Share your morning routine with London Cyclist

Here at London Cyclist, we like to get to know our readers. Today, we’d like to hear about how you start the day.  

To kick it all off, I’ll share my own routine – I hope you all get involved and share your own!

This is me (*waves* hello!)

This is me (*waves* hello!)

The nature of my employer means that I work with a lot of cyclists. Our office is full of pictures of bicycles, we’ve got a special bike locking container and a drying room built specifically for preventing “wet kit on the way home” syndrome.

I’m always amazed by the number of people who embark upon 25 mile commutes into work, and then eat breakfast at their desk following the ride. Riding on an empty tummy is meant to promote fat burning, it is therefore apparently very good for the performance cyclist. I’d like to be a performance cyclist, but unfortunately I am too human, and too hungry.

Personally, I’m not capable of leaving my house without breakfast. I live at the bottom of a hill which I’m sure is about a 20% incline (ok – it’s 15%, but the one on the way home has GOT to be 20%). Breakfast before my ride might mean I’m a tad heavier getting up it, but without it I think I’d just roll back down.

When my alarm goes off I slip my feet into furry slippers, and trudge downstairs. Here is the first decision of the day: two scoops of whey protein, banana, milk, and a tiny bit of cereal, or a nice carb-rich bowl of porridge with apple and banana? And coffee – regardless there is always coffee.

Return to bed with my gatherings, hunted from the depths of the kitchen. Check emails. Check Facebook. Check Twitter. Discover the world is basically as it was the previous night, but so-and-so has decided to tell the world they that they are having bacon for breakfast. The wonders of social media.

Pack bag – work clothes, lunch (I advise newbie commuters to pack their bags before bed, I never do this). Check what’s going on outside – arm warmers and leg warmers or sunglasses today?

Then – I roll out my door. Carry the bike down some very steeps steps, set it down on the road and turn on my little Joule (like a Garmin, but by PowerTap).

I roll for 3 minutes on a flat road, then I basically have to do a 360 turn round a stupid mini round about, before heading up the hill. Strangely, the cars here are very respectful and usually give me a good distance when passing.

Finally I turn left, climb a bit more and the reach the brow of a hill. There is often a dog barking alarmingly loudly  – the first time I heard it I was petrified because it wasn’t clear which side of the fence it was on – now I know it’s safely enclosed I whizz by.

The rest is mainly country lanes (I’m not right in the city, but I am within zone 6),up and down I go.

It's quite a pretty commute

It’s quite a pretty commute


Old fashioned villages with cute street lights on the way

This sign really is on my commute

This sign really is on my commute

There is a long stretch where I’m sure if I were to speak I’d sound like a child imitating a ‘red Indian’ – you know – hand over an open round mouth going “awawawawa!” If this stretch is ever resurfaced I vow to “awawawa!” for 5 whole minutes in celebration.

The bumpy bit

The bumpy bit

Throughout this section, I don’t really get any hassle from cars – it’s about 14 miles before I pop out of the wonder of green leafy lanes and into the edge of town.

Then it all gets a bit less enjoyable. A million speedbumps in a row. Stupid junction where no one will let me turn right. A final stretch of straight road where I can expect multiple close overtakes, and a long queue of traffic to get into our business estate. I take great pleasure in overtaking on the right hand side (safely, when nothing is oncoming, though I know some people are less careful).

Speed bumps begin

Speed bumps begin

Arriving at work, I lock my bike up in the secure container, clip clop my way in my silly cycling clown shoes towards the changing rooms, and have a shower. Around now is the time I’ll know if I’m missing anything or have forgotten to pack an item – in the past it’s been shoes (I bought some), a bra (I had to wear my sweaty sports bra all day) and a towel (I used my jumper).

All this done, I toddle off to work, and drink a glass of milk, surrounded by my fellow cycling commuters, as they chow down their morning porridge. The day begins, and frankly, I’m ready for a nap.

So – your turn – tell us about your morning commute…

(Michelle writes regularly for the London Cyclist blog, and keeps her own blog at

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40 Responses to Share your morning routine with London Cyclist

  1. Alice 21/05/2014 at 11:03 am #

    I’m very jealous of your commute! My morning routine is a lot more rushed than yours.
    I wake up at either 7am or ten to 8 depending on whether I’m going to the gym. I pull on my cycling kit, checking the forecast as I do to see whether I’m going for arm warmers, sunglasses, the rain jacket. If I’m going to the gym, I drink a quick actimel to get something in my stomach. Then I brush my teeth, get my packed lunch out the fridge and put in my bag (already packed the night before) and leave the flat.

    I occasionally have to turn round after a minute or so of cycling as I realise I feel surprisingly light… oh wait I’ve left my backpack behind. The other morning I remembered I hadn’t packed my lunch before I remembered that I didn’t even have the backpack.

