A Conversation for Commuting by Bicycle in the UK

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Post 1

DaRC (cook, cocktail maker, cyclist )

smiley - wow excellent post.

If I may be so bold as to add some of my experience :

1) Stretch & Massage - once you've converted to being a cyclist and the miles/week start to climb it becomes important to stretch. See

or try some Yoga.

2) Take a small towel smiley - winkeye and some body lotion / deoderant. We have showers at work but my experience was that too much washing was bad for my skin. Now I get changed at work, towel off any sweat or rain, quickly rub over some body lotion/deoderant, get dressed et voila I'm ready for work.

3) Food, a subject close to my heart, smiley - biggrin to fuel all those extra calories that regular commuting uses up the occasional treat can be fully enjoyed without guilt!

welcome to being a cyclist!

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Post 2

And Introducing... A Leg

Great stuff smiley - cheers

Remember, if you absolutely must get an old bike:

Watch out for sharp bits

Watch out for wobbly bits

Don't go anywhere near ones that have the gear shift on the crossbar. You can mutilate your groin in an unbelievable way, as a friend of mine knows only too well.

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Post 3

Matthew 218179

I guess this should be topical again with Congestion Charging now a fact of London life. A couple of further thoughts from 5 years of commuting by bike in London...

1. Cycling works best with a shower at work. You will get wet in weather, but this doesn't matter if there's a shower at the end.

2. If you work at a place with a shower at work, it probably also has a car park (underground?) which much reduces the chance of a stolen bike...and if it is nicked, it's likely someone you know.

3. It's much more comfortable to wear cycling clothes as a) they're built for it b) you will get filthy if it's wet and c) you will sweat, especially if there's weather and you've got layers. Of course, some of us did it in the first place just for the fun of the Lycra smiley - winkeye

4. If you ride with cycling clothes, you either need a broad-minded workplace or you need to carry clothes which take space. Note this is a little-known benefit of a suit (which can stay at work as can work shoes) - you need only carry the smaller, flexible garments. And there's a thing called a "stuffed shirt" which does exactly what it says.

5. NEVER try to creep up the inside (Left side) of a lorry, whether stationary or otherwise. They cannot and will not even see you if they turn Left, and you will have no room to move. Very few people are ever killed on bikes, but most of the bad accidents happen this way.

6. Assume it takes a month or so to get used to the traffic flows, and to gain the confidence that comes from moving (generally) as fast as the surrounding vehicles. Take it gently and don't expect it to happen at once. One day you will suddenly realise you are actively enjoying the commute unlike everyone else on almost any other mode of transport, likely gaining you an extra hour of contentment each day - this is what delivers that Smugness. Usefully, once you're happy cycling in traffic, you will find you are a much better driver as well.

...I only stopped as I moved to Singapore, the home of Congestion Charging. It works...and almost makes you want to drive again smiley - winkeye

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Post 4

Just zis Guy, you know? † Cyclist [A690572] :: At the 51st centile of ursine intelligence

A shower is nice but not necessary - a flannel, towel and can of deodorant is quite sufficient for even the most fastidious.

I do agree about wearing bike clothes, although many people commute by bike in a suit with waterproofs as necessary; you just moderate your pace. I take a shirt and stuff in my Ortlieb bike box every day - it's guaranteed waterproof, and the guarantee is accurate smiley - smiley

And the best way to deal with people who are sniffy about you cycling is to ignore them and behave as if it's perfectly normal. Which it is. "What, you mean you leave half an hour earlier than you need to in order to sit in that traffic jam I just rode past? And it costs you *how* much for the privilege? Wierd!)

My bike is a very good one (a high-spec European recumbent), and it still cost less than the annual running costs for the car it replaces smiley - biggrin

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Post 5


Aye, I know a guy who fell into the canal in Oxford and his bike was kept afloat by his Ortlieb panniers.

I know what you call "functional cycling" as "utility cycling". I suppose we need an article on Assertive Cycling as well, a la Franklin, unless there's one already. I could adapt the lesson outline for the course I run here, although I have been informed by some American advocacy chums that I should call it "Co-operative Cycling".

I own an Orbit Harrier (he is being sent away for a respray on Friday and I feel physically sick at the thought of it, even though I still have the Hard Rock for getting about in the meantime), bought brand new. The look on people's faces when they ask how much it cost and I tell them is an absolute hoot. Next on my list is a trice, though...smiley - winkeye

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