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  1. #1
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    Newbie uber clyde has some questions

    Hello all, i would have posted this in my other thread but it was kind of a dud. So I live in Las Vegas and pretty much all the riding i do is with traffic. I watched a couple of videos on riding in traffic and had some questions for experienced riders...

    1. does anyone else find the feeling of taking a whole lane kinda unnerving

    2. How do you decide when you need to take a lane

    3. Do you eventually get more comfortable riding with vehicles or is it the paranoia that keeps you alive and on your toes (not getting complacent)

    4. When someone flys by you in the lane when they obviously dont have room to pass and you come up to them at the next red light is it natural to want to knock the mirror off of the side of the car and beat their windows out

    5. The ride i take in the morning is about 5 miles up a hill starting at 1% and the last 2 miles are 3% when i turn around to come home i can't pedal fast enough to even tension the chain i feel like half the ride is useless

    6. The saddle that came on the bike is a specialized toupe 155 (170 $ new) it looks like a piece of plywood and feels like one too. I got riding shorts but i think I'm gonna need a new seat should I sell it or hold on to it for after i lose weight.

    Thanks in advance for all of your guys time its very much appreciated.
    Last edited by Fatb0yslim; 07-22-10 at 08:29 AM. Reason: That darn punctuation, Don't worry i'm trying

  2. #2
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    This response is based on my own experience. YMMV.

    1. Yes it is a little unnerving. You get used to it, though. Feeling unnerved, that is.

    2. I decide to take the lane whenever I feel that having a motor vehicle immediately next to me will cause a potentially dangerous situation, such as a four-way stop, where I want everyone at the intersection to see me and treat me as an equal, or at a roundabout, where I want to prevent a car from overtaking me in my own lane (we have some two-lane ones around here) and turning right immediately in front of me. With some experience you'll come to recognize those kinds of situations as they occur, or better still, before they occur. It kind of comes down to two things - remaining as visible as possible, and avoiding collisions. The one thing I never, ever fail to do, however, no matter what the situation, is make sure there is no one behind me when I do it. If I have to slow down in advance of an intersection to allow a driver who's overtaking me to get around before we get there, I'll do it. There's no percentage in pulling over right in front of a speeding driver.

    3. I don't know if "comfortable" is a word I'd use. Your nerves ease a little, but if you're smart you'll always realize it's a potentially dangerous place to be. Complacency has no place in traffic.

    4. Yes.

    5. There are two ways to look at this: one is that the long coast downhill is your reward for working so hard to get up the hill in the first place. The other is that spinning out is actually good practice for smooth pedaling form.

    6. Saddle discomfort is a major bugaboo, and it can have a number of causes. I wouldn't trade the saddle or change it out until I'd ridden it enough to know it's the culprit. Sometimes a change in the design or manufacture of your shorts can relieve the problem, sometimes a tweaking of saddle position can help. Every single butt is individual and there are very few one-size-fits-all solutions to the problem. If you've had your bike professionally fitted to you and you're still having saddle issues after a couple hundred miles or so, then I'd look into getting a different saddle. FWIW, I've heard good things about the Specialized Toupes. I think more people like them than don't. Still, as I said, it's your individual butt that needs to be comfy, so look around at alternatives if you want.

  3. #3
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    i also forgot that recently i lost my eye in a work accident does anyone know any monocular (one eyed ) riders and do they use a mirror

  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatb0yslim View Post
    Hello all, i would have posted this in my other thread but it was kind of a dud. So I live in Las Vegas and pretty much all the riding i do is with traffic. I watched a couple of videos on riding in traffic and had some questions for experienced riders...

    1. does anyone else find the feeling of taking a whole lane kinda unnerving

    2. How do you decide when you need to take a lane

    3. Do you eventually get more comfortable riding with vehicles or is it the paranoia that keeps you alive and on your toes (not getting complacent)

    4. When someone flys by you in the lane when they obviously dont have room to pass and you come up to them at the next red light is it natural to want to knock the mirror off of the side of the car and beat their windows out

    5. The ride i take in the morning is about 5 miles up a hill starting at 1% and the last 2 miles are 3% when i turn around to come home i can't pedal fast enough to even tension the chain i feel like half the ride is useless

    6. The saddle that came on the bike is a specialized toupe 155 (170 $ new) it looks like a piece of plywood and feels like one too. I got riding shorts but i think I'm gonna need a new seat should I sell it or hold on to it for after i lose weight.

    Thanks in advance for all of your guys time its very much appreciated.
    I'm going to attempt to communicate in the language you and many other Bike Forums posters use. Be patient with me.

