Where I live:
Rural southern Louisiana, in between New Orleans and the gulf.
I do a lot of recreational riding here, and most of the roads are nicely maintained with wide shoulders. There are two main roads leading out of my neighborhood, and I can do 15, 20, and 32 mile loops safely and easily. The shoulders are somewhat dirty, but as long as I'm on the shoulder, cars are not bad. I only get buzzed on roads with no shoulders.
Once you get into town, there's plenty of side roads, shoulders, and such to ride on. Not a single bike lane or path, though. I generally don't have a problem with riding on the shoulders, and using turning lanes when I need to, or cross a narrow two-lane bridge. Most people in town are okay with it, as long as you're moving and flowing with traffic, and get back on the shoulder when you get the chance. Out here in the country, though... it's their God-given right to run you off the road if they have to wait more than 3 seconds to pass. Blech. Sometimes I hate living in the country.
Where I work:
Currently, about 8 miles away from home. However, the one 4-mile road leading there is in horrible shape, has blind curves, and no shoulders at all. I've ridden it a few times, but it really makes me nervous riding it on a regular basis. If that road had a shoulder, I'd start commuting tomorrow. Since my nemesis road is before you get into town, that means if I ride it, my life is forfeit. I really want to commute to work, but there are no other roads I can take.
How I Ride:
In town, I ride VC-style, and that seems to work well. Out in the country, I ride shoulderless roads in fear of my life, so I stick to shoulders as much as possible. Nothing takes the place of knowing where you are, and where cars are around you.
Where I live:
Burbank, CA, just east of downtown. It is an older area, with a street grid (no subdivisions). 25mph around, the major street right [named Glenoaks] downhill from here is 30mph and up to 45 mph further northwest of here.
Where I work:
Burbank, CA, northeastern corner, right on that major street. No shower. Can take the bike ot the office.
How I ride:
1. Beach. GO Santa Monica, unload and ride. Attach a trailer, load wife and daughter there, nice workout for me, fun for them. Screw the weight limit :-).
2. Commute: I take the quiter streets parrallel to the major street, VC-style. That is I take the lane, and let cars pass me when it is convinient to me (which is usually once per block). Usually there are no more than like five cars that pass me on my way to work. I take Glenoaks sometimes (alco VC-style) since it is much faster (no stop signs, and light is usually green at intersections, and it is flatter), but 40mph speed limit and huge intersections are a big deal. I stopped using Glenoaks often after some idiot passed me on the right (!). It wasn't a BMW.
3. I'm working on my physical shape to be able to better handle > 10% pitch fire roads in the area. Then I would use Chandler Fire Road for commute:-)
4. Errands. Groceries go on the handlebar.
Fuji Tahoe 2005 20.5" with disk brakes, given to me by my friends for my birthday 4 years ago. I rode every now and then (commuted like once a week), and only recently started doing it really often. Got hooked up, started reading the forums.
I live in New York City, and primarily ride my bike to get around town quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively while having a lot of fun and getting some exercise. I have a short seven mile commute (each way) that takes me over one of two bridges (depending upon if I want the fast route or the scenic route). One of the reasons I commute is that I hate going to the gym - I prefer to get my exercise outside, so biking helps me accomplish this (and it saves me time since I have to get to work anyway). Since my commute is short each way, and I look to this as a form of exercise I tend to treat my commute as a sprint (thankfully, my co-workers don't mind me being drenched in sweat).
