Thinking about cycling to work.

Here is the place to post the more serious issues surrounding commuting, bike and kit questions, and buying advice
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Thinking about cycling to work.

Postby shyretirer » Tue Feb 05, 2013 18:23 pm

Hi all,

I'm thinking about starting to commute by bike soon, as really getting fed up with driving all the time. I started a new job about 4 months or so ago which is about 10 miles away, and I'm looking for advice on what bike to get, routes to take etc.

Some background..... I used to cycle about 6 miles each way about 3 years ago, using a fairly bad "Argos Special" mountain bike, which was okay for that distance, but a bit hard going if I am traveling any further, but since then I've been made redundant, and had to get a job which was a little too far (20 miles) to cycle to, which is when I started driving. But, as previously mentioned, got a new job which is half the distance, and so thinking about getting back in the saddle.

Any advice on...... what bike to get (the shortest route is by main road, down the Windsor Relief Road but a bit unsure about getting a road bike as not had one since I was 15), and other general advice would be greatly appreciated!



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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby supersonic » Tue Feb 05, 2013 18:41 pm

What budget do you have for the bike?

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby shyretirer » Tue Feb 05, 2013 18:52 pm

About £750

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby rubertoe » Tue Feb 05, 2013 18:57 pm

Boardman hybrid? fast, well speced and more up right riding position?
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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby clarkey cat » Tue Feb 05, 2013 19:36 pm

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby shyretirer » Tue Feb 05, 2013 20:07 pm

Thanks for that, clarkey cat. I'll have a look at that one!

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby oxoman » Tue Feb 05, 2013 22:18 pm

Would recommend you think about a road bike as opposed to a Hybrid loads of people realise very quickly they should have got the road bike first myself included. As a starter bike you could do far worse than get a Triban 3 from Decathlon to start with and upgrade afterwards if you like it. Work on 40 to 45 minutes depending on any hills etc not sure what your area's like. Don't forget you will want mudguards, and lights plus repair kit and clothes and a decent lock, and it all adds up. Don't forget to let us all know what you get / decide.
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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby MichaelW » Tue Feb 05, 2013 22:22 pm

Commuter roadbikes need to have all-weather and useful luggage carrying capability. You can hack some race-bikes to do this but it is much easier and better if you plan for this use.
Get tyre clearance for 28mm + mudguards and threaded eyelets for rack and mudguards.
You may be OK with race gearing but many prefer the compact double for lower gears.
Caliper brakes are OK but disc brakes give better wet weather performance, hence the popularity of cyclo-cross styles.

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby Crouching Peeky » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:14 am

I've got a Trek 1.5 equipped with rear pannier rack and mudguards add some Conti 4 seasons and I have a bike that gets me to and from work with planty of luggage space for clothes, lunch etc and that is perfectly stable in wet conditions.
The riding position isn't as aggresive as some and the Tiagra components are more than adequet for a noob like me!

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby mr_eddy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:12 am

Maybe you should look at a Cyclocross bike. They typically have drop bars but combined with a more relaxed frame so you have a comfortable riding position. They are made usually out of steel or Aluminium so are very hard wearing and have decent ratio gears with good quality components. Most have Cantilever brakes which are powerful and are cheap to maintain and service.

They have wider tires than a normal road bike and can handle rough terrain no problem.

Also as they have the drop bar handle bars and road bike wheels they are also good for long distance rides too if you ever fancied a day out on a Sunday.

A decent cyclocross can be had for around £500 from all the usual brands (trek, Giant, specialised etc). Check out evans cycles as they have some good deals at the mo.

If your commute is flat then another option ( one that I took too and have never looked back ) is a single speed. These can either be flat bar or drop bar and are great for commuting, they are not so good on steep hills or long descents but they require little to no maintenance, I personally find that a SS is more enjoyable than a geared bike.

Some good options are Trek District and Charge Plug. Again Evans has a large online selection.


If you look at SS bikes avoid fixed gear as these are quite tricky to ride.

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby mr_eddy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:14 am

Also forgot to mention Mudguards are a must for commuting, I have a set of Crud Road Racer 2 guards that will fit on just about any bike that uses 700c 23/25c tyres. They don't need eyelets and stop most of the rubbish flying up your back or onto your face.

They are available from Evans, Wiggle, Chain Reaction, Amazon for about £25

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby CookeeeMonster » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:05 pm

just wanna add a +1 to the road bike (or CX) option - I'm one of many that have gone down the hybrid route only to realise my mistake within a few months (swopped mine for a road bike within 4 months). When its windy (all winter) you'll really notice the difference.

Best thing to do is get a list of bikes in your price range and test ride as many as you can. Also you will need mudguards and as for may want one or you can get a Carradice saddlebag and mounting system (they go from small to very large sizes) if a bike you like doesn't have mudguard mounting points.

And don't forget the other bits and bobs you'll need to buy - pumps, tools (for changing tyres and minor stuff while you're out), lights, locks, helmet (if you want) and so on.

