If ever there was a case for the cycle commute...

mr_eddy
mr_eddy Posts: 830
edited January 2018 in Commuting general
I live in North Nottingham and cycle to and from work (have done for nearly 20 years) and as such my commute takes generally the same amount of time (+/- 10 mins depending on weather).

My missus on the other hand drives , Our local council very sneakily withdrew the local bus service 3 months after we moved in so now our only public transport option also includes a 20 minute walk down an unlit back alley hence why she drives. She works at the main Boots HQ in Beeston - Anyway long story short the site has essentially 1 main entrance (thane road) with a simple road with 1 lane in and 1 lane out - Bear in mind that the Boots site probably accommodates 3000+ cars most of which leave at rush hour.

Anyway yesterday a tram crash cause chaos and my missus finished her day at 4pm , by 6pm she was still in the car park (not even off site at this point) - She finally got home at 8.45pm - This was obviously a very bad traffic day but its not uncommon for her to take 2-3 hours to get home - Note our house is 6 miles from the Boots HQ.

I have told her to get a bike but she just refuses to even consider the option.

Any other horror stories of commuting by car ?
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Comments

  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,562
    One Thursday afternoon a little over 10 years ago it snowed in London and brought the traffic to a standstill. At the time I was commuting on a motorbike and I had to travel 9 miles from North Acton to Kingston.
    The snow had settled, melted from people driving on it and then refrozen as it got dark. Gritters couldn't get through because of the amount of traffic. I think it took me nearly an hour to get home riding on the untouched snow in the middle of the road, the only problems were trying to get round traffic islands. Several of my colleagues sat in their cars for a few hours then gave up and went back to work and slept there. One of my neighbours had left work early, I passed him in Richmond on the way home, took him another 3 hours to cover about 4 miles.
    Shortly before I left my boss said I was mad to contemplate riding the motorbike and I should borrow a car for the night.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Jeez. 6 miles is two hours walking. If have abandoned the car.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    Veronese68 wrote:
    One Thursday afternoon a little over 10 years ago it snowed in London and brought the traffic to a standstill.
    Just trying to recall how long ago it was - prob about 6/7 years ago - we'd had some snow - but it was (mostly) cleared - still freezing - cycled to work with a colleague/friend.
    During the afternoon it started snowing again - my wife offered to come and get me in our SUV - but being a bit brave I decided to ride ....
    so come 5, we duly kitted up and started the ride home - the first bit was country lanes - not gritted or cleared - so we were riding on fresh snow over ice ruts - in the pitch black - whilst it was snowing.... fun! It got a bit hairy as we went down the hill to the main road - he was on a trike, so stable enough - I was on my tri-cross with the bog standard tyres (no studs at that point!) - once at the bottom we stopped, I dropped my saddle an inch and then we turned onto the main road - there were two busses sat there - unwilling/unable to get up the hill just around the corner - anyway, we rode past and up the hill - past a couple of cars that were wheelspinning away ... just took it slow and steady on the fresh snow that was settling... Got to the top and there's a massive queue of cars going the other way - not keen on tackling the hill we'd just come up - one car in the hedge and a woman shouting out that her brakes had failed (no love ... you applied the brakes and skidded on ice) - the local farmer was just sat in his truck watching the chaos ...
    fortunately the road was fairly clear and because of the chaos at the hill I had a clear run back with fewer than normal overtakes .. the 11 mile route took me an hour though ... I then went and bought some studded tyres!
  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,217
    Not in the car, but I remember years ago a trip home from uni which was supposed to take 3 hours by train took about 6.

    Opened the door of the train at one stop and sheets of ice fell off the side of the train.
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,766
    mr_eddy wrote:
    I have told her to get a bike but she just refuses to even consider the option.

    BIZARRE - 6 miles is what I would deem the perfect distance, and it's free fitness, and saves you cash, incomprehensible :?
    cougie wrote:
    Jeez. 6 miles is two hours walking. If have abandoned the car.

    1.5 hours for most people, decent walking pace is 4 miles an hour.

    To the OP - what about running to\from work, if she refuses to cycle?
    When fit, that would be less than hour running, and again, free fitness.
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  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Pretty sure not many people walk at 4mph.

    I often walk to and from work. 3mph and nobody passes me on the way.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    cougie wrote:
    Pretty sure not many people walk at 4mph.
    Especially not in the snow & ice (in the UK anyway)
    cougie wrote:
    I often walk to and from work. 3mph and nobody passes me on the way.
    Ah - that's because you're in a black hooded cloak carrying a scythe ...
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,766
    cougie wrote:
    Pretty sure not many people walk at 4mph.