    1. no i dont think riding in traffic or taking the lane is unnerving the drivers dont want to hit me and as a vehicle i have the right to take the lane when i need to that said i like a nice wide shoulder

    2. i take the lane when there is no shoulder or the shoulder is bad or i need to make a left turn or where traffic conditions require i do so

    3. you get more comfortable but you should keep in mind the car weighs more than you do lol and be careful

    4. no i dont why would i besides in pa i might find someone with a *** in the car lol

    5. you are complaining about hills lol we should all be so lucky enjoy the downhill

    6. its always an experiment choosing a saddle some work and some dont you need to keep trying till you find one that's right for you.

    Wow! That was tough. :-)

  5. #5
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    I tried using punctuation for you big guy sorry you had to stoop to my level no worries as i do appriciate your reply though if you read my original post you will see commas and capitals and all sorts of neat things im not accustomed to it might really cook your goose to know i type with two fingers ;-)

  6. #6
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatb0yslim View Post
    I tried using punctuation for you big guy sorry you had to stoop to my level no worries as i do appriciate your reply though if you read my original post you will see commas and capitals and all sorts of neat things im not accustomed to it might really cook your goose to know i type with two fingers ;-)
    I was teasing. I hope you know I didn't mean to be mean. When I'm mean I type with two fingers - the middle ones. :-)

  7. #7
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    I know I was just giving you some back. Hence the smiley. (and punctuation in this post)

  8. #8
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    In no particular order - what's your top gear? (big chainring, little cog)? How fast are you pedaling (cadence) if you know it? being able to pedal at a high cadence is a skill that is learned, so you have something to work on for your next ride.

    As for cars, I try to behave in a respectful manner to cars. They are way bigger and all you need is some jackass with road rage to end a nice bike ride. I intensely dislike riding on roads that don't have a shoulder or where the right lane isn't at least a lane and a bit wide, if that makes sense. However, you have a right to be there too, so don't hug the right edge, but I also wouldn't ride smack in the middle of the lane - I like a spot that forces them to slow down and pass me rather than squeezing by, but if the speed limit is 30 and I'm going 30, I have no problem riding in the middle of the lane.

    There's tons of riding in Vegas that doesn't involve traffic... you just need to up your rides to include those roads. Go ride up Mt. Charleston or something.

  9. #9
    Real Human Being wild animals's Avatar
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    I don't know any monocular riders, but you should absolutely use a mirror! You might want to try one on your helmet or glasses and one on your handlebar. If you lost your left eye, it might be harder to use a helmet mirror, because they're made to go on the left side to see traffic behind you. But it might be possible to make it work with some adjustments. A Third Eye Pro mirror is about $15 and a handlebar mirror is probably $15-20.

    I take the lane at 4-way stops so that everyone knows when it's my turn to go. I also take it at many other intersections where I need to stay especially visible, or there's no bike lane, or someone is turning right, or I need to trip the sensor. Much of my riding is in the country so many of our roads are in really, really bad repair, and I take the lane to avoid going through massive, ugly potholes or getting taken out by blackberries. I also take the lane if I'm going around a blind corner and it isn't safe for a car to pass me. If I don't get out in the middle, people think they can squeeze by me which puts me in a really bad position.

    It sounds like a lot to remember but basically you just think "Would that unsafe situation happen if I took the lane?" and work from there until it's habit. It is very unnerving at first, and it takes guts even when you get used to it, but if it keeps you safer, it's worth it.

    Your #4 question might be talking about the kind of situation where you'd want to take the lane. If they really can't pass, they really can't pass, whether you're an inch from the curb or way out in the middle. If you're in the middle, that says "DON'T TRY IT!" Then get over again as soon as it's safe. Wave thanks and hopefully they won't cry about it
    Go until you stop, then take a break.

  10. #10
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    1. does anyone else find the feeling of taking a whole lane kinda unnerving - Nope.

    2. How do you decide when you need to take a lane - When there's not enough room to ride side by side w/ a car, I take the lane so they don't try to squeeze through. Also, whenever there's double parked cars, I take the lane in preparation of going around them so I'm not squeezed off by cars behind me trying to change lanes to get around the double parked car AND squeeze by me as I get to the double parked car. And sometimes I take the lane if there's enough cyclists that it's safer for us to take it, or if I'm keeping pace w/ traffic, I take the lane since I'm not holding anyone up.

    3. Do you eventually get more comfortable riding with vehicles or is it the paranoia that keeps you alive and on your toes (not getting complacent) - I grew up riding in traffic so I'm comfortable with it. Hold your line, be predictable and if you're gonna zig zag and lane split, do it when traffic is moving slow enough that you're the fastest thing out there.

    4. When someone flys by you in the lane when they obviously dont have room to pass and you come up to them at the next red light is it natural to want to knock the mirror off of the side of the car and beat their windows out - Yup, but don't unless they hit you first. Then take a pic of their plate and call the cops to report an accident. If they run, it's a hit and run.

