Like many commuters Dean from Stoke-on-Trent loves the freedom and stress-busting that cycling to work brings. Despite being accosted by a canal rat on his commute, he's keen to ride in all weathers and laments his choice when he gives in and takes the car - a sure sign of a hard-core bike commuter.
Name: Dean Hughes
Tell us about your commuting rig:
I used to use my main summer road or hardtail mountain bikes (both Treks) but this year had a new rig on the cycle-to-work scheme which has been ideal through all weathers. It is a Ridgeback Road Platinum which has pretty much bombproof componentry for touring although is still fast enough not to add any time onto my commute. I also love the fact that it is British, understated and has a retro-look. The only ‘upgrade’ I have done is added a Brooks saddle (again for the look as well as comfort) and am currently on 28C tyres for the weather (it gets grim up North!).
What’s your commute like?
My commute is a 9 miles each way trip and I live on top of a 3.5 mile bank which means I have a very fast start in the mornings although a nasty climb each night on the way home. At least this is good training for Sunday club rides. I also stay away from too many main roads and can use the city parks and tow paths for 3-4 miles to make the journey more pleasant. A cycling mate has also started biking to work so I have a good couple of miles to chat on the way home.
How many days a week do you commute by bike?
In the summer, I aim for 4-5 days a week reducing to 2-3 though the winter months.
What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting?
The freedom, the scenery, the changing seasons, the exercise and clearing my head from a day in the office before the kids jump on me when I enter the house. Occasionally when I do use the car and I sit in traffic or see someone biking, I soon wish I had biked in and make sure I do the next day. Also, seeing my wife’s bewildered expression in a morning when I put my cycling gear on when it is freezing or raining. It’s also nice to have a bit of an ‘office eccentric’ reputation as people who don’t cycle clearly do not understand the concept but respect the commitment.
Above: Dean's commuter bike - rigged for practicality.
What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike?
Nothing, it’s all good! Just don’t let the inconsiderate drivers get to you.
What are your main reasons to commute by bike?
The usual. Keeping fit, training, saving money, clear environmental conscience and possibly surprisingly, relaxation from a day's work. It is something I always used to do when I was younger and the habit was re-kindled following physiotherapy from a broken leg.
Have you got any funny or interesting bike commuting stories or experiences to share?
Once had a startled rat jump from a building at the side of the canal path onto my helmet and very narrowly escaped taking a swim.
What’s your killer commuting tip?
Plan ahead to leave clothes at work etc and to vary the route to prevent it from becoming a chore. The right clothing also makes it far more comfortable.
Send us your Commuter Profile!
We want to know about your commuting experiences; how far you go, why you choose to ride, your killer tips and your commuter grumbles. Download, complete and email back your commuter profile to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell your story. Feel free to include a photograph/photographs of you and your trusty commuting bike!