I try to ride as quickly as possible while maintaining a very alert and defensive outlook. I generally stay the hell out of bike lanes, unless I'm taking it easy and going slow - and even then they tend to be chock full of oblivious pedestrians, cop cars and cabs. As much as possible I stick to wide roads with more than one lane in a single direction so that I can take up my own lane and ride fast, and whenever I cross a one way street I'll make sure I'm not on the turning side, so I have to do a lot of lane switching to make sure I'm always in the safest lane to cross on. Before I started commuting, I hadn't ridden a bike in over ten years after getting rear ended by a bread truck in Texas (I was miraculously unharmed, and the bread truck was miraculously not even issued a ticket). I got scared and it took me awhile to get back on the bike. After living in New York a few years I got fed up with waiting on subway platforms, and being stuck in taxicabs ... so I decided to try commuting by bike, which turned out to be a wonderfully liberating experience. Over the years riding in NYC traffic has gotten a lot easier. Most of the drivers have learned to accept that they do in fact have to share the road with cyclists, and I've gotten a lot better at dealing with it when they don't (both emotionally, and technically). I love the sensation of speed, and it satisfies the (mildly) competitive side of me to be keeping up with and (usually) overtaking traffic. I also like being able to sleep in an extra 30 minutes in the morning! I also get a twisted sense of pleasure whipping past cars that are stuck in traffic, and honking their horns in desperate futility.
Some of the other things that I like about riding my bike are: seeing things that I might not notice in a car/train as a go by. That awesome sense of self sufficiency.
Technically speaking: I ride a single-speed track bike with a freewheel and both brakes. I do not ride fixed, nor do I ever plan to. I like the no-nonsense maintenance requirements of a single speed drivetrain, as well as the mechanical efficiency it gets me. I like riding a freewheel because I can corner as hard as I want to without worrying about pedal strike, I can spin up as fast as I want on the downhills and relax, and I can ride a much higher gain ratio than I would probably ride on a fixed gear - I also appreciate the ability maintain a quiet upper body for maneuvering and cornering).
I really like the sense of freedom you get from riding a bike in an urban area where everything is fairly close. That's my favorite thing about it.
I ride for pleasure too : I've done a few century rides and the like, but honestly, sitting on a bike that long can get a bit boring for me, but it's fun when there are cool people to talk to.
Where I live
All kinds of traffic here, but predominantly very congested or too fast to keep up with.
How I ride
99% of the time in the city, mostly for fun and every now and then to the University (I usually get there 2-4 times faster than with any other means of transportation)
I used to ride on the sidewalk where I pushed quite hard. At those speeds and being quiet, I think I took by surprise/scared a fair share of pedestrians. However, I've always stayed safe and never hit anyone.
I have recently rediscovered riding in traffic, but this time I'm being bolder:
- When the cars are faster than myself, I ride on the right side of the road.
- When the traffic queues build up I split lanes and I stay there even if the cars start moving slowly; I take a full lane when there's a possibility that the speed will increase and then safely move on the right side of the road, as not to bother the motorists.
I run every red light that is safe to run.
The risky part is that I have this thing for tight spaces... I cut my handlebars to be ass-wide (a bit narrower than shoulder width) and I like to ride fast through seemingly impossible places (between buses, cars that are close to eachother, on the very edge of the road/sidewalk etc.) Where one could barely walk through without dodging, I pedal faster.
It may be dangerous, but it's what makes cycling fun and brings excitement into my rather boring life.
I don't wear a helmet but I will certainly get one once I have enough money.
I got my first bike Yamaha FZ and haven't considered being with out a bike ever since. I've had dirt bikes, enduros, street rockets, and cruisers, now at age 23 I ride a Honda Stunner. Slowly customizing it to make it my own, no loud pipes, why piss off the neighbors, but those touches to create an individual bike. Ah, joy and freedom, It's not just about the thrill, it's about the feel. Had a crappy day or week? Go for a ride, best of all go for a ride on a country road, feel all your stress melt away , even if it's just for the time your on the bike. Ever feel like you need a friend? See what happens if you breakdown on the side of the road, chances are some other biker you never met will stop and ask, brother you need a hand? So why ride? Believe me it's life renewing. There are many reasons I ride a motorcycle, many of which have already been shared.
Wrong Forum, RossTaylor, we're all about bicycling.
