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  • Worst biking commuting experiences?
  • tomd
    Full Member

    Generally love riding to work, especially in this nice autumn weather but finally proved murphy’s law to myself today.

    Decided to take the scenic route via a couple of forests. It was a beautiful sunny morning – mist the valleys etc and just generally as nice as it gets. Then:

    Rear tyre got cut badly. First non sealing puncture I’ve had since 2014. Alpkit are very generous with sealant which sprayed everywhere to no effect.

    Fixed puncture, sealant everywhere. On next section crashed head on into another rider on blind bend. No harm, both just a bit shaken. It’s the sort of path where at that time of the day you very rarely see anyone. First time it’s ever happened to me in all the years of riding. Now running a bit late – only day of the week with a hard start time.

    Got second puncture about 2 miles from work. Rode the last bit on the rim. Made it by skin of teeth. Now have broken bike, 15 miles from home with no feasible public transport option.

    Debating getting a lottery ticket while I run to Halfords at lunch time to spend £15 on an innertube to get home.

    Free Member

    I used to cycle to Barrow 2-3 times a week.


    Full Member

    I think the worst commuting experience for me was the woman who ran me down, didn’t then get out of her car, and drove away without speaking to me or checking that I was OK…

    Yeah, I think that was a low.

    Full Member

    Got knocked off twice on a single commute in once, that wasn’t much fun. No harm done bar a few bruises and a bent front wheel.

    Full Member

    Christmas day a few years ago. 7 mile commute with 1000ft of climbing. 6 am. Halfway up leith walk I was in granny gear and blinded by horizontal sleet the wind was so strong. I gave up and got a taxi the rest of the way. the only time I bailed on a commute but it was just so unpleasant

    Full Member

    My top 3

    Knocked off by car entering island as I was passing through, luckily lorry coming round jammed his brakes on and was able to stop before running over me.

    knocked off when passing van in a long line of stationary traffic on RHS, he decided to not wait any more and pull out of the line and do a u turn, I went straight into the side of his van…that one hurt

    After not using the front brake on my fixed for a while it started to seize up. I put off sorting it because I never used it. Coming down a long hill one day the chain snapped, I was going pretty fast and had to ride into a wall on my left or straight through a busy island at the bottom of the hill. That one hurt as well.

    Full Member

    Got knocked off by a pedestrian once, they just stepped off the pavement about a metre in front of me. Didn’t have time to do anything other than go “NNNGGGH”. We both hit the deck and both apologised, bruised but otherwise fine.

    The worst though was the day I decided to take the scenic route home via an off road route next to the Clyde, I’d ridden it a few times before and it was a bit wild in place but fully rideable. It was a nice summer’s day and I was looking forward to a bit of greenery on the way home.

    What I got half way in was a wall of nettles, thistles and pretty much every jaggy plant that grew. I just ploughed on in the vain hope that maybe it wasn’t very long. But it took me about ten minutes to get through.

    It was such a nice day, I was riding in MTB shorts and a T-shirt. When i got home I looked like i’d been attacked by a bear.

    Free Member

    I think just the endless close passes at speed. That has been far more emotionally- wearing than actual incidents for me. Fortunately no serious injuries. Was once dragged off my bike by a van, driven by van-driver who cut me up exiting a roundabout/island. One of the tie-down hooks on the flatbed hooked into my rucksack. Hospital job but just to have gravel picked out of palms. Hands looked like spotted dick with raspberry sauce. I was young and didn’t let it stop me getting on the bike to work the next day, only to be sent home because of hands 🤣🤦🏼‍♂️. Also hit from behind and rolled over bonnet, breaking the bike rear wheel in half but I escaped with cat life. (The driver had braked on an icy slope and skidded into the gutter/my bike.)

    Now am just tired of the near-misses/cut-ups and having to watch every single driver simultaneously like a hawk (including the one’s behind me). Even driving has gotten more stressful lately with indicators mostly dispensed with and courtesy on the decline.


    Free Member

    A brand new Yamaha FZ1000 Exup on a cold wet morning into Central London and the worse set of tyres I’d either experienced.

    The rear spun with the slightest throttle and the front locked on braking.

