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  1. #1
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    Maybe I'm not an advocate....

    I rode to work today. Got up, showered, went to the bike shed and got the bike out. I put my backpack into my panier and stuck my ipod buds in, seeing as it was 4:00 am and no one else was out driving yet. I strapped on...wait, put on my cycling cap, threw a leg over, turned on my lights and took off, smiling while Janice whispered in my ear. I was making good time when I realized how nice it was and how early I was, so I slowed down to prolong the nice ride. The cars that went by, for the most part giving me plenty of room, when they looked saw nothing but a dude with work clothes on and a big fat smile on his face. They didn't see a helmet. They didn't see a camera. They didn't see anyone who was looking for them to do something wrong so the authorities could be called. They just saw a happy normal dude on a bike. I went up a hill, determined to not downshift, and felt like Eddie Merkx at the Tour de France (except a LOT slower, lol), and shot my arms up in a sign of victory. In fact, it was just a fun ride.

    Most days are like this for me. I love riding, love the excercise and knowing I'm doing just a little to make this planet a nicer place to live. Sure, it's just a drop in a bucket, but it's my drop. Evidently, I'm not a good advocate, however. From everything I've read on this forum, cycling is supposed to be dangerous and cars, for some reason, are always trying to hit the cyclists here.

    What am I doing wrong?
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

  2. #2
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    You could be me....cept for the throwing up my arms, or that I use a rack trunk instead of a backpack and pannier, or that I wear a ball cap instead of a cycling cap, or that I use a plain old MP3 player instead of an Ipod, and the fact the Janice doesn't whisper in my ear until after you leave.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post

    What am I doing wrong?
    Trying to compare a 4AM work commute, with a low car count of unhurried motorists, to some cyclists' rush hour commutes with a good number of motorist trying to go as fast as they can to a place they really don't want to be.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Trying to compare a 4AM work commute, with a low car count of unhurried motorists, to some cyclists' rush hour commutes with a good number of motorist trying to go as fast as they can to a place they really don't want to be.
    Well, my typical ride home, through rush hour traffic down PCH in Long Beach, Ca. is usually the same without the ipod...hardly ever a problem with cars, usually given enough room, no near death experiences, all those things that apparently happen to all the other cyclists on here rarely, if ever, happen to me. And when people see me go home, 5 p.m. through a major urban center is a regular dude with regular clothes smiling like a dummy.

    I just wonder why my commutes are usually so much simpler and nicer than what I usually read here. I'm thinking they are not, and that cycling for everyone else is usually just as safe and enjoyable as it is for me. I never have the need to turn anyone in, and rarely feel like I'm in enough danger for special head gear to be required. I think this is the real statement we need to make to advocate cycling as a viable if not better option than driving.

    I started this as sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the trials and tribulations everyone here seems to be posting about. If I was considering riding my bike regularly and then read the posts here, where everyone is almost getting hit, where helmets are "saving people's lives", and where drivers are so horrible that they need to be narced on, I'd never ride. In reality, cycling is safer than driving, and those things posted in here very rarely happen, and in some people's cycling lives never happen. And that is the message we need to get out.
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

  5. #5
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    I have a really hard time not seeing an implication of "blame the victim" in the OP. It really depends on the drivers you meet up with. I have lived in Virginia, Ohio, Utah, and Pennsylvania. I ride a lot in New Jersey and New York. There is a distinct difference in the behaviors that I see in those places. I think the Utahns were best. Here in central PA, I find that the motorists behave really well on small rural roads, but get on a higher speed road with shoulders and they are a batch of jerks. And the bad and dangerous driving doesn't really stop when I get off the bike and into my car. I actually saw 2 car-on-car right hooks in a week. It's just that this dangerous driving becomes life threatening when you are on a bike. And if you do enough miles, you will eventually run into some real sociopaths.

  6. #6
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
    Well, my typical ride home, through rush hour traffic down PCH in Long Beach, Ca. is usually the same without the ipod...hardly ever a problem with cars, usually given enough room, no near death experiences, all those things that apparently happen to all the other cyclists on here rarely, if ever, happen to me. And when people see me go home, 5 p.m. through a major urban center is a regular dude with regular clothes smiling like a dummy.

