Is inner city coker commuting possible?

Basically, im interested in getting in to distance riding, my bike is shot and the new nimbus 36 has just come out. I don’t feel i can spend the money unless i can use the coker for the daily commute to the department but im not sure how it would handle it. It’s not very far but i have to cope with riding in the road with heavy traffic (both automotive and bikes, lot of them), 4 sets of traffic lights, riding up the inside of lines of queuing traffic etc. I’d value the advice of anyone who rides in similar conditions and can suggest if it’s going to work or not.

Well, the honest answer from me is that I don’t know because I’ve not spent enough time on a 36" wheel.

However… I commute 8 miles each way each day through central London on a 29" wheel, and have covered a fair few hundred miles (or thousand even) in the last year or so. So, I know about busy roads and junctions.

For most of the ride most of the time, I’m sure I could get away with a coker in London. Sure, there are times when you need that bit extra agility, or a slightly shorter stopping distance, but these will happen on whatever size of wheel you are on. So, unless you are right in the center of a busy bustling metropolis, then I think the answer is yes.

There is a but, however. I also have my eye on the new hunter style 36"er, and whilst a part of me wants it to be thoroughly tried and tested before I buy one, a bigger part of me wants to be the first to buy one, so, I’d suggest that no, no way, under no circumstances should you even consider riding to work on the new 36"er :wink:


Thanks for the input, a 29" would no doubt be a far more suitable uni for this particular commute but overall id much prefer the 36 for the extra speed, and because riding 29 when your friends ride 36 (or 54) is not much fun.

You should have gone for reverse phsycology, I want one more now. I should imagine that someone will get to the first one before either of us.

if you have a place to put your 36" when you get to work, it will be a far nicer commute. you will have all the control you need after several rides. Cokers are quite nimble when driven properly.

Ooops, sorry, I’ve just noticed my typo. What my post should have said was “Pah, go ahead and get one. See if I care. They’re rubbish anyway, and besides, I’m waiting for the 2008 model which I’ve heard is much better”

I hope that clears up any confusion :slight_smile:


It will have to go in the outside bike rack with all the other cycles, but a large chunk of it is undercover and away from prying eyes. Going to need to invest in a serious bike lock, atleast this one i can lock up properly due to the dual frame. I was planning to practice the route if i do get one before riding it in rush hour.

Make the Coker as light as possible…and use long cranks

I’ve noticed quite a marked increase in maneuvaribility with my Diet Coker.

I commute 5 miles (8km) each way in Seattle on my Coker. I go through eight traffic signals and eleven stop signs each way. It varies from main streets to side streets to bike lanes. I live at 300 feet above sea level and commute to 60 feet above sea level on slightly hilly roads. My goal each day is to make it both ways without having to dismount at all. I am almost always successful on the Coker using combinations of light timing, idling, still-standing, and hopping. I also ride curbs on long street sections with well manicured lawn-curb interfaces. Way more fun than bicycling, almost as fast, and more success with the “no foot on the pavement” goal. Visibility is much better at that height as I am able to see over even tall vans. My visibility to drivers is better, too, because the I am up so high and as a cycle I am so bizarre looking to them.

If your 36er riding friends ride aggressively, then yes, you won’t be able to keep up so easily. But if the ride is a bit more leisurely then a 29er with short cranks will do just fine. I tagged along with a group of Cokeurs at the recent Berkeley festival on tholub’s 29er with 125mm cranks and found it to be no problem to keep up.

To be quite frank, I had a blast. I’m a bit turned off by the “clunkiness” of a stock Coker and really appreciated the responsiveness of the 29er, as well as the fact that I could ride side-by-side with the 36ers. But that’s just my personal opinion…

i ride my coker every day from school about a mile or two across town, through the center of town.

It’s plenty nimble for what i need.
go for it.

I used to commute to work through London on a Coker (so did Joe, I’m sure he’ll appear soon), I used to do between 5 and 20 miles a day depending on where I was going.