But welcome anyways, many of the things you just described are familiar to a cyclist too. :D
I ride a single speed track, freewheel, two brakes, whistle around my neck, reflective bag on my back, u-lock close by for some occasional street melee attacks. I ride in San Francisco. I have a short 4 mile ride each way to work. Although short, I can extend it to 15 miles by circling the city (where its flat) to add a little excitement. If i take the short route, I get to ascend and descend some menacing hills. The single speed allows me to harshly overtake those spandex clad roadies slowly trucking it up hill and the brakes allow me to relax and fly past those uber-hip fixed gear kids on the downhills.
I ride defensively, but that doesnt mean slow and reserved. I dont race cars, I dont have to. Im always at the front of the red light/stop sign. In SF, the bicycle is far more time efficient for city maneuvering. I dont go the wrong way down one ways, I dont cut off pedestrians, I dont ride on the sidewalk, I use the outside of the bike lane as far from the door zone as possible. I check my back every 10 seconds, at least. I have a u-lock in my back pocket saved for cabbies and teenage boys in lifted trucks. A u-lock smash on the hood of someones car is quite humbling and its cheaper to fix than my legs and bike. Ive been doored twice, one of which was a paramedic getting out of an ambulance in the center lane of three lane road, went down right on my head. Smashed up my helmets pretty bad, got them hanging on my wall as a reminder.
There are two types of cyclists: Those who have gone down, and those who are going down.
Ride fast and safe because no matter what, something is bound to happen to each and every one of us.
Where I live:
I ride in Beograd (Belgrade), Serbia.
Very aggressive traffic, either very fast or totally congested. Lots of hills, next to zero bicycle lanes in the bigger, older part of the city (a newer part, called New Belgrade, is flat with wide streets and wide sidewalks with bicycle lanes).
How I ride:
Most of my riding is done in the city, for fun and for some transportation. (This means going to friends' or my girlfriend's since there is the infrastructure for leaving bicycles in public places is not very developed, and there is a lot of bicycle theft.)
Taking in account all of the above, I mostly try to ride on the street, with the traffic. During the busier hours (which means most of the day) I'll choose the more quiet streets off the main ones, even if it means a longer way do my destination.
There is a part where I almost always use the sidewalk, but it is a wide one, often used by cyclists, and I take care not to disrupt pedestrians, even if it means riding at a walking speed. I will also use sidewalks as shortcuts in some occasions, where it would be impossible to legally get from one street to another any other way. When I do so, I will get off my bike and walk it if there's a lot of pedestrians.
Full-on vehicular cycling would be considered illegal here, but on streeed I do claim my space and use appropriate lanes, always checking and re-checking my back before changing lanes or taking turns. From time to time I run a red light on "T" intersections, and I will overtake a line of cars on the right when they're stuck if there's enough room to manoeuvre. I have on occasion also crossed to the left lane when there's really bad congestion, and even went between to lines of cars, but in general I'll rather wait behind the last car in line if overtaking on the right doesn't feel safe.
All in all, I like to ride as a part of the traffic, but I also like to use the ability to act as a pedestrian where it makes my life easier. I try to be defensive, aware of the situation on the road and patient. I don't have problems with road rage but I do sometimes act recklessly simply for not thinking all my actions through, so I consider my city riding skill set a work in progress with lots of place for improvement.
" because any time i can get on the bike is good time; i'm never as alive as when i'm on the bike."
"the weight of the many other things in my life just isn't felt in the saddle. i can be alone or with others, just passing time or pursuing a destination, having a good romp or communing with my Creator -- all of it in a frame of mind that's more positive and receptive."
Bigpedaler; I don't think it can be said any better than that........
