First commute of the year

Yesterday I took the trike to work and back – a round trip of 65 miles. Up at 4 a.m. for a 2 hour ride to work and nearly 3 hours home again. I tend to take a detour on the way home to avoid rush hour traffic on the A7 – there’s some nice back roads over by Carrington and Middleton that you can take. Really steep hills and very hard work on a fully laden trike!

I averaged 16 mph in which isn’t too shabby for the trike, although it is overall slightly downhill. 12.7 mph home – urgh! All the stop / start in Edinburgh completely kills your average speed, and it’s worse on the way home – much busier getting out of Edinburgh. Once you get to the Carrington road you are cycling in terrain that looks like this: /\/\/\ 🙂 However it is virtually car free and is cycling bliss. If you’re feeling particularly masochistic you can turn right at Middleton and take another detour over the Granites and down to Heriot which adds a few miles and another big climb, but being on the trike, it just takes too long so I went down the A7 from Middleton to Heriot and then back onto the old coach road down to Stow from there. The longer route is 40 miles door to door with a lot of climbing, making 70 miles round trip which I think is more than enough on top of a full day at work!

I was planning on using the Fuego which is a fair bit faster once you’re out of town, but unfortunately the tab that houses the derailleur hanger has been bent and needs straightened out again. Gear shifting is basically not working, so I need to get that into the Bicycle Works to get sorted ASAP.

With the Fuego, I can take the canal towpath from work all the way into Edinburgh and then out via the MUP under Arthur’s Seat to Niddrie. This means no traffic at all other than fellow cyclists, zombie pedestrians plugged into their phones and the occasional dog. Unfortunately the trike is a bit wide for the towpath – it would fit but I think it would leave so little space for other riders and pedestrians that it would be a bit rude to ride there during busy times, so I stick to the roads which even at 3.30 pm are already very busy.

If you’re not worried about speed (which I am, given the length of the commute), then the trike is a fantastic machine. It is so confidence inspiring in busy traffic. Also, I have noticed that the roads in Edinburgh are getting worse every year – they really are in a shocking state now. You get your teeth rattled quite a bit on the trike with three tyre tracks to cope with on the bumps and craters and no suspension, but it’s a lot less stressful knowing that you’re not going to get your wheel stuck in a crack and come off in busy traffic. I think for town riding, a two wheeler really needs some wider tyres such as Marathon Racers in order to get a bit more security over the cracks.

Felt great to ride to work again – hopefully I will find time to do this once a week going forward from here. I did my 1000th mile on the trike on the way home. Slept like a baby last night and tired today!

7 thoughts on “First commute of the year

  1. 65 miles for round trip. That’s a week’s worth for the average city bike commuter!
    Was out with our guest yesterday for a ride of only 54 miles. Noted it was quite windy – trike or anything reclined felt good.

    The Carrington route uses a lot of energy and I would be glad of triple on a trike – (ok you may have only used two out of the three rings!). Your text graphic sums it up well.
    MUP = multi-use path? Should call it RHP = random hazard path 😉
    Still on balance nicer than many routes of course.

    Fuego hanger is small job with right tool to straighten. X-Tools Pro Gear Hanger Alignment Tool on offer online. Although a Bicycle Works check over never does any harm.

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  2. That’s an impressive commute. Deteriorating road conditions made me add front suspension to my rear suspension Trice QNT and I found it made a big difference. Since then I acquired a VTX and oddly despite no suspension it feels almost as comfortable as the Trice… possibly because you sit a bit further behind the front axle. A big wheel in the back helps!

    I’ve also often wondered if a Challenge style suspension fork could be added to the Fuego… has anyone tried this?

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  3. Wow that is an impressive average speed on a trike!
    Have you ever thought of putting the Fuego 406 front wheel on the M5 (assuming they are both disc brakes)for commuting
    With that smaller front wheel up front it becomes quite tame in the urban jungle
    I have resorted to the dual suspension Street Machine as an urban assault vehicle and now with a Copenhagen wheel which having turned 70 I feel entitled to!

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    1. I have thought about it but haven’t yet tried….. the Fuego is such a good commuting bike as it is, I’ve kinda reserved the M5 for those days when only fast will do. I wouldn’t fancy some of the steep hill starts I have on the way home at traffic lights on the fixed tiller M5 – it’s a bit precarious sometimes. I hope I am half as fit as you if I reach 70!

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