Allow me to introduce myself...

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Sprocket Dog, 22 Jun 2008.

  1. Sprocket Dog

    Sprocket Dog New Member

    For I'm a man of wealth and taste....

    Well, okay, only one of the above is true.

    I'm getting back into cycling after a 17 year lay off, mainly because I learned to drive and developed a taste for alcohol, kebabs and lounging on the sofa.

    I'm fortunate enough that my employer is part of the cycle to work scheme, so getting the bike and kit should be taken care of soon enough.

    I'm hoping to commute the full distance from Sidcup to Regent Street, W1 - a distance of 14.5 miles each way. I can appreciate and imagine the distance as I've commuted by motobike for a number of years, albeit on different roads.

    I'm a bit concerned about a few things.

    Firstly, road safety. The one problem I've notice on a pushbike is the lack of mirrors. How do you guys get around the fact that you cannot see bhind you?

    Secondly, is a 30 miles-a-day commute possible? How long, roughly, would it take to work up to that? Should I be considering any dietary supplements to increase my carb intake?

    My apologies if these questions are quite inane, but suddenly I'm seeing cycling from a very different viewpoint and not being shrouded in leather on a bike with the power to get out of trouble is making me a tad nervous.

    I'm sure there are other nuggets of advice people can offer - please feel free to dispense. :wacko:


  2. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Barmy in Barming
    Hi Cam and welcome to the board.
    I live in Orpington and commute to Greenwich everyday. A round trip of just over 26 miles.

    It took me 2 years to work up to that, though I hadn't ridden a bike for 20 years. I started off with 1 and half miles to the station and back, and that was a killer.

    To be honest with you, If you are unfit, I think you are going to find it very tough to do that mileage for one day let alone 5 on the trot.

    It all boils down to many factors. How fit you are? what type of bike you have? have you got the right gear? (cycling cloting etc),

    As to safety, it's down to common sense and experience.

    More people will be along on here to offer futher good advice. Good luck with your new healthier lifestyle. It's going to be tough going, but keep it up. You wont regret it. (I have lost over 2 stone since I started riding again).
  3. Night Train

    Night Train Maker of Things

    Greater Manchester
    Hi and welcome.

    I don't have mirrors on my bike, I just turn my head and have a look. I can also tell where traffic is by listening to the sounds of engines. You can get used to it. In town I would just assume that there are cars everywhere and so I would look a lot before changing direction.

    I can't do a thirty mile anything without an engine but there are some here who would cycle thirty miles or more for fun on a weekend morning before other people have even woken up from the night before. :wacko:
  4. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    hey fella

    too late for me to off sense and I'm not the best at it anyway but get stuck in and see, it'll come

    tough it out early on until your body adapts, but bike gear as soon as you're ready, it really does work and make things better, bike shoes, shorts (bib), shirts, all of it is good stuff, a good LBS is a godsend

    it's a good distance but very doable

    cyclecraft book is a good read for a starter, you have every right to be on the road, ride strong and ride confident
  5. Bob_betty

    Bob_betty New Member

    If your used to a motorcycle then continue to use your deadmans and lifesaver, and be extra careful of junctions (obviously)

    In terms of distance, have a ride at the weekend and see how far you get and gradulay build up from there.

    Thats comming from someone who has just started to do the same thing after 10 years and no commut to work but to keep fit.
  6. marinyork

    marinyork Resting in suspended Animation

    Road safety, read cyclecraft and listen to these guys. Don't worry. People will overtake you, you'll get used to it quickly.

    Mirrors, don't really need them. You can do lifesavers and your hearing is so much more attuned on the bike to be almost like crap radar.

    30 miles a day on flats is certainly possible. As for working up, why not do a 10 miler and see. Extrapolate times for that. Try and save some energy in the day for your commute home. Try and relax on your first few commutes, they'll be plenty to get used to and learn. Other than that I don't have much to say most of the guys here do way more mileage than I do.
  7. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Barmy in Barming
    Oh and thanks for helping me turn from a 'Junior Member' into a fully fledged 'member' :wacko:
  8. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Drivers have mirrors cyclists have ears.

