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The bike is your mollusc - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

Feb. 15th, 2008

11:57 am - The bike is your mollusc

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From:totherme
Date:February 15th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
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Could you get a full sized bike, and keep it at the station?
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From:johnckirk
Date:February 15th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
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Which station are you thinking of? East Croydon and Willesden Junction both have cycle racks outside, but I don't know how secure they are. (We also have a cycle rack inside our office building, with plenty of space for extra bikes.) More importantly, if I use the full sized ("fixed"?) bike to go between Willesden Junction and the office then I wouldn't be able to use it between home and East Croydon (and vice-versa), whereas I could use a folding bike at both ends.

It might make sense to use my own bike at the Croydon end, and an Oybike at the Acton end, but then I'd have to find a secure location for my bike at home overnight. I've requested some cycling guides from TFL, which are supposed to list all the cycle parking facilities at both ends of my journey, so I'll see whether they have any useful tips. I did notice yesterday that South Croydon has a brand new cycle rack outside it, but I can't help thinking that if commuters leave bikes there then they're basically saying "I won't be back for 9 hours, take as much time hacking through the lock as you like".
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From:totherme
Date:February 15th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
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It's worth asking for the opinion of a proper cyclist (my housemate?), but I suspect that two cheap full sized bikes may be both cheaper and more comfortable than one half decent brompton. Especially since you're quite tall. Get cheap bikes and expensive locks, and I suspect you won't have so much trouble with theft as you're worried about. My bike lived outdoors in Oxford and Croydon for years with only the weather causing any damage.

I guess that vandalism is probably likely to be a bigger problem than theft... Maybe be a little careful where you leave things overnight.
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From:totherme
Date:February 15th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
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Oh - also, work out how much money you can save on public transport with your cycling options. I spent a fair bit of money getting my bike up and running again last term, but have now made it back in travel cards. Those numbers may affect the solution you eventually decide to go for.

Of course, once you're financially committed, you have to actually go through with the cycling. You can't "just take the tube today, because it's raining" ;)

FWIW, I've found that since I've been cycling, I don't want to use public transport any more. It's crowded and bleh.
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From:johnckirk
Date:February 15th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
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That's a good point. In the short term, if I just replace the bus journeys with cycling then I'll still need the travelcard for the train journeys, and it won't save me any money (although it may work out cheaper than gym membership). In the longer term, I could try to extend the amount of cycling I do, e.g. doing a 10 mile cycle to Clapham Junction and catching the train from there instead of East Croydon (so I'd need fewer zones on my travelcard).

Out of interest, how long would it take you to cycle 19 miles (on average London terrain)?
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From:totherme
Date:February 15th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
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Ask at the station how much a rail season ticket (as opposed to a TFL travel card) will cost. I used to save money by getting a monthly ticket from East Croydon to KW rather than a 5 and 6 travel card. Once I started using the trams regularly, I needed the travel card though.

My journey to college is a little over 6 miles, as I mentioned here. If the roads are clear, and I'm going fast, I can do that in 20 mins. The thing is though, the roads usually aren't clear, and I don't want to participate in a cycle race every day of the week. It takes more like 40 a lot of the time. The other day, I got from my desk to the sofa in 45 minutes of fairly relaxed cycling - so that includes bike unlocking and so on.

This is still faster than the tube, which takes 50 if it's working, and arbitrary lengths of time if it's not.

I wouldn't recommend you go from 0 cycling to 19 miles every day in one step. You might find that you want to do that in time, but certainly don't budget for it.
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