Time to try this commuting lark

General chat and questions go here

Time to try this commuting lark

Postby Lead Balloon » 26 Apr 2016 18:00

I've finally been bullied into getting a job in the UK by the WAT with having a nipper in tow now. Somehow blagged a job in Milton Keynes up the road starting in June and planning on riding in for each shift 15-20 miles each way.

For those of the massive who commute by bike what do you ride, how do you carry your kit, what's your setup etc?

I've only got my Kuota at the moment and don't want to be trashing the BB through the winter so I was thinking about getting a cyclocross as that should be able to handle it. If in doubt buy a new bike after all :D Any recommendations?
Cuffing it, one Cluster at a time!
Haven't ridden my bike since June 2014, bugger
User avatar
Lead Balloon
 
Posts: 467
Joined: 06 May 2012 09:43
Location: Liverpool

Re: Time to try this commuting lark

Postby kfjatek » 26 Apr 2016 18:03

I *think* Bendy's got himself this one for commutes: https://www.evanscycles.com/cannondale- ... Ag3J8P8HAQ

He's been raving about it on Farcebook.

:ugeek:
2015:
26/04 Southampton 10k
30/05 Sieraków Triathlon
21/06 Dambuster Triathlon
29/08 Club Relays
27/09 Hever Triathlon
User avatar
kfjatek
SGM
 
Posts: 3219
Joined: 26 Sep 2012 12:16
Location: London/Surrey

Re: Time to try this commuting lark

Postby Lead Balloon » 26 Apr 2016 18:35

kfjatek wrote:I *think* Bendy's got himself this one for commutes: https://www.evanscycles.com/cannondale- ... Ag3J8P8HAQ

He's been raving about it on Farcebook.

:ugeek:


Looks good, I'll have to have a proper perusal of it tonight. I'd glanced at [url] http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... reId=10001 [url] purely on the price front. I've been told I can get something on the Cycle2Work scheme so I could always push the boat out ;)
Cuffing it, one Cluster at a time!
Haven't ridden my bike since June 2014, bugger
User avatar
Lead Balloon
 
Posts: 467
Joined: 06 May 2012 09:43
Location: Liverpool

Re: Time to try this commuting lark

Postby ris » 26 Apr 2016 22:05

hi LB, good to have you back!

i've been commuting about 12mi each way for about 8 years. i have worked my way through a succession of ways of doing it and a few bikes.

i have a winter bike and summer bike(s). i find that with the mileage i am doing (about 7,5 - 8,000 km a year) having redundancy / cover in bikes is helpful. from experience the winter bike takes the brunt of the work, and at the moment mine isn't really up to it anymore. it's an 8yo specialized entry-level road bike and after 7 winters it is now coming to the end of the road for me. the only things left from new are the frame and bars, but even so i have come to the conclusion that full mudguards, probably disc brakes and a better fit (it's a bit big) are becoming a necessity rather than a nice to have.

if you are relying on it daily then you need a robust, reliable bike which you will be confident / happy about tinkering with and fettling to keep on the road. in repeated days of poor weather it will get a proper kicking, particularly when it is wet and freezing (salt, grit, rain etc will trash a lot of components). i'd recommend comfort over speed as well - you'll be in the saddle a lot and an aggressive position can be tiring.

you'll also need a very decent set of lights, chargers and possibly backup batteries for those days you forget to charge. if it is your only way home you don't want to be riding with little or no lights. you might slide on some ice and bugger your shoulder... or something.

kit-wise - just have lots of it. you'll get through it in the winter. overshoes and decent gloves are my addiction for kit, though. the rest i can layer up from running tops and baselayers, but specifics like those two make a massive difference. expect plenty of days where you check the weather forecast (every morning without fail!) and need to bring spare or different kit for the return commute as for the morning. this time of year you can get an 8-10c temp change from morning to afternoon!

