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  1. #1
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    commuting, general impressions about you town?

    First i would like to say that this post is to get a feel for the impressions that commuting where you live

    I, live in Salt lake city. Yes we do have a well known school for higher learning here, and with it a substantial use of bikes( but an even larger use of cars,trucks,etc,etc)

    For 18 months, I worked in the down town area. One of the guys that i worked with would ride in any weather ( even what we, call lake effect snow).
    Once i was asked to give him a hand in the shop( he was/is a mechanic) while we worked naturally, i asked him why he rode in from such a long way away( 15 miles, if memory serves) He told me that it was a way for him to get ready for work.
    At this point in time i didn't know about commuting, much less any of the ways that a bike could be used for any thing other than light exercise.
    Any way over the last few years i have seen more and more people use their bikes to get to work( what with the high price of gas and the general down turn in the economy) Every now and then i get the chance to ask folks why they do it, and how they feel the city try to accommodate their need/wants. most respond whit the usual, more bikes paths, better laws to protect them, harsher penalty's for those who are involved with cyclists in a accident .( you get the idea)

    From what i have been able to determine. Most people, and by people i mean every body. not just cyclist's. need to get used to seeing the two wheeled people, and cyclists need to remember how a motorist is when he or she is at the wheel, and plan ahead..

    thanks for your time

  2. #2
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, the cycling infrastructure in my town (London, Ontario) leaves a lot to be desired. The city has taken pains in the last few years to add some bike lanes, which helps, but I often hear/read of motorists griping about the lanes and cyclists in general. We do have approximately 30 km (~18.5 mi) of scattered MUP, but little of it is connected enough to provide a route from one side of the city to the other. There are plenty of designated "Bike Road Routes" throughout the city; some are marked with signs showing a little bicycle icon, and some are unmarked, but in any case most motorists seem (IMHO) to ignore them. Again, many of these road routes are unconnected. Many motorists complain of London's road infrastructure, let alone cyclists. I get very jealous when I see pics of miles and miles of unbroken Southern California bicycle trails, or images of the cycling infrastructure in some European cities.
    Last edited by irclean; 12-25-10 at 08:28 PM.
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  3. #3
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Even though some citizens and politicians are against bike lanes
    ( http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/12/...e-of-brooklyn/ );
    The Mayor and NYC DOT continue to build bike paths/lanes. In turn bike commuting has increased dramatically in the area.

  4. #4
    Noobie of the year :) MijnWraak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irclean View Post
    Unfortunately, the cycling infrastructure in my town (London, Ontario) leaves a lot to be desired. The city has taken pains in the last few years to add some bike lanes, which helps, but I often hear/read of motorists griping about the lanes and cyclists in general. We do have approximately 30 km (~18.5 mi) of scattered MUP, but little of it is connected enough to provide a route from one side of the city to the other. There are plenty of designated "Bike Road Routes" throughout the city; some are marked with signs showing a little bicycle icon, and some are unmarked, but in any case most motorists seem (IMHO) to ignore them. Again, many of these road routes are unconnected. Many motorists complain of London's road infrastructure, let alone cyclists. I get very jealous when I see pics of miles and miles of unbroken Southern California bicycle trails, or images of the cycling infrastructure in some European cities.
    Don't forget about those of us that have very narrow roads, zero bike lanes, zero MUPs, and cars going 60 mph on 35 mph roads. Just to give a bit of perspective (I'm sure there's worse than me of course!)

  5. #5
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    Ugh, the cycling infrastructure in my city sucks donkey balls. Omaha, NE is terrible for cycling. There are a couple big trails, but ALL of them run north/south. The one closest to my house, the Keystone Trail, is rather old and fairly narrow (6ish feet across) unless you happen to ride on the more recently rennovated parts which are much wider. Not to mention that there are quite a few blind curves, hell at this one place I've almost hit someone twice because they didn't take the turn wide enough. It's not all bad, though, The trail runs along a drainage creek so it goes under the road instead of through it. And it gets plowed in the winter. *shrug* There are NO bike lanes unless you're downtown, and it's not all the streets and some of them are sharrows. Oh, and good luck finding a store/restaurant with a place to lock your bike. ~_____~

    And it's hilly as hell, but I guess that's because of our geographic location... *sigh~*

