Countryside commute

Peteaud

Veteran
Location
South Somerset
I am looking at the possibility of changing my job.

The new position could be cycled and I would have to as one of the reasons of changing is to dump the car.

However, its a really rural route with 1/2 of the run on a single track lane.

Rode it today just to see and its ok apart from the gravel build up.

Anyone on here do such a route and what would be the problems?

I am thinking of p******** and winter / ice issues.

thanks
 

Pauluk

Senior Member
Location
Leicester
Pete, if its a rural single track what will happen in the winter if it gets a good snow fall? Will it be even passable let alone suitable for a bike.
 

Norm

Guest
What's the distance? And is there a bus / train alternative?

Winter is ok (or great, IMO!) for riding, with studded tyres covering ice and thickly cleated tyres for the snow and a pair of Marathon+ for general use. I used an old MTB through winter 18 months ago, although not in the heavy snow as I was, coincidentally, working in London for a few days and train / walked the commute.
 

helston90

Eat, sleep, ride, repeat.
Location
Cornwall
The main problem I find is any cars have no where to go when you meet- I know in town/ cities there is more of them but a lot of my routes if you come face to one you both HAVE to stop or you're going nose to nose.
At different times of year farmers tend to drag masses of mud out of the fields along the road which makes for a challenge.
Not done proper winter riding yet!
 

Crankarm

Guru
Location
Nr Cambridge
Agree with all of the above. You will need a MTB based commuter with full 60mm mudguards front and rear, a regular cleaning regime for your bike as it will quickly get covered in crud, mud and sh1t. You will have to clean it just to keep the transmission sweet. You might find this becomes a real chore especially in the weather we have had so far this summer.

Also you might get pretty mucky yourself if an ignorant farmer drops mud or slurry all over the lane. I would guess come winter you would be better fitting studded tyres especially if snow and ice. Otherwise I would use Marathon Extremes, Mondials or XRs - 26" x 1.6 something pretty robust and pretty puncture resistant. SMP+ are very heavy and whine when you get them up to speed. I'm not keen on them.

I would also suggest an Airzound and a really good front light such as an Exposure Max D otherwise any approaching vehicles will simply try to flatten you, 4x4s for example.

Apart from the above it could be an idyllic ride.
 

mcshroom

Bionic Subsonic
I have a similar commute. You get used to the gravel after a while, but things to look out for are: -

  • Mud on the road - farmers seem to enjoy seeing how much of this slippery stuff they can spread all over the road
  • Hedge Cutting - Hawthorns are the only things I know that have consistently beaten every puncture resistant tyre I've tried. Slicker tyres can be better here as the thorns have a habit of catching in the tread of things like marathons and work their way in over the next mile or so.
  • Piles of stones in the middle of the lane - Surface dressing on roads narrow enough to force driving in one set of tracks leaves a pile of loose stones in the middle of the road. You can cross it ok, but pay attention when doing so.
  • Flooding - After heavy rain little back roads can often be flooded as they tend to have mud banks on either side which prevents water getting out.
  • Ice - especially under any trees. I use Schwalbe Snow studs in the winter which work on ice and deep snow.

On the other hand there is very little hassle from cars and the scenery is far more pleasant. :smile:

Photo0211.jpg


I do have a main road alternative, but I prefer using studded tyres on ice to trudging along the gritted -road being covered in black grime.
 
OP
Peteaud

Peteaud

Veteran
Location
South Somerset
Thanks for the replies.

The route is 6 miles if i use the lane.

1/3 - main road
1/3 rural with about a mile of the narrow single lane (i will post a pic of later)
1/3 b road

Bike would be a Trek 7500 hybrid. with 700 x 38 tires.

6am start so no buses etc and 4 days a week as its a 12 hour shift, 6am - 6 pm

Route is mostly downhill to the workplace.

The alternative would be an 8 mile but very busy main A road.
 

GrasB

Veteran
Location
Nr Cambridge
You'll need reasonably tough slick tyres for the summer, my recommendation would be Durano plus & some spiked tyres for the winter. You'll need to get full length mudguards, MTB crud catcher type guards won't do the job. Finally you'll need proper see-by lights. I know this is an expensive suggestion but going for a dynamo hub & something like a B+M Lumotech IQ Cyo T + Topline reat light may be worth considering.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
6 miles rural - do it, even in the worst of weather. My shortest route is down the Trans Pennine - I use this only on ICY days when I crack out the MTB with snow studs. You can also get Marathon Winters that would fit the hybrid for ice - more suitable for road riding, although might struggle a little in deep snow.
 

GrumpyGregry

Here for rides.
If you've already got lights, buy some decent rechargeable batteries. Minimum of two lights front and rear just in case one packs up.
Your front lights cannot be too bright if you want to make good progress at night on rural roads.
Fit proper mudguards
Keep your tyres up to max pressure and consider ice studs (if they will fit your frame) in the depths of winter.
Get anal about cleaning your bike esp the transmission.
Be prepared to be bullied by the cars you do encounter so get very comfortable riding primary and ignoring horns
Watch out for the tw@ts that will try the overtake just before the crest of the blind summit and whose escape route runs right through you
Once it snows expect to encounter wankpanzers on road tyres coming at you sideways.
Find a variety of routes if possible as it can get boring when they ain't actively trying to kill you.

apart from that, and everything else said by others, a rural commute is a joy.
 
OP
Peteaud

Peteaud

Veteran
Location
South Somerset
Not worried by deep snow as i wont go in. :whistle:

My current drive is just over 30 miles each way along some lanes or 35 miles main roads so weather is an issue either way.

The narrow lane part is only about a mile long, but it cuts off around 2 miles of hilly very busy main road.

I have a MTB that i can use over the winter if needed.

I thought about buying an old racer bike and using that, or would the hybrid be better off?

Full mud guards would def be needed, and a good set (or 2) of lights.

All of this would mean selling the car (we have to have 2 at the moment) so the savings would be pretty good.
 

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
As someone who lives and ride regularly in a rural area in just about all weather conditions, I would recommend hub gearing/fixed/singlespeed as derailleurs seem to have been designed to collect all the shoot of the road in winter. Not having derailleurs makes looking after the bike so much easier, I put my derailleur geared bikes away for the winter.
 

Hacienda71

Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire
My commute is 8.5 miles of which 6 are out in the country. Some A road, some B road and some unclassified that is single car width in places. I ride most of the year on a carbon roadbike with 23c tyres and clip on guards when raining. I do take extra care on very cold/icey days, to be honest though there are very few days where I won't ride or would need to ride a different bike.
My view is, I am a lucky git. :thumbsup:
 
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