Commuting by bike…

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  • Commuting by bike…
  • will

    Some good points above, i’ll add mine:

    – Leave shoes at work
    – Leave spare/emergency pants & socks in a draw at work, you will forgot them one day
    – Leave suit/trousers hung up at work
    – I take a fresh shirt, pants, socks in every day. Rolled in a bag

    – Full mudguards* essential in winter
    – SS* means very little in the way of maintenance and things to go wrong, which when commuting is essential
    – Road bike will be quickest and is my preferred choice – CX if there is some element of off road
    – Have a bag* which has spares and supplies in all the time, pump, tube, tools, gillet etc… Ideally unless being used these will always stay in your bag.
    – Bright rear light – Exposure Flare*
    – Bright front light – Hope Vision Two*
    – Tyres that don’t get punctures. Even if you don’t usually get punctures you will on the commute, it will be dark, raining, cold and you’ll be tired when it happens. I use Bontrager Racelite Hardcase – No punctures in 2,800 miles/5months

    – On your ride you’ll probably need no extra food/gels etc…
    – Ensure you have a good breakfast – Porridge or Weetabix idea
    – You’ll probably be wanting another breakfast around 11am ish – Weetabix* & bananas* are another good shout

    *This is what I use and I find it works well for me.

    You’ll love commuting by bike, get to work refreshed and you’ll save a lot of money. Not to mention the fitness improvements.

    Up until recently my commute was 50 miles a day. 5 days a week. August has seen a dip in this due to a house move/personal stuff, but will be ramped up again now.


    rule #1 in my house is don’t F— with the transport:

    Spares and pump need to be attached to the bike.
    Never ‘just borrow’ the pedals/ wheels/ anything from the commuter.
    If bikes need attention the commuter gets fixed first.


    Get a paramo jacket for winter. Warm and dry like no other jacket.

    Premier Icon senor j

    I regularly do a 54 mile round trip-2/3 times a week.
    Any more and I’m knakd at the weekend .
    Sometimes it’s good to ride a long route home and back quickly next day .
    Good advice from all the previous posters .
    Re spares also try to leave tubes ,lube .puncture repair kit&
    Brush /rags to clean cassette chain too.
    Once again , all the cars ,vans ,wagons & especially the skip drivers want you to die.
    Ride safe.
    Edit – buy some really lovely gloves-gore wind stopper work best for me-&woolie bollie socks.


    My only add to the excellent points already made is to stress leaving the bike at home if it’s icy – had a black ice off on a country lane last winter that made me think it just ain’t worth the risk. Gives you NO warning – all of a sudden, you are just on your @rse, no chance of a save. This was a quiet country road, but scary to think what could happen with traffic about.

    Premier Icon ahwiles

    mudguards, and schwalbe marathon plus tyres.

    skinny tyres aren’t better, you need something to take the edge off the potholes you don’t see.

    (maybe it’s dark, maybe it’s raining, maybe it’s dark and raining, maybe it’s dark and raining, and you’re keeping your eyes on the cars around you…)

    2 rear lights, 1 flashing, 1 steady.

    dorky hi-viz ankle straps. If you want to make something invisible in traffic, putting a red light on the back is a good start. But nothing shouts ‘BIKE’ as well as the up/down motion of yellow pedal reflectors – an ankle strap is just as good.

    Eat. i started off skinny, and i’m now a shadow of my former self despite living on pies, crisps, curry, cake and pizza, and more cake.

    invest in decent clothes.

    only 8 miles each way here, but 300m of climbing on my way home. it’s much more tiring that the numbers suggest…


    dorky hi-viz ankle straps. If you want to make something invisible in traffic, putting a red light on the back is a good start. But nothing shouts ‘BIKE’ as well as the up/down motion of yellow pedal reflectors – an ankle strap is just as good.

    That times many.

    I can’t think of anything else which has made as big a difference to my gloomy winter commutes other than mudguards. They completely change how many people perceive you in traffic.*

    *There’s probably some confirmation bias here but that’s how it felt to me.

    Premier Icon portlyone

    Don’t leave your keys to your locker and bike lock at home 🙁

    Premier Icon Vortexracing

    23 miles either way for me usually 2-3 times a week.

    All the above plus when it gets dark, use a helemet light, I have a Exposure sirius, with the small LED plugged into the back of it. Not only can you look drivers in the eye and junctions and roundabouts, but they are ideal for roadside repairs in the dark.

    I take all my clothes and stuff in when I’m in the car including fruit for the days i’m cycling. Try to carry as little as possible when cycling to and from work.


    I can’t think of anything else which has made as big a difference to my gloomy winter commutes other than mudguards. They completely change how many people perceive you in traffic.*

    Except if you use panniers, then they’re obscured!

    Premier Icon Vortexracing

    Oh I forgot one more thing

    ‘Aldi recovery tights’ to wear at work.

    They make the journey home that little bit easier, although that could just be a placebo of course 🙄

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    Cheap size small disposable nappies. When your shoes are soaked just flip them inside out & stuff into shoes, they draw all the water out.
    Clean pants & socks are a must.

    If you have no showers then Arridd XX deodorant dries very well. If you shower before riding at least its clean sweat. Baby Wipes etc, work well. The Huggies ones are the best I found.

    Having a quiet corner to change in is ideal, & having a desk fan that I can switch on while geting changed is good.

    Full guards. Plenty of lights. A rack & panniers are so much better than a sweaty back pack, especially if you have to lug a 17″ Dell Precision around.

    Premier Icon P7Pro

    Ride assertively.
    Be courteous to other road users.
    Don’t get involved in conflicts.
    Have fun.


    I do 20 miles a day on my current commute 5 days a week. I try and vary the route according to the shift I am working to avoid the main roads and to take away some monotony. When I’m riding home at 3AM I stick to the main road as traffic is light but on the day shift I’ll take the back roads.

    Looking to invest in a CX bike soon so I can also take some off road routes as well. All of my gear is provided by my employer and kept at work so all I carry is a camelback with the bladder removed that has socks, tshirt etc in it.

    The Knog Blinder lights are a good investment (well mine was) as they are waterproof, USB rechargable and have a rubber strap so can be swapped easily between bikes. For winter I am also debating a second headlight as all of the roads here are unlit. Others may argue otherwise but I find the Altura Night Vision stuff great.


    Thanks very much everyone, very helpful indeed! Will report back when I start. Did a dummy run and it’s going to be like a 40minute journey each way…

    FWIW Nottingham people: It’s Beeston > Ratcliffe on Soar

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    How much of that can you do off road – always surprising around Nottingham.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Have some commuting specific spares/pump/waterproof that *always* lives in your commuting bag/rucksack. Nothing worse than getting a puncture then realising you left your saddlebag on the other bike.

    Know your route – at least have a basic idea where you are, what your escape options are and where the nearest station is. I know it sounds a bit pessimistic but if something happens – you get knocked off, chased, have a major mechanical – at least you’ll know where to direct the ambulance to, how to get away or where to walk to get the train respectively. 😉

    Lights, more lights, then some reflective stuff too. Two schools of thought with the clothing – either the best you can afford or Aldi special. Commuting wrecks kit so it’s up to you whether you use the Rapha jacket for 3 years then replace it at £180 a time or use the £10 Aldi version and replace it every 3 months…

    Premier Icon edhornby

    Have a bidon with water on your desk and go to the nearest supermarket on Monday lunch and buy loads of fruit, you’ll pile through it in no time, will set you up for the ride home

    A complete set of emergency clothes change, there will be a day you forget your trousers and its a hassle waiting for the shops to open

    “dorky hi-viz ankle straps”

    I wear Karrimor reflective bands on my ankles (marketed for runners I assume), yellow on one leg, pink on the other.

    If you can do a non-bike trip each week and take the bulk of your clothes/kit in you’ll have to carry less each day.

    IMHO the only thing worse than the discomfort and sweaty back of a rucksack is the pig bike handling of panniers.

    Spare lights are a must. I work shifts, commute 17 miles each way and managed to leave my “spare” lights on another bike. Guess what, front light packs up 6 miles in, just as I get onto the pitch-black rural roads…

    You will eat more, and worth having some emergency food/sugar supply. Ive bonked more than once at the end of a manic shift when I’ve not eaten enough and getting home has been a real on-my-knees deathmarch.

    I’m with the cheap-and-disposable kit camp.

    Premier Icon edhornby

    Oh and most important of all, ride a bike you enjoy riding. You’re going to be doing it a lot so a commute on a BSO piece of crap will just make it a miserable experience and you don’t want to think this of any bike riding

    Premier Icon DavidB

    Find somewhere decent to change. Toilet cubicles no good as you’ll drop stuff down the pan one day. Stationery cupboard no good as Jan from Accounts will get in early and report you to HR.

    Full face check after ride, there will be shite all over it. Clean your teeth again, cycling makes your breath ming.

    Most importantly, prepare the night before as a ritual, it makes it so much easier when you can just get up, eat and get off without faffing.

    I disagree with edhornby, I like riding the shite bike to work and back..the good bikes are for proper play.


    Be confident and take up a visible road position, don’t skulk in the gutters.
    Hi vis vest / top – get one and wear it always
    Decent night lights – super bright so motorists can’t help but notice you. Helps you spot pot holes too.
    Cold weather -I use a rugby drill top and Canterbury leggings when it gets cold, works fine up to 3C.
    Work clothes – Trousers jacket and shoes at work, iron a shirt and bring in shirt box every morning.
    Maintainence – Give your bike some attention at least once a week.
    Waterproof shorts keep your bum dry, nothing worse than damp underwear sitting at your desk.
    Have a plan B – no shame to bus or car it if weather is horrible. I hate wind more than cold / rain.
    Tools – puncture kit chain breaker power links and spare tubes

    Commuting can be very addictive btw


    Daytime – as much bright clothing as you can, a reflective rucksack cover. Flashing lights front & rear. I was amazed how much more room cars give me when I started using lights, even on sunny days.

