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  1. #26
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    no, its not debatable.

    high quality bike facilities can make any road safer for bicyclists. the key is in how well designed they are.

    high quality redesign of public rights of way is not debatable. whats debatable is how to do it.

    Cycling advocates can be cyclist advocates, but it appears the counter cannot. and that is sad.

    Up thru WWII, the majority of trips in america were done by foot, bike or public transport. the last decades of autocentric travel is a POX, a curse on america. what a foul mess we have driven ourselves into.

    The solution is redesign of public rights of way and a reeducation of the public. The failure of VC 'cyclist' advocacy, I.E. Teaching riders to hold their own in an autocentric world - gets us "Al's dilemma." As VC as he can be, and still in near constant conflict with drivers.

    Where does a vehicular cyclist ride on well designed roads with high quality bikelanes? -As far right as is practical, and far left as needed for safety. That puts a VC rider positioned in a high quality bike lane on a well designed road.

    this thread is about the bicycling environment. Al's dilemma, relying soley on rider vigilance, is not the 'anwser' to the greater good for nonautocentric transport, but a stopgap technique on unfriendly, autocentric public rights of way.
    I disagree that bicycle facilities alone can make a street safer, because usually that facility exists as being garbage strewn, potholed, puddle filled, no mans land between cars and pedestrians, AKA the bike lane. The worlds longest street (according to Mssrs Guinness), is Yonge Street which starts in Toronto,Ontario at Lake Ontario and runs North to Rainy River. The portion in Toronto, south of Lawrence Ave., has no bike lane, and no bike routes run along it, I checked the city cycling map), but there is probably more bike parking on this portion of Yonge Street then anywhere else in the city, because all the little pubs, restaurants, stores, and other places that people go, and in Summer many of those trips are by foot, the excellent Yonge St Subway, and by bicycle. Heck, even my bike has been parked on Yonge more then once.

    Now the problem with the typical American city, is that they are designed only for high speed automobile traffic, and that is the problem, cities are large, with high segregation between facilities, linked by freeways and major arterials, most of the land is paved over for parking facilities,

    Honestly a bicycle friendly city, is built on a human scale, and has things much closer at hand. However the more friendly you make a city to bicycles and people, the less friendly you make it to cars, because you have less space for parking, and driving. However because your house, stores, offices, and possibly some light industry are close at hand, it's possible to work, live, socialize and shop within a small area. Probably the best city design is a neighbourhood design, where instead of a big city, you have dozens or even hundreds of neighbourhoods or communities, each designed around a subway station, which is roughly a 5 minute walk from anywhere within the neighbourhood. Meaning it is still possible to live and work in different parts of the city, without needing to drive. An example would be the loop and pod design in the book Car Free Cities by J. H. Crawford.

    Mr. Crawford in his book, stuffs a 1,200,000 population city into a space of roughly 10 x 10 square miles, and 80% of the space is green space! This does show us how big of a space waster, the automobile really is, because most auto-centric cities of 1,200,000 people are considerably larger then 10 x 10 miles, and are maybe 10% green space, 20% developed, and the rest is arterials and parking. What is interesting, is that people friendly cities, are bicycle friendly as well.

  2. #27
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    It looks as though someone wants to study the travel choices of urban cyclists.

    Professor wants to follow you on your bicycle
    Saturday, January 13, 2007
    The Oregonian
    A Portland State University professor is looking for help to study the travel patterns of a particularly elusive creature: the urban bicyclist.

    Jennifer Dill, an urban studies professor, wants to recruit a wide range of cyclists -- and lots of them -- to tote global positioning system units on their bikes for a 10-day period. She said researchers hope to learn whether cyclists go out of their way to use bike lanes and bicycle-friendly streets and to see how travel habits are affected by such factors as the weather.

    The study, designed to follow some 175 cyclists, is financed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is sponsoring a variety of initiatives to encourage people to be more physically active in their daily living. As such, much of the foundation's research focuses on encouraging bicycling for short trips.

    Portland is regarded as a promising place to research bicycling because it has a large number of regular cyclists and an extensive network of bikeways.

