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Discussion in 'Commuting' started by SAB, 7 Dec 2016.

  1. SAB

    SAB Active Member

    Here we are in winter. Dark mornings. Bitterly cold. I can hear the wind from outside from where I'm sitting!

    Getting motivated to cycle in the summer was still a bit of a chore. But now I've got more driving force behind it.

    Since September I've spent about £500+ bloody on my car and I'm a student so this isn't exactly viable for much longer.

    I enjoy it of course but I'm running out of money quickly now and the forecast for money is miserable given insurance, petrol, repairs etc that are going to happen in the next semester alone.

    I wish I had what it takes to get on the bike in this weather but what is putting me off is that I get the feeling I'll be killed on the road. Drivers passionately seem to hate cyclists. Sure, not all of them. But where I live making eye contact with them is taken as a bloody threat! Very scary. Risky and off putting.

    My car is off the road for the next week it seems. This time the wipers went. Can't drive it in the heavy rain without them. I have to be at university on Thursday for 9.15. 7 miles. I've been contemplating getting back on the bike because it's £8 for a bus which probably won't even stop at my stop like it should.

    Rant over. Anyone able to give some words of wisdom?!
    Slick and greekonabike like this.
  2. crazyjoe101

    crazyjoe101 New Member

    Where are you based? Standards of driving and attitudes to cyclists do vary depending on where you are in the country but I'd say it's rare in the UK to find somewhere that is truly hostile to cyclists in the same was as say Australia.

    I ride all year in all weathers (except from ice as I don't get enough of that to own special tyres) from popping to the shops or lectures at 10mph on my junker to trying to hit the 300km mark on my best bike. Like everyone though I started out very small and had to build my confidence, I started riding in London which could be very intimidating at times as a 15yr old who'd never really cycled in the road but I soon worked out it was an easy place to ride because everything goes so slowly. One thing I would say is that if you were a driver before a cyclist then it will take you some time to adjust but get the miles in and your confidence and ability will grow and your fear will evaporate. Have a read of the commuter guide here for cycle specific tips of what to do on the road to keep safe.

    One thing to bear in mind is that regardless of your style of cycling (Dutch style in casual clothes or fully lycra'd up etc.) you will need some warm clothing that can deal with winter temperatures and driving rain over 7 miles or you won't want to or perhaps be able to ride on those really bad days.

    The bottom line though is that unlike driving, cycling does have a fairly low ongoing cost once you have the kit, and if you try and memorise some of the tips here and get the basics you'll need for winter then you can solve the rest as you go along learning for yourself.
    Slick, dave r, Pat "5mph" and 3 others like this.
  3. Take a deep breath, get on the bike, ride it.
    BrumJim, Slick, dave r and 5 others like this.
  4. DCLane

    DCLane Found in the Yorkshire hills ...

    I work in a university which has a cycle hire scheme. Which one are you at - there may be something similar.

    Also your cycle commute doesn't need to be on the same main roads as the car. Try Google maps / similar for a 'quiet' route away from traffic or a cycle path.
  5. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Warm clothes. Good lights, probably German, at night, which you keep charged, check each end of each ride and carry spare batteries for. Pick a route from a cycling map rather than just riding where you would drive, if possible.

    Can you tell us which uni? Someone may have tips, like I know my old uni UEA has bike-only entrances from the Research Park, North Park Avenue, Bluebell Road and Cow Drive.

    You are very unlikely to die cycling, especially if you ride well. Take up training offers if the local council offer it (and if it ain't Bikeability, ask on here how it differs). There are some really awful ninja cyclists jumping off pavements into traffic and even they rarely get killed... and hey, if motorists shout or beep you, you know they saw you!
  6. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Google maps bike routing is often crazy! http://cycle.travel/map is usually good, while www.cyclestreets.net offers three options including a quiet one which is sometimes good and sometimes a bit too indirect.
    Slick likes this.
  7. Bazzer

    Bazzer Much to do and not enough hours

    Easier to say rather than do, but you can develop it; ride with confidence. If riding at peak commuting time is off putting, build it up by riding when traffic is lighter, then alter your riding time to encounter more and more traffic.
    Also the more you ride, the more you get used to the different situations you are likely to meet.
    Lonestar likes this.
  8. Lonestar

    Lonestar Rat Run Cyclist

    CS 2 and CS 3
    That's right but being familiar with a particular route can make you more wary of what hazards you may encounter and how to avoid them.Experience also helps but I'm always learning.
  9. Tin Pot

    Tin Pot Guru

    What @crazyjoe101 said.

