How do you all commute into central london?!

woosey

Well-Known Member
Hey Guys,

Long time no post! I've been cycle commuting for a few years now, but a change in job means I now have to cycle a new route.

Up to now I've had a trusty (cheap!) Carrera TDF fitted with full length mudgards & pannier rack (although I did upgrade the wheels to fulcrum racing 7's and the callipers to shimano 105). I've always used 25mm Gatorskin tyres (never had a puncture in the 12000km I've used them for).

I've been doing my new commute (into the centre of London) for 7 weeks and i've honestly had more near misses / slides in the last 7 weeks than in the previous 3 years on my old route from South Woodford -> Canary Wharf

I know gatorskins aren't known for their high grip but what do people use for this type of commute? I'm considering a disc brake bike as the last few weeks of rain leaves very little braking with rim brakes and it just gets mega sketchy!

The other thing that is new to me is taxi drivers - had one who was going to report me to 'the old bill' for not being in a bike line (which was blocked by a car waiting to turn, so took to the bus lane) - the whole commute seems a lot more 'aggressive' than my old commute.

Any general tips for surviving CS2?
 
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icowden

Senior Member
Location
Surrey
I ride the Tern Joe (pictured) which has nice fat tyres (Schwalbe Big Bens). and disc brakes. Have never had a problem with brakes or skidding.

Sweeping generalisation but almost all of the London taxi drivers I've met have been at best unpleasant, and often downright dangerous. They seem to object to bikes on principle. Even cameras don't deter them, and the only response to me reporting a cabbie for dangerous driving was to inform me that I shouldn't have continued my journey for 12 yards on the pavement (presumably they thought that continuing in front of an irate cabbie was somehow a good idea).

Bikes are allowed to use the bus lane unless specifically signed otherwise - thus illustrating that this driver is also a bell-end. Might be worth filming them, but they don't seem at all bothered as they are wearing their "i'm an invincible black cabbie" outift.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
I only ever commuted there occasionally and not for a while but prefer Schwalbe cruiser or marathon tyres but there's lots to choose from.

I didn't have much trouble from black cabs. Minicabs and tourist coaches caused me far more trouble. Same thing as always, though: smile and wave, smile and wave...
 

slowmotion

Quite dreadful
Location
lost somewhere
Until recently I commuted from Shepherds Bush to Battersea, typically using 23mm Vittoria Rubinos on a road bike. I've been knocked off a couple of times but not hurt.........a few scratches on the bike but nothing to write home about. Both times, the drivers were extremely apologetic and we parted company amicably. In ten years, I only came across three or four drivers that I felt the need to chase down and "critically appraise" with foul-mouthed tirades. By and large, I'm amazed at how good local London drivers are. Coach drivers from out of town are pretty awful, as has already been noted.

I love riding in London traffic.
 

Heigue'r

Über Member
Location
Upminster
I commute from Lakeside essex into Knightsbridge so mostly CS3,well known home of the puncture fairy,I was advised on here re tyres from @HarryTheDog ,and use michelin pro4 endurance with good results,just mind the drain covers and any white paint.As for the taxi driver,at this stage,I dont think the comment would have even registered or it might have at least have got a laugh from me..the commute is generally good natured but like anywhere and in any situation,there are allways muppets about that could put a downer on your day.I ride a rim braked mudguard clad TCR advanced during the winter and the same bike during the summer without mudguards.The wet day commutes are generally slower as I will slow down alot earlier for junctions to avoid the sketchiness that you can get with rim brakes in the wet,however if you keep your pads and rims clean,it does make a difference to braking performance in the wet,IME anyway
 

Dec66

A gentlemanly pootler, these days
Location
West Wickham
Hey Guys,

Long time no post! I've been cycle commuting for a few years now, but a change in job means I now have to cycle a new route.

Up to now I've had a trusty (cheap!) Carrera TDF fitted with full length mudgards & pannier rack (although I did upgrade the wheels to fulcrum racing 7's and the callipers to shimano 105). I've always used 25mm Gatorskin tyres (never had a puncture in the 12000km I've used them for).

I've been doing my new commute (into the centre of London) for 7 weeks and i've honestly had more near misses / slides in the last 7 weeks than in the previous 3 years on my old route from South Woodford -> Canary Wharf

I know gatorskins aren't known for their high grip but what do people use for this type of commute? I'm considering a disc brake bike as the last few weeks of rain leaves very little braking with rim brakes and it just gets mega sketchy!

