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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 08-04-08, 08:04 PM   #1
cradduck
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Commuting Gets a Spotlight

This is from the Orange County Register. It's good to see a positive article related to commuting to work even though gas prices have been falling.
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Old 08-04-08, 08:35 PM   #2
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The Washington Post had a similar article. The author seems to think that the city is being taken over by retro-commuters riding town bikes. He also seems to have a thing for women on bikes, and a peculiar approval of people who ride without helmets. Anyway, I commute every day by bike and haven't seen the phenomenon he describes (just a bunch of newbies on aluminum hybrids), but I am glad to see commuting get positive press.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...080200176&pos=
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Old 08-05-08, 06:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jagged View Post
The Washington Post had a similar article. The author seems to think that the city is being taken over by retro-commuters riding town bikes. He also seems to have a thing for women on bikes, and a peculiar approval of people who ride without helmets. Anyway, I commute every day by bike and haven't seen the phenomenon he describes (just a bunch of newbies on aluminum hybrids), but I am glad to see commuting get positive press.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...080200176&pos=
This passage is about the best description of, well, you'll see, that I've read in a while:

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The totemic two-wheeler is no longer the Specialized Roubaix Elite Triple with the carbon frame and the 30-speed Shimano drivetrain for $1,949.99, last seen tearing down Beach Drive on weekends, bearing lawyers and lobbyists in full spandex peloton plumage.
Ha! It mocks without being nasty, nicely done. Poking fun, so to speak. But I thought the Elite had SRAM, not Shimano?
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Old 08-05-08, 07:55 AM   #4
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He also seems to have a thing for women on bikes, and a peculiar approval of people who ride without helmets.
Oh? http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/
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Old 08-05-08, 07:58 AM   #5
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The Washington Post had a similar article. The author seems to think that the city is being taken over by retro-commuters riding town bikes. He also seems to have a thing for women on bikes, and a peculiar approval of people who ride without helmets...
"Somewhere along the line, we made biking a hobby and a sport instead of a way to get around. I'd like to see it get back to being a way of getting around."

I think the author sees the practicality of transportational cycling (as has most of the world) over the accessorized version most often practiced in the US as being something for the readers to consider.

Helmets are seen and used much differently elsewhere where cycling is also viewed differently.



I found the article refreshing for it's different take on riding in the city (and think of the much larger potential for increasing cycling by focusing on this aspect of riding).

There is a linked page that shows how to wear a helmet and gives out that 85% reduction figure TRT found when kids fall off their bikes (and are not involved in MVAs) but that author (A different one from the main article) also mentions that cycle accidents reported are less than half the pedestrian accidents reported.

There's also a comments page where many write about the helmet stance. I guess it goes to show how well people have been convinced over the last 20 years that cycling is more dangerous than it is and a helmet protects against something it was not intended for. Marketing's amazing.

I'm glad at least one more media source can see riding a bike as transportation (even without a helmet) is more beneficial than risky

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Old 08-05-08, 08:24 AM   #6
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I love the article.

The author paints an image here that he went with. I agree with it (yes, I confess, I too own a Breezer Villager) and I'm sure there's evidence of it in Washington.

But I don't see it in Cleveland per se. The thing I notice is that hybrid bikes are in vogue and the old Schwinn's and Raleigh's appear regularly on Craiglist. But I don't notice an uptick in Breezer's, Electra Amsterdam's, or similar bikes. Wish I did.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:41 AM   #7
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I don't commute with a piece of foam on my head, but then again my Lithuanian skull is 5mm thicker than the average person's.
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Old 08-05-08, 09:09 AM   #8
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Okay, so how is it that helmets are totally appropriate when riding a bicycle for recreation or sport, but completely useless when commuting? I commute and ride for recreation, and find the two things to be incredibly similar. I don't much care whether one chooses to wear a helmet or not, I just don't understand the distinction between commuting / transportation versus recreation riding. It's like saying seat belts are fine if you're out for a drive in the country, but why use them when driving to work...
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Old 08-05-08, 09:19 AM   #9
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no one who has ever worked in an emergency room, will ever, ever say that helmets are a marketing thing.
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Old 08-05-08, 09:29 AM   #10
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no one who has ever worked in an emergency room, will ever, ever say that helmets are a marketing thing.
Probably not. They will say they have been a boon to organ donations that otherwise wouldn't have made it to the hospital
That may have been about motorcycles though hmm.