    I often walk to and from work. 3mph and nobody passes me on the way.

    Ah fair enough - I always do though, I don't like to hang about :D
    Just googled it, and seems the average is 3.1.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
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  • timothyw
    timothyw Posts: 2,482
    Yeah, 4mph is definitely brisk, would be a challenge to maintain for 6 miles if you weren't used to it, or if you were a shortarse. 2 hours is certainly more realistic for 6 miles.

    Easy to lose perspective of this if you're used to cycling and haven't had a mechanical that necessitated a long walk for a while!

    But yeah, sadly most people won't even consider riding a bike to work. They can't understand that it is something that they could do every day, and would actually enjoy, and wouldn't result in them being run over.

    OP, how practical would it be for you to ride with her to and from work to get her started off?
  • Three hours parked on the M6 between the junction I'd got on at and the one I get off at. A 10 mile commute each way. It's 7 miles by bike.

    It was funny watching ppl getting out then spotting ppl they know a few cars forwards or backwards. It's funny how you end up travelling at the same time of v day as friends but didn't know you could be just out of sight of each other every day of the week.

    The other funny thing was seeing ppl desperate for a comfort break frantically looking around for privacy. Not finding any so giving up and just go down the bank anyway. Ppl suited and booted in best clobber. Men in smart suits and grip less shoes sliding on their behinds to women in skirt suits and heels trying to get down the steep bank too.

    Three hours wait on the motorway then we moved and another half hour later I got in to work. I thought I'd get into trouble but they'd heard and couldn't be bothered. Meant I had a very short day. And my Internet browsing wasn't interrupted at all, :D
  • mr_eddy
    mr_eddy Posts: 830
    Some good stories here - For ref I did ask my missus about other options but she does not really do outside exercise. She does her cross trainer and that is it. She would not dream of running (as this involves wearing trainers lol) and biking is just plain NO.

    I said to her when she called me in the car park (via bluetooth i should add) to ditch the car and walk but she was already in the car park exit queue and it's 1 way.

    I genuinely find it amazing that given the facts and the fact that as a species we have the power of logical reasoning etc many people still spend all that time in a car (typically 1 person) burning money away!! I can't think of any other transport method that is so wasteful - Lets say a typical car is 1200kg and an average person 75kg meaning that for that driver they make up just 5% of the total weight - They are paying to move 95% of a car and only a few % for them!! Its nuts! Even a bus when fully loaded probably has better stats than that.

    What is worse is for a lot of people journeys are a few miles. Not only that but they sit in a car knowing its all bad news (loss of money / no exercise etc) , I read a thing in the paper some time ago that even on recirculate a car driver's air in the commute is 5x worse than that of a cyclist on the same roads!!!

    Madness!
  • craker
    craker Posts: 1,739
    Yeah I dropped the kiddies at school this morning as one of the teachers came in, complaining bitterly, 'Oooh What a horrid morning'. There I was in Full Lycra ready for a wind and rain swept 11 miler. (Which was actually pretty pleasant. It's 12 degrees out there, or was this morning).

    Said teacher lives 1/3 of a mile from school and drives every morning.

    Our business estate has one exit, at the junction of the M4 and M5, and is a notorious bottleneck. In normal circumstances I'm off site a good ten minutes before the drivers. On days when my colleagues can't even get out of the car park everyone knows they're in for the long haul (1 hour plus to get off site). Sill amazes me that anyone within three miles of the place considers driving.
  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,217
    craker wrote:
    Said teacher lives 1/3 of a mile from school and drives every morning.
    That reminds me - at one place I used to work I happily cycled the 8 miles to work in the snow.
    20% of the office didn't come in saying it was too difficult/dangerous given the weather: one lived about 1/3 of a mile away, another was 1.5 miles away.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    I've never worked within walking distance of home but Mrs Bomp has - in the heavy winter of 2010 she found it most amusing listening to the stories of "sorry, couldn't get into work" from people whose doors she had literally walked past. Even round here where we're fairly used to snow a lot of people can't hack it at all.

    My worst recent commute was about three years ago, I was working nearly an hour's drive down the motorway, one morning the traffic was backed up from the Friarton Bridge which takes the motorway over the river Tay and bypasses Perth - a town with a traffic problem ridiculously disproportionate to its size.
    The 3 hour wait was only ameliorated by the great view of the lorry that caused it, through the barrier and hanging half over space a hundred feet above the river.
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  • Initialised
    Initialised Posts: 3,047
    Flooding in 2012, I had to adjust my route a little, added 15 mins to a 30 minute commute on the bike. For all the drivers I worked with at the time it added hours.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • Initialised
    Initialised Posts: 3,047
    craker wrote:
    Said teacher lives 1/3 of a mile from school and drives every morning.
    That reminds me - at one place I used to work I happily cycled the 8 miles to work in the snow.
    20% of the office didn't come in saying it was too difficult/dangerous given the weather: one lived about 1/3 of a mile away, another was 1.5 miles away.

