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Thinking of finally going for it...

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Thinking of finally going for it...

Old 06-21-23, 02:30 PM
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Thinking of finally going for it...

I've been a long time lurker - occasionally posting - on this forum and some other bike forums on the net since around 2015. Since then I've owned cars, and graduated and got better cars etc, and I've loved that. But the notion for cycling never leaves me - not entirely. It's always been about the barriers - practicality, safety, weather, everybody tells me 'what if this' scenarios. This time I think I've got them all sorted.

I'm totally sold on one of those amazing Tern e-cargo bikes. But that's around 4-6,000 investment. Replacing the car terms, that's easy to justify. But I'm not there yet. Last year I bought a Giant Escape 3 (2021 model) and I realised that, as someone who doesn't like being on the road with cars, just cycle paths and places where cycling is allowed, it didn't get much use. For me, commuting is key to getting on my bike, and giving me that reason to get on it - regularly. I need that reason. I'm not into besting my speed and times, or doing huge tens of mile circuits, respect to those who do though.

They do this Cycle2Work scheme here in the UK. I found out today that my employer does this up to 2,000 and that you can use it only for accessories. I think the accessories could make this work for me.

This is the shopping list:
  • Pannier Rack
  • Pannier Bags
  • Tool Bag / Kit
  • Small Pump
  • Full Size Mudguards
  • Stand
  • Phone Mount (is this useful really?)

Clothing:
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Waterproof Over Trousers
  • Waterproof Overshoes
  • Base Layer
  • Gloves
  • Cap / Hat (needed?)

Things to carry / that will be carried:
- Work laptop
- Huel bottle
- Phone charger
- Towel / soap (for showering at work)
- Spare shirt
- Medication
- Water Bottle


I'd like to replace my car ultimately, with an expensive e-cargo bike - but before I can do that I need to justify it with my current Giant Escape.

The Route
The route will be from the postcode BT472 (general area) into BT48 7NR (general area). It's mostly flat. I can do 90% of it entirely off of the road, using shared paths, paths and cycle paths along a river so mostly flat as well. The initial 1.7 miles I believe, to the next village, is on a primary A road - so close passes from busses, lorries, cars. I've done it a few times. It takes under 10 minutes - thankfully. It's the sole reason I've put off commuting as a 'serious idea', but as a reason to avoid it, it's pretty weak. What worries me there is night time and severe weather. More so getting stuck 'in town' and needing to come out. The rest of the route is nice, and even in bad weather, if I'm warm, dry and protected from the wind I can manage. The 1.7 risky bit is surely not a good excuse to give up on the idea?

Typical Journeys
To work / home from work (just me) [in the city]
To partners / from partners (just me) [in the city]
To the supermarket [in the city]
To the city (for any reason / fun / leisure)
^ Largely to the same spots. Carrying personal, work and groceries is important - but again it's just for myself so no need to carry anything too exceptionally big.

Motivation
  • Maintain my fitness in the long term in my life (only 27 so far, but I know if I don't use my body it will give up earlier haha)
  • Mental health benefits
  • A break from screen time at work and home
  • A decompression space between home and work / waking up properly
  • A challenge / bit of excitement in the daily
  • Save some money compared to the car
  • A new hobby to get into
  • Do some good for the planet
  • Be less beholden to car ownership, bills and caring so much about cars and driving
  • Less stress - driving is s t r e s s f u l - you can't relax too much without dangerously overlooking things, yet there's so much to be annoyed about with other drivers and traffic

Concerns
  • That stretch of road.
  • Cycling at night on that stretch of road (I'd like that free ability to be confident to do so if needed though, or in winter)
  • Losing too much weight because of it (I'm quite thin, could do with gaining a little weight, and am not the biggest eater, mostly due to things like anxiety which sort of ruins my appetite)
  • Social alienation of doing this: no more lifts for others, less freedom to go as far and to rare places as with the car, though not an everyday issue
  • Days when you feel under the weather a little, I can work from home in my job thankfully - so is that enough to not have to worry?


