Phil has commuted by bike in London since I've know him which is an awfully long time and something I don't want to put down on paper. He's lived in Hackney, Hampstead, Ham and Wood Grim at one point. He made the move out of town several years ago like me as he's not a city boy; I often think it was the best and worst thing I have done in my life, its great for the kids but the daily travel takes its toll. Though I did dig out some photos of the kids from ten years ago last night and feel I made the right decision as their formative years were spent with dogs, horses, slowworms, mud, rain, sunshine, rock pools and chickens, they might not though! I digress.
Phil's current COVID commute is seven miles from his house to the train station with a 20 percent climb that gets his old ticker revved up only a stone's throw from his back gate, then a three mile jaunt from Paddington to Cyclefit HQ.
Phil's commuter bike
He has recently upgraded is Airnimal folding bike (find out more about it here) and now runs a SRAM AXS etap 1 x 12 groupset, he uses disc brakes now too and has three lights on the back of his bike, I never thought he had a nervous disposition.
The bike folds easily but more importantly it is better over longer distances than Brompton and it climbs like a demon due to its stiff aluminium frame and short chainstays. On the train and off the train he folds and unfolds his bike like James Bond setting himself up for some sniping action.
Phil's cycling kit
He tends to rummage around in the 'sale bin' with Barna and manages to make do, note the Lightweight Assos jacket from 2013. His Castelli gloves are his oldest item and he has an original Rapha Merino vest with a hole in the front the size of a dinner plate, for mid season rides, "it's from the Vent Range" he says. And the snood, if you forget that when its chilly its worse than not having your footbeds in your cycling shoes.
Overshoes too for warmth and dryish feet - they never stay dry - and he wears baggy shorts to maintain some decency on the train.
Rucksack - by Rapha - a good five years old at least.
Phil's commuting tips:
Use your lights day and night especially the three on the back...
Fit mudguards, there is nothing worse than sitting on the train with a wet backside!
Match your boldness to your skill level, be chilled.
Don't assume the cycling provision on your route is the best for your safety - on Uxbridge Road he stays out of the cycle lane as cars and vans love to turn left on him; its safer to state your position on the road if even if it irritates the drivers, but then, just riding a bike does that anyway; I think you would get less abuse if you rowed up Uxbridge Road in an inflatable dinghy with your wife and kids.
Red Lights - in the old days Phil used to wear a bobble hat in the winter and jump red lights, but now a helmet is de rigeur and he doesn't jump red lights, he instead rolls forward slowly leaving a couple of seconds early so that he can get a head start on the traffic, get clipped in and up to speed and stable before they zoom past.
Phil's Tool Kit
It could be anything on any day