes, bad neck or no bad neck. Being dead is hard to recover from.
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • DrLexDrLex Posts: 2,142
    coriordan wrote:
    It's written 'albeit', for reference.

    I would love a 15 mile country commute, but London commuting is great fun.

    Mine's just gone up to 16 e/w and it's knackering compared to the 6 mile one prior*. On the upside, it does justify n+1 and proper cycling kit...




    (I know, I know - rule #5)
    Location: ciderspace
  • squiredsquired Posts: 1,216
    Only last night my brother and I were discussing the merits of cycling in London and we both agreed that that we feel in more danger as pedestrians than we do as cyclists. In my home (Croydon) we've had a spate of accidents recently involving pedestrians, including a hit and run at the weekend where the pedestrian died. Having said that, I was knocked off my bike at the start of October by a woman turning right, who admitted to not seeing me because "I was looking in my mirror", before driving off quickly and giving no details.

    I love riding my bike, but I could never say that I enjoy riding in central London. Too many vehicles, too much noise and too many stops (my commute passes over 100 sets of traffic lights) take away from the pleasure that is riding a bicycle.
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 45,478
    What coriordan and andrewc3142 said.

    It looks worse than it is and it's more interesting than slogging along country lanes for miles. Think of it like mountain biking, but instead of rocks, root and trees as obstacles you have pot holes, ironwork and cars.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,284
    I guessed i might start something with my post, looks like i succeeded but i stand by the post. As to the comments from surrey commuter i was in that black galaxy in rush hour trying to get to Euston station. Hats off to you lot for doing it day in day out, i don't think i could. The fitness of some of you guys on your fixed and single speeds is remarkable, the acceleration and speed that you get to very quickly is impressive. Don't think you would manage my 22 mile total commute with a 1000ft of climbing plus the last climb home being roughly 2 miles long on a single or fixed speed though. One thing i am very jealous of though is your bike shops, very nice.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    oxoman wrote:
    Don't think you would manage my 22 mile total commute with a 1000ft of climbing plus the last climb home being roughly 2 miles long on a single or fixed speed though. One thing i am very jealous of though is your bike shops, very nice.

    Sure we would
    http://www.strava.com/activities/203057096

    11 mile each way with a couple of steep bits sounds quite nice. Throw in a few idiots on mopeds to keep us on our toes though ;)
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
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  • SquawkSquawk Posts: 132
    14 months in and I haven't witnessed anything serious yet. It looks worse than it is. Worst injury to a cyclist I've seen in London was yesterday, when the numpty filtering in stationary traffic on the north end of Vauxhall Bridge (traveling south along embankment) didn't duck far enough and head butted white van mans wing mirror.

    WVM was surprisingly good about it. Cyclist looked like a deer in headlights.
  • Don't think you would manage my 22 mile total commute with a 1000ft of climbing plus the last climb home being roughly 2 miles long on a single or fixed speed though

    35km with 300m ascent is not especially long and not that hilly, even for commuting into London. Doable fixed.
  • oxoman wrote:
    I guessed i might start something with my post, looks like i succeeded but i stand by the post. As to the comments from surrey commuter i was in that black galaxy in rush hour trying to get to Euston station. Hats off to you lot for doing it day in day out, i don't think i could. The fitness of some of you guys on your fixed and single speeds is remarkable, the acceleration and speed that you get to very quickly is impressive. Don't think you would manage my 22 mile total commute with a 1000ft of climbing plus the last climb home being roughly 2 miles long on a single or fixed speed though. One thing i am very jealous of though is your bike shops, very nice.

    why not? with FG/SS is the gradient rather than total climbing that matters, when I visit my mate back in wales it's a 20 mile return trip with 2,000 foot of climbing, the awkward bits are the steep bits where your over geared, being light if it's a milder grade they climb well.
  • MrSwearyMrSweary Posts: 1,699
    London commuting is fantastic fun. Why, just last night a gentleman in a white van swerved from stationary traffic without indicating into the lane I was in, nearly pinning me to a bus. We discussed the manoeuvre and had a jolly good chuckle about it. We were in fits thinking about what sort of smear I would have left on the road. He offered to buy me a beer but instead I opted to d-lock him which whilst he found hilarious at the time is probably going to smart a bit in the morning.