A lot is in my favour. Working from home is an option. Showering at the office is an option. Most places I go, are within a 1 mile radius in the city centre. If I stayed at my girlfriends house, it's like under 2 miles from work to there. She doesn't drive and has one kid, who got by before me and therefore whilst having a car has been nice to her, it's not something we'd depend on. How this would impact the long run future sort of concerns me, in case I'm overlooking things here in the romance of the idea of going car free / bike commuter as much as possible.

I'm really excited, and I've remembered this during a time where I can get all the kit I need to commute via the Cycle2Work scheme. Got any recommendations for this entire idea? Or those products / clothing needed? I have to use either Halfords or Tredz (bike stores in the UK). I was sticking mostly to Giant accessories (for compatibility) and Altura for clothing where possible, but I'm really keen to hear what kit / brands help you commute?

PS, I have a Hardnutz helmet - I plan to keep using this, and Lezyne little small front and rear lights, I might need to up these for commuting in darker months?
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Old 06-21-23, 04:48 PM
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after you commute a full year you will hav worked out what clothing you need
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Old 06-22-23, 04:41 AM
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You had concerns about riding when dark, so you should probably add lights to your shopping list.
"Phone Mount (is this useful really?)" It is if you don't know where you are going, or if you want to listen to music while riding. I use earbuds while commuting, but only on pathways or with very light traffic.
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Old 06-22-23, 06:50 AM
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SB1501 You can do this.

I began bike commuting at age 30 with less forethought than you have done. In fact I didn't discover Bikeforums until 16 years later in 2008 and just figured things out on my own until then. After discovering Bikeforums I learned to bike commuter smarter, safer and more enjoyably. And now, at 61, I have 30 years of serious bike commuting under my belt and I still love it.

The thing about your post that resonated with me is "commuting is key to getting on my bike, and giving me that reason to get on it - regularly. I need that reason."

Me too. Thanks in part to Covid, my 28-year office job ended in December 2020, and from January 2021 thru June 2022 I was freelancing and working from home. I was now free to ride mostly whenever and for however long I wanted. But that daily "need to be there" motivation was gone. I made up errands so I could ride "with purpose", picking up groceries and supplies, meeting friends and family.

The problem for me (and for you, I assume) is that without a destination and a time to be there, rides can often get cut short if the original motivation wanes.

Knowing myself, I bought an old folding bike to fix up, knowing it would give me an excuse to ride, and a curiosity to satisfy by riding.

Use Google to search bikeforums for answers to your commuting questions. There are many different ways to bike commute. Find the solutions that work for you.

For me it was leaving a pair of shoes and toiletries plus a floor pump at the office. I found a rain cape worked better for me than a rain suit (drier climate here in Colorado). Studded snow tires in the winter. A glasses-mounted Take-a-look mirror and an AIrZound airhorn (that you recharge with a bike pump).

What to wear and how many layers in colder weather seems to vary from person to person, but I think the key is to dress for how you will feel 15 minutes in after you warm up. It will prevent you from overheating and sweating and ending up even colder.

Don't over think it, just do it.

The long-term health benefits are real. I have the stamina, cardio and strength to enjoy life, work and family.

My wife and I each have cars, and I couldn't fathom living without them in this area, but I am happier riding to and from work.

Don't worry so much about how you commute in the beginning, your method will refine itself over time.

And here's a little secret. If we are alike in our need for motivation, after age 40 you will begin to find some motivation in just being able to prove you CAN still do it. I spent a year off the bike at age 48 due to a non-cycling injury, and for the last 12 years every time I get on the bike to ride it is a giant "FU" to injury, aging and whatever other circumstances conspire against me.

So, SB1501 I say to you, "go, Go, GO!" You future awaits, and you'll reach one day at a time by bike!
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Old 06-22-23, 03:21 PM
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Why a Tern e-bike? I get that a Surly Big Dummy might be a bit much right off the line but there are 'compact' cargo bikes with 24" wheels that occupy a middle tier between the 20" (Tern) and 26" (Surly) types. You should consider that. Actually I'm not even sure you need a cargo bike at all. A 'citybike' or 'utility bike' would be loads cheaper. Do you really need e-assist? Read the fine print on your company's bike commuter incentive program. I doubt half of the 'accessories' you are planning on will qualify, but I don't know that. I'm just suggesting you run it all by someone who does.

