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  1. #1
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    I prefer riding through downtown to riding on streets with no traffic.

    It's more interesting in downtown. Traffic flows at 15-25mph, which means you can actually keep up on a bike. There are 4 lane, one-way roads, and you can be in the second or third lane riding along with traffic, and (at least in Sacramento) this doesn't bother drivers, so you just keep peddaling trying to keep around 25 until you have to turn left. You have to watch the lights, try and watch for the yellow on cross streets so you can take off just half a second before your light turns green (if it's safe, not when there are cars coming on the cross street) and get ahead of traffic so you can make a left at the next light.

    By contrast, riding on an empty country road is boring. You jsut keep pedalling, and going straight down the road. There aren't any challenges to make it interesting. I find the city is more fun to ride in.

  2. #2
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    that's great until you end up with a couple thousand dollars in medical bills cause someone wasn't paying attention and cut you off. especially if they keep driving cause they didn't even notice or didn't care you went down. i like traffic too, but only in moderation.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jagged's Avatar
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    Robert Hurst writes about this in The Art of Urban Cycling. Because an urban cyclist has to be so vigilant, the amount of attention required can almost become a game. But this is a game where you could lose big. Personally, I prefer riding where traffic is light.

  4. #4
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I'm with you, Notfred. I was thinking about this the other day coming into work. I live in Curtis Park, work downtown. When I'm in a hurry, I'll come up 21st Street. As you say, that's a 3 lane, one-way street, and I think the speed limit is 30mph but motor traffic rarely exceeds 25mph between 7:30-8:30 am commute. There's a slight downslope from Q to L Streets and it's very easy to put it in the big chainring and spin along at 25-28mph. I take the lane, of course. And I've got the lights perfectly timed.

    Ever since I figured out that I need to match the flow and to assertively take the lane, I've had absolutely no problems in traffic. Maybe this is a Sactown thing, but I think it's more of a feeling at ease in traffic thing.

    Look for me some morning: I'm the guy on a white road bike, wearing a dress shirt and tie, and flowing along with the morning commute.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  5. #5
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    i ride on side streets with light traffic on my commute, but i agree. riding downtown one way streets fast with traffic is a rush. you're going the same speed, and it keeps you mentally sharp watching for peds/busses, etc

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    What's you route through downtown like?

    I live in Davis and work as CSUS, so I come across the tower bridge, head down past the capital, and then take K for a while and then J to the university.

    The way home is basically the opposite, J to K to L and across the bridge.

    So far I've only been doing my commute in the evening, but I think I'll start in the morning too, pretty soon. I'll be riding in pretty early, riding through dontown around 7:00.

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    I'm with you, I don't do it much because downtown is 20 miles away now but I also had a lot more fun riding "with traffic" and agree that if you're assertive and alert, it's actually safer with a lot less angry drivers. Although some will see you and have to pass you no matter what, since you're on a bike you must be slower right????

  8. #8
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Notfred: I work at the Capitol, so if I take the 21st Street route into Midtown, I'll turn left (west) on L Street and go 10 blocks from there to the Capitol. If I've given myself enough time, I'll go north on Riverside to 11th Street; that's a straight shot to the Capitol.

    I'm kind of surprised you don't take M Street. If you go east on K, when you get to the Safeway at Alhambra, take a right for half a block, left at the Rite-Aid, and then east on M to the college. But then J Street is a direct route to the college and at 7am, it's probably pretty mellow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso
    Notfred: I work at the Capitol, so if I take the 21st Street route into Midtown, I'll turn left (west) on L Street and go 10 blocks from there to the Capitol. If I've given myself enough time, I'll go north on Riverside to 11th Street; that's a straight shot to the Capitol.

    I'm kind of surprised you don't take M Street. If you go east on K, when you get to the Safeway at Alhambra, take a right for half a block, left at the Rite-Aid, and then east on M to the college. But then J Street is a direct route to the college and at 7am, it's probably pretty mellow.
    I never really thought about taking M, since it's probably about 2 minutes longer. I should try it.

  10. #10
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    I love riding downtown, my biggest problem is that it's not big enough!

    I also like riding out in the country, but there's rarely a good destination. Downtown I can stop and watch things go by for a bit if I want.

    Plus I'd rather deal with traffic going 20 mph (if they're lucky) than the driver who comes around a corner at 60, not expecting to meet me there. The majority of overtaking accidents occur in rural areas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by notfred
    By contrast, riding on an empty country road is boring. You jsut keep pedalling, and going straight down the road. There aren't any challenges to make it interesting. I find the city is more fun to ride in.
    Agreed.

    There's nothing like riding a bicycle in Midtown Manhattan on a Sunday at 6:00 o'clock in the morning with no traffic. It's just an incredible feeling to see few cars and all the streets all to yourself. I can do that all day because it's just vibrating to ride down those streets with all those massive buildings all around with shops and tourists attractions all around. Just thinking about it makes me want to get up at 5:00 O'clock to do it.

    The country road is just safer all around unless it's narrow, uphill and fast! I prefer to ride in towns that have some resemblence of sidwalks and a center and not cookie cutter subdivisions. Not that's boring!

  12. #12
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I have to admit that Sacramento is a pretty good downtown for cycling. It's flat, not too big, and laid out on a grid. And the surrounding countryside is great too: hills or Delta.

    But what I hate is the sprawl I've got to ride through to get from the city to the country. That's where it's boring and dangerous, in my opinion. I've always been a strong "ride to the ride" kind of cyclist, but I'm really leaning towards loading up the bike and driving out to the country just to avoid the land of 50mph arterials loaded with distracted drivers.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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