General Cycling Discussion - What is the advantage?
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05-22-02, 08:30 PM
What is the advantage to not stopping at a stop sign/signal?
05-22-02, 08:40 PM
Keeping your momentum and not having to unclip and then reattach your foot.
05-22-02, 08:50 PM
Anywhere from 3 to 30 seconds :)
05-23-02, 01:31 AM
1.) You get a chance to live a shorter life
2.) You get to give cyclists a bad name
3.) You get to save a couple of seconds
4.) You get to be lazy
I've run stop signs and I'll probaby run some more, I do feel guilty about it , I never claimed to be perfect.
05-23-02, 01:42 AM
You might get to see some lovely flashing coloured lights and hear a siren. And you'll get a warm feeling inside knowing that they're doing it just for you.
Even when there's no one else around I think it comes down to doing the right thing. We should do the right thing for more reasons than not wanting to get caught.
If we pick and choose the road rules we want to follow, then surely motorists should be allowed to do the same and we have no right to complain when they cut us off.
Sorry for the self-righteous rave. I have rolled through on occasions too, but I do my utmost to stick by the rules.
05-23-02, 01:57 AM
I figure that my "job" is not to sread goodwill to non-bikers, but to stay physically fit and on top of agility and mental alertness. Yes, I am one of the cyclist that give us a bad rep. I run stop signs/lights if no one is around and I ride in an obvious fashion that makes me stand out in traffic. Running stop signs/lights is for my convenience. I have no moral compunction when I do this. I don't have to unclip and I keep my speed and aerobics going.
Cars are forced to pull out and go around me on narrow roads, rather than forcing me off the road because I allow them their lane. An occasional hand gesture beats a mirror in the hip.
I will stop at stop signs when police are present or there is no eye contact with other drivers.
Now, I expect the "holier than thou" moralist to tell me that I am wrong, but years of this behavior and lack of negative reinforcement, added to riding with people of the same ilk will lead me to continued likewise riding.
If I were smarter, I would have developed and grown differently as a cyclist. But I am a pretty fair rider. A distance junkie. A creature of habit. Not a genius.
05-23-02, 04:23 AM
cost stop sign = a few seconds
cost stoplight = a few seconds up to a few minutes (i waited at a light this moring over 3 minutes then decided to take a short-cut)
but over the course of a ride these numbers add up. if you ride in the suburbs or in the country where distances between signals are long and controlled intersections few, then no problem, but in the city where you have a stop sign or traffic light every few hundred feet or even less... it makes a huge difference.
my current commute of 10km is about 60% in the city with lots of lights... if i stop and wait at all the lights my commute goes from about 21-24 minutes to about 32-35 minutes or more (i've never waited at every light to find out). if i were able to ride w/o stopping my commute would be even faster but for safety i of course don't blow lights when cars are present.
anyway, in this case, the cost is about 10 minutes for a 20 minute ride or almost 50%...
in almost all major urban centers i have ridden in during rush-hour or high traffic it makes no sense to bike as if i were a car (although i do support the idea under non-high-traffic conditions) - if the light is backed up and the cars are waiting 3 cycles to go through, is it really reasonable to wait on a bike? i can lane-split and go right through the light w/o causing more congestion or endangering anyone other than myself...
the lights are timed for cars and almost all intersections are designed for cars. for example, many lights in the city exist only to stop cars so that pedestrains can safely cross which is a good thing, but i am a comparatively much lower risk to a pedestrian and am also much less likely to hit a pedestrian than a car...
when reasonable i wait at lights and attempt to not piss off any car drivers... i also do it for convenience b/c stopping really messes up my rhythym. at a stop i don't get wind any more and sweat accumulates - if it's cold then i cool off b/C i'm not generating heat... plus i get to sit right with a group of exhaust-creating cars and breath concentrated exhaust...
i ride for safety first! it's because of all the dangerous high-speed huge space-hogging cars that most of the lights and stop signs exist: either to prevent someone being injured or killed or to allow traffic flow to move at all b/c the cars create so much congestion and need so much space. contribution to these things is low and one of the big advantages to riding a bike in the city is that i DO NOT contribute significantly to congestion or create a major accident risk for others...
if i stop or slow at a light and look to see if it's clear and then go through, how is this any more of a threat to others than left-turning cars? the only difference is that left-turning cars are expected, but it's an intersection... and if i screw up, the only real threat is to myself...
so why should bike riders accept all the disadvantages as if they were driving huge space-hogging, polluting, pedestrian-threatening vehicle and contributing to the traffic and pollution and danger and noise?? we already get few advantages (unsafe car-drivers, roads and intersections designed for cars, etc.) so why give up one of the greatest: better efficiency in heavy city traffic?
ride a few days a week in downtown Boston, NYC, Munich, San Francisco, Seattle, DC, etc. and then talk about not running traffic lights and lane-splitting...
05-23-02, 04:29 AM
just a short additional comment:
as i said i ride for SAFETY first. of all my riding, over 95% of my accidents or near-accidents were caused not by me running a light or a stop-sign, but when i had the RIGHT-OF-WAY and some car failed to yield. i'm often more worried going through a light when it's green or intersection where i otherwise have the right of way b/c if i see a car coming at me i expect that it will stop b/c it's supposed too... if i'm running a light i have no expectations that a car will stop for me...
and yes, i dress and ride to be seen, wearing mostly bright colors and reflective gear with lights at night...