    30 miles is doable

    welcome to the brightside.
  9. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman New Member

    Morning Sprocket Dog (and welcome). I'll second just about everything posted so far, though 17 years is quite a long time to be off a bike and bikes (and you;)) will have changed a bit in that time. I reckon that the best part of 15 miles each way will be a bit too much to start straight off with - you'll need to build up to it by doing shorter runs and gradually extending them (and that takes a bit of time). The same applies for speed/journey time, and it might also take a bit of time for you to be comfortable on/with your bike (there can be a big difference between the comfort on a half hour potter around and an hour or more of fairly serious travelling), but providing the bike fits you it does get better:smile:. If you're used to m/cycling you might find something like this
    or this
    though I prefer this one
    mainly 'cos it flips out of the way for parking up in the bike rack (you still need to perform the 'life saver' when riding though). Things like specialist cycling clothing (lycra etc) depend partly on how hard you'll be 'working' on the bike. If you travel fairly short distances at a steady pace you'll be fine in normal clothes, but if going longer/harder (working a bit of a sweat up) lycra comes into its own. There's a whole new world to enter ie pedals, gears, accessories, lights, HELMETS, and it's all FUN (or it should be ... by law:biggrin:). Enjoy it :wacko:
  10. OP
    Sprocket Dog

    Sprocket Dog New Member

    Hi folks!Thanks for the words of advice and encouragement. :biggrin:I'd like to reply to each of you individually but my work 'pooter won't let me quote properly (it's doubtful it will even let me use paragraphs, tbh).In terms of my fitness, I'm certainly not as up to the task as I was in my teens. I do play basketball 2/3 times a week, though this is anaerobic training and not much of a guide to stamina.The CycleScheme quotes I have had don't really include much in the way of clothing as I was sceptical at the benefit they'd provide so early on in my cycling life. So far I have a couple of pairs of padded shorts. Is it worth re-visiting the stores and getting quotes for additional clothing? Can you recommend any particular items/brands?In terms of the bike, I'm opting for a Giant XtC 4.5 and retro fitting road tyres. I have a good friend that goes trail riding/MTBing at the weekends and I'd like to be able to go with her, hence the compromise.I've been quoted for cleats and shoes as I understand that these will make a big difference (once I'm confident enough to use them). Other accessories are simply locks, lightsets, helmet and mudguards.Thanks also to those who suggested Cycle Craft - I'll make my way to Waterstones at lunchtime. :smile:Thanks again. :wacko:
  11. walker

    walker New Member

    Bromley, Kent
    ah Sprocket, I commute from Welling, I used to come in from Sidcup, and I finish work in 3 days, otherwise I could of brought you in. I can help you tomorrow if you can do it?
  12. OP
    Sprocket Dog

    Sprocket Dog New Member

    Hi Walker! :smile:Sadly, I've not yet got the bike so am still on the train/motorbike just now. I'd be grateful to know of a suggested route. :biggrin:
  13. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    Yorkshireman - they are just sooo wrong...... mirrors on a bike :biggrin: , god help us, next you'll be telling us about bells as well...... :smile:;)
  14. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    If you only rely on your ears in London though you're in danger of getting tanged with another cyclist. I've been surprised a few times by finding another cyclist just over my shoulder.
  15. 4F

    4F Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby

    Hi Cam, I commute the same distance and when I started I used to ride in and then take he bus home and then bus in the next day and ride home. Gradually build up the amount of trips and before you know it you will be able to do it 5 days a week. When I started it used to take me about 75 mins but now only takes between 45 - 55 mins however I would add that mine is mainly a rural commute and I only have 2 sets of traffic lights to contend with :biggrin:

    Never had an issue with regards to not having a mirror and if you have previously ridden a motorcycle then as long as you keep up with the lifesaver checks then I cannot see that you will have a problem.

    Enjoy the delights and freedom of 2 wheels :smile::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
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