Meet Paul from Oxon who commutes 100 miles per week through the Cotswolds on his cyclo-cross bike. Paul has found that choosing the bike allows him to convert one hour 'wasted' in the car into an daily keep-fit session. Even though his bike is full carbon, his footprint is low.
Name: Paul Gill
Workplace: Torchbox, Oxon
Tell us about your commuting rig: I purchased an On One Dirty Disco in March 2012, having previously been on an old 1999 Specialised Allez. It’s a full carbon cyclo-cross bike and perfect for the winter commuting that I started to do last year, having previously been a summer-only cycle commuter.
The only modification is Schwalbe Marathon tyres to replace the CX-specific tyres, and a rear crud guard to keep the worst of the road from my back. I have a camelpak backpack that’s got water, spare tyre and puncture repair. I have a Lezyne mini drive front light and two Lunar R2 rear lights, and plenty of reflective stuff from Colan UK.
What’s your commute like? It’s pretty long - about 17 miles each way and maximum elevation of about 600ft. It starts by crossing the Thames and then Windrush rivers before heading off up into the gentle hills of the Cotswolds between Witney and Charlbury. It’s usually all on road, but with some nice off-road sections that I take when it’s warmer/drier/brighter around the Evenlode valley.
How many days a week do you commute by bike? My aim is to commute by bike three times a week - making just over 100 miles cycling. In the summer my aim is four days (130 miles total).
What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting? I love converting the ‘wasted’ commute time into a one-hour keep fit session. I also love the wildlife on the quiet lanes north of Witney - I often come across deer, barn owls and yellowhammers.
What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike? The A415 from my house to Witney; it’s a single lane A road with plenty of bends and fast-moving traffic, some of whom don’t know how to respect cyclists. I’m often the only cyclist on it, so they are often surprised to come across me.
What are your main reasons to commute by bike? I like to reduce my carbon footprint and I like to keep fit.
What’s your killer commuting tip? For those wanting to start doing it, start off with a small distance, driving part way. Build up the distance over a couple of months until you’re doing the full distance.
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