My new way to save some diesel - artful dodger {P}
With the rising cost of diesel and the thought of saving some of our planet's scarce resources, I have decided to do as the politicians preach.

Yes, it should also save me a bit of cash.

No, I will not be hopping on a bus or train.

It will take me a a few minutes longer to get to and from work, but why should this bother me.

This could be a seasonal thing, so if its wet, cold or dark I shall resort to the car.

Also on Thursday's I will still use my car as I have to collect my daughter from her dance class.

The distance to and from work is about four and a half miles on relatively level ground, half on a quiet country lane, the balance on a main road.

I need to loose a few of the pounds I have gained during the winter and get a bit fitter. So all of you had better watch out - starting next week I am going to start cycling to work (not a pretty sight I must admit as I have just turned 52).

I have dusted off my old mountain bike - a Dawes model I bought back in 1984 and made with 531 racing tubing. It is light as a feather with 18 gears and I have a gel saddle cover.
It has none of the mod cons like suspension of current models, but it does what it says on the tin - it gets me from A to B. The tyres and tubes were replaced last year for the first time and everything works as it should.

It will feel great to be back on the saddle and out in the fresh air. After a few practice runs, I felt no pain or sore bits, so I am looking forward to doing my bit to save the planet.

If you have any tips that might make my ride better or safer, please contribute.

So please give all cyclists a bit of extra room as you pass, you never know it might be me.


--
Roger
I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
My new way to save some diesel - mare
If you have any tips that might make my ride better
or safer, please contribute.


Got a helmet already? If not, get one!

Other than that, enjoy!
My new way to save some diesel - Statistical outlier
I agree, I always always wear a helmet, although the evidence is completely inconclusive as to whether it makes any difference at all in most road crashes. Offroad it's a no-brainer, you need one.

What does make a difference is visibility. Wear a yellow reflective vest, even if it makes you look a prat. Means people notice you and you'll get given noticably more room. Try a day with and a day without, you'll see what I mean.
My new way to save some diesel - Sofa Spud
As well as safety tips above, fit a mirror to the bike. That doesn't mean you don't need to look round sometimes but it is an additional observation aid. To a cyclist the biggest danger usually comes from behind.

Also keep to quieter roads or cycle tracks where possible - even if it makes the journey longer it's more enjoyable.

Reminds me - I must mend that puncture - why do bikes get so many??
My new way to save some diesel - Sofa Spud
P.S. Artful Dodger... When I started reading your post about saving diesel I thought you were going to say you'd found this quiet bit of level road where you could stop the engine and get out and push the car for a mile or two, good for keep-fit too!!!
My new way to save some diesel - local yokel
Riding a bike (push or powered) will increase your roadcraft, as I noticed at lunchtime today.

Luckily I anticipated the lady overtaking me about 25 yards short of a left turn, which she proceeded to take. Max braking by me and I avoided being crushed by her Landcruiser. I'd already backed off on the pedals some time before she started to swing L.

My new way to save some diesel - ziggy
>> If you have any tips that might make my ride
better
>> or safer, please contribute.
>>
Got a helmet already? If not, get one!
Other than that, enjoy!


I fear many people would rather risk a fractured skull than look like some sort of alien with half a bunch of bananas on their heads...
My new way to save some diesel - TheOilBurner
Good for you.

BTW, don't worry about lack of suspension etc. That stuff just adds weight and means more maintenance = more to go wrong.
For what you want to do, your current bike is perfect!

Old, simple bikes means less chance of theft too = less chance of walking home! ;)

Which reminds me, invest in two locks. One top of the range D-lock to attach the frame to something immoveable (Sheffield style inverted U-stand is best) and another stretchable style lock to keep the wheels attached to the frame.

