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Old 07-06-13, 05:53 PM   #251
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The problem with the Dutchman's perspective (and yours) is that it's based on a limited view of what cycling is about. This is not a homogenous sport, folks cycle all kinds of ways and for all kinds of reasons, and just about the only thing cyclists have in common is that they ride two wheeled vehicles (and even that isn't true).
The problem with your perspective is you seem to think that because a city bike isn't ideal for all kinds of cycling, it's not ideal for any kind of cycling. The reality is that a road bike with drop bars isn't very practical for many different kinds of riding. It's good at what it's good at, and passably adequate at other stuff, just like any other kind of bike. For urban commuting, there are better, more practical options in the minds of the populations from which bicycle commuters are not outliers. Those are the people who can offer the most insight regarding how to get normal people to start cycling, not people who dress like they're racing the TdF just to go to work.
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Old 07-06-13, 06:05 PM   #252
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The problem with your perspective is you seem to think that because a city bike isn't ideal for all kinds of cycling, it's not ideal for any kind of cycling. .
You're making my point. Search all you want and you won't find me being critical of how or why anybody rides.

I repeat, cycling is not a homogenous activity, cyclists ride many ways and for many reasons. Some cyclists ride multiple bikes, for multiple reasons, and yes, dress differently depending on circumstances.

No style of riding is better or worse than any other, which is my objection to the Dutchman's video. He looks disdainfully of people who have a different style of riding to what he sees at home in his cyclists paradise.

BTW- this kind of thing has been going on for as long as I've been involved in the sport, (since the mid sixties) and I'm sure before that.
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Old 07-06-13, 06:25 PM   #253
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You're making my point. Search all you want and you won't find me being critical of how or why anybody rides.

I repeat, cycling is not a homogenous activity, cyclists ride many ways and for many reasons. Some cyclists ride multiple bikes, for multiple reasons, and yes, dress differently depending on circumstances.

No style of riding is better or worse than any other, which is my objection to the Dutchman's video. He looks disdainfully of people who have a different style of riding to what he sees at home in his cyclists paradise.

BTW- this kind of thing has been going on for as long as I've been involved in the sport, (since the mid sixties) and I'm sure before that.
I mostly agree with what you're saying except I don't see how the Dutchman is being 'disdainful.' He's simply making an observation about the differences he sees between American and Dutch cycling. He isn't saying one is better than the other. Every culture, every country has different customs and different ways of doing things. That's what makes the world interesting. To merely point out these differences doesn't mean you are being derisive of them.

Maybe some ways might be better than others, and everyone has a different opinion about that but the Dutchman didn't get into that. He wasn't making any judgments. He leaves it up to you to decide for yourself. The Dutch probably know more about cycling as a form of mass transportation than anybody else. Personally I think it would be extremely arrogant of us to think that we can't learn anything about it from them.
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Old 07-06-13, 06:29 PM   #254
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Most of the obvious commuters were not wearing cycling specific clothing.

Your "obvious commuter" comment is just prejudice. WTH is an "obvious commuter"?

The images of cyclists on williams, vancouver, ladd's addition, stark and couch were taken during peak commuting hours. Just about everyone was commuting.
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Old 07-06-13, 06:33 PM   #255
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The problem with your perspective is you seem to think that because a city bike isn't ideal for all kinds of cycling, it's not ideal for any kind of cycling.
This pure bull. No one here has said that a dutch is not appropriate for commuting. I personally think a dutch omafiets, a bent, a folder, a fixie, a cruiser, a hybrid, a roadster, a cross bike, a 1950s french proteur, or a bloody fracking carbon fiber "crotch rocket" can all be perfectly functional "city bikes". One of the things I like about cycling (and cycling-specific clothing) in the USA is that both are far more heterogeneous than in holland or denmark. This is a GOOD thing.
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Old 07-06-13, 06:49 PM   #256
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... The Dutch probably know more about cycling as a form of mass transportation than anybody else. Personally I think it would be extremely arrogant of us to think that we can't learn anything about it from them.
After 500,000 miles, I like to think that I have learned a thing or two about cycling as a form of transportation. Personally, I think the video was arrogant and the narrator was pretty clear that he felt he had nothing to learn from anyone, particularly anyone in the U.S.

