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Old 06-18-14, 09:10 AM   #101
CrankyOne
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
I lived in Germany for 4 years and France for a year, and found it to be the exact opposite, but they are better drivers because the licensing, vehicle condition, and financial commitment standards are much higher.
You and I have had vastly different experiences. Drivers in Germany don't block the left lane (on motorways or other multi-lane roads), they don't often speed up to make a light before red, if they're in front of you and driving slower they'll almost always hug the right edge and then slow down as soon as you begin to pass, and on and on.

Riding a bicycle I never felt nearly as in danger as in the U.S. (the exception to this may be Spain and Italy).

What was your experience?
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Old 06-18-14, 09:30 AM   #102
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Here's a bit of discussion that might help:

Vehicular Cycling: If It Worked, It Wouldn't Work | streets.mn

There is also a difference between American Vehicular Cycling and that practiced elsewhere. American vehicular cycling is very type-A aggressive and self-centered—"I have a right to the road and I'm going to take it." However in Europe it is much more cooperative. Bicycle riders in Europe aren't in to 'taking the lane', they're more considerate of those driving cars and car drivers are likewise more considerate of bicycle riders.

That said, people driving cars in the U.S., and people in general, are much less considerate of others as Europeans are. This is part of the reason we are about three times as likely to be killed on the road (in a car, riding a bicycle, or walking) as someone in Europe. It is also why Dutch style segregated bicycle facilities are more important here than in Europe.
Extrapolating from a nation of 16 million people to europe is absurd. Cycling in the netherlands is a unique cultural tradition and may not be the best model for the rest of the world. Mode share in holland has ranged from 25-40% nationally since the victorian era. Moreover, mode share in Holland has never been well correlated with the presence or absence of separated infrastructure. For example, separated infrastruture miles in the netherlands doubled from the 80s to the zeros with only a small percentage change in mode share.

Having cycled extensively in germany I can assure you that many cyclists take the lane. Moreover, streets in many areas are peppered with these signs:



In fact, the rebellion against cycle tracks and mandatory sidepath laws in germany correlated with the massive 200-300% change in cycling mode share in major cities. I think this is also just a correlation because, imo, it is anti-car urbanism that is the most important contributor to high cycling mode share.
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Old 06-18-14, 11:36 AM   #103
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Most people I know aren't 'cyclists', they simply use their bicycle for transportation. They're not hooked on it, anymore than they're hooked on a fork they use to eat.
Very true in New Orleans. We all get on our bikes, scooters, buses, trolleys, and into our cars and trucks wearing regular work clothes. Very, very few of us consider ourselves "cyclists", "scooterists", "busers", "trollyists", or "motorists". In fact, the vast majority of car free/light people in my city never get on a bike unless they have some place they need to be, otherwise known as a "destination". We don't jump on our bikes randomly to pedal in a meaningless circle. A bike is just cheap utilitarian transportation.
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Old 06-18-14, 03:23 PM   #104
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You and I have had vastly different experiences. Drivers in Germany don't block the left lane (on motorways or other multi-lane roads), they don't often speed up to make a light before red, if they're in front of you and driving slower they'll almost always hug the right edge and then slow down as soon as you begin to pass, and on and on.

Riding a bicycle I never felt nearly as in danger as in the U.S. (the exception to this may be Spain and Italy).

What was your experience?
Better, safer drivers, but much much ruder and aggressive when cueing, parking or any other discretionary situation.
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Old 06-18-14, 03:56 PM   #105
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...... However in Europe it is much more cooperative. Bicycle riders in Europe aren't in to 'taking the lane', they're more considerate of those driving cars and car drivers are likewise more considerate of bicycle riders. ....
That's a huge steamy smelly crock right there. I've lived in Europe and never even ONCE did I see a traffic event I would have called "cooperative". I know some people have blinders when it comes to foreign lands and/or cultures.... but this too far from truth. European traffic is awful... and dangerous!
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Old 06-18-14, 04:13 PM   #106
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Very true in New Orleans................... A bike is just cheap utilitarian transportation.
Very very sad! A hundred and forty years ago.... there was excited hope for the human powered personal iron horse. But in America... by the 1920's bicycles had been relegated to children's toys and racing/sporting equipment. I understand there are those durable American-renaissance individuals that use bicycles today as a form of transportation. And I salute those men and women.

