Mark from Essex commutes to work on a homebrew fixed gear bike finely honed to the task. He loves riding, hates driving and enjoys the fresh air and the feeling of travelling under his own steam.
Name: Mark Shields
Workplace: Young persons supported housing schemes in Essex.
Above: Mark's homebrew, low-key fixed gear commuter (wheelie bins for scale).
Tell us about your commuting rig: I ride an Ebay £5.50 no-name frame with a mixture of other no name parts except for the Carradice Nelson longflap saddlebag, Brooks B17 saddle and Continental Gatorskin hardshell tyres. It is a drop bar bike which I run fixed gear, a 72 inch gear being more than suitable for the gentle slopes to be found in Essex. Most importantly it is a scruffy looking thing which hopefully will deter the light-fingered types to be found in my home county!
What’s your commute like? My commute varies from between seven miles to fifty miles in a day depending on where I am working, mostly on roads but some routes take in some cycle paths and a few small bits of off road when I follow NCN routes in the summer. It is always in Essex so is fairly flat and through some beautiful countryside where I often stop for a banana and a drink whilst I admire the views.
How many days a week do you commute by bike? However many days I am working.
What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting? Being out in the fresh air in all weathers and being on my bike. I also love the fact that it is possible to travel quite reasonable distances under my own steam and that I have inspired a few others to commute by bike too simply by doing it regularly myself.
What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike? Easy, inconsiderate drivers!
What are your main reasons to commute by bike? Firstly I get to have a ride on my bike which is easily my favourite thing to do and secondly I don't have to drive a car which is my least favourite thing to do.
Have you got any funny or interesting bike commuting stories or experiences to share? I sometimes have just seven miles to ride to work which is not quite enough so I leave early and do a lovely 25 mile round trip which takes me to the River Blackwater at Maldon before doubling back on myself to Witham.
What’s your killer commuting tip? Buy the best quality cycle clothing you can afford to ensure you are comfy in all weathers.
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