By the way, I am still learning from other cyclists. Some things have changed over the years, many for the better. Who knows, maybe I'll ride something other than steel someday. Some wonderful things are rediscovered and then improved on, which warms my old stone heart; I do enjoy the much improved internal gear hubs that have become available in recent years. Some mistakes from the past are being discarded, which is great, but some of our most important victories in terms of rights to the public roadways are in danger of being rolled back and I find these "Dutch Perspectives" are being used to help bring that about.

Cycling is a "big tent" activity with incredibly varied participants, goals and values. The Dutch approach is but a small corner of that tent. It does concern me that so much attention is given over to their clothing choices and concrete utilization when the key difference between their land and ours seems to be strict liability and traffic enforcement. I guess it's easier to "see" the concrete and clothing than to observe the motorist behavior at their intersections and compare it to what would happen if such were built here.
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Old 07-06-13, 06:49 PM   #257
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...I've ridden about 120 kms both on a hybrid towing a sea kayak on a trailer...
Sweet. Not that I don't believe it, but I'd love to see a picture.
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Old 07-06-13, 07:14 PM   #258
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After 500,000 miles, I like to think that I have learned a thing or two about cycling as a form of transportation.


What do you know about cycling as a form of mass transportation? I'm guessing not very much. Not just merely transportation for the 1% of hardcore bikers, which is the only demographic that is willing to ride their bikes everyday on our very non-bike-friendly streets. The biking infrastructure in North America is pretty terrible 98% of the time, no question. But even so I think the Dutch can still learn from us. They can learn what not to do.



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Personally, I think the video was arrogant and the narrator was pretty clear that he felt he had nothing to learn from anyone, particularly anyone in the U.S.
What do you expect a Dutch person to say about it? That the US is a cycling nirvana and we are perfect in every way? That we are absolutely flawless and everyone else in the world should kiss our butt? Now that would be dishonest if not laughable. I'm surprised his comments were not even more critical because I thought it was fairly mild.
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Old 07-06-13, 07:22 PM   #259
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Most laws that "require" cyclists to ride right or to use the bike lane allow cyclists to use their best judgement regarding when it is actually safe to do so,i.e., when it is practicable. There are many, many things that might make riding right or using a bike lane not practicable, to the extent that being practicable is often far less common than not being practicable. Such laws typically don't actually require cyclists to leave the lane.
That's nice, but not applicable in my state. Once the traffic engineer with jurisdiction over a road declares a sidepath safe for cyclists, we're stuck with it; we're not allowed to leave it without demonstrable proof that it is blocked, has some unique hazard (in this case the court will defer to the traffic engineer with respect to the danger of the intersections) or we need to leave it to overtake other users. Of course leaving it to pass would be a bit tricky with five lanes of high speed motorists on the other side of the raised curb and the nearest two lanes coming right at you. Remember, this is a two-way sidepath on one side of the road. If it were just a bike lane, that would be no problem as we have abundant legal reasons to leave it even in this damnable mandatory use state.

This is probably the biggest distinction, other than riding posture and clothing, between the Dutch perspective and what many of its opponents in the U.S. are fighting for. The Dutch love their segregated infrastructure and have set up social infrastructure to deal with its weaknesses. Absent those social constructs, we want our full rights to the roadway and prefer non-doorzone bike lanes to sidepaths.
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Old 07-06-13, 07:51 PM   #260
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Before people get the impression that bikes in NL are always on separate bike paths, here are a few examples in Amsterdam:
http://goo.gl/maps/Sg5YW
http://goo.gl/maps/QkRY4
http://goo.gl/maps/Z2AVu
http://goo.gl/maps/STCyx

So why is it nice to ride around on a bike in Dutch traffic, because the city center roads are build to encourage low speeds for cars and because of the mentality that a bicycle is an accepted member of traffic.