    In my experience, London, drivers on the whole are a reasonable bunch particularly on a regular commute when they know they have a long slog through traffic so there's no point getting worked up.

    You will get the occasional R's-hole, but I guess it's less than 1% when I consider the hundreds of drivers I share the road with on a two hour commute.

    When gets around freezing it's absolutely worth having an alternate route in, and now I'm only occasionally bike commuting I have the luxury of picking the days I want to ride.

    I didn't learn to drive until I was in my thirties, I can't see the economics of it working for a student.

    7 miles is about an hour and fifteen easy paced run for me, and running in the rain is a lot nicer than cycling ;)
    crazyjoe101 likes this.
  10. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    I don't think the OP is in central London if running a car to university ... And concerned about buses stopping which they do in London at least at peak times
  11. RoubaixCube

    RoubaixCube ~Tribanese~

    London, UK
    Just gotta keep your head on a swivel, not tunnel vision out and totally ball it down busy roads. mini-cabs and the like can be the bane of a cyclists existence, They will pull out on you any time they like without indicating or checking their mirrors to pick up or drop off passengers. Black cabbies tend to be the worst when confronted as they tend to have a car boot full of 'Arrogance' about how they are professional drivers, pay road tax and have the right to use the road. They are usually the first ones to deny any wrongdoing.

    With that said, any car could pull out on you at any given second and you will come across drivers (cab drivers included) who are nice and give you plenty of space and those who will try to run you off the road because they think you shouldnt be there.

    As always, its always the minority that ruin it for the majority.

    My commutes tend to take me through Liverpool Street, St. Pauls, Holborn. Angel Islington, Camden, Finsbury Park and Seven sisters just after the peak of morning & evening rush hour but theres still a hell of a lot of traffic on the road.

    Best thing to do is just to acclimatise yourself to all of it by cycling around london on your days off. Having a friend there for support also helps. You already know how to drive so you know all the hazards and other things to look out for.
    Slick likes this.
  12. crazyjoe101

    crazyjoe101 New Member

    I seem to have derailed the thread into a Commuting in London thread, whoops.
  13. OP

    SAB Active Member

    Hi Guys, just to confirm I'm not a London commuter. I am in rural Ireland commuting from the countryside into the city.

    Due to a recent, and non-repairable car problem I've decided that in January I will more than likely (and regrettably) be waving goodbye to the car and immediately saving:
    £285 (insurance Jan-Apr)
    £150 (savings for potential car repairs, same period)
    £45.48 (road tax, same period)
    £300 (petrol money, 20 a week, same period)
    £700 proceeds from car sale
    £1,480.48 immediate recovered money
    The car proceeds will go towards my savings I've decided. The rest, general living expenses.

    I simply cannot afford the cost. Since September, I've spent around £500 on maintenance stuff, MOT stuff. . . leaks and all sorts. I'm a student on about £6,300 a year and have no left over income to enjoy. It just so happens I don't drink or party as such, a good thing too.

    I'm going to immediately switch to 'getting the bus' too, in terms of having a way to get to university. It'll be three days per week, so it shouldn't cost too much.

    It will be sort of difficult with no car, having had the use of one now for over a year. Finding the effort and motivation to cycle will probably not be so hard, considering it will be one of my only ways into the city apart from the bus which comes at 2 hour intervals. 45 minutes is the cycle time into the city, but I'd allow an hour at least in any case.

    My biggest issue after all of this happens, is the road. Our A roads, are like England's B roads.. This road is the main route from Dublin to my city, and is a route for lorries, busses, speeding motorists.. the works. I've cycled a few times before with no problem, the problems started when we cycled two abreast once, horn beeps, people making threats. Very scary. It was in fact the last time I did that road.

    This is a link for any of you to browse the road:
  14. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Yeah, cycle.travel seems determined to avoid that road and head east to the nearby B-road cycle route at every opportunity.
  15. cyberknight

    cyberknight Guru

    South Derbyshire