    Cyclists interested in participating in the study can contact Dill through this e-mail address: bikegps@pdx.edu. She said she's looking for bicyclists throughout the Portland metropolitan area, although they have to live on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.

    Dill also noted that while the GPS unit will track what streets cyclists travel on, it can't determine whether they're following traffic laws.

    -- Jeff Mapes

  3. #28
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca
    Now the problem with the typical American city, is that they are designed only for high speed automobile traffic, and that is the problem, cities are large, with high segregation between facilities, linked by freeways and major arterials, most of the land is paved over for parking facilities,
    How many major North Eastern or Midwestern U.S. cities have you ever been in? Sounds like none, or they are not "typical American cities" for your problem scenario.

  4. #29
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
    I believe Brian [Ratliff] is overstating the dangers and stresses of suburban riding.
    I believe this sentence deserves the understatement of the thread award.

    The extremes and downright falsehoods that facilities defenders use to rationalize justifications for facilities never cease to amaze me. The NYC video is one example. This thread is another. And Bek's latest thread is yet another.

  5. #30
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    hhehe.

    woogsterca, facilitation of bicycling includes lowering speed limits, widening lanes, restriping projects, road diets, off street accomodations and greater public infrastructure and support via all manner of non roadway based advocacy. bike facilities include All variety of accomodations for riders, NOT just your poor description of the worst- poorly maintained, substandard bike lanes.

    Failure of communities to engineer roadway space for the use of all is what stymies greater participation in the velo revolution. And blaming substandard road design as the justifiable de facto failure of bike facilities is like blaming FEMA for hurricanes.

    it appears cycling advocacy embraces cyclist needs, but cyclist advocates are not cycling advocates. Sad.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-13-07 at 10:57 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  6. #31
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    How many major North Eastern or Midwestern U.S. cities have you ever been in? Sounds like none, or they are not "typical American cities" for your problem scenario.
    Most North Eastern US cities have old sections that are not built this way, but that tends to be limited to the older sections, newer sections, tend to be built just as stupid as anywhere else.

  7. #32
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    One question for the bunch of you:

    Do you believe that different cycling environments produce different techniques for cycling?

    This is the only question I am interested in at the moment. I have no intention of getting back into the "facilities" debate until this question has been competely explored.

    I see a lot of responses here that typify the jerk knee reactions I've always seen. I've set myself up on this forum as a "pro-facility" person; this, more than my current remarks in absolute, has garnered the most sever responses. This is interesting as I was not intending on entering the facilities debate again. I am interested in a different question. People here are so entrenched that they cannot see past my previous postions and respond to my current statements.

    I've also seen that it has been a logical tactic of "VC'ers" to deny that the environment has anything to do with cycling technique. They are looking for a unification of cycling technique so they have one platform to stand on. It would be difficult for a national group like the LAB (league of American cyclists) or their estranged sister made up of LAB dissidents (I forgot the name) to promote the training of cyclists if the cyclists' needs differed from place to place. Pro-facilities has used the environmental differences tactic also to show that it is the results of local advocacy groups which matter, not some grand unification idea. This is good for pro-facilities people because most local advocacy groups, except for a couple outliers, advocate for facilities. But I want to get past this, since both positions are artificial and only made for debate. Obviously the answer is somewhere between these two extremes, though neither side will admit to that, as it will score a debate point for their opponent.

    Driving habits and road design differs from place to place. Take this as fact for the moment. I don't believe it is an accident that the main VC proponent in the US, John Forester, was from auto-centric SoCal, while up in the Pacific NW, vehicular cycling, while a tool, does not rise to the level of a political ringtone. I also don't believe it is an accident that most facilities building is being done in European cities where the percentage of people riding a bicycle is much higher than anywhere in the US.

