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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 06-25-09, 09:50 AM   #1
nachomc
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Something awesome happened on my commute home yesterday

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Not to tag this on you, particularly, or on this thread, but I'm thinking we could do with a few less "something less than optimal happened to me today" threads. Someone cut me off. Someone pulled out in front of me. A jogger was running on the bike path with an ipod on. Et cetera. All less than optimal, all annoying, we all understand and sympathize. But they're all part of commuting in an imperfect world. None is worth getting seriously steamed about, because it's going to happen to you over and over and over again. Bike commuting is only going to lead to a heart attack if you can't let the annoyances slide off.
Alrightey

So I was heading home. It was hot. I think we hit 99 yesterday (oh but it's a dry heat! ). I was coming out of the park where the MUP ends, 20 miles in to the commute, with three to go. Exiting the park leads to a short but tiring climb at the end of the ride. As I approached the climb, a truck passed me, towing a boat! I hopped all over that, and got right on his trailer. I saw him looking in his mirror at me, and he sped up. I hung on. Then he sped up a little more. Repeat till about 30 mph and I was still right on that boat.

Not only was the climb much easier than normal, I did it at 30mph
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Old 06-25-09, 10:32 AM   #2
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I thought it was going to start like:

Dear Penthouse Forum,

I never thought I would be writing a story like this, but...

*Bom-chicka-wow-wow*
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Old 06-25-09, 10:38 AM   #3
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Nacho-

Flame is a dry heat too!!! Nice job doing your "Breaking Away" homage!
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Old 06-25-09, 11:25 AM   #4
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Sometimes I get a similar "pull" through the main drag of Woodinville. 175th starts with a nice 0.8mi downhill and I can get up to the 35mph speed limit with ease. Once in a while I'm lucky enough to slip in behind a delivery van (big ol' Dodge Sprinter) or a box truck and catch the green light at the bottom of the hill.
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Old 06-25-09, 11:42 AM   #5
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I am still too mad about the electric scooter on the bike path to post anything positive. Sorry......
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Old 06-25-09, 11:45 AM   #6
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Cool! Drafting a boat. That's new!

I've never drafted anything. I have no idea if it actually is that noticeable of a help. Meh.
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Old 06-25-09, 11:46 AM   #7
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my commute is fantastic nearly every day and if it is not is it usually my fault
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Old 06-25-09, 11:56 AM   #8
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Uhhh, I don't think he was drafting a trailer while going 30mph uphill, but was holding on to the trailer instead.

I hope there was some spy music playing during the whole process, wouldn't seem right without it. Did the driver seem bugged at all?
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Old 06-25-09, 12:23 PM   #9
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I'm still too bummed about getting buzzed yesterday, no not really. Wow - you guys are very brave riding so close to motorized vehicles, but I guess it pays off, huh?
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Old 06-25-09, 12:26 PM   #10
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Probably not the safest thing to do, but it worked for Marty McFly on his skateboard.....
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Old 06-25-09, 01:11 PM   #11
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Cool! Drafting a boat. That's new!

I've never drafted anything. I have no idea if it actually is that noticeable of a help. Meh.
It is. Especially with a strong headwind.

This spring, going around White Rock lake, there was about a 25MPH headwind. The speed limit for the cars around the lake is 20. I got passed going about 10MPH and huffing by an Excursion. I drafted in and went 20MPH...

still huffing
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Old 06-25-09, 01:13 PM   #12
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Probably not the safest thing to do, but it worked for Marty McFly on his skateboard.....
LOL, that is the first thing I thought of when I read that post!
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Old 06-25-09, 01:28 PM   #13
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I'm still too bummed about getting buzzed yesterday, no not really. Wow - you guys are very brave riding so close to motorized vehicles, but I guess it pays off, huh?
It's fun. I was close, but even if he slammed on the brakes, my bike has a considerably shorter stopping distance than his F250 towing a boat . I also figured potential damage to boat contents and/or vehicle from slamming the brakes would keep him on the gas pedal. He didn't seem annoyed, I saw him watching and figured he just kept speeding up to see if I could hang on
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Old 06-25-09, 01:29 PM   #14
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LOL, that is the first thing I thought of when I read that post!
Luckily there was no water.
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Old 06-25-09, 01:51 PM   #15
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I had a similar experience last week on the way home. Caught a big ass farm tractor going between one field and another. This was a slight upgrade where typically I'd be slogging along at 12 mph or so. I got behind him as he passed me. Had to work a bit to accelerate in behind him, but, once there he pulled me along like he had a tractor beam. I would guess we were around 20 mph, which is way quicker than I can normally make that climb.

So, to answer the question about drafting being much of a help, hell yeah it is. Even putting up a slight hill. If there was much more grade, I'd say no though since all the drafting in the world ain't gonna help with gravity.

