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Cycling to work


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#1 moc

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:06 AM

I have been thinking of cycling to work for a while now.

I have been riding my scooter into work (nr Liverpool Street) for the past two years, and am starting to feel a bit too... sedentary. When I used to commute by train, I'd enjoy the 20 min walk each day from London Bridge to Bishopsgate. Now I just feel like I am sitting at my desk all day, and getting more and more unfit. I've never really been into cycling, but my company is part of cyclescheme, so I could get a decent bike with 40-50% off, which could make it worthwhile.

Also, with my scootering (and driving) experience in the city, I think I'd be able to cycle safely, although I know cycling is completely different. I'm more one to take my time and enjoy the ride, rather than get from A to B as quickly as possible.

I guess I'm looking for other people's experiences of cycling to work - pros, cons, things to be aware of, etc., because if I do this, I'm going to commit to doing it for a year or so, so it is a big decision.

thanks :)
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#2 Mobsy

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:17 AM

Hi Moc,

Have a look at link, you can order free cyclist maps. Basically they detail quieter routes in and around London recommended by other cyclists - a great way to avoid the larger busier roads.

I used to cycle to work in Clapham from the Palace and it was a great way to start the day off. I did have a few accidents though i have to say - most of them involved drivers just throwing their doors open once they had parked up - but on the whole I'd do it again - distandce permitting.

#3 dlox

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:10 AM

Hi Moc,

I've been cycling from West Norwood (and previously Streatham) to Vauxhall/Waterloo/King's Cross for over 15 years now (all free of serious incidents). The only downside is that once you start, you'll never want to get on public transport again! My advice is go for it; it's fun, fast, cheap, healthy, and despite what you may hear, it's relatively safe. If you're buying your bike on the cycle scheme, you can also get a bunch of equipment on the cheap. It's well worth investing in decent gear (clothes, helmet, lights, etc) up front, because you'll definitely need it if you're committing to the commuter thing.

Gimme a shout if you want any more advice, and good luck!

DLox.

#4 moc

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:07 AM

Thanks both of you. I'm in Streatham and would stick to my main route which is the A23 then A3 into the City, then up past Borough, London Bridge - it's mainly flat and downhill all the way to work, so that will be fun, but one of my main concerns is actually about cycling up Brixton Hill on the way home! :D

I also don't know what kind of clothes I should wear - breathable and light, as I will likely be getting hot and working up a sweat, or windproof and warm to keep the wind/cold at bay?
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#5 captainmcdan

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 01:25 PM

Do it. I work near Liverpool St and though I haven't been able to cycle in as much I would like since moving to Crystal Palace I did regularly from Lewisham and certainly intend to continue; you feel fresher and more awake all day and not being crushed in with the cattle on the train means you don't catch every damn sniffle going round. It's a nice enough ride down the A215 (Elephant and Castle r'bout not withstanding) and if there has to be a hill then last thing on the way home is the best place for it.

I find a t-shirt and shorts is fine, with a lightweight waterproof for when it rains.

If you carry a lot of stuff (change of clothes) then a pannier bag is much nicer than a rucksack.

Don't undertake any lorries.

#6 moc

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 02:00 PM

Thanks Captainmcdan. ps Elephant and Castle is a lot better these days, I think, with traffic light controls.

I was wondering also about types of bikes. I popped into Evans cycles the other day, and there were lots of "single speed" bikes i.e. no gears. They look good, but I'm guessing they would be a bit useless on a route that isn't flat?

What kind of time am I looking at the cycle to work taking, does anyone know? My scooter ride in is currently about 35 mins on average.
Integrated Myofascial Release Therapy, Sports/Remedial and Deep Tissue Massage and the Full Body MOT service in Crystal Palace and Streatham: www.myofascial-bodywork.com / @SW16Massage

#7 Summit Lover

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 02:18 PM

Thanks Captainmcdan. ps Elephant and Castle is a lot better these days, I think, with traffic light controls.

I was wondering also about types of bikes. I popped into Evans cycles the other day, and there were lots of "single speed" bikes i.e. no gears. They look good, but I'm guessing they would be a bit useless on a route that isn't flat?

