Any cyclists here?

I decided being a motorcyclist wasn't dangerous enough, so I have decided to cycle to and from work once or twice a week!

Though I've ridden on the roads before (and obviously have enough road sense to have survived... 14 years(!) as a biker) I'm very nervous of my first cycle home today in traffic (train in, cycle home, to break me in gently).  This may in fact end up being my obituary...

I kid, the first chunk is a cycle path away from the road to get used to my clipless pedals (so when I fall over I fall into a bush, not a truck), so I will be fine.  Also I know from experience that my bones are made of rubber.

So any fellow cyclists?  Any tips to get back into it? 

Comments
afairpo's picture

Another cyclist here

afairpo | | Permalink

I'm a cyclist (and training for John O'Groats to Lands End in June at the moment) - I commute in a couple of times a week: 25 miles - cycle in, train home usually.

Best advice I can think of is to sort out a decent route, use something like Schwalbe Marathon tyres and carry 2 spare inner tubes as well as a puncture repair kit - but then, I cycle through Camden which appears to be the broken glass centre of the universe. There are a surprising number of cycle paths around the place (I come into London down the A1 ...!)

Oh, and get a windproof/waterproof cycling top if you're cycling more than about 5 miles at the moment. I nearly froze my face off on Sunday, but was fine where I was covered in Gore Windstopper stuff!

Old Greying Accountant's picture

No one here ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... but us chickens!

Paul Scholes's picture

Keep smiling

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

They say you can tell a happy cyclist by all the dead flies on their teeth!

Worth taking a mile or two detour through quieter roads as main road cycling is just no fun.  If you are going a distance or plan other routes, join/get info from Sustrans.

Depending on distance (and weight!) and saddle, may need padded shorts/underpants for a time.

Be wary of squeezing up side of any large vehicles especially approaching a left turn.

Don't jump lights, don't bang on car bodywork, even if driver is a bastard, just grin and ignore or get a compressed air horn (or water pistol with brake fluid!)

If no air horn, must have bell but (from experience) don't use it coming up behind horses and their riders (unless they have a Novice jacket on when it's good fun).

Yes to best clothing you can afford.

Water bottle but no fizzy drinks, real ale better than lager.

Keep smiling

 

 

Flash Gordon's picture

I've heard it all....

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

A duck on a bicycle.... Sounds positively quackers to me.

Still, duck pancakes for tea tonight methinks :)

It was a pleasure knowing you though!

And Paul's right about the padding - I've got a bike in the garage that was used about twice because it was a definite pain in the posterior.

Go for it

daj060454 | | Permalink

You will fall off if you are new to clipless pedals!

Make sure you are highly visible, have good lighting if you are cycling in the dark, good clothing is essential, overshoes are also useful in rainy conditions (unless you have goretex mountain bike shoes!)

Treat everyone else on the road as an idiot and you will survive.

 

Enjoy the superior feeling you get over you car or train bound colleages as you parade your healthy glow around the office

 

ps the saddle soreness does go away .....eventually!!!

Constantly Confused's picture

I'm going to die aren't I...

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

So cycle to train, catch train for 1 stop, cycle on road, on cycle path in woods (get mugged, fight off muggers, steal their wallets), then onto road for a few miles.

Aprehensive to say the least!

Wish me luck...

johnjenkins's picture

Forget cycling to work

johnjenkins | | Permalink

Go on the webb find some disused railway lines converted into cycle tracks or canals or rivers. You can even cycle the thames. Cycling on the road is too dangerous, there are too many Lycra boys out there.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

My old Rayleigh ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... had proper clipless pedals, not these new fangled clipless pedals that do actually have a clip!

Oh, and my car has clipless pedals too - be pretty dangerous otherwise!! 

Constantly Confused's picture

Whew!

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

Well I didn't die...

Getting my bike onto a commuter train for a stop was the hardest part, the trail was fun and good practice for unclipping (which I still haven't mastered), the road was just pot holes (but that's Sheffield for you) with a few meters of actual road every now and again.  No-one knocked me off, no-one beeped me (even though I was clearly having a little trouble holding a straight line at times.  Going from a heavy motorbike I can barely move with the engine off to a push bike I can, and in fact did, put on my shoulder and jog up some stairs with, is a change to say the least!)

I'm adopting the maxim of 'better to cycle a mile or 2 out of your way in order to avoid traffic/have a cycle lane', so my future cycles will be based on 'how easy will the ride be' rather than 'how short/quick'.

Oh, got a heckle, 'Go on Wiggins!'.  Hardly a heckle, but now I feel like a part of the community (took me ages to get my first 'Get tha' knees up' while running :( )

johnjenkins's picture

If you really want to

johnjenkins | | Permalink

stop the traffic you could always do a "full monty" to work.

Paul Scholes's picture

Another 100 gms of carbon saved - well done.

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

One tip with the pedals, you'll find one easier to unclip that the other, remember which and always use the easy one at junctions otherwise you'll end up with your life flashing before you as you tip over.

I last did it in Dorset next to a pub full of rugby fanatics watching a match and got the biggest cheer of the day.

Constantly Confused's picture

Wowsers

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

First full ride home, about 9 miles ranging from a dual carriageway 30mph zone with a cycle lane, to a single lane national speed limit road with a ravine to the left of it.  My life flashed before my eyes so many times it was like meeting Michael Aspel!

I resisted the urge to rant at drivers who were trying to kill me (or at best deliberatly trying to stop me getting past them) and just went with it.  Had to cycle past my (right) turn as I was too scared to move across the lane with cars bombing along at 60 behind me, but it only added a mile or so to my journey.

My foot caught in the pedal at one point, so I pulled over and loosened the tension which made it much easier.

Oh, and I had a nice long downhill which scared me to death, meaning I had my brakes on all the way down to try and keep control.  Oh and I almost rode over a crash barrier in my haste to get off a roundabout!

But I didn't die, so chalk it up to experience!

afairpo's picture

Welcome …

afairpo | | Permalink

… to the high octane world of the commuter cyclist ;)

johnjenkins's picture

How many

johnjenkins | | Permalink

lycra boys flew past you?

Constantly Confused's picture

Just one!

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

johnjenkins wrote:

lycra boys flew past you?

Well, oddly only 1 cyclist came past me (amusingly he said 'On your right' causing me to think 'God the voices in my head are getting clearer every day!' and making me swerve a little as I looked for who had said that (ok, so I should have assumed 'someone on my right', but I only processed it as he whizzed past me so it was just a voice at that point :) )).

I had someone in 'street clothes' just behind me for a mile, making no attempt to get past me despite me going quite slowly while I got into the swing of things.  But then to him perhaps I looked like a 'Lycra boy' (I was in lycra with a proper cycling shirt on, but only because I'd been bought them) and he might have been afraid to come past.

I keep having flashbacks to that downhill section and the feeling I was just going to gain speed till my wheels fell off and I slid into the path of a lorry, I feel like I've been in 'Nam...

johnjenkins's picture

The other

johnjenkins | | Permalink

comment they use is "coming through". Lycra boys don't have bells for some reason. Perhaps it's a weight thing, anyway I have to admire them for the speeds they can get uo to.

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