i ride my 24mi round trip 3-4 days a week, with the others being days out of the office or where i have access to a car. i use my car day to bring a weeks worth of office clothes and running kit to the office. they live in a locker or in a bag under my desk. doing it that way i don't need to carry a rucksack everyday, which early on i found was wrecking my back. over the last year i've found i have needed to use a bag a couple of times a week (taking drawings / laptops to work, or dropping off my daughter at school, where i'll need shoes to walk her there and switch to cleats for the commute). this is often handy for bringing odd bits of extra clothes in, or switching kit on the shite weather days. it really helps my work have a very relaxed dress code, so slightly crumpled shirts are fine.

this might be making it sound like more of a pain in the arse than it really is - there is nothing you can't do with a bit of planning and routine, and i have one that words really well for me. i have a shower and bike store at work, and a very cycling friendly organisation, so i feel comfortable about turning up, late, in lycra and mincing about.

15-20mi each way is very do-able, i would suggest you build up to it if you can (alternate days / mornings / evenings). i enjoy summer and autumn when i can stretch my return commute to 30+ miles. in good weather it is a real treat, and all you need is a water bottle and a bit of food. even at 2-3 days a week the first month or two will be knackering - you'll feel pretty ruined - but your body will adapt really well and i've done quite a few full week commutes when the need has arrived.

the last thing is, you will need to eat, and you will get very hungry (probably at work and home). when i get in the door in the evenings i am like a starving hippo and tend to snack horribly on anything not nailed down. if you don't get a good feed and stay hydrated during the day then the return commute can be get pretty rough.

every winter i tell myself in november that i don't need to see the whole thing out. i can take the car more, or use the train if i want. and every year i make sure i get to christmas. i figure if i can get to a new year then i'll somehow find a way to ride through until the clocks change and it gets warm. commuting in the summer is a piece of piss, but sticking out 5mo of freezing, dark, rides can be tough. really worth it, though - i know i benefit massively in my physical and mental health, and also in my races.

hope this is useful!
most disturbing in lycra, 2010, 2012, 2013
club champ 2015
User avatar
ris
 
Posts: 4444
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 15:15
Location: wilts
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: Time to try this commuting lark

Postby IanM » 27 Apr 2016 07:45

To add to the excellent advice from Ris, consider a single speed or fixed gear bike. The distance might be a bit much to ride as fixed every day, but there's a lot to be said for the reduced maintenance needs and bits that wear and tear on FG/SS bikes. I rode my FG (with Crud Racer guards) through 2 winters and didn't clean it once. When I finally stripped it down and cleaned it the only thing that needed changing was the chain. I built it up myself for about £450, with the frame being the excellent Pompino from On-One (Planet X brand or sister company).
User avatar
IanM
 
Posts: 3954
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 14:53
Location: West/East Mids border

Re: Time to try this commuting lark

Postby kfjatek » 27 Apr 2016 08:21

IanM wrote:consider a single speed or fixed gear bike.


...and to add to this, I know a place that makes loooovely fixies / singles. On the cheap. In Poland. But, they do deliver.

Picking mine up at the end of May, not dissimilar to this: Image

Check out Hi Riders Drugs gallery on FB.

:ugeek:
2015:
26/04 Southampton 10k
30/05 Sieraków Triathlon
21/06 Dambuster Triathlon
29/08 Club Relays
27/09 Hever Triathlon
User avatar
kfjatek
SGM
 
Posts: 3219
Joined: 26 Sep 2012 12:16
Location: London/Surrey

Re: Time to try this commuting lark

Postby CCS » 27 Apr 2016 09:01

For what its worth from my experience of the occasional commute - I would second the CX bike option - still fun to ride (unlike the heavy old mountain bike) - but a bit more robust than my road bike, and less worried about leaving it in a dodgy carpark all day. I have ended up opting for a semi knobbly and quite puncture resistant tyre option. I also invested in some touring shoes and single sided SPD pedals (as the bike is also used for family outings etc where I might just want to wear normal shoes) - sometimes walk my youngest to school on the way to work - and in the past have been known to walk barefoot wheeling my road bike so as not to wear out cleats - so the new shoes that I can actually walk in are a big improvement.
Re carrying stuff - I just go for a backpack, which is a pain in the proverbial, as I have to carry a laptop; shower stuff; towel; and change of clothes (choose outfits of minimalist proportions for easy packing), so not overly comfortable, but I only need to do 10 miles... if longer, or you have a really large / heavy laptop (as I used to), then panniers are definitely a good option.
Overall, it's great for the sanity to get out of the car in the morning.

