Author Topic: Audax without a car  (Read 20240 times)

Weirdy Biker

Audax without a car
« on: July 07, 2010, 12:53:53 pm »
(Looked to see if there was a thread on this, but none apparently)

I'm thinking of giving up my car for various reasons.  At the moment I really use it for is riding to/from audax events.

How feasible is it to do this whilst:

1) having a variety of audax events around the country (I tend to travel outside my local area)
2) doing 20 events a year (including all distances)
3) holding down a full time job with a traditional working pattern

Any tips that might make breaking my dependence on the car easier welcomed, but bearing in mind I don't have the mindset of riding through the night to do events and riding back.  I can think of some myself, but these are all "theoretical" rather than grounded in experience, which I value.

Martin

Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2010, 01:01:21 pm »
I was very limited in what events I could do until we had a second car; Denmead was pretty much the only place I could get to by train from home to be on time for any events (and that was because it was a Saturday service) even the Battle and Back which is on my own line required an email to the org for a late start.

Sundays are terrible for trains; you can't even get to Oxford for an 0800 start and that's without engineering works; it's a reason why I always run my (train accessible) event on a Saturday.

Otherwise it was travel up the night before and often the day after too or stay up in London Friday night to get an earlier train.

my 2p

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2010, 01:02:47 pm »
Some events are accessible by train, but you are at the mercy of rail replacements, delays, and the other assorted train daemons.

I generally borrow my parents' car for non-train-accessible events.  Could you enter one of these car-sharing pools where you just use one of their cars when necessary?  If I didn't have the option of borrowing the Wagon, I'd probably do that.

TOBY

  • hello
Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2010, 01:05:18 pm »
I don't have a car and don't drive either, I manage to ride everything I want - get rid of it and you'll work it out.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2010, 01:05:54 pm »
I was very limited in what events I could do until we had a second car; Denmead was pretty much the only place I could get to by train to be on time for any events (and that was because it was a Saturday service) even the Battle and Back which is on my own line required an email to the org for a late start.

Otherwise it was travel up the night before and often the day after too

my 2p

Yeah, that's the rub. To travel to an audax by car, I would need two such vehicles. Leaving Mrs Manotea marooned at home in darkest W4 would not go down well. I'd like to work up to riding out to more events but whether that proves practical is down to logistics. TG and Matth show it can be done!

Euan Uzami

Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2010, 01:07:45 pm »
do a cost analysis of hiring one for any non-train-able audax.

Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2010, 01:08:50 pm »
I don't have a (working) car (though I can use Mrs S's if need be). This is the first season when I've not had my own car, so I'm learning too.

Lifts with other audaxers is a good option for more distant rides. I have an "arrangement" with Fidgetbuzz who collects/drops me at a convenient point on his route on the A11 - it requires 50km extra riding for me (25km each way) but that's just fine.
I have also on occasion made an ECE out of an Essex ride and cadged a lift one way.
I have also made an ECE 400 out of a 200; this works when the distances/locations are right. No crazy overnight rides required for this - but a pretty early start (3am), so that may put you off.

I've used trains and overnight stops before. Trains to Amersham and overnight with rellies works well for the 7A. I've had a lift back with Fidgetbuzz on a couple of occasions, and got the train once.

Do you camp? (Ooer Missus). Combining trains, camping and a couple of overnights can increase options.

When all else fails, and you want maximum convenience - hire a car for the weekend. Some operators do cheap as chips weekend deals. Sharing such with another rider would make that an uber-cheap option.

Martin

Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2010, 01:09:08 pm »
Yeah, that's the rub. To travel to an audax by car, I need two such vehicles. Leaving Mrs Manotea marooned at home in darkess W4 would not go down well.

I suppose I'm about to discover that now Master Zoom has the use of one of the 2 cars  :-\

but as Ben sez; a cost analysis would probably come down in favour of hiring cars / train and staying overnight etc if Audax was all you ever used the car for

Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2010, 01:11:30 pm »
I don't have a car and I manage quite a few Audaxes.

Living in London makes it easier as there are usually direct trains to most destinations (all of the main London stations are within a 10 mile ride from my house, and under 3 miles from work). I think this is the main reason why it's much easier for me compared to the other stories above...

For local-ish rides I'll cycle anything up to 50km to get there:
* 40km to the start of the Willy Warmer one year.
* 75km to the start of a 100km Audax so I made it into an ECE 200 (well, DIY+Cal back then)

Only on a couple of occasions have I blagged a lift in a car (through posting on here) but that just made it easier, I could have still got to the start by riding or getting a train.

