Newbie looking to commute to work

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
eileithyia
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby eileithyia » 7 Oct 2016, 10:02pm

andrewk wrote:Lock
Not mentioned yet...be sure to get a GOOD D lock eg. Kryptonite Evolution 4, Abus 540, Kryptonite New York plus a secondary lock or cable. Ignore eye watering bike shop prices... between a Google search and Amazon you should be able to get both for within £50..


Oh yes I did, suggesting if possible to leave it at work to save carrying a hefty lock around... :lol:
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andrewk
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby andrewk » 7 Oct 2016, 10:09pm

eileithyia wrote:
andrewk wrote:Lock
Not mentioned yet...be sure to get a GOOD D lock eg. Kryptonite Evolution 4, Abus 540, Kryptonite New York plus a secondary lock or cable. Ignore eye watering bike shop prices... between a Google search and Amazon you should be able to get both for within £50..


Oh yes I did, suggesting if possible to leave it at work to save carrying a hefty lock around... :lol:


Sorry, didn't read carefully enough.

eileithyia
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby eileithyia » 7 Oct 2016, 10:25pm

andrewk wrote:
eileithyia wrote:
andrewk wrote:Lock
Not mentioned yet...be sure to get a GOOD D lock eg. Kryptonite Evolution 4, Abus 540, Kryptonite New York plus a secondary lock or cable. Ignore eye watering bike shop prices... between a Google search and Amazon you should be able to get both for within £50..


Oh yes I did, suggesting if possible to leave it at work to save carrying a hefty lock around... :lol:


Sorry, didn't read carefully enough.


:roll: :lol: :lol:
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Flinders
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby Flinders » 8 Oct 2016, 9:01am

Slicks wouldn't be a good idea on towpaths round here, which are muddy, grassy and crumbly on the edges.
What are the towpaths in question like? Good hard surface, or mud and grass?

Zimatrix
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby Zimatrix » 8 Oct 2016, 4:18pm

horizon wrote:I think there are several points in the OP to make one quite sad about the impression given of cycling by the media or by one's friends and family (although there is of course the main point to make one happy). But how did this come about? How did a young man (?) just eight years out of school come to believe that cycling three miles would be a challenge or that a certain item of equipment was essential? Or that indeed just getting on a bike to work down the road could be made to sound like preparation for an ascent of Everest? It is heart breaking really.


I think you need to take into account that I grew up in a very quiet part of sunny Grimsby and the last time I cycled was to attend secondary school - back when I was younger I could get away with not wearing a helmet and cycling on the path (barely any pedestrians and no one cared) lights were never necessary and it was only 1 mile so if anything went wrong with my bike I could walk the rest of the way there and back with no issues.

Now that I'm a proper grown up I've been made aware by my friend that cycling on the path is actually illegal, I also now live in Mossley which is incredibly hilly and has quite a passionate cycling community - whenever you see them they're always in full branded cycling gear and (to the frustration of my girlfriend, who drives) are constantly on the roads, which are often very windy and narrow which makes it near impossible to overtake them.

It's a completely different world to the one I'm used to from my school commute and it's one I'm not familiar or comfortable with, especially when I wasn't even sure about the legalities of riding on the path until very recently.

Though I do agree, as someone who is currently an outsider cycling does seem incredibly elitist, which is a shame, and this forum has honestly opened my eyes.

I'm currently reading through all the replies as I've been away for a few days but I wanted to respond to this one to share the opinions and thought process of an outsider.

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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby Zimatrix » 8 Oct 2016, 4:50pm

Flinders wrote:Slicks wouldn't be a good idea on towpaths round here, which are muddy, grassy and crumbly on the edges.
What are the towpaths in question like? Good hard surface, or mud and grass?


Muddy and crumbly on the edges, the odd pieces of stones etc but not so much grass as they are very often used by other cyclists and pedestrians walking :)

Ok everyone!

Sorry that I didn't reply sooner, I've been away for a few days and honestly only expected a handful of replies, I've read every single comment word for word but obviously can't reply to all 3 pages worth individually, so a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this. It's been a great help.