    Tell you all what. Take my statements at face value for a moment and explain what your riding environment looks like. Take pictures if you can. We talk a lot about philosophy here, why don't we take a time out and use this thread to explain where we are coming from and where we have been. Be non-judgemental and assume, just for the moment, that the person who rides in their own environment is the one single expert of how to ride in that environment. VC'ers shouldn't have to be afraid of being called out if they use a facility now and again, and facilities advocates shouldn't be afraid of stating the downside of facilities.

    It should become very clear on its own and without argument whether environments affect cyclist behaviors. I am particularly interested in "newbies" to this forum, as most of us regulars are pretty biased and dug into certain argumentative positions. If it turns out that cyclists are the same everywhere, then we can start more detailed arguments starting from that position. If it turns out that it differs, then this thread can become a database of sorts for people who are new to cycling - new from New England? Flip through this thread and find out what it is New England is like from the eyes of a cyclist.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  8. #33
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    One question for the bunch of you:

    Do you believe that different cycling environments produce different techniques for cycling?
    Emphatically, YES. Different environments necessitate different techniques for bicycling.

    and do different environments produce different cycling techniques? Absolutely. Anyone on here ever ridden on Mackinac Island???? Almost unbelievable.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  9. #34
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    I believe this sentence deserves the understatement of the thread award.

    The extremes and downright falsehoods that facilities defenders use to rationalize justifications for facilities never cease to amaze me. The NYC video is one example. This thread is another. And Bek's latest thread is yet another.
    Not terribly helpful. Your credibility decreases in my eyes.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  10. #35
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    What about the VC'ers that DON'T ride in their home environments transportationally and rely on their automobiles for most of their transportation needs?
    Using VCist techniques largely in the safety of cadres of club riders to provide validation for their dogma?

    I have valid questions about the variety inherent in bicycling. Many of the dedicated commuters predicate fast travel as the baseline for their 'needs.'

    I certainly move fast commuting or road riding. But I also have a 'basket bike' I shop with. it doesn't go 25 or 30 miles an hour. Loaded with five (canvas) grocery bags, its an 8-12 mile per hour tootle. and sometimes I ride it 10-12 miles to farmers markets. Do differerent riding styles matter as well?
    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-13-07 at 10:54 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  11. #36
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca
    Most North Eastern US cities have old sections that are not built this way, but that tends to be limited to the older sections, newer sections, tend to be built just as stupid as anywhere else.
    Where are those "newer sections" of NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, DC, Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis, etc. that fit your description? Maybe you mean the suburbs? Otherwise your urban scenario is a fantasy in a large number of major US cities.

  12. #37
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    Not terribly helpful. Your [HH] credibility decreases in my eyes.
    How is any further decrease possible? That might affect your own credibility.

  13. #38
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
    I was surprised by Brian's comment that the suburban one mile grid wasn't suitable for serious exercise, especially when you consider there's a lot more starting and stopping in urban areas. Anyway, enough on that, as it's just a minor point in a sea of interesting observations in Brian's post.
    One last comment before we put that to rest, as it is a minor point I was making. I agree with you that urban areas are not helpful for athletic exercise either. But there are real economic reasons for riding in the urban environment and the exercise argument doesn't have to be made. Exercise is always relative as well. One person's workout is another's coffee jaunt. I'm not saying I am more fit than anyone here, but having previously been a serious athlete in a different sport, my take on exercise is different... which probably does me no good since I am nowhere near as athletic as I once was.

    I believe Brian is overstating the dangers and stresses of suburban riding. I know a lot of cyclists who have only ridden in suburbia who would say the same thing about urban riding. You do have to be thick skinned to a certain degree to be a cyclist in Al's environment, but I think that applies in any environment (including roads in urban areas) where motorists are the majority.

    I believe the characteristics of the differing environments generally lead to different types of commuting cyclists. To a certain extent, that may be why folks like me, Serge, and Al all commute in similar environments and share similar views, for example. But this doesn't have to result in divisive advocacy. For example, I wouldn't object to facilities if they were optional use. In my view, what makes things divisive is mandatory use laws, as the mere proposal to provide a facility can automatically pit facilities advocates against vehicular cycling advocates.
    I'd agree that my thesis is weak to a point about the absolute dangers and stresses of different environments. While posting these comments, I also listed the environments I have experience with. My only urban experience is in Portland, which many people will say is not a city at all . My comments have to take into account my experiences, and city folk are underrepresented here, limited to a few on the single speed/fixed gear forum and commuting forum who wander in every so often, and Bekologist, who is excitable at times (sorry Bek ). My personal experience between suburban, rural, and urban environments are in keeping with my comments.

