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Newbie London Commuter - 22mile RT. Advice pls :)

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Newbie London Commuter - 22mile RT. Advice pls :)

Old 06-02-19, 09:04 AM
  #1  
Xafaii
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Newbie London Commuter - 22mile RT. Advice pls :)

TL;CBA to read: 33 short-arse female wanting to cycle around London, advice on first cheap bike purchase 200quid-ish. Second-hand brand recommendations appreciated otherwise will just go ... halfords BOOOO. Mostly roads, some trail. What seat position (uh, this is geometry?) for a 22mile daily round trip 5x a week. Anything else to consider?



I'm super excited and nervous to make my first post. I have decided that I have had ENOUGH of London public transport, the 5 hours daily commute of switching buses and trains to work and then to see my horse after! I'M DONE! ARGH! I haven't cycled in a decade and while I'm a person that workouts everyday it's a little daunting looking at that mileage in addition to the rest of it. I walk my dogs 2x a day, my work is very active 9-5 (what's a chair?) and I have to exercise my horse and some extras in the evenings sometimes. This isn't pleasure horse-riding, this is EXERCISE for both rider and horse. Well... google maps tell me if life is perfect I can cut my daily commute in half just by getting buff and dodging lunatics on the road. I'm gonna try it because if I have to listen to one more idiotic teenager on the bus I'm gonna lose my mind.


Being a newbie with bike brands I don't even know where to begin. I have a decent budget and I get a discount through work however I refused to spend big on my first bike. I understand I will be sacrificing certain comforts but I have to be practical about this. My first bike I will probably only use for a few months, so am only looking for things in the range of 200 quid. I'll probably scrap it and invest properly second time around and probably try get my mother into it. So any recommendations with all the above?


- mostly london roads, some trail tracks (nothing major)

- 22 miles 5x a week - will build up to this ofc, will drive to yard initially so I don't kill myself. Note: have car but refuse to drive into central london coz parking fees + traffic

- will probably shower at work daily

- road bike/mountain bike/hybrid bike? (no folding bikes pls. I never want to be on a bus again).

- suspension or no suspension?

- insurance? (for me)


I have a go-pro, hrm and tracker for when I ride in the countryside so look forward to tracking progress. Thank you so much in advance for reading and offering any advice!
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Old 06-02-19, 09:25 AM
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You posted this in the "General Discussion" forum, I'd suggest you re-post it in the "Commuting" forum farther down the list of forums. That's more centered on your topic, and is a pretty active forum, so you should get some good advice. I take it you are in London, England? There's also a London in Ontario, Canada, too, and probably more throughout the world.
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Old 06-02-19, 09:32 AM
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WHOOPS! I thought I did post it there but had multiple tabs open. Thank you for pointing it out!
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Old 06-02-19, 03:02 PM
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UK-specific advice.

First investment is a very solid lock or two decent D-locks. Bikes always get stolen in the UK.

For that budget, Decathlon and Halfords are good.

The key component is fit and thus you shouldn't buy a secondhand without a fit.

I would go with a hybrid with full fenders and lights if you can find one at that pricepoint.

https://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/...&storeId=10001

Is a good buy for £300 with a lock or fenders.

650b wheels for London, good components and disc brakes.

You'll get a lot of responses here from Americans who have never steppes foot it London so buyer beware.

Good luck and great job giving TfL the middle finger.
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Old 06-02-19, 04:45 PM
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I assume you mean it is 11 miles each way? 22 miles each way is something like an 80-minute commute twice a day, possibly.

Eleven miles each way is just enough to get warmed up for the work day--perfect.

The questions are---what do you need to carry with you? And ... is there a safe place to park?

For an 11-mile ride, any bike which isn't broken should be fine. You are thinking properly that you should get a cheap bike and learn about what really works for you. Any brand .... except maybe department-store bikes--should be fine. Mostly what would matter for the money you are planning to spend is that the bike Fits .... most important .... and then, that everything works. Make sure everything that should spin, spins, and doesn't wobble or grind.

If you don't know much about bikes, you definitely want someone who does to go with you to check out prospective purchases.

For an 11-mile ride, unless you are riding off-road, I would suggest a rigid frame endurance-geometry bike with rack mounts, making sure it has clearance fore tires at least 32 mm wide. Flat-bar bikes can be good for short urban commutes because you won't be spending long periods of time in an aero position, and being able to see well at intersections can be a survival issue, but I have used flat- and drop-bar bikes successfully. The big issues for urban commuting (in my experience) are excellent lights, good brakes, pretty healthy tires (as in wider and higher volume, for all the broken pavement, rail crossings, pavement seams, and the occasional unavoidable curb hop or drop,) strong wheels (same reason,) a rack which can hold all your gear, bags which are completely waterproof--or learn to pack water-proof----and a wide range of gearing, because there will be days (particularly towards the end of the week) when your legs will feel like someone has been hitting them with a ball-peen hammer, and having low gears can save you.