I ride in the country side of Southern Illinois farmland. Lots of "chip sealed" " paved" roads with very little traffic. Great for early morning rides on the weekends. I ride a hybrid and am not too concerned about setting speed records. I ride for the physical, mental and spiritual health benefits. I ride on the right, close to the line, i have a mirror and keep vigilant about traffic. I follow the rules and laws of the road and keep a sharp eye out for those who might not. The biggest danger in my area is the fall harvest. Large machinery and grain trucks driven by sometimes very young farmhands who are in a hurry to get to the grain elevator. It is best to just pull over and take a break and let them pass. I do not currently ride with a helmet ( I know I am a bad man ). That is about to change as I won't let my 7 yr old ride her bike without one and the best way to teach a child a good habit is to demonstrate that habit, so I will finally go get a helmet. I have been riding since I was twelve and have always tried to be safe and courteous to other motorists and cyclists. I feel that a spot of patience and touch of kindness can go a long way to getting where you are going safely no matter what form of transport you are using.
Where I live:
Northern Guildford, Surrey. An urban area with speed humps on several roads. A few MUPs and bike lanes on one route, none on the other (shorter) route. Though there are lots of pavement cyclists, most motorists seem to understand the concept of right-of-way and that a bicycle is just another vehicle.
Where I Study:
University of Surrey, about 5 miles to the southeast.
How I Ride:
Mostly on the road, keeping to the left side (about in the left tyre track) or in the middle of the lane where it's unsafe to pass, like at pedestrian crossings with a central island. On one part of my route I cross a footbridge, which I dismount and walk over. Occasionally I'll ride along the river towpath which is open to bicycles. Never ride against traffic, that's just stupid. Obey traffic lights unless I can be bothered to get off and bypass the junction on the footpath. At a junction, I will sometimes cut to the front of a line of stopped traffic if I'm turning and they're not, or vice versa.
Where I live:
I live in western Washington where it rains a bit.
I no longer work:
I'm 67 and retired
How I ride:
My bicycle is a hybrid comfort bike. I have arthritis in my back and an artificial hip and that causes me to be an upright rider, so I hate riding into the wind.
I usually start from home and ride a wide paved shoulder and then a sidewalk to get to the extensive bike trail system in this area. When I ride the highway I try to stay on the shoulder and out of the way as much as possible, and never challenge cars. I always ware a helmet, bright clothes and have flashing lights front and back.
Being 67 I ride about 12 mph on flat ground and get in about 25 miles five days a week. I enjoy riding just for fun and exercise, I also like to watch people and activity's going on along the way. The trail I ride goes from Seattle along lake Washington and then along a river bank where there are lots of birds and animals.
Where I live: Massachusetts. I have a place just outside of Boston in Newton and a place in the far reaches of Western Massachusetts in the Berkshires. Sometimes I live in NYC for 2-3 month stints.
Where I work: I'm an actor and I go where the work is. But my base is Boston, where I am an artist in residence at a college and am affiliated with several theaters.
Where I ride: I ride all over the Boston area commuting and for transportation on a daily basis (I commute round trip 20 miles/day). I also ride in NYC quite a bit while working/seeking work/living there. I've ridden across the US twice and Canada once, ridden in several countries in Europe and have toured, raced, commuted/transported myself by bike all over New England since the age of 16 (40 years ago).
How I ride: I was introduced to cycling by my British father and grandfather and regaled with their stories of riding back in the 1920's -40's from London to Brighton Beach by "taking the lane" and drafting double decker buses at high rates of speed. I started racing in my teens and riding with pretty hard core vehicularists like Dr. Ralph Galen, then president of the LAW (now LAB). So, I've been well schooled in riding like a vehicle and do the bulk of my riding to this day on the road.
However, I choose my road routes carefully and am by no means against bike lanes nor bike paths nor cycling specific infrastructure. I've commuted back and forth into Boston from various locations since I moved to the area and much prefer my rides (on the same roads) WITH the bike lanes as opposed to WITHOUT. It's changed nothing about where I ride for most of my route into the city except for one stretch where it has been greatly improved by placing the bike lane on the LEFT side of the street on Commonwealth Avenue between Mass Ave and Arlington- I love it. On the other portion of the route if I ride to the most left portion of the bike lane I'm pretty much where I rode before there was a lane but I've noticed a touch more respect for my presence with the addition of the lanes. I leave the bike lanes and move into the lane to pass other cyclists, if the lane is blocked with traffic or parked vehicles and if it contains debris.