    As for divisive advocacy, I agree that it doesn't have to be divisive as many here make it out to be. On the other hand, there are deep philosophical underpinnings which evade the best of compromise. For instance, the aspect that many VC'ers here state about the very existence of bike lanes being a detriment and regardless of what law says, their very existence indicates that cyclists are expected to be in the bike lane.

    My intent is not to mash two fundamentally different philosophical systems together into some sort of mystery meat ball, but to understand where these two philosophies come from and where they are usefully applied. You see examples of the harm which can be done when, say, bike lanes are applied blindly by fiat to places like Phoenix, Arizona. Or the paralysis which can come about when VC'ers rise out of the ground in places like Seattle during a planning meeting and dilute the coordinated efforts of local bicycling advocates.

    I don't care anymore about the unanswerable question of "which is better and more universal?". I think we've had enough of that on this forum. I want to translate all these ideas which have been expressed as part of the debate into something which can guide the reality based world.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  14. #39
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    What about the VC'ers that DON'T ride in their home environments transportationally and rely on their automobiles for most of their transportation needs?
    Using VCist techniques largely in the safety of cadres of club riders to provide validation for their dogma?
    My experience with vehicular cycling indicates that groups on group rides don't do vehicular cycling. Groups act more like a semi truck, controlling the road by simply by being there.

    Most people here have experience commuting. Take their experience at face value, for the moment at least.

    I have valid questions about the variety inherent in bicycling. Many of the dedicated commuters predicate fast travel as the baseline for their 'needs.'

    I certainly move fast commuting or road riding. But I also have a 'basket bike' I shop with. it doesn't go 25 or 30 miles an hour. Loaded with five (canvas) grocery bags, its an 8-12 mile per hour tootle. and sometimes I ride it 10-12 miles to farmers markets. Do differerent riding styles matter as well?
    I didn't talk about it much, but YES, riding style and athletic abilities matter much! That said, I think there are some environments that, as they stand today and without major modification, will simply exclude certain riders and riding styles. This goes back to the question of the goals of bicycle advocacy. I think that some people practice certain riding styles to the exculsion of others, and sometimes their choice of riding styles colors their advocacy efforts. The VC'er who always dresses up to ride and always sticks to main arterials has one point of view and tends to advocate for those with similar needs to the exclusion of other types of cyclists. The suit wearing and briefcase toting business man who rides a comfort bike 2 miles to work has a different point of view and agitates for different things. And, of course, the basket bike toting, farmer's market riding tootler has still a different point of view.

    A question to you is: how do you use the roads differently when you are in different cycling modes (if it does at all)?
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  15. #40
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    A question to you is: how do you use the roads differently when you are in different cycling modes?
    I start a new job Monday and will be riding a very popular bike route that a lot of university students and faculty use, and that a lot of elementary and junior high school students also use.

    Half the route is class II bike lane with few intersections. Half the route is class I bike path (NOT an MUP). You don't have to monitor your mirror or use any hand signals on a class I bike path. You just have to say on your left once in a while and look out for goatheads.

    On a road with very wide class II bike lanes and few intersections there aren't a lot of visibility issues to worry about with the traffic around you. I have posted pictures of some of the route in the past showing people passing me over the double yellow line despite there being ample room to pass me in the bike lane without making such a lateral move.

    I find that in these types of roads I ride relaxed and not very concerned about the behavior of other road users. We pretty much don't interact much at all.

