Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

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mwilliams75
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Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

Postby mwilliams75 » 25 Sep 2019, 3:12pm

Hi,

This is my first post so sorry if I have broken any rules.

I am moving to London in two weeks and I am going to buy a bike to commute a few days a week.
It is approximately 16 miles each way according to google maps. Does anyone know how accurate/trustworthy this normally is for the best route?
Also, does anyone have any experience of the route? Is it dangerous? are there a lot of cycle paths?

I would also like advice on what bike to buy? I was originally thinking a road bike just to get it done as fast as possible? Then I have also seen a tour bike which looks quite similar but more practical? or a hybrid? Really i don't want to lose out on any speed, but I also don't want to die so its a tough choice.

Also can anyone give me any other advice? I have never cycled to work but my fitness is not a concern, mainly just the safety on the roads and in some of the areas. And perhaps i have some concerns about cycling in the dark winter months?

I'd appreciate any advice I can get. I really want to save money on the tube and save time in the gym!

Thanks,
Matt

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Re: Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

Postby Vorpal » 25 Sep 2019, 3:36pm

Welcome to the forum.

Some alternatives for mapping are:
https://cycle.travel/
https://www.cyclestreets.net/

There are lots of threads on here about what to buy for commuting, so do some searches, but basically:
-let the bike carry your stuff, rather than you, which means a bag mounted on the bike or luggage rack
-get something with mudguards, unless you want to arrive with a stripe of muck up your back on wet days
-include lights in you budget

You might also want to think about winter tyres, clothing for the weather, and where you will keep your bike on both ends of the journey.

I also recommend trying some bikes. A second hand bike is not a bad way to start out. You can try one of the bike recycling centres https://www.cyclinguk.org/recycling-centres or someplace like http://www.stationbicycles.co.uk/used-b ... nfo_8.html

Other than that, 16 miles is a long way to commute by bike everyday, especially if you have never done it before. I would recommend planning on a mixed commute, e.g. start commuting by bike 2 days per week and gradually add one day per week as you get used to it.

The last time I started a new bike commute, it was a hilly 10 miles each way, and that every day, plus a normal working day, basically meant I didn't do anything for a couple of weeks except work, commute & sleep, until I got used to it.
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TrevA
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Re: Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

Postby TrevA » 25 Sep 2019, 4:21pm

My son lives near Whipps Cross Hospital and commutes into central London by bike - Regents Street, so a bit further in than you but probably similar roads. He uses a gravel bike and uses a variety of roads and parks to get to work. It’s all quite urban and busy, but the traffic doesn’t move that fast in London anyway.

Plan a route using the tools that Vorpal has highlighted, and then try riding it on a Sunday as a test. You’ll get to know it and you might find short cuts and better roads over time. It’ll take you over an hour each way and it will take time to get used the the effort and attain the fitness required, so I would echo doing it 2-3 times a week to start.

A road bike will be slightly quicker but will have less load carrying capacity. I used to commute on my touring bike mostly, as I had to carry my laptop in most days, as well as clothes and food. There was perhaps a 2-3 minute time penalty between tourer and road bike, over a 45 minute 10 mile commute.
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mjr
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Re: Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

Postby mjr » 25 Sep 2019, 4:58pm

mwilliams75 wrote:It is approximately 16 miles each way according to google maps. Does anyone know how accurate/trustworthy this normally is for the best route?

Somewhere between mediocre and abysmal. See the other mapping sites if you want, but basically you're probably going to be on CS3 (the cycleways alongside the A13) to Beckton, then Q22 The Greenway to almost the Olympic Park, then CS2 along A11 Bow Road and similar. Depending where near Liverpool Street, you might prefer to go via Brick Lane to avoid crossing the busy area in front of it.

mwilliams75 wrote:Also, does anyone have any experience of the route? Is it dangerous? are there a lot of cycle paths?

I've ridden it but not often. It's not particularly dangerous but keep one eye out for motorists turning across you without looking. I think it's all cycle path or protected cycleway now between the edge of South Hornchurch and Aldgate, except for some short sections across junctions.

mwilliams75 wrote:I would also like advice on what bike to buy? I was originally thinking a road bike just to get it done as fast as possible? Then I have also seen a tour bike which looks quite similar but more practical? or a hybrid? Really i don't want to lose out on any speed, but I also don't want to die so its a tough choice.

That depends on what you're used to and how fit/flexible you are. A road bike with a low/aggressive aerodynamic position will probably be fastest, but that's not much good if you're not able to look up/around easily. The brakes may be the weakest too, which isn't great in London when combined with it being easier to reach high speeds.

I would probably favour a touring bike, especially if you want to carry anything bigger than a bar bag or seat pack. A rugged hybrid would cope with rougher surfaces and be more versatile than some things, but I think a similar-weight roadster aka Dutch Bike is better for most things and especially over 16 miles - that's not a popular opinion on this forum, though.

Also can anyone give me any other advice? I have never cycled to work but my fitness is not a concern, mainly just the safety on the roads and in some of the areas. And perhaps i have some concerns about cycling in the dark winter months?

See if your local councils offer cycling training. Some London boroughs used to offer it free. Road riding is Bikeability Level 3.

The biggest challenges about cycling in the dark winter months for me are finding good lights (99% of what's sold in the UK is junk - plenty of discussions on this site about lights), keeping warm (plenty of discussions about jackets and so on) and staying upright when it's icy (discussions include studded tyres and how to find which roads are gritted).

Keep rolling!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

Postby drossall » 25 Sep 2019, 11:26pm

I don't know the route/area you mention, but I agree that I would start with CycleStreets and vary from there. It gives you three options (fastest, quietest and a balanced one in between), so you can adapt to your own preference.

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Redvee
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Re: Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

Postby Redvee » 26 Sep 2019, 1:54am

One thing I will say about Google Map directions are the timings are generous but the distances are usually spot on.

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Re: Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

Postby brynpoeth » 26 Sep 2019, 5:58am

There are so many different routes even on short journies in small towns
Sometimes it is worth hopping off to go over a footbridge, for example
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Re: Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

Postby Carlton green » 26 Sep 2019, 7:30am

mwilliams75 wrote:Hi,

This is my first post so sorry if I have broken any rules.

I am moving to London in two weeks and I am going to buy a bike to commute a few days a week.
It is approximately 16 miles each way according to google maps. Does anyone know how accurate/trustworthy this normally is for the best route?
Also, does anyone have any experience of the route? Is it dangerous? are there a lot of cycle paths?

I would also like advice on what bike to buy? I was originally thinking a road bike just to get it done as fast as possible? Then I have also seen a tour bike which looks quite similar but more practical? or a hybrid? Really i don't want to lose out on any speed, but I also don't want to die so its a tough choice.

Also can anyone give me any other advice? I have never cycled to work but my fitness is not a concern, mainly just the safety on the roads and in some of the areas. And perhaps i have some concerns about cycling in the dark winter months?

I'd appreciate any advice I can get. I really want to save money on the tube and save time in the gym!

Thanks,
Matt


I would echo the comments that others have made already and note that you have sensibly decided to cycle on some days and to take public transport on others. You might muddle through fine but Cycle commuting isn’t an easy option and it isn’t something that you should expect yourself to be easily able to do, to some extent cycling is a skilled activity which uses experience and specialist tools. On bike selection I strongly suggest comfort and reliability be placed well ahead of speed and that you acquire some basic bicycle maintenance skills too. Punctures happen and you need to be able to deal with one when you’re miles from home, etc.

Sixteen miles is quite a distance and it would be wise to allow an hour and a half for the journey plus time at each end to change clothing and secure your bike. Winter can be hard to get through, I recall (miserable) freezing hands and feet so weather protection is important.

Finally pick your days to cycle in to work with care and aim to enjoy the activity, try to set things up such that you have a pleasant ride that happens to end up at work.

pwa
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Re: Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

Postby pwa » 26 Sep 2019, 8:28am

I think if it were me I would use public transport at first while doing some recces on the bike on days when I'm not working. Then actually ride to work when I've already ridden the route as a recreational ride. This approach will allow you to build up your cycling muscles, get familiar with the route, and just work through any issues.

Winter is obviously the harshest time to start doing this. You may be riding in the dark, you may have cold ears, and do take care with ice. If you manage to get any sort of cycle commuting habit over the winter you will really enjoy the improving conditions when Spring arrives.

Good luck with it.

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Re: Commute Advice - Hornchurch to Liverpool Street

Postby pashda » 26 Sep 2019, 1:54pm

Its a fairly flat route and as previously mentioned a lot is on CS3 and CS2 which are ok. I would recommend a road/gravel bike that you can fit a rack and panniers to rather than carry a rucksack. You should also look for one that will take wider tyres because the surface is patchy and in places pretty bad especially heading out of London. Even riding hard you will be lucky to average 15mph due to the number of traffic lights so allow plenty of time.
Good lights are a must to help drivers see you and hopefully not pull across you.
Good luck