    I just wonder why my commutes are usually so much simpler and nicer than what I usually read here. I'm thinking they are not, and that cycling for everyone else is usually just as safe and enjoyable as it is for me. I never have the need to turn anyone in, and rarely feel like I'm in enough danger for special head gear to be required. I think this is the real statement we need to make to advocate cycling as a viable if not better option than driving.

    I started this as sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the trials and tribulations everyone here seems to be posting about. If I was considering riding my bike regularly and then read the posts here, where everyone is almost getting hit, where helmets are "saving people's lives", and where drivers are so horrible that they need to be narced on, I'd never ride. In reality, cycling is safer than driving, and those things posted in here very rarely happen, and in some people's cycling lives never happen. And that is the message we need to get out.
    +1 IMO, folks like you and I ARE doing the best form of bike advocacy...we're setting an example that it's not dangerous, that it's not complicated, that it doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment, clothing and accessories, that it IS FUN. You're not doing anything wrong, you're doing it right.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Uneventful rides and well behaved motorists aren't newsworthy enough to post in A&S about.

    Pleasant, boring streets and police who don't ticket lawfully operating bicyclists aren't noteworthy enough to post in A&S about.

    You can't use A&S as a barometer for bicycling any more than you can use the newspaper headline crime stories as an indication of how safe and pleasant your city is.

    Perhaps there should be another forum called Promotion and Encouragement. After all, tourism bureaus don't lead by talking about crime and restaurant marketing doesn't lead by talking about health inspection ratings. They talk about what people will enjoy.
    Last edited by sggoodri; 11-01-11 at 10:35 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
    I started this as sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the trials and tribulations everyone here seems to be posting about. If I was considering riding my bike regularly and then read the posts here, where everyone is almost getting hit, where helmets are "saving people's lives", and where drivers are so horrible that they need to be narced on, I'd never ride. In reality, cycling is safer than driving, and those things posted in here very rarely happen, and in some people's cycling lives never happen. And that is the message we need to get out.
    Possibly that the motorists in your area are more familiar with cyclists, have a better knowledge on how to react when they do interact with them, versus other motorists, in other areas, that do not.

    Again, I've only had to report two motorists this year, out of the many thousands that I interact with annually, there's definitely not an epidemic of dangerous motorists in my area, but there's still a good number of them where the incident was what I considered borderline dangerous, enough to keep a personal log, but not enough for me to report to local law enforcement.

  9. #9
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I have a really hard time not seeing an implication of "blame the victim" in the OP. It really depends on the drivers you meet up with. I have lived in Virginia, Ohio, Utah, and Pennsylvania. I ride a lot in New Jersey and New York. There is a distinct difference in the behaviors that I see in those places. I think the Utahns were best. Here in central PA, I find that the motorists behave really well on small rural roads, but get on a higher speed road with shoulders and they are a batch of jerks. And the bad and dangerous driving doesn't really stop when I get off the bike and into my car. I actually saw 2 car-on-car right hooks in a week. It's just that this dangerous driving becomes life threatening when you are on a bike. And if you do enough miles, you will eventually run into some real sociopaths.
    Meh, the sociopaths are the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of drivers may like to bark, but don't have any wish to actually bite. The old adage of "when your number is up, your number is up" applies...if you meet up with one of those sociopaths you're either going to get hurt or you ain't...no sense worrying about it beyond your normal defensive riding tactics and strategies.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    +1 IMO, folks like you and I ARE doing the best form of bike advocacy...we're setting an example that it's not dangerous, that it's not complicated, that it doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment, clothing and accessories, that it IS FUN.....
    Chip, I watch the regular cyclists who ride day in and day out in my area, they, like me, are enjoying what they do and having fun at times, but cycling amongst motorists is a little more complicated than just balancing on two wheels.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
    They didn't see a helmet. They didn't see a camera. They didn't see anyone who was looking for them to do something wrong so the authorities could be called. They just saw a happy normal dude on a bike.

    Evidently, I'm not a good advocate, however. From everything I've read on this forum, cycling is supposed to be dangerous and cars, for some reason, are always trying to hit the cyclists here.

    What am I doing wrong?
    Well, to be an "advocate" on A&S, you have to be incapable of happiness, and you have to want to punish other people for the misery you inflict on yourself. Clearly, you get joy out of life.

    So no A&S "advocacy" for you, as post #7 demonstrates.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
    Uneventful rides and well behaved motorists aren't newsworthy enough to post in A&S about.

    Pleasant, boring streets and police who don't ticket lawfully operating bicyclists aren't noteworthy enough to post in A&S about.

