Advocacy & Safety - How do you ride?
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03-01-07, 11:03 AM
I think it would be very helpful to new-comers (and semi-new-comers like me) for people to simply tell what the conditions are where they ride and how they ride them. There is a great deal of collective wisdom in this forum, and I would love to hear others ideas. Again, no preconceived notions just a place for us to explain where and how we ride and why we choose to ride that way so others can learn from our ideas good or bad.
I ride in two distinctly different areas: Where I live and where I work.
Where I live:
Small town with all 25MPH speed limits and sidewalks where it is illegal to ride.
Here I ride in the roadway and take the lane wherever it is too narrow for a car to pass or where I need to stay out of the "door zone". This is typically not too much of an issue as there is seldom a great deal of traffic, and I can get pretty close to the speed limit. I do sometimes jump into a parking lot if there is one alongside the roadway where I can easily get back to the road to allow vehicles behind me to pass. Just to be courteous.
Where I work:
Just outside of my town is rural/suburbia with lots of 4 and 5 lanes roads with center turn lanes and 45-55 MPH speed limits. Most of this area is commercial with lots of heavily and not so heavily trafficked private drives. Along almost all of these roads are MUP's which are just wide sidewalks where it is legal to bike and they are offset from the road about 5'. I ride mostly on the MUP's as the roads here are like the wild west the rate of accidents being at least 10x what I would find in my city. I chose to ride the MUP's and take it slowly out here being very wary of private drives, etc, but my commute is only 5 miles and I ride an old MTB so going slow is not too hard :D. In the summer there is actually a fair amount of bicycle and pedestrian traffic on the MUP's so I have found that most drivers DO actually check the MUP's for traffic, most of the time.
EDIT: Type of Riding:
I am a utilitarian/commuter/MTBer. I don't race or own a roadie although I am not opposed to it.
So how and where do you ride, and what do you think of how I ride?
Note to MODS: It may be nice if people like this idea to make this thread a "reference only" one and move discussions to another thread.
03-01-07, 11:34 AM
Note to MODS: It may be nice if people like this idea to make this thread a "reference only" one and move discussions to another thread.
Great idea. :)
Moderator's Note: This is a sticky that gives people the opportunity to describe their communities in relation to their riding conditions, their riding style, and such. It is not for critiquing others' riding styles, or to be used as a platform for any advocacy agenda. If you have insight or suggestions for people. please contact the poster privately. If you have questions about these guidelines, do not fill this thread with them. Contact a moderator via PM. Please be aware that off-topic posts will be removed regularly.
03-01-07, 11:46 AM
I am strictly a commuter. I ride to get to work in the morning (usually before the busiest rush period), and I ride to get home (when it is a bit busier).
I live in a small city in which shoulders are very rare due to the topography of the area. Lanes are often narrow for the same reason. I generally ride in the rightmost travel lane, either in the right tire track or just to the right of it. When going downhill I get close to the 35 mph speed limits, and take the whole lane in those situations. When downtown near my work I take the lane in the 20 mph streets.
There are two roads with bike lanes that I ride on. One is a glorified shoulder, covered with debris. I ride in the bike lane, very near the car travel lane. The other is a terribly designed new bike lane, on a 2-lane, 20 mph street with head-in parking on the right side. I do not ride in this bike lane for fear of cars backing out.
I ride through stop signs and lights only if I am certain there is no traffic in them. I have split lanes to get closer to a light when all traffic is stopped. I always try to wave or say hi to fellow cyclists. I see 8-10 a week on average; less in the winter, more in the spring and fall.
03-01-07, 01:13 PM
started out riding on the road using a comfort bike for exercize.
now i ride on the road and paths because its a life or death thing as far as i'm concerned.
03-01-07, 01:51 PM
I have ridden over 135,000 miles since 1972. My style of riding has changed over time. I haven't had an accident or "wiped out" in a very long time.
I no longer "sprint", or try to show motorists that I can do the speed limit. Your in a death trap if you do that. Motorists don't care that you're doing the speed limit, they are hell-bent on passing, and the more you make it look like a race, the more furious they get.
I ride near the white line, about two feet from the white line most of the time. If the road curves right, I check my rear view mirror and I go strait , to avoid disappearing from view of the motorist behind me. I double check and pivot my neck to make eye contact with the driver. I make sure the driver has reached the 'apex' of the curve before I signal right and move right. I almost go as far left as the yellow line , but It's better to be seen the whole time, not disappearing and then reappearing to the motorist.
When I'm on a road that has a shoulder, or lane-margin, I ride on it, but within two feet of the white line to avoid debris. If I come to a parked car, I check my mirror and make a judgement call; sometimes I stop and wait for cars to pass before I pass the parked car.
If I come to broken glass, I stop, park my bike against the curb, and sweep the broken glass aside with a little corn-whisk, while facing traffic. I secure the whisk-broom to my brake cable with a carribiner.
I always wear an orange vest with "strong-yellow-green" reflective stripes.
I use lights at night, but I heard that Daylight Savings Time begins March 11th this year, is that right?.
I stop for 97% of red lights.
03-01-07, 03:46 PM
I've been riding in the roads since I was a small child. Most of my miles over the last 40+ years have been from commuting or recreational rides both in and outside of the US. I'm one of those folks who never really gave up riding once I learned to drive...mostly because of economic necessity, but really because I just love to ride. As a kid from a big family, it was my alone time, my free time, and that has never really changed.
At present I live in a ruralish town just south of Cleveland, OH. where the majority of the roads I ride are either narrow country roads with little or no shoulder and 35mph+ speed limits, or highways with better shoulders and faster speed limits. Bike lanes are rare around here, but there are some in some of the larger suburbs and in Cleveland itself.
I work in a small town that sits smack in the middle of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park that is very popular for cyclists due to its trailhead to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath, bike shop with rentals and a very popular road 'loop' used by the area club racers and roadies. Because we're in the river valley the riding is flat to rolling, until you want to get out of the valley, in which case you better have some climbing legs.
My commute to and from work is about 50 miles round trip, which I do 3-4 days a week in the spring, summer and fall, taking a day or two to drive so I can replenish supplies & clothing and run errands. I find commuting that distance much more enjoyable if I don't have to lug clothes and food all the time...many think I already carry way too much stuff for normal rec rides! In the winter I drive part way, park, then ride the remaining 13 miles, reversing the process on the ride home. The roads on my commute are mostly narrow, rolling country roads, though I can use part of the O&E towpath if I want to enjoy the scenery.
During my time off I am pretty much a tourer, either doing day trips, over-nighters or multiple-day tours, in addition to some organized metrics, centuries and charity rides. I love doing long-distance self-supported tours, but it's been about 3 years since the last time I managed the time off to do so.
The only real problems I have riding the roads are just the usual impatience, arrogance and lack of courtesy that has seemed to become our national identity over the last 40 years. But I ride like I drive...courteously, predictably, according to the law, paying attention to everything that is going on around me, always expecting the other guy to do the stupidest thing possible and being ready for him to do so...which I call 'planning for Murphy'. I try to be as visible as possible, using active lighting on the bike and passive reflectivity on both the bike and my clothing/gear. I rarely use a helmet, though I do wear one when required and on some of my snowy/icy winter rides. I've never had a serious injury from riding a bike and feel safer on my bike than driving a car.
