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Aibu to as: is anybody cycling to work? how far and how hard is it?

(76 Posts)
catwoman0815 Tue 27-Dec-16 16:38:11

posting for traffic.

background. have a car and work school hours only (Dc1 has severe ASD and learning diffs so we cannot get wrap around childcare). Have also DC2. boths at primary.

I drive them to school (they go to the same primary), about half a mile. Then drive to work (10 miles). Work my hours and drive back to school to collect them. Even though it is 10 miles, it takes almost 1h (city traffic, stop and go)

I won't have car anymore from early next year (long and complicated story) and I am trying to figure out how to get to work and back quickest.

public transport won't do (takes too long) but there is an mostly off traffic cycle road.

Does anybody cycle in these kind of circumstances, i.e. kids, school run, child with severe ASD that would need to walk to school (physically fine) and then a longing bike commute? Looks like my only realistic option.... I am also overweight and it might actually do me good. I am pretty sure I can do 10 miles in under an hour (I cycle as a hobby and have a decent bike)

or am I deluded?

Work has showers BTW.

BarbaraofSeville Tue 27-Dec-16 17:02:25

What are you planning to do - walk the half mile with the DCs and complete the school - work journey by bike?

What is the terrain like and do you need to travel around for work, or carry any work stuff home?

I used to ride to work occasionally but gave it up because it was a very hilly 9 miles that took about an hour but I also travel around for work so thinking about where I need the car or equipment to be just got too hard.

We had no showers and no lunch facilities nearby so hauling packed lunch was a bit of a pain too (I don't eat sandwiches and leftovers aren't that portable in a rucksack).

If it was flatter and we had an onsite shower and canteen and I didn't have to think about all the equipment/car/traveling around stuff, I would do it about once or twice a week as I really enjoyed it. But make sure you have good lights, waterproofs and high vis vest if you need to cycle in the dark/dusk etc

Soubriquet Tue 27-Dec-16 17:05:44

My Dh cycles to work

It's about 20 (1.9 miles) mins cycle now and he doesn't mind it too much. Wet weather aside.

2 years ago we lived nearly 10 miles away from his work. On a good day it took an hour. On a bad day when it was wet and cold it took nearly 90 mins.

He did it because he had to but he wished he didn't because it was so cold and so wet. A long way to go.

He is a very good biker and cycles everywhere as we don't drive

I wouldn't advise you to do it in winter really. Not too bad in summer because it's warmer and milder but it is truly awful in winter

marshallmum Tue 27-Dec-16 17:07:52

Hi, I commuted by bike for a while last year, I would say it's doable if...
- the hours are ok: can you walk to school with the kids (and your bike), drop them off when the gates open, cycle 1hr, shower on arrival and still start work on time?
- can you manage both kids and your bike (I also have ds with ASD and would need to hold his hand so he doesn't run off)
- 20 miles per day is a lot, esp to start with - day 1 may be ok but day 2 you could be very sore! Could you build up slowly with 1-2 times a week or cycle one way / taxi or lift home (leaving the bike at work?) I was fairly fit when I started cycling and had little to no desire to get back on the bike after a day in the office...
On the plus side it's a great way to get fit smile. Good luck and I hope it works out for you!

Rowgtfc72 Tue 27-Dec-16 17:09:12

Cycle 10.5 miles but that's there and back so not as far as you. Cycle on a busy A road going but normal roads coming back, takes about half an hour.

Don't do the morning school run as I start at 6am but have to belt back at 2pm and only have enough time to get changed and get on a bus for the afternoon school run.

Don't drive so this is a necessity rather than choice. I'm also four stone overweight but have biked this for over twenty years so very fit and used to it.

catwoman0815 Tue 27-Dec-16 17:09:55

terrain is flat(ish).

just wonder if I underestimate the time (1h for 10 miles).

Would walk (whilst pushing the bike) the kids to school. It's all not ideal, especially starting it in Jan/Feb.

I don't have equipment to carry to work though.