And there are also the handful of impoverished you describe (although those numbers have skyrocketed in recent years) who are generally drug addled and often wanted (by the police) for past crimes... who turn to bicycles for the anonymity of this mode of transportation. But those numbers are the fraction of the fraction. Not a meaningful number that you have come to believe they are. They do not represent cycling or cyclists in any way.
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Old 06-18-14, 05:08 PM   #107
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And there are also the handful of impoverished you describe (although those numbers have skyrocketed in recent years) who are generally drug addled and often wanted (by the police) for past crimes... who turn to bicycles for the anonymity of this mode of transportation. But those numbers are the fraction of the fraction. Not a meaningful number that you have come to believe they are. They do not represent cycling or cyclists in any way.
You took that wrong. Certainly we have our share of poor people who ride a bike out of a desperate need for cheap transit. But we also have a huge population of solid middle class people who don't own cars or WON'T drive them to places they can easily cycle. We are sort of like a tiny NYC with no subway system - parking cars sucks. Students make up a large piece of the cycling pie, but there is also a large contingent of bohemians, artists, musicians, and fans of these people who bike to gigs, work, or to clubs/events/festivals to enjoy such things. Many, many regular middle class folks cycle to work from outlying neighborhoods in NOLA and pretty much NEVER touch their bikes without utilitarian purpose. Just regular people, dressed like regular people, doing regular transportation things on a bike instead of a in bus or car.
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Old 06-18-14, 05:27 PM   #108
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Y...... Many, many regular middle class folks cycle to work from outlying neighborhoods in NOLA and pretty much NEVER touch their bikes without utilitarian purpose. Just regular people, dressed like regular people, doing regular transportation things on a bike instead of a in bus or car.
I am sorry. I have never met such a person... who didn't, couldn't, or somehow missed the joy of cycling. I am not sure how "regular people" dress in your part of the world... or what that has to do with cycling for the pleasure of cycling (unless you can tell if someone is having fun... by what they wear). I understand that water levels pretty much makes a subway a no-go.... but I really thought that NOLA had a decent mass-transit system.

I don't understand the insistence that cycling must not be fun or used for pleasure or sport. A utilitarian purpose... is generally considered one of the least valued... that is just waiting for a technological replacement.

With the modern youthful "hip" set.... bicycles have become symbolic. They represent an embracing of something past... to be mixed with modern tech. I even recently saw a magazine piece that suggested hanging a bicycle in the apartment.. as a decoration. Because bicycles are "hip".

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Old 06-18-14, 06:09 PM   #109
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it seems to be SOP in Europe where they've been driving under powered cars on roads that seem to follow ancient goat tracks for decades. So they understand the need for cooperation when miscalculated passes happen. Without that kind of cooperation a Fiat could never get around a truck in the mountains.
This is true, Europeans have a totally different attitude in situations like these. There is definitely a feeling of cooperation by all parties involved to get through the problem. Everybody (including cyclists) compromises a little and that's usually enough to work it out.
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Old 06-18-14, 07:45 PM   #110
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This is true, Europeans have a totally different attitude in situations like these. There is definitely a feeling of cooperation by all parties involved to get through the problem. Everybody (including cyclists) compromises a little and that's usually enough to work it out.
lol @ assumptions that generalize a massive continent based on 0.0001% of the drivers you'd meet.

Based on this, by just driving in LA or New Jersey for a week or so, I guess one can ascertain the driving habits of the rest of America.

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Old 06-18-14, 10:01 PM   #111
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I am not sure how "regular people" dress in your part of the world... or what that has to do with cycling for the pleasure of cycling (unless you can tell if someone is having fun... by what they wear).
This is how we dress to ride our bikes in NOLA:


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I don't have a good photo of a group of NOLA cyclists (^^this photo was taken in China) but we dress in "regular" street clothes like the folks in the photo above. Does anyone look like they are having fun? Just imagine more Anglo, Hispanic, and Caribbean/African people along with a few Asians and a lot more tattoos. Helmets are a pretty rare sight and Spandex(R) is unheard of Downtown.

Most cyclists in NOLA out having fun on their bicycles are wearing a costume of some sort:



Or a true cycling costume for those cycling around in circles:



Most of ^^these cyclists (weekend warriors) transported their bikes and themselves in a car to some starting point. These bikes are adult toys basically. A few of these folks MIGHT be having fun. And they almost never ride in or near the city center.

Get the picture now? To most of us a bike is just a tool and no more deserving of some weird emotional attachment than a blender or bread toaster. Although...I do love my smoothie blender a lot.
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Old 06-19-14, 06:39 AM   #112
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..... I don't have a good photo of a group of NOLA cyclists (^^this photo was taken in China) but we dress in "regular" street clothes like the folks in the photo .... Does anyone look like they are having fun?
So... you [google] search the planet to find a picture of stoic looking Chinese.... and say this is what you [in your mind] believe that people around you look like.... even though no photographic evidence [anywhere on Earth] would suggest that. You apparently don't understand the cultural behavior of the people in China. The stoic expressions should be evidence of claim. I'd say yes... most Chinese consider themselves to be "happy" and those people look pretty typical.