    5. The ride i take in the morning is about 5 miles up a hill starting at 1% and the last 2 miles are 3% when i turn around to come home i can't pedal fast enough to even tension the chain i feel like half the ride is useless - The joy of riding up hills is that you get to coast down them.

    6. The saddle that came on the bike is a specialized toupe 155 (170 $ new) it looks like a piece of plywood and feels like one too. I got riding shorts but i think I'm gonna need a new seat should I sell it or hold on to it for after i lose weight. - If it's a pain in the sit bones, give it a few weeks for your sit bones to toughen up. If it makes you numb, move it up/down/back/forth. If it still makes you numb, trade it in for a diff. saddle.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



    We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!

  11. #11
    billyymc
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    Here's my advice for takign the lane -- do it early. When you know you have a potential situation where you have to take the lane -- whether it's to make a turn, pass parked cars outside the door zone, or just because the street gets narrow -- check behind you early, and take the lane as soon as you have a safe amount of room between you and the next car. If you try to be nice and let a car pass, you'll get yourself in a spot where you can't take the lane.

    And once you take the lane, put down the hammer : ) You'll come to enjoy it.

  12. #12
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
    Here's my advice for takign the lane -- do it early. When you know you have a potential situation where you have to take the lane -- whether it's to make a turn, pass parked cars outside the door zone, or just because the street gets narrow -- check behind you early, and take the lane as soon as you have a safe amount of room between you and the next car. If you try to be nice and let a car pass, you'll get yourself in a spot where you can't take the lane.
    That's a good point that I agree with completely, though that might not have been clear in my post. I check for oncoming traffic early, so if I do have to slow a little to let someone pass me before I take the lane, it's still well before whatever intersection or other hazard I'm trying to avoid. You don't really want to get boxed in right at the intersection. Then you have no options.
    Craig in Indy

  13. #13
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    If you're going to ride in traffic go to Amazon (or wherever) and order Robert Hurst's "The Art of Cycling" aka "Lessons From The Street".

    Until then, read this webpage and make sure you understand each lesson: http://bicyclesafe.com/

  14. #14
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatb0yslim View Post
    Hello all, i would have posted this in my other thread but it was kind of a dud. So I live in Las Vegas and pretty much all the riding i do is with traffic. I watched a couple of videos on riding in traffic and had some questions for experienced riders...

    1. does anyone else find the feeling of taking a whole lane kinda unnerving

    2. How do you decide when you need to take a lane

    3. Do you eventually get more comfortable riding with vehicles or is it the paranoia that keeps you alive and on your toes (not getting complacent)

    4. When someone flys by you in the lane when they obviously dont have room to pass and you come up to them at the next red light is it natural to want to knock the mirror off of the side of the car and beat their windows out

    5. The ride i take in the morning is about 5 miles up a hill starting at 1% and the last 2 miles are 3% when i turn around to come home i can't pedal fast enough to even tension the chain i feel like half the ride is useless

    6. The saddle that came on the bike is a specialized toupe 155 (170 $ new) it looks like a piece of plywood and feels like one too. I got riding shorts but i think I'm gonna need a new seat should I sell it or hold on to it for after i lose weight.

    Thanks in advance for all of your guys time its very much appreciated.
    1) No, you need to remember, we ride on the right side of the lane, to make passing easier, even though technically we are always entitled the use of the full lane, most people, even members of the local police force, don't know this though....

    2) Safety, when it's not safe to permit drivers to pass within the lane, you take the lane, this is often the case if the road is very narrow or is partly obstructed, for example parked cars on the side have narrowed a normally wide lane. Taking the lane though, should always be a short term thing, done while conditions indicate, taking the lane for 20m is fine, taking the lane for 5km and getting 75 cars stacked up behind you isn't.

    3) Not really, I use a technique I call defensive riding, it's similar to defensive driving, a primary tenant is that you always count on other road users doing something stupid if given half a chance, I'm rarely disappointed.

    4) Yes it is natural, I generally ride a metre out from the curb, the majority of cagers automatically grant the same space on the other side, I have a mirror, if I see that someone is going to pass too close, I have that metre of space to move into. Most vehicles that pass too close, are people who have this fear of the stripe of yellow paint in the middle of the road, as if their car will explode if they cross it.

    5) Don't worry about pedalling home, it's payback for all the rigours of climbing the hill, be glad your not on a fixed gear.

    6) I think half the threads on here contain some comment or another about saddles. If your a new rider, then your butt needs to toughen up, after all those years of soft couches and soft car seats, they haven't made wooden saddles since John Brooks invented the leather saddle in 1866. You need to make sure the saddle is properly adjusted, it needs to be the right height, it needs to be in the right position (forward/back) and needs to be tilted correctly, so maybe carry the proper wrench for a few days, and try changing the adjustment on it, if you can't make it work, then get another saddle, keep it for when you lose weight, and try it again then, if it still doesn't work, then get rid of it.

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