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Commuting by bike

  • 04-07-2022 10:25am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,379 ✭✭✭

    What is your journey like by bike? How long is your journey and how prepared are you?

    I am thinking of biking it to work as I don't have any other way. I'm taking about a 15km ride and it feels very daunting at the moment.

    I have done some of the journey by bus and walk but buses aren't all that reliable and can't get into work on time. How worried should I be with some of my route with no street lights?

    Also, how do I deal with winter and icy roads, I'm really worried about this as well.

    Any recommendations for very good rain gear and even though I will be wearing rain gear, should I bring a change of clothes and shoes?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭rolling boh

    Is your journey urban or out of town 15km is not that far well doable quite easily in a short space of time . Type of bike you have may also be a factor .I presume you have a bike so maybe try the commute a day that you are not working to suss out the route and fitness .There are a few threads about this on this forum so you look those up as well . I would have spare shoes etc at work also what you wear at work normally or type of job you do is a factor as well .

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,906 ✭✭✭✭CJhaughey

    Perhaps an E-bike would be a good choice? Faster than pure pedal and can be fitted with good lighting, also because they are less effort you tend to sweat less.

    Winter tyres are available with studs for ice if its frosty.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,000 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    I park and cycle the last 16km to the office (or get the dart). Admittedly, I do cycle anyway, but I generally take it handy commuting as recovery/ easy days. On a heavy commuter, with wide thick tyres, and two full panniers and a dynohub it takes about 40 mins.

    As has been said, consider an ebike. I'm looking at converting (and increase the cycle distance given fuel prices) but if you didn't already have a bike, there's better value "off the shelf" imo.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 46,935 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    ice is not an easy one, many cyclists would balk at going out in icy conditions.

    is it rural roads which are the unlit ones you mention? it depends on how narrow/busy they are - you may find that there's a safer/more pleasant route which could be longer, but better for cycling.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,275 ✭✭✭Ferris

    I do this distance on urban / extra-urban roads on a hardtail MTB type ebike. Takes about 40min. I would probably stop for snow / ice but I don't mind gales / rain / hail etc. Thats the beauty of an ebike, it can really be a car replacement or a substitute for moxy public transport as there are very few excuses not to take the bike. People commute by bike in the Baltic states, they just use studded tyres but these are probably overkill for Ireland, if the weather is really bad I work from home or get a taxi.

    Must haves are two front and two rear lights (ebike lights are great), panniers, rack, decent mudguards and Schwalbe Marathon tyres.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,379 ✭✭✭fun loving criminal

    They are roads in a town, so 80km speed limit and a busy bendy road. So I am worried even with an e-bike.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭The Davestator

    I commute 16k each way and the best part of it is the reliability. I know exactly what time to leave at (give or take a minute or 2 for windy days) Its also 'free' time for exercise meaning I don't have to find time in my day to exercise as the time spent commuting is sunk anyway regardless of what mode of transport I choose.

    Worry about winter in winter!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭rolling boh

    Have you got a bike already do you do any cycling ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,379 ✭✭✭fun loving criminal

    Yes have a bike but worried about long distance and pushing and sweating, needing a break half way through. 15km is long for me and on a normal bike.

    My biggest worry are the roads and being unlit with cars going fast.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,079 ✭✭✭CantGetNoSleep

    I commute 9km each way - I bought an ebike as it is hilly and this allows me to avoid changing at work - I commute in a shirt and cycling jacket, and keep a few work jackets and spare pair of shoes in my office.

    For 15km - I would recommend doing the same unless it is very flat (or windy and exposed). This is less important if you plan to shower and change at work.

    Make sure you have a bike that takes wider tires, full mudguards and a rack to attach a panier bag. Get two lights too - I prefer to have one pair on the bike (either dynamo or ebike) and a second that I can charge via usb. If you are travelling on unlit roads you will need stronger lights.

    Other than that I would suggest having a back up plan for the days you don't want to cycle - I can take the car or public transport. Both of these are slower and much less pleasant, but there is the odd day (particularly rainy ones) where I just don't feel like taking the bike.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭rolling boh

    Maybe start cycling a bit in your spare time to gain confidence and experience plus it will up your fitness making it easier for you .The e bike is a good idea but it's not that far on a standard bike when you are fit enough .

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭rolling boh

    Forgot to ask what bike do you have ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,379 ✭✭✭fun loving criminal

    A normal bike but cycling leisurely for two years and definitely not fit enough for a long cycle.

    Even with a normal bike, it doesn't take away my worry of unlit roads. Do cyclists use these?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,699 ✭✭✭tnegun

    22km door to door, Maynooth to Parkwest and back home again in the evening. PreCovid I was doing it 5 days a week in all weather. I'm fortunate that there are showers and some limited clothes storage at work. I also work in IT so don't require a shirt and tie just need to be respectable! I did it on a Hybrid first a couple of days a week as I'd never ridden a "road" bike but it was a bit slow and difficult to filter through traffic, I then bought a second-hand cyclocross bike and used it for 2 years up to Covid.

    The frame snapped on an outing during covid and I picked up a nearly new gravel bike and for the first time clipless pedals(Ignore the name your feet are stuck to the pedals). It had 650b wheels which are too much for my commute so I swapped these to 700c x28 with schwalbe puncture-resistant tyres. I can do the commute in 45mins on a good day but usually takes me about 50.

    My route involves a mix of canal towpath depending on the route its 6-9km and the rest is a mix of urban and rural roads with no lighting. The lack of lighting has never bothered me but I have good lights and 2 of each at the front and rear in case one dies/fails.

    In the bag, I carry the day's clothes and spare cycling top I can handle the shorts being wet but if the top gets soaked it's miserable. I have reasonably good wet gear but its rare I'd need it and the days you do it would be difficult for anything to keep you dry! I also carry a spare tube, puncture repair kit, CO2 inflator, mini pump and a multitool for any repairs needed. That said in all my time commuting I've only had half a dozen punctures, a couple of cables snap and one chain failure but that's several 1000kms of commuting.

    I've come off twice in ice so now with WFH I'll definitely not risk it anymore but unless it was very wet the night before even on very cold mornings it's not that much of an issue.

    I hadn't cycled since college when I started 5 years ago and just slowly built up to it. 15km is very achievable with just a moderate level of fitness. I'd recommend trying it on a day off just to get to know the timing and route and don't be afraid to get out google maps and look for alternatives to any pinch points or roads you don't like! I take a slightly longer route and cut through some housing estates to avoid a couple of narrow fast roads on my commute there's no shame in it :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,769 ✭✭✭rolling boh

    Where in the country are you ? If you invest in a good set of lights for your bike and be visible yourself you will be fine .When you say normal bike is it a bike with drop handle bars or straight ones it would be easier with a light enough bike as I said earlier you may need to get out more in your spare time to improve then 15 km will not be considered that long .