Back in the race!

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Back in the race!

Postby srl » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:46 pm

It's been a long time since I commuted to work by bike (since ride to work day last year). I kind of lost interest because all the 'safe' ways from home to work have a bunch of hills - fast to work in the morning, but slow home - at night. I'm not brave enough to stay out on the bike for too long after dark, so have been content to do social rides on the weekend with mates.

But I am absolutely pumped to ride to work tomorrow, and here's why - a new bike. More specifically, a BH Neo ebike. It claims to give up to 90km in range, but I only need 28km per day, so I reckon I'm within the more realistic range. I am especially keen to try the bike up Kissing Point Road from Browns Waterhole, because that road has been my nemesis for way too long.

Have already tried it out today on some hills, and this thing is freaking remarkable. Like having a mate ride behind you, pushing their hand on your back to help you up the slope.

A couple of mates have suggested I not buy the ebike, but HTFU, so I understand I have betrayed the purity of cyclists everywhere :)
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by BNA » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:53 am

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Re: Back in the race!

Postby warthog1 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:53 am

Hey it got you back on a bike so it's a good thing :)
Give it time and I reckon you'll feel great after your commute.
Exercise releases positive endorphins and it is a good thing to do for yourself. Huge benefits if you keep it up. :8
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby srl » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:22 am

Thanks, mate, rode to work both Tuesday and Wednesday. Bike did what I hoped - got me up the hills more quickly and as a result meant I avoided the main roads in favour of the quieter, safer but hillier back tracks. Still get a solid workout, if heart rate and perspiration are any indicators, and it's cut the journey time by around 15 minutes. All good!
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby Mugglechops » Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:30 pm

One less car so good on you for getting back into it.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby queequeg » Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:32 pm

I used to hate Kissing Pt Rd, but then I realised the only actual horrid bit is the short steep bit just before the Pacific Hwy at Turramurra.
On my daily commute I have to negotiate 7 hills the same or worse than Kissing Pt Rd. No wonder I stay so fit!
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby srl » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:31 pm

Respect, Queequeg
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby moya » Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:55 pm

Is there a preferred way to avoid the top of Kissing Point Rd when going from Browns Waterhole to Bobbin Head? I think I could handle the gradient, but very slowly and not in a narrow lane around tight corners with cars speeding around me.

I was thinking of turning off Kissing Point Road at Monteith, then going through Cornwall and Duff to get to the Pacific Highway.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby rdp_au » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:01 pm

I agree, Kissing Point Rd is a bit of a grind on my commute as well. The steep bit is hard work, but the section I really don’t like, especially in the dark, is the flatter section just before it. The road is rough and potholed and there is virtually no shoulder to ride on. Couple this with fast moving cars, and I find it no fun at all.

Your alternate route does look better in that respect, but it brings you out onto the Pacific Highway, which also has no shoulder and fast moving cars. If I were to use this route, I’d consider running (illegally) down the footpath back to Kissing Point Rd to cross over and join my normal back street route via Rohini St.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby queequeg » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:58 pm

moya wrote:Is there a preferred way to avoid the top of Kissing Point Rd when going from Browns Waterhole to Bobbin Head? I think I could handle the gradient, but very slowly and not in a narrow lane around tight corners with cars speeding around me.

I was thinking of turning off Kissing Point Road at Monteith, then going through Cornwall and Duff to get to the Pacific Highway.


The problem is that the highway runs along the top of the ridge, and no matter which way you go you have to climb a steep hill eventually.
If you follow Monteith to Fox Valley Rd (detour around the stairs via backstreets), you'll see what I mean.
Sometimes coming back from Bobbin Head I will come down to Kissing Point Rd via Warragal Rd, which will take you down to Kissing Point Rd almost opposite Monteith. I have never climbed up it, and is still fairly steep. You would also come out onto the highway and have to turn left and climb up to Rohini St and make a right hand turn.

I prefer to just suck it up, but I did put a compact crankset with an 11-32 cassette on my bike (now a 38 chainring), so that helped a bit.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby moya » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:24 pm

queequeg wrote:The problem is that the highway runs along the top of the ridge, and no matter which way you go you have to climb a steep hill eventually.
If you follow Monteith to Fox Valley Rd (detour around the stairs via backstreets), you'll see what I mean.
Sometimes coming back from Bobbin Head I will come down to Kissing Point Rd via Warragal Rd, which will take you down to Kissing Point Rd almost opposite Monteith. I have never climbed up it, and is still fairly steep. You would also come out onto the highway and have to turn left and climb up to Rohini St and make a right hand turn.


The steepness isn't really the problem, it's the steepness + fast cars + narrow lanes that's a problem for me. Warragal looks promising, but you are right about having to then climb on the highway, which isn't much better. So far I've only descended Duff and Cornwall and they are steep but relatively quiet.


rdp_au wrote:Your alternate route does look better in that respect, but it brings you out onto the Pacific Highway, which also has no shoulder and fast moving cars. If I were to use this route, I’d consider running (illegally) down the footpath back to Kissing Point Rd to cross over and join my normal back street route via Rohini St.


