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  1. #1
    Commander, UFO Bike K'Tesh's Avatar
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    Sad Confession... I'm scared to commute to school.

    Ever since I traded my $730+utilities apartment for moving back in w/the 'rent, I'm scared to commute to school.

    The location of my last car v bike crash is on the only real path from home to school, and there are a lot of right hook aplenty areas along this commute. Despite all my lights, all my reflective tape, and all my caution, I can't get it out of my mind that I could be seriously hurt or killed trying to get to and from school.

    Before, my commute was 8 miles, on mostly trails and residential streets. Now my commute is on the side of a highway with hills galore... It's not the 20 mile distance, or climbing the hills, that's the problem. It's the downhills that scare me. I don't mind being passed by cars and having them turn in front of me when I'm doing 6-12 mph, but when I'm doing 20-40 mph it's a different story.

    I hate being stuffed into a bus twice a day (not to mention the truly awe-inspiring lunacy of it's F-d up schedule), but I can't get over my fear. This SUCKS! That, and I've gained back ALL of the weight I had lost. I can't wait to get out of here.

  2. #2
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    That's a bummer man. Only a few options really.

    1. Don't ride
    2. Come to terms with the fear and realize even the bus could have issues causing a wreck
    3. Slow down on the hills. No need to ride 20-40 mph if you don't have to

    Only you can decide what is best for you. I don't know the hills or the are so I would not feel right telling you to "man up" or what not about the fear. It is all up to you.
    Tailwinds make me feel like Superman and headwinds make me feel like Lois Lane.

  3. #3
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    You could also get kill in a car or crossing a street. I think you should do it once or twice at a slower pace or on a week end day just to get some confidence back.

    Good luck
    Originally Posted by Leebo

    Headwind is like a hill without a soul. Just gear down and suffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!

  4. #4
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckaspar View Post
    2. Come to terms with the fear and realize even the bus could have issues causing a wreck
    3. Slow down on the hills. No need to ride 20-40 mph if you don't have to
    There's no reason to faster than you feel comfortable. Ever. Slow down on the hills to a speed that makes you happy.

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  5. #5
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    +1 on reducing speed on the downhills. I take it easy myself. You'll wear out your brake pads quicker, but that is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    I think this is inevitable endpoint of a fear-based mindset. Take off the reflective tape and most of the lights, ride your bike. These things don't make you any safer.

    I was going to say 'leave the helmet at home' but I figured that would fork the thread.

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    Senior Member Big Lebowski's Avatar
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    Sad Confession... I'm scared to commute to school.

    Can you move someplace else that will fit your budget and allow for a safer ride? Maybe share rent?

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    My advice:

    When on a down hill, I usually always take the lane if there is no shoulder. That is the best safety advice I follow. If there is a shoulder, then no worries.

    I love your lights but its overkill really and I can see how the weight can effect the downhill trip.

    You just have to do it bro. Yeah, it will be nerve racking at first but you will get used to it.

    There are risks for everything. But what makes you grow, as a person, is by putting yourself in situations that feel uncomfortable Then you "master" those and become a better person and a stronger person.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    I think this is inevitable endpoint of a fear-based mindset. Take off the reflective tape and most of the lights, ride your bike. These things don't make you any safer.

    I was going to say 'leave the helmet at home' but I figured that would fork the thread.
    Had to put on the ol' glasses for that one! lol
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    Take off the reflective tape and most of the lights ...

    I was going to say 'leave the helmet at home' but I figured that would fork the thread.
    I'd much rather do that than forgo my lights and reflectors (but I don't have as many of the latter as the OP).

  11. #11
    Senior Member cyclefreaksix's Avatar
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    You know what? When you're ready, you'll know it. If the fear is too fresh right now then maybe the time isn't right. Give it some time.

  12. #12
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    How bright are your lights, front and rear? I travel that kind of traffic too, but I got real bright with the lights. Helmet light, blinking strips,and several rear lights. The more you are seen the safer you are.

