The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby Farawayvisions » 14 Sep 2016, 6:19pm

When my partner started cycling to work, he never claimed it would save us money, now I know why.

Within the first fortnight, his lifestyle change had cost us £300. By month three my sleep pattern was a mess and on one occasion I lost my dignity.

A little story about how my partner's commute by bike has changed our lives.

I'd love to hear your stories.

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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby pwa » 15 Sep 2016, 7:25am

For about 18 years I cycled to work almost every working day. About 10 miles each way, partly rural and partly urban. It took longer than going by car, but it helped my health and saved me money. We stuck with one car instead of two, so just one car to buy, fuel, tax, insure and service. Cycling costs amounted to about £300 a year, largely clothing and a new pair of wheels once every three years. No serious injuries in that time, and all the health benefits of raising the heart rate for 35 minutes, twice a day for five days each week. And it made me feel good. Traffic aggro was rare and mainly trivial. My biggest enemy was black ice in the winter.

I'm back on the bike for my journey to work this afternoon (I do funny hours) and will be cycling home between 10pm and 10.40pm, largely on spooky country lanes. I may be tired but I'll still enjoy it.

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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby Grandad » 15 Sep 2016, 9:10pm

I was lucky enough to be able to cycle to work from the day I started until the day 43 years later when I retired. Didn't get a car until I was 47 when we became carers for an invalid parent.

Interesting to look back at the changing attitudes over the years. Quite acceptable for the office junior to cycle in but "not quite the thing" as I crept up the career ladder. The fact that I raced with a minor degree of local success, including Association place to place records that others could relate to, made it acceptable. For the final 17 years I had the luxury of changing facilities so could arrive in lycra. During this time the realisation that exercise was a good thing had taken root and the comments were along the lines "you must be fit - I ought to be doing that".

I like to think that this is why despite arrhythmia I can still enjoy riding 20 years later

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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby blackbike » 16 Sep 2016, 2:19am

Since the mid 60s I have travelled to school, university or work by bike for very nearly all of my commutes.

When I drive anywhere in my home town of Manchester I am amazed that people endure the misery of traffic jams and parking difficulties every single day.

I simply could not bear it.

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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby [XAP]Bob » 16 Sep 2016, 7:34am

I've never lost a £150 pair of shoes, or sunglasses.

Not convinced the loss of those items is anything to do with commuting. The mixed mode is a bit perverse (although quite possibly the least bad option). One of the big cost savers is ditching that second car...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby Postboxer » 16 Sep 2016, 7:45am

They were expensive, luxury items, which though may be needed, don't need to cost that much, also, they may lose things all the time when not commuting, so it doesn't really count. 44 miles a week not driving will save around £7 just in fuel, then there'll be loads of other savings hard to quantify. such as, they'll be fitter, maybe a size or two smaller, so their clothes will be smaller, so more clothes will fit in the washing machine each load, which means fewer loads which means less detergent, less electricity use and less wear on the washing machine. Showering at the work end saves on your home bills.

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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby whoof » 16 Sep 2016, 2:29pm

In 34 years of commuting I've driven for one 6 month period twenty years ago. If I drove to my current job it would cost me approximately £1000 a year in fuel and petrol. The bike I use is based on a frame and forks that cost less than £30 and all the components and either second-hand or bargain bucket stuff. The 'bike' is 22 years old and everything on it, other that the frame and forks has been replaced at least once, the last item being new Shimano 105 brake levers which were £3 from a cycle jumble. On the couple of times a year a do commute to work by car it's a miserable experience. My commute is the best part of my working day and it's not that I don't like my job.

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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby 661-Pete » 18 Sep 2016, 7:06pm

I've never done 'mixed' commuting as far as I can recall: the nearest I came to it was a spell about 14 years ago when my mother was terminally ill in hospital at Redhill and I used to go and visit her several times a week: if weather permitted I'd take the train as far as Three Bridges and then cycle on from there (I found a good route using fairly quiet roads). I was still at work in those days and cycling all the way (40 miles e/w) would have been too much!

I don't recall any problems with the mixed travel, though it would not have been feasible for normal working hours since non-folding bikes aren't allowed on our local trains during the rush hour. I did, initially, try taking the train as far as Gatwick Airport (a few miles nearer the hospital than Three Bridges) but I found it virtually impossible to 'escape' from the airport station with a bike (if there is a way I still haven't discovered it). And most of the trains don't stop after Gatwick, until Croydon. So Three Bridges it was.

As to losing things during the commute, and then blaming the cycle-commute for the loss - well I don't go along with that. Belongings can get lost in any circumstances: the bike's got nothing to do with it. I'm sure it's much more common to leave valuables on a bus or train. Indeed that's my main channel for losing things.

As to getting a wet behind .... well at my age it's no longer an embarrassment.... :lol:
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby martin biggs » 18 Sep 2016, 8:23pm

I started commuting about 10 years ago , my work place is 2.10 miles away so including coming home at lunch time means i dont do more than 10 miles a day . I enjoy it no matter what i find it helps to de stress on the way home .

Since earlier this year i have used local cycle paths rather than the local roads after 2 cyclist were involved in road traffic accidents within 200 yards and 15 mins of each other , i use what ever bikes i have in the garage but my main commuter is either my 90's Marin mtb or my 50's Raleigh Roadster with the occasional use of a road bike that is undergoing test miles . All my other cycling is on retro road bikes and i average just over 320 miles per month .

It saves us some money , we now only have 1 car for various reasons and it often sits unused from Sunday pm to Thursday am and then again till Sat am

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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby iviehoff » 19 Sep 2016, 2:05pm

It's too far for me to cycle all the way to work, so I cycle 2.5 miles to the station, sit on a train for 30 mins, and cycle, on a different bicycle, then cycle last 2 miles or so to the office.

I have no expensive equipment, except perhaps the Ortlieb waterproof briefcase pannier. The bicycles are both old second hand bicycles. I have invested in some weapons-grade bicycle lighting now that you can get that pretty cheaply.

I have no expensive clothes or glasses. I wear my office clothes for the journey. Waterproofs are good enough to keep them dry for such short distances if it rains. They are ordinary waterproofs, not special expensive ones.

I don't leave the house any later. It takes if anything less time to cycle to the station than to drive and park the car in a car park, etc. At the office end, the bicycle journey is more reliable than the public transport that would be my alternative, though not necessarily quicker if the public transport was behaving. Sometimes I use the bicycle to travel to meetings, when it is quicker than the public transport alternative.

It is much cheaper than paying the parking charges at the station. That alone would be about £1000 a year. I avoid owning a second car (my wife needs a car). I avoid the car operating costs.

I know someone who drives part way, parks and cycles the rest. Since the last part of his car journey is on congested city roads, it doesn't cost him any time to do this.

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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby macotheisles » 20 Sep 2016, 6:15pm

For me The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of bike commuting is epitomised by the situation where three cyclists converge at a roundabout simultaneously, stop and engage in a Mexican standoff to see who makes the first move. You know how it is... shooting nervous glances at one another, beads of sweat forming, tension rising and then that bloody trumpet music starts. Remember - there are two kinds of people in this world: those who know the Highway Code and those who don't. You dig?

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Re: The good, bad and ugly bits about cycling to work

Postby toomsie » 22 Sep 2016, 1:17pm

Nothing new to report in this year. The pedestrians are the new BMWDriver though.