Cycling to Work - Tips

I’ve decided that I’d like to start commuting into work by bike, it’ll only be about 15/20 minutes door to door, gets me outside more and in the long run will save me money.

The only problem is I literally have no knowledge of bikes, the last bike I owned was a BMX that pretty much just sat in my mum and dads garage when I was 15…

So I thought opening a thread where people can share tips about commuting to work by bike could be useful/ fun.

For me, my employer does the Government Cycle Scheme and so I’ll probably use that to get my bike, nothing too expensive but want it to be able to handle the Manchester weather :rofl: I think a Hybrid will probably be the best for me, but open to suggestions!

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I don’t think you can go far wrong with a B-Twin. They are Decathlon’s own brand so have the buying power to put better kit on cheaper bikes.

I got the Triban 540 Flat Bar a few years ago for £500 (no longer available). It’s been sterling. I do a similar commute to you so I chose flat bars for comfort.

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Just off the top of my head:

  1. Google maps cycling directions are pretty bad, taking you on busy roads etc. I use an app called CycleStreets (on android) that is more geared toward cyclists.
  2. Don’t lock your bike for a long time in a publicly accessible location. It will get stolen.
  3. Make sure you get front and back lights and some reflective gear for when you’re cycling home in the dark in winter.
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I hadn’t thought of Decathlon! I’m not sure if my work’s scheme only applies for Evans Cycles (I need to have a bit more of a look next week) but I found a Cannondale Flat Bar Hybrid for £420 that looked decent.

Don’t want anything majorly fancy right now as it’ll just be to get to work and back.

If it’s CycleScheme or Bike2Work then Decathlon accept, but other schemes can be more restrictive.

This was also my first foray in years into biking so I went fairly restraint on the budget too. I’ve got no plans to upgrade anytime soon though.

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I had a Cannondale hybrid, it was a workhorse and did me very well for years.

Get an Abus D lock, and consider a pannier so you don’t arrive all sweaty from a rucksack on your back. Lights, helmet etc, of course, but also get a pair of cheap cycling gloves to keep your hands warm, especially as autumn kicks in. Finally, invest in a reflective jacket that’s longer at the back, as this keeps the base of your spine covered and will prevent back injuries.

Enjoy your new–found commuting freedom.

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I have to say the Cannondale Quick 6 Hybrid caught my eye on the Evans Cycles website (i think this is the only place my employer uses) which looked decent.

Thanks for all the tips, a friend of mine is a very keen cyclist and so i think i’ll go shopping with him as he can give me some advice!

In terms of longevity of a bike, whats the typical lifespan? (I naturally assume it depends on the bike itself but is there a rough timeframe?)

I commuted for over seven years on mine (two commutes, one 20 minutes, one 45), with regular services and checkups.

I got to the stage where, had I not got a job with free travel, I would’ve been looking to upgrade simply because bike tech (mass, particularly) would’ve improved so much whilst I owned it.

I also got blown up whilst riding into Central London on 7/7, so now I have a weird relationship with cycling, but that’s pretty edge case! :wink:

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That’s good to know - I think ill be sorting out the Cycle to Work certificate next week so hopefully get on the road within a few weeks.

Oh no :frowning_face: I’m really sorry to hear that - I can understand why that would make things a bit weird going back into cycling!

I went for a hybrid and instantly regretted not getting a road bike

I’ve ended up spending money on better tyres, upgrading specs etc

Hybrids are OK if you will use for dirt tracks etc but if commuting on roads I’d say go for all out thin wheel :muscle:

I think I’m just a little apprehensive about getting a road bike due to possible difficulty of actually being able to ride it (sounds stupid I know but the wheels look SO THIN).

I was in the same boat having never ridden a road bike before but you quickly get used to it and believe me you’ll want one!

I use a road bike, in Edinburgh and as I am built like and artic lorry (6ft3 & 21st) I am also classed as a high sided vehicle and wasn’t allowed over the old fourth road bridge during windy weather :joy:

I did the cycle to work scheme and got a mountain bike, and seeing other people whizz passed you on road bikes is demoralising especially in winter time, tried to keep up with a few but always failed.

After the bike was “mine” I felt the route I was taking was to easy even using the hardest gear going up hills, so I decided to up grade the rear cog to a racing cog and the front cog was about 4 teeth off a racing cog too, had the bike for about 5 years, decided to upgrade to a road bike as signed up to do Lands End to John O’Groats for charity.

Got a Giant Compact did originally have 3 cogs on front but kept slipping so put a whole new gear system on for about the same price of the bike :joy:

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The cycle infrastructure in Manchester is decidedly “spotty” at best, depending on which part of the city you’re commuting from/to. I would definitely recommend you borrow a bike and trial this for a week to make sure you’re happy with the route!

I’d also recommend a look at https://www.facebook.com/madcyclelanesofmanchester/

I use a Boardman Cross bike. I used to commute on a road bike but but found it difficult to keep up during the winter months. The slightly wider tyres of a cross mean I can cycle all year round.

I need to wear a suit for work so take that in at the start of the week and then just replace my shirt daily.

I use Litelocks for locking up anywhere outside but ideally have found a store room with space for a bike.

On this topic, does anybody have any tips for bringing shirts into the office without them ending up a creased mess? Considering a cycle commute but need to be presentable during the day.

Yes this would be really helpful - I unfortunately don’t have anywhere to hang my shirts so can’t bring them all in on a monday - suppose I could fold them and put them in my drawers!

Are you talking about your desk or…

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My desk :rofl::rofl:

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Iron at home, then fold them around something like this, don’t remove the board, then into a plastic bag and into a pannier.

This is pretty cheap (even delivered from the US!), but to be honest a plastic kitchen cutting board from a pound shop does the same trick.

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