Benefits/Disadvantages of Your Chosen Commute?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
17 replies 1.5K views
sdavies13sdavies13 Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
Hugheskevi started a sub thread in the Biggest Threat to Cyclist post about the benefits of cycling versus his previous commute so thought I might plagarise this and break it out into another thread people might want to contribute to (not just cyclists, but please keep it constructive).

Here's my response:
My cycle commute is roughly 60 mins door > door, 15 mins to change/shower at the end so 75 mins. Plus I get to ride my bike for 2 hours every day :D
Any issues? I broke a spoke once, carried on with care and arrived no later. Punctures touch wood have been absent so far this year.

My cycle commute is roughly 1 hour 20 minutes each way (longest was 1 hour 47 minutes, quickest so far is 1 hour 8 minutes). Currently doing this 3 days a week but looking forward to going the full 5 days a week once I have a bit more stamina.

Issues, been hit by another cyclist, had too close a shave with a bus overtaking me near a constriction, oh and had a puncture on my way home once.

My public transport commute is about 1 hour 20 minutes made up of a 23 minute brisk walk to the tube station, 50 minute tube ride then another 7 minute walk to the office.

Issues, been punched, threatend, someone was sick over me once, people with music blarring out or Mr Shouty on his mobile!

Anything I miss from public transport, yes I tended to get a seat the whole journey and did enjoy having a good read whilst commuting.

Benefits of cycling, I feel a lot fitter than I have done in many years. Have lost a fair bit of weight since I started. That smug feeling as I cycle past the massive tailbacks along the A13. The hope that I am eroding the damage I have possibly built up for myself by sod all exercise and sitting behind a desk for the past 20+ years!


  • theEndtheEnd Forumite
    851 Posts
    London - South West to City.

    Cycling's about 25mins
    Tube's about 35mins
    Train options, but probably don't make sense.
    Bus probably 120mins+

    Never had any issues on any option. Prefer to cycle. Now saves £6.40/day, but really it's just free exercise without having to put up with the crowded tubes.

    There's an extra shower in the evening, lots more stuff to wash and really horrible when you get wet in the morning and have to wear that stuff home in the evening. Otherwise great.
  • WiggyDiggyPooWiggyDiggyPoo Forumite
    220 Posts
    Apart from the time saving I mentioned, the main benefits are:

    I love that after cycling in Ive spend the beginning of my day doing something I love. Plus approaching the end of the day I start to think if I can go the long way home to get some extra miles in.

    Its quicker, I did a breakdown of the time above but where cycling really comes into its own is when there are issues with public transport. Minor delays are common but its grimly repetitive how often trains are delayed so much I miss connections.

    I dont have to deal with stinky busy trains full of idiots. My train route is busy, not as bad as some but enough that it is rare to have enough seats for everyone. I find it annoying that people get on, then stop and stand in the door blocking anyone else getting on even when there are seats or space further in the carriage.

    I get ill when I don't cycle - first week of the winter that I couldn't ride (broken bike) and I was on the coughy sneezy train for a week, next week I'm off work having caught whatever else people have. Back on the bike and I feel better within a day.


    Hangovers can be difficult to deal with. :p
    I miss the time on the train where I can read a book for a while
  • I cycle to work 3 days a week and get the tube the other two so can do a pretty reasonable comparison

    - Get out of bed at 6:15
    - Leave house at 7:00
    - Arrive at work 7:45
    - No planning or preparation needed
    - constant delays
    - crowded trains

    - Get out of bed at 6:15
    - Leave house at 6:25
    - Arrive at work 7:45
    - Can't cycle Monday and Friday because I need to take my suit and shirts for the three cycling days
    - It's cold and wet a lot of the time!
    - Sometimes it's sunny and beautiful :)
    - I save £1,560 a year by cycling
    - Much greater risk of physical injury
    - I get 6 hours a week of exercise
    - It can be a bit prohibitive... No real ad hoc after work drinks allowed if i've got to cycle home.

    All in all, I'd prefer to cycle 5 days a week if I could because it's actually a pleasure rather than a chore
  • DKLSDKLS Forumite
    13.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    My commute can be dangerous, I have tripped over a cat more than once on my 10 second commute to my home office.
  • theEndtheEnd Forumite
    851 Posts
    AndyBSG wrote: »
    - Can't cycle Monday and Friday because I need to take my suit and shirts for the three cycling days

    I try to cycle everyday. Shoes and suit jacket remain at work. Trouser and shirt (non-iron best) folded in bag. Never a problem.
  • I cycle to work every day(5 days) and it takes 40 mins to an hour depending on conditions.
    I used to cycle into town then get on the train a few stops but by the time I've waited for the train and factored lateness/no shows I decided i'd save my money and just cycle all the way.

    I hate icy conditions and have crashed out more than once when it's cold.

    My worst accident was in summer 2011 when a car failed to see me and pulled out of a side street and knocked me off my bike.
    I broke my elbow and needed surgery to fix it.
    Had lots of near misses too.
  • edited 21 November 2013 at 5:25PM
    hugheskevihugheskevi Forumite
    2.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Car Insurance Carver!
    edited 21 November 2013 at 5:25PM
    South London into Central London.