Traffic is daunting but I've been playing in traffic on bikes since I was in knee breeches. It's got to be hard (maybe too hard) for someone used to motoring about for most of their adult life. If you can keep your head in the (inevitable) close calls, and follow lines through the roads that put you to the (left?) of the traffic stream, you will be fine. Or maybe not. So get out there. Now. On that Giant Escape. Do your planned commute and a bunch of other rides besides and find out if this really is for you before you sink loads of $$$ in an e-bike. It is instantly worth 1/2 of what you paid, and less with every passing minute if you change your mind and need to sell it. Good luck.
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Old 06-23-23, 01:43 AM
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You only live once, so no time better than the present!
You will likely find it satisfying each time you overcome an obstacle, or make the commute in some adverse weather condition (which I bet you get lots of in your area).
If possible to leave items at work, that will lighten your daily load.
I run two red flashing lights facing the rear, one on the frame and another up on my helmet. On the front I have a decent headlamp that has flashing mode for daytime, and a steady+pulse for night (Cygolight Metro).

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Old 06-23-23, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG
SB1501 You can do this.

I began bike commuting at age 30 with less forethought than you have done. In fact I didn't discover Bikeforums until 16 years later in 2008 and just figured things out on my own until then. After discovering Bikeforums I learned to bike commuter smarter, safer and more enjoyably. And now, at 61, I have 30 years of serious bike commuting under my belt and I still love it.

The thing about your post that resonated with me is "commuting is key to getting on my bike, and giving me that reason to get on it - regularly. I need that reason."

Me too. Thanks in part to Covid, my 28-year office job ended in December 2020, and from January 2021 thru June 2022 I was freelancing and working from home. I was now free to ride mostly whenever and for however long I wanted. But that daily "need to be there" motivation was gone. I made up errands so I could ride "with purpose", picking up groceries and supplies, meeting friends and family.

The problem for me (and for you, I assume) is that without a destination and a time to be there, rides can often get cut short if the original motivation wanes.

Knowing myself, I bought an old folding bike to fix up, knowing it would give me an excuse to ride, and a curiosity to satisfy by riding.

Use Google to search bikeforums for answers to your commuting questions. There are many different ways to bike commute. Find the solutions that work for you.

For me it was leaving a pair of shoes and toiletries plus a floor pump at the office. I found a rain cape worked better for me than a rain suit (drier climate here in Colorado). Studded snow tires in the winter. A glasses-mounted Take-a-look mirror and an AIrZound airhorn (that you recharge with a bike pump).

What to wear and how many layers in colder weather seems to vary from person to person, but I think the key is to dress for how you will feel 15 minutes in after you warm up. It will prevent you from overheating and sweating and ending up even colder.

Don't over think it, just do it.

The long-term health benefits are real. I have the stamina, cardio and strength to enjoy life, work and family.

My wife and I each have cars, and I couldn't fathom living without them in this area, but I am happier riding to and from work.

Don't worry so much about how you commute in the beginning, your method will refine itself over time.

And here's a little secret. If we are alike in our need for motivation, after age 40 you will begin to find some motivation in just being able to prove you CAN still do it. I spent a year off the bike at age 48 due to a non-cycling injury, and for the last 12 years every time I get on the bike to ride it is a giant "FU" to injury, aging and whatever other circumstances conspire against me.

So, SB1501 I say to you, "go, Go, GO!" You future awaits, and you'll reach one day at a time by bike!

That's true. Getting out there is the main thing. Yesterday morning on the walk to the car I thought "Okay it's a nice morning but I think I would only be able to do this if I had the e-assist". I tried an e-bike in store yesterday, a 2,000 store brand 'high end' one. Second time ever I've tried one and it was still thrilling and so effortless. Is it bad that I only feel I'll act on this by having that kind of assurance behind it? Maybe even a little bit of 'Gosh I bought this now I'd better use it'. But the obvious flaw with that is.. maybe I still won't and will feel horrible having sank so much money into it (or debt, as it would be).

If I do make it happen, I will report back on here. Thank you for sharing your advice and story on here though, I love reading these on this site.



Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Why a Tern e-bike? I get that a Surly Big Dummy might be a bit much right off the line but there are 'compact' cargo bikes with 24" wheels that occupy a middle tier between the 20" (Tern) and 26" (Surly) types. You should consider that. Actually I'm not even sure you need a cargo bike at all. A 'citybike' or 'utility bike' would be loads cheaper. Do you really need e-assist? Read the fine print on your company's bike commuter incentive program. I doubt half of the 'accessories' you are planning on will qualify, but I don't know that. I'm just suggesting you run it all by someone who does.

Traffic is daunting but I've been playing in traffic on bikes since I was in knee breeches. It's got to be hard (maybe too hard) for someone used to motoring about for most of their adult life. If you can keep your head in the (inevitable) close calls, and follow lines through the roads that put you to the (left?) of the traffic stream, you will be fine. Or maybe not. So get out there. Now. On that Giant Escape. Do your planned commute and a bunch of other rides besides and find out if this really is for you before you sink loads of $$$ in an e-bike. It is instantly worth 1/2 of what you paid, and less with every passing minute if you change your mind and need to sell it. Good luck.

Tern is just one of the good options I saw early on - there's such a wealth of great unique and weird bike options out there. I just found the cargo ones with the extra strong and reliability and utility focus over sportiness were the ultimate no expense spared option. Although yeah, 6,000 is car money where I'm from / at my level of society!!!

There is a list of accessories and everything except for tools basically is included. The FAQ section also stated if you already own a bike you can use it for cycling gear, so long as, with the scheme, 'at least 50% of use is put toward commuting to work' but nobody checks and most people I know who've used the scheme have some nice bikes gathering dust in their sheds. I didn't know or think of doing this to be honest until I read that on the FAQ. Basically, this UK scheme will give you a tax / national insurance saving and then deduct it from your payslip over 12 months, so you're still paying for it as such but getting nice discount and not noticing it in many cases.

Definitely open to utility bikes. I really really like Gazelle bikes but they start at 2,000 and that's for a basic electric one, 2,000 is the limit of my scheme and that's 166 a month deduction so it's definitely noticeable per month all the same to me.



General Update
So I booked an 'e-bike trial' tomorrow with one of the big box stores here (Halfords). They give you an e-bike for 6 hours to go and do whatever you want with. I was going to trial my home to work, and home to girlfriend's and her house to the supermarket routes. I've done all of these in the past on my Giant and older bikes, mostly of leisure or for something to do. Never regularly. Each time I do it it's a different experience, some are confidence inspiring, feel safe and 'easy'. Then other times, I feel my legs ache, I get a close call, or I'm swearing at the weather for being a bit too windy or wet etc.

I also came across a thing called 'Swytch'. It's an electric bike conversion kit, around 450 ish and a 3 month wait, or like 700 if I wanted it faster. Their system claimed my Giant is compatible. It's not the only system I've seen, but it seems the most easy / streamlined and backed option - albeit at a cost. Not sure how worth it these are. The bike cost 450 when new, so I'd be putting 100% of what it cost new into it. However, this is much cheaper than I can buy a full eBike for. The cheap and nasty no name stuff is around 650. Probably poor systems built on poor bikes. The cheap big store e-bikes here come in at around 1,000,1,200 - okay frames / bikes, crappy system at the low end BUT a big store with replacement / warranty and parts if needed. Then the quality brand stuff from Gazelle, not that widely available in bakeshops in Northern Ireland (two dealers far from me) are like 2,000 upwards. Those are what I'd call great quality frames / components and a great Bosch system. Then of course, the cream of the crop things like the Tern GSD / HSD's and that, but they're over 5,000 or so.

My Options
I'm torn.... If I invest in these accessories, what if I still don't find the motivation to get off my *** and do it? Not such a big waste of money. But also not quite achieving much. I probably won't feel that monthly deduction much though which is fine.

I could get a cheap box store e-bike and accessories for around 1,500 / 2,000 all in. But what if the e-bike system is trash, unreliably or unpleasant - the more reviews I watch, the more I see none are created equal and you'll pay for Bosch or equivalent. What if that experience is crap and I've sank money into it that I basically won't get back. It'll be hard to sell a quality e-bike in my area, let alone a cheap one with no real longevity or brand name on it.