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Or a true cycling costume for those cycling around in circles:



Most of ^^these cyclists (weekend warriors) transported their bikes and themselves in a car to some starting point. These bikes are adult toys basically. A few of these folks MIGHT be having fun.
Here you misuse the word "costume" in your ridicule of adults having a blast with their chosen sport. You apparently don't think highly of us cyclists.... or people who enjoy themselves.

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Get the picture now? To most of us a bike is just a tool and no more deserving of some weird emotional attachment than a blender or bread toaster. Although...I do love my smoothie blender a lot.

Yeah.... unfortunately we all get your picture.
I never mentioned an emotional attachment to a bicycle.... but to the act of cycling. CrankyOne (an alternate username of yours?) made the exact same misreading of my posts (he compared bicycles to forks.... no love for forking around in his world ether).

You don't consider yourself a cyclist [whether you bicycle or not... I don't know]. You obliviously have no joy in your life.

I am afraid that you (and CrankOne?) seem to be depressed. You're assuming that those around you share in that depression. You are mistaken. There is plenty of help. Any doctor and most government agencies should be able to point you in the right direction.

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Old 06-19-14, 07:20 AM   #113
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Uh, just wow.

Anyhow, this is a cyclist in NOLA.
So are these folks.
And The Times Picayune has a couple of articles.

Helpful hint. Lots of folks in NOLA don't enjoy just bikes, they enjoy *LIFE*.

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Old 06-19-14, 07:57 AM   #114
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What will happen when cycling in the U.S. increases from its current 1% of trips to 5% or 10%? Or 25%? When many more people begin bicycling to local stores, restaurants, and schools? Imagine all of these cyclists, three to ten times as many as today, most traveling about 12 mph, on the roads mixed with and sometimes blocking motor traffic
If the modal share for cycling grew to that amount then urban traffic would slow. Hopefully, most drivers will then come to realize that the aggressive habits (gunning to lights, trying to reach maximum speed, forcing their way into positions, etc) they needed to average their 20 miles per hour, after they finally realize that their average speed really was that low, were not really worth the effort for the three minutes it saves them on average.

All of us including the most impatient of drivers will be better off when that happens.
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Old 06-19-14, 08:17 AM   #115
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I've been cycling/commuting for over 25 years and I've been hit three times; the first time I really believe was intentional, not only because the guy sped away, but because of the circumstance. I never take the lane, just because I'm on a narrow road. I don't understand that mindset.

I'm a very defensive rider, but taking the lane in that way seems to me to be an offensive rider. However, that's not to say I don't ever take the lane; I do take the lane, but it's always IAW the law.

Also, for me personally, I never ride without a mirror, maybe if I lived in an area where there is low traffic volume and shoulders/bikelanes everywhere, but that's not my luck. I'm always checking that mirror; some believe this is too much of a PITA, but it becomes second-nature over time and I believe it's why I have never been hit by surprise and never was my fault.

What I also like about the mirror is that some motorists think they are sneaking up on me, but when they do something stupid, like move FRAP behind me, when I'm also sitting FRAP, then I gesture them with my hand to let them know I know...

Sad fact is, cars have the right of way, at least according to Nature's laws You need to have that mindset and balance that with a mindset of not being bullied by motorists. Too many cyclists only have a mindset of not being bullied.
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Old 06-19-14, 10:43 AM   #116
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Based on this, by just driving in LA or New Jersey for a week or so, I guess one can ascertain the driving habits of the rest of America.
Absolutely. I've driven in many places in the US and it's pretty much all the same due to the similar roads and traffic laws--it's mostly the degree of politeness that changes. But you're right let's not generalize Europe since there are many different countries that comprise it. I was talking specifically about Belgium in my post.
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Old 06-19-14, 07:17 PM   #117
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So... you [google] search the planet to find a picture of stoic looking Chinese.... and say this is what you [in your mind] believe that people around you look like.... even though no photographic evidence [anywhere on Earth] would suggest that.
I actually have plenty of photographic evidence regarding cyclists in New Orleans but they are all one or two people per shot. I have literally hundreds of them. The photo from China I posted was simply to show you how we dress, and how we "stoically" cycle to our destinations without giving much thought to being a "cyclist" or other special group of commuter/utilitarian persons.