Just be prepared for early starts. Riding The Upper Thames meant getting the 5.21am train from Putney to Reading. I was up just as early to get to the Taste Of The Test 200. Using a car would have given me two hours extra sleep.

For events further away (and where the trains don't run early enough in the morning), often longer events, I'll travel up on the Friday night after work by train and stay somewhere nearby.

For the Bryan Chapman I got a train from Paddington at 6.30pm to Bristol Parkway. There by 8pm and then it's a 10 mile ride over to Severn View Services and the Travelodge. Travelodge booked for Sunday night again and an early train Monday back to London and straight in to work. Work don't mind me being late the occasional day, so even getting in at 10.30am isn't a problem, I could do it by 9am but I value the extra lie-in.

The Dean is another train on Friday night and 2 nights at the Peartree Travelodge (I've never finished in time to get a train back to London). If it's a nice day on the Sunday I'll cycle the 100km home from Oxford.

For the Midlander Super Grimpeur it was an evening train (6.30pm or 7pm) from Euston to Birmingham, local train to Moor Green, and then a nearby travelodge (booked for 2 nights). Finish the ride, back to the hotel for more sleep, up and get the train(s) home.

The recent Snowdon and Coast was a slow (but direct) train from Marylebone to Shrewsbury. Got in to the Travelodge at 10.30pm. Up at 6am to get to the start. Ride the event and back to the station to get a train home (it helps being slow).

This does sometimes limit my choice of Audaxes. I'd rather not have to stay away on the Friday night, but I haven't found a ride I couldn't do if I really want to do it.

Good deals on Travelodge prices and train tickets if you book long enough in advance and are prepared to be a little bit flexible. Most of the time I pay under £30 a night for the hotel room and under £20 for a single train ticket.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Jaded

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Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2010, 01:12:29 pm »
Some events are accessible by train, but you are at the mercy of rail replacements, delays, and the other assorted train daemons.

Roads can be unreliable too.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2010, 01:14:28 pm »
This is true, but for some reason being stuck in traffic lacks the frustrated helplessness of being chucked out of a train miles from anywhere and then being told that the rail replacement bus doesn't take bikes. 

DanialW

Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2010, 01:14:32 pm »
I rarely drive to events. I used to do it all the time, but my conscience got the better of me. Here are my tactics:

1. Ride locally. I always favour a local event over one that's further away. I'm lucky to have a handful of very good organisers near to me.

2. Ride DIYs and perms with friends. Some will argue that this undermines organisers' effort. As someone who has watched a carefully planned 300 tank, I still maintain that 'flash' events are part of AUK's future.

3. Learn to love the train. Get a netbook, and you'll soon realise that driving is dead time.

4. Learn to love the train. Get used to Sunday delays, blagging your bike onto a coach, mobile phone addicts and drunks. It's all part of the fun, if you ask me.

5. Car share. I've never done this. I've tried to arrange it for others, unsuccessfully. I'm sure it's feasible, perhaps if you have friends nearby.


Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2010, 01:16:24 pm »
Just be prepared for early starts. Riding The Upper Thames meant getting the 5.21am train from Putney to Reading. I was up just as early to get to the Taste Of The Test 200.

Thats the rub. If I was getting up at circa 4:30 to get to a Reading/Basingstoke event then I'd prefer to ride out (fitness/logistics allowing).

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2010, 01:18:29 pm »
This is true, but for some reason being stuck in traffic lacks the frustrated helplessness of being chucked out of a train miles from anywhere and then being told that the rail replacement bus doesn't take bikes. 

True!
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

TOBY

  • hello
Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2010, 01:21:15 pm »
This is true, but for some reason being stuck in traffic lacks the frustrated helplessness of being chucked out of a train miles from anywhere and then being told that the rail replacement bus doesn't take bikes. 

True!

It's ok you've got a bike with you  :D

Martin

Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2010, 01:25:13 pm »
FY; and you want to be a car-less organiser too; that's brave  :o

αdαmsκι

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Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2010, 01:25:22 pm »
I don't have a car and don't drive either, I manage to ride everything I want - get rid of it and you'll work it out.