    Cycling: 80 minutes door-to-door, including shower. Cost £250-£300 p/a.
    Train: 80 minutes door-to-door (time for shower included). Cost £1,500 p/a.

    Train is quite pleasant on way in - I can check online for delays and station is only a 10 minute walk. I nearly always get a seat, and journey is only 25 minutes. However, train is usually about 5-10 minutes late into London as a matter of routine, and a couple of times a year there is no service due to weather, person under a train or whatever. On way home it can be crowded and delays are more frequent. Several times a year no trains will be running resulting in delays that may run to hours. But beyond reliability issues, not had any problems with public transport. Big downside is 10 minute walk from home to startion, and 15 minute walk to work from station. That adds a lot to journey time, and is also a temptation to grab junk food en route.

    Like poster above, also been hit by a car once, also a car pulling out from side street and also a broken elbow, althogh no surgery. Few other close shaves - the worst being a woman who overtook and immediately turned left across me, just about avoided crash with both wheels locked but was convinced I was going into her. Also one encounter with a maniac who drove car firstly across me to force me off the road and then threatened to kill me after trying to drive at me (fortunately many other cars around to duck behind) - police weren't interested despite registration and witnesses. That is one of the biggest drawbacks - knowing police won't care less unless there is injury involved so vehicles are pretty much free to drive however they like as long as there isn't a collision.

    Fortunate to have excellent cycling facilities at work, and it is great to start a day at work with hot shower rather than coming in after an hour walking and on a grubby train.

    A few years ago I planned to take train for winter months, but the train service is even more erratic in winter months, and I get wet walking to station anyway. Now I cycle unless there is a deluge of rain or it is below 0 degrees. I actually prefer cold weather now, as I can go fast without sweating unlike summer.

    So main pros for cycling: compared to public transport are reliability, fitness and cost. Main drawback is risk of accident. It is very handy to have a public transport alternative, as that mitigates bad weather and social life impact, otherwise those would be big issues.
  • Marco_PanettoneMarco_Panettone Forumite
    641 Posts
    East London to West End, commuting by bike.

    - Cost. It doesn't, except for maintenence bits and pieces. If I got the bus it would cost me a minimum of £700 a year, if I use the tube that cost would jump to around £1500.
    - Time. It takes between 35 and 45 minutes, depending on my route, traffic lights, and which bike I use (On the Track bike it's fast, on my Town bike it isn't) If I get 1 bus to be cheap it takes an hour. Bus + tube is 45 minutes minimum.
    - Enjoyment. It's bloody brilliant the vast majority of the time.
    - Reliability. It takes me the same time (give or take 2 minutes) every day. No waiting for buses, no tube delays or closed lines, minimal traffic jams.
    - Fitness. I ride 60 miles a week. I do at least 5 hours exercise a week. All of this is by just going to work and home again.

    - On the rare occasions when it isn't enjoyable it can be bloody frightening. Much of this is due to impatience of drivers wanting to get to the next set of red lights, next traffic jam or turning as soon as possible. Deciding shaving 5 seconds from a small section of your journey is more important than someone else's life is not cool with me.
    - Less flexible with post-work drinks, but if planned in advance I can ride the 'other' bike.
    - The house is full of bikes. Not something I mind, and more of a disadvantage of the house. I have 2 I use regularly for commuting (a track bike for most days and a town bike for Sundays, which I use to take in clothes for the week). There are 5 here overall...

    Looking back at the list I can't work out why more people don't ride, and I'd certainly recommend it as the most straight-forward form of transport in London.
    It's only numbers.
  • SailorSamSailorSam Forumite
    22.8K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I don't cycle other than a quick ride up and down the road if it's a sunny day. I find it hard work but that could be 'cos my bike cost less than £100 from Makro. I thought one bike is much the same as another why pay more, reading these forums maybe that was a mistake and i should have got something decent and then i'd use it more.
    I've considered giving up my car and getting an electric bike (perhaps one day) That's why i'm posting, several posters have put one of the disadvantages of cycling is the safety hazard. I get regular emails still about electric bikes and they're doing a Poll at the moment to ask if users felt safer while out on an electric bike rather than a conventional one. I think the latest figures were that 80% felt safer on an electric bike.
    Just a thought that i'd like to throw into the pot to see what others thought.
    Liverpool is one of the wonders of Britain,
    What it may grow to in time, I know not what.

    Daniel Defoe: 1725.
  • SailorSam wrote: »
    I find it hard work but that could be 'cos my bike cost less than £100 from Makro. I thought one bike is much the same as another why pay more

    Your £100 Makro job is what is commonly known as a BSO or Bicycle Shaped Object and there definitely is a vast difference in bikes.

    For instance, I had a decent Mountain Bike but when I swapped it for a Road Bike I knocked almost 10 minutes off of my 50 minute commute overnight.

    A decent bike doesn't have to be expensive though, there's plenty of places that sell refurbished second hand bikes and plenty of people who go out and buy a top of the range bike, ride it a couple of times then end up selling it a year later when it's just sat in their shed for 12 months gathering dust!
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