I presently have 5 bikes...an old 80ish Bianchi xcross bike that is my favorite and primary commuter, an 86 Bianchi road bike that I use for recreational rides, but also ride to work if I get the urge, a Fuji World touring bike for loaded touring and commutes, a single-speed for my winter (non-snow) commute and nice rides on the towpath, and my snow bike, which is a hybrid fitted with fenders and studded tires.
I also love puppies, want to save the dolphins and promote world peace, like any good Miss America contestant. ;)
03-01-07, 04:13 PM
As my name suggests, I mainly ride to and from work, year round. I do a little recreational riding (I've done one century), but I've never done a group ride. I ride a Surly Cross check. See the first couple posts of the Advice for New Commuters thread (http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=90213) for how I equip it.
I have two basic choices for my commute--roads and MUP. The roads are 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 miles each way, depending on the route. The route I take most often is mostly a 3-lane 35 mph one-way street. It usually takes 20-25 minutes to ride.
There is a good MUP, but it's a litte out of my way. It usually takes 30-35 minutes.
I ride regardless of the conditions. Snow, rain, ice, whatever. I sold a car to get my bike, and I use the money I save from not driving to get good equipment.
I've been riding since I was five years old and riding on the streets since I was eight (I might have riden earlier, but that's my earliest memory of street riding).
I expect to edit this for content over the next few days.
03-01-07, 04:34 PM
I used to commute 14 miles a day on city streets when I lived in Portland. Now that I am retired and no longer live in Portland, I ride for recreation/fitness and short trips around town. Most of my riding now is on two lane country roads with low traffic volume. I have not had any trouble or serious conflicts with auto traffic since I moved here in 1992. There are a few bike lanes in Scappoose and St Helens... some better than others.
If I go to Portland or Sauvie Island or to St. Helens, I use US 30, a four lane highway with a 2-way left turn lane in the middle and wide, paved shoulder/bike lane for most of it's length. The speed limit outside of the towns is 55... actual average speed is somewhat higher and, as it is a major thoroughfare, there is a lot of truck traffic. I feel safe using this road but I make an extra effort at being more attentive in the more densely populated areas.
As the weather improves this spring, I plan to do more riding on the gravel back roads and rail-trails in the Coast Range.
In addition to the bikes in my signature, I also ride a SS MTB
03-01-07, 05:09 PM
I ride about five miles daily to and from the office - rain, shine, or snow. I own two bikes, an old Schwinn Le Tour (1973) and my "new" bike, a 2005 Cannondale Cyclocross Disc. Since buying the C'dale, I rarely ride the trusty old Schwinn. I keep the Schwinn tuned up for the kids to ride when they are home.
Although the C'dale will take wider tires, I have it fitted with 23 cm and ride those all year long. I confess that they proved quite dicey during the four or five days this February when we experienced some real snow (which has, unfortunately, become almost a novelty in our area). I can control my bike in three to four inches of powdery snow, but, this year, we received a combination of snow and a sort of "snow-cone" ice that reached a total depth of about six inches. The skinny tires couldn't seem to reach deep enough quickly enough to prevent a sort of "snow-hydroplane" effect that would effectively stall my progress. On hard-pack, the tires would break intermittently break through the surface causing me to constantly squirm around making correction after correction. Some wider rubber would probably have helped greatly. Where I could follow a tire track, I rode - I walked the bike in other areas. I am somewhat proud and very happy to report that, through all that weather and over all the various degrees of snow, glaze, ice, black ice, and slush, I didn't take a single spill. I can't say that I enjoyed those rides, however, but, I rode the bike just to prove to myself that I could do it. On the couple of worst days, as some of my coworkers sat stranded in their cars out on I-78 for 24 hrs, and others decided not to venture out altogether, I was the only one who made it to work, so riding the bike does have redeeming qualities beyond even exercise.
In total, I think there were only three or four snowy days where I really lamented not being equipped for a better grip, so, given the relatively few days where we experience that kind of weather around here, I doubt that I will ever invest in a second set of wheels/tires.
Work is in the Reading, PA area - home is outside Philly. During the summer months, I'll often take extended rides on weekday evenings over some of the back country roads outside of Reading - sometimes traveling the 50 or so miles to French Creek State Park and back (out during last light, back in the dark). I never allow a weekend to pass during winter or summer without taking at least one longer ride (50 - 80 miles). My style varies depending on what I feel like doing that day. Some days, I'll take a long ride and see how fast I can cover the distance. On other days, I put on my music and take a much more leisurely trip.
On some weekends, I'll ride from the northern PA suburbs north into the Princeton, NJ area on mostly posh but lightly traveled two-lane roads with no center or shoulder stripes. On other days, I'll ride to and through several of the state parks in the area. On other days, I'll ride down into Philly through the Broad Street traffic to City Hall and back.
Like Chipcom, I try to ride predictably, courteously, without challenging auto drivers, even if, on occasion, they challenge or aggravate me. Once in a while, I fall short in my effort to avoid confrontation, but those occasions seem to grow more and more infrequent.
I love riding - it gives me great peace of mind, and, even though I carry a cell phone with me, it stays in my trunk bag and rarely gets answered if it rings. Having figured out what seems to me a safe and effective way to pipe music to my ears allows me to marry my two greatest passions in life.
I have enjoyed accident-free riding for the most part. Back in 2002 the rear wheel of my Schwinn pancaked on me (folded up like an omelet) causing me to spill while moving along at 25 mph. Those were my pre-helmet days. I fractured my right arm and needed some stitches in my scalp. Last June I was right-hooked and suffered a bruised knee and badly bruised muscles/skin on my left arm. Those are the only noteworthy mishaps I have suffered during many years of riding.
I feel that, during my lifetime, I have been blessed with the opportunity to ride during an era when bikes were (are) in a state of advanced development. Although the Schwinn (especially in stock form) seems a little basic compared to my C'dale, it is (was, even in stock form) a darned nice piece of riding stock compared to the stuff I rode as a kid. I cannot describe (and am certain I don't even need to here) the pleasure I feel as I cruise along effortlessly at 15 or so miles per hour, the bike totally silent save for the slight hum of the wheels as they roll over the pavement. We have access to a wide choice of inexpensive, effective equipment (lights, pedals, shoes) that greatly enhance and extend the riding experience.
I am ever amazed as I realize that my bike takes me places and allows me to see things that most folks who don't ride will never see. It's a great feeling.
I ride mostly for commuting to work but do ride just for the fun of it also. Commute is 5.5 miles each way and I have bike lanes or designated bike routes the whole way. I try my best to obey the traffic laws and to ride predictably. I use lights and have some ANSI lime green shirts I wear when riding to work, my neighbors have commented on being able to see all the way down the street so they work. I started riding for fitness but now I ride every chance I get.
I use my bike just like most people use a car. It is my primary transportation for all reasons and purposes. I live in a small metro area of about 150,000 souls. I ride a MTB on city streets, suburban roads, MUPs, unpaved trails, alleys, etc. In the summer I take longer road trips into the countryside. I love ice riding in the winter.
On streets and roads I ride in a vehicular fashion, meaning that I follow the laws and ride right in the mix with the cars and stuff. I occasionally take shortcuts on sidewalks and alleys or anyplace I can find them. I especially enjoy finding strange routes across the city, utilizing all types of facilities and surfaces.