And I much prefer riding in NYC with infrastructure than without. I rode there before the addition of bike lanes and the west side path and ride there now with them and it's a world of difference.
My commuter is well equipped with lights, I wear a helmet every time I ride and I wear "civilian clothing" to commute and cycling specific clothing on my road bike for touring, recreational riding and long distance transportational rides.
In Augusta, GA its spread out and is suburbia in my area, the speed limits are mostly 45mph. The roads surrounding my neighborhood have four lanes with a middle turning lane. The area I end up riding the most is our downtown area, its a mix of old residental and commercial buildings. The Savannah River runs along downtown and most of the trails and paths are along this. That area has plenty of bike lanes along the roads and our canal and river are beautiful backdrops for a dirt road, half of which is car-free. Topographically we have mostly rolling hills sloping towards a lower, flat area near the river.
I try and ride within a foot of the white line as most drivers dont even slow down when overtaking me. I hate riding on the road within a mile oneway and three miles the other way out of my neighborhood. Most times if I go the most direct route home I end up timing the lights and waiting in an office parking lot bc it is just not safe. I ride fixed gear or a steel framed older road bike, varying each day on how I feel/ wanna stlye or not. I ride fast most places except uphill, ill go slow and if im geared ill spin the heck out of it or just stand and beast it if im fixed. I enjoy riding in traffic and splitting lanes; its either 45 or stopped. I look ahead on red lights and do what I can to keep steady while being safe and not getting in a vehicle's way.
The drivers here are terrible. Zero respect and makes confrontations wayyy to common place. I carry pepper spray on the ready just incase im on the recieving end of some serious road rage. I watch videos online and theyre like omg! way too close and I encounter that everday. It honestly is scary sometimes and the driver ends up having a friendly conversation with me at the red light. Ive been honked, told to get off the road, had my path obstructed on purpose, and all kinds of crazy stuff..
p.s. never seen a fellow cyclist on my commute in all 4 months ive been doing it.
Where I live
A suburb off Vancouver, British Columbia. There's two major roads with bike paths in the city, but the main roads are not thought to be cycling friendly. There's also not many alternatives to the main roads as there's no smaller roads, everything between the main roads are essentially suburb cul de sac lands. There's a gravel path around the island that recreational cyclists take, and I see the occasional lycra-clad roadie on weekends, but there's not that many commuters/utilitarians around, I only see five every week for a city of more than 170,000 people.
How do you ride?
I live car free, and I take public transit to university. I've been using my bike for the weekly grocery trip for 3 years now, but trying to use it more often both within the city and outside the city. There's a light rail transit line that can carry bikes well, so I bring my bike to Vancouver and ride it around there, especially when my destination is a bike-friendly neighbourhood.
I have a city bike (Brodie Section 7) and I use panniers to carry my stuff around, and switch between wearing normal city clothes and wearing waterproof cycling clothes depending on the weather. I consider myself a utilitarian cyclist, hopefully become a daily commuter as I plan to live within a bike's distance from work/school in the near future. 3 hours of public transit a day can be exhausting, even if you have handy reading material. I'd much rather bike around.
I started biking recreationally on weekends as Vancouver and its surrounding cities has some nice trails. If I continue to bike recreationally, I'll look into getting a cheap hardtail MTB, there's plenty of those sitting around being unused in Vancouver.
Over the three years, I've made the slow transition from a sidewalk cyclist, to a bike-path/bike-designated-road cyclist to bike-path/VC when I feel comfortable. I never took any formal driving lessons which puts me at a disadvantage regarding VC, but I signed up for a VACC class on road skills, so hopefully that will make me feel more comfortable being on the road.