Have fun! :)
My new way to save some diesel - Statistical outlier
i can vouch for the benefits of no suspension on most road surfaces. Offroad my full suspension rig is nothing short of miraculous, I can't think of any situation where it doesn't ahnialate any bike I've owned previously. It's a bit rubbish on the road, just feels wrong.
My new way to save some diesel - Andy B
Roger, great news. I did the same last year and havent looked back. Cycling in the sun with birds a-tweeting in the hedgerows will be sure to put a smile on your face.

What will wipe it away quickly is a near miss with a car on those country lanes, so get yourself a hig-vis shirt, a hat, and some sunglasses. The sunglasses will give protection against the obvious, but also help to keep dust and small stones kicked up by passing cars out of your eyes.

Good luck.
My new way to save some diesel - Altea Ego
Funny you should say that. I am planning the same thing (same age too!) My route is about 5 miles there and 5 back, all along canal tow paths - no roads of any kind. Bout three times a week.


------------------------------
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
My new way to save some diesel - Statistical outlier
You know what, the weather coupled with bike talk has completely put me off work. I think I'm going to go off on the MTB for an hour.

You lot are a bad influence on me.
My new way to save some diesel - Dipstick
I know just what you mean, Gordon.

I'm getting the tvr out.

My new way to save some diesel - David Horn
If you're doing riding towards the evening you might want to think about sticking some neon wire on your bike or bag. I threaded it through my Camelbak and it made a world of difference.

www.surelight.com/content.php

I ride in to uni every day, spent 5 minutes this afternoon shouting at a bus driver after he breezed past inches from my bars on dual carriageway (30 limit) without bothering to change lanes. After that he cut back in front of me and stamped his brakes on to let passengers off, so I stopped and had a row with him. His opinion? I should have seen the bus and ridden on the pavement.
My new way to save some diesel - TheOilBurner
"His opinion? I should have seen the bus and ridden on the pavement."

Sadly, there's a lot of people with such opinions - the best one can do is try to rise above it. Trying to ride within the rules of the Highway Code helps - i.e. not jumping red lights and the like.

Many drivers respond better when they see you're working to the same rules as they are.

My new way to save some diesel - TheOilBurner
p.s. forgot to mention, I wasn't implying you were breaking the rules - the bus driver was clearly 100% at fault for your near miss with him...

Just making a general point that if bike riders don't conform to the maniac stereotype then we might start to get some more respect and courtesy, maybe... :)
My new way to save some diesel - mk124
I agree with David, bus drivers can be pains! I can remember once I was riding up a hill on a dual carrageway, with a bus using the right hand lane. Horrors of horrors I used the lefthand lane to undertake him. End result was he would not let me in a space in his lane (that he could not get through) when the left hand lane was blocked with traffic. He proceeded to tell me how wrong it was to undertake.
I just cycle up that hill in the right hand lane now and if a bus is behind me rudely gesture to the driver.
Can't blame bus drivers though, it must be hell in rush hour, working with the public, with cyclists darting everywhich way.
My new way to save some diesel - sierraman
I ride in to uni every day, spent 5 minutes this
afternoon shouting at a bus driver after he breezed past inches
from my bars on dual carriageway (30 limit) without bothering to
change lanes. After that he cut back in front of
me and stamped his brakes on to let passengers off, so
I stopped and had a row with him. His opinion?
I should have seen the bus and ridden on the
pavement.


I have also rowed with a Leeds bus driver who forced me to ride round the wrong side of a keep left bollard to avoid being crushed.The First complaints dept.is worth contacting if you feel particularly aggrieved.
My new way to save some diesel - Altea Ego
on the MTB for an hour.



WOW - You have a Motor Torpedo Boat? The one powered by the
Rolls Royce Sea Griffon?

Lovely noise
------------------------------
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
My new way to save some diesel - Statistical outlier
I wondered why it sounded funny....
My new way to save some diesel - artful dodger {P}
Hey Guys

What a positive response to my fuel saving idea. Did not know you guys were so keen on two wheels as well as four.

I do not have a helmet or high visibility vest, will do very shortly though. Not so sure about a mirror as I tend to be very cautious on a bike, I would rather stop than believe a car or truck will give me room.