I am now living in Maryland and what also doesn't help is that most people driving around got their drivers license, probably at the age of 16, and only had to show that they could drive around an empty parking lot with traffic cones and stop signs.
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Old 07-06-13, 08:34 PM   #261
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The main thing about handlebars is the width. Wider handlebars provide greater comfort and steering control. Road bikes have very narrow handlebars. Doesn't matter if you're in the drop position or the raised position; the width of the handlebar is the same. You're sacrificing some comfort and control on the road bike for greater aerodynamics. The closer your arms are together the less wind resistance you have. Flat handlebars are more comfortable because they are wider. Same with tires. Wider non-knobby tires provide more suspension and greater comfort than narrow road bike tires.

However, I agree that wider seats do not provide greater comfort. That is a common misconception. Narrower is better, when it comes to bike seats. Wider seats rub against the inside of your legs and interfere with pedaling motion, which tires you out more quickly. You also want the seat to be perfectly level. But I guess that's the advantage of buying from a bike shop as opposed to buying used or from a department store. The bike shop people are generally very knowledgeable and can tell you these things.
So it was the "bike shop people" who told you that you're more aero with your arms wide, and that your seat should be perfectly level?

Do you realize that you can put wide handlebars on a road bike and that it would still be a road bike?

I can't respond to this stuff.
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Old 07-06-13, 08:43 PM   #262
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... Riding upright has the additional benefit of taking advantage of the spine's natural shock absorbing properties. ...
Holy cow. I can deal with most of the onslaught of upright position mythology but this comment actually frightens me a bit. The natural shock absorbers you want to use are your arms and legs. This is true for control, but also for your personal health. If the road shock is transferring through the seat to your spine, you really are doing it wrong. Of course, if you refuse to carry any weight on your hands, that's exactly what happens. Use that point of contact more wisely in order to make your body weight more independent from the up-down movements of the bicycle over the roadway.

Anyway you can see why people feel they need to use giant seats and whatnot. They are sitting on their bikes as if they were barstools.
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Old 07-06-13, 09:41 PM   #263
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I can't imagine riding any kind of bike for that long. I think after a hundred miles you're going to be sore no matter what kind of bike you're on. I don't know how they do it in the Tour de France. They're obviously highly-conditioned but still, doing a hundred miles a day, everyday for many days on a road bike (or any bike) almost seems like a form of torture.
This points out what should be obvious, but instead is oblivious to those discussing what is comfortable on 100 mile rides, the Tour de France or up and down mountain sides; i.e. most cyclists cycling in metropolitan areas are not riding a 100 miles daily, are not in a competitive event, nor climbing up and down mountain sides.

Drop bars and postures comfortable or appropriate for racing or long distance rides in the country are not necessarily very comfortable for the city traffic that city bicyclists do every day for distances that for the most part are not very far (or they wouldn't be ridden at all); riding that calls for having to keep the head up and vision forward in a position to see traffic conditions beyond the front wheel (or the cyclist ahead in the peloton). Presumably the areo cyclist in the city can put hands on the upper bar when the strain on neck, shoulders, arms and wrist are excessive and lose contact with the brake levers, a sad compromise not needed on a bike set up for city bike riding rather than set up for training rides with the club on the weekends.
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Old 07-06-13, 11:31 PM   #264
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This points out what should be obvious, but instead is oblivious to those discussing what is comfortable on 100 mile rides, the Tour de France or up and down mountain sides; i.e. most cyclists cycling in metropolitan areas are not riding a 100 miles daily, are not in a competitive event, nor climbing up and down mountain sides.

Drop bars and postures comfortable or appropriate for racing or long distance rides in the country are not necessarily very comfortable for the city traffic that city bicyclists do every day for distances that for the most part are not very far (or they wouldn't be ridden at all); ....
A comfortable long-distance position does not somehow become uncomfortable for short rides, although it may be inappropriate for other reasons. Maybe you meant to say that the upright position that is uncomfortable for longer rides is still reasonably comfortable for most shorter rides, and I would agree.

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...riding that calls for having to keep the head up and vision forward in a position to see traffic conditions beyond the front wheel (or the cyclist ahead in the peloton).
That's a separate issue, and a valid one, but not really something that depends on bicycle type. A rider with any sort of bike or handlebar can put their head down or look away at the wrong time. On a road bike I can certainly keep my head up and eyes forward as well as I can on any other bike. With hands on the brake hoods I can ride just about as upright as is humanly possible if desired. Fingers on the brake levers. I rarely use the drops in the city. I think when people talk about road bikes some people with limited experience imagine dudes in lycra flying through downtown in full time trial position.