What kind of time am I looking at the cycle to work taking, does anyone know? My scooter ride in is currently about 35 mins on average.

Why not get a bike with one of those motors that you can switch to for the steep hill if you run out of puff? (or is that dastardly behaviour :ph34r: )

#8 captainmcdan

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 02:33 PM

A friend was telling me the other week that Sydenham Hill has a reputation amongst the type of people who go up hills in fixed gear bikes. Hardest inside the M25 apparently.

It takes me about 40 minutes from Upper Norwood to Worship Street but that's at a fairly gentle pace and I reckon I could save five minutes if I could find a way around the traffic jam on Borough High St. As for bikes it's a matter of personal taste. There's not much point in a mountain bike in London but whether you want an ultra fast drop handle racer or a more comfortable sit up straight city-bike or something in-between is up to you.

#9 Mobsy

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 03:29 PM

In Terms of bikes and shopping around I have always used Deans (opposite Beckenham Cinema on the corner of the roundabout), it's his own business and he takes a pride in the service he gives, he also does all the servicing repairs etc you might need.

Clothing i think is very much a personal choice, i for one have never fancied myslef in those lycra shorts. My two recommendations would be investing alot of time in finding the right helmet expecially in terms of comfort (aside form the obvious saftey stuff), and gloves - even in summer. Might just me me but the amount of times (normally through my own lack of concentration) I've taken a tubmle and instinctively the hands go out - gel padded gloves have saved me layers of skin over the years.

#10 Ziwa

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:45 AM

There's a new bike shop in the Palace (blue door bikes?), why not try them?

In fact, there's two - one is a Dutch bike shop with mainly single speed uprights. I love Dutch bikes, but am mystified why you would try to peddle* them on the top of London's highest hill.

*dadumdum! Pun of the week! ;)

#11 moc

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 07:28 AM

I have looked at the websites of these two shops Ziwa, the one that does Dutch bikes isn't quite what I had in mind, and is expensive to be honest, and the other shop you can't see what they have in store, but I may pop in anyway. I looked online at the one in Beckenham that Mobsy recommended and I will go have a look there too.

I am thinking a road/racing bike, nice and light, I'm not into mountain bikes or ones with chunky frames and wheels. Was looking forward to wearing a bit of lycra though... :P
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#12 ChewderOde

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 02:51 PM

I cycled up to the city from the palace for 7 years and enjoyed it immensely - I had a hybrid bike and would recommend that over a racer for commuting - slightly heavier and less aerodynamic - but loads more comfy and less prone to get knackered by pot holes etc -

top tips would be: try a few different routes off the main drag to get away from the big vehicles / dont get into racing with the idiots on fixed wheelies who jump the lights - youll catch em up anyway / have somewhere safe to leave the bike at your work / always stay in control and aware whilst playing with the traffic - never cycle at 100% max or hide under a set of headphones / and be respectful to other motorists who pay road tax and insurance that us cyclists dont!

#13 moc

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 03:22 PM

Thanks a million ChewerOde, you've given me lots to think about there, especially in terms of bikes to consider.
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#14 captainmcdan

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 11:26 AM

be respectful to other motorists who pay road tax and insurance that us cyclists dont!


While you should definitely be respectful of motorists, the vast majority of whom pass you at a decent distance and don't immediately then turn left, there is no direct link between vehicle excise duty (not road tax) and the funding of roads.

Some cyclists get a bit worked up about the allegation they pay no road tax:
http://ipayroadtax.com/

#15 moc

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:31 AM

Can I just ask a couple of road safety/etiquette questions, for when I get my bike?

What's best way to cycle round a roundabout, if turing right - in left hand lane all the way around, or in right hand lane as any other vehicle would?

And when turning left and there is a cycle lane on the inside of the road and there are cyclists coming up behind you, who has right of way - should cyclists stop to let the car turn left, or should car stop until the cyclists have passed? Sorry if that is a particularly stupid question, but I honestly don't know the answer to it, and have witnessed some near misses recently, so wanted to check.

thanks!
Integrated Myofascial Release Therapy, Sports/Remedial and Deep Tissue Massage and the Full Body MOT service in Crystal Palace and Streatham: www.myofascial-bodywork.com / @SW16Massage