03-01-07, 11:37 PM
I live in a small town/suburb of Pittsburgh. I generally ride in residential or city streets. There are many hills where I live and highways are generally dangerous because they are twisty and have no shoulder. In town I keep around 3' of room between me and parked cars (so I don't get doored). On highways I try to aim for white line or ride on the shoulder if it exists.
I also live near the great Allegheny passage (http://atatrail.org/maps/map.cfm) and ride it from time to time, but i find trails a bit boring.
03-01-07, 11:52 PM
Where: Primarily New England and the Boston area but I have ridden across the US twice and Canada once. I also travel frequently for my work and either rent a bike or bring a folder for trips in the US or Europe. I've lived in NYC and commuted around Manhattan and from Brooklyn to mid-town. I've ridden in 41 of the states and most every Canadian province.
Types of riding: I've been a transportation cyclist since age 15 and have commuted to every regular job I've ever had for the last 35 years. My longest round trip commute was 72 miles a day, which I did 3 times per week. My current commute, which I do daily, is a round trip of 21 miles in and out of downtown Boston. I qualified for the nationals as a junior racer and raced Cat 1 and 2 as a senior racer. I've done triathlons and lots and lots of long distance touring, day trips and club,recreational/training riding. I also mountain bike in Western Massachusetts. Most of my riding these days is a combination of commuting, transportation, road rides and mountain bike rides. I ride a bike path into Boston frequently and am just as comfortable on Boston streets.
I use an REI Buzz as my commuter/transportation work horse, a 1976 custom made Reynolds 531 lugged steel frame with upgraded components is my road bike, I have a da Hon folder (Helios), an Atala tandem and a Gary Fisher Super Caliber for off-road. In the 1970's I worked as a mechanic in some of the best and some of the worst bike shops in Rhode Island and Boston.
Since I do a variety of riding in a variety of circumstances it's hard to pin me down in terms of cycling "style". I obey traffic laws for the most part but I occasionally roll through stop signs and will sometimes get the jump on a line of traffic at a red light after a full stop. I ride all winter but mostly just as a commuter/grocery store/errand runner. In the summer I'm on the road bike and love climbs and long, all day road rides.
03-02-07, 12:23 AM
I live pretty much in and around big city, downtown Seattle. I use my bike for ALL my errands, even ones that require a 60 mile trip (unless I'm picking up plywood sheets or lumber). I own a car that sits unused but 10 or so days a year.
I ride my bikes as my transportation and for recreation. I commute minimum of 7 miles each way to work, and extend that quite a bit for additional exercise. I usually ride 6 days a week unless I'm on a climbing or ski trip. I take tours on my bike for vacation, up into the mountains and across the mountains.
I ride the interstates and the state highways, country roads, suburban 8 lane 45mph arterials, 4 lane city arterials, two lane city streets, dirt roads, rails to trails, gravel roads, two track and single track. I ride the urban core, in suburbia, the countryside, and the wilderness.
For mileage this week, I've ridden on all types of roads in the greater Seattle metropolitan area -except interstate freeway miles- and will finish the week up at about 150-160 miles.(Feb-Mar 2007.) Summer I'm up to 250- 325 miles a week quite a bit if I'm fitting in weekend blitz tours. The city has only 4 percent bike laned roads, so i'm usually in the thick of traffic.
I don't take a lot of pictures while in heavy traffic. tough to break out the camera on rolling, eight lane, 45 mile per hour suburban arterials. BUT, here are some pictures showing the variety in my recreation and commuting environment.
Oh, yeah, I'm a high mileage, ADAPTIVE bicyclist. & VERY THANKFUL I get to ride as much as I do
I think it would be interesting and useful if people put in the type of bikes they ride. Not necessarily the model name, but at least road bike, mountain bike, tandem or what have you.
03-02-07, 09:15 PM
i ride a mtb, both on the trail & for my commutes/fun rides/errands. co-workers go out of their way to let me know they saw me someplace. ne indiana, city of 200k+, only marginally bike-friendly. sidewalks are allowed most areas -- i'll do what i hafta to keep going. my commute was about 20mi/day, but i changed locations, and the trip went down to 5+; i started real quick looking for the long way in and the long way home. the only part of the ride i don't love is the idiot driver that thinks he can bluff me out of his way -- and there are a few. somebody once wrote that, for the first 250 feet, they're as fast as Lance Armstrong. for me, the first 50 are the reminder that i'm not burdened by feet on the ground. it gets better as i leave the driveway for the street, and stays good until i have to put a foot down again. a few times, i made the whole commute without dabbing!
BTW, i don't even own a car anymore....
03-02-07, 10:31 PM
I keep a list of bike types I ride in my signature. Lately I have been riding my upright mountain bike the most, but I go through phases.
How do I ride?
I live in Santa Barbara. In my environment I ride almost all the time either on residential streets that may or may not have bike lanes, on 35 or 45 mph one, two or four lane roads (one or two in each direction, or one lane one-way) that do have bike lanes, or on Class I bike paths. Only rarely do I tread into the wealthier areas where the roads are narrow, usually have no shoulder or bike lane, and are very curvy and hilly. Too much effort. I do like to ride up the mountain sometimes, though. The mountain road has no lanes at all and is very steep.
I always ride in the bike lane when one is there. I ride in it all the time, all the way to the intersection. Only rarely do I leave the bike lane. I rarely find it necessary. I've got a set of tools for dealing with any problems that might arrise riding this way.
When there isn't a bike lane I ride as far to the right as practicable. If that means that I'm riding in the space where parked cars might otherwise be, I will do that if the gap between them is large. Otherwise I ride outside the door zone of even imaginary cars.
If the bike lane is too close to the door zone I will ride far enough way not to feel I am in it. Sometimes I have to ride my bike close to the door zone because streets can be narrow here. Not a big deal. There are tactics for dealing with door zone riding.
If there are bushes or other obstructions of the view of me by people on sidestreets I'll move left a bit at those places, but not very much left. Maybe out to the right tire track. Otherwise I stay to the right.
If I need to turn left I use the left turn lane. It's not very hard to merge over when most of your streets have only one lane in each direction. Sometimes congestion makes it hard to merge over, so I will employ adaptive techniques, such as the two-corner turn or using the crosswalk.
I enjoy riding on the bike paths. I ride on them at times of the day and days of the week when there is very little non-bike traffic. Some of the bike paths I ride on never have very much non-bike traffic no matter what time or day. I figure I have already lived at least half my life so I have nothing to prove and ought to spend what time remains enjoying myself rather than proving myself. I enjoy the hawks and ducks, the croaking of frogs, the fresh air and views of the bike path.
Currently my commute is 7 miles. That's about the right distance for someone like me. There have been long stretches of my life when I didn't ride much, usually because it wasn't practical, like it was too far or I had to drive around once I got to work. I feel pretty lucky these days.
I'm not some hard-core, super fast cyclist. About half the people pass me and the other half I pass. I'm overweight, my leg hurts, I had a hysterectomy 2 years ago (and it has taken 2 years to heal from it) so I'm not about to pretend I can ride like Lance.
I carry a lot of heavy crap with me. I may also stop to buy some groceries. I ride heavy bikes. Since I'm old and worn out and weighed down and I pass as many people as pass me, I'm pretty sure most people who boast about going 35-30 mph no problem are lying.