For most of the main road there are footpaths that are very rarely used, so I will probably cycle on them for extra safety.

Re the bike security, I already have a hardened steel D-lock, but it will be parked to the rear of my own shop where the bike cannot be seen. The area I work in is a very middle class area in a quiet village and there are no likely thieves around during the day, besides which I can see the backyard from one of my work rooms whilst I am framing pictures.

One final question, is it better to use a rear pannier or a small backpack to carry a newspaper and a packed lunch? I already have a Blackman rear carrying rack fitted with a bungy strap.

Lets hope we have a good summer for riding our bikes.


--
Roger
I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
My new way to save some diesel - David Horn
www.wiggle.co.uk/CategoryProducts.aspx?Cat=cycle&w...s

My jaunts out on the bike tend to last for a number of hours but you can't go wrong with a Camelbak. Pretty expensive but you can fill 'em up with water and stuff all sorts in them.

Don't forget to carry a spare tube and pump. ;)
My new way to save some diesel - Clanger
Hope it goes well. I took similar steps last year for when I work at the local swimming pool. It's 5-and-a-bit miles away, some of the journey on disused railway line. My hybrid bike has suspension forks and seatpost so is quite comfy on the bumpy bits and it has mudguards to keep the mud off. Punctures are unheard of because my tyres have kevlar reinforcement behind the tread. I feel very empowered getting from A to B without using fuel. Cycling for fun is one thing, but doing it 3 days a week in all weathers feels great! As I would on the motorbike, I ride with lights on all the time to help my visibility to others.

If you Google "another cycling forum" you will find friendly, intelligent folk to discuss cycling issues with you.
Hawkeye
-----------------------------
Stranger in a strange land
My new way to save some diesel - nick
I'd always use a pannier rather than a backpack. It keeps the weight lower and on the rear wheel rather than your shoulders.
My new way to save some diesel - RichardW
I miss cycling to work - but 30 miles each way is a bit too far....

If you're on road, fit the MTB with slick tyres - cuts the rolling resistance by about 50%! Also if you don't have them get toe straps or even better SPD shoes and pedals - once you get used to them cycling without is like cycling with only 1 leg!

If it's busy - ride 'aggressively' - give your self plenty of room by riding away from the kerb, and don't be intimidated.

Having seen the state of my mate's bike helmet after he crashed in Manchester - badly enough to snap the forks! - I would always wear one on the road.
--
RichardW

Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
My new way to save some diesel - steveincornwall
Interesting thread,I bought myself a cheapo Halfords Apollo CX10 last May just to see if I would use it for work, 3 miles each way and it's been brilliant. My route is on a B road so not too bad traffic wise but I wear an old works high vis tabard which I would recommend. I've ridden the Camel Trail a few times too which is great, it's an old rail line out to Padstow and now mainly sand surfaced starts about 500 metres from my front door too. Regards luggage it may be worth looking in Halfords at their top boxes. I bought one which fits on a rear carrier and gives you a water proof plastic box like a motor cycle for nik naks and is even lockable in a low security way. Just bought some pannier bags on E-bay which are good for carrying overalls etc. Much cheaper than Halfords or local bike shops.
It's been so good I'm looking to upgrade perhaps to something like the Marin Larkspur.
Steve.
My new way to save some diesel - IanJohnson
I agree with Richrd W - Ride aggressively, take more of the road than you need (selfish but then when a bus or lorry is too close you can move in towards the kerb rather than being trapped against it. It also forces them to wait until they can go around you rather than squeezing past). Had numerous close escapes with drivers who didn't see me - didn't hit any of them!

Rode for 12 years without a helmet, got a car, then a couple of years ago SWMBO wanted a bike so we got mountain bikes and helmets - my son didn't understand why I didn't want suspension until he realised how easy mine was to cycle uphill (much lighter)!

Carry loads on a rack rather than on your back (you will be cooler in summer) and slow down a mile before you get to your destination to cool down - it is surprising how much perspiration a 30 mph breeze will evaaporate!

