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Fantasminha 07-21-09 02:04 PM

Commuting in Dublin
Hello there fellow BF'ers!

I just moved to Dublin from Dallas Texas and hope to live car free. I haven't seen any posts from folks in the Dublin area (I've looked!) so I thought I would throw this out.

My husband and I are working with an estate agent who thinks it is unreasonable to cycle to work year round--that is, to rely on the bike as your primary means of transportation with public transportation being the backup for a daily commute of about 20 miles (about 30 km I think) round trip. For the natives--is this unreasonable? I don't see how--I mean, I did it in Dallas! Surely I can do this in Dublin. She seems to think I won't want to get up in the winter and cycle in the dark (but again, I did this in Dallas).

What say you?

Willo 07-26-09 03:30 PM

Commuting in Dublin

It certainly is possible to commute by bike in Dublin (Ireland, right?). As you know it does rain here now and then but not as often as people who travel by car seem to think. I ride 22k (14miles) to work once or twice a week with no major problems, I have colleagues who ride further and more often. We have changing rooms and showers at work so we're well set up.

If you're prepared for the weather it is fine, the main problem is getting wet but as I said that does not happen as often as you might think. The only time I rode to work and regretted it was when we had black ice and I fell off twice! Really cold weather is rare though, almost as rare as really hot weather!

My advice: Get the best lights you can, you'll be riding a lot in the dark! Read Cyclecraft by John Franklin, he's British but a lot of what he says applies here. Be ready for the weather to change dramatically during the day.

Good luck
Willo in Dublin

Seapoint 08-27-09 05:45 AM

I'm commuting 30km daily (15 in 15 out) into the city centre Dublin with showers at work. The thing is, you have to be prepared to get wet, daily, and have your normal clothes in your backpack. The cycle lanes here are a joke - there is a 1.2m pink strip painted on the side or the road which is meaningless to motorists. Still though, what was a 90 minute car journey has now become a 40 minute workout, twice daily!

Happy cycling.

oh... and by the way... this is my first post!

Fantasminha 08-31-09 09:38 AM

Welcome to BF, Willo and Seapoint! :)

Thanks for the encouragement. :) We finally convinced our estate agent that it was not unreasonable and we have now been living in Enniskerry for two weeks. I have been carrying my rain gear every day, but surprisingly only had to use it a couple of times--though admittedly, there were a couple of times I did make the decision to get wet since my rain jacket is so hot! Being from Texas, it's what my husband calls a "festival of huffing and puffing" going up a couple of those hills, but I'm getting used to it surprisingly fast. I must admit that I'm a bit concerned about what this winter will bring though. If there's snow or ice (I've heard we get that in Enniskerry), I might have to chicken out and take the bus or work from home.

lawr 10-15-09 01:52 PM

Wonder how you're doing
Wonder how you're doing so far. I'm in Limerick. Less snow here than there (gulf stream). I would heed warnings about black ice. You can't see it until your cheek is in the tarmac. It sucks and it hurts, especially one's pride. Goretex is the answer to rain. I have goretex boots, overpants (you can get some pretty light-weight pants if heat is an issue, and a good jacket. I use neoprene gloves with wool liners. I don't get wet and it rains here a hellavalotmore here than there.


Fantasminha 10-22-09 07:02 AM

I'm doing great so far but must admit that I'm a bit nervous about Dec-Feb months. By now we've moved to Enniskerry (Co. Wicklow) and I work close to Stillorgan on the south side of Dublin, so it's a bit more than 7 miles. It's rained a fair bit the last few days, but so far it hasn't been so cold that I've minded getting a little wet. I've ordered a Gore rain jacket (turns out that the one I have is only water resistant, not water proof) which should be in shortly. If the forecast in the mountains calls for ice, I will work from home! I've decided the bus is scary enough on dry roads, which leaves me only one option! :)

I've seen what I would call "ponchos" in the shops here but have only ever seen one person using one. Have you ever tried one? I wonder if it's more practical or if a jacket & pants is more practical.

lawr 10-26-09 12:24 PM

commuting in Limerick
Hello, again.

I think you are more likely to get ice and snow over there than over here. We get full advantage from the gulf stream. I've only seen it snow a few times and only once did it stay for a few days--that was more than five years ago. It can, though, get icy here. I read that some people back in the U.S. use studded tires to commute in the snow. I've never seen studded tires here, and besides even if you could control your bike on the ice, you can't control the car that is approaching from the rear.

As for panchos, I thought that those would be a good idea, but at the end of the day Gore-tex is best. It breaths and keeps you dry. I found that non-breathable material gets me just as wet as not wearing any protection: it's either sweat or rain--either way, I'm wet. Gore-tex comes in different weights, so you can get thermal covering or just light-weight clothing to protect against rain.

It's great if you can work from home. When it is icy, that is a good option.