    My commute is all through central London, from Brixton to Canary Wharf – it takes about 40 minutes – fast sections on Clapham Road and on the CS3 once I’m past Tower Bridge – slow sections coming up to London Bridge where there are so many buses and motorbikes.

    The traffic is no different whether I’m doing the trip around 7.30 or around 8.30! Get to work, go down to the underground car park, lock the bike up and clip clop into the lifts which takes me to the showers and gym. I do the workout / go for a swim / just shower and get dressed as quickly as possible. At this point I’ve often forgotten something … luckily there is an M&S right under the building and I’ve had to buy numerous emergency tights and emergency knickers from there!

    I grab porridge with dried bananas and a bit of honey from the canteen and take it up to my desk to eat while I check my emails. And there we go!

    • Michelle 21/05/2014 at 6:39 pm #

      Good to keep busy!

      My morning is fairly chilled because I’m incapable of sleeping past 6am – ideally I should just sleep for longer… One day! When I used to do triathlon I did the ride/swim/ride/work routine – I miss it a tiny bit but I do like how time efficient it is to get training in on the way to work!

      Oops on the missing backpack! I did once forget my helmet… didn’t realise until I was half way to work… of course by this point too late.

  2. Adam 21/05/2014 at 2:30 pm #

    I’m lucky in that my door to door commute is around 8 minutes on a good day, from Elephant and Castle to Westminster.

    I don’t even work up a sweat! The most taxing part of my commute is the slight rise of Westminster bridge……..

    I do eat breakfast at home, blended oats, choc protein powder, cinnamon, milk and a banana in a smoothie maker. Yum

  3. Mrs janet groves 21/05/2014 at 5:45 pm #

    I don’t commute as I don’t work . I’m disabled due to long term mental health problems and fibromyalgia ( a painful muscle disorder ). – but I cycle 25 miles at a steady pace, 5 times a week. My husband follows me for safety. Cycling is my way of staying sane.- an essential part of my routine to cope and stop my muscles from seizing up. I get on my bike in my daily routine, no matter how I feel.and allways I I feel better and I can manage for another day.

  4. Michelle 21/05/2014 at 6:41 pm #

    Well done on logging your daily 25 miles a day, I’m sure it’s really good for you and lovely of your husband to follow! Keep it up and keep enjoying it 🙂

  5. Tom 21/05/2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Double espresso, juice, toast, 8 miles to work (Leyton to Bermondsey) often stopping off in Brick Lane to pick up a beigel for lunch.

  6. Rich 21/05/2014 at 8:55 pm #

    My morning routine has changed recently with having a new baby and selling the second car.

    Now that my wife is at home during the day, the car stays with her and I have no option, but to ride. Previously, if the weather was particularly bad or I was tired, I could drive, but that isn’t an option any more. Necessity is the mother of invention!

    So, at the moment, my son believes that 3am is a good time to start talking to his toys and by 4am, I’m up with him to allow my wife to get some sleep as she’ll have been up a couple of times with him during the night. I take him downstairs and lay him on the sofa whilst I make my coffee (always coffee). We then have a chat for ten minutes (I chat, he giggles) and he’s asleep again, this time until about 7am

    I then trawl the internet for bike stuff – clothing, accessories (at the moment I need mudguards) or anything else that I like the look of. Second coffee and then wash and dress to go at about 5.30am

    My commute is only 15-20 minutes depending on the wind so I’ve moved away from Lycra for that and have “urban” cycling gear – merino tops and cotton trousers.

    Get on the bike and start peddling. I come out of my estate on to the main road and after a couple of minutes I know what the rides going to be like – if I feel fresh it is less likely me and more likely a tail wind which becomes a head wind for 75% of the journey.

    Usually quite uneventful, but being out in the fresh air with nobody else around is brilliant.

    I get to negotiate a decent roundabout and might have a word with somebody cutting me up, but it’s usually over quite quick and I’m soon locking my bike in the shed and walking in to work – my shoes and helmet giving away that I rode in.

    The ride home is a different route and much more interesting – hills, close passes, SMIDSY’s, swearing etc but for arriving in work relaxed yet refreshed, I wouldn’t commute any other way, even when it is chucking it down with rain

  7. Adam Edwards 21/05/2014 at 9:51 pm #

    Alarm at 06:40. Wake teen daughter who is in the middle of GCSEs. Downstairs to find son on computer as he is an early riser. Make tea for partner and take up to her (hey brownie points you know!) Eat half a grapefruit and porridge.

    07:25ish, out the door and on to the Brompton. Down the road and accross behind the cemetery on the shared use path, then round the side of the big roundabout with no cycle path and down French Horn Lane to where there is another cycle path. They don’t join up!

    If I am being efficient, catch the 07:36, if not the 07:47 from Hatfield to Oakleigh Park.