Sidewalk cycling is illegal here, but most cyclists in this suburb do it. Maybe 1 in 5 cyclists are on the road, the other 4 are on the sidewalk. The cyclist on the road would have the MEC panniers, the helmet, the lights, waterproof yellow jacket, etc. The sidewalk cyclists would have normal clothes, no helmet, no lights, cycling against traffic if they are on the bike path, and have the plastic bags hanging off the handlebars and dodging in and out of parked cars.
I want to be more of the former, and definitely not the latter. I do VC on slower residential roads, use bike paths when they exist, and cycle at least 1 m away from the sidewalk because gutters are terrible. I'm still conflicted over what I'm supposed to do when it comes to the bike lane/right-turning cars merge. Sometimes I shift lanes to the left when the cars are far away or at a reasonable speed, but sometimes I stay on the right-turning lane if the cars to the left are way too fast (and they're all SUV/Hummer types) but pull my bike over to the right and try to give room for right-turning cars to make their turns. I don't have the guts for VC left turns in major roads, since the speeds are very high, so I just go dismount on the sidewalk and just use the pedestrian crossing.
On major roads with high speeds and no bike lanes, I do ride on the sidewalk, but with traffic, and I always watch for cars moving in/out of driveways, and I generally look for sidewalks with not many driveways to begin with. I dismount when there are many pedestrians, and when there are just a few, I just pedal at walking speed and don't ask them to move away as I think that using bells can be seen as aggressive. 95% of pedestrians seem fine with this, although I've had the occasional person grumble about it, but they still moved away while I didn't ask for them to move away. Sidewalk cycling is slow-going and I rather avoid it, but I'll have to attend the road skills class first before I have enough confidence to tackle busier roads.
I cycle a lot at night (getting groceries, meeting up with friends), and I have lights and reflective doodads on the pedals and the panniers and a bright helmet. Unfortunately, I'm still wearing a black raincoat because it's the only raincoat I own, but I'm currently saving up for a more visible raincoat. That being said, I never had any close calls at night, my close calls aren't visibility related... just vehicles-too-aggressive-in-turning-related when I have the right of way X_X
I wish that there's more bicycle infrastructure in this city, because it has a lot of growth and a lot of $$$, but not much of that is going into developing more bike/public-transit friendly spaces. The city is getting more dense, but it usually means putting overpriced condo complexes to the fringes of the city with limited/almost no public transit and no sidewalks, which means people would rather drive around anyway. "Eco-density" without proper transportation planning is just greenwash, just means more traffic jams.
Most of my friends take public transit, and a minority are starting to drive everywhere as they transition to full-time jobs. I'm considered a bit crazy for cycling (even though it's not frequent compared to posters here) and wanting to live car-lite. I'm not opposed to cars as they are useful for specific distances, but I strongly believe that people shouldn't be driving if the distance is under 5 km unless (1) the snow hasn't been cleared (2) you're elderly/disabled/physically unable to walk/bike.
I've been trying to encourage some of my friends to bike with me but they either (1) don't own a bike (2) don't know how to bike (3) believe that biking in the city is crazy and is only for young men with nothing to lose.
I tried to address #1 for a friend by offering to buy her a decent craigslist bike to practice on, but she said she didn't want to own a bike unless she took a how-to bike class first. I stated that bike classes usually require you to own/rent a bike, and as no one we knew has a bike to lend out, she'd need the bike anyway. My offer is still open. I try to address #1 for others by telling them of good places to buy affordable bikes when the topic is brought up, but most people still see them as toys rather than reasonable means of transportation, hence are low priority on the purchase list.
I'll try to address #2 for the first friend by teaching her how to use my bike once I have more free time/the weather is better. Not many people want to learn how to ride a bike during cold rainy weather.
