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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-19-17, 11:57 AM   #26
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My priority is happiness or low stress, and that ends up meaning the quietest, safest route is best for me, most of the time. Near collisions wear me down, even if I forget them, so I try to minimize them, as well as my encounters with rude drivers. Lucky for me, the best route is also the most scenic one, except for the last couple of miles. Near work, I almost always take the streets, and there is one segment which is pretty treacherous. But the alternative is extremely hilly, so I only take it when I want to treat myself to the extra scenery.

So I guess I compromise on all the various criteria.
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Old 04-19-17, 01:41 PM   #27
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My commute is a mixed bag ranging from ideal, to horrendous. While there are options, it doesn't really change the the conditions encountered. It's basically choosing which killer hill, and multi lane bike unfriendly congested arterial to ride. The other is choosing between hilly winding residential neighborhoods, or the hostile low rent and retail district.

There actually is a route that bypasses the traffic and terrain challenges, but it adds about 20 miles.
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Old 04-19-17, 02:19 PM   #28
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I'm pretty fortunate in that my shortest commute is also the lowest traffic route, and the safest one IMHO. It's got two miles of four lane street with, normally, two lanes' worth of traffic, so only the most anal cager things I'm slowing him or her getting to the next traffic light. It's only the last 3/4 mile that I'll get off the roads and take the old railroad "bike" path (mostly used by runners) to avoid a steep hill, two lanes with heavy traffic.

My neighbor disagrees with me re: the 2 mile stretch. She cuts across three major streets at stop signs (vice my traffic lights) to take residential streets. To each his/her own!

I've been off work for six weeks, so I'm curious if my 1-mile scenic detour has the thrushes back in the woods around there. That adds pleasant variety when they're present. Maybe in a couple more weeks...
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Old 04-19-17, 11:02 PM   #29
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Priorities

As others have mentioned the most important consideration is safety.

I live in Tucson and there is an excellent bike path system so safety isn't a major issue. There are still places where there are no bike paths but the majority of the roads are relatively safe.

I prefer to travel on the "Bike Boulevards" as they have less vehicular traffic. The speed limit is also 20 MPH so it's not normal to have motor vehicles to contend with as well. But I can travel on the main streets but I have to be much more careful.
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Old 04-19-17, 11:31 PM   #30
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Old 04-20-17, 12:19 AM   #31
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Interesting question! I tend to skew towards favouring shorter distance, but will make adjustments if safety is considerably improved and stress is lowered. Years ago I used to have a commute that involved a really long unpleasant stretch of a poorly paved and heavily trafficked arterial road, so I adjusted the distance by about 10% to get much nicer scenery and better safety. However, since then all my shortest distance commuting routes were tolerable enough safety-wise that I didn't bother to make any adjustments.
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Old 04-20-17, 09:49 AM   #32
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If there's any kind of traffic volume, I prefer roads like these, which are quite easy and low-stress for me:



Most of my commute, however, is on 2-lane roads with no shoulder. Most have very little traffic, but this is the worst section, with a steep hill and traffic that can get piled up behind me.

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Old 04-20-17, 09:59 AM   #33
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There's pretty much only one route for mine, but the last bit is along a nice ridge in a rural area ~3 miles out of town, (moved office operations to the boss's house when we dropped retail) so there's a great view just about the time things level out enough to give my legs a proper rest after the killer hill.
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Old 04-20-17, 10:31 AM   #34
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I guess it depends on the time of year for me. In the winter due to the cold I take the shortest distance ride acceptable to me. In the summer I go for scenery on my way to work, scenery and miles on my way home.
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Old 04-20-17, 12:31 PM   #35
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Safety first. Then, between the distance and scenery - choice depends on the mood and the available time.
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Old 04-20-17, 01:08 PM   #36
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Safety for me. I go another 2 miles on my commute to miss the tight roads and traffic the other way.
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Old 04-20-17, 02:05 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
If there's any kind of traffic volume, I prefer roads like these, which are quite easy and low-stress for me:



Most of my commute, however, is on 2-lane roads with no shoulder. Most have very little traffic, but this is the worst section, with a steep hill and traffic that can get piled up behind me.
Man you are lucky, that's a sweet commute. Flat, straight, wide open, extremely low traffic volumes, plenty of options, pretty much ideal.

Yes I'm envious.
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Old 04-20-17, 02:25 PM   #38
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Options? I don't have options, those are all videos at different areas along my commute, except the lane positioning video which was from a weekend ride.

And hills, we have plenty of rolling hills, not as much as WA perhaps, but still more than Memphis proper. The only other route option I have has even more hills, and more traffic. It sucked the last time I took that route, and nearly killed my e-bike battery that day despite the route being 1 mile shorter than my normal route.
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Old 04-20-17, 03:05 PM   #39
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By options I ment how and where you can ride on a particular road. The multi lane roads I ride are bumper to bumper, yet high speed with lots of semis and buses.

I'm mostly a VC rider, but there's limitations if one wants to stay sane and healthy.
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Old 04-21-17, 12:52 PM   #40
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My first choice was and is safety but now I sometimes choose a way that adds some mileage. I am okay with a longer ride if it is simpler and safer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by johngwheeler View Post
I started bike commuting a couple of months ago, and have started to consider different route choices and the factors that influence these.

Initially, I just looked for the shortest route, but made a couple of changes to avoid stretches of road that felt "uncomfortable" (i.e. a bit dangerous) to share with road traffic. I still have a couple of spots that require caution, and I always worry that a car might not see my hand signals - with obvious dire consequences if they don't!

So I've started to wonder whether I should err on the side of caution and choose quieter roads, even if this involves a longer distance.

Another consideration is scenery - quiet suburban roads are generally just prettier and have more parkland to cross than busy thoroughfares. Perhaps my commute should involve more agreeable surroundings?