I would recommend either and aluminum frame and carbon fork, or a steel frame and fork, fir the bike you ultimately buy. Carbon frames can be lighter, but in my experience there will be people in the office who decide to move your bike and drop it, or bump it, and urban riding occasionally leads to slips or spills, and sometimes you might have to lock up in odd places. an aluminum or steel frame might get a little scraped but nothing will break it (which doesn't break you first) whereas a CF frame might take damage which will be invisible until it fails in a big way. (Just fr urban commuting, which can---but isn't necessarily---a pretty abusive sport. it depends on your roads,, your route, your office---the is a guy here, @Jim from Boston, who rides a high-end CF Wunderbike through some city...I forget which ---several days a week with no ill effects.)

For your first bike, anything that can fit a rack will be fine. Just make sure that all the parts work. You will spend more time learning about cycling, and how you ride, than about the bike, and after several months when you go to bike stopres and web sites you will know what matters to you and be able to make wise choices.
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Old 06-03-19, 03:11 AM
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Your budget is a bit on the low side even for a bike that you regard as temporary. If you can push it up to nearer £500 then you'll get some much better bikes that might actually last you a long time.

I commute into London regularly from Epsom Downs, doing about 100 miles a week so my advice too is UK specific.

At your budget I'd say no to disc brakes. Good disc brakes are very good but at your price level you'll get just as much stopping power from V brakes or calipers. I would say avoid chunky tyres, although these are easy to change, as they will create a lot of drag and slow you down. My suggestion would be 700c wheels as the choice of tyres is huge at that size.

I'd say the main choice you need to make is between a road bike or a hybrid. When I was young hybrids didn't really exist so I've ridden road bikes all my life. Personally I find straight bars uncomfortable but I know others feel differently. Have a sit on both and see which you think will suit you better. You'll get more wind resistance on a hybrid which, at your intended mileage, may be a factor, but otherwise there isn't really a lot to choose between them.

If you can stretch to £500 you can get one of the entry level Boardman bikes, such as the SLR 8.6, which are seriously good value for money.

In addition to Halfords and Decathlon you'll also probably find an Evans store near you and possibly a Cycle Surgery as well, so have a good shop around - you never know where you might come across a good deal. Does your company participate in the cycle-to-work scheme? You can get a bike through that and the tax man gives you a nice discount.

You'll find mudguards and the like surprisingly expensive so rather than let that eat in to your budget I'd leave it for now and decide what you want to do about it when the weather starts to deteriorate in a few months time.

As to 'bikes always get stolen in the UK', I've been a cyclist here since about 1975 and never lost a bike yet. If you have to leave your bike outside then get a decent lock, proportionate to the cost of the bike, and you should be ok.

Best of luck.

John
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Old 06-03-19, 08:27 AM
  #7  
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Firstly, well done for deciding to commute by bike. Aside from health benefits you'll be saving money and time.

As to a bike, I commute on C&V road bikes. My commute is similar to yours by the sound of it, I ride 15 miles each way on a mix of busy main roads and some trail sections, and the road bikes manage it perfectly well - steel frame for comfort, room for mudguards, and quicker than a hybrid even with me on board. £200 will get you a decent second hand bike, and if you do sell it after a few months you shouldn't lose much on it. Ride the bike before you buy it - I find Ebay and red wine a very good way of buying bikes, but trying the bike before you buy it is a much better way of going about it.

Halfords bike sections can be variable in terms of the service. To be fair our local one is very good, and my son had a Carrera that survived him riding it without any major problems.

Theft can be a problem, depending on where you store the bike during the day. My employer is very good and has a secure area covered by CCTV, but if you haven't got a secure location a good lock is an essential - bikes that are stolen tend to be more expensive ones with cheap locks.

A couple of tips - I always leave 20-30 minutes earlier than I need to; this gives time to fix a puncture (which is a rare occurrence anyway), and getting in early gives me time to sit outside and enjoy a coffee. Also, keep a waterproof jacket in your bag; getting rained on isn't so common as a lot of people say but having a jacket is great on those beautiful mornings that turn into miserable evenings.
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Old 06-03-19, 01:59 PM
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Check decathlon
https://www.decathlon.co.uk/triban-1...d_8554239.html
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Old 06-03-19, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
You'll get a lot of responses here from Americans who have never steppes foot it London so buyer beware.
But we've been to the moon, so...
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Old 06-04-19, 02:55 AM
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So now you've got three completely different suggestions in half a dozen posts. Just think how many different options you'll have once you get up to a hundred responses. It just goes to prove that if you laid all the bike experts end to end they still wouldn't reach a conclusion.

I should have said before, congratulations on your decision not to rely on public transport any more. I wish I could do that; I do manage to go weeks at a time just cycling but occasionally the weather just gets the better of me and I end up letting the train take the strain. I don't think my route to work is as tortuous as yours, by the sound of it, though. 22 miles per day is eminently doable, though, so just go for it. And let us all know how you're doing so we can cheer you on.
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Old 06-05-19, 02:52 AM
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Excellent advice here (one troll ... robertorolfo).