Also worth researching routes to avoid busy traffic if you are commuting at busy times of day.
Talking to myself and feeling old
User avatar
CCS
 
Posts: 3927
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 17:14
Location: Surrey

Re: Time to try this commuting lark

Postby Lead Balloon » 27 Apr 2016 09:51

Thanks Ris there's some hoofing advice in there that I'll definitely be emulating badly.

Lights is a whole topic in itself. I've got some Cateyes (can't remember which) and fibre flares but I never feel like they're bright enough. Recommendations?

That settles it, I'm going to have to buy two bikes then. A CX and single/fixie :D Gotta love the n+1 rule (Just need the funds now)

The direct route takes me straight up the A5 to Milton Keynes which is busy as f*&% and has slip roads which are a recipe for getting ploughed into, and doing the whole go off cut across rejoin palaver doesn't feel much safer. Without even realising it one of my old bike routes should get me most of the way on a relatively quiet road but I'll be recce'ing it again before I start work. And I'll get to ride through some picturesque countryside to boot.

+1 on the knobbly tyres, I've almost fallen down some of the potholes round here I swear they're that deep. Good job I stumped for the Hope wheels when MtB suggested it or I'd be on about my fourth set by now :oops:

KFqwerty, can you fit the bigger tyres on that fixie and mudguards or can you specify when they build it?

You're right about that CCS, I think I'd completely lose the plot if I had to sit in traffic on top of 10+hr stints sat on my arse. I've got several waterproof daypacks that would fit the bill but I may have to stump up for panniers.

You never know, I might finally find out what this consistency stuff feels like.

Also, is there any dark art to getting a bike on the Cycle2Work Scheme, I'm new to the whole regular job routine :shock:
Cuffing it, one Cluster at a time!
Haven't ridden my bike since June 2014, bugger
User avatar
Lead Balloon
 
Posts: 467
Joined: 06 May 2012 09:43
Location: Liverpool

Re: Time to try this commuting lark

Postby kfjatek » 27 Apr 2016 10:36

Lead Balloon wrote:KFqwerty, can you fit the bigger tyres on that fixie and mudguards or can you specify when they build it?


They'll build it precisely to your spec - that's the beauty of custom-made! :-)

:ugeek:
2015:
26/04 Southampton 10k
30/05 Sieraków Triathlon
21/06 Dambuster Triathlon
29/08 Club Relays
27/09 Hever Triathlon
User avatar
kfjatek
SGM
 
Posts: 3219
Joined: 26 Sep 2012 12:16
Location: London/Surrey

Re: Time to try this commuting lark

Postby IanM » 27 Apr 2016 10:39

Lead Balloon wrote:KFqwerty, can you fit the bigger tyres on that fixie and mudguards or can you specify when they build it?


Can't speak for the that one, but the Pompino will take wide CX tires. At some point I'm going to turn mine into a single speed CX bike.

Lead Balloon wrote:Also, is there any dark art to getting a bike on the Cycle2Work Scheme, I'm new to the whole regular job routine :shock:



There are a number of different schemes, so it depends which one your employer uses. MtB is pretty flexible with acceptance of various vouchers though (at least that used to be the case). FWIW, my place only opens up the scheme once you've been an employee for 12 months. I don't know if that's a typical approach, one enforced by the provider, or just at the whim of my employer.
User avatar
IanM
 
Posts: 3954
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 14:53
Location: West/East Mids border

Next

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron