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Posted: 1 Aug 2007, 8:31am
by fatboy
archy sturmer wrote:Can you be sure of getting your bike on the train?
I get the impression from others on here that it's either impossible, difficult, or a bit hit and miss. Presumably you can rely on it?
- AS

Yes I can always get my bike on. The train line that I used has a faster loop for getting in/out of London and in the morning where I get off is where everyone seems to get on and the same is true on the return leg. As far as I can tell if your train operating company says that you can take a bike on the train in rush hour then that train isn't too busy.

Cycling to work

Posted: 1 Aug 2007, 2:06pm
by noonoosdad
I have regularly been cycling to work since the end of April with the exception of two days when my bike was in being repaired. My journey is 6.5 miles each way with a mixture of main roads and cycle paths - two hills on the way in and one hill on the way back (if that makes sense!) - totals something like 40 - 50 miles a week and saves me alot on petrol. Even during this Summer's monsoon like conditions I have cycled in wearing my newly purchased Altura Jacket, Polaris Overtrousers and Overshoes. Since starting to cycle into work leaving the car behind, I have lost half a stone in weight, lost two inches off my waist and feel alot better for it. However, who said cycling is good for you ? Last Sunday whilst out for a 35 mile bike ride with my two sons, I was knocked off my bike by some impatient motorist at a major roundabout and now convalescing from a radial tip fracture, in other words a broken elbow caused by me putting my left arm out to break my fall ! I have been told that this will take anything from 4-6 weeks to heal and longer for my arm to straighten fully. This has coincided with the first day of my annual holiday and I had been looking forward to doing loads of cycling with the start of better weather. To say I am feeling a bit p****d off is a bit of an understatement !

Posted: 1 Aug 2007, 8:33pm
by melw1
So sorry to hear about your elbow, NooNoosDad. What a pain - literally, especially with your hols planned.

Again, thanks for all your replies on this topic. Very interesting reading. Quite a variety of routes taken and lengths. Do you all use road bikes and travel fast or do many of you j ust have standard bikes / hybrid and go at average speeds? I tend to feel that if a journey can be done in under 50 mins then I'll try to cycle, if not then I'm afraid it's the petrol (or rather diesel) guzzler. Just don't seem to have enough time to cycle everywhere... :(

Posted: 1 Aug 2007, 8:54pm
by PW
Most of my current commute is canal towpath & disused railway line so I use a hack MTB. Shame when there's 2 good drop bar lightweights in the shed but the main road route is a pain so I only use it when the path route is flooded - and not always then!

Posted: 1 Aug 2007, 9:32pm
by horizon
melw1 wrote: I tend to feel that if a journey can be done in under 50 mins then I'll try to cycle, if not then I'm afraid it's the petrol (or rather diesel) guzzler. Just don't seem to have enough time to cycle everywhere... :(

melw1: with the greatest respect, you appear to have fallen into the Motorist's Trap:

I need my car for the journeys I decided to do because I had a car and it was quick and cheap. Now I am dependent on it for the shops, seeing my mother, going to school, going to work, picking stuff up at IKEA - all that sort of thing.

If you have to go by car, just don't go. (Oh my God, panic, panic...!! No, take it easy now, just relax and I'll say it again: if you have to go by car, just don't go. I don't drive from one month to the next (and we live in a very small town in the country).

Posted: 1 Aug 2007, 9:50pm
by melw1
Horizon, I see your point but :shock: Gulp! You're right, I'm panicking :D I live on Anglesey in the middle of nowhere. Everywhere is 10 miles or so away. Taking the children to their various things / trips out I can regularly clock up 60 miles a day just in "quick" journeys. I just don't have the time to cycle to them all and I can't not do some of them as its swimming lessons, trips to friends / beach / nice-kid-afternoons-out kind of stuff.

However, I do understand what you're saying. We have all got far too dependant on the car and the expanded area we can visit. Once one looks deeper at what is available locally one could replace many of these trips with the local equivalent.

Posted: 1 Aug 2007, 10:45pm
by horizon
You took that very well melw1! :)

I think we've built our lives around the car so it seems impossible not to use it (which in the short term it is of course). But this is often chicken and egg: we work 20 miles from home because we have a car and then we need the car because we work 20 miles from home etc etc. Village schools get closed because the LA knows that parents can drive to a more distant school and so on. I realise children push us the most perhaps to drive but a lot of their little lives are now spent on the back seat of a metal and plastic box. Looking back, a car seemed the obvious solution to so many of the problems to do with children; now I am not so sure.

I refused to go into supermarkets anymore about ten years ago and now my partner more or less has followed - most of our food is delivered. I use the internet and the post of course and I know we rely on some form of transport to bring us things but it is quite different from all that driving. A magic moment arrived when I was stranded a hilly twenty miles from home after a late night train journey with a fully loaded bike and just cycled it where once I would have had a car waiting.

By the way, I am not suggesting that a bike will always do the job (though I am close to it!) but I am sure that much our our driving is of fairly marginal benefit if we really looked at it.