  6. #6
    Senior Member El Gigante's Avatar
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    Here in Los Angeles, the cycling infrastructure has improved greatly, largely due to the efforts of cycling advocacy groups like the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. I live in the Northwest part of Los Angeles County, (San Fernando Valley), and its quite easy to get from one end of the Valley to the other, (both North-South, and East-West), via bike lanes, MUP's, or a combination of bike and public transportation. The City has dusted off its Master Bicycling Plan and is starting to implement parts of it and making travel by bike to other parts of the city more feasible. Even the Mayor has advocated for cyclist's rights and safety, (especially after he took a spill while biking to the beach, when a cab cut him off when turning out of a parking space). Its not perfect for cyclists, but for a major city, its pretty damn good. One of the biggest problems the city faces is that the streets are crumbling for lack of maintenance - but thats a rant for another day...
    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

  7. #7
    Did I catch a niner? Mr Pink57's Avatar
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    http://www.bicycling.com/news/featur...ty-minneapolis
    I don't want to horn toot too much but I live in the bike friendliest city
    Last edited by Mr Pink57; 12-26-10 at 02:12 AM.

  8. #8
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    "**** Portland!" he opines upon learning I am trying to discover why Minneapolis deserves top status over what would seem the logical choice. "All I ever hear is about how cool Portland is. Who rides through the **** we do? We ride more by accident than they do on purpose."


  9. #9
    The Professor akohekohe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pink57 View Post
    http://www.bicycling.com/news/featur...ty-minneapolis
    I don't want to horn toot too much but I live in the bike friendliest city
    I was very disappointed with Minneapolis when I road through it recently as part of my tour of the Mississippi river. The bike paths I was routed on were often in disrepair and there were large sections under construction so I was just dumped onto a no shoulder road with a lot of traffic traveling fast and no marked bicycle route detour. Here are the routes I took: Red Wing To Minneapolis and Minneapolis to St. Cloud. There were also many places where nice shoulders were replaced with rumble strips on roads that were part of the official MRT - how did the cycling community ever let that happen?
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  10. #10
    Rain, rain go away john423's Avatar
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    I know it's not exactly fashionable in these parts, but there are places along just about any route I take (except to work) where I feel like I've gotta ride on the sidewalk if I enjoy continuing to live without major injury.

    There's a lot of people here who say "never use them," and I understand why, but to me it's another tool that I have to use every once in a while when conditions scream for it. There's about 2 bike lanes in the whole town of 50,000 people, and cars are not only way not used to driving with bikes on the road, they're particularly redneck in their "how dare they even be on the road slowing ME down!" militancy, so sometimes the best thing to do is hang out on the sidewalk.

    For example, riding home from work on the road the other night, and a guy passes me horribly closely in the right lane even though he has a whole other lane on the four-lane road to get in to get around me, and it's open for MILES. He could've given me a LANE and couldn't give me three feet. Why? Just redneck crap. "This'll scare him, huh huh." I'm sure people have it just as bad everywhere.

  11. #11
    This bike is cat approved monsterpile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ember View Post
    Ugh, the cycling infrastructure in my city sucks donkey balls. Omaha, NE is terrible for cycling. There are a couple big trails, but ALL of them run north/south. The one closest to my house, the Keystone Trail, is rather old and fairly narrow (6ish feet across) unless you happen to ride on the more recently rennovated parts which are much wider. Not to mention that there are quite a few blind curves, hell at this one place I've almost hit someone twice because they didn't take the turn wide enough. It's not all bad, though, The trail runs along a drainage creek so it goes under the road instead of through it. And it gets plowed in the winter. *shrug* There are NO bike lanes unless you're downtown, and it's not all the streets and some of them are sharrows. Oh, and good luck finding a store/restaurant with a place to lock your bike. ~_____~

    And it's hilly as hell, but I guess that's because of our geographic location... *sigh~*
    I have never biked in Omaha but my parents live there. It is really hilly there and I can imagine its much more challenging than Lincoln where its pretty flat in comparision to pretty much anywhere else. My Dad is actually considering riding his bike in a few months and its doable since he lives less than 2 miles from work.

    Lincoln is pretty bike friendly. There are well over 120 miles of bike trails in town and plenty of marked bike routes as well. Some bike lanes have been added downtown and there usually is a place to lock up you bike.

