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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-31-09, 06:59 AM   #1
Jaz
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Finally started commuting

Hello all.

I've finally started commuting. Normally I car share with a friend (always trying to help the environment), but he has gone on holiday for 2 weeks leaving me with the prospect of the bus or to get off my lazy arse and actually cycle in with my friends old hardtail mtb. I decided the latter.

Hasn't been the best week to start, with 3 out of 5 days being mainly wet, but the showers in the office are good and my clothing tends to dry out by the end of the day.

I'm from Cardiff in the UK (hello fellow Cardiff commuters) and my commutes look like this on the way and this on the way home, giving me quite a good work out and nice warm fuzzy feeling when i get home (probably my legs tingling from the shock of exercise). Despite the wet weather i am enjoying it and I am getting to work faster than I would on the bus, though not in the car.

I don't think i'll be commuting during the winter (sorry call me a fair weather cyclist or whatever, i'll call myself sensible), stopping probably in September/October.

The company I work for has just signed up to the cycle scheme (you get about 30% of the price of a bike and you pay for it through your monthly wage so it ends up being something like 15 a month for 18months) so i'm planning on taking advantage of that. So i've been looking for a bike for my ride and to suit me generally. I'm considering a Hybrid or a MTB (with rigid fork or lockouts) as I don't think a road bike or a cyclocross bike would suit my wants and needs.

There's a few that have caught my eye from the Kona Dew (and Dew Plus) to the Specialized Hardrock or Globe Vienna 3.

Is there anything anyone would really recommend I look at in the <350ish range?

Also from reading the forums here it seems you always recommend a test ride. How do you go about a test ride, as riding up and down the pavement outside a shop can be a bit different from the terrains and routes i'll be encountering on my work rides.

Cheers all.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:21 AM   #2
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Ha! YOu say you will stop in sept/october... I've heard that before
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Old 07-31-09, 11:06 AM   #3
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Hooked another one.
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Old 07-31-09, 11:12 AM   #4
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Ha! YOu say you will stop in sept/october... I've heard that before
do you mean, you think i won't be cycling that long or you think i'll cycle through the winter?
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Old 07-31-09, 04:12 PM   #5
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A hybrid is a better option if you might bike in the winter, but why do you say a road bike wouldn't fit your needs? And how long (miles) is your commute?

A hybrid would likely be a couple hundred dollars cheaper, but a road bike would be faster.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:27 PM   #6
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do you mean, you think i won't be cycling that long or you think i'll cycle through the winter?
I'm pretty sure the latter. The more I ride, the more I end up doing the rides where a few months before I'd been saying "anyone who rides in/on/through such-and-so is plain crazy!"

It's a happy sort of madness.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:40 PM   #7
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The company I work for has just signed up to the cycle scheme (you get about 30% of the price of a bike and you pay for it through your monthly wage so it ends up being something like 15 a month for 18months) so i'm planning on taking advantage of that. So i've been looking for a bike for my ride and to suit me generally. I'm considering a Hybrid or a MTB (with rigid fork or lockouts) as I don't think a road bike or a cyclocross bike would suit my wants and needs.
Are "cycle schemes" common in the UK? I have never heard of it in the US. I think it's a wonderful idea.
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Old 07-31-09, 06:13 PM   #8
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The only thing I know about Cardiff is what I see on Torchwood. So, umm, be careful...

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Old 07-31-09, 07:08 PM   #9
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I love Torchwood & Dr WHO, Welcome to the club Jaz
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Old 07-31-09, 07:14 PM   #10
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Have you checked out the Kona Smoke? It's pretty cheap and has fenders standard. Seems just what you're looking for, though a bit heavier than some would like, a good commuter bike. A Bianchi Volpe may also work for you. Look for a local bike shop that stocks either and try it out!

good luck
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Old 08-01-09, 01:07 AM   #11
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Are "cycle schemes" common in the UK? I have never heard of it in the US. I think it's a wonderful idea.
The cycle scheme is a government run scheme so it's available all over the UK though your employer has to sign up to it. It is meant to encourage commuting/exercise. If my employer claimed VAT (they don't as they are a non profit) i wold get a further 15% discount on the bike as 15% is what we pay ontop of most items we purchase (though unlike in america, anything for sale includes this in the ticket price so it's not as if we notice the VAT whereas as a tourist in USA you forget about the sales tax till you get to the till).