    In the dark I actually think really bright flashing lights can be more dangerous, as has been said above they make it difficult to actually pin point where the cyclist is.

    I use a CX bike with very cheap but tough Michelin City tyres. They have reflective strips on the sidewalls which really help too.


    20 miles each way 3 to 5 times a week. Doing 3 at the moment as I’ve just joined a gym so drive there Tuesday/Thursday. I ride year round.

    Doing 5 days is hard going and in terms of fitness I find 3 days more beneficial. Plus I have more energy for a long ride at the weekend.

    The 3 day thing also works out very well for taking in clothes and lunch so I don’t have to carry anything Wednesday/Friday and just lunch on the Monday.

    I’ve got lockers, showers, locked bike shed and changing area at work and it couldn’t be better really.

    I love riding to work, I had a great ride yesterday both ways and felt amazing when I got to work/home – you don’t get that feeling driving to work.

    Top tips – always carry an emergency chocolate bar, fit mudguards (I’ve just replaced mine with sks longboards and they’re brilliant), resist the temptation to over eat just because you’ve ridden to work, if you’re struggling break your ride into small manageable sections then you’re always achieving something and lastly enjoy it as it really is a great way to start the day.

    Did I mention I love it

    What else? Expect a load of ridiculous questions about which charity you’re doing it for, how did you lose your license, can’t you afford a car?

    I don’t get this really, people ask me about and everyone in our office (400) people seem to know me because I’m the guy that rides 40 miles a day (and I’m the only one that commuters regularly). It’s all positive stuff and other folk have given it a go because they see the benefits.


    Oh and to add that I’ve recently switched to 28mm tyres from 23mm and its made a big difference to comfort and no difference to speed. I use continent gp 4 season and after trying loads of different tyres these are the best by far.

    I’m also lucky enough to have 2 bikes for commuting – a cx bike in road mode with the sks longboards for wet days and a more race orientated road bike for dry days. Still got an ‘ass saver’ splash guard under the saddle just in case.


    These are great for spds on road in the dark, it means that you can carry on using your normal pedals but with reflectors and despite what the review on the link days they are quick and easy to swap on and off

    spd pedal reflector adaptors

    Premier Icon boriselbrus

    Lots of good advice here. The only things I would add are:

    Choose your route based on enjoyment and survivability. If I took the dual carriageway I would probably save 10 minutes on my 20 mile each way commute, but it would be hideous and I’d probably be dead in a year. I ride further on country lanes where I often don’t see a car for my whole ride and it’s great!

    Ride it, don’t race it. Especially at first. If you go flat out, you’ll be knackered for the ride home or at least the rest of the week. Keep to a comfortable pace and you’ll be able to do it more often.

    Have fun!



    I’m lucky with lockers and showers at work, do a 15 miles each way with cat 5 climb, but due to kids and stuff only get to do it twice a week.

    I run a pompino with alfine hub (indestructable) and alfine hydro front brake on bingo bars.

    I like a rucksack (evoc cheap thing from crc sale) in winter as it keeps me extra warm, I sweat a lot so my clothing is geared up to keeping me warm, wicking and a gilet on top to keep the worst of the wind off.

    Helmet hat in deep winter is good and I haven’t read of the suggestions so far. Has to be stupidly cold to wear a face thing (on ly did it 3 yeas ago).

    I have a full set of everything at work, but I’m in labs so can wear t’shirts/jeans etc and have to wear safety shoes. Definitly have a full second set of tools and stuff (summer in a saddle bag, winter in the rucksack).

    The levels of smug cycling into work on spikes when the rest of the world is spinning around or catching the train is epic!


    Best thing I bought last winter was studded tyres – total confidence no matter how icy. Left them on for about 3 months cos in the early mornings you never know when you might hit black ice. I kind of like the “riding on rice crispies” noise too. Biking home in the snow was ace!


    15 miles round trip 4 days a week on country lanes, usually a mix of lanes and tracks on the way home.
    Work dress code means I can wear my everyday clothes, Montane Terra trousers, merino shirt.
    Paramo Quito jacket is waterproof, breathable and has big side vents as well as front zip.
    I find Rainlegs a good alternantive to full on waterproof trousers.
    I tend to take it easy at 12-14mph average and that way don’t need to worry about washing up at work.
    Mudguards and spare lights are good calls.
    Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tyres have been great in ice, but not so nice when it’s not icy. I’m going to try Conti Winter tyres this year to see if they’re a reasonable compromise.
    Ipod and open back headphones provides additional entertainment and still let’s me hear approaching cars and tractors.
    Nice way to start and end the working day.


    STW massive, thanks very much indeed!!
    Just got a load of stuff from PX…lights etc, will order the reflective bag cover soon.

    Very helpful you lot.

    thanks again

    Big M

    Commute year round, every day I’m in the office, usually miss 3 or 4 days a month when I’m out seeing clients.
    Casual dress in the office so leave trainers there full time, usually take jeans/shorts in twice a week. Carry t-shirts/pants/socks everyday.
    I wash my towel on a weekly basis, no showers so it’s a good old wash in the sink for me. Leave deodorant etc at work.
    Shortest route – 6 miles each way, generally I push this out depending on how I’m feeling, weather etc.
    Kit carried in a rucksack – tool kit, spare tubes, lightweight rain jacket. My rucksack is big enough to get my laptop and bits & bobs in if I need to head out the following day.
    Bike – I use my single speed cross bike most of the time, proper mudguards fitted, if it’s dry I’ll take my MTB, I try and avoid getting muddy.

    I park my bike against my desk so no need for a lock etc..
    Already been mentioned, appropriate clothing is a must, I wear merino LS base layers for 2/3rds of the year, short or long sleeved tops in spring autumn, with shorts/or 3/4’ers.
    Winter, merino base, winter bib longs, waterproof jacket, thermal cap under my helmet & Endura MT500 shoe covers. Gloves warm dry hands are a must!
    It was pouring down here today, still rode the longer way in & home, I love it.


    Just started commuting this week and loving it! Only 6 miles each way and very very flat! Found a nice route that follows the river, perfect on my singlespeed fixed (zero maintenance! wooo) Decent weather so far so some of the tips in here I’m sure will be very useful soon once the weather really turns.
    Already getting slightly addicted, cruise along in the morning trying not to break a sweat and cane it home after work! Great fun.


    20 miles each way, 5 days a week, but I get the train home quite a lot of the time. I ride on a Genesis day one alfine – disc brakes and hub gear mean very robust and little to go wrong.

    General attitude
    Prepare night before. For the first few weeks until you figure it out, it will seem like massive faff, but it gets easier.
    Fix things as they go wrong, rather than putting up with a shoddy bike.
    Buy decent, robust stuff.
    Buy consumables in bulk – always have spare tyres, chains and brake pads at home so you can immediately replace them when they fail.
    Take the commute easy (especially to begin with and when ramping up miles).
    Be nice to people, including car drivers.

    Bike and kit
    Full length mudguards
    Overshoes (or winter boots)
    Keep all commuting tools in a bag. This means you need 2 sets of tools, but also means you don’t get stranded as you forgot to put something back in your commuter bag.
    Decent winter gloves that last (I love my sealskins lobster claws)
    Lights you can charge at work
    2 back lights (have both on, just in case one dies)
    I have an ortileb large saddle bag, and it’s great.
    Tape up your bike with electrical tape to make it less nickable.
    Balaclava for when it’s really cold

    It’s great. I love my commute.


    Mine is a 22 mile round trip too.

    I don’t think you need anything too specialist, but
    luckily I have a shower and washing facilities at work.

    For years I did it on a 26″ Kona full sus.
    As long as you’re warm in winter that’s all that matters.

    The coldest my bike computer has read has been -18, but it makes you feel like a badass.
    Just make sure your hands and feet are well wrapped, and wear a buff under your lid.

    Premier Icon Clover

    Merino base layers really help limit stinkyness.

    Apart from that everything else is covered.

    (40 miles one way, train other way, twice a week)


    5 miles to work all down hill, 5 miles home 1000ft climb.

    I find I freeze on the freewheel to work and overheat on the way home. I don’t like riding with a bag on my back as it makes me sweat so I use one of these:

    Its big enough for my gear and my clothes. I find panniers are a bit bulky.

    I keep my shoes, coats etc at work.

    Best thing I bought this year is a gore windstopper coat. Keeps me warm, dry and packs up small.

    Swopped my road bike for a cyclocross disc bike for better brakes and able to take a wider tyre in winter when the weather turns.

    I also use a powerful headtorch on flash which I try and aim at drivers ready to pull out in front of me to try and let them know I’m coming.

    As well as extra lights and reflective kit I bought a roll of scotch bright from eBay for a couple of quid and covered my bike in it. You don’t notice it until a light shines on it.

    This week I have reluctantly put my full mudguards back on.

    Continental gatorskins hahardshell 25mm!

    Its been a great summer this year and I have enjoyed committing this year.


    12km / day. Clothes in backpack. Just wear trainers at work and shorts in summer. Can be a right pain in summer to cycle as it’s 35c+ and hard work but nice in the evenings riding back.

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