10 miles is a great distance, good luck!
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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby InkZ » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:21 pm

I use a road bike with a Carradice saddle bag and some crud road racer mudguards. You don't need eyelets as long as you have the clearances to get the guards on.

Best bet is to get down your LBS and sit on a few. I spent ages researching what bike to get and in the end went down the shop and got none of my shortlist.

Also see if you new job do the cycle to work scheme.

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby Slowbike » Wed Feb 06, 2013 13:09 pm

my commute ride is around 10 miles each way - it does have a reasonable hill in the middle so I have to climb both ways - going is just a long slog up a shallow gradient and the return is a short/sharp climb ...

I would echo the CX advice if you intend to ride in all weathers otherwise a comfortable roadbike would be fine. I started riding on a roadbike, added roadracer mudguards for the first bit of the winter but when it got really wet & mucky I moved over onto a hybrid with solid guards. I wasn't happy with the straight bars so bought a CX bike with the mudguard fixing points and moved the solids onto that - I'm riding that one now - that's worked through the snow & ice we've had down here (32mm cx tyres) and it'll save the road bike for the dry days.

I do have a rack and places to mount it - but I haven't fitted it because I've found a small rucksack to be adequate for my needs.

I'd say primary concerns for commuting is being seen and staying dry/comfortable so decent lights, reflectives and suitable clothing is a must.
Lastly - you need to enjoy the ride - there's no point being cold, wet and uncomfortable on a bike that is a pig to ride ... it is important to get these bits right but don't expect to have it right on first ride - it will take a little while for you to adapt to your new method of travel.

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby Anti_Podean » Wed Feb 06, 2013 14:22 pm

The amusing thing about every thread like this is the uniformity of the responses: there is none. Road bike, hybrid, CX, audax, etc, are the selection always recommended. I suppose at least nobody's recommending BMX or MTB bikes, which potentially shortens the list you may have started with. ;)

Ultimately you're going to need to take down the list of responses and tick them all off one-by-one. Good luck!

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby tomder » Thu Feb 07, 2013 09:36 am

single speed - for low maintenance costs

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Re: Thiniking about cycling to work.

Postby Daddy0 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:02 am

Anti_Podean wrote:I suppose at least nobody's recommending BMX

I used to commute on my BMX back in the days when you could take a bike on the train to London. I used to do 2 miles at each end - so about 8 miles a day. My wife also used to commute about 6 miles each way on a BMX and loved it. They are brilliant for short sprints, as long as you can bunnyhop up kerbs, and same as any SS, as long as there are no hills!

Anti_Podean wrote:or MTB bikes

Don't be ridiculous!!

I spose at least nobody has recommended a Raleigh Chopper yet...

My vote nowadays would have to be for road bike. I had a hybrid and quickly realised that it was a compromised road bike really, so is has become my wet bike. A nice light and fast road bike is much more enjoyable on the road than any other bike. If you're like me and want to go fast then just get the best road bike you can, wear a rucksack when you need to take clothes or whatever to work, don't bother with mud guards or racks - leave some clothes at work that you can change into. If it rains, ride slower and clean the chain when you get home.

If you're sensible then follow the herd and get a proper commuter road/cx bike with mudguards. Aluminium frame, strong wheels, gatorskin/puncture proof tyres. It does make sense, and I wish I had a CX bike with disc brakes as an additional bike.

Don't forget you will want to get lights, spare tubes, track pump for home, small pump for carrying, oil, degreaser, grease, tools (allen keys, spanners, wire cutters, pedal wrench, cassette tool etc...) decent locks (although I wouldn't leave a nice bike locked up outdoors these days), cycling clothes (gloves, base layers, shorts etc...), a helmet (or a nice cap), SPD pedals and shoes, water bottle - all of which can cost you £100s more.

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Re: Thinking about cycling to work.

Postby The Rookie » Thu Feb 07, 2013 13:09 pm

I use a Hybrid, disc brakes are great on a commute as you get better braking earlier as the discs stay dryer, mine uses a flipped stem and flat bars so my hand position is probably about hoods height on dropped bars but I prefer the flats through traffic and for bunnyhopping the speed bumps.

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Re: Thinking about cycling to work.

Postby alidaf » Thu Feb 07, 2013 15:43 pm

Only make a short list based on recommendations - always try the bike first, preferably from a local bike shop that have a good reputation. If you are going to commute then your bike will need regular maintenance and a good relationship with the bike shop is a good way to get some discounts as a regular customer, plus a more personal service.

As for mudguards etc. You can take them or leave them but make sure you are going to get something from your investment by keeping the commute going. It starts getting expensive when it really needn't be. I'd invest in some decent cycling gear first, according to your riding style and road/weather conditions.

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Re: Thinking about cycling to work.

Postby supersonic » Thu Feb 07, 2013 17:43 pm

I use a 'hybrid' and because it is customised, it works better on the road for me than a drop bar road bike. So it depends on what the bike is.

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