I'm sick of all the commuting articles they may like attact more commuter or something. After all this time I think I may have another commuter now at my building and in the whole $*#() locker room they gave them a locker right next to mine. 300+ lockers what the!! The whole locker room is empty except for one corner with 6 guys all sqeezing in there while I wait till everyone takes their sweet time, 5 gym rats 1 commuter. I really gotta move my locker.
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Old 08-05-08, 09:31 AM   #11
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I choose to wear a helmet for 90% of my rides. I say choose, because that is precisely what I do. I am convinced that if I'm in an accident more serious than one of my spazout errors that I'll be happier wearing one than not - sort of like a really cheap insurance policy.

That being said, I don't wear my brainbucket to go to the grocery store, or get a cup of coffee, go to the library or any of the short sort of utility trips. I almost always wear one on my commute, I almost always wear one on my fun rides (unless its all path - then I don't) and I always wear one on the trail. I hate getting bopped on the head by scrub oak on singeletrack.

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Old 08-05-08, 09:32 AM   #12
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no one who has ever worked in an emergency room, will ever, ever say that helmets are a marketing thing.
Amen..

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Old 08-05-08, 09:34 AM   #13
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I agree with it (yes, I confess, I too own a Breezer Villager) and I'm sure there's evidence of it in Washington.
The article is good for the cause of commuting, but, trust me, I see no evidence of a renaissance of commuter bikes on DC streets. I'm seeing the same mix I always have: worn-out mountain bikes with massively impractical tires, $2000 racing road bikes purchased during Lance Armstrong's final Tour de France, and lots of hybrids. Last time I was in my local Breezer dealership, they still had lots of Breezers in stock. I think the article's author has used the trusty journalistic trope of extrapolating from a few data points into a New Social Trend.

I'm also not sure I grok the general theme that accessories like baskets, panniers, kickstands, bells, and everything else is good (agree) but safety accessories like helmets are bad (disagree). I'm fine with wearing normal clothes. I once went from my office to a hearing on Capitol Hill by bike, wearing a full business suit with tie. But I had a helmet, and I always will.
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Old 08-05-08, 09:52 AM   #14
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Okay, so how is it that helmets are totally appropriate when riding a bicycle for recreation or sport, but completely useless when commuting? ...
who said they were completely useless?
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Old 08-05-08, 09:57 AM   #15
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Probably not. They will say they have been a boon to organ donations that otherwise wouldn't have made it to the hospital
.
this isn't so much a helmet debate as it is more a question on how cycling for transportation is a good thing even without wearing a helmet as the author suggests.

There is nothing wrong with wearing a helmet and they do provide some protection, but there are many people who are afraid of cycling without a helmet. Is that a good thing?

Is riding a bike for transportation, even without a helmet, a good thing or not?
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Old 08-05-08, 10:21 AM   #16
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Is riding a bike for transportation, even without a helmet, a good thing or not?
As I said in the rest of my post. No. Not when they get in my way

It also at times really irks me why they are commuting around here and everyone just assuming i'm riding to save a little gas money.
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Old 08-05-08, 11:04 AM   #17
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any time on the bike is a good thing, regardless of what you're wearing! If you pedal, you're my brother! (or sister)
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Old 08-05-08, 11:48 AM   #18
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Some of the reader's comments on the Orange County Register article are kind of interesting, and kind of sad.

Congrats to the new commuter folks, whatever their motivation.
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Old 08-05-08, 12:07 PM   #19
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this isn't so much a helmet debate as it is more a question on how cycling for transportation is a good thing even without wearing a helmet as the author suggests.

There is nothing wrong with wearing a helmet and they do provide some protection, but there are many people who are afraid of cycling without a helmet. Is that a good thing?

Is riding a bike for transportation, even without a helmet, a good thing or not?
Absolutely. Who am I to judge a fellow cyclist? Get on the bike! It's much "safer" to your health than sitting in a steel cage!

If I'm just going to a grocery store or the library or church, I leave the helmet at home. Those places are only a mile away. Why mess with the extra gear?

I know people who don't where seat belts. Should they be condemned?
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Old 08-05-08, 12:46 PM   #20
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no one who has ever worked in an emergency room, will ever, ever say that helmets are a marketing thing.
not necessarily. I've been a ski patroller for six years and I've seen my share of head injuries with and without helmets.