    Last point, the ride is supposed to be fun. If the fear factor overcomes the fun factor, IMO, it would be time to give up the commute. Just my opinion.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cehowardGS View Post
    How bright are your lights, front and rear? I travel that kind of traffic too, but I got real bright with the lights. Helmet light, blinking strips,and several rear lights. The more you are seen the safer you are.

    Last point, the ride is supposed to be fun. If the fear factor overcomes the fun factor, IMO, it would be time to give up the commute. Just my opinion.
    In OP's case, I don't think lights are an issue. Gotta agree with cyclefreaksix - give it time.

  14. #14
    Commander, UFO Bike K'Tesh's Avatar
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    My routine daytime light level is a MiNewt 600 Cordless on flash, and a Serfas UTL-6 (Thunderbolt) on high flash (35 lumens). Held in reserve is my PB Superflash, a MiNewt X2, PB Beamer 5LED, and the helmet mounted MiNewt 200 and PB blinky 3H. All of the other lights seen on my Captain Dashboard photos do belong to me, but are only pulled out when I'm in a playful (read: night ride) mood.

    The problem here is not the night time, nor the lights or reflective film. The problem is that during the day, I'm almost just as invisible as any other person on a bike out there..

    I also think that this cold and wet weather has been making my old knee injury hurt more reminding me of what happened.

    As to moving, I don't have a job, I'm not on welfare, despite my lack of income. I can't afford to move (let alone do necessary bike maintenance (new rear cassette and chain)). Having that J**K*$$ knock my bike over and snap off my brake lever didn't help my bottom line at all either.

    Nowadays I take the lane on a downhill (even when there's a shoulder (or bike lane)) if there's a driveway on my right. I was hit while riding in the bike lane. Bikelanes on uphills... Awesome!!! Level ground... Great! Downhills??? Get me out of here (if there's a driveway anywhere near)

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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    My advice:

    When on a down hill, I usually always take the lane if there is no shoulder. That is the best safety advice I follow.
    +1

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    Quote Originally Posted by K'Tesh View Post
    Nowadays I take the lane on a downhill (even when there's a shoulder (or bike lane)) if there's a driveway on my right. I was hit while riding in the bike lane. Bikelanes on uphills... Awesome!!! Level ground... Great! Downhills??? Get me out of here (if there's a driveway anywhere near)
    Sounds like you have the skill that you need to handle the ride.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Sounds like you have the skill that you need to handle the ride.
    +1

    What the OP has started doing is what I would have suggested: take the lane when going fast, down hill. More to the left part of your lane. That way if a car pulls in in front of you, you will have room to avoid him (to the left, "between" two lanes). While those that overtake you will have remembered and noticed you (since they had to get out of their lane to pass you).


    This is a nice video on lane positioning. It's for motorcycles, but I guess it works for fast-downhill cycling as well. That's somethin I always have in mind:




    Evviva il comunismo e la libertÓ.

  18. #18
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    a few comments:

    1. just ride, you'll die some day anyway. why not enjoy your life while you have it?
    2. if you live with the 'rents, you don't have a wife/kid, so no reason not to do it?
    3. is $730+utils cheap or expensive?
    4. i highly recommend move out of the 'rents house and living in the dorms / student slum areas near the university because university is about three things ... learning how to make/maintain/dissolve personal connections, learning how to learn (this is most critical), attaining position-specific knowledge.
    5. the first two will become much more developed if you live on/near campus and not with the 'rents because you'll be surrounded by students 24/7 and more importantly, outside of an academic setting.

    good luck and just ride.
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  19. #19
    Warning:Annoying to jerks RaleighSport's Avatar
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    Not trying to be mean K'Tesh.. but you're just being a nancy. Your light situation is fine obviously, and you know how to handle the ride situation so it's simply a matter of confidence, you can do it!!!!!!
    ôLet me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.ö


    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

  20. #20
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    I've been thinking about this, and thought a (much as I hate to say it) a scooter might be the answer for you. If you buy something used to not too neglected you should be able to get it roadworthy and compromise on the bicycle or car dilemma.