    Yeah, this too, I fitted Snow Studs, rode in no problems other than ice on the rims. Went to a local cafe and waited for everyone else to trickle in at least 30 mins late.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • 2.75 hour commute home when the A414 was shut, and no idea how much in diesel.

    About once every couple of weeks it would take 1-1.5 hours to commute home.

    My cycle commute is about 50-55 minutes for about 13 miles...the car drive is about 11.5 miles (I take the scenic/muddy/safer route).

    Still waiting for a proper snow day...the snow tyres will be mounted on my old wheels this weekend.

    Oh, and if I carried on driving I would have died due to fat/liver/kidney/toxicity etc issues.
  • redvee
    redvee Posts: 11,922
    People in work think the ten miles each way I ride is far. I don't find it far, it's just the right length in terms of time and distance and I have options to reduce or extend it should I wish.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • A guy at work lives about 4 miles along an off road cycle way almost the whole way home. He's very unhealthy and has that type of diabetes you get through lifestyle choices that I believe it's possible to reverse with a healthy lifestyle. He's got problems with his leg and tbh struggles upstairs (we got him a stanah stair lift catalogue because we only want to help right).

    I think he's got the perfect combination of reasons to cycle into work. He did one summer a good few years back and tbh was starting to look healthy again. But the summer rains came and the car keys came out.

    He even bought some bikes secondhand, took the best bits off them and put them on the best frame them sold the other bikes to break even but with a free bike. It was a full suspension cheapo bike so I think that was a good reason to stop. Why do ppl go for absolute cr@p rather than pay the same for a rigid old mtb / hybrid that's as cheap but half the weight?
  • timothyw
    timothyw Posts: 2,482
    He even bought some bikes secondhand, took the best bits off them and put them on the best frame them sold the other bikes to break even but with a free bike. It was a full suspension cheapo bike so I think that was a good reason to stop. Why do ppl go for absolute cr@p rather than pay the same for a rigid old mtb / hybrid that's as cheap but half the weight?
    Oh, that's an easy one. People don't know what makes a good bike. They assume that bikes without suspension are uncomfortable because you feel all the bumps, and that bikes in general are uncomfortable because of those narrow saddles....

    So yeah, they buy on features rather than quality. Halfords don't help either, selling complete shite on a constant 50% off sale - had someone in my office telling me that his bike was 'worth' £700 but he got it for only £300... I think he was under the genuine impression he could sell it on at a profit should he so desire.

    Still, I suppose for the 'shed' market - that would be, bikes that live in the shed and never get ridden - I suppose they're perfect.
  • timothyw
    timothyw Posts: 2,482
    And another anecdote, got a friend who is a 'somewhat' keen cyclist. Makes occasional trips to coed y brenin to ride mountain bikes. Bought a road bike because he and the wife had decided to do triathlons. Owns a Hybrid for the commute.

    Back in September, they'd signed up for their first Triathlon, and I was pleasantly surprised to see on strava that he was actually riding to work in the run up to it - just over 13km, a good sort of distance I'd say.

    After the triathlon the riding soon tailed off, and having a catch up it transpired that the ride to work was nothing to do with prep for the triathlon (although he did comment that it had gone very well, particularly the ride....), it was just that his car had broken down - as soon as he'd replaced it, he was back in the car again.

    Laziness is a surprisingly powerful force.
  • I can't talk really. My earlier attempts at cycle commuting stopped when I decided to take the car one very wet summer day. It was slightly damp the next so car again. Then three weeks later it took considerable effort to psyche myself to very back on the bike again.

    Rode three weeks then three days of heavy rain with no sign of stopping. My commuting by bike stopped for two years.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    Rode three weeks then three days of heavy rain with no sign of stopping. My commuting by bike stopped for two years.
    I simply don't let the weather dictate to me whether I commute by bike or not.
    This isn't because I'm some kind of bullet-proof superhero: on the contrary, it's because I know that I can be short of willpower sometimes (most of these times involve cake) so if I had a choice, I would probably wimp out quite often.
    I have just learned to have a mindset where I don't consider that I have a choice.
  • bompington wrote:
    Rode three weeks then three days of heavy rain with no sign of stopping. My commuting by bike stopped for two years.
    I simply don't let the weather dictate to me whether I commute by bike or not.
    This isn't because I'm some kind of bullet-proof superhero: on the contrary, it's because I know that I can be short of willpower sometimes (most of these times involve cake) so if I had a choice, I would probably wimp out quite often.
    I have just learned to have a mindset where I don't consider that I have a choice.