    Sometimes I ride in Oxnard. When I do that I ride with a group of annoyingly timid sidewalk cyclists. It drives me up the wall. I end up being the militant VC rider and have been in some heated arguments with people over whether it's safer and saner to ride in the streets or on the sidewalk. I always lose the arguments but I rarely capitulate about the issue. I sometimes will ride on the sidewalk just so they stop yelling at me or making snide remarks about my intelligence, but there's always at least one other person who thanks me for being sane. The thing is, these are not streets lacking in bike facilities. There are usually either bike lanes, wide shoulders or wide outside lanes. But they will still choose the sidewalk. That's just the way people ride down there I guess. So who is wrong then? Them or me?

    When I'm in the Ventura/Oxnard area there are some tricky intersections where I do agree that it is easier to cross wrong way in the crosswalk and ride wrong way on the sidewalk for short distances. Depending on the types of roads and designs available in Ventura/Oxnard, I will on average ride more militantly or self-righteously VC AND more stealth/invisible style than I will in Santa Barbara.
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    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  16. #41
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Where are those "newer sections" of NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, DC, Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis, etc. that fit your description? Maybe you mean the suburbs? Otherwise your urban scenario is a fantasy in a large number of major US cities.
    So there are no cities outside of the North East, except Chicago and St Louis? Well, there are many US cities that are outside those areas, how about Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, Dallas. All of which, from what I can see, and hear about those cities, are exactly as described. As for those particular cities, I have been to Philly and Baltimore, and while the central city hasn't changed much, they are surrounded by suburbs that are as described, the problem for the old city, is you have people in the suburbs wanting to drive their fat McDonalds enhanced a**es in their big SUVs into the city centre on a daily basis, so much that Boston, had to spend enough money to bury a 6km highway, that you could have built a brand new 15km subway line.

    Whether you agree or disagree with my analysis though, considering increasing urban populations, where are you going to put the people when over 50% of your land is dedicated to parking and gridlocked highways?

  17. #42
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca
    Whether you agree or disagree with my analysis though, considering increasing urban populations, where are you going to put the people when over 50% of your land is dedicated to parking and gridlocked highways?
    The first thing I would do if I was going to discuss and analyze the issues concerning cities and urban areas is get a map and figure out where the cities are and where the suburbs begin. And also try to learn the difference between the Sun Belt and the Midwest/Northeast in the US before I started to make all encompassing statements about traffic, highway access and parking in urban US, especially "cities."

  18. #43
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    Do you believe that different cycling environments produce different techniques for cycling?

    Driving habits and road design differs from place to place. Take this as fact for the moment.
    Assuming we're talking about within the US, driving habits do differ from place to place, but not by a huge amount. Usually when I fly to another city on business, for example, I have to adjust my driving a bit for the local culture, but these adjustments are very minor.

    I've cycled in many places across the US and think of vehicular cycling technique in much the same way. For example, a lane width that might be safely shareable in downtown Seattle might not be safely sharable in Phoenix suburbs. So I adjust my lane position accordingly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    I don't believe it is an accident that the main VC proponent in the US, John Forester, was from auto-centric SoCal, while up in the Pacific NW, vehicular cycling, while a tool, does not rise to the level of a political ringtone.
    Actually, Forester spent most of his time in the US in the San Francisco Bay Area - in the hills of Berkeley as a child and in the San Jose/Silicon Valley area as an adult. It is only fairly recently that he moved to the San Diego area.

  19. #44
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    I think that some people practice certain riding styles to the exculsion of others, and sometimes their choice of riding styles colors their advocacy efforts.
    +1. Around here the club cyclists ask for more bike lanes, and the families with children ask for more paths. Neither group criticizes the other for their choices, so these efforts happen in parallel and everything is just fine. The time when I have seen a problem is during a road reconstruction project in a limited right-of-way, when one group wanted bike lanes and the other group wanted a sidepath, and there wasn't enough room for both.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    The VC'er who always dresses up to ride and always sticks to main arterials has one point of view and tends to advocate for those with similar needs to the exclusion of other types of cyclists. The suit wearing and briefcase toting business man who rides a comfort bike 2 miles to work has a different point of view and agitates for different things. And, of course, the basket bike toting, farmer's market riding tootler has still a different point of view.
    I currently have the following riding styles:
    - Long (17 miles each way) commute to work on major arterials and in cycling clothes
    - Long weekend recreational rides in cycling clothes
    - Utility trips to the store in regular clothes
    - Pulling my son in a trailer on roads and bike paths

    My choice of roads may differ in the above modes, but in my case, I'm riding VC when I'm on a road (which in my case can include using bike lanes and shoulders when safe to do so), and when I'm on a path ... well, I'm on a path. However, I do realize that I could talk to four different cyclists, one from each of the modes above, and get different answers on how they ride.