    Bicycling is something Lincoln has decided to make a big deal here and few years ago they put up a bunch of bicycling sculptures all over town. Its a college town so that adds to the commuter feel. As I get more into the bicycling culture I find more and more people that have been commuting for years. One guy I met a couple weeks ago has been commuting on singlespeeds for over 20 years. He didn't even know how to adjust the gears on the bike he bought for his wife.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by john423 View Post
    I know it's not exactly fashionable in these parts, but there are places along just about any route I take (except to work) where I feel like I've gotta ride on the sidewalk if I enjoy continuing to live without major injury.

    There's a lot of people here who say "never use them," and I understand why, but to me it's another tool that I have to use every once in a while when conditions scream for it. There's about 2 bike lanes in the whole town of 50,000 people, and cars are not only way not used to driving with bikes on the road, they're particularly redneck in their "how dare they even be on the road slowing ME down!" militancy, so sometimes the best thing to do is hang out on the sidewalk.

    For example, riding home from work on the road the other night, and a guy passes me horribly closely in the right lane even though he has a whole other lane on the four-lane road to get in to get around me, and it's open for MILES. He could've given me a LANE and couldn't give me three feet. Why? Just redneck crap. "This'll scare him, huh huh." I'm sure people have it just as bad everywhere.

    I'm also guilty as charged- the Boston area has some horrendous roads in terms of bicycle safety. Narrow and/or no shoulder, no alternative (safer) routes in many cases. The city is doing some good in terms of added infrastructure, and there are plenty of cyclists, so "awareness in numbers" could be working... but I still find that the only option in some stretches is to hop onto the sidewalk (Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown, anyone?). These sidewalks don't seem to see much walking, regardless of the time of day, though the road is usually packed with cars.

    I justify it by thinking: it is better than being frightened into a car or onto a bus.

  13. #13
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    I live in west central Maine, there isn't much bicycle culture here to speak of. I may see a few other commuters during the summer. This time of year, I am the only one that I am aware of.
    There is not a lot of bike specific infrastructure here to speak of, not particularly anti-bike, most drivers are fairly courteous. It is a fairly rural area.
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  14. #14
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MijnWraak View Post
    Don't forget about those of us that have very narrow roads, zero bike lanes, zero MUPs, and cars going 60 mph on 35 mph roads. Just to give a bit of perspective (I'm sure there's worse than me of course!)
    Point taken!
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  15. #15
    Senior Member ImChris's Avatar
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    As a college student who decided to go car less and take my love of biking to the next level, i will say the college town i live almost full time in isn't too bad. The entire campus (Central Michigan University) now has bike lanes. The city (Mount Pleasant, MI) has a pretty large cycling population so even outside of the University people are aware of bikes on the roads (at least compared to my home city).

    My home city, people could care less about bikes with the typical, "Why dont you get on the sidewalk!" being shouted while riding. Its a town that grew thanks to the sales of cars so as soon as you mention "I dont have a car" people automatically give you an odd look and ask why "You arnt supporting America". Its a very closed minded city, i sometimes fear riding my bike on the road.

    One more comparison is my recent visit to San Francisco where i almost passed out when i seen how many bikes were on the street! It was awesome compared to both cities i ride in! Bike lanes seemed to be everywhere, cars seemed to pay a bit more attention to the bikes on the roads as well. It was neat.

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  16. #16
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    My town has improved over the years. The roads still suck and there are no bicycle lanes, but the MUP has been extended, thanks to Fed matching $, so that when they are done over half my commute will be out of traffic.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newenglandbike View Post
    I'm also guilty as charged- the Boston area has some horrendous roads in terms of bicycle safety. Narrow and/or no shoulder, no alternative (safer) routes in many cases. The city is doing some good in terms of added infrastructure, and there are plenty of cyclists, so "awareness in numbers" could be working... but I still find that the only option in some stretches is to hop onto the sidewalk (Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown, anyone?). These sidewalks don't seem to see much walking, regardless of the time of day, though the road is usually packed with cars.

    I justify it by thinking: it is better than being frightened into a car or onto a bus.
    I cycle in Boston under the best of circumstances: a reverse commute early in the morning from downtown to the suburbs through residential areas. Indeed, the first three miles of my route was laid out by the 19th century landscape designer, Fredeick Law Ohlmsted. With that bias, I still think Boston is one of the best bike commuting cities. I can sympathize with newenglandbike’e concerns, but I think skills can be honed to ride in such traffic as Mt. Auburn Street; my one mandatory piece of equipment for all riding, especially in the city is a rearview mirror.