It takes a little getting used to, and it took me a while to switch down to 125mm cranks, but providing you can pick a fairly sensible (quiet) route then you should have relatively few problems.

You’re a lot more visible on a Coker than on a bike, and drivers tend to give a slightly wider berth because they’re not really sure what’s going to happen next :wink:

Do it!


yeah, works okay, particularly with the stock 150mm cranks. I used to go across Vauxhall Cross every day on mine, which is one of the biggest and busiest junctions in London.

I used to idle at lights, but nowadays I just hop on the spot, saves loads of energy compared to idling it, and you’re always ready to go.


That’s the problem with The Other Place, you have lots of traffic lights. The straightforward solution is to come to Cambridge, where we have less traffic :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyhow, I’d think that riding a Coker through lots of sets of lights on busy streets would be a bit stressful - it’s quite hard to idle something that big, although I’ve not tried hopping mine much. The other problem is that you don’t have somewhere to remount in your own time if you have to ride on busy roads.

To ride to my department, I can follow cycle paths all the way. Riding other places I sometimes choose a slightly longer route to make Cokering more practical. A 29er would probably be easier if you’re on busy roads. Alternatively if you don’t have far to go, you could use a 20" or 24" with really short cranks (100mm or less) and pedal fast, then use the Coker for riding friendlier routes.

Its up to you. If you want it to be possible, then make it possible. JUST DO IT!

The thing about the coker, even the stock coker, is that if you’re riding it every day, suddenly it becomes way more manouvrable than you’d think. A daily coker rider can turn it, stop it, still stand, hop etc. at least as well as a normal rider can ride a 29er. The clunkiness goes away after a few hundred miles.

The really key things I’d say are-

  1. Learn to hop on the spot. Idling is nice, but takes up a lot of room. Hopping on the spot takes next to no effort compared to idling, and also translates directly to riding on very short cranks, where idling becomes a bit less practical. You only need to hop a tiny bit up, then do a stillstand, then hop again once you lose balance. If you’re really lazy, then just ride in the left hand lane and grab the railing or the traffic light.
  2. Learn to do tight turns - it’s useful to be able to turn 90 degrees on the spot to pull behind a car in a traffic jam and then turn 90 degrees back to ride the other side of it.
  3. Learn to stop and start quickly.
  4. Don’t dismount - mounting the coker is hassle in traffic.
  5. Don’t ride too fast on major roads - always ride slow enough so there’s no chance you’ll fall off. I’ve never averaged much over 13mph on my commute, and even that is pushing it.

For when you’re learning to ride the coker, you might want to use smaller roads, until you’re sure you can ride everywhere without falling off. But once you’ve got it, you’ll be fine.


I had only ridden a coker a couple of times before I was out and about in traffic. The best tip I think I was given is to grab the uni if I fall off, so as not to smash it into a car, pedestrian… Right now, I have 150mm cranks, and I can cover a good distance pretty quick.

I found going from a 29er with 127mm cranks to an airfoil 36er with 150s didn’t feel much less nimble or much harder to ride. Going back to a 29er (albeit with 150mm cranks) did feel like riding a 20", however :slight_smile:

I agree!

I ride my Coker around town, through the trails, through the streets of Manhattan and even through Manhattans packed sidewalks when I’m looking an instant obstacle course.
What you can do on a 29er you can do on a Coker, it will just be a more enjoyable ride.
Like Harper said the height of the Coker helps you stand out in traffic and also gives you a visual advantage.
The Guni’s are great but there’s nothing that can imitate “the feel of the wheel” (Coker 36").
If you by a 29er you will eventually have to buy ONE more uni.
If you buy a Coker your done.
The only unhappy Coker owners are the ones who didn’t spend enough time in the saddle.
Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
Just One Wheel

Thanks for your help everybody, I finally took the plunge this afternoon, i’ll let you know how the commute goes when i’ve had some pratice.

Hurray. Welcome to cokerdom.