Or I can get like a basic Gazelle e-bike, quality thing that would no doubt be superb in comfort, reliability, nothing would be bad about riding it - they'd have it all thought out and I'm sure it wouldn't let me down. Downside to this is if I still don't do it, and then I'm paying 166 deduction / 2,000 for something that won't get much use since I'd not be commuting. Kicker here is my company limit is 2,000 so I'd not have all the accessories or wear. Though it would supersede the need for any as it'd come with a decent seat, rack, lights and all that. Now, why I consider this is, because maybe, maybe to make it work, it needs to be the right bike, the right propulsion for me. Surely an e-bike making the idea work is still superior to depending on and driving - right?

All week I've been deciding between these options. But tomorrow is my proof of concept. An e-bike (although it'll be a random one sure) - to compare to all my leisurely journeys so far. To see how it eats up that 1.7 mile of dodgy road that I don't like. The weather is also a mix of hot sun and then heavy rain now. I hope I get a mix of both frankly. In my head I have this sneaking suspicion that the 1.7 miles, if I can glide at super-e-speed through, won't feel so bad. The mental storm in my mind of "is that car too close?" "am I going too slow or fast?" "will I run out of steam" "better focus here on this slight incline" etc, will be a bit lessened by virtue of "I know I've got a steady 14mph here, I can focus on the traffic around me better for the 1.7 miles now that the bike will keep it easy" - do I sound crazy? That's what I'm thinking. Maybe I'll get the e-bike and find that the easier power doesn't impact my feelings on the traffic at all.

It's mad too because after that 1.7 miles, I've no issue with any hill, or anything it's all safe path the whole way to work, the city centre, my girlfriend's house and all supermarkets!

Time to go read if anyone on here has used 'Swytch' to convert their bike :-)
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Old 06-23-23, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by SB1501
Time to go read if anyone on here has used 'Swytch' to convert their bike :-)
There is an "electric bikes" sub-forum that you should read through for this. SPOILER: Swytch is definitely discussed in more than one thread. Not at all favorably, save for one fan. I am 65 and do a 9 mile out and back, with two significant hills, 4x/wk with no e-assist. I have a cargo bike bought during Covid and I put a mid-drive (crank) e-assist on it but the project is not complete. It is intended for 65lb+ loads and distances over 15mi. one way. For your use case, e-assist is simply not necessary.
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Old 06-24-23, 09:38 AM
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If this comes off as harsh, I apologize in advance.

You have written much here, and obviously you have given it much thought.
Time to stop writing. Time to stop thinking.
Commuting by bike may or may not be for you.
There is one way and one way only to find out.
Throw a leg over the top tube and hit the road.

Cover the essentials..
lights front and rear
helmet
eye protection
gloves
rear view mirror
flat tire kit

Here is my challenge to you.
In the next ten days, ride your bike to work.
Then let us know how it went.

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Old 06-25-23, 09:29 AM
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It's high summer the next few months. Don't let the shopping list be some kind of mental block. You can buy all that stuff for when you need it.

Many of the things on your shopping list are dual-use. Maybe this is the way to get a nice 3-season outdoorsy jacket and hiking boots, or a tough work jacket and work boots, your employer pays for.
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Old 06-26-23, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by fat biker
If this comes off as harsh, I apologize in advance.

You have written much here, and obviously you have given it much thought.
Time to stop writing. Time to stop thinking.
Commuting by bike may or may not be for you.
There is one way and one way only to find out.
Throw a leg over the top tube and hit the road.

Cover the essentials..
lights front and rear
helmet
eye protection
gloves
rear view mirror
flat tire kit

Here is my challenge to you.
In the next ten days, ride your bike to work.
Then let us know how it went.

fat biker
Hi fat biker, I posted over in the electric bike forum on how a trial with an e-bike went on Saturday. I did every route I'd regularly commute. Sadly it wasn't such a great experience. Hoping to get some insight on that section from e-bike owners who will possibly salvage the idea. I fear my expectations were maybe a little too high. I'm left thinking, if it doesn't work with an e-bike, how will I make it work with my regular bike - even with all the nice kit my employer can pay for...
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Old 06-26-23, 03:26 PM
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I Googled the postcodes to see how long is the commute. It's 2.5 miles. That's nothing, man! I'm gonna be straight with you: commuting is not the key - lack of fitness and laziness motivation is. Get slowly into fitness and you'll enjoy riding a lot more.
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Old 06-26-23, 05:05 PM
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I will start again by saying if this sounds harsh, I apologize.