I was thinking that after taking Monteith, Cornwall and Duff, you could cross at the lights into Ray St and then through Forbes Lane and the train station to Rohini St.

Alternatively at the top of Duff it might be possible to turn into the car park and go back to Kissing Point Road without riding on the footpath. But I'm only going by the satellite view, I don't know if there is actually a free path from Duff to Kissing Point Road.

These routes are slower and less convenient but I'm just looking for a way to avoid the high traffic areas during a steep climb.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby rdp_au » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:27 am

Crossing at the lights at Ray St would work, but I'd just ride the short distance to Rohini St down the highway. The traffic would be lighter - assuming you're commuting at normal times, and it's down hill. Might check out the route on the weekend.
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Kissing Point Road

Postby rdp_au » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:53 am

Well, it's been a while, but I finally managed to check out the alternative route via Monteith, Cornwall and Duff Streets last night. From a traffic perspective, it's much better. The roads, while quite narrow, are quiet backstreets with little traffic. The section of Duff St at the top near the highway is the trickiest bit as there's really only a single lane with parked cars on both sides. I encountered a couple of cars coming down as I was heading up - needed a bit of cooperation from both of us to pass without problems. At the highway, I rolled south down the pavement for 20 metres or so to the lights at Ray st. Used the pedestrian crossing and joined the highway to ride south to Rohini st and my normal route.

There's actually more climbing involved, as you head downhill for a while after turning onto Monteith St, but it doesn't get as steep as the lung-busting steepest part of KPR. Duff St is a good workout though, a steady, steep climb, that gets steeper at the top.

I think it's a worthwhile alternative route when it's dark. It avoids the narrow, rough section of KPR near the top, as well as the blind corners and fast moving traffic. It added about four minutes to my usual commute time. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby moya » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:38 pm

I did the Monteith/Cornwall/Duff route a few weeks ago too, and found the same with respect to Duff - quite cramped due to parked cars on both sides of the road, so you have to be aware of cars back and front as you go up a very steep climb. Better than KPR but not really satisfactory.

The next time I'm going that way I plan to try a similar route but on the eastern side of KPR, taking Catalpa, Jersey and Boyd up to the top. The roads look wider, quieter and less steep. The downside is that you're making 2 right hand turns, but it shouldn't be a big problem.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby rdp_au » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:59 am

According to Strava, for what it's worth;

Duff St

Distance 0.4km
Avg Grade 12.3%
Elev Difference 50m

Kissing Point Rd

Distance 0.4km
Avg Grade 5.1%
Elev Difference 21

KPR steep bit

Distance 0.2km
Avg Grade 12.3%
Elev Difference 19m

Similar steepness, but Duff St is longer.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby srl » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:15 pm

Respect to the guy on the roadie I caught while coming up out of Browns Waterhole on to KPR. This guy smoked the climb out, and even though I caught and passed him with electrical assistance from my "cheater", I only beat him to the lights at Comenarra by about a minute. He then proceeded to drop me on the run up KPR to Turramurra, and I only just caught him at the very top near Pacific Hwy. Whoever you are, I bow to you (very) superior fitness and strength! (Mind you, I got a sense he was turning himself inside out to ensure I didn't catch him on the climb, and that just made me respect him even more.)
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby rdp_au » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:02 am

On the discussion about alternative routes to avoid traffic on KPR. I've tried a few, but have gone back to just HTFU on KPR. It really is the quickest way, with the shortest climb. Work pressure has meant that I've not been hitting the top end of KPR until around 7 in the evening when the traffic levels are a lot more manageable.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby srl » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:18 pm

Hey rdp, which way do you go to get home? I'm interested in various routes, as I live at Thornleigh and commute to Macquarie Park, but doing best to avoid main streets. After KPR, I zip down Rohini past Turramurra Stn, then through a path next to rail line to Cherry St. Take that to Bangalla, turn l, r onto Young, then l to Billyard. Follow that to Wahroongha, on to Alexander and up to Waitara before wending home on back streets.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby moya » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:39 am

I went via Barellan / Catalpa / Jersey / Boyd to the top of KPR last week and found it preferable to the Monteith / Cornwall / Duff route. Wide roads, little traffic and a more gradual grade. It brings you out on the flat "don't queue across intersection" part at the top of KPR, so access is quite easy. This will be my preferred route from now on. It is longer, but I only take this route to get to Bobbin Head so it makes no difference to me.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby rdp_au » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:43 pm

srl wrote:Hey rdp, which way do you go to get home? I'm interested in various routes, as I live at Thornleigh and commute to Macquarie Park, but doing best to avoid main streets. After KPR, I zip down Rohini past Turramurra Stn, then through a path next to rail line to Cherry St. Take that to Bangalla, turn l, r onto Young, then l to Billyard. Follow that to Wahroongha, on to Alexander and up to Waitara before wending home on back streets.



I use a pretty similar route to you;

http://app.strava.com/activities/74234763
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby srl » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:22 pm

A story in two parts.