I wear my normal clothes most of the time when I ride to work or wherever, unless it is hot or I'm riding with a recumbent cycling club I sometimes ride with. Then I'll wear loose-fitting cycling clothes.
That's how I ride.
I'm a mainly utilitarian rider, though I often ride for fun, too. 90% of my travel is by bike, because I gave up the car. I have an old steel-frame hard-tail hybrid bike with road tires, platform pedals, and a rack with panniers. When fully loaded, the rig weighs a ton. I rarely go much faster than 25 mph, mostly because I live in a hilly city with dense traffic. It's a large urban area with a mostly bicycling-friendly culture, but stangely enough, very little bicycle-specific infrastructure. As a result, the vast majority of my riding is VC, though I prefer to ride on MUPs, if they happen to take me where I want to go. I mostly ride on 30-35 mph arterials and residential streets. I avoid main roads with speed limits exceeding 40 mph unless I have no choice. I don't ride on sidewalks, and I do try to maintain a civil relationship with the many motorists I encounter. (I've had very few altercations with motorists, and only one where the driver questioned my right to be on the road.)
03-06-07, 07:50 PM
I will ride any where they will let me, but if its real bumpy I want my yellow bike.
03-06-07, 10:57 PM
Thanks for all the great replies. There is an incredible amount of experience and wisdom in this thread already that I think many new comers to this forum and cycling will find beneficial.
03-09-07, 10:06 PM
I ride MTB in a medium sized town in Cnada, year round. I ride on the road like I belong there and have every right to be there. My bike is kept in excellent mechanical shape and I follow all the rules and laws of the road. One of the rules is that he who is bigger wins, ie: don't play chicken or take chances with a few tons of metal as an opponent. One of the laws says it's ok for me to pass on the right if it is safe to do so (Ontario, Canada), ie: I ride to the front of the line in traffic. I wear a helmet and my bike exceeds local laws for lights, brakes and reflectors. I do not carry things in my hands and have a not too big ergonomic pack to carry small things in. Been commuting for better part of 20 years without an accident.
I live in a rural province in New Zealand, and commute to my job two towns and 22 miles away 3.5 times a week (4 on 4 off roster). The road I take is a provincial highway with mostly a 2-3 foot shoulder which I use. The speed limit is 100 kmh (63 mph) outside towns, and half of that in towns.
I tend to follow the same rules as the cars at intersections, merging with them when I am only doing the same speed as them. At all other times I use the shoulder. Theres only 3 intersections in that entire length anyhow, and only one I regularly need to slow for. No traffic lights at all in the any of the towns I ride through, which is good. It sounds like a real *****.
Theres only one bike path in the entire south part of the province, where I ride. It's between the 2nd town and the industrial site I work at. Unfortunately it's pathetically ill suited to it's use. It's meant to be a two way path and pedestrians use it too (illegally). It's about 3 feet wide. NZ law states you must use a bike path if an adequateone is available. I only use it in the daytime, and exit it to the road if I see someone approaching from the opposite direction. If it's dark you can't necessarily see the pedestrians, or for that matter the 'no front light' genius's who inhabit my place of work.
where I live: residential area intersperced with commercial development in a large metro area (Phoenix, AZ)
Where I work: about five miles away in an office park setting
type of riding: Road bike, mostly all commuting, some utilitarian. my typical route includes 25 mph streets, bike lanes, sidewalks,and WOLs, and about 3-4 stoplights... I go through residential, commercial areas and cut through a university campus on my way to work...
03-18-07, 12:32 PM
I sold my car a year ago, and couldn't be happier.
What kind of cyclist am I? The kind that wants to get somewhere.
03-18-07, 02:38 PM
i know i posted once, but i feel like i should once more....
as i said before, fat tires, so i won't be busting 20mph on level ground any time soon for a sustained period of time -- a few seconds here and there.... besides the wonderful utility and versatility of the MTB, i require the assistance of suspension to preserve the weak link in my personal chain, the 3 herniated lumbar discs i have seen in MRI's. suss posts on HT or tourers don't do the job.
i commute, because any time i can get on the bike is good time; i'm never as alive as when i'm on the bike. that may be sad to some, but it's reality. 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.
i do agree that, on the road, bikes should ride according to the law. that means not against traffic, going from curb to curb between cars, or meandering in rush hour, things like that. cyclists have a responsibility to ride properly, as drivers have a responsibility to drive properly. that quite a few drivers do NOT do so requires an extra measure of safety awareness on the part of the cyclist. it means, occasionally, that i will jump on the sidewalk to get where i'm going; it means that i have to endure vitriol from motorists who do not know the law and couldn't care less about it.
i frequently ride either with my daughter and/or my nephew (who rides in a trailer). my daughter is approaching the end of the "novice" stage of development, but there is no way she is ready for "v.c." she doesn't yet possess the skill set, reflexes, or ingrained training to react appropriately. so i shield her as she develops. (i remember a time when she rode in the same trailer at a much younger age; a discourteous driver approached too closely to the trailer, scared her, and it was two weeks before she'd get back in the trailer. i was riding 'vc' at the time.)
except for these family rides, i generally ride in a 'heart-rate zone' instead of a specific speed; if i'm not above 140 bpm, i'm slacking. (i'm a clyde who's close enough to 5-0 to see it on the horizon) i am carfree, happily so, and will remain so as long as humanly possible. my health numbers are good, so i will continue doing what i do.
03-19-07, 02:36 AM
Very nice thread. Thanks, Dep!
I commute, ride for fitness and run occasional errands. I generally avoid medium-to-heavy traffic, but dive in and take the arterials when I'm going someplace new and don't know how to navigate neighborhood roads to get there. Know what's surprised me? The less-traveled side streets have generally (but not always) provided shorter routes. Who knew?
About a year ago, I started commuting again after a break of about 7 years. (I stopped regularly biking to work soon after some idiot threw a soda at me as I was riding down the shoulder of a highway on my then-12-mile commute home.)
Where I live now, it's a 3-mile ride to work. To start with, I rode the sidewalks along arterial streets. With the help of what I read here and on other Web sites and with the example of bike commuting friends, I moved into the streets. Depending on the situation, I will still act more like a driver sometimes and more like a pedestrian other times. I think I'm more thoughtful and careful now about when to do each.
I slow down for but ride through stop signs and red lights when no traffic is coming in any direction. When there are cars, I stop and wait my turn like everybody else, and I take the lane. (I will move over to let a right-turning car get by me if the turn signal is blinking and I'm the only thing keeping them from turning right. Seems to help keep tempers down.)
My biggest peeve is drivers who pull around to pass me right at a stop sign, so that we both come to a stop together, only to both pull into the intersection together. (Out of fear of right crosses, I hang back until I know they're not turning.)
Anyway, thanks to all who have posted good advice here. And to everyone who's passionate enough to argue. I came to learn, but I stayed to watch the throwdown debates.
I ride soley for fitness and as a supplement for running. I usually utilize my school's campus to get to where I need to go, since the speed limit its 18 (for Archie Manning's jersey number). When I get to the rural roads, the speed limit is 45-55 depending. I ride basically like a car when Im in town, and my biggest peeve is when Ive taken the lane and someone STILL passes me on the left. Cant stand it.
03-24-07, 02:20 PM
Great thread idea.