I am a true cyclist, I commute daily, in most weather, I ride around 10,000 miles a year, I carry things on my bike. I am fit and committed to the sport. I have been doing this for years. As cyclist and cycle commuters we as a group, don't do this to save a few seconds, minutes or even hours. We are not in a hurry, ever, we enjoy nature pleasures as they present themselves to us, we see the world up close and at a speed that allows us not to miss much. I stop at stop signs and red lights as an example to motorists, I want them to be as patient and courtious with me as I am with them. As we all should be smart enough to know, we as cyclist could never prevail in a road rage act of aggression on their part, we will end up at the bottom of the pile. As for the clip in clip out thing, for years now I just stop and track stand, I stay clipped in and sit still in my lane, most motorist enjoy watching me and don't mind waiting, when the light turns green I just ride away. It's a skill that everyone can aquire, It's fun, I have stayed still in a traffic line for over 5 minutes and I wait my turn in stop and go traffic, all while staying tightly clipped into my campy record pro-fit pedals. As for the cardio and fitness thing, if you ride every day and everywhere you go, you will be fit and you will stay that way, on days when you unpack your bike and ride with the local blasters, you will burn their legs off, It's great.
Be patient, slow down, the world is way too fast, enjoy your sport, Be a true cyclist and live to tell your stories.
05-23-02, 07:43 AM
advantage of not stopping/ at street corners with stop sign on them"you don't get to go Old", becuase you'll die young
05-23-02, 07:53 AM
We are not in a hurry, ever, we enjoy nature pleasures as they present themselves to us, we see the world up close and at a speed that allows us not to miss much. mrfix
while i agree that we see things that motorists don't and most of the time i am riding 'to smell the flowers' and i love the close-up experiences with nature and the outdoors and the weather...
i am a normal person who has a job and appointments and whatever and my bike is my primary mode of transportation and sometimes i do ride to get somewhere fast. the bicycle is the most beautiful, most efficient for of urban transporation i know of... i also race so i also train for fast and sustained activity (and keep my heartrate up): riding and then waiting 3 minutes at a light, then riding 2 minutes, then waiting 2 minutes... is not good training (Admittedly most of my training comes from special training ride, but in the end all time counts and you get either 'junk' miles or miles that help you get stronger and improve your cardiosystem)
and, yes, i too practice track-standing, but i find 3-5 minutes per day quite enough practice... i've tried also practing some basic trials stuff but it's not so ideal b/c what if the light turns as i have done a hop and now face the other direction? or i fall down ever so often when doing trials (i'm not very good and just learing)
but on those days when i overslept or i told my girlfriend i would meet her in 20 minutes... a few minutes does matter. i too have been on my bike almost every day for the last 6+ years and most days for the last 13 years... with the last 4 years about 10-20k km (about 3600km so far in 2002)
I hear you, I too have a fairly normal life, job, wife, two grown kids, two grandchildren and other things to do. I mean there is only so much rushing you can do on a bike, if you are going to commit to cycling for transportation, you just have to accept the fact that you are only going to go so fast. It is going to take as long as it takes to get places and usually mother nature doesn't help. I find that you can adjust lifes little schedules to fit in the time you need. Of course you need to build up a dependable bike, if you spend too much time on the side of the road fixing flats or broken spokes you may be late once too often and that takes the relaxation out of cycling. Sounds like you try to do your training in a city, I train also for long distance rideing, I try to do my cardio workouts in the country where there is more open road and steeper hills with less traffic. I do consider every ride a training ride of some sort, when I can't work on cardio, I work on spin or balance or slow speed balance and still standing. You need it all to win, when I commute I load my panniers to get the bike weight to 55 pounds, I have a hilly commute and ride at 90 rpm, you want to talk cardio workout, give that a whirl. It sounds like you are a serious cyclist Nat, It's good to know that I'm not the only wako out there. Keep crankin out the miles.
05-24-02, 07:07 AM
I do consider every ride a training ride of some sortmrfix
i actually am more of a mountain biker and i actually do most of my training ride off-road - in the Alps mostly. but there is only so much time in the week and i also use my commuting as training (i also love riding and i like not being part of the car-overuse pollution/safety/etc problem). thus, i try to reduce the 'junk-miles' and make the most efficient use of my time which does not include waiting through 3-minute lights when no cross-traffic is coming...
It sounds like you are a serious cyclist Nat, It's good to know that I'm not the only wako out there. Keep crankin out the miles. mrfix
thanks... i feel the same way about most of the people here... it's good to know i'm not the only one who gets depressed if i'm not on my bike for 1 or 2 days... actually i'm going back to the US next week for 2 1/2 weeks for a friend's wedding and to visit my sister and it's my German girlfriend's first East Coast visit and i'm so undecided as whether to bring my bike or not... we have a lot planned and a lot of travel (Dallas, Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, NYC, Boston, Worcester and Montreal) so i won't have much time to ride and it's a lot of hassle to box it and fly with it and haul it everywhere, but i just don't want to be w/o the bike for so long... i guess i can always rent something for a day or so...
P.S. where are you in mass? i spent 2000-2001 in Worcester working on my PhD at Clark...
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