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  1. #1
    creaky old bones FZ1Tom's Avatar
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    Cycling is blowing kinda hot and cold for me right now

    Short story - I had been off the bike for about 3 weeks (procrastination, work, fatigue, weather, excuses excuses). Yesterday I rode the bike up to a friend's house to help him work on his motorcycle rebuild, then over to a local Fox & Hound to meet more sportbike buddies before riding back home. Left the house about 5pm, returned home about 1115pm. Probably 10 miles all told.

    Okay, its nice that I didn't have to burn any gas (well, almost) and it was also kinda cool to ride the bicycle to F&H when everyone else took their car or motorcycle (actually a lot of us don't even have a bike for various reasons).

    But the downside is, I've discovered, riding a bicycle in this town is fantastically dangerous...or at least where I was going. Riding in the roadway would simply have been suicidal, I took the sidewalks (and hang the possible tickets). Even getting started at intersections was bad enough with speeding zombies and teenybopping kids whizzing right thru turn lanes. In short I found it very intimidating - I think MUP's are much better for now (but gotta find a darned rack!).

    The biggest frustration was I fell not once but TWICE at stops due to my not clipping out. Hadn't happened on the previous 2 rides with clipless, so maybe I was just unlucky. First time I was pulling out to walk up a short steep hill near the house. Tried to put my right foot down, bike went left, and plunk. Scuffed the saddle, tweaked the stem. 2 trucks pulled over and asked me if I was OK - nice of them, but a little embarrassing too.

    Second time was much worse - had stopped at one LBS to ask about the seemingly useless brakes, they blew me off and told me to go back to the LBS I had got the bike from (which had blown me off already). On the way, at a gas station on the corner, I pulled up to the corner, clipped out BOTH feet, yet somehow my right foot inadvertently clipped back in, and....you guessed it, went down on that side. Nearly brained myself on the traffic signal post, skinned my right knee and shin badly, skinned my right forearm as well, and gashed my left calf. Being diabetic this isn't very cool - it'll take a long, long time to heal and it's VERY painful Moreover I was shook up and frustrated. Made it to the LBS where this time they did agree that a) I should be able to stop going down a hill and b) shouldn't be able to squeeze my front brake lever all the way to the grips, so they tightened it a little bit - at least it's not entirely useless now.

    From there I made it up to my friend's house, worked on his bike, then went over to F&H, generally had a good time (I didnt drink btw), then rode home. By this time it was about 11pm and there was only a little traffic. Only got nervous a couple times, one when I was rounding the infamous blind curve near the entry to my subdivision, but otherwise no problems.....well, there was one - I had forgotten to put my gloves on and dropped them on the ground. Oops So I hopped in the Tracker and ran back up to F&H and luckily they were still lying on the ground.

    Other minor nitpicks - I couldn't bring the bike inside, and haven' got a lock yet. Simply set it against the window where I could at least see it. Next time I'll hopefully have a basic cable lock and can lock it to the trash basket. The pedal deal - just gotta practice. Conditioning.....well, despite not having ridden in a few weeks I felt all right. Knog Frog lights seemed like little dots but they're fairly bright little dots at least. I might see about getting a bona fide headlight though. I dunno - riding at night in town proper isn't too dark though - it's mainly near my house where there's some dark sections.

    Anyone else have their ups and downs when they started getting back in the saddle?

    Tom

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Oh man! We've all had days like that..........

    Wait til you do the clipless tipover in front of a huge crowd of ladies. IT happens.

    As to the sidewalk, you're actually safer in the road. There will be rude drivers, and close passes, yeah, but at least they see you and you don't have to worry about them making a right turn on top of you because they didn't register you coming off the sidewalk at an intrsection. As you get used to road conditions, you get less intimidated as well. You learn the rules of the great game of intimidating the driver of a vehicle that outweighs you by a factor of 20. They don't want to hit you, ya know.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  3. #3
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Get a hi-viz reflective vest, some strong rear blinkies (like the PB Superflash), and a brighter headlight w/ a flash mode. You can also get a reflective flag that sticks out from the rear to indicate to drivers where you begin/end.

    Like anything, you have to get used to it. You drove for years, but when you first started it probably didn't feel as natural as it does now. Same w/ riding in traffic and riding clipless. Stick to the sidewalks for now if it makes you more comfy, but eventually you should ride in the street.
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  4. #4
    Rabbit Habbit! Jerry in So IL's Avatar
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    Had a couple of days like that.

    Funny you should be posting about the traffic. I ride ALLOT in traffic being on the road bike and all. I'll +1 on what Tom said. I still get a "feeling" everytime I hear a car behind me. Wondering if my big safety vest is all she/he will see as they look up and hit me becasue they were trying to find their damn cell phone! My family had "the talk" with me last night about it. A good friend just called me and was worried as well.

    As Jay has so many times posted, we have great rural roads and trails to ride on. REALLY thinking about giving up the road for them and the peace of mind that goes with it. It means riding less, riding in town only, and no more high speeds downhills and tailwinds!

    Good Luck!

    Jerry
    I'll be needing that for squirels and such....

  5. #5
    Raptobike Rider djwid's Avatar
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    I find that roads that I don't normally ride on are more intimidating then after I have ridden them a few times. There are sections I ride that I used to walk the bike on due to fears of traffic. Now that I have a plan of action to get through that section I don't fear it at all. I ride through there and am out of that traffic in under 5 minutes.

    I was out last night looking at possible new houses with my wife last night. Some of the areas looked sketchy at first but I then compared them to my standard commute route as we got closer to home. I noticed that the roads I was unhappy about were just like 7th Ave, which I ride basically every ride from my house.

    Food for thought I suppose.
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  6. #6
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Riding clipless on sidewalks just sounds weird to me...

    Traffic can be intimidating. It does get better with practice though.
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  7. #7
    Rabbit Habbit! Jerry in So IL's Avatar
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    Does anyone knowwhere to find stats on cyclist that are hit in traffic, both high and low areas? I would imagine that low traffic areas would actually have MORE accidents due to drivers being more relaxed and less alert. But that kind of "logic" seems uneducated as well. I don't know.

    I just hate to get in shape and leave a skinny corpse just because I had to push my limits and ride another freakin mile! Then a couple of teens going out to park slam into me and big ol safety vest!

    Jerry
    I'll be needing that for squirels and such....

  8. #8
    creaky old bones FZ1Tom's Avatar
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    I don't know where you could find statistics adjusted for traffic, but keep in mind that because traffic counts can vary so widely from a few hundred to several tens of thousands, a road with a low traffic count would have a higher accident rate for that reason alone...all else being roughly equal.

    Regardless of where I ride, if I have a given destination in mind then I naturally ride a route that avoids as much traffic as possible, but as with the other night, I had to run the gauntlet a few times. Time of day/night also makes a big difference too. I wouldn't have any reservations about riding up/down National at say, 3 in the morning on a weekday but it would be a suicide route during the day or on Friday and Saturday nights (drunks).

    I've been scouting out potential commute routes should I transfer to another WM location - good news is the 2 closest ones both have bike racks, bad news is they're fairly cheap ones rather poorly located IMO, and the ugly news is that in order to reach either store I have to cross a freeway - few bridges, and none without a lot of traffic. That said, time of day/night would also make a big difference too.

    Tom

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