This morning, I decided to ride from Thornleigh down to Macquarie Park via Sutherland Rd in Beecroft. Haven't gone this way for a while because you have to carry the bike up a set of stairs from one back street up to Sutherland and while not difficult, kind of disrupts the flow. Anyway, in the back streets of Penno, a dude in an old Hilux doesn't see me, goes, props, goes, stops and then, finally, goes again. By this time, I have jumped off the bike and gave a pretty benign "I'm right here!" gesticulation. Wasn't rude, but certainly exasperated because, well, I quite like being alive versus the alternative.

He drives really close, flips the bird and he is, no joke, apoplectic with rage. Red face. The whole deal. Bear in mind it is 10 past 7 and he can be no more than 1 minute from his home given he is coming out of a dead end. Tells me to F off, so I respond in kind. He stops, winds down the windows and shouts at me to "come here". I in turn suggest he's dreaming and ride off. I then hear him reverse the ute and start pursuing me down a very quiet back street. It gets tricky at this point, as my memory of the route is a little hazy. I turn down the next street - dead end - and start to worry a bit before realising this is Clement Close, from where I can climb steps to Sutherland. I also realise the guy has come to his senses and turned around, although I have to say I rode the entire length of Sutherland waiting for a white Hilux to side swipe me. By the way, I am wearing a bright yellow jacket, with a set of flashing white lights. I think I am doing my best to be seen, and I ride really defensively, assuming everyone is trying to kill me.

This afternoon, I elect to ride via Browns Waterhole and KPR but this morning spooked me, it's fair to say. So, halfway up KPR I turn down Monteith and decide to work my way up to Fox Valley Rd and across to Hinemoa in Normanhurst. Never again. I took what can only be described as the rollercoaster of Campbell Drive. If I hadn't been riding Sparky the electric pushy, I might still be out there, dragging my sorry arse up one of its numerous French Alp hills. I think I could smell burning from the bike's motor on one climb, although it could have been one of my brain circuits overheating. Finally got home, but well and truly stuffed. Never again.

Back to riding via Waitara, Wahroonga and KPR, methinks.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby queequeg » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:31 pm

srl wrote:Hey rdp, which way do you go to get home? I'm interested in various routes, as I live at Thornleigh and commute to Macquarie Park, but doing best to avoid main streets. After KPR, I zip down Rohini past Turramurra Stn, then through a path next to rail line to Cherry St. Take that to Bangalla, turn l, r onto Young, then l to Billyard. Follow that to Wahroongha, on to Alexander and up to Waitara before wending home on back streets.


Maybe you need an MTB so you can
commute through Pennant Hills Park on the trails.
I am commuting from Dural to Nth Sydney and usually join up with Sutherland Rd at Beecroft. I grew up in Thornleigh, but down in the section off Sefton Rd. It is not a great location to commute from on a bicycle.
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby duncanm » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:40 pm

srl wrote:Hey rdp, which way do you go to get home? I'm interested in various routes, as I live at Thornleigh and commute to Macquarie Park, but doing best to avoid main streets. After KPR, I zip down Rohini past Turramurra Stn, then through a path next to rail line to Cherry St. Take that to Bangalla, turn l, r onto Young, then l to Billyard. Follow that to Wahroongha, on to Alexander and up to Waitara before wending home on back streets.


SRL,

I'm Macquarie Park to Westleigh.. so very similar route choices.

This sounds like your KPR / Waitara option.. the hop onto Pennant Hills Rd footpath for a hundred meters or so to meet up with the brickpit cycleway is a good way to get through that last bit : http://www.strava.com/activities/67217000

For the western option, I use Beecroft Rd or Sutherland depending on how I feel at the time, and traffic. I find Yarrara ok getting out of Thornleigh/Pennant Hills, then onto to footpath at Trebor Rd (or earlier) to avoid trying to match the traffic up PH Rd to Beecroft.

Once at the top of Observatory Hill, wait for the lights, then its fast down Beecroft Rd, maybe with a duck at the first or second left to get onto Sutherland. I rarely bother with the back streets and steps these days. here's a fast one from the other day where I got to draft a concrete truck down :) http://www.strava.com/activities/75005814

Coming home, its M2 underpass (if not flooded) then Sutherland and a bit of naughty footpath work again up Beecroft Rd from Albert Rd all the way around to Trebor on PH Rd to avoid the steps. http://www.strava.com/activities/73073015

If you like quiet streets, and depending on where in Thornleigh you are, you can duck parallel to Yarrara through Trebor/Rosemount/Tillock/Morgan/Dale, through past the sewer pumphouse onto Edmunson Cl - but beware, its hilly!

Surprised you found a nutter down the East Side of PH Rd.. its very sleepy down there!
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Re: Back in the race!

Postby srl » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:31 pm

Thanks, Duncan. Yup, know those routes. Like to avoid footpaths but the reality is that they are almost unavoidable if you want to stay safe. Yeah, I was surprised to meet a nutter in PH too, but bicycles seem to bring out the worst in otherwise sane people.
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