    In my experience, the toughest traffic I have ridden in is in the Northeastern suburbs of Detroit where there are no shoulders, high speed traffic, no alternatives for distance riding, not much “cycling awareness,” and only discontinuous sidewalks, which I have been compelled to use. While Boston has had a bad reputation, the city now has a “bike czar," political support from the long-term mayor, new bike lanes in the near downtown, and a large cycling awareness. And it is a most interesting city, and compact enough with easy acess to country roads, including via commuter rail.

    In the past I have posted to Bikeforums my impression that by the number of commuting posts, Boston, Minneapolis and Toronto, and perhaps Seattle are the most active cycle-commuting cities. Or maybe we have the most diffiult commutes and hence the most to post.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Chalupa102's Avatar
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    I live in the small town of Monson in Western MA. The terrain is mostly rolling hills and there are no bike lanes anywhere. The nearest MUP is located about 19 miles away, so I rarely ever use it unless I want to make it a long day. Rt 20 (aka Boston Rd) probably has the widest shoulders that I know of in the area from Palmer to Springfield. The psl is 45mph and there can be a lot of traffic on it. Besides that, many roads can have narrow shoulders. Now that winter is upon us, I see a lady out riding from time to time, but no one else. Even during the summer I'll be luckly if I see another bicyclist during my 19 mile commute. I've never seen another trike on the roads, but I did see one a while back on the MUP before I owned mine. Riding my trike, I get quite a bit of respect from other road users. Drivers seem to tolerate me and are usually patient despite all the impatient ones that I come across everytime I drive my car. Overall, I love riding my trike and commuting around my area. It would be great to see more people riding out on the roads though.

    This is Rt 20 with the wide shoulders:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie...bp=12,250,,0,5

    Here's examples of some main roads that I ride on:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie...bp=12,170,,0,5

    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie...,0.062656&z=14

    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie...,0.062656&z=14
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    Distance cycled for 2012: 2079.8 miles

  19. #19
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    I've grown up in the Denver area and have cycled regularly for the past ten years or so. We have made great strides to make things friendly, in certain parts. The consolidated City and County of Denver is a nice place to bike. Plenty of safe routes. The suburbs however are hit and miss. I've enjoyed Golden, but too many hills for my liking.

    All sorts of infrastructure in the area, most of it concentrated in Denver itself.

    You get bike lanes of all varieties:




    Some sharrows:


    Fully separated paths:


    Even a public bicycle sharing system:
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  20. #20
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Gigante View Post
    Here in Los Angeles, the cycling infrastructure has improved greatly, largely due to the efforts of cycling advocacy groups like the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. I live in the Northwest part of Los Angeles County, (San Fernando Valley), and its quite easy to get from one end of the Valley to the other, (both North-South, and East-West), via bike lanes, MUP's, or a combination of bike and public transportation. The City has dusted off its Master Bicycling Plan and is starting to implement parts of it and making travel by bike to other parts of the city more feasible. Even the Mayor has advocated for cyclist's rights and safety, (especially after he took a spill while biking to the beach, when a cab cut him off when turning out of a parking space). Its not perfect for cyclists, but for a major city, its pretty damn good. One of the biggest problems the city faces is that the streets are crumbling for lack of maintenance - but thats a rant for another day...
    YES!
    The drawbacks of cycling in Los Angeles County cities and districts is that not all are in sync with one another. One city may have a superb mapped out system whereas its adjacent may have a very poor one. Affluent areas have fewer commuters yet sharrows can be found tying up traffic making it even worse for a cyclist. I also think not enough routing is available for the lower income areas where a lot of day laborers live and work. These people are the voices of cycling throughout the county but few know this which is why very little is done to ensure their cycling safety.
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  21. #21
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    Philadelphia is pretty accessible with a bike, not all the roads though. The city seems to be adding more bicycle friendly lanes and bike lanes. In center city there are some streets that are two lanes, but one is designated for cyclists and buses. The conditions of some of the roads are horrendous and filled with potholes and uneven road, nothing too unmanageable though with the right bike.

    I never have too many issues with cars, but when I do, they are mostly taxi drivers. I understand they get paid for how efficient they are, but they really make my ride stressful sometimes(especially when they're behind me in the bike/bus lane honking, in which case I go slower and point to lane icons that signify they are not in the proper lane).

