Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
21 posts • Page 1 of 1
The idea of commuting has come about as a way to grab some much needed head space, burn mental frustrations, add some cardio to my lifestyle and to enjoy the freedom of being outside my car. So I've been lurking around for awhile trying to get an idea if I'll be into this commuting freedom that everyone has a bug for and my trip home tonight has sealed the deal.
Summing it up my workplace takes me from the central coast and delivers me in Sydney. I make this perilous journey by means of a 15km / 20min mind numbing car trip to the station and an hour long train ride to the nearest station of my workplace, then it's a 20min/ 3km walk, all up a serious painful commute.
Catching the train home tonight was the clincher, screaming kids, bogan parents, rent-a-cop ticket checkers, seat hogs, I could go on....but I'll save the mundane details of public transport.
I need to balance this frustration out and what better way than using the commute to and from the station to burn it out! The 15kms to and from seems doable and I have a variety of routes to take depending on traffic and how Im feeling after a few days in the saddle. The last few kms to work is an easy ride and the way home will get me on an earlier train home, BOOM! whoever thought cycling could be so amazing in so many ways.
Only problem is that all spare coin is going to the wedding fund atm, so until September I'm dreaming of blacker asphalt pastures. I guess it's time I can check out gear and potential commuters.
Whoo that felt good to get out. Also a huge thanks to everyone's stories of commuting adventures.
Have you thought about getting a folder? V. entry level and you can take it on the train. I feel for you re: trains, screaming kids, BO, but most of all the numerous diseases. Cycling keeps you fitter and I can feel it. It's great! Good luck with it
Amateur oenologist and green-friendly commuter.
Why stick with the 15km commute to the station. You could always extend the commute if the weather is great, espeically during the summer where the days are long. You could ride to Brooklyn or Cowan and take the train from there instead. Or you could take the train back to Hornsby or Berowra and ride home from there. Lots of options is what I am saying.
As for gear, buy a comfortable bike and get as many freebies as you can with the purchase eg pedals, helmet, bidon, bidon cages, lights. Get lots of lights, rechargable batteries. Comfortable clothing need not be expensive. I get most of mine from T7 and they are good for even 150km rides. btw, all th best with the wedding planning.
Reynolds 953 (warranty replacement, 7 months and waiting)
Kona Jake the Snake
Hey Commurider thanks for the kind words, i doubt that the folder would suit my 6'7" human frame!
I have some experience in the riding world, I've mainly been mtb on and off with mates bikes. A positive to come out of today's train ride was talking to a cyclist that got on at my stop and said he takes his bike on everyday with no worries and then the ticket inspectors came on and gave him no grief.
So hopefully falling into place, looking at a road hybrid for my set of wheels, but who knows, could change....
Jeebas, wolfrider ! How do they cram you into the train ?
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
Anythings an option once I get fit enough, mainly on the way home though where time isn't too much of an issue. Mornings are run by the train timetable I'll be getting up pretty early to catch my train at 5:30....but looking forward to actualy having some options now
As for gear lights will be essential to and from at this time of the year to see where I'm going and to be seen.
Thanks for the heads up on the freebies, what is the norm when buying a new bike? Free pedals?
Thanks for the kind words Jon
As for my genetically superior height advantage, trains can be pretty cramped, although I get on early enough that I get my pick of seats, but it always feels like a can of sardines anyway, packed in tight, sealed shut, smells real bad, and you can't get away from anybody
Commurider; doors are a slim make, I'm 200cms and most doorways are 202cms...heaps of clearance
You don't have to spend much. My three bikes (1 year old cheap hybrid,1 year old entry-level roadie, 8 year old high-end time trial bike) cost $1125 all up if I recall correctly, ranging from $225 to $600. I've got a couple of years of commuting out of two pairs of the cheap Cell shy shorts, which break side buckles immediately but then keep on keeping on. Helmet, lock and lights will be $200+ or so. So you should be able to be equipped for not a whole lot.
As you're coming from a MTB background, maybe check out a cheap hybrid to get you out there and used to the commute while you work out what sort of bike you want. There's considerable variety in "ideal" commuters because factors like traffic, roads, hills, and personal interests play such a big part.
I remember those trains from when I lived at Lake Mac and worked in Sydney - the Flyer wasn't too bad from Lake Mac 'cause you, your partner and friends could always grab a pair of seats, but at the Central Coast it often went downhill- and then you poor guys had a traffic jam from the station!
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre.