    Cycle up over the hill and down to the Dollis Valley Greenway, one of Barnet’s rare cycle routes. I then follow this path, estate roads and cut throughs to the nasty narrow road under the Dollis Brook viaduct, the place where the tube is hightest above ground (over 100 feet up!) The road is too narrow with two bad central islands. I have to keep a sharp lookout or get cut up.

    Cycle only cut through to Holders Hill Road, see if it’s a day for overtaking the Mazarati commuter stuck in the jam and my chance to watch the school kids mixing with the traffic and the A1 on their bikes. Amazed that so many kids do cycle to both Hazmonean Boys and Girls Schools. Barnet could do so much more for them.

    Cross the A1 and then take my prefered route up the hill past Sunny Gardens Park to Middlesex University, Hendon. I’m usually at my desk in the Library at 08:50. The rest of the morning can be anything from teaching students to meetings to library enquiries. Cappuncino at 10:00 is a must.

    My route from Oakleigh Park to Hendon is this:



  8. Charles 21/05/2014 at 10:53 pm #

    Get up at 0615, dress, breakfast (all bran, stewed fruit & yoghurt) & leave home at 0650 for the one mile (downhill) ride to Maidenhead station to get the 0702 train to Paddington. The ride from Paddington to Liverpoool St takes about 25 minutes depending on how many traffic lights are red. Arrive at work, quick wash & change in the gents and working by 0815.

    Stop work at 1730 (hopefully!), change and pack up and on the road at 1745 to get the 1818 train back to Maidenhead, arriving home at about 1850.

    During the summer I occasionally take my main bike up to work and ride it all the way home (about 35 miles).

  9. Robert 22/05/2014 at 4:50 pm #

    What a nice idea, Michelle and very nice to read about your morning commute and that of others’ who have reacted.
    Here’s mine:
    My commute is about 9 miles, 40 minutes, from Lower Sydenham to The City.
    The shortest way would be about 7.5 miles but a steep hill and horrible traffic made me find a slightly longer way which goes through some parks which follow a small river and railway line and after that the traffic at least isn’t mental.
    I wake up at 07:15 and have a shower followed by coffee and three or four corn crackers with cheese and jam. I feel the same when I see colleagues eat in the office: I must to eat before I go!
    During breakfast I quickly go through my emails and the weather / current temperature and I get dressed. The back pack has been packed the night before. I have always done this, even when I used to take the train. If I didn’t I’d be late and/or would forget things.
    I unlock the bike from its two locks and a cable going through the wheels on the balcony and take it downstairs via the elevator.
    A few slow but quiet streets take me to a very busy road which needs to be crossed to get into the park. Despite their traffic-light being red anyway, hardly ever will a car stop to let any pedestrians or cyclists cross the street until they have finally all jammed up and have come to a halt.
    What follows very much makes up for the wait: a nice meandering asphalt /gravel bike path with grass, shrubs and trees on both sides and a small stream where the only sounds are the stream, the birds and the bike tires on the gravel.
    There are three bridges that cross the stream, then a short bit across a DYI place’s parking and through a tunnel under a road and railway line and then it is back into another park.
    After about three miles I have to leave the park but instead of busy traffic I found some long and quiet streets where the biggest danger lies in pedestrians stepping onto the road without looking and where numerous speed bumps make it uncomfortable. But at least there are hardly any cars.
    After this it starts to become busier and busier. First past a school where arriving parents and children make it quite a challenge to cycle past without hitting anyone, even at slow-ish speed. Then past some building sites where often all traffic gets stopped to let some truck manoeuvre.
    Half way down my commute the traffic gets much busier and the road surface becomes truly crap. But a bit further at least there are bus lanes so the cycling itself is not that scary. Until I reach Tower Bridge. Too narrow for all the traffic, it is the bit I dislike the most.
    Sometimes there is a slow cyclist holding up everyone else who tries to overtake the cars or sometimes cars or vans do not leave enough space for us to cycle past.
    However, after the Bridge it is just a few more streets and as it starts by going downhill off the bridge, it makes me feel like I have just completed a race and I can just relax the last streets.
    I have the fob for the door to the basement in my sleeve but usually the door is opened by the security guy. I park my bike in a safe space underneath the office, together with some 10-15 other bikes and take the lift upstairs where I will change from sweaty cycling clothes into jeans and t-shirt.
    Around ten o’clock I change into shirt and suit. I do not usually have another shower at that moment as I will have another shower after the gym during lunchtime and I think three showers a day is quite enough 😉

  10. Billy Stark 23/05/2014 at 10:41 am #

    Hi , my morning routine varies because I work shifts. I know this is London cyclist but I live in edinburgh. Early shift is a 4.45am rise I pack my bag the night before so I don’t have to search around in the morning .
    I’ve tried various breakfasts and the best for me is 2 slices of toast with honey, it’s fuel but doesn’t feel heavy on my stomach like cereal did.Then I leave about 5.10.
    I’ve got a 14 mile commute . The first 5 miles is along the A 8 eastbound. There is a cycle path of sorts, mostly covered with bumps, tree roots , cracks, pot holes and glass! At this time of the morning traffic flow is light so I stick to the road. Thereafter it’s a general uphill cycle which takes about 50 mins.
    Arrive at work and have a shower and sit in the canteen with a frij chocolate milk and cereal bar.
    Work starts about 6.30
    Later in in the morning I’ll make porridge and snack on fruit etc.