I live in a small town about 18 km outside of Waterloo Ontario. I do 3 kinds of riding primarilly: "fitness" or "training" rides on my cyclocross bike (with slicks, not knobbies) - not sure what I am training for since I don't race - must be the endorphin rush or something; commuting rides that average 25 to 30 km each way on the cross bike - put a rack on it, add the bags and some lights, and presto, a nice fast commuter; and mtn biking off road at one of the best bits of single track I have seen in a while (lovingly maintained by the WCC - yay team!) on my approaching ancient (for a mtn bike) old specialized s-works hardtail mtn bike. The majority of my riding is on the road. I find it helps make off roading so much more fun since the legs, lungs, and heart are in such better shape. During the winter, I get out when I can. This year riding was limited not cause of cold, but cause of the amount of snow and pack ice on local roads. I wont risk a tangle with the kind of snow plows we have here.
2005 Kona Jake the Snake: all stock but tires which are specialized armadilos this year. Planned upgrades include: mavic wheel set, and sealed cartridge bearing (chris king maybe?) headset and a lighter seat.
1998 Specialized S-works hardtail: hot-rodded with mavic wheel set, ck headset, xt bottombracket, and time pedals. Conti traction pro dual compound tires are on it atm, and are great if the trail is wet, and ok if dry.
Cheers, and have fun:)
03-28-07, 02:07 PM
Well I ride for recreation...I should start riding to school sine it's only about 2 miles from my house...so only 4 round trip.
Anyways I ride through town which is mostly just regular village roads there are sidewalks but most of them are all broken up or there aren't any in place. Then I ride mostly country highways I guess you could call them. There's speed limits of 55 and 45 in some areas, they usually have have 4' shoulders roughly. So it's nice riding. That's about all I ride cause there's not much else around here. There are some off road dirt trails that are a lot of fun to go on. I have a specialized hardrock from like 1989 that I ride.
04-01-07, 01:52 PM
When i ride I think I'm probably much more responsible than my friends, who like riding in the middle of the street and stuff.
I live in a smallish town so there's not much traffic, the village roads have sidewalks but I live about a mile or two outside of the village so there's no sidewalks. The speed limits are about 30mph but there's generally large shoulder's I can ride on. I always try to stay as far from the cars as possible but sometimes I can't help it. and i like to ride fast; need for speed and with my worn out breaks I should be more careful on the buisier streets but somtimes I find myself weaving throuhg traffic.
When I'm offroad though I'm kind of crazy, although i never go alone and I have my "saftey pack" as I like to call it. So somtimes I'll take extra risks knowing that even if I hurt myself I probably won't die. :) I live across the street from a huge gorge with a large creek (almost a river) in it. So if I go the half mile ride down the street there's this really long bike path i liek to ride on. It has tons of trees and rocks and big hills so I just freak out and go as fast as I can without busting myself or my bike. The only time I slow down is next to the gorge. It's like a 80-100 foot drop and in some places you're on this wicked trail about a foot from a sheer drop. That's major freaky.
When i ride I always have my helmet and there's refelctors on my bike plus I wear gloves to stave off the blisters that alwas come with lots of hard riding but I really should get one of those reflective vests for days when it's not so bright outside.
Personally, I like to build my muscles a lot, so i keep it on a high gear to keep my legs (and somtimes my arms on rough terain) burning. But I also liek to go fast so somtimes on the roads I slip into a lower gear and just go as fast as my legs can move.
For some reason I never seem to get out of breath like my brother, which I guess means I've been getting a good cardio workout like I want to but I still can't run more that about 3/4 of a mile without wishing I was dead. I'm probably just out of shape after the winter though because I used to be able to go a lot farther last summer, but I still don't know.
I ride both for excersice which I desperatly need after sitting all day and being bored and I also do it for recreation because I'm a seriously stressed out person (anxeiety disorders run in the family) so when I ride it's the only time I can relax and stop worrying about this and that.
04-02-07, 11:22 AM
I have a short commute (2 miles each way). It's barely enough to wake me up, but short enough to ensure I commute probably 200 days a year.
My commute to work drops about 40 feet vertical, so it's the easier ride. Downside is it's toward the East, so I'm riding into the sun both directions.
I bought a Breezer villager a year ago, which I like a lot, although it's a little more pedestrian than I'd like. Then again, I'll turn 50 this summer, so perhaps it's more atuned to reality than I am.
I found a dry cleaner that will deliver and pickup to my office. I also bought two shopping bags that will fit on my bike rack for when I need to transport cargo.
I hate helmets, but with 3 kids, I feel obligated to wear one. My family insists I wear blaze orange vest with reflectors on it, so angered motorists can aim for me with greater accuracy. The little generator light on the Villager is nice too.
Certain stop signs I run, but always after checking their conditions. I'm bad that way, but I cherise my momentum and would prefer to stop only for safety reasons.
They are building an organic grocery store a block from my office, so I imagine I will be carting lots of grocs soon.
04-02-07, 11:45 PM
I commute 1-2 days a week, 22 miles round trip in phx, az, plus short-distance errands and visiting friends (within 3 miles), and more random pleasure riding in central phx. I plan to increase the days commuting to 2-3+ a week. The commute is mostly on quiet residential streets, or low speed limits, 25-35 mph, or sometimes along canals. I always wear helmet and gloves, flashing lights front and rear at night, with lights in front to see as well as be seen and lots of reflective stuff. Given my careful route selection (and good luck in the points A and B that I move between) I almost always ride in the street. When I have the slightest doubt, I shamelessly ease onto sidewalks or make left turns pedestrian-style. When moving cars are nearby, I wait at red lights and stop signs like any other schmuck. When absolutely alone, I adapt the law to move things along. I always decline the courtesy of car drivers who waive me through stop signs when they were there first, by planting my feet on the ground and looking away. I have a voice which projects though urban noise, and I've admonished--with all the eloquence I can muster--boorish louts in cars, after making a judgement about gun ownership and planning escape routes. I've been lucky and aware enough to evade careless drivers, so far; my closest calls have come from wrong-way road cyclists, or oblivious sidewalk cyclists (I work at a university, to put this in context.)
When I first bought a bike, two years ago (I'm of a certain age), it was just for the pure fun of riding. Gradually, it's replacing my car, mile by mile--even in the brutal summers here and despite phx's bike-unfriendly reputation.
I've just recently started riding for utility purposes and for recreation; a lot of my errands are short trips so doing them by bike seemed like a good way to get extra exercise and release pent-up energy (and to have some variety in my exercise routine besides just running) as well as pollute less. I'm not really comfortable in heavy traffic yet, so I seek out lower traffic routes or at least roads that have a decent shoulder or a wide lane if they're busy (and will probably continue to do so even as I get more experience as I just think it's safer). The roads I ride on generally have low speed limits (30 mph) but I'm nowhere near that fast, especially given how hilly the area is, so I stay to the right as much as is safely possible to show some consideration for other road users; I will take the lane if I have to because there are parked cars etc. on the right side of the road but I much prefer it if there are not such obstructions and I can just stay out of the way. I would be reasonably comfortable on a faster road if there is plenty of room to stay to the right. I think it is important to be as visible as possible when riding, so I always wear something bright such as my fluorescent yellow vest with reflective stripes. And yes, I wear a helmet--even if the benefits may have been overstated, as many people seem to believe, it still helps and certainly can't hurt.
04-28-07, 05:08 PM
I live in Balikpapan, Indonesia, and I ride to work most of the time, except on heavy rain. Working place is about 12 km away, and I can reach it in 30-35 minutes time in the morning.