What value a Raleigh Hercules 3 speed with 20k miles on it?

BTW when you start getting punctures it is because the tyres are getting thin - or someone dropped a box of tacks on the road!
My new way to save some diesel - barchettaman
Artful, it might be an idea to get a set of cheap waterproofs to leave at work, just in case the weather turns nasty pre-ride home. Not a pleasant experience, cycling 3+ miles when it´s chucking down.
Can I also second the recommendation to get a high-viz waistcoat. Have fun, and look forward to losing some excess flab!
My new way to save some diesel - artful dodger {P}
UPDATE

Bought a new cycle helmet on Saturday.
Decided against the high visibility vests in Halfords as they were £20, but will get one elsewhere.
Will be buying pannier bags - Argos do a Rayliegh triple for £20.
I agree with a cheap set of waterproofs - again Argos do a set for about £7.

The idea of riding wide of the kerb appeals, it will certainly mean traffic has to slow down and wait to pass, besides giving me a safety strip that can be pulled into.

It is doubtful if I will cycle at 30mph - it makes my eyes stream!, As to perspiring, I believe the ride should be enjoyed, rather than being a manic effort. I would prefer to arrive slightly late, rather than DEAD on time.

This morning it was raining heavy, so I was really disappointed I could not cycle. Hopefully tomorrow will be dryer.

Thanks again for all of your tips. Will post again after I start cycling.


--
Roger
I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
My new way to save some diesel - David Horn
Roger - get yourself some cheap specs. Wiggle do some with interchangable lenses for about 20 pounds. Nothing worse than having a bus or something accelerate in front of you and kick out a massive cloud of soot, which goes into your eyes...

My feelings with riding wide of the kerb depends on:

a) the road. If it's wide enough for cars to pass me with no problem then I keep close to the edge. Also depends whether there are likely to be cars parked, even half on the pavement they force you to pull out. If the road isn't quite wide enough for cars to pass without brushing my handlebars, I'll ride in a defensive position in the middle and cars are then forced to overtake properly.

b) my mood. If someone has beeped their horn or revved their engine at me, particularly if there's nothing I can do about it (for example, I'm overtaking cars parking in a cycle lane), then they'll find me wobbling at about 5mph in front of them for as long as I dare. Works particularly well in Devon lanes, I once held a car up for nearly 2 miles while I groaned my way up a hill as slowly as I could. All because he couldn't be bothered to wait 20 seconds for me to ride on to a passing space and not bury myself in a hedge.
My new way to save some diesel - TheOilBurner
"I once held a car up for nearly 2 miles"

I sympathise with the sentiments, but when car drivers often treat cyclists like scum who deserve to be rammed off the road, do we really need to antagonise people any futher? :)

A bit of give and take on both sides could do wonders to calm the everlasting car/bicycle war. Who knows, maybe some day Mr Average car driver will realise cyclists have a right to use the road, same as anybody else and Mr "I stop for no man or red light, one-way, where?" cyclist will live by the rules like car drivers have to.

And there goes a pig past my window now...
My new way to save some diesel - David Horn
Very true, but sometimes you just feel like being childish! I was simultaneously riding, trying to get my phone out of my bag to call the police, and trying not to fall off. :)
My new way to save some diesel - TheOilBurner
LOL! I know I've been there and admit to not always being the saint I might aspire to... ;)
My new way to save some diesel - Xileno {P}
So it was you...
My new way to save some diesel - Bromptonaut
The chapter on traffic jamming in Richard Ballantine's "Richard's Bicycle Book" is a precis of the definitive advice on urban riding. John Franklin's "Cyclecraft" is the riders equivalent of the DSA's "Roadcraft" and well worth the price.

As a daily rider in London I'd heartily endorse the advice to ride assertively. You've every right to occupy the road and should look as though you mean it. It's the kerb huggers who have the near misses, not only are they off the radar of motor vehicle drivers but peds have a nasty habit of overlooking them as well. Up against the kerb already? the move left option is closed if it everything goes wrong.

