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  1. #1
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    Finding my place....

    Brief history....
    I found this site about a year ago. Quickly motivated me to return to the bike...bought a new Trek 7.3 FX. I listened to people say "you may as well just get a road bike, you're going to love the speed". I went ahead with the hybrid and started out strong. Inevitably I started to want a roadie as predicted. I already had invested in SPD pedals and shoes, biking shorts, gloves, helmet...I was on the way. In July I purchased a high dollar carbon roadie.....and rode. My distances went up and the exercise was nice. In the meantime I was at the gym on the stationary bike and logging miles on the treadmill too. I absorbed all the info the magazines offered, watched nearly every minute of "LeTour" and even had a great time in Missouri watching the final stages of the ToM with the family.
    So, off-season was all gym work...maintained weight loss. Two weeks ago it all came to a halt. My good friend and neighbor was tragically taken when hit by a car training(running) for the Indy Mini Marathon. He was running on the exact road that I always took on my long rides. I know accidents happen...and you can't fight fate....I've run through all that. But I'm still at the point that as much as I enjoy the roadie, I'll never love it enough to feel good about the car vs. human confrontation. I know I'm still reluctant because the incident is so fresh...and incredibly hard to take, but every time I think about the potential risk vs. reward of riding on public highways, I want to have nothing to do with a road bike again.
    So that leads me to this......I still run and ride at the gym, but miss the outdoor experience that the bike offered. I've made up my mind..I'm selling the roadie and will not quit entirely. I have the great fortune of living near miles of bike/walking paths 15 minutes from my home. I have only seen a couple roadies on these paths as they tend to have just enough other traffic on them that a clipped in road bike just isn't practical. I want to supplement my gym workouts and have been looking at hybrids again, but to be quite honest, am not all that fired up to have to get "dressed up" to ride if I want. I think I've had it with roadie seats, clip pedals and geometry issues and want to ride a bike for fun again...sometimes spontaneously.
    I've looked at hard tail mountain bikes..but the tires don't lend themselves as well to bike paths. I've looked at comfort bikes(like the LIme) but I'm still pretty active and those seem more "cruiseriffic" to me. Has anyone found themselves in a similar situation? I'll be honest, I want to be able to leave work, go to the park, unload the bike and ride..no padded shorts or special gear. That said, I'm still not wanting a 99.00 department store bike. I've looked into the Trek SU2 and the Cannondale Bad Boy. I think I'm better off with the comfort of 26" tires rather than 700's, but I don't think suspended mountain bikes are the answer either.

    Thanks for the patience, and I look forward to any help you have.

    Dusty

  2. #2
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    First off, tragedies do happen, and while unfortunate, you can't keep hiding from cars. Let's face it, your chances vs another car are slim regardless if you are on a bike or in another car. In March of 2006 I almost bit the big one in a vehicular accident, and I was driving a Ford F-150 pickup. The other guy, however, was driving a BIGGER pickup and well.. that's that. I ended up with a screwed up back, and my passenger ended up with permanent hearing loss and a cane. That day I *almost* took my then sportscar, a little Mazda MX-6 rocketship that would have literally been the death of both of us. Had I took that, seriously, we'd both have been dead.

    The one thing I finally took from that day is that you can live in fear of everything, or you can live. Today I could die by stepping on an exposed high-current cable in the datacenter, or I could die in an accident between me and a car. Or... I could live until I'm 100. Whatever it is, I choose to be happy. And I recommend you do the same.

    Your friend would want you to be happy, and while it's extremely difficult (believe me, it took me a couple days to get back behind the wheel after recovery..) you just need to do it. You'll end up being just as scared when that path crosses a street as you will if you were on the street.

    That being said, if you really want to get rid of it, why not something like a Surly LHT or Cross-Check? They are greatly comfy, and just awesome.

  3. #3
    Laid back bent rider unixpro's Avatar
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    My condolences to your neighbor and his family. Accidents like that are tragic and can have profound effects. It's not unexpected for you to feel the way you do now, but in time you'll probably start to get over it at least a little.

    My recommendation to you, if you really want to ride wearing pretty much whatever you have on, is to check out recumbent bicycles. They're not the cheapest around and take a little practice to ride, but once you do you'll find it very hard to go back to a "traditional" diamond frame, or DF, bicycle. In addition to a much more comfortable regular seat that doesn't require any special clothing, you'll get back support and much more comfort. In addition, your speeds will, after a time, be faster than you're used to on your regular bikes. The Human Powered Vehicle speed record is held by a recumbent. They're not quite as fast going uphill, until you really get some miles into them, but you'll get there, and going downhill is an absolute blast.

