Join Date: Jun 2008
Bikes: Cannondale T700s and a few others
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Why would the pedestrians get out of your way? You are on their sideWALK and by law they have the right of way over any vehicle.
You are far safer in the street then you are on side walks and especially cross walks. More cyclist get hit in cross walks and drive entrances then on the road. Becides you can go a LOT faster on the road then a sidewalk.
A lot of people really hug the right side of the road and that's an invitation for the vehicle to try to pass you IN the lane. This can be dangerous and they will pass very close to you. You need to command the space around you and understand that you can effect the way a driver acts around you by where you ride in that lane.
Drivers fixate on the lines and try to center them. Ride more in the right tire track. First off there is less debris in the tire tracks so less chances of flats (but more pot holes so pay attention). Riding in the right tire trick puts you far enough out that it will force the driver to move partly out of the lane and give you a little more berth. If you read your local code more then likely it will have a clause that states "if the lanes are under 11ft in width you have the right to take the lane" aka ride right down the middle of the lane and there are instances that this is what you want to do.
A driver will not try to pass a car on a blind curve but a cyclist hugging the right side they will. I move to the center of the lane in blind curves or blind hills to make the diver think before they pass since they really have to leave the lane to get around not just a little into the oncoming lane. Remember that Double yellow means no passing even if its a bike. You need to be aware of driver doing stupid **** and recognize instances where they will do it like curves. You do NOT want to be between a car and a curb on a blind curve because if a car comes from the other direction the driver is going to pinch you. When you clear the curve move back to the right tire track and the driver will recognize that you are making room for them to pass. Just don't go all the way to the right.
Get on the flat and find the cadence (speed you are peddling) you feel comfortable peddling. That will be around 80rpm. Thats the RPM you are going to be most efficient at and where you want to try to stay regardless of the speed you are traveling.
Like a car you need to down shift on hills and pick up the cadence a little. The trick on hills is a little for thought as you approch the hill. Pick up speed, cadence and momentum as you approach and let that help you part way up that hill. Modern bikes can be shfted under power but the front rings don't do that as easy as the cassette in the rear. If its a steep hill you want to down shift the front before you really get on the hill and then as you climb progressively down shift the cassette (to the next bigger ring) as you loose speed so that you can keep your cadence up over 80 rpm to power up the hill.
This is assuming you have a triple crank:
Unless you hit a really steep hill or have a heavy load you probably will seldom use to the lowest ring on a triple when under way. Starting on the hill yes or going really slow you may use it but seldom will you be in it over about 8-10mph. Thats why they are often refured to as a "bail out gear" You will peddle like hell and have very little forward speed. On most triples its a huge drop in tooth count from the middle. Dropping onto it mid hill will often cause you to "Spin out" (need to peddle faster then possible if you were at say a 70 rpm cadence when you dropped off the middle ring). As your strength and feel for your bike improve it will be a natural response when you feel your cadence drop as you hit a hill.