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Discussion Starter #1
Public transport is very expensive in London ... well the tube is at any rate and I hate going by bus (too many 'undesirables' and 'police community officers' - usually about 5 at a time - coming on board every five minutes to arrest or fine anyone who hasnt paid their 90p fare (you'd think they had better things to do but apparently not))

So ... I have a bike. Its a decent one - less than a year old. I've used it for local shopping trips but am now considering cycling to work. Apparently it will take me approximately 45 minutes (according to the London Transport site). I have 'cycling maps' with safer roads highlighted. As you can imagine, London roads are rather busy so this feature is very important.

I'm going to do a test run this coming Sunday. Any tips/comments/ cries of 'you insane woman you are going to get yourself killed on the road" much appreciated. Do other people here cycle a lot?

I dont drive .. never learnt ... but I do know the rules of the road (Highway Code) ;)
 

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You insane woman... lol.

Seriously, get some good reflective clothing, lights and a decent helmet. Make sure your bike is well maintained as well. Get a small pump (there are some really good ones out there, very quick) just in case you get a flat. Pumping it up every 10 mins will be better than walking all the way.

Good luck to you!
 

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Unfortunately she might not be able to stay off the main roads (depending on the route). Cycling on the pavements is illegal here. However I have no doubt she'll be a safe pedaller :D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I know I have to go down an extremely busy main road but I do it all the time on my short trips. It was a little nerve wracking to start with but one gets used to it ;)
 

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My husband rides his bike to/from work in good weather. He only has to go two miles but it is on 55mph rural (narrow) roads with no bike lane. He just keeps an eye out for traffic and will pull his bike off into the shoulder until the cars pass or if the shoulder is not bad, he'll just continue pedalling on the shoulder. His bike is classified as a "hybrid" as its a cross between a 10-speed and a mountain bike; mtn bike handlebars, wider seat, heavier frame but lighter tires like a 10-speed, though they have thicker tread nubs for traction on dirt surfaces. It also has fork shocks and a shock absorber under the seat.

Helmet.
Lightweight reflective vest to wear over clothing. (i have one for riding my horse)
Lights, fore and aft, on the bike.
Don't get flattened.
 

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Allie, you will do fine! While I will never claim to have cycled in cities as busy as London, I have been in cities with 4 and 6 lane roads and felt at ease. I have a feeling though that Londoners may be a bit more cyclist-conscious than in the biggest American cities since they have different attitudes towards transportation.

Before I became licensed to drive a car, I rode my bike everywhere in every season. When I rode in winter, I removed my preferred chain lube (80W-90 gear lube) and replaced it with a silicone spray. Gear changes were effortless. And skidding on my bike had a secondary benefit. A bike behaved EXACTLY like a car when it came to fishtailing and skid correction. So getting behind the wheel for my first winter driving was not a problem.

But the point is that if I felt comfortable in inclement weather and heavy traffic, so will you. You will become used to the traffic. While you will always be cautious, you will not find yourself being afraid to ride.
 

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You can get mirrors for your handlebars and helmet - probably a wise investment. And if you can find a horn to attach to the handlebars, that could come in handy. I ride to work when the weather's nice, and there have been a few times when I would have liked to be able to honk at someone in a car.

Cycling to work is very rewarding, since you get a workout and you save money on transportation. As you ride, assume that the people in the cars are not going to yield to you when they are supposed to, or even bother to look for you. If a driver is waiting to make a turn and doesn't need to look your way for traffic, he/she is not going to, and is very likely to turn and hit you. I was bumped once in that very scenario, and I've learned to look out for it. You'll also notice that some drivers are so paranoid about bikers that they will stop in the middle of traffic and wave you across the road. This is nice, but dangerous - impatient drivers may go around the stopped car, or cars going the other direction aren't going to realize you're there and stop.

Good luck, and I hope it works out for you! Be brave and plan for the worst, and you'll be just fine!
 