    Check out the recumbent forum or bentrider online if you're interested. I switched in February of this year and haven't regretted a minute. It's my daily commuter for over 140 miles a week.

  4. #4
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    I am very sorry to hear about you friend. The sad matter is that life is full of dangers. Sadly transportation of any soft is not without risk. We have family friends that lost their son to a car accident (he was diabetic and may have had an attack). I have also had various classmates and others that I was on a first name basis with that were killed in cars. Some were possibly due to their own stupidity (teenagers will do dumb things every so often). Some of the other accidents caused by someone's lack of concentration or some other minor mistake that then led to a bad accident. In the last 6 months there have even been two occurrences within 1 mile of my house where cars ran into houses and nearly caused severe injuries to the occupants. The crazy thing is that the speed limit was 35 and 30 mph on both roads so a driver should NEVER be able to loose control of their car to cause such a wild accident.

    I personally feel that you are safer on a road bike than jogging. The main reason is speed differential. The other day someone posted a report by the NCHRP (NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM). One of the key items that was mentioned that speed kills. The greater the speed differential the greater the risk of accident and death. If I ride my road bike at 20 MPH in a 35 to 45 MPH zone the drivers behind me have a reasonable amount of time to see me, and to react. If I am running 5 MPH gainst traffic (which is the only safe way to run), the the driver has much less time to react, and the jogger also has relatively little time to judge if the vehicle will pass them with enough clearance. I personally try to avoid riding on roads with 55 MPH speed limmit because of the speed differential. I also will not ride without a mirror if I can help it. With a mirror I can easily keep tabs on what traffic is coming up behind me. If I see a large truck coming, I will give them as much space as I can. I might have the legal right to be in the road, but a tuck can kill me easily if the drive makes a slight misjudgement on distance.

    André

  5. #5
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    I know where you're coming from. Many years ago, I was riding my motorcycle back from lunch when I came upon and accident involving a motorcycle vs. big rig. As I got closer, I recognized the bike as belonging to one of the guys at work. The police officer told me that he was alive but wasn't going to make it. I was the one who drove our supervisor over to notify the wife. He left behind two young daughters. I sold my bike a few months later as I just didn't enjoy it anymore.

    I would suggest looking at a hard-tail MTB and swapping the tires for 90 psi 26 x 1.25 street tires. Most MTBs have narrow rims that will handle a narrow tire (I put these on my wife's comfort bike and they made a huge difference). Then you still have the option of swapping back to the knobbies if you want to do trail riding.

  6. #6
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    Thank you for your condolences. I am well aware of natural risks. I guess what I haven't stated clearly enough is that I flat don't enjoy riding a bike on a highway(50 mph) enough to pursue it any longer. I'm sorry to hear about others' devastating personal accounts. None of us ever want to get "that" phone call. Maybe that's why I'm contemplating so hard right now.....because I must have already made up my mind that knowing we "never know" I will choose to eliminate the road bike risk from the equation. I will say that when I run, I only run on a treadmill...personal preference I guess. But, I still believe that running on city streets with a 25-30 mph limit certainly does allow time to react to a situation better than a 50-55 mph speed regardless of the speed discrepancy.
    I apologize if I brought back any horrible memories. I think CACycling has understood what I'm after and I'll start to compare a "slick tire" hard tail MB to a hybrid type and go from there.

    Thanks for your time and please accept my sincere thoughts for the loss of those you loved.

    Dusty

  7. #7
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    I'd recommend a single speed and a Brooks. I rode 42 miles on Sunday and the only cycling specific clothing I had were bike shoes and a helmet. If you're doing MUPs, you don't need a lot of gears since you shouldn't be going that fast anyway. If you want a workout, just pedal faster.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



    We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dustyone View Post
    Thank you for your condolences. I am well aware of natural risks. I guess what I haven't stated clearly enough is that I flat don't enjoy riding a bike on a highway(50 mph) enough to pursue it any longer. I'm sorry to hear about others' devastating personal accounts. None of us ever want to get "that" phone call. Maybe that's why I'm contemplating so hard right now.....because I must have already made up my mind that knowing we "never know" I will choose to eliminate the road bike risk from the equation. I will say that when I run, I only run on a treadmill...personal preference I guess. But, I still believe that running on city streets with a 25-30 mph limit certainly does allow time to react to a situation better than a 50-55 mph speed regardless of the speed discrepancy.
    I apologize if I brought back any horrible memories. I think CACycling has understood what I'm after and I'll start to compare a "slick tire" hard tail MB to a hybrid type and go from there.