2003 Cervelo P2K time trial bike
2010 Merida Cyclocross 4
2008 Giant SS/track
2008 Vivente Como roadie
If you are on a budget to get all the accessories consider Aldi for clothing.
I didn't have a clue and when I saw their prices I thought I'd give them a go. They seem fine to me so far and for about $100 I now have two jackets, 2 pairs of shorts and a pair of leggings.
Never underestimate the power of ignorance
I don't know how you do it. Is it an option to move closer to Sydney and cycle all the way to work?
I used to have to drive 120km each way to way for 5 years... in the end we gave in and moved. I'm now 12km from work and ride when I can.
Yeah at the moment I'm heading into Gosford to catch the train, getting to and from the station is a mental case in itself. It seems like my normal train home coincides with all the car commuters as the train commuters pull out of the carpark, that's partly the reason for my need to change. To get away from the train to car scenario and angry, impatient drivers.
Hanging out for a job on the coast, I'm a school teacher and I'm basically playing the waiting game till something opens up. So while I continue my journey south bound I look forward to the cycling commute.
I'm pretty sure what I'm looking for in a bike already (what I want it to do), and my will to stick by my new mode of transport is damn strong. So I'll be looking to enter into the market where I won't need to upgrade again in a short time frame. I really like the look and specs of the Kona Honky Tonk, for practicality and to suit my route to and from the station. For the meantime however it looks like I can score an older road bike that needs some minor repairs, and they look like they've already been answered in the retro area...so that'll give me a good indicator to see if what I think I'm into will actually suit my needs.
Thanks again for everyone's kind words and sympathy
I'm just glad I realize I need something else before I become a plastic commuter on the train platform, now I'll be that sweaty smelly guy no one wants to sit next to
Verge collections always turn up number of bikes that are actually good. The main requirement on you is to be able to recognise which one is based on a quality frame and then take it home.
That gives you the leg up to cycling on decent wheels without paying the full cost. It has the added advantage that you get to try out a little maintenance and repair work. This will hold you in good stead after the ball-and-chain is happily married and loosens the purse strings a little for you to go out and buy something new and flash.
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
So it looks like i have scored an old steel frame road bike, it's a 'Meral' a french built bike from the 80's.
A friend had it in ther garage from when their dad migrated to Australia. Looks like the goods, and a fun project to get me into the cycling world. By the time ive fixed her all up and got my gear it'll work out cheaper than buying the Knoa Honky Tonk....i can keep that in the background if it fails as the commuter i want it to be.
Coming soon, Wolfriders Meral project
Welcome a'board, Karl.
Just be aware that frame size is the key thing you will need to watch with any purchase. At 200cm, you will be looking for XL or XXL. Depending on your mass, a 36 spoke rear wheel might be advisable as well. On the upside, a mountain bike will be plenty tough and 2" tyres, while not being the fastest thing to ride on, will cushion the bike from road shocks and extend wheel life and improve comfort.
A poorly fitting bike can actually cause you injuries, so with your out-of-the ordinary stature perhaps in this instance it might pay to get your first bike from a proper bike shop. After fluffing around with numerous cheapo second hand bikes for a few years and not enjoying them much, my first bike store bought new bike was a revelation. Being able to try out different sizes for the same model and get their feedback, the one I bought fit me properly for the first time, was comfortable and fun, and got me thoroughly hooked.
Hope this helps.
Agreed. If you can afford it, do what he said...
Never underestimate the power of ignorance
Thanks for the friendly advice trailgumby, i am considering a new bike and was going to buy one straight off, Kona Honky Tonk? The older bike is 64cms from seat tube to middle of crank, last rider of said bike was 6'6" so I'm hoping for a close fit. If it doesn't fit right or starts causing me trouble I'll look to moving onto a modern set of wheels. If anything I'll gain some bike maintenance and skills from playing around with this one.
Sorry only the one shot of the bike, don't pick it up for a few weeks yet...
I made my purchase towards the commuting world during the week in the form of a Cannondale Caad8.
I've started to figure out what I need to get started, and had some play time with my SPD pedals, in/out/in/out and repeat.... Didn't want to become a clipstack victim on my first ride and the practice payed off.
Decided to take the bike out for a spin yesterday and was pretty nervous about heading out, so I thought a small ride around the block would suffice....I ended up pedalling out 7km and really got into it, felt way more confident with the stop and clip out.
Today I decided to take the scenic route around our coast line and managed 14km in about 40mins. I was pretty happy with what I got done and it's helping to build up to my first real commute. Just need my lights and some extra gear and added fitness would help too
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