  11. Alan Moore 23/05/2014 at 11:18 am #

    Depends on whether I’m on school delivery duty.

    If not, it’s easy, I get up usually a little before 8, have a quick splash, chuck on some jeans and a shirt, and hop on the bike. I cycle in ordinary clothes on a Dutch bike 5 miles through the centre of the universe, SE1 to NW1: South Bank, Waterloo Bridge, Covent Garden, Soho, Marylebone. Slowly so as not to get too sweaty. Takes about 45 mins, often with Radio 4 burbling tinnily in my shirt pocket.

    Very occasionally I might instead take a brolly and the tube, which takes about 35 mins.

    OR get up (usually a little AFTER 8), wake 6 year old daughter, leave her to get dressed while I get her some breakfast, leave her to eat cereal while I have a quick splash and put on jeans and shirt, head off at 9 to walk to school (me pushing my bike). Usually the neighbour’s kids walk with us too. THEN I cycle.. you know the rest.. and get to work at 10 instead of 9 (they’re flexible that way).

    Then I buy a coffee and a bacon bagel (a cultural melange that always feels slightly sinful! 🙂

    Am I doing it right..? 😉

  12. Monique 23/05/2014 at 12:19 pm #

    I work 4 days a week in London and I try to cycle at least twice a week, it’s the only way as a mum of 2 I can fit in excercise and it also saves me £200 per month!

    I wake up at 6.30 and my husband makes coffee & brings milk for the kids. We all sit together and drink our drinks and then we get ready.

    I usually try to get at least one child dressed and then get my kit on, head to toe Lycra – I’m favouring Le Col kit at the moment.

    I leave the house at around 7.15 -7.25 and head towards work. I cycle along the river to Hampton Court, over the bridge & on towards Kingston, there I take a small back road away from the one way system which in turn leads up to Richmond Park, I go up Dark Hill (swearing that one day it won’t take it out of me!) and head to Roehampton Gate, admiring the scenery on the way.

    From there I head towards Barnes and on to Hammersmith and along Holland Park Avenue to Nottinghill Gate, through Bayswater & finally Paddington. It usually takes 1hr & 8 mins.

    I chain up my bike in the underground car park and then clip clop my way up to the 3rd floor heading for my pedestal where I keep toiletries, make up hair brush etc & I usually have 2 outfits in there too.

    I then head to the second floor for a shower. Once showered I go drop my stuff back in my drawer and head to get a second cup of coffee. Breakfast generally arrives at 9.30 – 10.00 and is usually a couple of pieces of fruit. By which time I could happily eat my own arm!

    My return home is a different route and usually takes around the same time but is slightly longer at 17.5 miles.

    As long as it’s not raining when I leave I don’t mind getting a bit wet, the worst part is putting on wet kit for the ride home – I wish I had access to a drying room! I love that I have found a way to excercise but it is tiring for me with kids and work too but I LOVE my bicycle.

  13. Mark 23/05/2014 at 12:57 pm #

    wanke up at 8, jump into my cycling gear and out the door by 8:05!
    i certainly cant eat until ive been awake for at least an hour.
    get to the office at 8:30 and shower (luxury!), then make breakfast, have a coffee and check emails.

    i wouldnt have it any other way 🙂

  14. Mark 23/05/2014 at 1:02 pm #


  15. JW 23/05/2014 at 1:58 pm #

    Up about 6.30, go around waking kids and having coffee, head out at about 7am and then immediately faced with a hill climb (only about 90m but when you’re still waking up…..), then 14k into the city along the Harrow Road. Arrive in work about 1 hr 5 mins later (according to Garmin). Padlock bike in work bike area, sit in the green for about 10 mins to cool down, then quick wash, coffee and at desk by about 8.45ish.

    Similar timings on the way home, but the 14k home is a gradual overall incline, so takes about 10 mins longer on way home. Am up to three cycling commutes at week at present, let’s hope the weather holds!

  16. JW 23/05/2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Just realised re above, 14 miles, not km!!

  17. Mark K 23/05/2014 at 2:33 pm #

    Great stuff – keep em flowing.

    My journey to work here in NW London is to walk from dining room to office (3 secs and 10 feet) – cos I work at home.!