  20. #45
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    The first thing I would do if I was going to discuss and analyze the issues concerning cities and urban areas is get a map and figure out where the cities are and where the suburbs begin. And also try to learn the difference between the Sun Belt and the Midwest/Northeast in the US before I started to make all encompassing statements about traffic, highway access and parking in urban US, especially "cities."
    Hey your the one having a problem with differences, I was refering to US cities in general, your the one who decided that only cities in the North East would count, and only the ones you wanted to count, which are all cities that were fully developed before 1850. Most North Eastern major cities were fully developed before 1850, however if we look at smaller cities, that were not fully developed before 1850, and have mostly developed in the 20th century, we see the pattern I described, take for example Buffalo, NY, you have large residential areas, connected by arterials lined with strip plazas. Factories and industrial areas are mostly in the area around I190, where it turns to go around Lake Erie. You have a few malls, and some touristy hotels near the Border, but in general my earlier analysis holds here too. I know Buffalo, as I have been there numerous times. If we look at cities in general, there are a lot more Buffalos then there are Bostons.

  21. #46
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    Yay, I start a new job on Monday so I never have to ride Ortega Hill again!
    Congratulations (the job, too)!!
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  22. #47
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    I've got to say. Seeing these videos and having been to Phoenix once and driving around for a week on a business trip, I can see why Al (noisebeam) is so militant about vehicular cycling. This probably applies to the Cali people as well as they have similar environments. Seeing the video of NYC, and having lived in Seattle and various places in Oregon and having commuted for a summer into downtown Portland and for a couple years in rural Washington Co. and the Portland suburbs, I can see why the "pro-facilities" people and the "anti-facilities" people fail to even come to a common starting point when debating the relative merits of various cycling systems.

    The environments are so different that there really is two systems which work in two very different environments. Despite the weather in Cali and Arizona, I seriously doubt that cycling will ever be a popular mode of transportation. Cyclists have to care about so much stuff in order to operate in that environment. You have to care about the mood of drivers behind, and around you, and develop methods that forces drivers to modify their actions or else hit you regardless of their state of mind (which is essentially what vehicular cycling is all about). You are constantly operating around vehicles going 45 mph and faster, and have to be wary of drivers who turn because they slam on the brakes to make their turn down from 45 mph. There are a ton of other things that all stem from this environment.

    Cyclists from this region are probably more heavily represented here, per Diane's (sbhikes) complaint, because there is no real local system to turn to. 10 guys who drove to a bicycling advocacy meeting does not bicycling advocacy make (this is from HelmetHead's description at one point a while ago). These people are more shrill than the rest of us because their techniques, by necessity, must be more speciallized, and operating in an environment not being conductive to cycling means that cyclists who do bicycle in that environment must be more zealous than most cyclists.

    Going back to Al's videos, I cringed when I watched it. Not because I lack the ability to bicycle there; neither the training nor the lack of understanding of the situation and what is required of a cyclist to operate there am I lacking. No, the reason I cringed is because I don't love cycling enough to put up with that environment for very long. There is no benefit I can see for myself. The overall health benefits of cycling are offset by the dangers of that environment and the stress of dealing with that environment. The one mile grid of arterials present in the Pheonix area is not suitable for serious exercise. There is no advantage in time because of the distances involved. There is nothing left.