I try to address #3 by just continuing to cycle. I'm an asian female in my 20's that's fairly risk-adverse, very bookish, and don't consider myself very athletic. I like cycling and I like showing that someone like me can do it too. I've had a woman stop me once while I was biking from the grocery, and she asked me all kinds of questions about biking during the winter time. She eventually concluded: "Well I don't have an excuse to not bike at all!"
I will also address this point tomorrow by learning how to fix my first flat instead of calling the boyfriend. Time to watch bicycle tutor.
To get a higher adoption rate for cycling, I think bicycle-specific infrastructure is required to address #3. VC makes sense, but worrying about bicycle-specific infrastructure further marginalizing the bicycle isn't my main concern if only 2% or less of a city cycles. I think that is an important issue to address, but I think the priority is now is getting more people to adopt cycling first, whether it's through training all road users, or building bike-specific infrastructure, or both. I'd like to see cycling adopted as a mainstream means of transportation, I want my friends and my family to cycle too, and that can only happen if city cycling can be seen as newb friendly, rather than the exclusive domain of an athletic well organized elite.
Here in Wisconsin, weather is the biggest limiter on riding. I live in a small town, so traffic isn't a problem. Out on the rural roads I get nervous of being flattened by a farm truck. Biking is really rare here in farm country, so the rule is look out for yourself; nobody is watching for you.
Where? Medium sized regional town in Queensland, Australia. I dont ride as much as I'd like to. My riding is limited mainly by time - squeezed into the hour while my kids are doing piano/guitar/dance lessons, so I ride in my work clothes & shoes, always wear a helmet (required by law in Australia). I ride either the street or the footpath, depending on traffic (usually light) and condition of the road (sometimes terrible, especially since flood events this summer just gone). Occasionally I commute home and hope to do this more as the kids get older & more independent. I manage a bigger ride on the weekend by getting up early. The longer ride is usually on country roads, single lane and some gravel, with minimum traffic and the occasional dodging of snakes and kangaroos. Not as hardcore as most but I enjoy it and hope to get out more and do some touring as my family responsibilities decrease.
Where I ride
Mérida, Yucatán, México and environs.
I don't work here, and so don't commute. I'm 59 years old. But I do play tennis, go shopping, run errands, all by bike. We live car free, and use public transport for longer journeys and bigger loads. I have a '93 Giant hybrid with panniers and rack trunk for my city bike, and a '78 Schwinn World for my Sunday bike. I also have a cargo trike, the kind with two wheels in front, and a folding bike.
How I ride
I ride 100% vc, and that is the only option I have, and have ever had. I immensely enjoy riding in city traffic, having learned which streets to completely avoid. Here in Mérida, it is the custom for anything on two wheels to always move to the front at a traffic light. It's a much safer way to ride, especially in a place where turn signals are meaningless, and many vehicles have no rear view mirrors. Our old downtown is entirely two lane one way streets, making it extremely easy to flow with the traffic, or more often move faster than the traffic. Buses and taxis can present problems, but most of them are sane operators most of the time. I don't use a mirror, or horn, though I consider both from time to time. I wear a helmet all the time.
The newer, wealthier part of the city is completely different, with multi-laned thorofares, and entitled, generally spaced out drivers, on the phone more often than not. When I need to make a trip to the North, I choose my route carefully.
We live in a very classist society where using a bicycle for transportation is for the lower classes. And my wife and I. The local riders are either Sunday racers or Sunday mountain bikers. Very few would consider riding the city streets, for their own reasons.
Sundays I take the road bike out for anywhere between 35 and 100 miles, depending on the season mostly. I'm hoping to manage my first double metric century before the end of the year. It's over 100 (40)degrees in the summertime, and hangs around 85 (30)in the winter. I still try to get an imperial century a month in whatever the season.
I work in the US two months a year, in the summer, in a rural area, and find the driving population to be very difficult to deal with. Most drivers act as though they've never before seen an adult on a bicycle. I find everything about the US very difficult to deal with, but that's for another discussion.