    You can't use A&S as a barometer for bicycling any more than you can use the newspaper headline crime stories as an indication of how safe and pleasant your city is.

    Perhaps there should be another forum called Promotion and Encouragement. After all, tourism bureaus don't lead by talking about crime and restaurant marketing doesn't lead by talking about health inspection ratings. They talk about what people will enjoy.
    Problem is, there are people looking into taking cycling up and this is one of the first places that comes up when you google "bicycle forum". I think people don't realize that this may be the first thing people who are considering cycling might read. If you read the posts with this in mind, it may open your eyes. If I were investigating cycling for the first time and saw how "dangerous" it was by reading these posts, there's no way I'd consider it.
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

  13. #13
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Chip, I watch the regular cyclists who ride day in and day out in my area, they, like me, are enjoying what they do and having fun at times, but cycling amongst motorists is a little more complicated than just balancing on two wheels.
    Well maybe as you gain experience it won't seem so complicated and will become much more fun, like it is for me.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Well maybe as you gain experience it won't seem so complicated and will become much more fun, like it is for me.
    +1

    Cycling with motorists is no more complicated than driving with motorists. It's just a matter of paying attention and going with the flow...I rarely have issues, just as I rarely had issues when I drove.
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
    What am I doing wrong?
    LOL
    you're posting on the internet!
    There's no quicker way to feel bad, get lectured and to homogenize your thinking.

    Stay happy, you goofy mofo!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
    Problem is, there are people looking into taking cycling up and this is one of the first places that comes up when you google "bicycle forum".
    this is one of the many reasons I want to rename the forum "safety and advocacy" so it falls way down the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Meh, the sociopaths are the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of drivers may like to bark, but don't have any wish to actually bite.
    what I was saying is that it's not my fault if I meet up with a sociopath, and if I meet another one I probably will post about it here. You don't meet the sociopaths because "you're doing something wrong." They are out there, and they drive.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    this is one of the many reasons I want to rename the forum "safety and advocacy" so it falls way down the list.


    what I was saying is that it's not my fault if I meet up with a sociopath, and if I meet another one I probably will post about it here. You don't meet the sociopaths because "you're doing something wrong." They are out there, and they drive.
    How about just safety concerns? Advocacy is difficult when the dangers, real or imagined, are focused on.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/advocacy

    It's hard to support or promote something that is described as dangerous. Cycling isn't dangerous at all compared with, say, showering, so maybe the two (safety and advocacy) need a permanent divorce...
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    My opinion is that EVERY traffic cyclist goes thru a series of stages getting to bicycling samsari.

    I do like Sgoodris' idea of a 'promotion and encouragement' category at bike forums. put safety and advocacy below it.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    My opinion is that EVERY traffic cyclist goes thru a series of stages getting to bicycling samsari.

    I do like Sgoodris' idea of a 'promotion and encouragement' category at bike forums. put safety and advocacy below it.
    There's a difference between "promotion and encouragement" and "advocacy"?
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

  20. #20
    Half way there gmt13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
    I started this as sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the trials and tribulations everyone here seems to be posting about. If I was considering riding my bike regularly and then read the posts here, where everyone is almost getting hit, where helmets are "saving people's lives", and where drivers are so horrible that they need to be narced on, I'd never ride. In reality, cycling is safer than driving, and those things posted in here very rarely happen, and in some people's cycling lives never happen. And that is the message we need to get out.
    My commute is urban, with more traffic in the afternoon, and I take a variety of routes (some with quite a bit of traffic). I ride as if I were a partner to all of the other road users. I, too, am mystified by some of the comments of angry, aggressive motorists. I just don't see them. In fact, I am continually surprised about how well motorists interact with my presence on the road. I think this has a lot to do with my attitude of partnership when I ride.

    -G

  21. #21
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    OP lives in greater LA. People there do not even think of getting up before 9 am. Of course the roads are clear at 4 am.

    Then in the afternoon, because they start work SO late, they do not head home until the OP is finished with his commute.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
    +1

    Cycling with motorists is no more complicated than driving with motorists. It's just a matter of paying attention and going with the flow...I rarely have issues, just as I rarely had issues when I drove.
    Please come to Buffalo, where people have never heard of bicycles before, and see if you have the same opinion after one day of cycling here.


