Scruffmonster said:I'm actually a bit further out than Sidcup, but see little point in naming some random village that nobody would have heard of. .
Ian, Mikey, myself (and a few others) are from that neck of the woods and I know what you mean, I wouldn't own up to living in someplace like "Pratts Bottom" on an open interweb forum
I'm in Chislehurst myself and ride to Shepherds Bush. I would look at Ians advice and consider trying a regular ride (maybe just once a week to start) and see how that goes.
In terms of timing, I have no idea how "avid" a cyclist you have been up till now, or how fit you feel you are. All I can tell you is my first ride in took just over an hour and I've never really improved much on that in a year (...almost...) of commuting. I had no proper road riding experience and have only ever dabbled in MTB'ing in the past (no major rides or events)...I consider myself pretty unfit although I squeeze an hour of sport into my life a couple of evenings a week. I am also a pretty big unit, 6'2 with a large frame, bit kinda rugger playerish...not cyclist shaped at all
Going home is harder for me (maybe for you too) as Chislehurst is an elevated village and the incline up from Lewisham is very gradual, so its a 4-5 mile slog (especially with a nasty headwinds in Catford to contend with most nights) this means my ride home is usually somewhere between 75-90 mins.
I would say 16 miles will take you the best part of 90 mins, without experience or "cycle fitness" and will eventually end up around an hour (50-60 mins) door to door, as your fitness and experience grows.
Also, to gain confidence remember that there are "rules" to cycling, like Highway code etc but also more advance rules that will give you much more confidence and provide greater safety (a big issue with busy city riding)
Many places can provide info on road skills...a book called "Cycle craft" is often quoted on this forum and I found this book very helpful.. Although you will see posts from me defending the use of highway code, I will admit to breaking many of the H.C rules myself with the exception of jumping red lights. Jumping red lights has a particularly negative impact on drivers perception of all cyclists and will reduce the respect that drivers give you along your journey.... It really does not slow you down to stop, other than that, make your choice and accept the consequences.