Getting around the city isn't just about vision. You might also want the ability to maneuver quickly, deftly. To turn quickly, the bolt upright position is not the best position, to put it mildly. For control purposes it helps to be off the saddle, sort of floating over the bike with the ability to shift the weight forward or back. In fact there is really no other way to maneuver a bike well when it comes to 'panic stops' or quick turns. There are a lot of good reasons not to ride around sitting straight upright on the seat.

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Presumably the areo cyclist in the city can put hands on the upper bar when the strain on neck, shoulders, arms and wrist are excessive and lose contact with the brake levers, a sad compromise not needed on a bike set up for city bike riding rather than set up for training rides with the club on the weekends.
Like I said, brake hoods. Of all the hand positions in the world, and I've used just about all of them, the brake hoods on drop bars are the most versatile. In fact there are about three or four different hand positions that involve the brake hoods. My favorite is about half brake hood and half the curve of the handlebar. That position provides great control, is reasonably aerodynamic if you're into that, gives immediate access to brake levers, and is supremely comfortable for long rides, short rides, any rides. It's also by far the best hand position for standing out of the saddle, a technique that most cyclists would benefit from using a lot more often, even in the city.
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Old 07-06-13, 11:45 PM   #265
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...The Dutch approach is but a small corner of that tent. It does concern me that so much attention is given over to their clothing choices and concrete utilization when the key difference between their land and ours seems to be strict liability and traffic enforcement. ...
I would argue gas taxes and speed limits.
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Old 07-07-13, 12:00 AM   #266
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Have you seen the chrome yalta and night? The fabric is black by day but impregnated with greyish reflective threads that light up like a mofo at night.

http://www.chromeindustries.com/bags/yalta-night
http://www.chromeindustries.com/bags/citizen-night

I've never looked better on my nude carbon fiber transportation bikes!
Nice but ... Made in China?? Yikes.

I remember when Chrome started, making bags one by one in an old warehouse space in Denver. Though the bags were durable I never did get completely on board with their product due to their proprietary seatbelt latch that was always digging into my collarbone when the bag was loaded.
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Old 07-07-13, 12:24 AM   #267
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You really need to read the Wikipedia article about conservative force.

"A conservative force is a force with the property that the work done in moving a particle between two points is independent of the path taken."

Your posts on the topic are non-sensical.
And if we had Wikipedia at the time Einstein proposed his theory of E=mc2, there would be guys like you calling him non-sensical.
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Old 07-07-13, 01:55 AM   #268
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The main thing about handlebars is the width. Wider handlebars provide greater comfort and steering control.
Lots of people ride road bikes without drop bars. My touring road bike has moustache bars on them. I have the Nashbar ones with more flare at the ends than the traditional 'stache bars. Google one if you've never seen them... they look like a marriage between albatross bars and drop bars, sort of. Like drop bars if you grabbed the drops and bent them outwards, so you have more "city bike-ish" wheelbarrow grip. If you ride with them traditionally, with the flare dropping a bit, they give you a lower position (not as low as drops) with a great wide grip... this is great for climbing as you can still keep great control over the bike. Or you can even flip them so the flare comes up, kind of like albatross bars, giving you a very upright position.

I digress, my point is you can do a lot of tweaking to change your position on the bike, regardless of whether it is road or city. Wide handlebars included. Particularly touring bikes tend to have all the same attachment features city bikes do.


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So why is it nice to ride around on a bike in Dutch traffic, because the city center roads are build to encourage low speeds for cars and because of the mentality that a bicycle is an accepted member of traffic.
This is really what it comes down to. We have very limited road design here in the States. We've relied on street signs to keep people driving the way we feel they should drive, and this is a losing battle. Like anything else, people won't follow laws that they feel aren't necessary. When people feel safe driving 50mph in a 40, guess what? They're going to drive 50 in a 40.