VC in town on slow speed roads (25mph or less) and FRAP on high speed roads (more than 25mph). I do not like high speed roads without shoulders and stay the heck off of them if at all possible; I love high speed roads with wide shoulders where there is a rumble strip just on the outside edge of the white line that is between me and motor traffic; an excellent passive defense tool that snaps drowsy or distracted drivers to attention if they start to wander into "my space" on the shoulder and also alerts me to their approach by the sound their tires make on it.
Where I live: Vancouver, BC, Canada. Cycling haven with a bike-friendly mayor. Good man.
I live on the peak of Vancouver, and it's downhill both North and South of me. East and West are basically gentle slopes that aren't much of a problem to bike back up. School takes me West and makes for a 30km round trip. Work takes me North for a 5km trip. The hill is 45 blocks long and unrelenting, so I take the subway back up the hill.
What I ride: Roadie for commuting, MTB for recreation. Suspension feels soooo good after the hard shocks of a road bike.
Accesories: Lights on both bikes. Gel seats on both bikes (relieves my balls). Slightly deflated front tube to soak up some road bumps on my roadie, foam-cushioned handle bars with cushioned cycling gloves. Maximum comfort with minimum add-on luggage.
I practice safe cycling (road presence, etc, the works) except for a helmet (helmets simply don't work for me. Restrains my head movment and I don't feel much safer wearing it... just cumbersome.) and hand out free maps that I can get from bike shops that have some basic signalling tips for cyclists that don't seem to quite get the hang of it yet. Ride strictly on roads and try to stay below the speed limit.
I don't run red-lights, however tempting it might be for a cyclist to keep the momentum. Unless I can't stop in time to stop at a yellow light, I will come to a stop. I don't let right-hand turning cars pass me at a stop light. I take up the entire lane and only move when the light tells them that the car can legally turn right. Some drivers began to appreciate this (fixed work / class schedule means I often run into same drivers) around my area.
When signalling, I wave my arm up and down just a little bit to increase the chances of my signal being seen. One of my pet peeves is cyclists and motorists not signalling (motorists not signalling and then honking at me really ticks me off)
I will assert my rights. I've had a bloke try to land a punch on me because I was "biking too slow" (I was doing the 50km in-city speed limit) and "not letting me pass". Kept cool and explained. Witnesses saw it and since the driver cut me off with his car, caused some congestion and luckily someone recorded the whole ordeal on her cell. Driver got a suspended license and I assume an increase in insurance.
Sometimes drive when the occasion calls for it (taking your date out, wearing a suit on a bike isn't stylish at all) or need to do a presentation where I can't afford to show even one bead of sweat or be flustered in the slightest or out of breath at work.
Most importantly, a bike nut. :D
I live in a medium-size city and I bicycle for both commuting and leisure/exercise. I have a BMX with a basket and a MTB that until now I've forgotten to mention.
I use to ride to and from school up until college. Now it hasn't been possible for me since I've started Uni so it's straight on the train for me :(
I live in the UK where all the roads seem to be a rat race!
I own a triumph trophy 1200 motorcycle, but don't use it really at all since getting my specialised crosstrail. I don't own a car.
I work as a senior lecturer at a college teaching 16+ web design and programming. Work is only 2 miles from my waterside flat, so no excuse not to pedal whatever the weather. My girlfriend lives 5 miles away, so no excuse there either!
My ride to work is all cycle ways along the quay, and through a lovely park, so I'm extremely lucky. I can extend these short rides to upto 15 miles and never have to hit a road. We are extremely lucky to live in a holiday destination so there are well kept cycle paths and trail ways literally everywhere.
I picked up the bike with the only intention to ride to work, to loose a bit of weight and to get some air, but I've ended up cycling much more for pure pleasure and I'm getting quite into the fitness side. Early days, but I mean to go on through the winter. Being a motorcyclist the elements are no issue for me.