Honestly I'm feeling pretty excited to get started, been a while since I've been on a bike and I'm looking forward to it now.

From what I've gathered from the replies it seems like the only absolutely, 100% essential piece of kit I need are lights, possibly some reflectors for the bike in lieu of a high vis jacket (my preference) I've seen some people suggest puncture resistant tyres as opposed to getting a pump and repair kit which I think I'm in favour of since it'll save me hassle and give me some peace of mind though I'll be looking at prices before making any decisions on that.

Essential: Lights, reflectors (if not for safety then for liability reasons), good lock or safe place to store bike
Things to pick up: waterproofs, gloves, pump+repair kit OR puncture resistant tyres
Recommended: Have the bike looked over, mudguards

Good practice: Lubricate chain, check tyres daily for a slow puncture, carry spare clothes or keep some at work in case of torrential rain

I'm very surprised by the amount of people who didn't say helmets or even flat out said helmets weren't a priority - could someone elaborate on this? I was expecting it to be a somewhat controversial topic but no one seems to have mentioned it.

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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby Edwards » 8 Oct 2016, 5:36pm

Zimatrix wrote:I'm very surprised by the amount of people who didn't say helmets or even flat out said helmets weren't a priority - could someone elaborate on this? I was expecting it to be a somewhat controversial topic but no one seems to have mentioned it.


There is a sub section in the Campaigning section for helmet discussions. Often referred to as the Ghetto or worse, abandon all hope of sanity of you should start reading all the stuff there. Make up your own mind and keep quiet is my advice.
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meic
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby meic » 8 Oct 2016, 5:44pm

pump+repair kit OR puncture resistant tyres

I dont think anybody went that far when singing the praises of such tyres.
Puncture resistant tyres and a pump and a spare inner tube.
A repair kit is probably not going to be used as it takes too much time and can be filthy. Yet it is small enough that you can always carry one, though a second spare inner tube would be more suitable.

If you dont want to contribute to the impression of elitist cyclists, then no helmet, let the wind blow through your hair. :D (whilst you still have some)
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby eileithyia » 8 Oct 2016, 6:10pm

Tourist, commuter, audaxer, Racing cyclist for over 30 years.... I only use a helmet when required, ie when out with local Go-Ride junior club, when I have ridden road or velodrome events, and more recently when time trialling and then principally for the aero-dynamics of the silly pointy helmet.

To me cycling is an inclusive activity and should never be viewed as an exclusive activity requiring all sorts of specialist kit, you should be able to just get on your bike and ride 2-3 miles to the shops, park, work etc...... Specialist kit is a deterrent to that ideal...

I've had numerous broken bones; collar, scapula (same accident), radial head (x3 1 was on foot the other 2 caused by 2 dearly beloveds when they took me off my bike, separate incidents), wrist, hand (out of the saddle climbing a hill and a broken chain caused me to be dumped into the road), and thumb.

You will be travelling at a relatively quietly time of day, so decide for yourself. Being alert and watchful is as important as wearing helmet .... watch for those turning left out of side roads or at roundabouts as they tend to give a cursory glance down the road. Watch for those who might turning right across your path into a side road..... you get an instinct for what they likely to do and try to make eye contact with those at junctions.... if they have not made eye contact... or don't appear to have looked at you.... don't trust them and be ready to brake or take evasive action.
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby Vorpal » 8 Oct 2016, 8:06pm

Zimatrix wrote:I'm very surprised by the amount of people who didn't say helmets or even flat out said helmets weren't a priority - could someone elaborate on this? I was expecting it to be a somewhat controversial topic but no one seems to have mentioned it.

The jury is out on how much, if any benefit helmets give. Most of the studies that show a large benefit have flaws. Most of the ones that show a small benefit are pretty good, but there are also studies that show that the benefits imparted by helmets have decreased over time, so that currenlty they impart little or no benefit.