Plus the gutter is full of debris, drains and slippy double yellows.
My new way to save some diesel - David Horn
And glass. Gutters and cycle lanes aren't swept.
My new way to save some diesel - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
I use and prefer a quickly detachable handlebar mounted carrier.
Big enough for waterproofs and a picnic, camera,pump etc. And a map wallet on top.Also has an easily unfurled shoulder strap- very handy when being a tourist en vacance. Not come loose in 5 years of use.
--
I wasna fu but just had plenty.
My new way to save some diesel - 007
Beware of erectile dysfunction (due to cycling) by trying:

www.wiggle.co.uk/Default.aspx?Main=CategoryProduct...t
My new way to save some diesel - RichardW
"As to perspiring, I believe the ride should be enjoyed, rather than being a manic effort. I would prefer to arrive slightly late, rather than DEAD on time."

It won't be long before you are trying to beat your best time. Trust me! I got the 6 miles (through Reading traffic!) down to 17 minutes - and that included riding up the big hill next to the M4.

"This morning it was raining heavy, so I was really disappointed I could not cycle. Hopefully tomorrow will be dryer"

You get used to that - actually you don't get wet very often - maybe as few as 1 in 10 trips on average. It does get a bit annoying though when you get wet 7 or 8 trips in a row....
--
RichardW

Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
My new way to save some diesel - Mapmaker
Suspension is a good way of using up energy too - compressing and stretching those springs will increase the energy dissipated within the bike.

Keep those tyres pumped up. My 3-mile ride to Cambridge station (sadly long ago) took 13 minutes on hard tyres, and an extra two if the tyres had gone soft. It always used to take longer to get home than to catch the train... In three years I cameoff once - when a 9 year old girl stepped out in front of me without looking.

Get a proper road bike, not an ATB - rolling resistance is lower. De Railleur gears, whilst having a greater efficiency than hub gears, are more prone to de-railing. Annoying, in a suit, with a train to catch.

I recommend a bicycle basket.

Punctures don't happen to new tyres & tubes. Change them.

Keep off roads as much as you can for safety reasons.


Oh yes, and get yourself third party insurance. If you join CTC, your annual membership gives you a seven-figure sum.

And if it's raining, drive.
My new way to save some diesel - cub leader
A helmet is a must on or off the road In my opinion, just as a suggestion to save those annoying punctures, you can get a foam insert which sits inside the bottom of the tyre, this is as well as the inner tube. I have had these for 4 years and no puncture in that time! ( except when my wheel snapped!!)
--
Temporarily not a student, where did the time go???
My new way to save some diesel - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
I would definitely stick with the ATB/ mountain bike.
At one time I had a lightweight Falcon Westminster as well as a heavier Giant mountain bike.
The lighter bike with narrow tyres and higher gears (even with triple chain rings fitted) was very uncomfortable and hard work. I sold it and never regretted it.
I find my current Raleigh Tigershark fine for road use and mild off road going.
--
I wasna fu but just had plenty.
My new way to save some diesel - David Horn
I'd stick with the mountain bike, but perhaps put some semi-slick tyres on it. If you're concerned about punctures, Slime inner tubes do the job nicely.

On Leeds' broken up roads I find the front suspension invaluable to maintaining control at high speeds among the potholes. Also makes the step down off pavements more comfortable if you can't be bothered to do it properly and land on the back wheel.
My new way to save some diesel - artful dodger {P}
Well I finally did it, rode my bike to work. I cannot say I feel great yet, but I will recover! Had a few chores to do before coming online this morning, hence this late posting. When I arrived my legs were beginning to feel like jelly - obviously they need the exercise. Certainly looking forward to the ride home.

Yesterday I obtained a triple pannier, folding rear view mirror, light weight rain suit (just in case), and a set of lights with a bike computer -£52 the lot at Argos.

