Published: 2 October 2012
Phil Brown from Oxford commutes as much as possible on his trusty touring bike and favours the urban escape of the Sustrans path to the cut and thrust of Oxford's streets.
Name: Phil Brown
Job: Planning Consultant, Oxford
Tell us about your commuting rig: Surly Long Haul Trucker (black), groupset is from my spare parts box - MTB chainset paired with a 12-21 block, 9 speed bar end shifter for rear derailleur and down tube shifter for the front derailleur, 36 holes wheels with a dynamo hub in the front, canti brakes, mudguards, and rack. Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres (heavy but bulletproof!) With bags on it weighs a tonne – literally!
What’s your commute like? About 8 miles using the Sustrans route between Abingdon and Oxford. Great because it is largely traffic-free and follows the Thames path for part of it. Surface is very varied (tarmac to muddy path, but proved to be good preparation for the Paris Roubaix sportive I rode earlier in the year.
How many days a week do you commute by bike? As many as possible, work commitments allowing. Sometimes two to three times but can be every day on a good week.
What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting? The route along the river is a world apart from the busy car-filled roads into Oxford as you can get and it’s generally quicker than driving.
What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike? Commuter racers. There are times when I’m minding my own business and also of a sudden there is a wheel sucker latched onto my back wheel, who then sprints past as soon as my pace drops!
Lack of changing facilities at work. Cleaning up and getting changed in the disabled loo isn’t great.
What are your main reasons to commute by bike? I have a young daughter and commuting allows me to train without impacting too much on family life. It seems to be working as I’ve set PB’s over 10, 25 and 50 miles this year!
Have you got any funny or interesting bike commuting stories or experiences to share? Part of my route to work is sometimes shared with a herd of cattle. You get the odd flick of the tail as you whizz past.
What’s your killer commuting tip? Go for a traffic-free route – it may not be as direct but it is so much more enjoyable than mixing with cars!
Having a reliable bike is more important than having a flash one. Tough tyres in particular (Schwalbe Marathon Plus are my fave) save a lot of wasted time with punctures.
Are you a British Cycling Member? If so how does your British Cycling membership support your bike commuting? Yes, it provides peace of mind / insurance in the case of the worst happening.
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