I re-read your post here in commuting and I also read your e-bike post.
With what sounds like very short distances you do not need an e-anything and you probably do not need a cargo bike either
Best Advice; put all that e-bike thinking on hold for now.

Visit https://www.bikeforums.net/living-car-free/
See how the folks that have mostly figured out how to do are getting along. Ask questions there.

Bike commuting is not for everyone. It takes a certain amount of determination and frequently to ride safe one must be assertive in traffic.

If you cannot do your commute on a pedal bike, buying an e-bike will not magically make it all work.

luck,
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Old 06-26-23, 05:45 PM
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For me, it went like this:
Reason for bike commuting-- lack of parking
Reasons not to bike commute -- given the above, there were no conceivable reasons not to.
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Old 06-27-23, 09:15 AM
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Don't worry so much about it. The first couple commutes will be nerve-wracking, then you'll think: "Why did I make such a big deal out of this? I got too dependent on cars, that's why." I read an article recently about the last Irish postal work who stopped cycling his route.

For now, my advice is to commute on your Giant. Get the logistics figured out with cycling to work, no matter WHICH bike it is. You feel like: "This is great, except I'm getting killed on the hills and by headwinds." then an eBike is the answer. You only just lose a bit of time on a regular bike, since you can shower at work.

One to think about that you haven't mentioned: How will your girlfriend feel about you suddenly not having a car? A car is handy for passengers and cargo. If you ditch the car, you will not be able to just pick them up and take them somewhere safely like you can now with a car.

Your motivations are good ones. You will find you relish the commute. I look forward to it and and disappointed when I have to take the car for the day. It's actually good that you're thin; less weight to haul around. Don't worry about the eating; you'll eat more when you cycle commute because you'll be burning more energy. It will balance out. Most of us over here in the USA have the opposite problem: we're too fat because we're too sedentary and our food has nasty stuff in it that the government allows because of pure capitalism. Also, a lot of our roads and cities are not built with cycling in mind and the driving standards are too low, so it's a lot more dangerous in some places.

You mentioned one bad stretch of your commute for cycling. I just checked, and the Google Maps option for cycling works in Ireland too. It will try to pick the safest routes with the flat roads. It works great for me. (that reminds me, do plan to add a phone holder to your handlebar, whichever bike you use)

A lot of the things you're planning on bringing back and forth you can just leave one at work and have one at home. Some guys for example will bring a week's worth of spare shirts to work on Monday. Soap & mediation too. How about the laptop? Does it really need to go back and forth or can you just leave it at work? If so, you'll want to make sure it has enough cushioning to protect the moving parts of it from vibration damage. A courier bag is a good way, because it keeps the bag off your back so you don't get so sweaty. Or even a padded sleeve in a pannier.

Addressing your concerns:
  • That stretch of road. [route around it with Google Maps + bicycle preference or just cope]
  • Cycling at night on that stretch of road (I'd like that free ability to be confident to do so if needed though, or in winter) [Get a good set of lights. When you add a rack to your bike, there is a spot to permanently mount a rear light. Use it.]
  • Losing too much weight because of it (I'm quite thin, could do with gaining a little weight, and am not the biggest eater, mostly due to things like anxiety which sort of ruins my appetite) [Won't be a problem. You might gain some weight from leg muscle, and you'll eat more to replace the extra calories. You'll also FEEL better from being in better shape.]
  • Social alienation of doing this: no more lifts for others, less freedom to go as far and to rare places as with the car, though not an everyday issue [Well, YOU can be the guy getting lifts from others now! You can still meet people. I'm meeting two people for lunch today. I told them I bike to work and asked if one of them can drive. They both volunteered happily and we'll have some good conversation about bike commuting over lunch.]
  • Days when you feel under the weather a little, I can work from home in my job thankfully - so is that enough to not have to worry?
You don't realize how lucky you are that bike commuting is even a realistic option! A lot of us in the USA cannot do it. My wife's commute is 40 miles one way and there are not really any safe routes. When I started this job I'm at 4 years ago, I had an eye toward moving local to it, with the specific purpose of being able to walk or bike to work. Now, my only regret is that my commute is ONLY 2 miles. I wish it was 5 miles sometimes. (it's different in winter, as we get extreme cold and snow here)