It is a fantastic idea, you should encourage your politicians to lok into it whereever you live.

I went to the LBS yesterday and they had a Giant CRS (hybrid) in stock which i looked at and a trek 4300 and Marin Pioneer Trail (both MTB with FS). The Giant looked a fast bike but looked kind of flimsy, like it would crumple should i go down a curb wrong or... I am pretty sure it wouldn't, though i don't think thats the kind of bike for me. I am going to two other LBS's today so i'll see if theres anything i can pick.

As for Torchwood and Dr Who fans (I am one myself) they use alot of the areas i cycle through as filming locations, alot of which are around my house.

My commute is around 6miles each way using only roads (and the odd pavement).
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Old 08-01-09, 01:29 AM   #12
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I can't think of any commute for which a cyclocross bike wouldn't be suitable. They do everything a hybrid could do, they do it faster, and they do it better.

I think the exchange rate puts this a tad over your 350# mark, but check it out: http://www.brodiebikes.com/2009/bikes/romulus.php
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Old 08-02-09, 12:44 PM   #13
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Really need to ride several styles and see what feels good. I swore up and down I wanted a flat-bar hybrid but some LBS guy convinced me to try his personal drop-bar bike and while I wasn't 'good' at it, having ridden mountain bikes for years and not being familiar with different shifters and brakes, it totally taught me to try some new styles in my search. I ended up with a cyclocross bike--I wanted something faster than my mtb but not as 'fragile' as road bikes seemed. I love my cross bike.
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Old 08-02-09, 01:09 PM   #14
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Yea Cardiff One of the 1st places I'm visiting when we get to the U.K...Yes, I am a lover of Dr. Who and Torchwood
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Old 08-02-09, 01:39 PM   #15
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I don't think i'll be commuting during the winter (sorry call me a fair weather cyclist or whatever, i'll call myself sensible), stopping probably in September/October.
That's what we all said at first. It took me about five years to go from fair-weather to all-weather. Of course, many people never ride in winter, and of course that's fine.
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Old 08-02-09, 02:24 PM   #16
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Yea Cardiff One of the 1st places I'm visiting when we get to the U.K...Yes, I am a lover of Dr. Who and Torchwood
Lots of sweet rides in wales. Most of them just a little outside of cardiff but not hard to find. if yu don't want mountain biking then you can always get a road/cyclocross and head up into the brecon roads.

The problem i'm having is alot of the bikes that are being talked about on this forum don't seem to be sold in the UK. We get the big brands like Giant, Specialized, Trek etc but hard to find some of the more american ones like Surly or Brodie.

I think we only have one Kona dealer in Cardiff. (I want to see the Kona Dew before i make my choice).
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Old 08-02-09, 03:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
Hello all.

I've finally started commuting. Normally I car share with a friend (always trying to help the environment), but he has gone on holiday for 2 weeks leaving me with the prospect of the bus or to get off my lazy arse and actually cycle in with my friends old hardtail mtb. I decided the latter.

Hasn't been the best week to start, with 3 out of 5 days being mainly wet, but the showers in the office are good and my clothing tends to dry out by the end of the day.

I'm from Cardiff in the UK (hello fellow Cardiff commuters) and my commutes look like this on the way and this on the way home, giving me quite a good work out and nice warm fuzzy feeling when i get home (probably my legs tingling from the shock of exercise). Despite the wet weather i am enjoying it and I am getting to work faster than I would on the bus, though not in the car.

I don't think i'll be commuting during the winter (sorry call me a fair weather cyclist or whatever, i'll call myself sensible), stopping probably in September/October.