Going home is longer, I ride at night, it is uphill, and to avoid long turn around, I need to cross a main road on pedestrian crossing, so I get off the bike. Obviously I put lights on my bikes, often in flashing mode and I will reach home after 35-40 minutes.
I have two options for the bike, one is a 700C road bike and the other is 16" folder. I rarely use my folder for commuting, but it comes out handy in the rainy season, it happend few times my wife drives me to the office with my folder on my car trunk, and I ride the folder later to go home.
I can chose the route to commute, and I tend to avoid steep climb.
No bike lanes here, so cyclist mixed up with everything else, cars, motorcycles, carts and rickshaw etc. Like everywhere, traffics are dense and crowded in the peak hours, and roads are not nice. I have to aware of potholes, motorcycles, sudden stop and go taxis, parked cars, street vendors,...etc.
We have British style traffic, so cyclist suppose to ride on the left most side of the road space. But riding on the most left side we have to be aware of motorcycles, especially in the double lane roads with separator in the middle, a lot of moto riders were ridding against the traffic to avoid U-turn !!!!,...sure it is illegal, but you will not win unless policemen are around,.....
05-01-07, 03:29 AM
I bike in urban Seattle. I got my first road bike, a 65cm, unidentified make (it was painted when I bought it--people guess all kinds of things: "European," English, Schwinn... I don't know, but the only parts on the bike that might be original are the shifters, which are vintage SunTour...) steel touring bike with 700x28 wheels and 18 (now 24) speeds. I started riding from the dorms to the opposite side of campus two years ago. I moved off campus and started biking the less than one mile to campus, in any weather except icy roads, and even then sometimes. I decided to do Seattle to Portland last summer and started riding around Lake Washington for practice; did STP in one extremely long day (16:49) and have been hooked since. I don't go on recreational distance rides nearly often enough, but love it every time I do.
Now I work as a "messenger," ie. I deliver sandwiches in a ~20 block radius. I get paid to ride my bike, and I love it. I ride pretty rudely while I'm working, but I'm always paying more attention than anyone else on the road and have yet to have a collision or even a particularly close encounter while working. I generally don't respect traffic signals, but heavily respect several thousand pounds of steel. The main thoroughfare on which I ride has pretty slow traffic (20mph when there's no traffic) and heavy bus traffic, so if there's no oncoming traffic and everyone is stopped behind a bus, I'll jump into the wrong lane and be 3 blocks away by the time the bus moves. I'll run red lights, but only if I know I'll be out of the intersection for at least ten seconds by the time the next car comes.
I'm very familiar with the streets I act like a jerk on, so I know how cars move around here, I know the hidden corners and driveways, I know how long it takes a car cresting the hill to get to intersection x, and I know how the drunk frat boys get home when the bars close. I've never been fleet of foot, so it's pretty exhilarating being nimble on these streets.
I always wear my helmet and always wear front and rear lights at night, and typically wear a bright red and black jersey for work.
I also now ride a single speed Schwinn that I plan on re-converting to a fixed gear when I have the money to get a flip-flop hub and the time to build up a wheel for it. For the time being it's just a cruiser bike, but before I stripped some threads off the hub it was a fixie that I rode a bit for work. I don't ride it much as a single speed so I'm eager to get that fixie wheel built.
05-01-07, 09:02 AM
I ride for exercise and utility to and from all of my daughters' practices, plays, rehersals,games and matches. I also ride some to the grocery store, and for errands.
I ride mainly in a very conservative small town, where half the speed limits are 25, most of the rest 15 and one that is 35. The speed limits are very aggressively enforced. Riding on sidewalks is illegal for adults and somewhat enforced. The school system has no busing, so there are alot of children on bikes. The community also has quite a few adult cyclists, from old people on cruisers, to errand runners, and alot of people on road bikes. At times in the evening there are as many bikes on the road as cars. People are extremely courteous, and I have very, very few problems.
05-22-07, 11:13 AM
I live in Atlanta, the least bike friendly place I've ridden in.
I commute to work. Its about 3 sketchy miles each way. I ride in cycling clothes and carry a change of clothes and lunch in with me. I ride mostly in the road but hop up on the sidewalk to get through a dangerous intersection.
I've just set up my bike for grocery shopping. I've got a rack, bags, and a Yak. Still trying to figure out a good way to lock up the trailer.
I manage to find time for a recreational ride once a month or less.
I ride an older Trek mtn bike (http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~afisch2/bike/Trek930.JPG) set up for road use.
05-23-07, 03:37 PM
I bike in a small town in central Wisconsin. I biked a little in college and then took off about 25 years with other interests. I took it up again 4 years ago to control my weight (or at least hhelp contol it). I started with a yard sale 12 speed road bike and now have nine bikes ranging from recumbents to four commuter bikes. All but one of the bikes were used as I just can't pass up a deal. My yearly mileage has increased from 500 that first year to 4500 last year.
I have evolved from a fair weather commuter to a 'dedicated' commuter with over 200 10 mile round trip commutes last year. My cummute is through a small town, with half on 25 MPH low traffic steets and half on a MUP which is lightly used early in the morning, but can be a pain on nice summer afternoons. I commute in the summer on one of 2 - 1980's road bikes with a flat bar and a trekking bar. In spring, fall, and bad wheather I have a full fendered hybrid tank of a bike. In winter I switch to a mountain bike with studded tires and chloroplast fenders. My commutes are mostly uneventful and only occasionally do I get a "get off the road" yelled at me. I treat stop signs as yields as the roads are so lightly traveled. If I must drive for a work related remote meeting I really mis smy commute.
The other half of my miles come from touring the local rural roads on my short wheel base recumbent. The local wisconsin roads are lightly traveled and most vehicles I meet are very curteous. I also occasionally ride the local bike paths with my wife. I enjoy solo rural rides of 30-60 miles but my wife prefers paved bike paths, and can't cope with even the light traffic.
05-28-07, 02:22 PM
I'm new to the commuting thing - this is my third year, but I would consider my commute a technical challange for me. I'm on a Trek hybrid. I live/work in an urban/suburban area, and my 20 miles round trip commute ascends 213 feet. When planning my route, I have to take into consideration getting across two rivers and two major highways (which don't allow bicycle traffic). I live in the most densely populated county in the most densely populated state, and yet, I'm managed to find joy in the many VC challenges that I face during my ride. I start out on a long and steep hill, hit the bike path through the park and head over the first bridge. All of my intersection turns on the commute in to work are left turns, so I've gotten very accostomed to merging left and turning at lights, which was scary in the beginning.
After the bridge, I have to go through a very hilly city with truck traffic, narrow roads, no shoulders and street parking. I usually take the lane and ride with traffic and try to make eye contact with drivers to let them know what I'm going to do. I haven't had any problems with the drivers behind me, mostly I worry about the drivers running stop signs on the cross streets. Taking the middle of the lane helps a great deal in this regard, because the other drivers can more easily see you coming, and I then have more time to react in case they don't. After I leave the city, I end up on a 45MPH road with two hard merges coming from my right. I try to slow down and merge across the off-ramp to the right, but sometimes the drivers get confused when they see me coming up on their left and either speed up or slow down. This is when eye contact and definitive hand signals help to clarify the situation. A mile or two up and down this hilly highway and I have to merge left two lanes to make a left into a suburban development. I have the common issue of not setting off the light sensors, so if I'm unlucky enough not to have a car behind me, I have to pedestrian cross or else wait until a car pulls up. Once in suburbia, I can relax a bit and enjoy the scenery. A couple more lights, and a harrowing municipal street with terrible potholes and debris and I end up on the one stretch of road that gives me the most trouble. It's 40 MPH and no shoulder. I stay as far right 'as practicable', but with traffic as it is in the morning, grumpy drivers don't like having to merge left for me. I've gotten yelled at, honked at and almost hit here several times. I've actually changed this part of my route last week, and added two extra suburban miles to avoid this short stretch of road.