RebeccatheOld Tue 27-Dec-16 17:11:16

It sounds like it would be tough, but also that your options are quite limited?

I used to cycle for work, both short distances and longer ones (about 15 miles). It is knackering at first, but then you get fitter (and faster!)

If you are regularly cycling anyway you have a good starting point! Have you tried the route? Some cycle routes are really poor.

Might be worth a try for the first half term and see how you get on?

Soubriquet Tue 27-Dec-16 17:11:39

All you can do is try it

If it gets too bad you will need to think about other ideas

Anyone at work that you could lift share maybe? Who lives close to the school or nearby?

You could take your children to school and then cycle to their house.

Just offer petrol money on a weekly basis.

Is that possible?

CyclingFanGirl Tue 27-Dec-16 17:12:21

Depends on terrain, I do about 10km each way per day (work 2-3 days per week) and it's always faster than the bus and usually faster than a car despite being properly hilly (about 60mins door to desk including shower). It's the only real exercise I get and prevents me from turning into a total pudding.
Bear in mind that the most direct route might not be the fastest and that there might be shortcuts that are accessible by bike that wouldn't work in a car, for example through housing estates. Sustrans have some really good maps of many urban areas that can give you information about off-road paths and quieter on-road routes. It might take a little trial and error to find the route that suits you best, but it's totally worth it.
Good luck.

catwoman0815 Tue 27-Dec-16 17:12:46

row, how long does it take for you to do the 10.5 miles.

Marshall, thanks. I really wish I could keep the car but cannot. Will need luck wink

LordPeterWimsey Tue 27-Dec-16 17:13:01

I do 10 miles through London so lots of traffic lights and stop-start stretches, and that takes me an hour, plus time to get changed when I get there. But I don't do it if it's raining - it's just too miserable to spend a whole hour being wet and cold.

PostTruthBreakdown Tue 27-Dec-16 17:13:06

My dh cycles to work, he could do 10 miles in about 45 mins. It depends on the terrain. He falls back on the bus in winter when the roads are icy - have you that option? As long as you're mostly off road I'd go for it (my dh and most other cyclists I know can give several examples of how car drivers have nearly killed them, some even deliberately). Why not do a trial run one day and see how it goes?

Lovefromhull Tue 27-Dec-16 17:13:18

Do it sometimes. Cycling home feels great- much nicer than cycling there checking the time as I go. Feels good though. And doesn't take much longer than driving does. Little difference. You have to be organised with stuff to carry, or picking things up from the shop on the way home but worth the effort. But I have somewhere to have a little wash and change top at work. 3 miles, and it takes me 25 mins.

lljkk Tue 27-Dec-16 17:17:40

yes it's doable but it will be a little relentless every day.
You need to do the 10 miles in about 45 minutes so that you can shower & change when you arrive at work, right?
You don't sound fit enough to do 100 miles a week just now, tbh, you need to build up to it.

You need a good quality bike or it won't be sustainable (good = lightweight).
Mudguards, pannier racks+bags ideally to carry bookbags, your lunch, etc.
What would you do if you got a puncture, you need plan Bs.

Friend wears lycra gear for the rides both ways & keeps nice work clothes at work, brings in/takes home work clothes couple times a week.

AHedgehogCanNeverBeBuggered Tue 27-Dec-16 17:19:03

Go for it! I cycle 8 miles to work (and home again) in central London. It takes about 45 mins depending on traffic, which leaves 15 mins for shower, dressing, makeup and hairdry (I have short fine hair). It's way better than taking the Tube, and keeps me healthy, although I'll have to stop in a few months as I'm currently 8 weeks pg.

lljkk Tue 27-Dec-16 17:20:12

Good waterproof jacket, emergency lights...

ha! DH cycles 17 miles right down the main roads to get into the city. He can do that in about 45 minutes. (no, he's not normal).