Does my wife have fun driving her car to work and back every morning? Does she have a bumper sticker bragging "I Love Driving"? Not hardly. The same attitude goes along with utility cycling in NOLA. We just get places on two wheels in statistically significant numbers (for a USofA city anyway) and don't think much about it. For many, a bicycle is just a tool for transport. I don't know why you are offended by this.

Try a Google image search for" bicycling AND in AND "New Orleans" and you will see lots of solo cyclists wearing street clothes and a few geeks out in their racing kit far from the city center. bikeeasy.org also has photos but these are special events that generally attract non-commuters and some may be wearing helmets. Most by far will still be wearing street clothes. I hope these ideas serve as sufficient proof of the facts I presented earlier.

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Old 06-19-14, 09:17 PM   #118
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This is true, Europeans have a totally different attitude in situations like these. There is definitely a feeling of cooperation by all parties involved to get through the problem. Everybody (including cyclists) compromises a little and that's usually enough to work it out.
with all due respect, when murricans speak of yurpeeuhns as some sort of monolithic social group they illustrate their ignorance.
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Old 06-19-14, 09:30 PM   #119
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Get the picture now? To most of us a bike is just a tool and no more deserving of some weird emotional attachment than a blender or bread toaster. Although...I do love my smoothie blender a lot.
nonsense. swoopy mixtes are pleasing to some people. other prefers a crabon crotch rocket , a hybrid, a cx bike, or a steel dutchie. for many, bikes are idiosyncratic expressions of aesthetic and lifestyle choices. imo, anyone who tries to argue that a bike is as utiliarian as toaster is in denial. in many ways north americans who ride for transportation have the same kind of personal relationship with their bikes that previous generations have had with their motorized couches. and, imo, this is a *good* thing.

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Old 06-19-14, 10:13 PM   #120
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nonsense. swoopy mixtes are pleasing to some people. other prefers a crabon crotch rocket , a hybrid, a cx bike, or a steel dutchie. for many, bikes are idiosyncratic expressions of aesthetic and lifestyle choices. imo, anyone who tries to argue that a bike is as utiliarian as toaster is in denial. in many ways north americans who ride for transportation have the same kind of personal relationship with their bikes that previous generations have had with their motorized couches. and, imo, this is a *good* thing.
My wife drives a Toyota Camry - light tan. I see fifty just like it every day. It is a nice, dependable vehicle that gets my wife to work and play. I never hear her say "I just LOVE my Camry!" That Toyota is the upper end of utility cars at best. My basic utilitarian bicycle is an old (about 15 years) Jamis Explorer I bought used from a rental fleet for $100 and sank a few more $$ into it to make it dependable. It is a sweet, utilitarian vehicle that thieves don't seem all that interested in. My locks cost more than the bike! I would miss it if it vanished but LOVE is not in our relationship. I appreciate it for sure as it is set up beautifully for city traffic jamming and would be a pain to replace, but it certainly is not turning any more heads than my toaster does.

Defining myself as a "cyclist" is a pretty narrow description that I really don't care for. When I travel (often to visit friends of my wife as I am mostly a loner) our hosts always seem to try to set me up with a loaner bike and some of their cycling friends because they know I don't own a car (since 1989) and bike everywhere. I could not be less interested in cycling around some strange city on my vacation any more than my wife would want to drive around in circles in her car. When in a strange land I just walk or catch a bus. All the easier to actually pay attention to the new sights, sounds, and smells. And I am not too good at idle chit-chat nor do i have much in common with most Americans. My point is, I don't see myself as a "cyclist" but more as a person who uses a bicycle to get "over there" when there is a distinct need to be "over there".
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Old 06-20-14, 06:41 AM   #121
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...... Does my wife have fun driving her car to work and back every morning? Does she have a bumper sticker bragging "I Love Driving"? Not hardly.
There was a time in my life.... decades ago... that I would drive to work imagining that my car was a Porsche. It seems to make the treacherous drive a little more pleasant. I would also play the radio and often sing along to the songs I knew. Later when I bought a Porsche I discovered There was little difference between imagining and driving a performance vehicle. Yes... the morning drive should be pleasant!

If your wife isn't enjoying her morning commute.... you BOTH have problems.
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......The same attitude goes along with utility cycling in NOLA. We just get places on two wheels in statistically significant numbers (for a USofA city anyway) and don't think much about it. For many, a bicycle is just a tool for transport. I don't know why you are offended by this.
Life is NOT a rehearsal! This is it buddy. Every minute should be enjoyed. If you, your family, and/or extended family is depressed, get help. You don't have to live that way!

