New cyclist trying to commute 6 miles to school.

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by soelydim, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. soelydim

    soelydim New Member

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    Hi, I'm not sure if I'm in the right spot. Admins please move me away if I'm not. :)

    So I'm a really new cyclist. The last time I cycled was probably 7 and probably only once. I was having financial issues and so bought a old bicycle for 35 and changed the tubing due to flats. (and apparently it's a mountain bike; will that affect my commuting?) Long story short, the bike is now fixed and I desperately need to use it.

    Which I did, but only 1 mile away from where I live (every fortnight). I'm quite okay except at traffic lights, I feel so scared of staying on the bike and crossing it once the lights turn green. I'm really scared I can't 'start' the bike well. (but so far still okay)

    Now I have to travel 6 miles, 4 days a week to school. Which makes it 12 miles a day.
    I know this might be a stupid question but do you think I can make it?!
    I obviously do not want to start a journey on a bike and then having to walk the bike for an hour to my destination. (not to mention I would need to cycle back)

    I've searched google upside down and it seems that 6 miles is a pretty common distance every new cyclist does. I just have no idea if I can do it.

    And also a few questions; On some roads, there aren't any cyclist lane and it's only one lane for cars. What should I do? I feel like I'm blocking the road for cars and it's apparently illegal to cycle on the pavement. What I usually do is to get off my bicycle and just push it until I see a cyclist lane or a double car lane. I don't think that's how people do it... except me. Any advise?
     
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  2. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Illegal on pavement? Where are you?
     
  3. soelydim

    soelydim New Member

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    I'm in the UK. well that's what I've heard from people. I checked it up on the net as well in the gov website and they apparently stated similar things.
     
  4. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Ok I will digress and a local address that issue.
     
  5. soelydim

    soelydim New Member

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    uhm anyway I've decided to ride to school on Wednesday. Hopefully it doesn't kill me. I don't know how far is 6 miles really. I just wanted to reconfirm that I can do it before stepping out in the cold and actually riding up and down the hill.
    If you think I'm being silly then do tell me and I shall try another way to go to school...
     
  6. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    I think you will be fine at that distance.
     
  7. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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  8. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Maybe but from an old Star Trek episode " we will stay just long enough to be sure".
     
  9. soelydim

    soelydim New Member

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    Oh no I'm not trolling man. I just cycled like 6miles to school and 6 miles back home and I feel horrible right now. My bottom hurts when I sit on the floor.

    And actually almost half the time (quarter at least?) I was pushing my bike.

    Am I just bad at this or am I doing something wrong??
     
  10. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    How old are you???
     
  11. soelydim

    soelydim New Member

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    23 =/ ...but does that matter?
     
  12. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    If the bike is in good shape, if not sure have a bike shop check it out, then you'll be fine. BUT, you better be well versed on how to fix a flat on the side of the road or you'll be walking the rest of the way to school! I suggest that if you don't want to be bothered with flats that you get a nice flat resistant set of tires like the new semi smooth tread Schwalbe Marathon Plus, while they're not cheap they won't let you down on your way to school. If you don't want to get that radical then I suggest you practice practice and practice till you can fix a flat in your sleep so you can do a rear flat on the side of the road in under 15 minutes.

    Otherwise physically (unless you have some issue we don't know about) you shouldn't have a problem, you're young, so take your time for the first couple of weeks and slowly increase your speed. Bike wise like I said if a bike shop has gone through the bike and fixed any issues then getting stranded mechanically would be a rare event, most mechanical failures won't prevent you from still riding the bike to wherever you're going. Also buy a mini tool so you can tighten anything that came loose on the road like the Park MTB3.

    I would recommend for your safety to buy a cheap $15 nerdy looking lime green reflective safety vest, and a set of front and rear flashing lights, or steady ones if the flashing ones are illegal where you live, and get the brightest you can afford.
     
  13. sokorny

    sokorny New Member

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    Agree with Froze, you should have no problems. Your sore bottom will go away in time (you get use to riding). You could always get a better seat or padding for your pants if it doesn't. As you build up your fitness and strength the take offs will be easier (I suggest you ensure you change down gears before you stop, as this will make it easier to take off). Take it slow to start with, to ensure you make the distance. As you getting fitter push yourself a little more and try to ride it faster. In Australia it is also against the law to ride on a footpath if you are over 12 - 16 years. However, unless a busy footpath you'd find cops wouldn't worry about it. Remember to ring your bell when approaching pedestrians from behind, this is to warn them you are approaching NOT to tell them to get off the path. I will ride on the path where I don't feel safe on the road, and I have never been pulled over by police. If they do pull you over just explain you didn't feel safe riding along that section of the road (they won't argue with you). If cycle paths (or here we have multi-use paths for cyclists and pedestrians) are non-existant in your area you could lobby the local council for some (approach local cycle shops and groups for their support too).
     
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