    Identical trip on way back

    Instead i make numerous trips to shops (not all close by) to do household purchases. Much faster and cheaper than driving in a very congested area

    Have to rely on trips with friends for longer rides 30-50 miles each week-end. at an average speed of a leisurely 18-22kph

    Would be useful to include your age and the distance/time (which most of you do anyhow!)

    OK OK – I am just 70


  18. David 23/05/2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Wake up, wash & dress in the dark, tip-toe downstairs, STRONG coffee, whey protein, tablets, morning constitutional (whilst reading book and drinking afore mentioned coffee), realise legs have gone back to sleep, hop around muttering as feeling returns.

    Cycling shoes on, check bike over leave house usually between 0430 and 0530 (depending on where I’m working) and cycle the 8 miles to my depot via Woolwich Foot Tunnel.

    Breakfast usually skipped in favour of lunch.

    In winter – God, I wish I had a 9-5 job!
    In summer – Thank God I don’t have a 9-5 job!

  19. Rob 23/05/2014 at 11:49 pm #

    5:45am, alarm goes. Already? Temptation to hit snooze button having been resisted, I ease myself slowly out of bed, ears alert to the twin terrors of cycling commuters; the tell tale tip tap or rain on the roof and the swish of wind through the trees that somehow seems to know exactly in which direction I am cycling! Work clothes are already packed. Anyone else notice how ten mins goes in 30 seconds whilst getting ready to go in the morning? Breakfast is a must. 13 miles of hilly, windswept lonely roads (in the winter at least) lie ahead. Nice straight, flat five miles gets me to the centre of Preston and then my first decision. The Guild Wheel or the roads? mmm 13 miles on roads or 17 but through beautiful countryside? Must decide fast as I hurtle down Penwortham Hill. It’s not raining – so a no-brainer – along the Wheel it is! As I tick off the miles, I start to psych myself up for Redscar Hill – 25% and a slippery surface too!! Who else gets their HR into the red just getting to work? I value the beautiful views and the fact that there’s not a single car in my path for the next 7 miles!! Just brilliant, isn’t it? Having to join traffic again for the last couple of miles brings the real world back into focus again. What hits you most is just how noisy it all is! As I’m a teacher, I get the luxury of a whole shower block to myself. MMM luxury but I think I’ve earned it.

  20. Ricky 24/05/2014 at 7:46 am #

    Up at 5:30. Cornflakes. Out by 6:30 17.5 miles ahead of me Elstree to London Bridge. Busy 3 Lane A1. Then very dodgy Brent Cross flyover. Finchley Rd and then the very best part seeing the giraffes at the zoo from the Regent’s Park ring Rd. Then on to Holborn, City and across the Thames. Then destination shower at work. Feel safer cycling in central London than out in the suburbs. Especially Hendon Way & Brent Cross. One day there will be a proper cycle lane!

  21. Steve 24/05/2014 at 9:32 am #

    Alarm goes off at 6am shall I oh go on then hit the snooze button! could do with another 10, snooze alarm kicks in 9 mins later (why do apple have to nick that extra minute sleep from me every day). Up now sling on track suit walk downstairs to b greeted by the forever excited Zorro the springer spaniel, “come on mate let’s go to the park” (I always talk to Zorro get much better reply than teenage daughters). 20 mins later back home to the mumblings of eldest daughter (15), wife tells me tea’s in the pot. Sit down to a nice cuppa and watch bbc weather (can’t stand itv weather why do they still use those little cloud/rain/sun icons & not moving images). 7:10 time to go wake up daughters 2 & 3 (youngest still at age of pleased to see me, gives me a hug :)) ). 2nd daughter looks at me like I’ve just murdered Harry styles, brush teeth, pack bag, check tyres & brakes then set off on 9 miles from Barnet to hackney. 40 mins later in the office, shower then cereals & another cuppa, ready for a full day before return journey.

  22. Spencer 24/05/2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Alarm at 06:00, though generally wake around 06:30. Start bath running whilst I shave, have a brew and a bowl of cereal.

    Make lunch and drinks for the day. Go through emails and check weather whilst finishing off breakfast and tea then jump into the bath!

    Get changed into cycling gear then pack panniers with office clothes, lunch, etc.

    Can anyone tell me why the hell I always feel the need to go to the toilet again before I cycle in?

    Finally I cycle along local roads and back streets, heading down towards the A13 then bomb along much of the length of CS3 (making a point to say good morning to the Saffron Avenue security guards). Turn right at Tower Gateway and head into the City, pop out at Bank then along Cheapside before finally arriving at the office’s carpark (again a quick chat and morning to whom ever’s on the gate whilst they check my details).