The other thing that is new to me is taxi drivers - had one who was going to report me to 'the old bill' for not being in a bike line (which was blocked by a car waiting to turn, so took to the bus lane) - the whole commute seems a lot more 'aggressive' than my old commute.

Any general tips for surviving CS2?
I commute on the precursor to your bike, the Apollo TDF (it was called that before Halfords started the Carrera branding). It's 14 years old now. I call it Old Reliable; hardly had any trouble with it in all those years.

I've just put Schwalbe Marathon Plus on it for winter, but I think that's overkill to be honest. Vittoria Rubino Plus are fine.

I go from West Wickham to St. Pauls via Beckenham, Penge, Sydenham, Dulwich, Denmark Hill, Camberwell, Walworth and the E&C, crossing the Thames at Southwark Bridge. It's very traffic dense and I don't tends to use bike lanes, unless they happen to be on the main road.

I've been knocked off twice in fourteen years; I do have, on average, around one near miss a fortnight. It's not been worse because I ride defensively and have developed an almost preternatural instinct to sense trouble before it happens.

In terms of drivers; hackney cab drivers are right up there with the worst (possibly their attitude of "I'm a professional driver who the f••k do you think you are?" makes their errors seem more apparent), but I find the worst offenders are the following:

• BT Openreach vans
• Tourist coaches, especially French-registered ones, rather counter-intuitively
• Private hire drivers, particularly the ones who drive a Prius
• Audi drivers (a cliche, but one for which I have lots of anecdotal evidence)
• Pedestrians stepping out without looking

As for your brakes; the discs will probably be more trouble than they are worth in terms of maintenance. Get some decent pads and feather the brake occasionally in the wet.
 

Heigue'r

Über Member
Location
Upminster
Your choice - have never had proper properly fitted mudguards rattle.

Sks - bit of a pig to fit but once done solid.
I dont have proper mudguards though,The ones i do have,sks raceblade long are fitted properly but are well documented on the amout of rattling that they do.You can bodge something to fix it but Ive not looked into it propetly.I wouldn't be without them though in the wet weather at the moment.
 
Location
London
In terms of drivers; ~~~~~~~but I find the worst offenders are the following:

• Tourist coaches, especially French-registered ones, rather counter-intuitively
Why counter-intuitive? I always had the idea that French drivers weren't too great and that their road accident rate was substantially above ours?

• Audi drivers (a cliche, but one for which I have lots of anecdotal evidence)
Oy, I used to drive an Audi :smile:


As for your brakes; the discs will probably be more trouble than they are worth in terms of maintenance. Get some decent pads and feather the brake occasionally in the wet.
Interesting in view of a certain rush to discs, particularly for heavy usage. What rims do you use? Find you replace them or the wheels a lot? I ask as you seem a good guinea pig - lots of miles day in day out in presumably variable often poor weather and on a route which must see you using the brakes a lot.

By the by, I also love riding in London traffic. Was on the tube in rush hour for the first time in ages the other day - hell that was bad.
 

Dec66

A gentlemanly pootler, these days
Location
West Wickham
Why counter-intuitive? I always had the idea that French drivers weren't too great and that their road accident rate was substantially above ours?



Oy, I used to drive an Audi :smile:



Interesting in view of a certain rush to discs, particularly for heavy usage. What rims do you use? Find you replace them or the wheels a lot? I ask as you seem a good guinea pig - lots of miles day in day out in presumably variable often poor weather and on a route which must see you using the brakes a lot.

By the by, I also love riding in London traffic. Was on the tube in rush hour for the first time in ages the other day - hell that was bad.
"Counter intuitively" because, having done many, many cycling miles in France (most recently three weeks ago), I find their drivers to be far more courteous than their Mr. Toad counterparts here. They will patiently wait behind you until presented with an opportunity to pass you safely.

Rims? Dunno, a generic set from Wooly Hat Shop in Biggin Hill which I bought about three years ago. No signs of rim wear yet. I use the bog-standard Clarks rubber inserts on Tektro cartridges. Not the greatest for sudden stops but, as I said above, I ride defensively so such action is very rarely necessary.

I hate riding in London, actually, because it feels like a chore. However, I'd do that before sitting on Southeastern's crap trains any day of the week.
 

nonowt

Senior Member
Location
London
Where are you cycling too? I've commuted from Hackney to Aldgate, then Holborn and now London bridge. What became CS2 during my commute that way was definitely the worst. Even worse than the much feared Old St roundabout (pre-redesign).
 
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