So, what is everyone's favorite draft fodder? The best ride I ever got in someone's slip stream was over 20 years ago. I jumped in behind a cement mixer truck and rode him for about 3 miles at 35-40 mph. It was awesome. Buses work well also, but, usually have a bit too much acceleration for my old fat arse.
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Old 06-25-09, 01:58 PM   #16
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I rarely draft in the most beneficial way that is tucked in close,very close, behind and middle of vehicle being drafted, but I do gain great benefit by passing vehicles, especially the larger ones. Even a bus or truck in the adjacent lane provides a nice boost to speed which can last a good 30sec or so. Or if at a light stopped behind a bus, I stop back to their left so I can see driver in their rear view mirror. I keep this position and stay 10-15ft back and still get a nice easy pull up to 30mph or so - and the draft even as they pull away up to 40-50mph lingers a nice while.
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Old 06-25-09, 02:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
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So, what is everyone's favorite draft fodder?
Car carriers. Least aerodynamic thing on the road, so they create a hell of a wind when they go by. Even when they pass me at 50 MPH, I can still feel the assist when they're 1/4 mile past me.
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Old 06-25-09, 02:16 PM   #18
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I rarely draft in the most beneficial way that is tucked in close,very close, behind and middle of vehicle being drafted, but I do gain great benefit by passing vehicles, especially the larger ones. Even a bus or truck in the adjacent lane provides a nice boost to speed which can last a good 30sec or so. Or if at a light stopped behind a bus, I stop back to their left so I can see driver in their rear view mirror. I keep this position and stay 10-15ft back and still get a nice easy pull up to 30mph or so - and the draft even as they pull away up to 40-50mph lingers a nice while.
I love hopping out in traffic to pass a bus. You can see the driver in the car behind you in the lane throw up his hands in anger "IDIOT CYCLIST!!!" Then you hammer off to 30-35 mph with minimal effort (in a 30-35mph zone of course) and see the look of confusion on the drivers face when he catches you at the next light.
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Old 06-25-09, 02:39 PM   #19
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Today, I caught a roadie on the 1 mile uphill portion of my ride.

His comment: "That's a fast bike." (my Bianchi Milano cruiser bike with front and rear racks, panniers, lights, fenders, chainguard, mudflaps...a real speed machine I know.)

he sucked my wheel to the top and then down the 1 mile downhill too. Usually they blow by me on the downhill.
His comment: "Those bags are great for drafting!"

I replied that they are great for hauling my lunch and clothes to work too.
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Old 06-25-09, 02:45 PM   #20
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draft fodder favorite = campers

Campers.
Big, square boxes that are often really low to the ground going 35mph in the state park.
I really don't have the gearing to go 35mph with my 8 speed, but it is fun to try.

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Old 06-25-09, 03:48 PM   #21
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Aw. it was only 95 yesterday, don't exagerate (kidding)

I rode yesterday too. Drafted a bus to 30 and hung on for a bit, but I was on my SS and when they hit 35, I spun out. Darn those days when I don't ride my gears.

I too have seem drivers speed up, but sometimes, not often, they are speeding up so they can make a right turn and don't want us on their tail when they go to brake.

Sac drivers, I have found, are really quite considerate to cyclists as long as we are relatively following the rules of the road. Good draft story, I love it when drivers let us sit on their rear bumpers and don't punch it off the line.
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Old 06-25-09, 04:34 PM   #22
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I thought it was hotter yesterday :\. Realistically it was cooler for me since I was on the ARBT hugging the river.

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Sac drivers, I have found, are really quite considerate to cyclists as long as we are relatively following the rules of the road. Good draft story, I love it when drivers let us sit on their rear bumpers and don't punch it off the line.
No doubt. I can't believe how fortunate we are. Most people are pretty great - I've only been honked at twice, and both times I was riding along the shoulder of the road, no stop signs to run, not impeding traffic, etc. Whatever
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Old 06-25-09, 04:55 PM   #23
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I thought it was hotter yesterday :\. Realistically it was cooler for me since I was on the ARBT hugging the river.
I was just giving you crap. It was hot. And yesterday I forgot my water bottle in the office on the way home. Suck.

We are not only fortunate of the drivers but also the ARBT. I love that thing. 33 miles of uninterruped bike trail and 3 stop signs over the course of it. It tough to complain about stuff when you have that.
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Old 06-25-09, 05:58 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
I thought it was going to start like:

Dear Penthouse Forum,

I never thought I would be writing a story like this, but...

*Bom-chicka-wow-wow*
Now that would be a awesome commute story.
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Old 06-25-09, 06:02 PM   #25
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I TOTALLY agree with the sentiment that we, as the vanguard to a concept that we want others to get involved in, are terribly negative usually.

I was just talking to my boss at the LBS the other day about this. I've become 'the angry cyclist' to a lot of people because I never have a positive thing to say.

What I had to express was that, while 1% of my rides usually end in anger, the other 99% of the ride is golden. I fail to express the majority because it's like work - you don't get praised for doing well, but you'll get torn down for messing up - usually.
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