    Inevitably propping the bike up in some clear space as the allocated racks are always full, remove the panniers and walk to the lift before heading to the office. Grab my stuff, go to the showers, change then back into the office to start another fun filled day behind a desk…

    • Mark 24/05/2014 at 7:09 pm #

      U bathe.. Cycle. Then shower.
      innocent question, why do you have a bath?! Lol

  23. Ricky 24/05/2014 at 10:19 pm #

    Because Spencer is dam right cleaner then the rest of us.

  24. John 25/05/2014 at 3:19 pm #

    Since I work upstairs my commute is only a flight of stairs. But I still have a morning routine, which I love because I am a 100% morning person. First I arise at 4am or so… to worship the God of Coffee! (central american french roast). Then I click around on Flip-Board for half an hour where I discover fun things like your blog.

    Then I retire to the upstairs studio to begin drawing pictures and corresponding with editors and art directors from all around the world. ( I’m a children’s book illustrator and writer – which is a weird closet profession where I rarely meet anyone I work with, which makes it very isolating). But to overcome the isolation and the sedentary life of working upstairs the fun part of my day is my daily bike ride!

    Without fail, I pack up my trusty vintage Fuji Cambridge for it’s ride up and down the extremely steep hills of Seattle. In the course of my trip to the cafeteria (my goal) I have to go down one steep hill and up another. This gets the blood pumping and forces one to exert themselves – since by nature I’d probably take the path of least resistance if I could. But the hills are unforgiving and I often just walk up them – cursing the fact that my bike doesn’t have a granny gear.

    Anyhow, that’s the fun part of my day – wind whistling through my hair, gliding down a leafy trail on my way to a cafeteria where I get to mingle with real people while I sip a cup of tea. Then it’s back to the studio to race more deadlines.

  25. Jim 25/05/2014 at 9:56 pm #

    My ride takes me round London’s North Circular road.
    I eat a modest bowl of muesli and a glass of juice with my 2 cups of coffee for breakfast before I get my fixed gear bike out as soon after 7am as I can and ride the first mile gently downhill to the junction above the North Circular. I then charge off along the cycle track on the south side, dodging the signposts, footbridges and petrol stations until I reach the service road for the trading estate. If I’m ahead of a pair of cycle commuters I try to keep it that way, but 2 together are faster than one and they usually catch me if they see me. I then join the traffic on the ‘old’ part of the road, dodging busses pulling out and stop at traffic lights that are always red when I arrive and stay red for hours.
    Heading further on my way, I keep on the cycle track/footpath past the hospital and on to the subway under yet another big roundabout. I then switch to the north side of the road where I have the service road to myself for a mile or so. It then continues with pavements and cycle tracks with occasional junctions, traffic lights and pedestrians at bus stops for the next three or four miles, usually against the wind, steeling myself for the massive steep hill at the 10 mile point.
    Reaching the summit, I’m gasping for breath, but can’t stop as the mountain biker I have usually overtaken on the way up is still in sight. Its then a good long downhill, letting the pedals spin for a couple of miles, more junctions, more traffic lights and more bus stops then switch back to the south side service road ready for the short half mile climb up to the office.
    My 14 mile ride is always almost exactly an hour and I just about collapse at the front gates to the car park, fumbling in my bag for my phone stopwatch app and my ID tag. Once I get in the building I jump in the shower before throwing a pint of chocolate milk down my neck, followed by a half a bottle of glucose drink and another cup of coffee or two. I then arrive at my desk, composed and ready for work, looking like I walked from just down the road.

    • Spencer 26/05/2014 at 8:19 pm #

      14 miles in 1 hour, wow! I’m currently managing 13 miles in about 1 hour 15 minutes, did it in 1 hour 1 minute once. Really must improve and break the magical barrier…

  26. Matt Leng 25/05/2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Up at 7.30am. Alpen. Water. Set off at 8am from Brixton, switching afterburner’s on. Arrive Westminster at 8.20am. Sudden realisation shirt is still at home. Swear throughout return journey home.

  27. RobbieC 25/05/2014 at 11:52 pm #

    alarm at 04h40, get out of bed at 04h55. check trains on App, try to download the I-newspaper, check if its raining and what the wind direction is and then a quick shower; panniers filled with lunch (prepared night before) and breakfast (espresso coffee, two croissants and a pack of wheatabix biscuits). 05h30 Leave the house (check front door is locked too many times).

    start the cycle – its 12 miles across the arduous terrain of Romney Marsh, its has wicked climbs (6m over 2 miles in places), and an annoying concrete road. First tranche is to get around the nuclear site, between the lakes (this is the best part of the commute as I check out waht birds I can spot) and reach Lydd, nodding to few regular fellow cyclists heading in opposite direction to start their day at powerstation. Make bet with myself as to when first car of the day will pass me. Get to Lydd, hopefully its less than 20 mins from home. Then from Lydd to Old Romney along Marshy lane. marshy lane is twisty and the wind can be a factor on different parts of it and is where the coastal breeze ends and the land wind takes over. Then to the main road, more and faster traffic here, see how many will pass correctly. Get to the roundabout with the Ashford/Rye road – check watch again,hopefully under 40mins with more than 15 mins to train time. Head along lane towards Appledore, say good morning to sad looking horse and donkey in field beside road at pub and arrive at station. If I am late, I have to sprint this section to ensure I can get across the level crossing before the barriers come down (my record is 9mins).

