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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 05-12-08, 08:11 AM   #1
pgoat
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Commuting in Chapel Hill NC?

Hi all. Sorry to cross-post this, but short on time - We're visiting NC next week....maybe thinking of relocating soon. I am a regular cycle commuter six to nine months of the year in NYC; with better weather I reckon I can try to make it 12 months.

We might try to rent bikes one day while visiting, to get a feel for the riding in traffic down there; Any good bike shops for rentals we should check out?

Also, any particular areas I should try riding through during rush hour? My idea is to judge the area at its worst to see if bike commuting is feasible. For example, if someone was considering moving to new york, I'd tell them that if they could handle riding through Times Square, Herald Square, Columbus Circle or Union Square or get onto and off of a bridge here during rush hour and not be freaked out by it, they'd probably be fine anywhere else.

Of course, if there are some beautiful places to ride that show the city at its best, we'd be interested in that as well....
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Old 05-12-08, 08:40 AM   #2
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There are lots of cyclists in the Triangle area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill). Bike commuting is not as widespread, although much more common in Chapel Hill. Traffic is heavy throughout the Triangle, but commuting is very doable if you are careful about choosing your routes and take adequate safety precautions (eg, bright clothes, lights). I commute year-round in Raleigh, which is more heavily populated than Chapel Hill and less bike friendly. There are very few bike lanes/paths in the area, but Chapel Hill has more than the other cities in the area.

For rentals, I would suggest trying the Bike Chain on Franklin St. Lots of bike shops in the area that you could find through google if the Bike Chain doesn't rent bikes. There is also a Performance Bike shop in Carrboro that might rent bikes.

If you rent bikes, I would suggest joining a group ride with one of the local bike clubs if possible. That would give you a better feel for cycling options and routes than just picking up and riding in a strange city where you don't know the roads. Here are links to local clubs:

www.tarwheels.org
www.ncbikeclub.org
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Old 05-12-08, 08:45 AM   #3
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I live in Raleigh and lived in CH for awhile.

CH is pretty cycle friendly, there is even a bike trail that runs through most of downtown.
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Old 05-12-08, 12:04 PM   #4
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It is pretty bike-friendly around the campus and beyond. Carrboro is especially bike-sympatico. Also check out The Clean Machine (www.thecleanmachine.com 104 W Main St, Carrboro - (919) 967-5104).

A good bit of the Triangle is developments with arteries to highways, and not all that great for commuting. That being said, there are "greenways" (do a search) and pretty vibrant commuter advocacy groups in Raleigh and Durham (can't speak for CH on that one).
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Old 05-12-08, 12:43 PM   #5
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pgoat:

You'll be happy with bike commuting in Chapel Hill.
(though you may have to deal with this monstrosity).


The worst areas for bike commuting might be 15-501 and 54 west (connecting west Durham with Chapel Hill and Carrboro), 54 east (connecting Chapel Hill to south Durham), and MLK Blvd (north, toward Hillsborough). Those are major arteries; some of them have secondary roads paralleling them. Franklin Street just north of downtown can be tough too; it's hilly and twisty so it's hard for cars to see you. Manning Drive, in front of UNC Hospitals, gets lots of motorist traffic.

Try Manning Drive at rush hour or around the time of hospital shift changes (7 AM, 7 PM), or just before or after some big event at the Dean Smith Center.

Generally, Chapel Hill is a bike-friendly mid-sized town. Being thoroughly dominated by a large university helps in that regard. In the general area, Carrboro is similarly bike-friendly (if not more so); central Durham is very bike-friendly (once you get away from the big-box stores); Raleigh and Cary seem somewhat less so.
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Old 05-23-08, 07:28 AM   #6
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so we rented and rode bikes through the campus in Chapel Hill, hung out At Weaver Street market, etc. The town looks very bike freindly! Carrboro was great too.

What about riding in to Chapel Hill daily from Hillsborough (where we were staying)? It seemed a bit long for a daily commute.....10 miles? Not sure how bike friendly those roads are/were......
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