There's little evidence to show that helmets help in the worst crashes. I'm no longer convinced helmets save lives for the following reasons.

There have been two very compelling and well received papers in the ski industry in the last three years, one, the Sugarbush Whitepaper, and the other out of Sweden (I don't recall the name). They also found that skiers with helmets were far more likely to be involved in lethal wrecks, persumeably due to the superman factor. I know I feel naked and ski more cautiously without my ski helmet.

In the former case, all injuries involving care in the US with National Ski Patrol are documented in the exact same manner on every ski slope across the country. Bikes don't have that. This yields a much stronger data set. The paper came to the conclusion that ski helmets don't offer any assistance in the types of crashes that kill skiers and they offer minimal protection for things like slip and fall concussions. Ski wrecks and cycling wrecks are very similar as are the helmets, as are the speeds, the things they impact, etc.


IMHO, the only thing a bike helmet will help with are superficial injuries and possibly penetrating injuries where you have a high force applied over a small surface area, like a skull impacting the edge of a curb. The evidence that cycling helmets save lives is largely anecdotal and when people see a damaged piece of styrofoam they assume the same would have happened to their skull.

I can tell you that despite the above, ski resorts rent helmets now on a huge percent of beginner packages because of liability concerns as well as the huge increase in revenue streams. And beginners will automatically think skiing is dangerous and opt for the helmet, even though the likelihood of head injury while skiing is absurdly low. Helmets are marketed and are, imo a self perpetuating and self-reinforcing problem.

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Old 08-05-08, 12:58 PM   #21
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that is very interesting.
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Old 08-05-08, 01:06 PM   #22
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Not to get this topic strayed too far (as if ) off topic, there is an argument that motorcyclists use (not sure if there's any research to support it, however) that the added mass of a helmet can actually cause neck injuries in an accident. Not sure if that applies to bicycle helmets, which tend to be much lighter.

Either way, I wear mine, 100%, if for no other reason than if I'm ever in an accident, the newspaper story won't read, "the cyclist was not wearing a helmet".

Back to the topic at hand, I love the comment:
Quote:
saving gas is good but who wants to spend 2-3 hours a day biking? I'll ride for 45 minutes at the gym and still kick your butt!
Yeah, but I'd rather spend two hours getting a good, healthy workout, raising my endorphin levels, lowering my colestrol, blood pressure, and heart rate than sitting one hour in a rush hour traffic jam getting annoyed, angry, and stressed out. And while you're getting your third triple by-pass surgery, I'll be dining on Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey after polishing off a double century for lunch.

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Old 08-05-08, 01:27 PM   #23
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Not to get this topic strayed too far (as if ) off topic, there is an argument that motorcyclists use (not sure if there's any research to support it, however) that the added mass of a helmet can actually cause neck injuries in an accident. Not sure if that applies to bicycle helmets, which tend to be much lighter.

Either way, I wear mine, 100%, if for no other reason than if I'm ever in an accident, the newspaper story won't read, "the cyclist was not wearing a helmet".
...and the ski industry noted the exact same thing. Formerly ski racing helmets had to be SNELL approved. They were heavy and very similar if not identical to motorcycle helmets. When the data showed that the slightly increased protection from that helmet was offset by a larger number of neck injuries, the standard changed and ski racing and subsequently ski helmets moved to a lighter helmet more in line with today's bike helmets. Today racers wear ski helmets because they have to and because they afford some protection from the gates, not because they will save your life if you wreck badly or go off trail.


I too, wear my bike helmet 100% of the time (ski helmet 75% of the time when I'm required to or when it's crowded). I don't think either is likely to save my life, but they may protect me from nasty and potentially serious superficial injuries.
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Old 08-05-08, 01:38 PM   #24
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...and the ski industry noted the exact same thing. Formerly ski racing helmets had to be SNELL approved. They were heavy and very similar if not identical to motorcycle helmets. When the data showed that the slightly increased protection from that helmet was offset by a larger number of neck injuries, the standard changed and ski racing and subsequently ski helmets moved to a lighter helmet more in line with today's bike helmets. Today racers wear ski helmets because they have to and because they afford some protection from the gates, not because they will save your life if you wreck badly or go off trail.
Thanks for the info and confirmation.
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Old 08-05-08, 06:12 PM   #25
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The OC Register forums have more trolls than this place. Just ask David Whiting.
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