    At lunch I went to FWR and replaced them with Avon’s (circa £250) – no doubt some hardup courier took the ‘part-worns’…

    Full Member

    Getting taken out by a taxi when the passenger decided to exit into a cycle lane in a No Dropping off zone. Was looking forward to a nice night shift with a pizza delivery (volunteered for the shift as a favour for my boss), instead I spent an hour lying on the pavement in extreme agony followed by the rest of the night in hospital with very ineffective painkillers. Was off the bike for over 2 months and it took over a year to get my fitness back to close to it’s pre-crash levels.

    Thankfully have managed to avoid a mechanical-strewn commute, never had more than a puncture that I could fix easily.

    Free Member

    I was 17, cycling to work as an apprentice, when a seagull unleashes a phenomenally accurate shart that covers me in green diarrhoea from shoulder to toe.

    With nothing to wipe it off with I tried to smear it off by hand which made it even worse, then had to cycle the remaining 5 miles to work.

    To make it even worse, I then passed the girl I fancied at the bus stop, and you can imagine the grief I got as an apprentice when I turned up covered in seagull crap.

    I’ve also been ran over, but the above was worse.

    Full Member

    Can I put a good experience in?

    Climbing onto Towton Moor* as the sun comes up and you can see 30 miles or more of Yorkshire laid out beneath you.

    *it’s not high, just higher than the surroundings

    Free Member

    Commuting in Birkenhead, a couple of years ago extreme close pass by boy and his mate in a knackered astra who then swung in tight and slammed on the brakes as the lights changed at the pedestrian crossing, I managed to break hard and fast enough that I just tapped his rear bumper with my front tyre as I slid to a halt, he then jumped out of the car screaming and swearing about how he was going to kill me for touching his car, I cycled off and he proceeded to get back in the car and chase me round the back streets with me jumping up and down kerbs, diving down back alleys etc, while he tried to run me over, absolutely bloody terrifying. went on for about good few minutes before I managed to loose him. Took a very long way round before going home in case he found me again, not often I’ve been that scared for my life.

    Full Member

    I got knocked off by a bus one day, who sideswiped me when passing, sending me skating across wet tarmac onto very muddy (thankfully) verge. Then once I’d composed myself and checked me and my bike for ‘permanent’ damage set off for work again and got a puncture.

    It started snowing at that point. On the way home, my pedal spindle snapped going up a hill. In the snow again.

    Very eventful given I have a 4 mile commute.

    Full Member

    Worst one was probably a crash when my chain snapped.

    In a queue of traffic waiting to turn right at some traffic lights and I was in too high a gear and got out the saddle and started mashing the pedals to get up to speed when the chain skipped and then snapped at the worst moment which resulted in me going OTB face first into the tarmac. It was a bit downhill so fell a bit further than had it happened on flat ground and landed in the middle of the road on the white lines/cats eyes/gravel with a big doc off lorry narrowly missing me coming the other way. Proper squeaky bum moment.

    Helmet was done, jacket, gloves and shorts ripped. Front wheel buckled, derailleur and chain done, saddle and grips shredded. Nothing broken, but a few bruises and plenty of gravel rash on face, ear, arms, hips, legs, ankles. I think I may have had a concussion also with hindsight.

    I’ve had plenty of mechanicals, punctures, and near misses with drivers, but I usually try and learn from them weather it be taking a longer but safer route, not being lazy with maintenance, taking the right spares, or altering my riding.

    Still love commuting on the bike in spite of the hassle and dangers.

    Full Member

    Sounds like a nightmare.
    I would always carry an innertube & some kind of tyre reinforcement (cut of section of toothpaste tube etc.) as back-up in case of a large split/hole; especially on a commuter.

    I never had anything so dramatic, although have had a few issues over the years.

    I used to have a long commute (60 miles each way) so used to drive to a village about 15 miles from work & cycle in from there. A few times, I got there without my wheels in the boot & another time with no seatpost & saddle.