The company I work for has just signed up to the cycle scheme (you get about 30% of the price of a bike and you pay for it through your monthly wage so it ends up being something like 15 a month for 18months) so i'm planning on taking advantage of that. So i've been looking for a bike for my ride and to suit me generally. I'm considering a Hybrid or a MTB (with rigid fork or lockouts) as I don't think a road bike or a cyclocross bike would suit my wants and needs.

There's a few that have caught my eye from the Kona Dew (and Dew Plus) to the Specialized Hardrock or Globe Vienna 3.

Is there anything anyone would really recommend I look at in the <350ish range?

Also from reading the forums here it seems you always recommend a test ride. How do you go about a test ride, as riding up and down the pavement outside a shop can be a bit different from the terrains and routes i'll be encountering on my work rides.

Cheers all.
Bore da! Welcome to a genuine Welshman from a Welsh-American. Spent a week in Cardiff on one of my 3 cycling tours of the UK. Stayed w/friends on Pentre St near Millenium Stadium before it was completed. Two of them worked at the Centre for the Visual Arts-Cardiff. Did the A470 from Llandudno/Conwy to Cardiff in '99.

Regarding your bike choices staying w/a rigid fork/hardtail w/street tires(Schwalbe Marathon Plus...my recommendation) mtb would be best for urban commuting on paved roads. You'll get better overall comps w/a rf/ht mtb for the same money as one w/a shock fork. Fenders, oops I mean mudguards are a must. Planet Bike Superflash blinkies are GREAT for the money...18-25.00US from online sources. There're plenty of sources available in the UK. Rack/bags(waterproof...this IS Wales we're talkin' about ). For a HL a Niterider Trailrat 2.0 is 10w Halogen and a good basic light for around 100.00US. There are better ones available from Germany or The Netherlands, I'm sure. You'll need a 1 LED HL w/a flashing mode, too for daytime. They're cheap...15-20.00US for one that will last 100+ hrs on flash mode. A good frame pump is a Topeak Road Morph w/guage. Multi tool, tubes, patch kit, METAL tire levers(plastic are crap), chain-tool, universal spoke wrench will complete your 'commuter kit'.

We wont even get into rain gear... I rode from Dolgellau to Betws-y-Coed in driving rain...took me 6 hours. I'm sure your well versed re rain gear.

BTW, this is the bike I've been using for over a year now: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx2.htm The yellow/black version is what I've got. I changed out the stock cyclo-cross tires for some 28mm SMPs as the stock tires were too soft for street use. Of course, my commute is 17.5 mi rural, but a cyclocross bike may be just the thing if you want to use it or weekend touring, day trips, etc. Plenty of gear range for light touring/commuting or utility cycling. Very versatile bike.

Last edited by nashcommguy; 08-02-09 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 08-02-09, 04:06 PM   #18
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Lots of sweet rides in wales. Most of them just a little outside of cardiff but not hard to find. if yu don't want mountain biking then you can always get a road/cyclocross and head up into the brecon roads.

The problem i'm having is alot of the bikes that are being talked about on this forum don't seem to be sold in the UK. We get the big brands like Giant, Specialized, Trek etc but hard to find some of the more american ones like Surly or Brodie.

I think we only have one Kona dealer in Cardiff. (I want to see the Kona Dew before i make my choice).
If find it hard finding certain things here in Canada too cycling and non cycling related. I'm not even sure if there is a Kona dealer here in Edmonton though I have seen the Surly.

Hubby and I are hoping for a 6 week tour of the area. I have friends in Tyne & Wear and family in Scotland/Ireland so hopefully we'll get everywhere in that timeframe. Cardiff for sure or I'm pushing my hubby in the T.A.R.D.I.S and taking him somewhere bad..LOL

I liked the Giants and I almost bought one but one LBS had one last 07 Globe that I had wanted since 07 so I grabbed it. Luckily it was the right size for me.

Dont forget to post a picture of what you get

ETA: Oops I guess there are two Kona dealers here in Edmonton. At two of the LSB's I haven't visited yet. The Dew's look really nice too

Last edited by terraskye; 08-02-09 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 08-03-09, 09:30 AM   #19
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Get some fenders. You won't regret it, really. Good luck!
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