    My experiences as a commuter on a bike seem much more positive than some other people I know, but maybe that is because I do not cut in front of vehicles and generally follow traffic laws (sometimes if there is a red light for me, I'll go when I see that there is no on coming traffic).

    Besides crazy taxi drivers and the occasional reckless driver who yells at me to get off the road, Philadelphia isn't that bad to commute in. From my experiences, I just have to know where I can commute and what parts to not go through, especially at night (I live in port richmond and travel often to visit my parents in mayfair). The biggest concern for me comes from the rebellious adolescents who will push me off my bike or chase me Though, I can not be too angry with them, because when I was an adolescent my friends and I would do the same thing (I am not condoning their senseless violence, I am just saying from the perspective of a person who grew up philly, we did the same thing, it's definitely not cool to do, but when you are bored, you do stupid things).

  22. #22
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    I live in Southern Louisiana, deep south swampland. Flat as a pancake, unpredictable weather, and 100% humidity year-round.

    Quote Originally Posted by MijnWraak View Post
    Don't forget about those of us that have very narrow roads, zero bike lanes, zero MUPs, and cars going 60 mph on 35 mph roads. Just to give a bit of perspective (I'm sure there's worse than me of course!)
    This describes where I'm at. No non-car infrastructure at all, and the few shoulders that exist are horrendously unkempt. Even the sidewalks have telephone poles smack in the middle of them, or randomly end for no reason.

  23. #23
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
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    It's fine here in the SouthCoast of Massachusetts. By law, roads are build and maintained for sharing. The roads are 6 ft. wider on each side to accommodate bikes. Also it's a very blue collar, union area which make for friendlier drivers. We have no problems sharing the road, generally. Naturally there is the occasional dick, but that's rare.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

  24. #24
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    My city has three separate bike paths that do not connect. Each of them is falling apart due to both being under-built along the edge of creeks/rivers and the fact that the city runs large motor vehicles on them all day long. I have steel bikes that have been broken by riding them on these paths. If one ventures onto these "bike paths to nowhere", then one will encounter pedestrian critical mass. In spite of the fact that our vehicle code designates bike paths as roads, not sidewalks, and that on roads without sidewalks pedestrians have absolutely no right-of-way, the peds go five across and blockade the bike paths. Our bike lanes are possibly worse than our bike paths. Most of them involve door-zone bike lane designs that are lethal (literally, as we have had deaths from doorings here) and many are less than a foot of asphalt plus a curb apron. On four-lane busy one-way streets they disappear and reappear on the other side a block later. Our bike infrastructure is an object lesson in poor implementation.

    The culture here is interesting. The residents of the city are generally neutral or positive towards bikes. Unfortunately, the suburban residents who fill our roads daily are generally homicidally hostile towards cyclists. Even worse, all of our sheriffs and state troopers and most of our city cops live in the suburbs and have extremely anti-bike attitudes. I am told to "get the bleep off the road" every week. I have ridden in about half of the states of this country and this is the most bike-hostile place I have ever been.

    We don't have a single politician that uses a bike. We also don't have any full-time city employees who ride year-round. These people don't understand that spending $10 million on two bike bridges to/from nowhere does not enhance our bike infrastructure. They were required by state law to build one of the bridges, but refused to connect it to anything; to use it you have to go out of your way and increase your danger.

    Up until this year, I was generally one of about ten people in this town of 130.000 who rode year round. Much to my pleasure, there are hundreds of people using their bikes this fall/winter. Maybe these new cyclists will translate into improvements in both infrastructure and culture.

  25. #25
    Is Right
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    I can sympathize with newenglandbike’e concerns, but I think skills can be honed to ride in such traffic as Mt. Auburn Street; my one mandatory piece of equipment for all riding, especially in the city is a rearview mirror.

    I've been using a mirror for quite a while, but I would advise you not to be lulled into a false sense of security by a mirror. Just because you can see what's coming, doesn't always help. I've been riding for years and years in this city, starting with a bmx and riding with my buddies all over the place and then some. I have about as much skill as I will ever have (although I'm always learning, I'm also always forgetting)-- but Mt. Auburn street is not worth dying for IMHO- particularly the stretch between Aberdeen Ave and Arlington St-- and there are a few other streets like it as well.

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