16 Mile Commute Advice - Sidcup to London

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.
 

arallsopp

Post of The Year 2009 winner
Location
Bromley, Kent
jonny jeez said:
I'm in Chislehurst myself and ride to Shepherds Bush. 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.

Hey, maybe see you on the road some time. I'm doing Hammersmith > Vauxhall > Lewisham > Bromley Mon/Tues/Weds evenings.
 
OP
OP
Scruffmonster

Scruffmonster

Über Member
Location
London/Kent
jonny jeez said:
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. //

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)

I'm only just starting out, but I'm reasonably fit, the main point is to work in 'free' exercise. I have a small child who is demanding, tagging on a 7-8pm gym session a few days a week isnt doable. I figure if I can get to 4 legs a week I'll be happy. I'd be over the moon with 3 full commutes a week for the summer months.

I'm reasonably confident when on the road, have no qualms about making people wait for good reason, if that doesnt sound ignorant. I think I'm quick enough and sensible enough to not put myself in too many avoidable situations, the main reason for this thread was to establish if there were any 'Cyclist No go zones/junctions' that I would have stumbled onto otherwise. I've seen plenty of mentions/videos on here of some shockers. I'm sure I'll be fine. Aside from the John Wayne waddle 9-5...
 
arallsopp said:
Hey, maybe see you on the road some time. I'm doing Hammersmith > Vauxhall > Lewisham > Bromley Mon/Tues/Weds evenings.

That'd be good, I know Ian, mikey and myself have all tried to fix a trip in one morning (without success) but it be fun to see you all on the road sometime (and be able to recognise you) Are you riding a Bent tho, not seen one of those on the road at all on my route so I suspect you may ride at a different time to me.

Scruffmonster said:
I'm only just starting out, but I'm reasonably fit, the main point is to work in 'free' exercise. I have a small child who is demanding, tagging on a 7-8pm gym session a few days a week isnt doable. I figure if I can get to 4 legs a week I'll be happy. I'd be over the moon with 3 full commutes a week for the summer months.

I'm reasonably confident when on the road,

That was exactley the same reason I started to commute by bike a year ago (time flies)my spare time is very limited and my journey (by car or train) in was taking upwards of 2 hours each way, so I looked at this time as "binus" time to invest in keeping fit as apposed to taking up space in a car or train

Glad you are confident, that's a major plus for busy city riding......confidence and predictability
 

arallsopp

Post of The Year 2009 winner
Location
Bromley, Kent
jonny jeez said:
That'd be good, I know Ian, mikey and myself have all tried to fix a trip in one morning (without success) but it be fun to see you all on the road sometime (and be able to recognise you) Are you riding a Bent tho, not seen one of those on the road at all on my route so I suspect you may ride at a different time to me.

Yep. On a white and black Furai, wot looks like my avatar :rolleyes:
I'm only on those roads in the evenings, setting off from work 1830-1945hrs normally, and home around an hour later. Mornings I go the 'quick' way, which is to say straight over Crystal Palace. :evil:
 
arallsopp said:
Yep. On a white and black Furai, wot looks like my avatar :tongue:
I'm only on those roads in the evenings, setting off from work 1830-1945hrs normally, and home around an hour later. Mornings I go the 'quick' way, which is to say straight over Crystal Palace. :rolleyes:

flippin eck, Crystal palace on a Bent!!!...are you mad!!:evil:

you leave around an hour after me, but maybe I'll see you if i leave late some night
 

arallsopp

Post of The Year 2009 winner
Location
Bromley, Kent
jonny jeez said:
flippin eck, Crystal palace on a Bent!!!...are you mad!!:evil:

you leave around an hour after me, but maybe I'll see you if i leave late some night

Its not so bad. People say "'Bent's don't climb" but once legs and expectations are adjusted accordingly, it all goes rather swimmingly. Good practice for steadycam on ditchling too :rolleyes:

Hope to see you on the road sometime.
 

BentMikey

Rider of Seolferwulf
Location
South London
Andy goes up hills a lot faster than I do. Plus having looked at the Crystal Palace route on Bikely, it's got just about as much climbing and descending as the A21 route. Surprising, eh!
 
BentMikey said:
Andy goes up hills a lot faster than I do. Plus having looked at the Crystal Palace route on Bikely, it's got just about as much climbing and descending as the A21 route. Surprising, eh!

I did the same calc and was really surprised, the actual "climbing bit" of crystal palace is not that different from the hill at the Beadles garage end of Bromley road....which I also hate.

I've still not plucked up the courage though...it's my Nemesis! I do think a lot of hills are "in your mind" though, I spin up the hill at Lewisham (loampit) without even thinking about it, but Bromley hill is a real trial for me for some reason..odd
 

arallsopp

Post of The Year 2009 winner
Location
Bromley, Kent
BentMikey said:
Having looked at the Crystal Palace route on Bikely, it's got just about as much climbing and descending as the A21 route.

I'm not sure about that. I can keep 16.5mph all the way on Bromley Hill, but can't get near that average for Crystal Palace, even with a +30mph descent on the other side. I'm not sure I understand total climb / descent anyway, as there seems to be massive variance even on the same GPX file.

Case in point: GarminConnect says my commute home via Crystal Palace is 1,175ft elevation gain (uncorrected), but via Vauxhall / Bromley Hill reckons 905ft. SportyPal also uses google maps, but says 446ft vs 253.

Personally, I just point the boom at the top and spin. Eventually you crest either, and then its plain sailing :evil:
 

BentMikey

Rider of Seolferwulf
Location
South London
Yeah, I'm probably more even on my route as there seems to be less climb from the Crystal Palace side up to Biggin Hill (I go via Blackness Lane).
 
ianrauk said:
I do Bromley Hill every day.. and it doesn't get any easier lol

a few times I've found myself sharing the route (not drafting) with a fair haired chap on a white framed Hybrid. we run through lewisham ,Catford and Downham together, equally paced and neither of us bothering the other (i hope) but i just loose the guy on the hill, he slows a lot as well mind, but not as much as me!!!

one day...oooonnneee daaaay
 

arallsopp

Post of The Year 2009 winner
Location
Bromley, Kent
Well the good thing is that we can all agree. With regards to the OP, the best route from Sidcup to Liverpool Street is not via Bromley Hill. :evil:
 
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