    What is the point of this thread? Do you think we just make this crap up for the fun of it? Or are you just trolling?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    OP lives in greater LA. People there do not even think of getting up before 9 am. Of course the roads are clear at 4 am.

    Then in the afternoon, because they start work SO late, they do not head home until the OP is finished with his commute.
    I leave at 5:00 or 6:00, and with stops sometimes don't get home until 7:00. Can you please let me know how afternoon rush hour in Long Beach, Ca. is outside of those hours? Reality is, cycling is just not as dangerous as people here tend to make it seem or possibly want it to be for some reason.
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
    I rode to work today. Got up, showered, went to the bike shed and got the bike out. I put my backpack into my panier and stuck my ipod buds in, seeing as it was 4:00 am and no one else was out driving yet. I strapped on...wait, put on my cycling cap, threw a leg over, turned on my lights and took off, smiling while Janice whispered in my ear. I was making good time when I realized how nice it was and how early I was, so I slowed down to prolong the nice ride. The cars that went by, for the most part giving me plenty of room, when they looked saw nothing but a dude with work clothes on and a big fat smile on his face. They didn't see a helmet. They didn't see a camera. They didn't see anyone who was looking for them to do something wrong so the authorities could be called. They just saw a happy normal dude on a bike. I went up a hill, determined to not downshift, and felt like Eddie Merkx at the Tour de France (except a LOT slower, lol), and shot my arms up in a sign of victory. In fact, it was just a fun ride.

    Most days are like this for me. I love riding, love the excercise and knowing I'm doing just a little to make this planet a nicer place to live. Sure, it's just a drop in a bucket, but it's my drop. Evidently, I'm not a good advocate, however. From everything I've read on this forum, cycling is supposed to be dangerous and cars, for some reason, are always trying to hit the cyclists here.

    What am I doing wrong?
    Not a thing. My experience too. Yep, there are bad experiences when I'm on my bike. But, no more than when I'm driving a motor vehicle. But, not having read any of the follow on posts yet I can't say for sure. But, bet you are criticized for any number of things.

    To me the single best way to advocate is to lead by example. Ride lawfully, considerately and visibly. Making eye contact with drivers and using a lot of smiles and hand waves of acknowledgement go a long way.

    I often wonder what planet some of the posters in this thread live on. I've PM'd a couple with no response. So, maybe they aren't real people?

    In any case Karma is real. A person's attitude drives Karma and, in turn, life experiences.
    Last edited by HawkOwl; 11-01-11 at 12:31 PM. Reason: Post Thread Read
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Please come to Buffalo, where people have never heard of bicycles before, and see if you have the same opinion after one day of cycling here.


    What is the point of this thread? Do you think we just make this crap up for the fun of it? Or are you just trolling?

    The point of this thread is to point out how real world bicycling for the vast majority of us is just not as dangerous as reading the posts in the A&S make it seem, and that it confuses me how someone could be advocating bicycling by telling people that the streets are so dangerous we need cameras to document all the aggressive dangerous drivers (not true, and when pushed, the psople who use these cameras only report one or two a year), special head gear is required, (also not true, but let's keep that debate to the helmet thread), and that everyone is out to kill us (also not true, as the reason that when a cyclist dies it makes headlines is because it happens so seldom it actually is news and when a motorist dies, you might be lucky to find out about who it was in the obits as it happens multiple times daily in every city). How is this encouraging and supporting cycling?

    I like to show how safe and fun riding a bike is! That's how you attract people to cycling. Cycling is fun, safe, and will help shrink the waistlines of our super-sized citizenry if only we could get more people to do it. Trust me, once someone makes it up their first hill, then giggles like a schoolgirl on the way down, they could be hooked. Once the initial fear is gotten over (with experience) riding in trafic is fun. The attention payed is almost zen-like. Drivers, 99.9% of the time are curteous and give plenty of room. There are exceptions, but such is life. Let's get our numbers up! You want safety? There's safety in numbers, as the more of us that are out there, the more we're expected. You want to reduce pollution and greenhouse gasses? The less cars, trucks and suv's running the less pollution. These things are more important than whining about the vast minority of bad drivers and getting styrofoam hats on everyone's head (trust me, I'm a to each his or her own on this, I don't want you not to wear one if you so choose).

    These are just a few of my points here. I didn't make any of this up and I'm not a troll. In fact, I think in reality I'm in the majority of cyclists who know bicycling is inherently safe and fun!
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

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