At the end of my route, I cross a large mall parking lot which has fantastic roads and no traffic in the morning, and pull up at the door of my office across the street, reading for anything! :)
We have a few bike paths where I live, but no bike lanes, and many roads without even sidewalks or shoulders, so I have no choice by to ride vehicularly. I find it safe as long as my actions are predictable, and I can negotiate with drivers. I handle the angry driver issue by making eye contact whenever possible, smiling and waving when drivers do the right thing, even if they are supposed to - I want drivers to have a good experience with me as a bicycle commuter so that they treat other cyclists with respect. I try to avoid being confrontational as much as possible, but I don't hesitate to yell out if someone is compromising my safety.
I wear a flourescent yellow jersey and have blinkers for going under bridges and overpasses. I don't ride at night, and usually only in good weather, so I haven't invested in a reflector vest. When in doubt, I slow down and think about how to negotiate traffic. I don't run stop signs or red lights, even if I'm the only person there. I think that I get more respect from drivers when they see that I don't take short cuts. There are times that I must do a pedestrian crossing, and I always walk my bike across the cross-walk. If I lived in a more rural environment, I might be a little less stringent, but there are too many people are cars where I am to chance it.
As far as other uses for the bicycle, I do enjoy grocery shopping and running errands, though I can't say I've made the jump to hard-core year round riding. Hopefully, as I gain more experience I can continue to reduce my dependance on a car.
05-28-07, 05:28 PM
My commute to school is 20 km (one-way; 40 km RT), consisting of about 1 km residential, 7 km suburban, 4 km residential/light commercial, and 8 km industrial/commercial. It's pretty level for the most part, save a "valley" and an underpass. Once I get into the latter 12 km (res/light comm, comm/indust), the roads are absolutely piss poor, which makes me thankful I have a mountain bike. I ride a 2001 CCM Heat MTB with fat uber-knobby tyres.
On a good day (no 30-40 km/h winds facing me) I can sustain about 35-38 km/h. Facing those winds, my speed drops to about 27-30 km/h. Before I used to be all about the large gears and low rotation, a la Ullrich. I've definitely changed, and now pedal at quite a fast cadence. I used to primarily use 6th gear, but that has dropped to 4th (facing wind) or 5th/6th (not facing wind). Despite that, my speed is quite a bit faster and my legs recover better. My HR is also higher, but it feels good. (Bike has a 7spd cassette).
I wear looser biking shorts and a t-shirt, along with my backpack, helmet with mirror, glassess (or sunglasses, depends), bike gloves, and stiffer shoes. I have front and rear blinkies that I use on overcast days, or at night. I ride on the road for 19 of the 20 kms, where there's 1 km of bikepath that links the suburb to the main part of the city. I usually ride 15-60 cm from the curb, though if I'm riding in the parking lane, I'll ride in the middle as there usually isn't anyone behind me, and I have to change lanes to pass parked cars. I make sure I'm out of the door range. I always, always, always stop for red lights. It's a pain though, as they're not synchronised all that well for bikes. I stop for 85-90% of stop signs; others I roll through after I've made sure there's no one around. I follow traffic laws as I would with a car (save the odd stop sign).
Today, I raced a couple busses. I totally won. With one bus, it was a 5 km race, and I beat the bus by a few minutes. During times of congestion, it's just beautiful passing all the cars...:D I enjoy seeing commuters on my route; there's a real sense of brotherhood. Even if I'm faster. ;)
Other than commuting, I ride a bunch in the city. My preference has changed from trail biking to road biking. I still do some trail biking, but lately the weather has not been great for it. Sooo much rain...last comple times I tried going, I got totally swamped. There's a nice gravel trail that's pretty decent in the rain.
I'm saving up for a road bike (Giant OCR A1), so hopefully I'll be able to make my commute even faster! Ah, the woes of tuition... :(
06-26-07, 11:45 PM
I probably would be considered a terrible rider by car drivers and the police, I tend to go what I consider the best way. There are several streets that are not safe to be in traffic on, with intersections too dangerous to even try. So,I find it better to get across many of these streets in mid block and get on the sidewalk.
My other transportation is a Harley and an 89 Chev 1 ton with very low miles. I ride either a vintage race bike or my pawn shop mountain bike 95 percent of the time.
My friends think Iam crazy and a very poor car driver "all true".
07-12-07, 08:31 PM
I ride for recreation and fitness. My only bike is the Paris Sport that I bought over 30 years ago while I was in high school. It's a 10-speed with drop bars and very narrow 27 x 1 inch tires that I keep inflated to over 110 psi, so I never ride it off of the paved surfaces (at least not intentionally). Since it has no fenders, I try not to ride unless the roads are dry.
My home is in semi-rural Russell Township, which is in the next county east of Cleveland, Ohio. There are no sidewalks, ditches alongside all roads, and mostly light traffic when I ride on weekends and evenings. Although some of the state highways have speed limits up to 50 mph on them (2-lane, undivided), I ride even there to the left of the white line. My natural tendency is to keep an eye on the rear view mirror but most passing drivers give me plenty of clearance as they go by.
During good weather I put my bike in the trunk of the car for the drive to my office. I love taking high speed rides during my lunch hour. My office is in an industrial park in Solon, Ohio with wide concrete streets that are in horrible condition for a bike like mine (lots of uneven joints and broken pavement). There are very new sidewalks on both sides of most of the streets on my way to the nearby metro park but I never ride the sidewalk if I can help it. It's around 2 miles from my office to the park entrance so it's short enough to just put up with it.
The park has multi-use paths lining the roads but I no longer ride on them as I once did, letting the walkers, joggers, and slower bike riders live in peace. I generally average between 16.5 and 17.5 mph for the 14+ miles of hills in my regular circuit so I think I'd be a hazard to them as well as myself.
Most of the time I'm a well-mannered rider, obeying the traffic laws. I do travel more as a motor vehicle would, taking the left turn lane in one really big intersection rather than trying to wait for a couple of walk signals.
I ride for fitness and to be extremely car-lite.
I use a trek 7.3 fx for fitness rides, in Mississauga and Toronto. I have a 40km circuit in Mississauga which works well for me, I also have a 30km and a 15km depending on how much time I have. I've never done more than 50km solo, although I plan now to start travelling a lot more West of Mississauga into the country roads off Britannia and Derry. I do these maybe once every two weeks, when I'm physically and psychologically up for it, there's perfect weather and I have lots of time.