Like anywhere else in America, speeding here is pretty common because of nice, wide, open streets. Except on a few streets in town. The main one is a 30mph street... when it is empty, people might go 35. When it is even mildly busy, most people are actually going under the speed limit (around 25mph), even though they have the ability to go much faster. Why? Because that's what feels comfortable for people on that street. You have a street with a narrow driving area and lots of parallel parking and many small businesses with a narrow footprint along the street. There are also planters along the side of the street where there is no parking, and a center-left turn lane. This means there is constantly pedestrian traffic, car doors opening, and narrow lane of travel. All this leads to drivers feeling, all on their own, like they're driving too fast of they are driving over 30mph. It's uncomfortable for drivers, so they don't do it.

There is no bike lane on this particular street, but as traffic moves so slowly, it isn't a problem (we have lots of bikelanes elsewhere that are really useful).

That's the key to good road design. If you're relying on a sign to get people to act how you want them to, you've already lost.

Last edited by sudo bike; 07-07-13 at 02:03 AM.
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Old 07-07-13, 02:54 AM   #269
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Riding upright has the additional benefit of taking advantage of the spine's natural shock absorbing properties.
After this claim, it will be amazing if anyone here finds your post credible.
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Old 07-07-13, 03:55 AM   #270
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After this claim, it will be amazing if anyone here finds your post credible.
What Jaywalk3r said is indeed true. Spinal discs are gel-like materials in your spine that makes it bendable and flexible. They act like shock absorbers for your spine whenever you're running around, biking, jumping up and down or whatever. Without these flexible discs in your back you wouldn't be able to walk around or do much of anything.

http://www.spine-health.com/conditio...y/spinal-discs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interve...disc#Structure
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Old 07-07-13, 06:05 AM   #271
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So it was the "bike shop people" who told you that you're more aero with your arms wide, and that your seat should be perfectly level?
lol, no. Wider bars provide greater comfort but don't make you more aerodynamic. But unless you intend to race in the Olympics aerodynamics is not very important. Comfort is.

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Do you realize that you can put wide handlebars on a road bike and that it would still be a road bike?
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Lots of people ride road bikes without drop bars. My touring road bike has moustache bars on them. I have the Nashbar ones with more flare at the ends than the traditional 'stache bars. Google one if you've never seen them... they look like a marriage between albatross bars and drop bars, sort of. Like drop bars if you grabbed the drops and bent them outwards, so you have more "city bike-ish" wheelbarrow grip. If you ride with them traditionally, with the flare dropping a bit, they give you a lower position (not as low as drops) with a great wide grip... this is great for climbing as you can still keep great control over the bike. Or you can even flip them so the flare comes up, kind of like albatross bars, giving you a very upright position.
But why would I want to go through the trouble and expense of swapping out my drop bars for mustache bars just to improve comfort when I can simply by a hybrid that comes with wider handlebars already on it? As a casual rider why would I want a road bike at all? I'm not training for the cycling Olympics. So I would keep it simple. Overcomplexity is not how to make cycling appealing to the masses if that's what we're trying to do. By masses I mean men, women and children. Road cycling is appealing really only to a very limited demographic, primarily to certain adult males who are into speed cycling. I rarely if ever see women or kids on road bikes.



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This is really what it comes down to. We have very limited road design here in the States. We've relied on street signs to keep people driving the way we feel they should drive, and this is a losing battle. Like anything else, people won't follow laws that they feel aren't necessary. When people feel safe driving 50mph in a 40, guess what? They're going to drive 50 in a 40.

Like anywhere else in America, speeding here is pretty common because of nice, wide, open streets. Except on a few streets in town. The main one is a 30mph street... when it is empty, people might go 35. When it is even mildly busy, most people are actually going under the speed limit (around 25mph), even though they have the ability to go much faster. Why? Because that's what feels comfortable for people on that street. You have a street with a narrow driving area and lots of parallel parking and many small businesses with a narrow footprint along the street. There are also planters along the side of the street where there is no parking, and a center-left turn lane. This means there is constantly pedestrian traffic, car doors opening, and narrow lane of travel. All this leads to drivers feeling, all on their own, like they're driving too fast of they are driving over 30mph. It's uncomfortable for drivers, so they don't do it.

There is no bike lane on this particular street, but as traffic moves so slowly, it isn't a problem (we have lots of bikelanes elsewhere that are really useful).