I'm with the guy who says "Just do it" Just allow time and don't over-pack and weigh yourself down.

First order of business is to get a rear rack and fenders on the bike, and buy set of panniers. If you decide to invest in an eBike, the panniers can transfer right over. Helmet & gloves too.

I'm excited for you. I hope you go through with it and don't worry so much. (exercise from cycling will help with your general anxiety too, you'll find.)
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Old 06-28-23, 08:23 AM
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Here's that video on the last Irish bicycle mailman. It's a good watch. (though I could only understand about every 5th word he said, due to his accent)

The guy was a humble public servant and a real-life ironman:

40 years, 27 miles a day. (~ 10 times around the earth at the equator) He's only been sick once and had one minor accident. He has worn out 22 bikes, 96 pairs of tires, 240 pairs of brake pads

This dude is my hero. One of the YouTube comments said he lived to 108.

Did you notice how he had to ride with this head down, so the bill of his cap didn't catch the wind?


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Old 06-28-23, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG
Don't over think it, just do it.
^ This.

It's easy enough to get into doing a trip. And then, once you've figured out the basics (a decent jacket, the right spare clothing for the destination, how to clean yourself before dressing at the destination, lighting, etc), the rest will come.

Might try a few long-ish rides (at "commute" distances) several times, until you're satisfied that "the basics" have been covered. Ensure you're lighting's up to snuff. Ensure you've got decent rain-proof gear that'll get you to the destination without feeling like a drowned rat. Ensure you've got enough basic fix-it tools and spares to cure the obvious likely issue of a flat. At which point, actually commuting makes sense. The rest will come, eventually, as you work out what's really necessary, what you've forgotten. But in the meantime you'll be racking up those miles, gaining the benefits of fitness and well-being. As others have suggested, by the end of a year of doing it nearly daily you'll find most of the kinks worked out, your gear a useful, capable combination, and I think you'll find you're doing it quicker and with far less drama and stress than you ever thought possible. It'll have become your thing, your way, and you'll be "in the groove." It's cool how relaxing and stress-free such travels can be, once there are no more "kinks" in the journey.

Hopefully, you'll be able to select from two or three possible routes in order to minimize your time along sketchy sections of roadway. Be sure to have great and visible lighting, good reflective tape/gear, etc. I used to commute ~7mi between two towns, the two road options between them being a no-shoulder two-lane country road and the other being a 65mph highway that had a good ~7ft of "emergency/shoulder" space off to the side. Never did like it, but got used to it. Turns out, the highway was safer, even with the speeds; that country road could cause perma-pucker, I kid you not. Since then, they've redesigned the country road a bit, so it's vastly safer for cyclists than it used to be 30yrs ago.

Good luck with the rides. Think "Nike" (as in: just do it).
[/QUOTE]
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Old 07-25-23, 11:13 AM
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actually a great thread. will definitely use all this advice as a newbie for commuting
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Old 07-26-23, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Smaug1
Here's that video on the last Irish bicycle mailman. It's a good watch. (though I could only understand about every 5th word he said, due to his accent)

The guy was a humble public servant and a real-life ironman:

40 years, 27 miles a day. (~ 10 times around the earth at the equator) He's only been sick once and had one minor accident. He has worn out 22 bikes, 96 pairs of tires, 240 pairs of brake pads

This dude is my hero. One of the YouTube comments said he lived to 108.

Did you notice how he had to ride with this head down, so the bill of his cap didn't catch the wind?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k3SY_S7O_M
Amazing. Thank you for posting.
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Old 07-30-23, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulH
For me, it went like this:
Reason for bike commuting-- lack of parking
Reasons not to bike commute -- given the above, there were no conceivable reasons not to.
And DC is mostly bike friendly.
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Old 07-31-23, 02:08 AM
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I am so excited for you!!