There are also disadvantages to wearing helmets. Drivers may treat helmetted cyclists differently by giving them less space, and helmetted cyclists may take more risks because they 'feel safer'. This is called risk compensation. There is some evidence that helmetted cyclists are more likely to crash, but we don't know the reasons for it. It could be related to the type of cycling (there are more cyclists who wear helmets who race, ride fast mountain biking, etc.). They also make your head bigger, so you may be slightly more likely to hit your head. And there is a theory that the increased size may contribute to other types of injuries. There is some evidence that helmetted cyclists have a slightly increased probability of neck injuries in crashes.

A helmet certainly won't save your life. It *might* be the difference between a headache and a concussion. It can certainly prevent abrasions and bruises. An accident with a motor vehicle far exceeds the specifications of a bicycle helmet.

That said, serious accidents are extremely rare and the chances of an individual being in a crash where a helmet could make a difference are very small indeed.

If you want to know more, go to viewtopic.php?f=41&t=108798 or have a look at http://cyclehelmets.org/
Just for balance, there is also the pro-helmet bhsi http://www.helmets.org/index.htm

If there are any more helmet posts on here, the thread will be split, and the helmetty bits put in the helmet section :P
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horizon
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby horizon » 8 Oct 2016, 9:20pm

Zimatrix wrote:
I think you need to take into account that I grew up in a very quiet part of sunny Grimsby and the last time I cycled was to attend secondary school - back when I was younger I could get away with not wearing a helmet and cycling on the path (barely any pedestrians and no one cared) lights were never necessary and it was only 1 mile so if anything went wrong with my bike I could walk the rest of the way there and back with no issues.

It's a completely different world to the one I'm used to from my school commute and it's one I'm not familiar or comfortable with, especially when I wasn't even sure about the legalities of riding on the path until very recently.

Though I do agree, as someone who is currently an outsider cycling does seem incredibly elitist, which is a shame, and this forum has honestly opened my eyes.



Zimatrix: I find your reply really interesting. What we see is yes, young folk riding on the pavement very casually and then, yes, fully equipped, serious cyclists on the road. There aren't so many in-betweens. Commuting for many people though is the "in-between" and I'm hoping that you're going to find it "just right".

Thanks again for your long and considered reply to my post (which you seem to have taken in the way it was intended i.e. not aimed at you personally but at an aspect of cycling which you yourself have highlighted).
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby mjr » 9 Oct 2016, 12:33am

Yes, puncture resistant tyres and a repair kit and mini floor pump IMO. No idea how you'd get filthy using a repair kit - getting the tyre off tends to be the messiest bit.

I've been cycling nigh on 40 years too and unlike an earlier poster, I think I've yet to do much worse than bruising and muscle tears, but much of my cycling has been in or near safe havens like Milton Keynes, Bristol, Norwich and Cambridge, although I cycled in London before the superhighways and, uh, enjoyed Kenilworth and Nuneaton recently :eek:
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby meic » 9 Oct 2016, 12:49am

No idea how you'd get filthy using a repair kit - getting the tyre off tends to be the messiest bit.
Yes, I guess you are right there. I somehow seem to think that I can manage a tyre change at arms length but doing a repair means having to get in close. I havent actually had to put a patch on a tube at the roadside for ten years now.
Just swap a tube and repair later.
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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby epa611 » 9 Oct 2016, 8:17am

Also a couple of pairs of disposable gloves can do double duty to keep your hands clean when dealing with a mechanical/p**** issue, or if it is very cold or wet

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Re: Newbie looking to commute to work

Postby PH » 9 Oct 2016, 8:35am

I'm not sure I'd be too bothered with a puncture kit on a 3 mile commute, if the tyres are kept inflated properly they're going to be pretty rare and two out of three are going to be within a mile of either home or work. I have a 5 mile each way commute, with about half of it on well surfaced but sometimes glass strewn cycle path. I've had 4 commuting punctures* in 9 years, on 2 it was quicker to walk into work and another was almost within sight of home.

* My employer may think it's more than this, I'm sure I'm not the only cyclist who uses it as the default ten minuets late excuse :oops: