London bike commuters, how far do you ride and how is your commute?

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  • London bike commuters, how far do you ride and how is your commute?
  • brakes
    Member

    it’s good to drive a car in London every now and then to remind yourself how tricky it can be to drive, let alone ride a bike, in the city. especially on dark wet Friday evenings when everyone just wants to be home.

    I mean that you have to filter aggressively, push your way through blind spots between stationary buses and cars overtaking them and all at speed relative to the stationary traffic. Generally you just end up riding in a way that is very likely to get you knocked off.

    I agree up to a point. the way you describe it above is the way I see some cyclists managing the traffic. it is possible to anticipate the traffic though and where you need to be that means you’ve more of a chance of being seen. when to just wait and when to squeeze through. this can only come with practice though and to some extent knowing the road layout. everyone makes mistakes.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I mean that you have to filter aggressively, push your way through blind spots between stationary buses and cars overtaking them and all at speed relative to the stationary traffic

    I disagree actually.

    I just ride along until I get to a junction where lane changes are needed. If I have to change lanes, I stick my arm right out and look over my shoulder, making eye contact. This gets you let out, almost always. Whilst going through the junctions I take my position in the middle of the lane and speed up if necessary, then get out of the way again afterwards. I never ever squeeze between moving cars let alone busses, because I don’t want to DIE, and it doesn’t hinder my progress. Well, not unreasonably anyway.

    If traffic is slow moving, then I move slowly with it. If it’s stationary or almost, and ONLY then, I filter. If it looks like starting to move off again, I tuck in behind a car before the moving bit gets to me.

    I don’t believe that’s dangerous. There are just a few hairy junctions, like Parliament Square heading towards the bridge where a load of traffic from the square wants to cut left across four lanes to go down Victoria embankment, and traffic from Birdcage Walk wants to cut right across four lanes to go over the bridge.

    You either need to keep up with the traffic and watch your back, or just push/trundle along the pavement.

    I’d echo the above from Brakes and Molly. It’s all about a nice little balance. It’s not about racing, it’s not about being meek and mild and hiding away. Confident, assertive riding. Getting yourself in to the right position early, using the right part of the lane (For example, heading west, from the City, under Blackfriars station, there’s a piece where the road goes very far off to the left. So, by positioning to the right a little more than usual, I don’t get ‘boxed in’ to the space on the left. Anyone riding it may well know what I mean!)

    I’d also agree on the eye contact piece. Makes a massive difference.

    Oh, and don’t be angry. Sounds simple, but just let it all flow. Think about it this way, you’re on a bike, having fun tootling along. You can choose your own route, your own speed. Chap in his car? Stuck. People on the tube? HAHAHAHAHAHA! So, ride along smugly, not angrily. 🙂

    MTB-Idle
    Member

    njee20 – Member

    MTB-idle – very similar route to me, probably seen each other! Geetee1972 does a similar route too, bumped into him previously.

    Hi njee20, yes i thought you were down this way. Seen someone on an old orange framed MTB with hub gears recently and wondered if they were off here. What you riding?

    At the mo I’m riding this as my winter hack (not sure what happened to the saddle in that pic, it’s straight now, honestly!), say hi if you see me.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Oh, and don’t be angry

    +1, cos no-one else seems to be. You don’t get road rage, you don’t get anything.

    If you want to look out for me, I’m on a pale blue Kona Dew with a negative rise stem and a small frame bag containing a lock; an orange Osprey rucksack on a strange looking rack attached to the bars; and sometimes a pair of white Ortlieb panniers.

    t_i_m
    Member

    42km each way. Redhill to Canary Wharf.

    Only do it about once per week if the weather is dry.

    Really quite enjoy it as it is an occasional commute and gets me away from the train. Nice quiet back roads until Coulsdon. Then into traffic. Not too bad as long as I remember not to get too angry and just flow along with the traffic.

    Utterly tedious amount of traffic lights though.

    While not the greatest training, it certainly lets me clock up some miles in an otherwise dead time on tube/train. Also frees up some weekend time as I feel less pressured to put some miles in.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Hi njee20, yes i thought you were down this way. Seen someone on an old orange framed MTB with hub gears recently and wondered if they were off here. What you riding?

    Yes I’ve seen a couple of nice MTBs and always wonder! As of next week I’ll be on a white Spesh Allez, in summer an old white/grey Madone. Yellow/black kit until the weather gets really grim and the softshells come out!

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