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Advice on new 17 mile commute

Discussion in 'Commuting and Utility Cycling' started by jtg90, 10 Jan 2017.

  1. jtg90

    jtg90 New Member

    Cheers everyone. I'm leaning more towards a hybrid ... flat bar road bike type but with slightly wider tyres sounds ideal.

    @united4ever yeh the Thameslink commute isn't great ... I'd be saving over £2000 over a year, although I'll probably only be in Colindale for 6 months or so before moving more central again
     
  2. rivers

    rivers Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    I commute 16 miles each way on my bike. At least one day a week it's over 20 each way due to having to visit a different site further in town. Usually 4 days in the summer, and at this moment in time, it depends on the weather how I get to work. When I first started it took me about 90 minutes, but that's now down to just over an hour (goal is to get it under an hour this summer). Just work up to it, and if your legs aren't feeling it one day, give them a break.
     
  3. TheJDog

    TheJDog dingo's kidneys

    That makes more sense. I was doing West Hampstead to Watford for a few weeks over the summer, and it got easier the longer I did it. I'd guess you're looking at 75 minutes or more each way. Good exercise :smile:. Point still stands about the Edgware Road. From Colindale North it's a shocker.
     
  4. Brains

    Brains Veteran

    Location:
    Greenwich
    I'd buy a £200 second had bike to start with, (or better still, see if you can borrow one)
    After a couple of weeks you will have worked out the best route, why panniers are better than a rucksack and most importantly what sort of bike you really want.

    So you then sell (or give back) your £200 bike and buy what you really want (again second hand. You can get a £1,000 bike for £400 second hand and nothing wrong with it)

    Also if your work do the cycle to work scheme (ask HR) then the normal budget is £1000, which you pay back £540 over 12 or 24 months
     
  5. Blurb

    Blurb Senior Member

    I know that route and would probably do the straight down the A5 option.
    Not much to add to what has already been said, but if IIRC there is an unlit section between Radlett and Elstree, so make sure you have some decentish lights.
    There's a couple of minor hills between Elstree and Edgware, Brockley Hill being a pain on the way home in the dark and rain. The pavements in those sections are usually deserted so you can hop onto those to get out of the way of any traffic.
    No decent bike paths as far as I remember, so all on the road.
    Probably very nice in the summer when you can take scenic routes if the fancy takes you.
    HTH
     
  6. KneesUp

    KneesUp Veteran

    My commute is much shorter, and I usually do it on a drop bar bike with interuupter (or CX) brake levers - i.e. you can brake from the flat bit of the bar. The other day I had to dash in to work to solve an issue and took the only bike that was rideable which happened to be a road bike with just brakes in the drops. In traffic, being able to brake from the tops is much better.
     
  7. It's doable. My commute is 17 miles each way (with a lot of hill-climbing) and I've been doing this distance or similar for almost 7 years now. You may have to work up to it, and your appetite will be higher than usual for a while, until your body gets used to it.
     
  8. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    Personally this style would have me stressed and crashing. Relax and take it easy
     
  9. rivers

    rivers Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    It was mainly down to a) changing from a mountain to a road bike and b) and increase in fitness level. It just got easier the more riding I did.
     
    Bimble and jay clock like this.
  10. hillrep

    hillrep Über Member

    This is awfully good advice. You don't really know what you want until you have actually tried something, or even better a few different things. The correct answer to "what sort of bike" is the one you are happiest with.

    My personal preference, although I don't go as far as you're planning to, is a "cyclocross type" road bike. I.e. something that has drop bars, but wider tyres than a road race bike and takes mudguards and a pannier rack. A touring bike would be similar. For me this works well even in city traffic.
     
  11. Elybazza61

    Elybazza61 Veteran

    Have a look on e-bay(or local ads) in your area although make sure it's the right size,you should be able to find a geometry/size guide on-line especially if it's one of the major bike makes.

    Just had a quick search in your area(bored at work:whistle:)and found these,obv don't know what size you need but it gives an idea of what's about;

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Bianchi-C...001606?hash=item2a796fe0c6:g:lb0AAOSw-0xYTwOo

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/genesis-b...953345?hash=item2829248e01:g:9CcAAOSw5cNYSwWX

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Specializ...140603?hash=item1c7a8cedfb:g:HWYAAOSwvg9XautI

    If you did get a road bike you can always get one of the large tail packs from the likes of Alpkit or Apidura.
     
  12. jahlive905

    jahlive905 Active Member

    I was in the same boat as you about 18 months ago, a beginner, deciding to start commuting 15 miles from South East London into Central. I got myself a Giant Defy 4 2014 model, second hand. Beautiful bike, has the option to add panniers to it if you need (not all bikes can!) and definitely think I made the right choice getting a road bike, rather than a hybrid. Made the journey easier.

    Road bikes are definitely a different type of machine if you're not used to them though so definitely get some practice.
     
  13. Elybazza61

    Elybazza61 Veteran

    Aaah pic whoring excuse alert :whistle::laugh:.

    This is what I use on my 17-24 mile (depending on route)commutes; IMG_20160914_072318620.jpg

    Planet X XLS with a 1X11 drivetrain and running 30c Schwalbe tubeless so can go a bit off-piste if needed;despite being a full-on race cross bike it can still take 'guards(fit via the axles) and can thrumb along at 30kph with no trouble.

    Also you can see the Alpkit pack I mentioned above.

    And here with the 'guards fitted(and lit up like a Christmas tree:rolleyes:);

    IMG_20161006_065903781.jpg
     
    Bimble likes this.
  14. Wolf616

    Wolf616 Well-Known Member

    Definitely build up slowly. A few years ago I went from a 3 mile each way to an 11 mile each way pretty much overnight. I, for some stupid reason, assumed I'd be able to just get on with that distance every day fine and ended up injuring myself quite quickly. Admittedly this was partly due to bike fit, which is now sorted (and make sure you sort properly if you are getting a new bike!), but a year down the line I'm still not 100% fit and it pains me (literally and metaphorically). Having said that every single muscle in my leg and arse is naturally tight so I'm probably more prone to injuries than most. Stretching is important, even if you feel like a wally arriving at work and having to prostrate yourself on the floor!
     
  15. MichaelW2

    MichaelW2 Über Member

    How much does the alternative means of transport cost?
    Ideal bike would be a winter training style roadbike, disc or long drop caliper, with clearance for 28mm + full length, bolt on mudguards (even if you opt not to fit,). Luggage canbe a light bolt on rack with si gle pannier, top bag or trad saddle bag.
    You need durable lights. A front dynohub takes the worry away, no fretting over battery management. Setup multiple lights front and rear.
    Get some really efficient, tough tyres.

    You may need to factor in a midweek rest day and to increase your calorie intake.
    Quick dry microfibre towels are convenient for office use. Keep as much as you can at work. Always keep spare undies and socks and an extra spare inner tube at work.