What Toby failed to mention is that Mrs. Toby has a car and has been known to drive him to Chepstow for 6am starts. That's love :-*.
What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

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Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2010, 01:25:27 pm »
If you check the engineering timetables before booking (and after booking in the run-up to the journey) you can avoid the engineering works, or at least be aware they're occurring and plan around them. You just have to know where to look to make sure you're not booking something that does have a bus/coach section (not all train booking websites will tell you about all of the works). Just because someone will sell you a ticket doesn't meant the train will exist.

I've never had engineering works that I didn't know about before traveling. I've once had to rejig my tickets because some were added to the schedule after I'd booked my tickets.

I've definitely suffered from unplanned disruptions though; idiot on the tracks in Birmingham, overhead power lines blown down, but these are rare and generally just lead to delays. And, again, living in London means I don't have to worry about missing connections. And unplanned disruptions aren't unique to the railways.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2010, 01:27:35 pm »
I don't have a car and don't drive either, I manage to ride everything I want - get rid of it and you'll work it out.

What Toby failed to mention is that Mrs. Toby has a car and has been known to drive him to Chepstow for 6am starts. That's love :-*.

That's a conversation I've never dared start!

Panoramix

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Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2010, 01:31:10 pm »
For me going away with the car costs double brownie points so I have nearly never done it!

I try to ride locall ish events (ie Bristol, Chepstow or Cardiff) and when the start is too far away, I stay at the Youth Hostel the Friday night. I either ride to the start or take the train. Bristol is a good starting point as it is the crossroad of 2 main lines. I still have to go south and do Devon events.

I don't ride often but it is more down to lack of time than lack of car.
Chief cat entertainer.

red marley

Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2010, 01:31:39 pm »
I live in London, don't (can't) drive and manage between 30-50 points worth of calendar audaxes per year. I'd echo Greenbank's comments. Trains work pretty well for many events, and advance bookings of Travelodges can greatly ease logistics.

The best train-accessible events aren't necessarily the most local. For example, getting to Kent based events for me as a Hackney (NE London) resident is a bit of a pain. But last weekend's Border Raid in Darlington was very easy by train. Have a look at the fast and direct train routes that are easy for you to get to and then look at the audaxes that are not far from stations on that line.

I would also encourage gentle and polite lobbying of organisers to consider train access when thinking about start times/locations (e.g. one of the Essex rides starts at half-past the hour rather then the usual on the hour which makes getting an early train from London much easier).

CommuteTooFar

  • Inadequate Randonneur
Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2010, 01:35:26 pm »
How I got to places.

Whitemill 6am Train to Carmarthen should arrive before 8am, not always then ride to start.
Bynea same train to Llanelli  plenty of time to get to Bynea.
Pontardawe 7am train to Neath ride to Pontardawe just in time.
Chepstow for 200km.  First or second train of day plenty of time.
Down Ampney train to Swindon ride to start.
Merthyr, Brecon, Bassaleg ride to start.
Bridgwater, North Pertherton, West Buckland ride to brothers house in Bridgwater previous day (90 miles), ride to start, ride from Bridgwater next day. (three day weekend)
Tavistock.  Train to Exeter. Ride over Dartmoor, check in to Hotel, ride two audax, ride back to Exeter or Plymouth because I am bored of Dartmoor train home. (four day weekend)
Almondsbury train to Bristol Patchway ride to start.
Droitwich early train to Bromsgrove then local train back to Droitwich. Arrived as controller was leaving car park. Too close.

Martin

Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2010, 01:36:18 pm »

I live in London

I would also encourage gentle and polite lobbying of organisers to consider train access when thinking about start times/locations (e.g. one of the Essex rides starts at half-past the hour rather then the usual on the hour which makes getting an early train from London much easier).

London is generally much easier for trains than the rest of the SE

Remember that many orgs do not plan their start times around trains though but when the facilities / helpers are available; and also based on traffic on the main roads near the start.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2010, 01:40:04 pm »
Another option is to ride the calendar event as a perm (org allowing), starting at an alternate point of the route which you can get to more easily than the start. Its not the same as doing the calendar event proper but judious timing will at least mean you will have company and manned controls for some of the ride.

N.B., I live in London and no way could I get to Hertford by train for 8am on a Sunday, and even if I could it would still be as fast to ride out.

red marley

Re: Audax without a car
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2010, 01:41:54 pm »
Remember that many orgs do not plan their start times around trains though but when the facilities / helpers are available; and also based on traffic on the main roads near the start.

Sure - there may be many things that influence planned start times. It's just that I get the impression that some organisers (e.g. judging by routesheet instructions on getting to the start) probably don't consider train access as a factor that might sway numbers.