What are your priorities when choosing a route?


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Old 04-21-17, 01:33 PM   #41
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Like a lot of amateur racers, I combine commuting and training. So a lot of commutes are more like training rides that end at work. Luckily I have a lot of options, including riding 20 minutes in the opposite direction of work so I can have long uninterrupted intervals. Most direct route between home and work is less than 4 miles, but several times a week, it's a 30+mile commute.
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Old 04-21-17, 01:34 PM   #42
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Quote:
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By options I ment how and where you can ride on a particular road. The multi lane roads I ride are bumper to bumper, yet high speed with lots of semis and buses.

I'm mostly a VC rider, but there's limitations if one wants to stay sane and healthy.
My town just striped their first bike lanes recently, and I begrudgingly use them if motorists need to pass and no cars are parked in them. The large majority of the lanes have parked cars sprinkled all along, so I mostly don't use them at all. They put down the stripes but left the horrible pavement and debris in place. And these are residential streets lined with houses and driveways, and people have been used to parking on the curb in front of their houses for decades. Guess a little paint ain't gonna stop them.
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Old 04-21-17, 02:01 PM   #43
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Quote:
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My town just striped their first bike lanes recently, and I begrudgingly use them if motorists need to pass and no cars are parked in them. The large majority of the lanes have parked cars sprinkled all along, so I mostly don't use them at all. They put down the stripes but left the horrible pavement and debris in place. And these are residential streets lined with houses and driveways, and people have been used to parking on the curb in front of their houses for decades. Guess a little paint ain't gonna stop them.
I guess I'm sort of lucky in that regard, the bike lanes on my commute are well laid out and never used for parking or in door zones.
The "sort of" comes from the fact they aren't continuous, but that's not really a big deal, where they start and end I just treat it like a normal lane change. Typically they are in decent condition as they're​ on newer road in my area. In Seattle they can be a bit rough in places, but no worse than the rest of the road.
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Old 04-21-17, 02:18 PM   #44
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I have never been shy about not taking the most direct route. At least, after I got hit by a car on that route. I have found rationales to extend my commute a couple miles that let me avoid certain intersections, or certain turns at certain intersections.

Definitely my best commute route adds another 15-20 miles onto my base (which is already longer than minimum), starting out in the wrong direction, completely circling outside the city, and coming back from the other side, but I don't always have time for that, or weather that makes it enjoyable. Best scenery out there for sure. And safest, since most of my troubles seem associated w/ intersections (some driver trying to beat me to it/through it from any of the 4 corners)
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Old 04-21-17, 02:23 PM   #45
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Safety and scenery. I have a route that's over a mile shorter, but it has one sketchy intersection. I only go that way if I'm running late. Otherwise I'll do the more scenic, mellower route and even add a few extra training miles.
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Old 04-22-17, 05:27 PM   #46
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Safety first- always amazes me when I see commuters on the main thoroughfares even though there are adjacent bike lanes. It makes it harder for the cars, and harder for the cyclist, when I'm driving on those roads I hate the commuters, and when I commute I stay clear of roads which clearly belong to cars.
With that said, in other cities where there is more "forced harmony" between bikes and cars, I'm more than happy to ride and take the lane when appropriate.

For me, its all about hill reduction. I have 10 different routes to work and I switch it up a bit, but the one I use 75% of the time is the one with the least net uphill, to minimize my sweat once I get to work.
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Old 04-22-17, 06:06 PM   #47
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I have a fairly long commute (~31km one way) so I try and minimize my effort and time getting to work. I am fortunate to have an 18km stretch of hwy with a decent shoulder where I can ride continuously without stopping. It's a good stretch for short or long intervals and is also relatively safe as there are limited access points along the highway. We have mountains and water in every direction so the scenery is decent. I've commuted on the same stretch of highway approx 600 times in the last 3 1/2 yrs and I'm not tired of it yet.
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Old 04-22-17, 06:33 PM   #48
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Safety first- always amazes me when I see commuters on the main thoroughfares even though there are adjacent bike lanes. It makes it harder for the cars, and harder for the cyclist, when I'm driving on those roads I hate the commuters, and when I commute I stay clear of roads which clearly belong to cars.
With that said, in other cities where there is more "forced harmony" between bikes and cars, I'm more than happy to ride and take the lane when appropriate.

For me, its all about hill reduction. I have 10 different routes to work and I switch it up a bit, but the one I use 75% of the time is the one with the least net uphill, to minimize my sweat once I get to work.
Seriously? Roads belong to all road users, and all tax payers. Just because there's a bike lane doesn't mean it's suitable or safe to use. Many are quite UNsafe to use.
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Old 04-22-17, 09:47 PM   #49
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Safety first. I have a 22 mile commute and ride the full route in the morning and take the train most of the way home with an easy 5 miles requiring no additional shower. It's quite a safe route with 5-6 foot wide dedicated bike lanes except for the last 1.5 miles.

The downside is that there's quite a bit of traffic and I am going to investigate some side streets to avoid having to listen to the cars and breathing exhaust fumes.

The scenery for half of the ride isn't bad but a bit of variety helps the 1.5 hour ride from getting stale. Especially since part of the route is common to some of my weekend rides.
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Old 05-03-17, 10:22 AM   #50
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All bikepaths here are pretty safe so thats no issue for me fortunately.
I choose the route with the least amount of traffic lights since they take up só much time. It's faster to take a detour to avoid traffic lights than to wait for them. Some lights make you wait for up to 5 minutes and when you have around about 10 lights .... it adds up very quick.
The next priority would be scenery, i like the more quiet roads so i tend to use those the most. Luckily those are also the roads with the least amount of traffic lights. I hate waiting.
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