    Thanks for your time and please accept my sincere thoughts for the loss of those you loved.

    Dusty
    Okay Dusty, time for a reality check, the statistics on deaths on a bicycle, are given in millions of miles, because any smaller number and the numbers are so tiny, as to be insignificant. Amazingly there are ways to make these tiny numbers even smaller.

    The first key be aware, the vision from a bicycle is great to the front, not so good to the rear, however there are mirrors for bicycles, there are really 2 types, one mounts to the bars, the other to your helmet or glasses, get a mirror and train yourself to check it at all times, especially when turning, or before an intersection. At intersections, don't filter to the right, join the line of traffic, you don't get right hooked that way. Do NOT wear headphones or a music player of any kind, if you really need tunes, keep the volume very low, and only on the side away from traffic.

    Second, is to be visible, reflectors and lights are not very sexy, but they are critical to make you visible, especially in inclement weather. Many places recommend to drivers to run full lights if wipers are on, I think it's law in a few places as well, You don't have wipers, but if it's raining, run full lights, even if it is bright out. At night only use a jacket that has retro-reflective material on it, or wear one of those construction vests, with the retro-reflective stripes on it. Actually the vest is a good idea, even during the day, most are a mesh material, so they are not hot, but they are bright. One further issue, if you are beside a truck, look at his mirrors, if you can see the mirror, the driver can see you.

    Third, be predictable, obey all traffic laws, and signal your intent, just like when driving a motor vehicle. Have a bell, horn or gong on your bike, and position it, where you can easily get it, don't be afraid to use it, these days drivers have so many distractions, that you occasionally need to bring one back to reality, I actually did today, the driver was lucky, if I were a car, I would have hit them, and they would have been considered at fault.

    Now the real issue, is mind over matter, because you know a runner who was killed at a certain spot, you now think of that spot as more dangerous. Personally I try to avoid high speed roads, and if I can't avoid them, I minimize my time on them. A good mapping site, like Map My Ride, can be a great asset, because you can see what other riders are doing to get past that same place, or you can see if there is another road going to same way, that is less busy. In heavy traffic, I would rather be on a bike, then in a car, it's actually safer.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bigboxeraf's Avatar
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    I was hit by a car on friday and I can't wait to get on the road again. I don't know how I'll feel when I'm actually able to get on the road again. I really can't add anything useful, but I will urge you to keep riding, find a new route but keep riding.

  10. #10
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    I'm curious as to what city you are based in.

    Surely there must be safer routes for you to ride.

    And, unfortunately, one must ask if your friend was wearing headphones at the time he was
    struck. It's sad, but situational awareness is paramount. Mirrors for cyclists. Avoiding the
    use of personal electronic musical devices.

    In about 13,000 miles of riding I've had some close calls but the force was with me. The other
    thought is that eventually, one way or another, I will expire.

    And when I was 13 I did get hit by a car. Was upside down, above the vehicle looking down at
    the hood, roof and trunk and managed to survive.

    There's nothing that will prevent that. I'd rather take my chances and keep riding and
    improve my health, fitness and reflexes by riding.

    Another thought: MUT trails may be a possible way for you to get around the traffic issue.

  11. #11
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    Hey Dustyone,
    You can always get one of those 'in between' type of bikes. For example, this one:
    http://www.bianchiusa.com/07_backstreet.html
    It has a mix of road and offroad parts.

    Or these from trek:
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/2008/urban/
    They even have a single speed version that would be really fun to ride
    Juan

  12. #12
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Ok, I missed the highway part of your post. In that light, I don't blame you one bit. I ride roads daily, but highways still scare the bejeezus out of me. I've ridden on highways several times and while definitely fast and efficient they are also loud and terrifying. Here, the highways have very heavy semi traffic during the spring/summer due to the heavy ag industry, so that just makes it worse.

    For paths, I absolutely love my current bike's setup. It's a stock 07 Hardrock sport with some 26x1.50 Nimbus Armadillo tires on it. On the bike path, I rarely get passed, and when I do it's only by skinny roadies. On the road, well, I get destroyed by roadies. It's a great setup, I love the wheels off it.