The advice of having a mirror was certainly good, I cannot believe how much easier it was to know what was coming up from behind. I decided to use the road the whole way to work and was surprised at how considerate other motorists were. Many held back at a safe distance, one even overtook clear of the central dotted white line. Long may this behaviour continue, maybe there are plenty of BR's (existing or potential) around.

I reckon that I will cycle at least 50 days a year, probably nearer 75, with a top limit of about 100. On the basis of 50 days this should save about 80 litres of diesel, plus wear and tear to the car.

As a VAT registered business I have found out that I can put the safety equipment down as a business expense and reclaim the VAT. This is because of Cycle2work, a government policy to get more people to cycle to work.

See my next post in this thread for more info about Cycle2work and getting your employer to supply you with a bike and saving you the lump sum outlay, finally buying the bike for a nominal sum - all for less than the total purchase price.



--
Roger
I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
Cycle2work details - artful dodger {P}
The following is an article from The Independent about the Cycle2work scheme and covers the main way it works. Hope it might encourage a few of you to get a bike if you do not have one.

Hey, boss - buy me a bike

Employees can benefit from a tax-busting way to beat the traffic


By David Prosser
Published: 28 February 2006

If the only thing stopping you cycling to work is the lack of a reliable bike, maybe it's time to speak to your boss. A little-known government scheme enables employers to offer their staff cut-price bikes at very little cost to them.

Cycle2Work was introduced in 1999 as part of the Government's Green Transport Plan. But the scheme has not been widely publicised and until recently, some particularly annoying red tape put off employers.

That's a shame, because Cycle2Work enables basic-rate taxpayers to get 40 per cent off the cost of a bike. Higher-rate taxpayers do even better, with a 50 per cent saving on offer.

The good news is that, after lobbying from cycling groups, ministers have finally agreed to make the scheme less bureaucratic.

Until recently, because Cycle2Work technically requires employers to lend the purchase price of the bike to staff, companies had to apply for a consumer credit licence before offering the scheme. Now this irritating requirement has been dropped.

"The undue bureaucracy hampering this excellent idea appears to have been overcome, so the more people who hear about it the better," says Yannick Read of the CTC, the national cyclists organisation.

The basic principle of Cycle2Work is simple. Your employer is allowed to provide you with a bike to travel to work as a tax-free benefit - you can use the bike as often as you want for leisure riding, as long as you also use it to commute.

In practice, you choose the bike you want. Your employer then buys it and leases it to you over a set period, which is typically from one to three years. At the end of this term, you can buy the bike to keep for a nominal payment, usually between 2.5 and 5 per cent of the original purchase price.

You make big savings because each monthly payment comes out of your salary before tax and National Insurance have been deducted. You can even add the cost of a lock, a helmet, reflective clothes and bike lights to the deal.

So, for example, you choose a bike costing £400, plus gear worth £100. Your employer coughs up the cash, and is entitled to reclaim the VAT on the purchases, reducing the cost to £425.

Lease the bike for a year, say, and you will pay about £35.50 a month. For a basic-rate taxpayer, making the payment out of pre-tax wages reduces the cost each month to £24, or £288 over the year. At the end of the year, you buy the bike and safety gear at 2.5 per cent of its original price - £12.50. In total, you get £500 worth of bike and kit for just £300.

The easiest way for your employer to implement Cycle2Work is through one of three providers that currently run the scheme on behalf of companies. Halfords has been involved with the scheme since the launch, but has recently been joined by Booost and Cyclescheme, which both have links to independent bike shops.

Laura Mason of Halfords says the simplified scheme rules will make Cycle2Work even more attractive. "We have in excess of 300 employers running the scheme this year," she adds. They include companies such as the Royal Mail, Lloyds TSB and Microsoft, as well as several local authorities.

Using a Cycle2Work provider should ensure employers can introduce the scheme without burdening payroll departments.

Read adds: "The financial, health and productivity benefits associated with a cycling workforce mean employer and employee stand to gain from this."