    Another occasion I went to my bike at the end of the day to find the rear wheel flat. The tube had completely split. I think it was a really hot day & the pressure increase got too much for the tyre bead (City Jet) which blew off the rim.
    I fitted a new tube, but the tyre bead was damaged & would barely seat where it had blown off the rim. I ended up having to put a really low pressure in the tube & cycle very slowly to avoid the tyre coming back off the rim. It was fine, but took about 3x longer than normal to get back to the car….

    Free Member

    Blinded by pissing rain, rounding a corner, up out the saddle to get back up to speed, then hitting a fallen tree at headtube height, only about 2′ away by the time I’d seen it.

    Stung a bit.

    Free Member

    Fortunately touch wood got nothing bad enough to memorably stand out in seven years of commuting. There’s been moments but on the whole it’s been fine.

    Free Member

    5 punctures then a 6 mile walk in SPDs after I ran out of tubes and patches. Bus driver wouldn’t let me on with bike.

    Free Member

    Crashing into a pedestrian who didn’t see me coming as he crossed the road. Thankfully he wasn’t hurt.

    Dodging the extremely agitated/unstable/aggressive man who frequented the underpass and hurled abuse at passers by. I had to alert the police about him after hearing him racially abuse someone.

    A couple of undignified arguments with drivers. I’ve learned not to engage.

    Thankfully it’s a short commute and haven’t experienced anything as bad as others above!

    Full Member

    18 mile road commute on quiet lanes, punctured just past half way. Started fixing the puncture, blew a bit of air into the fresh tube, wrestled the tyre back on then got my pump, and only then found that the little flexible hose had seized inside the pump. I tried all sorts of stuff to free it up but got nowhere. Eventually a passing car stopped and checked if I was OK, they had a set of pliers which freed up the hose so I thanked them and sent them on their way.

    I then set about pumping up the tyre, threaded the pump onto the valve with the bike leaning against a wall. The bike then slowly toppled over, and the pump snapped the valve but did it just where the hose screwed on to the presta valve. The top bit of the presta valve was lodged in the pump and but the bottom bit was still attached to the main body, with the 2 connected by the spindle. So now I had a tyre I couldn’t inflate and a pump I couldn’t unscrew from the tyre meaning I couldn’t even ride on the flat.

    By that time it was late enough for people to have got in to work so I called someone and started walking the rest of the way while they drove out to meet me.

    Full Member

    Light failed halfway into a 25mile commute home on busy roads. That was a long walk……

    I now have a dynamo to avoid a repeat!

    The close passes, getting cut up etc just become background noise after a while unfortunately.

    Full Member

    Sideswiped by a bus and into the back of a parked car at 20mph.

    Two false teeth from the age of 17; and I was in so much shock I just picked my teeth off up the road and carried on into the office; whereupon I was immediately sent home on account of being covered in blood.

    Happy days.

    Free Member

    Riding through Newton Abbot twice a day for weeks on end. Broken glass, craapy driving, awful roads. That’ll wear you down after a while.

    Full Member

    Cycling to work 7am, crisp winter morning.
    Took a corner at high speed in a swinging arc and hit an iced over puddle, which had had multiple cars run through it dragging the water from it for a good 30m, which had then frozen so we had a 30m skating rink. i was travelling sideways for that length till the tyres found purchase and i pretty much highsided. pitched off 20mph about landing and sliding down the road on one elbow.

    Unsympathetic boss.
    Not long after I was seen one morning by the shop owner cycling past the shop, not stopping, decided at this point it was time to terminate my employment and continued on off to Loch Lomond for the day.

    Full Member

    The seagull one is particularly worrying, one to watch out for,

    Things are looking up a bit, colleague gave me a lift to bike shop so have a functioning bike. Will try and avoid riding into the canal or such like on way home.

    Full Member

    Will try and avoid riding into the canal or such like on way home

    Just avoid whisky if you have tooth ache.

    Free Member

    Commuted to work through the front window of an Audi once.

    Cycling along the cycle lane (painted on the left of the road) main traffic stops and flashes a car across from other lane who stops in the cycle lane.

    Parked my road rat in the side window took on the windscreen with my head rolled down the bonnet and onto the deck

    Free Member

    Seagull one made me laugh too much. Which reminds me, last night went out for a quick 10-15 miler on 29er because sunny evening and cabin-fever. It was glorious. I took a small bottle of water and waited until key moment to partake of the cool refreshment. Settled in favourite spot on grass path on hillside to look back over the valley before heading home (only another two miles away). It was just perfect.