Posted: 1 Aug 2007, 11:00pm
by PW
Totally agree Horizon. We got rid of the last car about 1980. I drive a bus part time to top up the pension but I'll accept the necessity for public transport. The only other sin is an occasional hire van/car when the alternative is no bike on holiday. Shopping by bike's no bother & anywhere within 15 mile radius is fine by bike.

Posted: 2 Aug 2007, 8:17am
by fatboy
I've really got myself into the commute chicken and egg with mixed feelings. We moved to be 30 miles from my work 5 years ago and I was then a "grab the keys and drive for everything" sort of chap and didn't even own a working bike (I know!!!). I love the town we live in and through our LBS I discovered cycling and now I wish that I didn't live so far from work. But my work is really specialised so getting one nearer is unlikely, but I don't want to move. As you say chicken and egg.

However I'm cumuting using the bike and the train for 2 or 3 days of the week, I use the bike plus tag-along to ferry my daughter about to swimming lessons (they're only down the road) and we've got a bike trailer for my twin boys (who if they get near it get in and gesticulate until I take them out!). I find that my daughter now prefers any form of transport to the car. So reducing car dependancy can be done. Just need to convince everyone else.

Posted: 2 Aug 2007, 9:52am
by diapason
A few years back, I got rid of my car (my wife kept hers, but I very rarely used it). I commuted by bike - a round trip of 10 miles or so and rode for leisure too. A change of job to one which required me to have a car, and a related house move, forced me back onto 4 wheels for a couple of years. After redundancy and illness, I'm now working part-time and am riding to work again. I've still got a small car, but try to use it less. Living out in the sticks with very poor public transport means some ferrying of children, but that's getting less as they get older. I can empathise with Melw1 - we live in rural Somerset, and public transport options and distance from shops etc make some car use inevitable :oops:

I'm conscious that I do use the car too often, but am working on it! We definitely won't replace my wife's car when it finally packs up.


Posted: 2 Aug 2007, 2:12pm
by M.G
14miles each way, sheffield-chesterfield (so 2 reasonable climbs). 45-50mins each way (depending on how slowly the cars are going!)
For 5 days a week, been doing it for 3 weeks, so i shall see how long i can keep it up for.


Thanks for the kind words of sympathy

Posted: 2 Aug 2007, 3:16pm
by noonoosdad
Thanks for the kind words.

The bike I use is just a standard no frills Gents Raleigh Pioneer which is a hybrid city bike with Shimano 21 gears. I know it probably weighs more that alot of more expensive better machines but it is extrmely comfortable and straightforward to work on. The only additional things I've added are Panaracer Puncture restistant tyres and slime filled innertubes. I tend to ride at speeds of anywhere between 12 - 20 mph.


Posted: 2 Aug 2007, 4:20pm
by peter236uk
I and try and cycle the 12 miles each way at least twice a week and hopefully increasing this to 3 now, i do use the train sometime this leaves me with a 2 mile cycle to work then cycle all the way home. I am not supposed to take the bike on the train in rush hour but only go two stops Biggleswade to Hitchin takes about 10 min this costs me £3.50 return same price as single, however I do have a car as I travel alot at weekends, I am ref (rugby) and also wife needs it at times also if I have meetings etc what I find annoying is that it is cheaper to use car if you have one already so not alot of incouragement for people to leave there cars at home yes I accept that with servicing etc the costs increase but some familys need a car ie if you live in rural area like me.
Also 3 stations I use, a bike has to be carried up stairs which is crap untill this country gets a grip on public transport things will not get better moan over.

Posted: 3 Aug 2007, 12:28am
by montmorency
Currently commuting about 9.5 miles each way, on Thorn Club Tour (which I guess is similar to a Dawes Galaxy, but I think it's nicer :-) ).

I live in a relatively small, former market town, and commute to somewhere well out in the sticks, so my journey is a little bit urban-style riding, a few villages, and a fair amount of open road with pretty views. Only one serious hill on the way in, although the final couple of miles is a longer, uphill drag, especially on a cold wet morning.

I have a nicely-sized (i.e. small) Waitrose on my way home (about 5 minutes from home), so that's where most of the food shopping gets done, usually in dribs and drabs.

Taking early retirement soon(!), so my commuting days appear to be coming to an end....strangely, I have mixed feelings about this! (Might end up going back part time though....).


Posted: 3 Aug 2007, 8:59am
by pigman
M.G wrote:14miles each way, sheffield-chesterfield (so 2 reasonable climbs). 45-50mins each way (depending on how slowly the cars are going!)
For 5 days a week, been doing it for 3 weeks, so i shall see how long i can keep it up for.

brings back memories. I used to do this one. The climb up to meadowhead was a real bummer at 7am when I was still half asleep. I used to car it once a week with a supply of clothes which I kept in a wardrobe in the factory shower room, but the journey home was great. i was awake and used to really cane it after the JE James roundabout on the way home. Do you come home on the bypass, or through dronfield? I found the bypass scary (and hard work)