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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: What one thing do you base most of your cycling expertise on?
Books - the published on paper kind 0 0%
Internet - mailing lists, forums, wiki articles 7 9.33%
Gurus - Whatever that guy says must be true 1 1.33%
Classes - Certified instructors know best, so I listen to them 0 0%
Cycling - Time in the saddle, the school of hard knocks 67 89.33%
Voters: 75. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-11-06, 10:50 AM   #1
sbhikes
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My expertise is based on...

What one thing do you base most of your cycling expertise on?
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Old 10-11-06, 10:51 AM   #2
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teh interwebs!1!!
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Old 10-11-06, 11:02 AM   #3
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I was just thinking about something.

I really donít know anything about riding in traffic!
I donít even know if I could ride in real traffic.
I have never actually rode in what most of you folks call traffic.

I have never lived in a city that had any real need for a bike lanes.
In the city I live in now there is only one road where a bike lane might be of any benefit other than to promote cycling, but it is too narrow to have a bike lane, and there is no real reason for a cyclist to ride on this road. As in, I donít even use it often in my car even if my destination is on this road. Not because it is to busy, but because other routes are just a little more efficient. Most of you folks that are used to riding in traffic would find it an easy cruise.

Riding in town is maybe 90% residential type, with very little traffic that has any effect on me at all. I am talking hardly ever seeing two cars at the same time.

Of the six major through roads, that actually carry something close to what some of you folks call traffic, I have no need to be on 5 of them, and the 6th is two lane each direction with a huge turn lane in the center and huge shoulders, and is one of my favorite rides.

There are very few adult cyclists here, so the traffic isnít always pissed at me.
25% of the population knows me on a personal level and another 40% know me by name but have never met me, so they mostly keep their snide remarks and soft drinks to themselves for fear of seeing me at the grocery store.

Most of the highways here are pretty roomy with light intermittent traffic. And long.
I can ride 20 and 30 mile stretches of service road along the interstate and not encounter more that 2 or 3 cars.
If there was anything to look at other than rattle snakes I would think I was living bicycle heaven.

Well, I had a point I was going to make, but I am getting distracted now.

Oh yeah, now I remember.
I donít really know any thing about riding in traffic or about bike lanes.
I just know what I might like if I had to ride in real traffic, and what some of the folks I have tried to talk in to considering maybe at least thinking about cycling, tell me they think they would like.
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Old 10-11-06, 11:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
What one thing do you base most of your cycling expertise on?
Oh, we are only allowed one choice.

I have commuting, touring, and book learning, as well as cycling classes to rely on. While I learned most of it "on the road," those lessons came slowly and with hard knocks... whereas the reading and training pointed me toward good habits to learn right away. I think there are benefits to learning through a wide variety of means.
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Old 10-11-06, 11:16 AM   #5
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Gurus and experience. Bicycling since I was a young kid, racing for several years and almost daily riding for many, many years. When I came across someone that was a good rider and was willing to share info, I soaked it up like a sponge.
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Old 10-11-06, 11:23 AM   #6
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I'd have to say the Internet, largely this forum and the other online resources I've learned about from it (John Allen, Ken Kifer, Sheldon Brown). Secondarily would be books. I own Robert Hurst's Art of Urban Cycling (also first heard about here) and Dave Glowacz' Urban Bikers' Tips and Tricks (a gift). I think I have to be a bit humble on the school of hard knocks path, since I've only been doing this for 4 years and probably most of how I ride is not something I thought of myself!
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Old 10-11-06, 11:25 AM   #7
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The older I get the more I realize that I know this: nothing.
There ya go.
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Old 10-11-06, 11:29 AM   #8
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I can't answer this question as picking a number one would imply that #2 was not equally important. Also the learning comes in stages with different 'inputs' being more or less important during different stages.

As a kid: From the 'experts' (parents, jr. high cycle club leader)
College: Hard knocks (although never an accident)
Adult: Written resources (laws, books, net), experience

Al
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Old 10-11-06, 11:32 AM   #9
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What one thing do you base most of your cycling expertise on?

Cycling - Time in the saddle, the school of hard knocks

While I get information from all kinds of sources, including books, internet, gurus and classes, none of it becomes "expertise" without time in the saddle.
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Old 10-11-06, 11:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
What one thing do you base most of your cycling expertise on?

Cycling - Time in the saddle, the school of hard knocks

While I get information from all kinds of sources, including books, internet, gurus and classes, none of it becomes "expertise" without time in the saddle.
I concur. For me, it is personal experience, this forum, and books (the Gospels of John), in that order.
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Old 10-11-06, 01:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R-Wells
I was just thinking about something.

I really donít know anything about riding in traffic!
I donít even know if I could ride in real traffic.
I have never actually rode in what most of you folks call traffic.
oh get-off-it Troll-e I saw you on the streets just yesterday...dude you are too humble
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Old 10-11-06, 02:03 PM   #12
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All of the choices plus 8 years of driving cab.

Experience (and how you deal with it) is the best teacher.