Halfords, www.halfordsb2b.com/home.asp
Cyclescheme, www.cyclescheme.co.uk/
Booost, www.booost.uk.com/



--
Roger
I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
Cycle2work details - mss1tw
You'd be amazed at the difference clothing can make. I wore a vest last night and cycled from Addlestone to Egham Hill and back. (A few of you will know this route - it's about 7 miles I think)

Normally I wear a normal T shirt, but without that flapping around not only could I cruise at about 15mph, but I didn't really get tired at all. A very pleasant ride.
Cycle2work details - mss1tw
Forgot to say, this was wearing a backpack with water, CD player and Haynes manual in. The total trip would be about 14 miles.
Cycle2work details - pegleg2001
Thanks artful dodger!

This tip has just save me circa £80 on a new bike I would have bought anyway.
My new way to save some diesel - Collos25
I took up cycling again at 56 three years ago my weight dropped by 7 stone I now am fit enough to race both road racing and time trials and at present competing in Germany.Next week I am back in the UK for a full racing season.It can be done but its hard and it tends to take over your live but the adrenalin buzz is better then any car can give.The downside is that its expensive you can by a good car for the cost of a top road bike and I now have six.Collos Yorkshire Road Club.
My new way to save some diesel - BobbyG
I previously had a dual suspension mountain bike but after advice from No Dosh ($till $kint), I got a hybrid road bike, Specialised Crossroads. Cost £300 and its only suspension is on the seatpost. Quick shift gears, slim tyres and it is a huge difference to the mountain bike.

I wear a helmet at all times, listen to my mp3 at a low volume so that I can still hear traffic noise and be aware of eveything around me. Used to carry a rucksack but it always left my back sweaty so invested in a set of panier bags. Tempted to get some toe clips and possibly a mirror as well.

I went out yesterday for a half hour cycle and didn't get home till 3 hours later. It was such a lovely day that instead of taking my normal route, I just kept going right out into the country for miles. So peaceful, relaxing and you can do a lot of thinking whilst out there. Very therapeutic.
My new way to save some diesel - wrangler_rover
I agree with the no suspension advice. I daily ride up a 1 in 10 hill, the youths on their full suspension mountain bikes frequently have to get off & push, the suspension absorbs most of their effort, I go riding past them on my no suspension hybrid, all my effort goes into moving the bike forward.
Get some kevlar reinforced tyres such as Schwalbe Marathon Slicks, they are hard wearing, have low rolling resistance and very rarely puncture. A puncture always happens at the worst possible time, half way home when it's dark windy and raining.
Don't worry about the lack of grip on slick cycle tyres, correctly inflated the small contact area with the road makes aquaplaning highly unlikely.
My new way to save some diesel - Robin Reliant
I got back into cycling last year after an eight year break (road bikes, not those two wheel tractors)! Feeling a lot fitter and have even sold the motorbike through lack of use.

Everyone says get a helmet. There is as much evidence to show they are next to useless as that which says they prevent head injuries. If you really want to be safe, wear a helmet in the car as motor accidents are the biggest cause of head injuries seen in casualty departments.
My new way to save some diesel - David Horn
Sorry, must disagree with you there Tom. Yes, a helmet is next to useless if you get squashed under a juggernaut, but should you hit a patch of oil or ice and slide, it might be the one thing that gets between your head and the edge of the pavement.

Another reason for wearing one is in insurance claims should you have any incidents on a bike. You might remember I ended up having extensive surgery on my wrist after being hit from behind by a car. It seems that because I wasn't wearing a helmet that the claim, should it come to court, is likely to be considerably less than had I been wearing one. Seems odd to me, but apparently it's the case, and was emphasised in the medical report obtained by my solicitors.
My new way to save some diesel - Robin Reliant
On the safety aspect, professional cyclists were racing for over a hundred years without helmets. I doubt if any pro went through a season without at least half a dozen crashes, mostly many times more. They crash at high speed, low speed, slide off, launch themselves over the bars, lay on the floor with a dozen other bikes and riders bouncing on top of them, yet with a tiny handful of exceptions deaths and serious head injuries were never an issue.