    I ride rain/shine/snow/ice. As soon as I stop for one rainy day, I'd probably stop totally!

    But to admit to spending a small fortune on genuine GoreTex waterproofs and thermal bits and pieces.
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,562
    bompington wrote:
    I have just learned to have a mindset where I don't consider that I have a choice.
    I need to develop that mindset. Due to daughter not being well I worked from home for a few months and then changed my hours so driving is as quick as cycling. If I drive I can collect my wife on the way home. My annual mileage for the last 2 years has been about a third of previous years as a result. :oops:
    Must try harder.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    Veronese68 wrote:
    bompington wrote:
    I have just learned to have a mindset where I don't consider that I have a choice.
    I need to develop that mindset. Due to daughter not being well I worked from home for a few months and then changed my hours so driving is as quick as cycling. If I drive I can collect my wife on the way home. My annual mileage for the last 2 years has been about a third of previous years as a result. :oops:
    Must try harder.
    Cycling is not actually the most important thing in the world though, as you obviously know.
  • mr_eddy
    mr_eddy Posts: 830
    Yep most non cyclist will think that 5-10 miles is madness! I think they forget that most cyclists who regularly commute to work (not all but a good chunk) will be pretty fit and will happily average 15+ mph even with traffic lights etc. I think for cycling a better metric is time - For me 1 hour each way is my max in the winter / rain etc and 1.5 hours in the summer months so depending on how I am feeling and what bike I am on this means my commute varies from 9.5 miles to 25 miles.

    My commute is around 9.5 miles each way (unless I go the long way) and I also find it to be about right - In the winter it takes me at least 3 miles to fully warm up even with all the gear on :D
  • mr_eddy
    mr_eddy Posts: 830
    Also for what its worth I think people buy cr*p bikes because until you get into cycling they see it as a white good. The problem is that these cheap bikes are actually (imo) dangerous! If they were just heavy with cheap (but functional) components then fine but the problem is that most of the time the important bits like brakes / wheels are genuinely scary.

    I reckon if anyone asks for my advice for a decent bike to commute on I would probably suggest they look at stuff over £500+ to which most people would say 'how much!' but then I would explain that its an investment - A good bike will have proper components / decent gear range and be reasonably light - Exactly what a newbie needs. Its hard enough to keep the spirits up when you are used to sitting in a warm car but to cycle on a POS bike would almost certainly put them off for life.

    If someone in my office said they wanted to start cycling to work I would lend them my disc equipped road bike with 32c tyres - They will be amazed at how fast they can go (assuming their last bike was a dodgy old MTB back in the 90's) and they are more likely to get the buzz.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    bompington wrote:
    Rode three weeks then three days of heavy rain with no sign of stopping. My commuting by bike stopped for two years.
    I simply don't let the weather dictate to me whether I commute by bike or not.
    This isn't because I'm some kind of bullet-proof superhero: on the contrary, it's because I know that I can be short of willpower sometimes (most of these times involve cake) so if I had a choice, I would probably wimp out quite often.
    I have just learned to have a mindset where I don't consider that I have a choice.

    With no shower at work and minimal drying facilities (hang clothes on my bike) I tend to take the mindset of not getting wet on the way in. Last thing I want is to be sat at my desk in a soggy mess and then when I do dry out - have to put wet clothes on to ride home...
    I didnt ride today either - although it was a lovely sunny day - I couldn't bring myself to wake my wife and toddler ... plus it meant I got a bit of a lay in! :)
  • dinyull
    dinyull Posts: 2,979
    Google "Thunder Thursday".

    5 years ago a thunder storm the like I, my parents or my grandparents had seen hit Newcastle. Mrs was off that day and was due to meet me in town after work for a meal and a gig. Took her an hour to get out of our estate before she turned around and told me she wouldn't make it.

    I tried to get the bus home before realising that all traffic in and out of the city was deadlocked so decided to run the 5 miles home instead.

    The Coast Road (which our flat was just off) was flooded to about 6 foot in 3 separate locations and resembled a car park for the rest of the night with most peeps leaving their cars and walking home. It's a dual carriage way so was surreal seeing parked cars still there the next morning.

    Still, the Chinese takeaway and pub made a killing that evening as some people sat it out in the cars with a Chinese and bottle of broon.