    Fold bicycle. Nervously look at information board, it it late (or are they going to admit it), is it still running? Say hello to regular commuters at station, scan track towards Rye. If time, sit down and enjoy rural ambience of station and birdsong and hopefully warm sun. Board train to Ashford, nerve wracking entry to Ashford – will we make it to platform 2 before the 07h03 for Charing Cross leaves, as the timetable suggests it comfortably should? Edge toward the door to get into pole position.

    Sprint along platform 1 to try and reach coach 4 of the Charing Cross train (optimum point for being near barrier at CHX but not so near as it packs out at Sevenoaks). Tie up cycle in doorway, sit down, get out I-Pad, check twitter, eat breakfast and read newspaper. At Headcorn plug in earphones as silence ends and noisy mob get on the train. Hope adjacent seat remains empty as long as possible, from Sevenoaks snooze.. At CHX, wait for people to leave the train, unfold cycle in the vestibule, fumble for ticket at barrier, leave the station and join the throng on the Strand and St James’ park for the short journey to work.

    fumble for ID at entrance, hang up bike, shower, buy coffee and then see if I can get my regular desk and see who I will be sitting next to, today.

  28. John 26/05/2014 at 2:55 pm #

    I can’t believe how many offices in London seem to be equipped with showers! In my decades of living in the USA I can’t ever recall seeing an office with a shower, or people just arriving freshly showered in the elevator.


    • Ricky 26/05/2014 at 3:25 pm #

      That’s because us Brits are so much cleaner than the Yanks!!!

      • Spencer 26/05/2014 at 8:17 pm #

        I’ve worked 24 years in London and thankfully the majority of places I’ve worked have had showers. Though TBH think that’s down to most places I’ve worked have had engineers based there as well (guys going down tunnels, installing equipment on customer sites, etc).

  29. Matt Calabria 27/05/2014 at 2:46 pm #

    My commute has just changed as our office has moved to Central London from Hammersmith. My old commute from East Sheen was a doddle along the river but now I dont feel guilty putting lycra on as its about a 9 mile commute. My routine is pretty standard but I am normally up by 6am to take the dog for a walk, then home breakfast with the kids, get them ready for school, make a coffee for me and the wife then I am gone. I think my commute takes in the worst of London – High St Kensington ( I am sure there are worse places) and the best of London – through Hyde Park, a quick roll down Oxford st and I am in Wimpole Street in about 35mins. As the offices are new they have specced them for cyclists so good showers and safe bike storage. A big shout out of thanks to all those fellow commuters on this route I have asked which is the best way – most have showed me which was great. Cheers

  30. Gpunto 30/05/2014 at 10:21 pm #

    Alarm set to go off at 6am.
    Bowl of milk with Nesquik and wheatabix.
    Prepare my daily lunch consisting of sandwich, assorted fruit and one or two yogurts for the day.
    Check news and weather forecast while having breakfast.
    Pack the rucksack with working clothes and lunch.
    Quick washing of face and brushing teeth, getting lycra dressed, and off at 6.30.

    The ride is about 8 miles from Putney to Euston Square and takes – at that time of the morning – around 40-42 minutes door to door.
    Arrive at the office, drink a pint of cool water and have a shower.

    By 7.40 I am at work, check e-mails and plan the working day.
    One hour later I am at a Caffe’ Nero for a cappuccino and a pain au chocolate croissant. This can be just down the road from the office or in the place where I have the first meeting of the day.

    The best part is the gentle ride through Hyde Park (or Battersea Park, depending on the route I choose), and through Chelsea.
    This gives me time to observe other active people at that time of the day: cyclists, joggers, dog walkers, horse riders.

    The same route on my way home in the afternoon takes 10-15 minutes longer due to motorised traffic.

    I realised that when I have to go somewhere within London I consider using public transports as a last resort.

  31. Mik 02/06/2014 at 1:50 pm #

    Depends on which campus I’m working on…

    The best one, up at 7 ish, clean teeth etc. grab a T-shirt, socks & pants for the packing. Add trousers, washkit and towel because it’s not my normal campus. Downstairs, select bike kit depending on what the weather looks like outside (lycra but I don’t do arm & leg warmers so either long sleeve or short, how many layers and does the waterproof come out. Fill the hydration pack, shove the ipad mini and clothes on top in a bag.