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WhiteKitties said:
And if you can find a horn to attach to the handlebars, that could come in handy. I ride to work when the weather's nice, and there have been a few times when I would have liked to be able to honk at someone in a car.
That's not a bad idea. Allie, you MAY be able to somehow attach a handheld air horn to your handlebars. Those would be loud enough to be heard inside a car. Just try not to get one much more than 110dB in volume. You wouldn't want a bike horn louder than a car horn! :lol:
 

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Alternatively you could have a stereo strapped to your back with the Ride of the Valkyries playing at full blast, and a blue flashing light attached to your head. :D
 

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When I was younger and lived and worked in the same town I used to cycle to work. It was a lot of fun and doing it just made me feel good. I also used to ride the bike paths in the local park system that went for miles just for fun. Now I live on a cul-de-sac that is off of a very busy state route, and I drive 40 minutes to work. If I tried to cycle that I would be turning around to go home as soon as I got there. I envy you the opportunity of biking to work. Good luck to you and be careful!
 

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A good helmet and LED-lighted reflective safety vest would be wise investments. The more visible you can make yourself to motorists, the better off you are.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the tips and encouragement everyone!!!

I did my test run today ... took me ages to get here (I am at work right now) .. but then I didnt know the route at all and had to keep checking the map. I'm leaving the bike here and going home by tube tomight and riding the bike back home tommorow evening.

I have a reflective vest, biking helmet, lights, bike clips (for my trousers so they dont get caught up in the chain) and a puncture repair kit but no pump yet. Guess I might need to get one, huh? ;)

There was only one really scary road (I ended up getting off and walking for some of it). I was impressed to find that most of my route had a area of the road just for cyclists. My favourite bit was a park I went though .. it was rather nice to not have to look out for cars for 5 minutes or so.

I took a break part way though to get a cup of tea and some eggs on toast ... very yummy. Could well have just found a place to get breakfast :D

I bet I ache tommorow though. But I'm very pleased I did it. Once I get used to the route I reckon it wil ltake about an hour to get to work. It takes that now on the bus so not so bad. And I save £50 a month on fares (ober £100 a month when compared to the tube!)

My bike ... http://www.cambridgecyclecompany.co.uk/ ... cts_id=289
 

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Nice bike ;)

Sounds like it'll be a success. Glad you felt safe enough to do it again. As for the breakfast half way... pfft that's just not fair :lol:

You will almost certainly be a bit sore and achy until your muscles get toned up.
 

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melysion said:
I have a reflective vest, biking helmet, lights, bike clips (for my trousers so they dont get caught up in the chain) and a puncture repair kit but no pump yet. Guess I might need to get one, huh? ;)
Allie, you may wish to look into sealers. While nothing can plug the most severe punctures, sealers can stop the leak in a small to moderate puncture, thus preventing you from having to remove the tire and tube. There is the fix-a-flat style which is a sealer and inflator in an aerosol can. The other, and more effective, is called Tyre Slime. It is a green liquid with bits of rubber in it. To use that, you need to deflate the tire, remove the valve core, squeeze the slime into the tyre, replace valve core, spin the tyre a few times to distribute sealant, then inflate. I have used the tubeless tire version before for my car's tyres and it works well on anything besides sidewall punctures. Obviously you would want the version for tubes.

You can also use puncture resistant tubes (the outboard side of the tube is much thicker than the inboard side) or if you begin to ride your bike a lot, such as for fitness and pleasure as well as work commuting, you may want to consider solid tyres.

There was only one really scary road (I ended up getting off and walking for some of it). I was impressed to find that most of my route had a area of the road just for cyclists. My favourite bit was a park I went though .. it was rather nice to not have to look out for cars for 5 minutes or so.
After a while Allie, you will feel more confident on that road. But it goes without saying do not let such feelings of comfort become feelings of complacency. Always be aware.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Donaldjr1969 said:
Allie, how is the cycling commute going as of late? Has your confidence on that busy street previously mentioned become any better?
Not really. I'm still getting off and walking. Its just horrifically busy. And there is no other route unfortunately. Guess i'll get used to it though.

Thanks for asking Don :D
 
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