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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 06-08-12, 06:39 PM   #1
Papa Tom
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Varying Route to Avoid Complacency

During this morning's commute, I was thinking about what it would take for me to become one of those cyclists who gets into some kind of collision with a vehicle during my short ride to work. I examined every corner I cut and every street I cross day after day and I realized that all it would take is one distracted split-second to change my whole life.

When we commute the same exact route every day, I think we might take for granted that the condition of the pavement, the timing of oncoming traffic, and the alertness of the usual morning drivers will be exactly the same day in and day out. This can make us lazy in our sensory process and can have us whipping around that same old blind corner faster and faster each day, paying less and less mind to what might be coming up the other way. I noticed today that, even though I feel completely focused every time I get on the bike, something about the sameness of my daily commute might be playing tricks with my head and making me a little cockier than I should be.

For this reason, I'm going to start varying my route a little bit each day, just to keep sharp. Has anybody else thought about this and/or done something about it?
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Old 06-08-12, 07:04 PM   #2
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No. I strapped a gopro to my helmet and realized how my head is on a swivel even though I don't realize it. I like the same old route do I know what to expect, to a certain point at least I think.
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Old 06-08-12, 08:52 PM   #3
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i have recently thought about this too and i haven't decided yet.

one would think that familiarity SHOULD breed caution due to known dangers. i know this is true, but OTOH, i have noticed that on occasion i have, as you say, blown through a couple of intersections that i shouldn't have. i had become overconfident that nobody EVER comes from THAT direction, if at all, and then one day someone does.

i think i know the answer. use the same route AND use caution.
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Old 06-08-12, 09:01 PM   #4
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I ride the same route, 9 miles in the morning to the nearest bus stop. I might get passed by 2 cars on the way. In the afternoon I have several routes I take home, all longer than 9 miles, but I do it just for variety, not to do anything about my awareness. I'm a scenery junky.
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Old 06-08-12, 09:13 PM   #5
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I stick to the route I know well, and still maintain a healthy paranoia.
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Old 06-09-12, 01:14 AM   #6
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I stick to the route I know well, and still maintain a healthy paranoia.
Ditto.
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Old 06-09-12, 03:40 AM   #7
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I usually try to tie in an activity on the way home. This time of year, there's a huge number of street markets/parties and I tried to go to one several times per week. They're in different parts of the city, so I end up riding a different way home every time, which is quite nice.
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Old 06-09-12, 09:56 AM   #8
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I ride the same route, 9 miles in the morning to the nearest bus stop. I might get passed by 2 cars on the way. In the afternoon I have several routes I take home, all longer than 9 miles, but I do it just for variety, not to do anything about my awareness. I'm a scenery junky.
I vary the route somewhat, most recently due to road construction. Another good reason to vary the route, from a safety point of view, is to avoid getting you and a possibly expensive bike "cased", by shady people. This is not too big an issue with me since I ride a pretty "safe" area.

I also vary the way I ride a particular route. For example, there is one intersection where I turn left from the turn pocket, or go through the intersection and cross at the light from the other side. The is very much in keeping with your idea, since the decision of which way to do the turn is based on paying close attention to the conditions; If the through light is green, and the turn arrow is red, will the light to go through from the other side change first? If the left arrow will change first, is it safe to move over? (usually is)
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Old 06-09-12, 01:59 PM   #9
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The route may be the same, but every ride is different. The sun is different, the traffic is different, there are always new broken bottles and dead animals to go around. If you pay attention to the road you are riding, you won't need to seek another.
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Old 06-09-12, 02:08 PM   #10
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The route may be the same, but every ride is different. The sun is different, the traffic is different, there are always new broken bottles and dead animals to go around. If you pay attention to the road you are riding, you won't need to seek another.
I agree, that has been my experience so far. Although there is an area of loose sand on the concrete I pass every day that I keep telling myself I need to go to next time I have the car and take a broom and sweep it off the pavement....
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Old 06-09-12, 02:16 PM   #11
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Another good reason to vary the route, from a safety point of view, is to avoid getting you and a possibly expensive bike "cased", by shady people.
That had been a small thought I had before I started commuting, but now that I am, it doesn't seem like an issue. I'm out in street traffic, pedaling away to get from A to B.... I suppose anything is possible, but it doesn't seem probable to me. Should it?
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Old 06-09-12, 02:35 PM   #12
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I tried to go different routes also some times I regret it cause it is narrow streets with high traffic all well it adventitious
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Old 06-09-12, 03:36 PM   #13
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When I commute, I am aware that my situational awareness is enhanced. Also, the main route that I ride is safe and I am familiar with it. Riding at the same time everyday, automobile commuters are familiar with me since they also tend to commute at the same time of day. So, with that understanding, or belief, I feel safer commuting on the same route everyday, or at least most of the time.
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Old 06-10-12, 09:27 AM   #14
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I don't vary my ride to work, but I do on he way home. Usually he main point is o get a few extra miles or hills - not so much to avoid complacency. Avoiding cars and pedestrians is enough for me to avoid complacency. However I could see how this might not be the same for others depending on route conditions.
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Old 06-11-12, 09:16 PM   #15
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I ride the same route home every day, mainly because it's the safest route I've found. Complacency happens, though. After zipping through a parking lot and avoiding the three cars that came out of nowhere, and feeling cocky, I zipped around a telephone pole and back onto the sidewalk (normally ride on the street, but not on this section of the road) where I promptly lost traction on my rear wheel and went down onto my chest. Two weeks of soreness has made me plenty more attentive.
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Old 06-12-12, 07:32 AM   #16
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Sometimes I vary the route to avoid boredom or add miles. Or sometimes to see if there is a better route. Thing is I know the easiest, quickest and safest route to and from work. Other routes are longer, either in time or miles. Many of the other routes seem more dangerous as well.
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Old 06-13-12, 10:46 AM   #17
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Heh, i've got a bit like that, but I need to take some pruning shears or saw ;-)

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I agree, that has been my experience so far. Although there is an area of loose sand on the concrete I pass every day that I keep telling myself I need to go to next time I have the car and take a broom and sweep it off the pavement....
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