1. The bike2work scheme is good advice as it allows salary sacrifice to purchase bike equipment. Your employer may do it. I haven't used it yet as I just bought a cheap bike with cash. If you're in London there may be a subsidised TfL pass that you barter with HR for commuting expenses.

2. Stretching the budget is excellent advice. There are nice bikes from a British brand.

https://whyte.bike/collections/fast-...uter-r7-series

3. Fenders/Locks/Lights will eat that budget very quite quickly. When I moved to the UK, I bought one decent D-lock and two bright flashing USD-charing LEDs and fenders. That worked out to £100 from Amazon. Then fenders just broke after 500+ RT commutes. The lock and lights are still good.

About the budget...

When I moved to Frankfurt, I left my city bikes in Stockholm as I moved by train (yes, by rail, with the X2000 and ICE). I splurged and bought a CUBE hardtail MTB/helmet/lights/lock for around €900 or so.

I loved that bike and commuted every single day for 3 years on it. (Except when the bikepaths had ice which wasn't that often).

Thus, I would stretch the budget to £500 with all accessories including a backpack and a rainjacket etc... as you'll have equipment that you love every time that you use it as 11-miles one-way is a long trip for compromises.

Have fun and enjoy it!
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Old 06-05-19, 03:50 AM
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bike2work scheme:

https://www.bike2workscheme.co.uk/
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Old 06-05-19, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Excellent advice here (one troll ... robertorolfo).
Haaaa...
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Old 06-05-19, 05:41 PM
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I had a 22 mile round trip last winter. It was doable when I checked the map and discovered an alternative route that went around industrial areas
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Old 06-10-19, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams View Post
Your budget is a bit on the low side even for a bike that you regard as temporary. If you can push it up to nearer £500 then you'll get some much better bikes that might actually last you a long time.

I commute into London regularly from Epsom Downs, doing about 100 miles a week so my advice too is UK specific.

At your budget I'd say no to disc brakes. Good disc brakes are very good but at your price level you'll get just as much stopping power from V brakes or calipers. I would say avoid chunky tyres, although these are easy to change, as they will create a lot of drag and slow you down. My suggestion would be 700c wheels as the choice of tyres is huge at that size.

I'd say the main choice you need to make is between a road bike or a hybrid. When I was young hybrids didn't really exist so I've ridden road bikes all my life. Personally I find straight bars uncomfortable but I know others feel differently. Have a sit on both and see which you think will suit you better. You'll get more wind resistance on a hybrid which, at your intended mileage, may be a factor, but otherwise there isn't really a lot to choose between them.

If you can stretch to £500 you can get one of the entry level Boardman bikes, such as the SLR 8.6, which are seriously good value for money.

In addition to Halfords and Decathlon you'll also probably find an Evans store near you and possibly a Cycle Surgery as well, so have a good shop around - you never know where you might come across a good deal. Does your company participate in the cycle-to-work scheme? You can get a bike through that and the tax man gives you a nice discount.

You'll find mudguards and the like surprisingly expensive so rather than let that eat in to your budget I'd leave it for now and decide what you want to do about it when the weather starts to deteriorate in a few months time.

As to 'bikes always get stolen in the UK', I've been a cyclist here since about 1975 and never lost a bike yet. If you have to leave your bike outside then get a decent lock, proportionate to the cost of the bike, and you should be ok.

Best of luck.

John
700c is terrible for a shorter person- you’ll hit your toes on the fenders, and they make terrible compromises for smaller frames. Finding 650b if possible is the best option for the OP. Fewer options but better fit.
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Old 06-10-19, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
700c is terrible for a shorter person- you’ll hit your toes on the fenders, and they make terrible compromises for smaller frames. Finding 650b if possible is the best option for the OP. Fewer options but better fit.
The bike I posted from Halfords is 650b.
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Old 06-10-19, 02:03 PM
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Welcome, and have fun commuting. I do enjoy being outside rather than in a box waiting in a queu or traffic.

Key things for you to consider:

- What size bike do you need? Go to some stores, see what they have and what fits, and what they recommend. Fit is the single most important thing.

- How fast do you want to go? My European commuting was fairly relaxed compared to what I do in the US, but everyone’s commute is different.

- Based on speed above – how upright or Aero do you want to be? Also, prefer flat bars or drops?

- What size tires do you need? 23mm is only good for a race bike, 55 is great for a mountain bike, and I find something between 30-40mm is great for commuting.

- Based on the answers above, you’ll have a good idea what kind of frame and style bike you want. You can tweak a lot of things on a bike, but fit (specifically top tube length) and maximum tire size are pretty locked in once you choose a specific frame.



Not a bad idea to start with a beater, then spend the cash when you better understand what you want.
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