  13. #13
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    I agree with wogsterca. It is hitting close to home now, but you can't let the fear define you. I am sure I can find stories of people dying at the gym, on bike paths, and on 25 mph rural lanes. That doesn't mean live and fear and never leave your couch. It just means to choose the protection that makes you feel comfortable doing the activites you enjoy and take them.

    I know if I ever went down I would never wanna be someone elses excuse.

  14. #14
    Senior Member piette's Avatar
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    Personally I don't think you should give up the road bike, my dad died of a massive heart attack two years ago, yet everyday I go out and push my heart as hard as I can. I have had friends die in car accidents, drowning, and all sorts of ways, I am not giving those up because of it. It is entirely your choice, and you need to do what makes you happy.

    That being said, why not get another FX bike? You don't need to put SPD pedals on it, you don't need to wear gear or anything else, you can set it up anyway you want. I have a FX 7.3 that I use when my kids and wife want to go for a ride, I just jump on and ride with whatever I am wearing. I have just basic flat pedals on it, and a decent stock seat and I can ride it for a good long comfortable while at any time I want without the hassle of changing clothes or even shoes. Mine does perfect on the road and on trails, although you know that already as you had one before.

    Jeff

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by piette View Post
    Personally I don't think you should give up the road bike, my dad died of a massive heart attack two years ago, yet everyday I go out and push my heart as hard as I can. I have had friends die in car accidents, drowning, and all sorts of ways, I am not giving those up because of it. It is entirely your choice, and you need to do what makes you happy.

    That being said, why not get another FX bike? You don't need to put SPD pedals on it, you don't need to wear gear or anything else, you can set it up anyway you want. I have a FX 7.3 that I use when my kids and wife want to go for a ride, I just jump on and ride with whatever I am wearing. I have just basic flat pedals on it, and a decent stock seat and I can ride it for a good long comfortable while at any time I want without the hassle of changing clothes or even shoes. Mine does perfect on the road and on trails, although you know that already as you had one before.

    Jeff
    I'm leaning toward another FX type bike. I think as much as anything I've learned that my good, hard workouts are most of the time in the gym and I'd like to realize my bike time as outdoors/fitness/recreation...but still keep it fun. To make matters worse, I just purchased my wife a new roadie, with one ride on it now, and she shares my sentiment. She fully supports the bike path and gym plan as much as I do.
    I am heavily involved in auto racing(no longer racing myself) and see the dangers every day. I've had good friends taken and I always understood the risks, as I do now. I'm not scared to ride the road...I have simply made the decision that riding a bike on a highway is a small percentage risk that I can no longer justify. I'll never bungee jump, sky dive, go on a deep sea fishing expedition or climb a mountain. These are all things that, in my mind, will never be worth the trade-off to that one in a bazillion "bad" odds.
    BTW, I've spoken with a Jon Piette from Wisconsin...any relation?

    Thanks again,
    dk

  16. #16
    AiM SmAlL mIsS sMaLl UniversalFrost's Avatar
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    Ok, sorry about your friend, it really sucks when someone is taken before their time.

    Now, I am gonna get bashed for saying this but HTFU (see the road cycling section if you don't know what this means).

    I have known many folks that have been taken before their time and I narrowly escaped my demise and have been recovering ever since, but I never gave up and neither should you.

    Just because your friend was killed on the same stretch of road that you ride/train on means jack! He could have been killed leaving his driveway or the same could happen to you. If you live your life in fear of what could happen then you might as well just give up and hide in a corner! Seriously, if God wants to call you home he can take you out when ever and where ever. At least your friend was called to God while he was doing something he enjoyed! I can only hope for the same when it is my time.

    So, don't sell the roadie and instead go out and ride it more than ever!

    JOE
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  17. #17
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    You're feeling a lot of strong emotion right now, which is appropriate. Let yourself feel what you're feeling, but don't feel that you need to act on all those feelings -- let them come, and let them go. I would not be inclined to sell the roadie even if you feel an aversion to riding it now. You still have your old bike, right? Set the roadie aside, ride your old bike, and consider what's been said here about visibility and defensive/safe riding. You may find that you never want to ride the roadie again; OTOH, if you rush to get rid of it (for no more than pennies on the dollar, most likely), you may find yourself deeply regretting it in a few months.

  18. #18
    Senior Member piette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dustyone View Post
    BTW, I've spoken with a Jon Piette from Wisconsin...any relation?

    Thanks again,
    dk
    Can I ask what you know about him? Age, location, career anything like that?

