I just bought a my first road bike after reading very many reviews on this forum. I got the Trek 5000 and it has been a joy to ride. I used to ride my brothers Giant OCR2, but that sometime back. For the last 2 weeks, I have been riding in to work 3 days a week - it is about 18 miles each way. I have had quite a number of close shaves and was looking to find out when I should get aggressive on the road to avoid such close encounters. Any advice would be helpful
Some thoughts after 10 years of occasional bike commuting S shore of L.I. to heart of Brooklyn:
1) Don't fight or attempt to compete with traffic. Cars weigh more and drivers are often in a bad mood to begin with...
2) Find a route that has less traffic and don't worry if you add 2 miles to your trip. The extra mileage is good for you and staying off the busier roads leads to fewer encounters with cars.
3) Do not make the commute an interval training training ride. Make your commute your easy day(s). No point in speeding up to run the yellow light, or to get ahead of a turning car. Take it easy and be safe.
4) Make your bike slower, if possible. Not riding your carbon road machine gives you an excuse to have a slow average speed.
5) Vary the route if possible. This helps keep you from getting complacent and zoning out. Not paying attention gets you killed.
6) Leave whatever extra time you need to deal with mechanicals. Carry extra tubes.
7) Be assertive but non-confrontational. Be visible - take however much lane you need to prevent cars from buzzing you, while being aware that riding in the lane, as opposed to the extreme edge, places you in a position where a motorist HAS to think about passing.