Now you can make any result you like with statistics, but a recent study I have heard concludes that the effect on fatalities and serious head injuries among cyclists in general since helmet wearing became commonplace has been zero.

We must all trust our own instincts on this when it comes to personal use, but my own feelings on cycle helmets is that they are a lucrative consumer con by the industry backed enthusiastically by an over zealous safety lobby which thinks it is possible to eliminate all risk if only we had the right laws in place.
My new way to save some diesel - steveb
I wish I had been wearing my helmet when I fell off and stripped the skin off the side of my face..........

Steve
My new way to save some diesel - artful dodger {P}
Surprised to see this thread with new posts. Just shows how interesting cycling can be to motorists.

Well an update was due on my progress. Yes I have been cycling to work a number of times, but not as many as I first hoped for as either the weather or special circumstances have meant it has not been practicable. This week I am planning on 3 times - the first was today.

I think all of the safety suggestions posted have now been implemented, many thanks for all of your suggestions.

The biggest problem I have found on very hot days is the long slow ride home with a slight incline, and usually the wind, against me. This has been leaving me feeling very dry in the mouth. Initially I was drinking a couple of mugs of water before I left work, but even this has not solved the problem. So finally this morning I added a water bottle to the frame. Hopefully this should solve my problem.

The way to work being slightly downhill means I ride at between 9 to 16 mph and it takes about 15 minutes. Not super fast, but I arrive at work ready to start. On my return it varies from 5 to 9 mph and takes about 25 minutes, the long slow incline is a killer for my legs. Just to show how unfit I am, the distance is only 2.1 miles by the most direct route. Although I usually have to make a slight detour to work and this adds about 0.3 miles to the distance. Before anyone says I should ride all the time as the distance is too short to use a car, this is not possible as my driving route sometimes means I have to go to other places before or after work and makes the distance from 7 to 10 miles.

One technique I have found very useful is when going into a small dip with a rise to climb is to make sure I am in the correct gear for the climb and stand on the pedals for extra power rather than sitting on the saddle.

On many occassions I see dedicated cyclists with racing bikes and full outfits traveling in the opposite direction. Most of the time they make a greeting - this makes my ride even more pleasant. I am in full admiration for the pace they seem to ride at and their level of fitness, let alone the distance they seem to travel. I doubt I can ever reach these levels, but at least I am doing my bit to save fuel and get fitter.


--
Roger
I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
My new way to save some diesel - David Horn
Hi Roger,

Good to see you're getting into it. This should help your dehydration problem:

www.wiggle.co.uk/Default.aspx?Main=CategoryProduct...s

You might also want to make sure that your tyres are pumped up more or less to the maximum value printed on the sidewall, and perhaps invest in a cheap pair of clipless pedals and shoes.

I'm a die-hard mountain biker (you'll only ever see me on the road when it's absolutely necessary or I don't want to get the bike muddy).
My new way to save some diesel - Robin Reliant
You will also find the hills get easier as you get fitter. Agree with David on the clipless pedals, once you get used to clipping in and out they make riding about 20% easier. You'd be surprised how much effort you are using just to keep your feet on conventional pedals.
My new way to save some diesel - JohnX
Saw this post just now ,am an avid cyclist myself but having a rethink regarding the type of helmet one should use after hearing about an unfortunate who had slipped from the footpath on the road and fell down onto her face,got up with 5 front teeth knocked out and a split open lower lip.

Had she been wearing a full face helmet(instead of the normal silly looking saucer), would have escaped without a scratch.

Just wondering whether to buy a full face helmet now!


My new way to save some diesel - David Horn
You could try the MET Parachute helmet, but it ain't cheap and I dunno how effective it is either...
www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=24...7
My new way to save some diesel - mss1tw
Just don't stack it.
 

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