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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 01-11-05, 09:22 AM   #1
billh
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A Cyclist Manifesto . . .

Is bicycle commuting for everyone? I used to think so. Then after about 9 years of urban commuting, I am changing my mind. I have stopped trying to encourage others to bicycle. My thinking now is that it is only for the few, the proud . . . The Bicycle Commuter. Only those who are fit of body, sound of mind, and sturdy of heart, those with skins thick enough to brave the wild urban frontier, those who hear the call of the wild (. . . SUV driver), who have the courage to blaze new trails (. . . on pot-holed narrow streets). The weak of heart need not apply. Yes, the new frontier is populated with uncivilized savages, lawless, without regard for the lives of others. These savages roam the land, polluting God's green earth, yeah, even taking the scalp of the unwitting bicycle pioneer. Herds of mechanical beasts stretch as far as the eye can see, to the setting of the smog-enshrouded sun. Will you head the call, brothers and sisters? Do you have what it takes? If so, take up your bikes, and reclaim what is rightfully yours! It is your destiny!!!
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Old 01-11-05, 09:43 AM   #2
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Hahahaha.......yesterday I felt I was the prey. I felt that, countless of times, the motorists would impede your progress. I was going up this 3% grade roller. Huge traffic as usual around 6 PM. I was going up on the right side of the motorists. All of a sudden, a mini van decided to block my path by taking up the right side. I saw it comming like my hatred for these lower life forms built into my DNA. I swinged to the opposite on-coming lane (residential street BTW) and went about my business.
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Old 01-11-05, 10:11 AM   #3
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Hey well written post, thank you. I ask that question alot too. I have friends who see how fast my girlfriend and I get around, how convenient the city is by bike but still wont try, either scared of bikes, or cars. But then I ask another question: If all the people that I think should be riding bikes, rode bikes, what would that look like?i.e. China proportion bike commutes. Cops might actually enforce laws and notice bikes. Ecologically everyone should ride, or take mass transit, or live next to where they work. I guess I am having too much fun as the lone nutjob amoungst the sweatya$$ed cagers.
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Old 01-11-05, 10:16 AM   #4
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Oooh, a Manifesto!
I'll be right back at it as soon as the snow melts and the black ice patches disappear.
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Old 01-11-05, 10:37 AM   #5
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What can I say? My mind wanders on the 40 minutes into work . . . . If I fancy myself a pioneer braving the savages and hunting buffalo, doesn't seem so humdrum.
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Old 01-11-05, 11:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R600DuraAce
Hahahaha.......yesterday I felt I was the prey. I felt that, countless of times, the motorists would impede your progress. I was going up this 3% grade roller. Huge traffic as usual around 6 PM. I was going up on the right side of the motorists. All of a sudden, a mini van decided to block my path by taking up the right side. I saw it comming like my hatred for these lower life forms built into my DNA. I swinged to the opposite on-coming lane (residential street BTW) and went about my business.
If you were a vehicular cyclist you would not have felt you were prey in this situation. First of all, you would know that passing on the right should be avoided whenever possible. Secondly, when it cannot be avoided, that it be done with great care and with the assumption that no one knows you're there (thus a door may open at any time, etc.).

Usually it's much safer to pass on the left.

Serge
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Old 01-11-05, 11:39 AM   #7
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Serge:

As you may remember from other threads, I am a supporter of vehicular cycling. However, I would like some clarification regarding this last statement.

So, you are riding along in heavy traffic and encounter a long line of cars stuck in the traffic. You have the choice to sit in the traffic with them for the next half hour or move to the front. I vote move to the front. Are you saying it is safer to pass them along the yellow line, splitting the lane with oncoming traffic than it is to pass along the curb?
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Old 01-11-05, 11:45 AM   #8
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Ya, i want clarification on that one too...
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Old 01-11-05, 11:55 AM   #9
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Cyclists of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!

Oh hang on, we're going to need those chains after all....
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Old 01-11-05, 12:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serge *******
If you were a vehicular cyclist you would not have felt you were prey in this situation. First of all, you would know that passing on the right should be avoided whenever possible. Secondly, when it cannot be avoided, that it be done with great care and with the assumption that no one knows you're there (thus a door may open at any time, etc.).

Usually it's much safer to pass on the left.

Serge
Serge I want clarification on that one too... my regular commute includes Genesee (specifically southbound approaching Governor) where the drivers typically are moving at a snail's pace in the evening... I love the fact that I can climb the hills faster than traffic moves at these times... in spite of the fact that I am doing about 10MPH. I am indeed in the bike lane at these times.

Just for the record, I have had stuff thown at me while in that bike lane too... so definitely have felt like there are kooks out there that just hate bikes.
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Old 01-11-05, 12:22 PM   #11
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The Manifest Destiny of The Bicycle Commuter is to rule the roads, he/she MUST rise to the front of the line and vanquish the enemy! . . . Um, eh-hem, well, in reality, I follow a rough rule of thumb, if I think I can make it through the light, I'll wait in line. Otherwise, I go to the head of the line and wait behind the first car.
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Old 01-11-05, 12:39 PM   #12
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So many of us are in areas where our world just doesn't need to be any bigger than how far we can ride a bike. I'm not sure how to convince my kids that college will be like that too. Heck, I am amazed when my kids want a car ride to a friend's house two blocks away. I tell them to beat feet or crank peddle.

So if childhood is defined by neighborhood, and college by campus, and old age by retirement community, there sure is large percentage of life for which a bicycle might be suffucient.
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Old 01-11-05, 12:46 PM   #13
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You know, it's funny. I went back to my hometown this year and my wife and I were just marvelling at how small it is. I remember when I was a teen that I just couldn't wait to get my driver's license so I could go places! I used to drive to school even though it was only 1/2 mile away. What the crap was wrong with me??