    Breakfast is Weetabix and a banana.

    Out of the gate and down through the lanes to Maidstone, fight the traffic through the one way system and get to the bottom of the North Downs, climb Blue Bell Hill up the cycle paths. My current best cycling moment ever was getting a salute from the guy finishing the descent as I was starting the climb the camaraderie was visceral.

    Top of Blue Bell Hill, having been to the lowest gear and back up a bit it’s start the long drop down towards Chatham and the Medway. Through the bike lanes in Chatham’s pedestrian precinct, up the short bump by Fort Amherst and swoop down Dock Rd before locking the bike in the purpose built hefty steel bike cage. Shower and change for work. 13 miles or so in the bag hopefully under 55 minutes.

    The normal one sees me packing considerably less (no trousers, no wash kit, no towel) but leaving the house by car with the bike in the back. Out past the hospital, M20 to Wrotham Hill, leave the motorway and A roads to West Kingsdown and park up before Brands Hatch. Remove hoodie, add waterproof if it’s one of those days. Down the sweeping hills of the A20 (enjoy them now, they’re a pain to ride back up). The surprisingly easy uphill from Farningham to Swanley and the traffic goes from cars overtaking fast to nose to tail traffic. Through Swanley and back in to urban rural to Foots Cray and Sidcup Hill, worst of the ascents in on this route. Sidcup comes and goes, New Eltham, playing leap frog with the buses, if you can overtake and get two stops ahead of them, you’ll not see them again. If they get a clear stop they’ll overtake back and so on. Another climb through Eltham, nod to the first of the school crossing ladies and down to Rochester Way. Up and over the Blackwall Tunnel approach then right to the only non-road part of the route, hope there are no pedestrians on the shared pavement, under the subway and back streets past St John’s Church and the prep school kids being dropped off in badly parked Porsche’s and Audi’s. Follow the cycle route on to Blackheath and tut at anyone using the footpath. Down the side of Greenwich Park, past the Maritime Museum and on to Campus. Hide the bike in the locked room behind the beware of the Tiger sign. Walk the length of the campus, hence MTB shoes & cleats, put the new clothes in the locker, take out todays clothes, towel & washkit. Shower while the PC is booting up in the office next door. A little over 16 miles, on a good day a little over an hour, although needing that shower!

  32. Miranda 02/06/2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Alarm goes off at 8am and I’m out the door with my trustee pannier (filled with some paperwork and my lunch) at 8:40.

    I live in Dalston and I work in South Kensington, so my cycle ride is 7.5 miles. I start going through Newington Green, get on to the Essex Road, use some quiet streets and cycle lanes to get me to Holborn. Once there, I battle the traffic through central London, eventually making it to Green Park, where I have a pleasant ride on cycle paths through the parks until I hit Knightsbridge.

    I ride a lady’s upright bicycle and I don’t race, so the journey takes a comfortable 50 minutes. I cycle 4 days a week and give myself a break on Wednesdays.

    I get into the office at 9:30am and breakfast on a bowl of muesli and peppermint tea.

  33. Martin Mac 11/06/2014 at 9:47 pm #

    What lovely lives you all lead!! Myself wake up 4.00-415 am. Coffee and a coupla fags while watching the news and weather. Pack pannier with packed lunch before tiptoing down communal fire escape to unlock my bike. Hesitantly open main door to our flats to check that nobody loitering outside. Start cycling and try to avoid the abuse from the others around at that ungodly hour – only most of them are on their way home (if they’ve got one!). Keep off the main roads to avoid traffic but feel more vulnerable as I’m isolated. 25 minute cycle to work. Return route is different as I like to see my friends for quick beer after work. Garratt Lane is a nightmare as all the cars are too fast and come too close. Push the bike home from pub.

    Been cycling most of my life but cars don’t give damn anymore. I live in Tooting (SW London) and cycle to Wandsworth (also SW London). Both highly des-res places but night crime is massive and 4.30 am (when I leave home) is still nightime for many. Summer is nicer as the streets are brighter. I love cycling but at the hours I cycle it is very dangerous.

  34. Monkeysuit 25/06/2014 at 9:59 am #

    Roll out of bed ten minutes later than I should, scramble to get my cycling gear on (mostly the correct way round), down a pint of water, unlock my bike and pedal like mental hoping my boss isn’t in before me!

  35. Simon 16/07/2014 at 8:21 am #

    Get up around anywhere between 5:30am – 6:30 depending on whether or not its a gym day. Eat a banana, down some water and head off. The gym is fortunately very close to my home (2 min ride) and on the road I take to work anyway. Get in my weights session, leave and start cycling to work, the level of cursing depending on if I did an upper or lower body weights session. Get to work, down my peanut butter breakfast smoothie prepped the night before. Shower and enjoy weetbix, toast and orange juice at my desk.

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