InTheDessert Tue 27-Dec-16 17:27:36

Consider getting to a point where bike lives at work. Monday morning taxi/bus in with a weeks worth of clean clothes, shoes, towel, topped up cosmetics etc. Bike already at work, so cycle home. On Friday afternoon, leave bike at work, and taxi home with all the dirty stuff. Of course, that is dependant on 2 taxis a week being affordable - it sounds like it might be quite expensive?
Start trying it one day a week now!

lizzieoak Tue 27-Dec-16 17:30:15

So much depends on hills. Where I live it's really hilly and while loads of people bike to work (inc 65 year old colleague), when I've tried I feel like I'm going to have an aneurism.

When I was in Cambridgeshire, though, everyone was on a bike. Totally feasible on flat ground.

catwoman0815 Tue 27-Dec-16 17:32:27

thanks. Will start trialling it once a week and hope it goes ok.... I really need to keep my job smile

trialling hasn't even occured to me. blush

SheepyFun Tue 27-Dec-16 17:46:57

I don't have children with special needs, but I think you should be able to do 10 miles in an hour - I'm also overweight, but cycle a fair bit (40 miles a week, half of that on a cargo trike with a child), and on my bike, I would expect to average over 10 miles an hour (just; the cargo trike is another story). I'm also somewhere flat. If you don't have one, you might want to get a cycle computer, which tells you how fast you're going; they aren't very expensive, and help motivate me to keep my speed up!

Nicketynac Tue 27-Dec-16 18:16:15

I did eight miles each way for a while. Took me almost an hour at first (including walking my bike uphill at the end - my poor legs were done by then) and got down to about 40mins each way at the end.
I agree with PP to work your way up to doing it each day. My bum was too sore to do it two days in a row at first, never mind my jelly legs so start while you still have the car as back up.
I didn't stick it until winter but on horrible rainy days I dreaded having to cycle home. My clothes were usually still damp from the morning and I couldn't carry any more stuff. I was lucky enough to have somewhere to store my toiletries and hairdryer but my workplace has moved and now I don't have anywhere to leave things overnight.
You also need a back up plan for awful weather -snow, ice, very strong winds etc- but also for days when you feel crap but not crap enough to stay off. Could you cycle part of the way and use public transport the rest?
Also check out the route first. I cycled mainly on dedicated cycle paths, away from the road, but there were dodgy stretches with neds and scary looking dogs. You need to make sure you feel safe -this was the reason I gave up. It was poorly lit and I couldn't face the idea of it in the dark.

Rowgtfc72 Tue 27-Dec-16 18:19:37

Ten miles is my there and back in total. Would expect ten miles on the flat to take 45-50 mins.

Factor in busy junctions and traffic lights. They are the bane of my life when I'm in a hurry!

annandale Tue 27-Dec-16 18:26:46

I would definitely agree with working up to it slowly. What you're thinking about sounds very, very hard to me but it will definitely get easier. I cycle every day to work now, but it's only 3.3 miles each way, and it's taken me finally getting a new bike that actually fits me to be able to do that - for a long time I cycled twice or three times a week and was just unable to do more.

Points that occur to me -
Can the children cycle or tricycle with you on the school bit?
Can you employ anyone to take them home at the end of the day and keep an eye on them at home for 30 mins?
Can you afford the Cycle to Work scheme? That's how I got my bike and it was brilliant. I've just paid off the last payment of 12. You can get all the kit in the same payment - I got a ladies' bike with a basket on the front on a lockable fitting - everything goes in the basket and I just take it with me.
Consider an electric bike? I've tried one and it was BRILLIANT. I won't let myself consider buying one for a few years yet but with a commute your length I would definitely want to consider it. They are expensive - I'd want to do a lot of research for the right one - but maybe with the Cycle to Work scheme it might be affordable?

Stillnoidea Tue 27-Dec-16 18:29:04

You might want to think about leaving the bike at school overnight - I used to do that as it was easier to walk the children to school and back without the bike.

annandale Tue 27-Dec-16 18:29:39

Oh 3.3 miles is supposed to take me 18 mins but I allow 35 blush

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