Truly any place within the municipal bounds is bicycle accessible.
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Old 01-11-05, 01:03 PM   #14
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So true! Although, I would have prefered to ride a horse to school! I'm so happy to see folks raising cycling children around my new hometown.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bostontrevor
You know, it's funny. I went back to my hometown this year and my wife and I were just marvelling at how small it is. I remember when I was a teen that I just couldn't wait to get my driver's license so I could go places! I used to drive to school even though it was only 1/2 mile away. What the crap was wrong with me??

Truly any place within the municipal bounds is bicycle accessible.
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Old 01-11-05, 01:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billh
Is bicycle commuting for everyone? I used to think so. Then after about 9 years of urban commuting, I am changing my mind. I have stopped trying to encourage others to bicycle.
I've stopped encouraging other for the following reasons.

1. Pity -- I don't want anymore pity from co-workers/friends.

2. Bicycle Parking -- I want all good parking spaces near the train for myself. If others park their bike near my location, it will mean less space for me.

3. Bicycle vandals --- Lots of bikes may bring more vandals so I want less of them.
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Old 01-11-05, 01:43 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by billh
, sound of mind ?
I have two comments, pick one:

1) Count me out
2) You gotta be crazy to do this
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Old 01-11-05, 01:47 PM   #17
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billh: You bring up a good point. In the last couple of years I sent out emails and put up posters during Ride Your Bike to Work Week and the response was just about zero. This year, screw it.

If someone sees me in bike kit in the office and asks about bike commuting, my response is going to be to look them up and down and say "Eh, it's not for you."
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Old 01-11-05, 02:03 PM   #18
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At least some of you have office jobs. When you work construction, most guys assume you've gootten too many DUI's or had your license suspended, and they just roll their eyes when you try to telll 'em different! Yeah, I used to preach a little, and it sort of gets greeted with that "somebody just farted" expression, or they think you're trying to "make lemons into lemonade" with your terrible lot in life. The pity and offers for rides gets really old, so I just, as quietly as possible, ride my bike to work. I've had a couple people notice and follow suit, so it's not completely quixotic!
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Old 01-11-05, 02:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caloso
In the last couple of years I sent out emails and put up posters during Ride Your Bike to Work Week and the response was just about zero. This year, screw it.
Same with my office. And quite of few of my co-workers live the same distance or closer than me.
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Old 01-11-05, 02:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krispistoferson
At least some of you have office jobs. When you work construction, most guys assume you've gootten too many DUI's or had your license suspended, and they just roll their eyes when you try to telll 'em different! Yeah, I used to preach a little, and it sort of gets greeted with that "somebody just farted" expression, or they think you're trying to "make lemons into lemonade" with your terrible lot in life. The pity and offers for rides gets really old, so I just, as quietly as possible, ride my bike to work. I've had a couple people notice and follow suit, so it's not completely quixotic!
Amen to THAT brother. Man, I just hate it when people say, "You bike today, . . . be safe". I know they mean well, but I'm just about to pipe back, "You drive today, . . . stay healthy" or some other smart-aleck comment. I also get numerous offers for rides, and then have to go through the rigoromoll of explaining, "No, I actually PREFER to ride my bike, thank you." Blank stares.
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Old 01-11-05, 02:59 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by dbg
So many of us are in areas where our world just doesn't need to be any bigger than how far we can ride a bike.
That is one of the coolest observations I have heard in a long time. Very well put.
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Old 01-11-05, 03:15 PM   #22
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I am in the same boat as a bunch of you. My first year or so I was very much trying to get others in my workplace interested in bike commuting. Now I am thinking the same thing... Ditch it! I am tired of the pity too. Also I am tired of the "did you ride today?" um... "yes I did"... "did you get fatter today?" Looks like a few more rolls have appeared. I also hate it when people wish for me to, "be safe". Like I don't have a clue. What are all these freekin' lights and reflectors for? Oh well... I need to take it like the Jeep advertising.... "It's a Bike Commuting Thing...you wouldn't understand." I sent out an e-mail about bike commuting and received only one e-mail. That guy still hasn't commuted yet.. although he had me check out his bike. I did and he still hasn't rode one mile. Part of his problem is like all others. He is still addicted to the convienence of the auto. Oh well...we shall peddle on and enjoy life! Even if those others simply choose their own way.

Peace, Love, Cycling!
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Old 01-11-05, 03:23 PM   #23
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Is it a pity thing? or a guilt thing?
I have happened to convert someone, I think he was ripe for change and I did give him a bike to ride. But the bike is crap and he gave his car up to some charity. For me, that is a pretty good return on investment.
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Old 01-11-05, 03:25 PM   #24
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Sorry, so my point is don't totally give up, if you rode with some of these people? is that possibl? You may not want to and that is understandible, but you could free a mind....
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Old 01-11-05, 03:51 PM   #25
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With me, the whole bike riding thing has first been about pleasure... I really enjoy it (something about hard tires on hard pavement... "walking on the moon").

Second freedom... as I felt I could do what ever I wanted... which (and the vehicle riding guys are gonna hate this) included riding in a manner similar to the one shown in that NYC race video.

I used to particularly love riding down residential blocks and just ride all over the road... I also used to love to ride late at night as I was invisible then and could see the cars coming a long way away.

I have long since mellowed, and gotten down right cautious, but still have some of the Road Warrior feeling in me... I am avoiding bumper to bumper traffic and gas stations... Hallelujah to the gas crisis of the '70s... man.

So no pity involved... to me this is my "freak flag." Just getting out there and braving the cagers and doing something that frankly most folks just do NOT do.
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