    Bicycling in the true urban city environment, on the other hand, is much more doable. The dangers are real, but they are different and more on a human scale, making them more easy to handle. Just moving from the rural and suburban environment of where I live and commute on a daily basis, SW of Beaverton, to the inner city of Portland is like jumping into a cool pool of water on a hot day. The whole environment, while more conjested and busier, is on a human scale. Speeds are limited to 15-20 mph. Bikes can keep up, whether in a segregated facility or not, the dangers are not overwhelming. It is a stark difference.

    In the inner city, bicycling is an obvious economic choice amoungst people who live and work there. Most advocacy efforts focus on the inner city first because that is where the low-hanging fruit is. It is the only place besides a university campus where convolutions in the perpetual "why ride a bicycle" argument don't have to be made. It is a place where the primary and most effective reasoning coalesces around a simple economic argument. One doesn't have to be a "bicycle fanatic" to ride a bike. The only counter to the economics argument is the aspect of danger involving the direct exposure to car traffic. In this environment, facilities are a reasonable way for cycling advocates to offset the danger aspect.

    This is the way I see the "divide" in the bicycling advocacy philosophies. Everything in the human experience is influenced strongly by our environment, including the strategies used when engaging in logical debates and reasoning exercises. It is wrong to conclude that VC advocates are "raving mad," just as it is wrong to conclude that other bicycling advocates are ninnies who don't know how to ride their bikes (both of these insults have been hurdled in the recent past by posters in this forum). There is a tendency in this forum to discount environment in favor of some catch all philosophy. We discount environment, not because it is intellectually honest (it's not), but simply because it is hard to take environment into account with people from so many different areas talking on the same forum. But we shouldn't shy away from things just because they are hard.
    Thanks, Brian for that well-thought-out post. It pretty much reflects my opinions also. I live and ride the same neighborhoods that Al does, but I don't choose to take the route that he does. my route is on backroad and neighborhood streets with WOLs little traffic. for me, that is more enjoyable. yeah, it does annoy me occassionally that I have to wait so long for the lights. but for me it is worth it to not have to feel like I am fighting a battle every day. I just wish there were more quiet street options for me. my current route involves WOLs, bike lanes, sidewalk, cutting through ASU parking lots, more bike lanes and then an office park with a 6' sidewalk that nobody ever walks on so I use that.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  23. #48
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    This video is amazing for me to watch. There are so few cars, and they are travelling quite fast relative to the bicycle. It is like the view from my bike played at twice normal speed. Here in the DC area, the lanes are much wider and the traffic is far heavier and much slower. It is typical to be riding outside the door zone with cars passing three feet away wthout them having to change lanes.

    The car traffic is flowing very freely and there appear to be lots of places to park. It must be a pleasant place to drive, though perhaps not to cycle.

    Paul

  24. #49
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    I mentioned earlier that I tend to ride VC regardless of the environment. But that didn't directly answer Brian's question, "do you believe that different cycling environments produce different techniques for cycling?" The different types of cycling I see in my area are the following (there's some overlap, of course):

    1. Using whatever road is most direct, regardless of width/facility
    2. Preferentially using roads with bike lanes and shoulders
    3. Using paths or sidewalks

    I have seen all these types of cycling in every metropolitan area I have visited in the US. So I believe the answer to Brian's question is "no". Cyclists are going to ride within their comfort zone, regardless of the locale. For example, if I only like riding roads with bike lanes in Seattle, I'm probably only going to ride roads with bike lanes if I'm visiting Phoenix.

  25. #50
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    so, in cities like phoenix, if the roads are not conducive and within a cyclists comfort zone, they won't bike? That's pro bono publico support for high quality, on road, integrated bike facilities, Brian.

    I'll ride anywhere, but prefer high quality, well implemented bicycle accomodations. on tour, i like highway speed roads WITH wide shoulders over highway speed roads with no shoulder. I'm riding VC by using wide shoulders on highways.

    Does that make me 'less' of a bicyclist? I don't think so. That makes me realistic.

    people are colored by their environments. a cyclist that lives in slow moving, rural counties, will have a different perspective on riding than a traffic dancing urbanite that splits lanes of stalled traffic and laughs at the cagers.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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