    No - actually it is good fun if you can accept that idiots will try to kill you every day either by accident or on purpose. This is easier to accept that you might think.
    Kinesis Racelite 4s disc
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    Canyon Roadlite Al 7.0 - reborn as single speed!
    Felt Z85 - mangled by taxi.
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    Well I'm still alive. Started out using canal path but switched to the roads because it's faster.

    Generally speaking the busier the road the better. Definitely safer in central London as opposed to the outer parts of it where cyclists are less expected.
  • I think to put this in context you just have to try doing a 20k commute by train/tube, excluding the £2,000 bill, it's a horendous experience, utterly foul, stick me on a bike in hazzardous conditions any day.
    If I know you, and I like you, you can borrow my bike box for £30 a week. PM for details.
  • 'burbs definitely scarier as traffic less used to bikes and it tends to move quicker. Definitely agree it looks worse than it is and you evolve your own route to your capabilities and liking.
  • 'burbs definitely scarier as traffic less used to bikes and it tends to move quicker. Definitely agree it looks worse than it is and you evolve your own route to your capabilities and liking.

    It helps to know the roads, I avoid New Kings Road as it almost always seems to be a filtering, and traffic just doesn't look, so i cut that out, Embankment and very central London I don't find worrying, I'm assertive with out being aggressive and clear as to what i'm doing ie I indicate etc.
  • 'burbs definitely scarier as traffic less used to bikes and it tends to move quicker. Definitely agree it looks worse than it is and you evolve your own route to your capabilities and liking.

    It helps to know the roads, I avoid New Kings Road as it almost always seems to be a filtering, and traffic just doesn't look, so i cut that out, Embankment and very central London I don't find worrying, I'm assertive with out being aggressive and clear as to what i'm doing ie I indicate etc.

    do you do Townmead and Chelsea Harbour?
  • MrSwearyMrSweary Posts: 1,699
    'burbs definitely scarier as traffic less used to bikes and it tends to move quicker. Definitely agree it looks worse than it is and you evolve your own route to your capabilities and liking.

    It helps to know the roads, I avoid New Kings Road as it almost always seems to be a filtering, and traffic just doesn't look, so i cut that out, Embankment and very central London I don't find worrying, I'm assertive with out being aggressive and clear as to what i'm doing ie I indicate etc.

    I never used to have any issues with the NKR (except on footie nights) but perhaps that was because I was on it before 6.. Riding in sarf of the river is definitely a bit more sketchy and the worst bit by far is through Penge. Mainly because everyone seems to be stoned out of their gourd or just very very angry. I have had some issues with aggressive cabbies in and around Mayfair but that is to be expected as they are all entitled, middle aged, balding, heart attack victims (in waiting) and angry that they ended up as cabbies (and have small willies).
    Kinesis Racelite 4s disc
    Kona Paddy Wagon
    Canyon Roadlite Al 7.0 - reborn as single speed!
    Felt Z85 - mangled by taxi.
  • MrSweary wrote:
    'burbs definitely scarier as traffic less used to bikes and it tends to move quicker. Definitely agree it looks worse than it is and you evolve your own route to your capabilities and liking.

    It helps to know the roads, I avoid New Kings Road as it almost always seems to be a filtering, and traffic just doesn't look, so i cut that out, Embankment and very central London I don't find worrying, I'm assertive with out being aggressive and clear as to what i'm doing ie I indicate etc.

    I never used to have any issues with the NKR (except on footie nights) but perhaps that was because I was on it before 6.. Riding in sarf of the river is definitely a bit more sketchy and the worst bit by far is through Penge. Mainly because everyone seems to be stoned out of their gourd or just very very angry. I have had some issues with aggressive cabbies in and around Mayfair but that is to be expected as they are all entitled, middle aged, balding, heart attack victims (in waiting) and angry that they ended up as cabbies (and have small willies).

    you could be describing CS3 through Shadwell - though they have a better supply and are far too stoned to get angry - they just look perplexed
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