    I see just a few splashes of some mud or clay on the drink bottle as the woody path I just rode was a little wet in places. (Thinks, not much to wash when home, just a small wipe, this ride gets even better!)

    So I take a quick drink. And then see people approaching. So I hastily put bottle in cage and drag self and bike out of the way. Then I see some fudgey-mud on my hand and spread all in my R/H grip waffles. ?🤨? A small sniff to check. Gah. Gah. Argh. Dogshit central. All over my drinks bottle, grip and palm.

    Cue 10 minutes of gingerly splashing the remaining 50ml of water from stinking bottle onto both my hand and the bar grip, rubbing furiously with hay and fresh grass to try and remove the stench. No matter how much I try I can’t get it all off. So I ride 3/4mile to the nearest brook. It is running mostly dry, just mud and stale water, can’t be bothered to wade in mud. Ride rest of the way home faintly smelling of dogshit and disappointment. Gloveless hand reluctantly holding the stinky grip. Then home, now have to wash bike, bottle and tyres fully in very hot soapy water before even thinking about cooking dinner. Don’t feel so hungry now. But it all started (and nearly ended) so perfectly…

    Full Member

    I’ve been knocked off three times (Drive off the road by and overtaking car, side swiped on a roundabout, and taken out by someone opening a car door on a windy day). All on the terrifying side of exciting, and I’m luck to have got away with the injuries I did (mostly due to the skill and attentiveness of the drivers around at the time rather than me or the idiots who caused the incidents).

    Despite this the worst commutes have always been down to overoptimism leaving the house without the clothes for the weather that happened rather than I expected or the punctures which only ever seem to happen on days with ice cold rain or sleet

    Full Member

    Had a few near misses, close passes etc but nothing that really stands out.

    One that does stick in my mind is the time riding home one winter where it started raining, then sleeting. Sleet was settling on the road, melting and there was freezing spray going everywhere. Traffic was mental too, lots of splashes from passing cars. Dark, freezing cold, absolutely soaking wet. I got to the front door and my hands were so cold I was unable to turn the key in the lock.

    When I finally got indoors, the bike got parked in the kitchen and I went upstairs fully clothed and just got straight into the shower.

    Full Member

    Falling off on ice every single day of a week’s commute. A colleague said that he would have driven after the first day. I said that I couldn’t possibly hit ice that frequently….

    Full Member

    My commute is largely off road, so fishing hooks on the tow path on a dark wet night and dog shit are my nemesis. Thankfully not at the same time.

    Not had a driver try and kill me for a while, but in a previous job I had to pass a petrol station and the number of drivers pulling out whilst looking behind me was alarming. Got used to it after the first couple of attempts on my life, so used to approach with great caution.

    Free Member


    Worst was probably my near-death experience while pottering home taking in some pleasant, narrow, hedge-lined country lanes. Out of nowhere a white high-top van came hurtling round a blind corner on two wheels toward me taking up the full width of the road. I clearly remember thinking “Well, this is it. I guess it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve met some nice people along the way” and I braced for a head-on impact. Somehow, though, I slipped between the steep-sided verge and the van, his wing-mirror missing my head by millimetres. I think a little bit of poo came out that day.

    Then there was that bleak mid-winter morning cycling in to Briz. 6:00am, minus seven degrees, pitch-black, and wearing all the cycling kit I’d got. Thinking “WTF am I doing. Just get the park-and-ride.”

    Or the stand-up argument I had with some pr*ck who t-boned me in central Briz, only to get out and check his car was OK.

    Once tried to ride to work off-road (>30 miles) by stringing all the bridleways together which – on paper – looked do-able. Sure there was a fair bit of zig-zagging and some tarmac, but I allowed plenty of time. Cue bulls, nettles, brambles, locked gates, unrideable field edges and non-existent bridleways. Arrived three hours late.