That's the key to good road design. If you're relying on a sign to get people to act how you want them to, you've already lost.

Exactly. One of the things that make cycling in the Netherlands appealing to a wider demographic are the abundance of two-way bike paths and protected bike lanes. You see high numbers of women and young people over there biking everyday as a form of transportation because its very safe for them to do so. The cyclists are well separated from the vehicle traffic.

But I wouldn't want my wife or my kid riding a bike on the side of a busy six lane arterial with car traffic whizzing by them at 30-40mph or more. Which would be terrifying for them, and for me. On American roads you're lucky just to get a painted bike lane, much less a separated one. That's not good enough. The lack of quality infrastructure won't help to make cycling appealing to a wider audience (ie: women), only to the hardcore male road biker type. Because you gotta be really fast to avoid getting run over by a truck or something I guess.

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Old 07-07-13, 07:32 AM   #272
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lol, no. Wider bars provide greater comfort but don't make you more aerodynamic. But unless you intend to race in the Olympics aerodynamics is not very important. Comfort is.
Because drop bars have more hand positions many would argue that they are actually more comfortable than a flat bar. Comfort is also quite subjective. An upright dutch position may be comfortable for some but less comfortable for others. Likewise some might enjoy riding into a headwind (or up a hill) on an unpright bike while others might actually prefer a more aerodynamic bike (or a lighter one).


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But why would I want to go through the trouble and expense of swapping out my drop bars for mustache bars just to improve comfort when I can simply by a hybrid that comes with wider handlebars already on it?
Clearly drop bar bikes are very popular in the USA. Why are you so concerned with the kinds of bikes that other cyclists ride?

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As a casual rider why would I want a road bike at all? I'm not training for the cycling Olympics. So I would keep it simple.
I was not aware that surly crosschecks or salsa vayas (see above) are popular road racing bikes.
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Old 07-07-13, 07:35 AM   #273
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Nice but ... Made in China?? Yikes..
Thanks for pointing that out. Kind of wish I had bought a blaq instead.
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Old 07-07-13, 09:05 AM   #274
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But why would I want to go through the trouble and expense of swapping out my drop bars for mustache bars just to improve comfort when I can simply by a hybrid that comes with wider handlebars already on it? As a casual rider why would I want a road bike at all? I'm not training for the cycling Olympics. So I would keep it simple. Overcomplexity is not how to make cycling appealing to the masses if that's what we're trying to do. By masses I mean men, women and children. Road cycling is appealing really only to a very limited demographic, primarily to certain adult males who are into speed cycling. I rarely if ever see women or kids on road bikes.
There is nothing preventing you from buying a road bike with something other than drops. That's a... weird argument to make in this context.

Why would you want a road bike? In my case, versatility. With one touring bike, I have a vehicle that makes a good commuter, can haul lots of stuff, and is good for longer rides and vacation touring. They have larger tire clearance for more comfort and light offroading, and are designed to have fenders and tons of ability to haul stuff (rack mounts, etc).

Look, there's nothing wrong with Dutch city bikes. I love them to death, and I think they're really cool. But I think you are unfairly dismissing another kind of cycling you have very little experience with. There is nothing about a road-style frame that makes them any less competent for commuting. I'm not sure why you seem to be insisting on covering everyone else with the same blanket that covers you instead of just chalking it up to people being, ya know, different, and having different needs. You don't do any long-distance riding, so a city bike works for you. Great! I want to do city riding as well as being able to, say, go bike-camping, and I can't afford 2 bikes, so it makes more sense to me to get a bike that does both well.
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Old 07-07-13, 10:42 AM   #275
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
Clearly drop bar bikes are very popular in the USA. Why are you so concerned with the kinds of bikes that other cyclists ride?
Perhaps you should look at what kinds of bikes that most other cyclists ride beyond what is posted on the pages of Bike Forums (or other enthusiast media), and without your provincial blinders.

It would NOT be so clear to you about the popularity of drop bar bikes, outside of the relatively few weekend club riders and/or high speed enthusiasts such as yourself. Even less popular for most cyclists, including those who have drop bar equipped bikes, is actually riding with hands in the drops, especially within urban traffic.
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