Bradley commutes into London three days a week on his cyclo-cross bike. In the first year of bike commuting he's clocked up 3000 miles and dropped 15lbs in weight.
Name: Bradley Howard
Workplace: Endava, an IT company in the City of London who I’m grateful to for their Ride to Work scheme.
Tell us about your commuting rig: I have a Pinnacle Arkose One cyclocross. I went for a cyclocross because I heard the wheels were stronger. I’ve still been through three rear wheels in the last year though. I’ve upgraded the brake blocks and tyres (to Armadillos).
What’s your commute like? 13 miles each way, with Highgate Hill in the middle. It’s very steep, and provides the workout part of the journey. It’s all on road, about a quarter in bus lanes.
How many days a week do you commute by bike? Three. The other days I either work from home, at a client, use a motorbike (Yamaha R6) or the dreaded Tube. It’s good to take the tube every so often to remind myself of why I ride into work!
What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting? The sense of achievement – last year when I got to 3,000 miles - it was such a great feeling – and I can’t imagine any commuters on other transport getting that same great feeling.
What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike? Pedestrians typing on their phone, stepping out into the road. When the weather is below one degree I get the tube and I must admit I like reading during the commute.
What are your main reasons to commute by bike? It’s a free, two hour exercise workout. I like being outside. I hate the expensive, smelly tube. I like being able to eat chocolate without the guilt!
Have you got any funny or interesting bike commuting stories or experiences to share? On my previous bike (an old hybrid from eBay for £27) I went to a work meeting half way home, so I decided to ride there on the bike with my lycra under my suit. It was all fine until half way through the meeting I started getting hotter and hotter. At the end of the meeting I took my suit off in a side road next to the bike and I was dripping wet. Unpleasant.
What’s your killer commuting tip? I have a few.
- Get Strava. It totally transforms your commute and fitness levels and makes it more enjoyable.
- The ‘problems’ with cycling are all a state of mind. When I get a puncture (only a couple of times a year nowadays with the Armadillos) I just get off the bike and make a couple of calls to friends and family rather than getting upset; riding in the winter rain during the dark makes you much faster and more controlled later in the year when it’s sunny and warm.
- Get a cycle computer to watch the miles rack up.
- Get a heart monitor and change the way you commute – have fast rides, slow rides, big gears only, small gears only, have rides with a minimum or maximum heart rates, just keep alternating how you ride. Sometimes I’ll just choose a longer way home and ride past famous sites – Westminster or Buckingham Palace.
Finally, please can I say a massive thank you to two special friends – Aron for getting me back into cycling after several years off the saddle, and Howard for encouraging me to commute by bike. My 15lb weight loss and fitness is mainly down to those two.
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