I've taught as well.
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Old 10-11-06, 08:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
I'd have to say the Internet, largely this forum and the other online resources I've learned about from it (John Allen, Ken Kifer, Sheldon Brown). Secondarily would be books. I own Robert Hurst's Art of Urban Cycling (also first heard about here) and Dave Glowacz' Urban Bikers' Tips and Tricks (a gift). I think I have to be a bit humble on the school of hard knocks path, since I've only been doing this for 4 years and probably most of how I ride is not something I thought of myself!
I've read both the Hurst amd the Glowacz. I found them quite informative and fun to read. But of course most of whatever expertise I may have is from the school of hard knocks.
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Old 10-12-06, 05:06 AM   #14
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Not surprisingly, saddle time seems to be streets ahead of the other options. I do like Bikeforums for occasional references & to share experience - sometimes there is a pearl of wisdom to be found - but I have no time for books on the subject.
I feel (strongly) that one must build up confidence and experience through practical means - riding. There is such a variety of potential cycling situations that one has to tackle them as confidence is built. How one does this (alone, with friends or a group) depends on the individual and their circumstances.

Ed
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Old 10-12-06, 05:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R-Wells
I was just thinking about something.

I really don’t know anything about riding in traffic!
I don’t even know if I could ride in real traffic.
I have never actually rode in what most of you folks call traffic.

i totally agree.
i went to dc and was terrified at the thought of trying to ride a bike there.
hooray for small towns.
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Old 10-12-06, 06:19 AM   #16
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I agree: Time on the streets with as many other resources as I can get hold of. Riding in traffic anywhere in the greater Houston area makes for interesting experiences.
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Old 10-12-06, 07:23 AM   #17
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I ride in traffic, the sort of traffic that even many experienced cyclists think is crazy to ride in I ride on everything from 110km/hr freeways to city traffic to urban arterials (the most aggresive by far) where everyone speeds and plays dodgems. You either learn to assert yourself and herd the cagers into where you want them to go as if they were sheep, or you get eaten up.

Even after all these years I still find myself analysing what happened during/after every commute and figuring out what I could have done better.
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Old 10-12-06, 08:05 AM   #18
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I do a lot of hiking. When I got started, I read a lot of books. But they weren't books like "how to hike". They were more inspirational, and mostly climbing books. Especially good were books about overcoming physical or personal limitations to climb Everest or books about women climbers. I had no desire to be a climber myself. They just kept me going. If they could climb Everest, I could hike this silly trail.

The books themselves did little to help me learn how to hike. What helped was that I got lost a few times and learned how to pay attention so that I wouldn't. I learned the trails, learned my physical limitations, learned what it felt like to be dehydrated and hyponatrimic, learned what it felt like when I had gone too far or not worn the right socks or proper layers. You can read all that stuff in books but to me it's useless knowledge until I figured it out myself.

What makes a book about a sport good is the writing has to be good, and if there is a story, the story has to be good. I think that Hurst's book succeeds because the writing is good. He really brought out the adventure of riding in the urban environment, made it sound like fun. A book like that makes you want to keep riding.

You may be motivated to learn by the nuts and bolts, the technical details and all that wordy stuff. I am not. I am motivated by the personal experiences of others. For instance, Cyclaholic's story is pretty inspiring but that doesn't mean I'm going to climb the same Everst that he does. I'd probably hang it up if those were my conditions. But the fact that he doesn't means when I set out this morning, I won't be alone.
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Old 10-13-06, 04:26 PM   #19
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About 5K miles per year, LAB Road I & Road II, LAB LCI certified, read the three 'Bike Gospels according to John' and even Bike Forums.
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Old 10-13-06, 05:54 PM   #20
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Osmosis
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Old 10-13-06, 08:13 PM   #21
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internet first and then riding second. i hate to say that i've learned more from this site than from actually riding my bike, but really i've gotten ideas here that i hadn't even considered when i was riding. many of the things probably never would have occurred to me, just because of the way i think and my specific situation and environment. maybe you guys have already saved my life! who knows?

(yes, i am going to donate when i can )

edit: i was thinking more about it, comparing cycling to driving, and i realized (again) that one of my disadvantages with cycling is that i don't know anyone who's shown me the ropes at all. when i learned to drive, i had to have someone show me, plus there was a book, and then as i practiced, my parents would say things like "don't believe that car's turn signal--they might not actually turn." but i have no face-to-face cycling mentor so i really started green, all on my own. bikeforums helps so much with that. it'd be nice to have someone riding with me to say "HEY! KNOCK THAT OFF!" or whatever, but this is next best. plus i'm teaching what i learn to my sister
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Old 10-14-06, 08:15 AM   #22
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After 30+ years on the bike, I hope I've learned something.

jw
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Old 10-14-06, 08:28 AM   #23
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After 30+ years on the bike, I hope I've learned something.

jw
+1!

36 years for me!
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Old 10-14-06, 09:44 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
What one thing do you base most of your cycling expertise on?
Mostly riding time, however I have used all of those sources, nothing beats 1,000,000 saddle miles for learning how to bike (only 920,000 to go for me), for repair stuff usually books and internet, although I have learned stuff on my own over the years.
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Old 10-14-06, 09:49 AM   #25
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That would be my past experience working in a shop. No better way to learn. Tell you what though, when you make just over minimum wage, an employee discount doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot.
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