I am NOT offended. I doubt your sincerity [as you story seems to evolve]. I... and others here.. can assure you that cycling is a HOOT. If your [seriously] NOT having a great time cycling.... you should take the time to question why.
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Old 06-20-14, 11:59 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Yes... the morning drive should be pleasant! If your wife isn't enjoying her morning commute.... you BOTH have problems.
99% of the entire working world has a problem with commuting. People crammed into subways and trains like sardines, cars bumper-to-bumper idling in a linear parking lot, catching the same red lights three or four times, prospecting for parking spaces, forced to travel in any sort of awful weather, etc. The only commute i EVER liked was two years when I worked from a home office. I think you may be the only human who enjoys their commute, assuming you commute in or to a large city like the vast majority of bike commuters do.

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If you, your family, and/or extended family is depressed, get help. You don't have to live that way!
I don't worship my bike so I am depressed? Here is some good advice: Never love anything that doesn't love you in return.

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I am NOT offended. I doubt your sincerity [as you story seems to evolve]. I... and others here.. can assure you that cycling is a HOOT. If your [seriously] NOT having a great time cycling.... you should take the time to question why.
Golf is a "HOOT" to some people. Roughly 60 Million people play golf worldwide. This means that 6.4 Billion people DON'T play golf. Which group is most likely depressed? The ones who love their golf clubs? For me, I actually figured out how to save a ton of money on golf lessons and greens fees. I would go to the sporting goods store and buy a set of nice clubs, then drive straight to the lake and throw the entire bag into the deepest part. Problem solved! And if I didn't NEED my bike to get to work, the grocery, and get out of town now an then it would already be keeping my golf clubs company.

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There was a time in my life.... decades ago... that I would drive to work imagining that my car was a Porsche. It seems to make the treacherous drive a little more pleasant. I would also play the radio and often sing along to the songs I knew. Later when I bought a Porsche I discovered There was little difference between imagining and driving a performance vehicle.
I never met a sports car driver I didn't like.
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Old 06-20-14, 12:34 PM   #123
Dave Cutter
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
99% of the entire working world has a problem with commuting........
Yes.... but MOST people do enjoy their mornings... and their lives. So sorry you didn't know that.


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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I don't worship my bike so I am depressed? Here is some good advice: Never love anything that doesn't love you in return.
Interesting you keep going back to bicycles and things like toasters. Never even ONCE have I mentioned a thing or even bicycles. I have posted only of "cycling". I wonder what that means?!?!?!?

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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Golf is a "HOOT" to some people. Roughly 60 Million people play golf worldwide. This means that 6.4 Billion people DON'T play golf. Which group is most likely depressed?
Hummmm I'd guess any of the 6.4 billion that don't play golf.... but post on a golf forum referring to golf clubs as being the same as toasters. OR... any of the 60 million that DO play golf.... but don't enjoy it, don't expect to enjoy it..... but continue to golf anyway. And are sure that there wife who isn't a golfer... is also not happy not playing golf.

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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I never met a sports car driver I didn't like.
I know... the same here! Some of us just grab life by the short hairs and force it to our will. We live life like it may end tomorrow.... yet act like it will last forever (and we know we're right). Today... is the best time in all of history to be alive! I am glad we got to share a few words (in type).
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Old 06-20-14, 01:12 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I think you may be the only human who enjoys their commute, assuming you commute in or to a large city like the vast majority of bike commuters do.
now i know you are trolling. no one rides a bike like you do for "utilitarian" reasons.

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I don't worship my bike so I am depressed? Here is some good advice: Never love anything that doesn't love you in return.
i don't worship my "A" commuter. nevertheless, i personally selected the frame, the brakes, the stem, the post, the derailleurs, the saddle, the grips, and the shifters. this bike works so much better than the cheap mtb i commuted on 20 years ago.

i *like* my bike.


the toaster i have now is basically unimproved from the toaster i bought ~20 years ago. i had no input into it's components. and even if i had selected it's components this would not have changed my toasting experience much.

Last edited by spare_wheel; 06-20-14 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 06-20-14, 01:27 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
99% of the entire working world has a problem with commuting. People crammed into subways and trains like sardines, cars bumper-to-bumper idling in a linear parking lot, catching the same red lights three or four times, prospecting for parking spaces, forced to travel in any sort of awful weather, etc. ....
Correct. Commuting in a car sucks. At best it's a period of numbing routine where you can turn off your mind and literally waste an hour, and this has nothing to do with depression.

Now you may not agree with this part, but for me and I think a lot of people it's a whole different story on a bike. I actually do enjoy my commutes, and I like the trips to the grocery store and other errands. I don't feel like that time is wasted, but in some small part improves me physically and emotionally.
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