    Oh, I forget the very first time I ever tried to commute by bike 🙂 I’d just got into bikes again – first time since I was a kid. It was the mid-1990s. I had a rubbish ‘all-terrain bike’ that I’d bought for £50 off the local classifieds from some chancer: Peugeot something-or-other (gold-flecked purple paint), steel rims, canti’s that didn’t work, drive-train that kept slipping. It should have been in a skip. I knew nothing about bikes at the time, and I was desperately unfit. My boss at the time laughed at me when I said I would ride to work one day.

    Challenge accepted, then.

    I must have GOT to work OK, but the ride home was nightmarish: It was February, sub-zero, foggy, hilly and for much of the ride (16-miles) it was an unlit A-road. I was wearing a fleece and jeans. No helmet, no gloves, no tools, no phone (obvs), and very very inadequate lights. How I didn’t get knocked-off I don’t know.

    Eventually I arrived home and everything that was forward-facing was covered in ice. I ran a hot bath and climbed in fully clothed.

    Full Member

    6:45 on a December morning, discovered that the puddle was actually a collapsed sewer.
    The black eye was still there over Christmas along with all the cuts/scrapes on my face. The broken tooth took 18months to be replaced because of all the restrictions from COVID.

    I do now have nice new helmet and jacket and am on first name terms with all the staff in my dentist so not all bad.

    Free Member

    A couple from me…

    I used to do a 16.5 mile commute each way, usually 3 or 4 times a week. I was in pretty good shape, but didn’t really look like a full on roadie. Coming up to the top of a small climb a roadie pulled out in front of me (it was safe to do so) dressed in all the gear. I tagged onto his tail and after half a mile or so of undulating roads I pulled off his tail and moved to the front. After a few hundred yards more I indicated to turn off. As a I turned off he yelled at me ‘I BET THAT’S THE FASTEST YOU’VE BEEN IN YEARS’. It wasn’t, I resisted the temptation to chase after him and tell him what I thought of his comment.

    Coming home once on the same route there we a few cars coming towards me indicating to turn across my path. As it was safe to do so the first one crossed, as did the second, the third blindly followed the second and I passed between the two, the third car’s front bumper brushed my rear tyre, but luckily didn’t knock me off. Had I been going slightly slower it would have been a different story. I turned round and shouted at her that she should stop, then made her aware of what she had nearly managed to do

    And finally a very recent one, which could have been much worse. Riding back to my house coming uphill my handlebars suddenly broke clean in two, where the bar meets the stem. There wasn’t any impact to have caused this it just happened. Luckily there was nothing to hit so I somehow brought the bike to a stop

    Free Member

    Riding into work on a very cold and dark winter morning, some **** had pushed a roadworks sign into the bushes at the side of the road. I didn’t see it, and as I went past I snagged my bars on the black metal legs that were sticking out.

    Bars turned 90 degrees instantly and I did a flip and landed tangled up in the bike, still clipped in.

    The horrific pain from my hands, sternum, knee and testicles was nothing compared to the laughter from the queuing traffic which saw it.

    At least I assume they saw it and laughed, I somehow unclipped, extracted myself from the bike and was and up and away in about a second without giving them the satisfaction of even a moments eye contact. The power of embarrassment 😎

    Free Member

    the woman who ran me down, didn’t then get out of her car, and drove away without speaking to me or checking that I was OK…

    I can’t wait to see how some of our posters manage to twist that so it was all your fault.

    Full Member

    Failing to unclip (I was pretty new to SPDs) outside the University at lecture change over time, with several hundred students waiting to cross the road…

    Free Member

    A freezing December morning, last commute of the year as i was breaking up for the xmas holidays. 99% of my commute was on unlit roads so i need good lights.
    As i was about a mile away from work i suddenly found myself flipping over the bars.
    A man was walking his black dog not on a lead on the road and id hit it.
    I had broken both wrists and smashed my face in somewhat, at this point he started threatening me because id hit his dog.
    He then just left me in the dark down a country lane whilst i tried to get my phone from the bottom of my rucksack with 2 broken wrists.
    British cycling solicitors were amazing at tracking him down and sorting the damages!

    I saw him a few times later that year and always remembered to thank him for my new helmet, bike, jacket, gloves, lights and everything else that was smashed in the spill.

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