The accidental commuter


Well-Known Member

I [very] recently decided to try cycling in to work.

Work is 16 miles away with a few uppy-downy bits in the way, which I thought might be a bit far (as I'd not ridden my bike for over a year). So the weekend before last I decided to do a trial run. It took me an hour to get half way. At that point I figured that 16 miles was definately too far so turned around and went home. Slowly. I was saddle sore for days afterwards.

We came up with a compromise route - 7 miles to a small town with a train station, then 15 minutes on the train. A do-able route, and the train fare is still less than the petrol I'd use. Hurrah!

First attempt on Thursday - everything went as planned.

Second attempt today. All seemed to be going OK again. Got to the station in 45 minutes, plenty of time for the train. Opened my bag... no wallet! Erm....

7 miles from home, 10 miles from work, no money, no credit on my phone, already tired. Erm....

I could turn around and go home, but that'd take another 45 minutes (probably longer), then I'd have to drive 20 minutes. So I decided to cycle the rest of the way in.

In total it took me 2 hours to get to work. When I arrived I was a mess - could hardly walk (going up stairs was particularly painful). For some reason everyone I told found it highly amusing.

There was no way I could possibly have cycled all the way home too, so I borrowed some cash and got a train back to a station that's only 4 miles from home.

I'm still planning to cycle to the station again tomorrow - but we'll have to see what my legs say in the morning.

I learned 2 things today.
1) I am *definately* not ready to cycle the whole way in.
2) Always check you have your wallet before leaving the house.

If I can keep this up for a few weeks/months I'll buy myself a new bike (currently using my MTB - Giant Terrago). My LBS said they usually recomend a Ridgeback Voyage or Panorama (for £700 and £1200 respectively) for commuters. Does anyone have any experience/thoughts on those ones (as commuters)?
Well done.Take it at your own pace...I give myself plenty of time to get to work and sit down before I actually do some work...I am getting on a bit though.:tongue:


Do you smell fudge?
Yes, well done on making it in. My guess is that as you progress and your stamina improves, 16 miles wont feel so far afterall :tongue:

Im sure changing to a road bike will help too


Rider of Seolferwulf
South London
That is some feersum good work there Ergates. Most impressed! Keep it up, your endjinn will get stronger and stronger if you give your body a chance to rest.

Don't forget to ride slowly - pacing, and keeping yourself in the zone where you can breathe easily and talk is the way to get fitter and faster at this stage. Not pushing yourself. Eat and drink before you're hungry or thirsty, and defo eat something after you finish a ride. Maybe a mars refuel choco drink or something.


Active Member
how old are you & what kind of bike are you ridding?

Im 35 and for fun i ride from Newcastle to hexam at least twice a month, as well as commuting about 50 miles a week.

my house to hexam along the famous military road is uppy & downy a lot. 25 miles in length and i do that in under 1hr45m.

I do this on a 2001 Ridgeback Velocity hybrid bike. I am buying my first proper road bike since i was 12 in 2 weeks time.

Don't bite off more than you can chew, build your legs up slowly. go on a few rides in your spare time.

I only get 2 or 3 days off a week, so i make the most of my rides, century rides are no stranger to me


Active Member
I know you've not stated this however if cash is a bit short and you can't afford to go out and buy a fancy new bike........try looking at getting slick tyres for your MTB. I've got some Vittoria Rubino Pro's - they take a max of 90psi so obviously I used to stick 100 in for good measure. It's a lot easier than riding on the usual tyres.

You might also want to look at the following and having it attached to your bike somewhere........always good to have spare cash hidden away :smile: -


Formerly just_fixed
well done ergates. stick at it and in less than 2 months you will be cycling both ways everyday and wondering what you were fussing about.

regarding the bike. just stick on some cheap slicks whilst you make up your mind about which style of bike you will like. there's no rush and your fitness will improve.

lots of people rush out and buy a bike only to try and modify it later on. have patience, keep cruising the net and here to see what will tickle your fancy long term.


New Member
That's a journey and a half on a mountain bike, so I'm not surprised you were wobbly when you arrived. Don't worry though, like everyone else says, you'll get fit very quickly on your planned daily mileage and one day you'll hopefully decide to tackle the full journey again and will feel really proud of how good you feel when you arrive!
Well done Ergates.

the Giant is actuially fine for a 16 mile commute...but...have you swapped the tyres or did you attempt your maiden voyage on knobblies?

if so, swap them for slicks, pump up the pressure and watch the miles roll under you much faster (and easier)

I cannot belive how hard it is to ride on the road with knobblies, its like thay are deigned to slow you down.


Well-Known Member
Thanks all.

I've got road tyres on the bike - Specialized Armadillos I think.

Remembered my wallet today. ;)


Über Member
Ergates said:
Thanks all.

I've got road tyres on the bike - Specialized Armadillos I think.

Remembered my wallet today. ;)

Armadillos may not be the best choice for a 16 mile commute. Some people like them but my experience is a harsh ride and less-than-perfect puncture protection. I now use Schwalbe Marathon Plus for a comfy ride and no punctures at all. In my experience.


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
Oh yes..check and double check. Just moved to panniers from a rucksack - knew where everything needed to be in the rucksack, and now have to re-learn. Mobile, check, clothes, check, office keys, check, security pass, check, wallet, check.......
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