Stay safe.

kincsem 10-29-09 01:50 PM

Check / sports / cycling / to find out everything about cycling in Dublin / Ireland. Ask any questions about bicycle shops, clothing, routes and people will answer. The government is funding a "cycle to work" scheme (by tax credits for bikes purchased) so many more are cycling.

kincsem 10-29-09 02:01 PM

I live in Stillorgan and regularly cycle to Enniskerry and beyond. I assume you go via Sandyford Crossroads, Stapaside, Kiltiernan. This road is parts of the Wicklow 200 sportive (see website) in early June each year.
I'm retired and cycle for exercise. I wear bib tights, cycling jersey and a rainjacket / gilet / windbreak. No panniers or luggage.
We had six inches of snow on 10th January 1982 and not much since, although you might get a little in Enniskerry.

Fantasminha 11-05-09 03:48 PM

I take Enniskerry road all the way to Blackthorn. I work near the end of the Luas line--so far, that is the best route I have found. There are more direct routes, but I don't like sharing narrow roads with buses so I go the long way around. :) Also, I'm never sure what I'm supposed to do with a roundabout on a bike.

BTW, there are some unfamiliar road situations here that--never having lived in a place with bike lanes before--I have never encountered. I was kind of kicking around the idea of taking a driver's ed course for the dual purpose of getting my Irish drivers license (we don't have a car but we do sometimes rent) and learning what drivers expect of cyclists.

What do you local guys think of that? Would a driving school help my cycling? I can't figure out how--for example--I'm supposed to make a right hand turn when I'm trapped in a solid-stripe bike lane! :s

lawr 11-09-09 02:18 PM

I do think that getting a license will help you learn how to behave on the roads. As for that right-hand turn from a cycle lane, I have begun to boycott cycle lanes. They are counter-intuitive and often more dangerous than being on the road.

I would suggest that you begin to behave like a motor vehicle. That is how bicycles are legally classified in Ireland, and it is one of the reasons that I dislike cycle lanes. It promotes the idea that cyclists are somehow separate, not entitled to share space with cars. Legally, we are road vehicles and should be treated as equals on the road. I obey the rules of the road and meet all of my obligations as a cyclist. I have lights (front and rear) on my bicycles, and they are on whenever I am on the road. I wear bright reflective gear. I signal. If there ever came a time when I am involved in a collision with a car, and survive, my defence will be secure. My wife knows that, should I be killed on the road, she is to pursue legal action against the driver. It will not have been because I was ignoring the rules of the road. It will more likely be because they ignored those rules.

Getting a licence will help you to better understand your obligations and the rules that you are to follow and help you to understand what the motorists' obligations are, though I wouldn't expect them to keep their end of the bargain. Don't forget, many of those driving got their license in an amnesty several years back. They have never taken a test and have only one rule--get outtadaway, y'feck! Y'eedjit, ye! Many of those that did take the test see rules as something only fools obey. You'll get to a point where you can smell them coming. Real morons.

All I can recommend is to stay aware of what is around you, and just assume that a driver will do something stupid. If you can anticipate, you are much better prepared to do what you need to do in order to protect yourself. Having said all of that, there are probably more drivers that will respect your presence than I am accrediting. Unfortunately, it is the morons that you have trouble forgetting--because the consequences are so potentially final I suppose.

Hope this helps. Stay safe.

Juha 01-12-10 06:58 AM

Update, please - I suppose it has been as cold in Ireland as in the rest of the Europe? Up here in Nordic countries, we're just glad to have a normal, traditional winter again. I hear it's a different story in the UK for example.


Seapoint 01-18-10 02:37 AM

Believe it or not, we took our bikes out yesterday for the first pre-commute spin in a relatively balmy 8 degrees!
I couldn't believe the crowds that were out and about having been cooped up all winter!

lawr 01-18-10 02:04 PM

Originally Posted by Seapoint (Post 10284164)
Believe it or not, we took our bikes out yesterday for the first pre-commute spin in a relatively balmy 8 degrees!
I couldn't believe the crowds that were out and about having been cooped up all winter!

I did 30 miles on Saturday, up into the hills of Parteen and on into the Cratloe Hills. Check out that climb from Carrowmore to Heathmount: and, nearly 500 feet in a little over a half a mile. That's a better than 12% grade, and there are 16-20 meter stretches where the rise is better than 20%. I did it on my mountain bike because I was not sure how defrosted it would be. It was great, though I am sadly out of shape...and old. Not an ice patch to be found on the hills, though there is so much grit up there that there were times when my rear wheel was spinning out. Another fine weekend ahead.

Fantasminha 03-04-10 06:18 AM

So I've been commuting nearly every day all winter. The only exception were the days that we were snowed in. I had briefly thought about spiked tires, but decided that all the best control over my own wheels wouldn't help if the cars lost control so opted for the bus. Other than that, I would say that it's been great as long as I'm prepared for whatever the weather decides to do that day. It wasn't nearly as daunting as I thought!

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