07-14-07, 05:59 PM
I'm new here (as of today), so I hope I might be forgiven for replying to an "old" post. I could not help but notice how many of hotbike's comments also hold true for motorcylists...especially the parts about cars. Any veteran motorcylist learns to ride as if he (or she) is invisible to cars...you just assume that they don't see you. In most car/motorcycle collisions, the car driver exclaims, "I never saw him!" A car driver isn't looking for motorcycles or bicycles as they turn their head to check oncoming traffic...they are looking for cars or other large motor vehicles. Their minds are in such a state that they can literally look straight at you, and yet fail to "see" you. Twice I have plowed into passenger-side car doors because a driver overtook me and made a sharp right hand turn in front of me, such that even strong braking was not enough to avoid contact. Both times the driver swore they never even saw me. Oh, and that was on bicylces...plenty of mishaps about motorcycles and car drivers for some other forum.
There is a very strong and vocal cycling community here in Austin. It serves us poorly when motorists see someone on a bicycle blow straight through a red light or stop sign...and yes, I do realize it is very tempting to do so when you see that there is no oncoming traffic. But just think about the public's perception the next time we are trying to get a local ordinance passed to protect cyclists' safety.
07-14-07, 07:28 PM
My riding style? Well, it's a Raleigh C40, which should say a lot. I did replace the springy seat post for a solid post. Otherwise it is stock condition. I often ride a long lane, "Great Northern" here in Austin, which seems to be very popular with the more serious cyclists, and sometimes they startle me a little as they whip by me going so fast.
Besides just enjoying my bike for slow, leisurely rides around the neighborhood, I sometimes ride up to the grocery store if I only need a few items. I used zip-ties to secure a large and clunky-looking wire basket to the sleek, high-tech alloy rear carrier. I think about the only other modification I might make to the bike would be pedals with toe-clips, like on my old Schwinn Voyager. I didn't even have a car then, the Voyager was my sole means of transportation, in the early 80's. I loved that bike.
So far the longest ride I've made on the C40 was down to Zilker Park for the kite festival in March. Long haul for an old man, lol. Sore and chafed, but it was worth it.
I've probably lost close to 20 lbs since I started riding a bicylce again, and that was without even trying. 99% of my riding is on paved streets. I don't ride the busy roads, I take the longer way around, through quiet neighborhoods. Hey, if I was in a hurry, I wouldn't be riding a bicycle in the first place. Sometimes it is convenient for me to take a short-cut across a drainage easement that cuts through Shoal Creek. The C40 takes this uneven ground with aplomb...I'm sure the bike is capable of much more than I will ever put it through.
So...that's how I ride my bike.
07-15-07, 07:55 PM
My riding is purely recreational. I own a Trek hybrid bike. I use to ride to work on Saturday's, but since I workout at the local gym at least 4 days/week, I figured it might be a good idea to rest on Saturday's. My riding is mainly confined to a paved rail trail on Wednesday mornings riding about 1 hour 15 minutes. I ride loops from one end to the other and back, about 4.5 miles total/loop. I try to knock out 4 loops during that time period and it's off to work. Basically flat terrain, but a good cardio workout since there is very little coasting involved. Sunday mornings, I head out across the river from my hometown and ride the country roads for upwards of 3 hours or more. I try to get out early around 8AM in order to beat the heat especially during the summer months. Traffic isn't too much of an issue because it's Sunday. I feel much more confortable riding when it's quiet as opposed to heavy traffic conditions. I usually try to ride right on the line or close to it. I probably should have some sort of mirror though either on the helmut or attached to the handlebars. I don't always hear the traffic coming upon me especially if I'm moving at a good clip and the wind is whistling in my ear. I'd rather be safe than sorry, so I take extra care approaching intersections, traffic lights, coming upon people backing out of driveways etc. I figure it's better to be on the side of caution than be a statistic. Besides, god forbid I ever did get in an accident, my wife would probably put an end to my road riding. I think she would much prefer me riding on the off road courses and rail trails.
07-16-07, 08:15 PM
I commute in and around downtown LA. I use the bike lanes and paths when I can, and the rest of the time I just ride way out in the middle of the right-hand lane. When the motorists honk, I know they can see me, so I pull over to let them pass when it's convenient.
(I have to admit I get a self-righteous thrill when the occasional aggressive/rude/egotistical driver leans on the horn and makes a jackass out of himself.)
Even the busiest parts of LA have quiet residential streets with little or no traffic. It's worth a few minutes of detour to keep my life and limbs a few years longer.
07-16-07, 09:10 PM
Where I ride
Penticton (http://www.penticton.ca/main.asp) is a great city for a car free person. It has all the basic amenities (with the requisite 'big box' stores and chain restaurants, but yet still catering to the eclectic, and downright strange). We have musicians on busy street-corners, and dread-locked fruit-pickers thumbing for rides.
And I can get from one end of town to the other in 15 mins (10 if the wind is favorable).
07-18-07, 10:59 PM
I race and train on the road. I mountain bike for fun and I commute whenever I can.
My commute: My ride to work is about 4 miles. It actually takes me about 4 minutes less time to bike it than it does to drive it. My town is about 22,000 people so its not metropolis by any means but it has its challenges. The only bike lane in town is nothing more than a no parking zone with a white stripe on the road that extends for about 4 or 5 blocks in a very low bicycle travel area. It is there because it is part of the Katy Trail that bypasses some active railroad tracks to reconnect with the regular trail just on the edge of town. The most direct route to work has a shoulder along the 4 lane road with a turn lane but the drain grates would swallow most mountain bike tires so its not ridable. Traffic is too busy and the speed limit is 40 mph. The general public is not particularly bike friendly they just don't really want to kill anyone. So they usually give you room but it is not because they know the law or even care too. I cut across a parking lot or two and use the Katy Trail bridge to cross Hwy 50 so I don't have to wait at the light 2 blocks up. Its pretty good really. I don't get too much trouble and I've even met a few people I otherwise wouldn't have. All in all not too bad.
Training: My training rides usually consist of 2+ hour 30mile and up rides on the various letter highways around the area. My town used to be and still is somewhat of a hub for farming and the railroad so there are unlimited loops you can ride. I usually leave town on one 2 lane highway and connect to another going perpendicular and then catch another highway back to town. You can make these loops as short as 15 miles or as long as you could ever ride in a day. Most of these highways have no shoulder. There are absolutely no bicycle signs of any kind. I've had a few close calls with younger drivers mostly trying to go by me the same time they are meeting a car coming the other way. I've gotten a few honks from time to time. Some times drivers even hong just to let me know they are there. My friend Matt has had one instance of a guy swerving all over the road that threw a beer at him out the window while running him off the road but it was an isolated insolent. The roads are in fair to good condition I wouldn't rate any of them as poor. except for a select few spots.
Mountain biking: Good old Mid-West single track. Radiant Trail at the Bothwell State Park Sedalia. Cave Hollow in Warransburg MO. Opossum Hollow Knob Noster State Park. Chubb Trail St. Louis. just to name a few.
Well since moving in to Clinton Ohio most of where i end up riding is on the Ohio Erie towpath trail. Esp good for me as the bike shop where i now work is right off the towpath. Great place to ride regardless of road or trail really. I can safely hit 17ish mph but generally don't as i enjoy the ride and seeing every thing from silly little chipmunks to coyote and deer. On the roads here if i want i can get any sort of terrain i want from pretty much pancake flat to a few grade 18 hills.
I as a general rule do not play the numbers game very much. I track my averages more than my max etc speed and cadence (when im on a more training type ride). Generally i ride to enjoy seeing the sites most tend to miss.
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