    The reason I ask is my dad is John Piette.

    Jeff

  19. #19
    Senior Member piette's Avatar
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    Also is it possible that perhaps you just weren't enjoying road cycling as much as you thought you might and subconsciously your friends unfortunate passing is a way to stop without admitting you just didn't enjoy it? Don't take it the wrong way, as their is nothing wrong with not enjoying road cycling, it is not for everybody and we all have the things we do and do not enjoy. I have found myself unknowingly doing this in my past, a chosen career path that I just did not like after investing a good bit of money into it, I came up with a reason to not do it anymore. A few years later after thinking about it, it was purely because I felt guilty just leaving that career field after spending a good bit of money on it, and the reason was just an excuse I came up with in my mind to cover up the real reason.

    Either way, I know exactly what you are saying about wanting a bike to just hop on and go. I have a '08 Trek Pilot 5.0, it's a carbon fiber bike and has SPD pedals and shoes and I wear all the special shorts and such, it's a real ordeal to go for a ride everyday. So I bought an '08 7.3 FX to just hop on and go with my wife and kids, nothing special at all, just a couple water bottles and a computer. It is very enjoyable to just put the kickstand up and ride.

    Jeff

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by piette View Post
    Also is it possible that perhaps you just weren't enjoying road cycling as much as you thought you might and subconsciously your friends unfortunate passing is a way to stop without admitting you just didn't enjoy it? Don't take it the wrong way, as their is nothing wrong with not enjoying road cycling, it is not for everybody and we all have the things we do and do not enjoy. I have found myself unknowingly doing this in my past, a chosen career path that I just did not like after investing a good bit of money into it, I came up with a reason to not do it anymore. A few years later after thinking about it, it was purely because I felt guilty just leaving that career field after spending a good bit of money on it, and the reason was just an excuse I came up with in my mind to cover up the real reason.

    Either way, I know exactly what you are saying about wanting a bike to just hop on and go. I have a '08 Trek Pilot 5.0, it's a carbon fiber bike and has SPD pedals and shoes and I wear all the special shorts and such, it's a real ordeal to go for a ride everyday. So I bought an '08 7.3 FX to just hop on and go with my wife and kids, nothing special at all, just a couple water bottles and a computer. It is very enjoyable to just put the kickstand up and ride.

    Jeff
    I know of him through another addiction...RC car racing. It was more than a couple years ago through another RC buddy in Osh Kosh. No idea as to his age, but I'm guessing not old enough to be your father(?)
    This has been a healthy and enlightening discussion. I indeed know what HTFU means and I'm quite versed in PCAD's lingo...he seems like a decent, honest guy despite all the fray.
    Mr. Piette you have more than likely uncovered a great truth about my cycling desire. While my friend's death bothers me greatly, I could certainly do without road biking again, and I think your last post recognizes that. I admit, I still scan Versus daily for cycling on TV and love the roadie/European culture, but at the end of the day, I really just want to ride a bike...a very nice bike mind you, but a bike nonetheless. The money or loss of investment on bike sell-offs doesn't bother me much and I'm sure I'll take a couple hundred loss on my carbon roadie..but it'll sure help in my search of finding a nice urban/HTMB type rig.

    Thanks for your opinions.
    Do the names Koback, Mentzel or Makus sound familiar?

    dk

  21. #21
    Senior Member piette's Avatar
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    Yeah if he's in Oshkosh I don't know him. I have heard we have distant family members that way, but I have never met them. When you say Oshkosh, I assume you mean Hobbytown? I am familiar with that, as I had a friend that raced RC's their about 12-15 years ago.

    I can't say as those names are familiar with me at all. Can I ask where you are located that you raced at Oshkosh?

    Jeff

  22. #22
    Senior Member badgermac's Avatar
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    More Wisconsinites here! I'm in Milwaukee.

    My condolences on your loss. THings like this are hard to get through. I have some friends going through this right now - if you get the news up there about the bad accident that took the life of a woman, her unborn child, and her daughter in my home town.

    Don't give up on the bike yet. THis is all still raw.

  23. #23
    Senior Member piette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badgermac View Post
    More Wisconsinites here! I'm in Milwaukee.

    My condolences on your loss. THings like this are hard to get through. I have some friends going through this right now - if you get the news up there about the bad accident that took the life of a woman, her unborn child, and her daughter in my home town.

    Don't give up on the bike yet. THis is all still raw.
    Was that the Oconomowoc teacher?

    Jeff

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