I have only a few years of commuting under my belt, compared to the veterans here. Here's what I have learned so far.

Shopping list:
Don't overshop to start with. Just start riding. Then buy/upgrade/replace as you discover what you need. The things I have that are not on your list
- multiple bright lights both front and back. (I USB charge them daily, while at work)
- bar mitts (wet hands are cold hands. Now I never ever wear gloves)
- a bell
- a good mirror that clips to my spectacles (once you get used to it you wonder how anyone manages without it. Sometimes when I am walking in public spaces, I'll look to where my mirror would have been!)
- Ski mask and neck warmer (for me those are separate items)
- Plenty of reflective straps - ankles, wrists, body vest. I wear these habitually, regardless of weather and lighting conditions.
- my phone mount is a small top-tube bag with a plastic window. I empty my pockets into it at the start of each ride.
- Lock/s

Things I have that I want to give a shoutout to
- two pairs of base layers, of differing weights.
- A lightweight raincoat lives in my pannier. Expensive is not better. I absolutely swear by my "32 Degrees" rain jacket that I once happened on in Costco.
- The most puncture-resistant setup you can manage/afford. There's nothing like a flat on the way to work to ruin your entire day. In terms of quality of life, this has been my best investment. The other was the raincoat. My spare tube gets little use, because I end of walking the bike rather than try and fix a flat in the middle of a commute.
- Dedicated cycling shoes (with time, you may go clipless)
- Multiple dedicated hoodies. (I do not dress for work in the morning. Each day's pant and shirt go into the pannier. A spare shirt, socks, and underwear live at work)
- Quick-release skewers on both wheels. On the occasion when you need a ride, being able to take your wheels off often makes the difference.

Things I got but don't really use
- I very rarely use my overshoes. My work shoes stay at work, with a spare pair of dry socks.
- My overpants never get used anymore. My "4ucycling Mens Fleeced Windproof Winter Cycling Pants" are more than enough even on the rainiest of days.
- I stopped lugging my laptop back and forth. I bought the cheapest laptop I could that was able to manage work stuff from home. (You might be able to find one at work that is being tossed because it is too old. Often it is just the battery, which need not be a problem if it stays plugged in at home)
- The second pannier bag mostly stays off unless I am planning a shopping trip.

Weight loss: I personally would not worry about it
Social Alienation: Do keep the car for the first few years. Just save enough on fuel and insurance and repairs so that you can splurge on all the cycling gear. I have not given up on the car yet. Having it as a backstop and for weekends is useful. I may drive to work about 5 or 6 times a year. But with such low miles, I can keep an old car going for far longer than if it were my regular commute vehicle. And I can reduce the insurance to the bare minimum. When the car eventually goes, I may get an electric scooter or motorcycle.

My biggest piece of advice - Do not, under any circumstances (other than mechanical issues), miss a cycling day for the first year or two. Regardless of the weather and your mental or physical state, plow through.
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Old 07-31-23, 12:17 PM
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1.7 miles is walking distance. Overthinking and window shopping strike me as manifestations of something else.
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There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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Old 08-01-23, 12:01 AM
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2 miles is a 20min walk. It'll take you longer to gear up with the items on your list for 10min of actual riding.
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Old 08-01-23, 08:11 PM
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It sounds like the OP suffers from anxiety and all that analysis is his brain playing tricks on him. Our brains play tricks on us all the time; It took me an embarrassingly long time to cotton onto my own brain's tricks. I just need to tell it to fork right the hell off so I can do what I really want.
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Old 10-16-23, 09:25 PM
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The bike thing is great, thankfully you live in a city that is good for that. But before you ditch the car, make a list of all the reasons you might need a car, I think you could find that hanging onto a car might not be a bad idea, maybe I'm wrong about that for you in particular, but I don't think I'm wrong, so you tell us after you make that list; maybe for those times you need one you can get a rental car for the day, or perhaps a week if you and your girlfriend decide to take a road trip someplace, is there a rental agency near where you live?
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