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    Not only are those video's for motorcycles they are also shot in Great Brtitain somewhere. That makes them relevant in the U.K., Australia and maybe two other civilized countries. Always find it interesting that the multiple flasher advocates are the ones getting hit. Cyclists don't get hit because they aren't seen. They get hit because they failed to ride like they weren't seen. They think that because they have a week's wages worth of safety equipment that will make them seen... ... drivers fail to see semi-tractor-trailers. But, I'm not here to slow anyone's roll. Use all the flashing equipment and safety vestage you want. Then go ride. Buying all that junk and then taking the car anyway is what will make me laugh at you.

    H

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    I'd start with riding at off-hours. Skip the morning class and test out the route at 10 am... it's a lot less scary when it's not rush hour. And, as others have said, don't feel bad about riding the brakes downhill. It won't impact your overall time all that much, and it could help with the feeling of control.

    Alternatively, if you can keep up with the traffic on the downhills (residential streets) then take the lane. If you're right behind the vehicle in front of you then the ones behind you shouldn't have much of an excuse to pass you.

    Finally, I second the move out recommendations! Find some roommates, eat rice and beans for a while... it's part of university.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
    I've been thinking about this, and thought a (much as I hate to say it) a scooter might be the answer for you. If you buy something used to not too neglected you should be able to get it roadworthy and compromise on the bicycle or car dilemma.
    I don't follow your logic. From his post the o.p. needs to take the bus or the train. I wouldn't trust him to be good behind the wheel of anything. Fear is likely replaced by overconfidence when fear types get behind the wheel. Since I ride so much, when I drive, I look out for my fellow cyclists. I give them lots of room when passing them and if they are riding something cool like a recumbent I'll flash my brights or wave or something. Fearful, self-hating cyclists don't treat cyclists well or they wouldn't fear drivers so much. Doesn't sound like the o.p. can afford a car anyway.

    H

  24. #24
    Warning:Annoying to jerks RaleighSport's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    Not only are those video's for motorcycles they are also shot in Great Brtitain somewhere. That makes them relevant in the U.K., Australia and maybe two other civilized countries. Always find it interesting that the multiple flasher advocates are the ones getting hit. Cyclists don't get hit because they aren't seen. They get hit because they failed to ride like they weren't seen. They think that because they have a week's wages worth of safety equipment that will make them seen... ... drivers fail to see semi-tractor-trailers. But, I'm not here to slow anyone's roll. Use all the flashing equipment and safety vestage you want. Then go ride. Buying all that junk and then taking the car anyway is what will make me laugh at you.

    H
    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    I don't follow your logic. From his post the o.p. needs to take the bus or the train. I wouldn't trust him to be good behind the wheel of anything. Fear is likely replaced by overconfidence when fear types get behind the wheel. Since I ride so much, when I drive, I look out for my fellow cyclists. I give them lots of room when passing them and if they are riding something cool like a recumbent I'll flash my brights or wave or something. Fearful, self-hating cyclists don't treat cyclists well or they wouldn't fear drivers so much. Doesn't sound like the o.p. can afford a car anyway.

    H
    I don't want to derail this too badly but it seems to me that you are just inserting a tons of assumptions from personal anecdotal evidence... and feel free to correct me if you've got a psych degree of some sort and know K'Tesh in person. The scooter option actually sounds like a good one despite your reservations..and the OP is already taking the bus..

    K'Tesh keep on riding man!
    ôLet me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.ö


    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

  25. #25
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    Not only are those video's for motorcycles they are also shot in Great Brtitain somewhere. That makes them relevant in the U.K., Australia and maybe two other civilized countries. Always find it interesting that the multiple flasher advocates are the ones getting hit. Cyclists don't get hit because they aren't seen. They get hit because they failed to ride like they weren't seen. They think that because they have a week's wages worth of safety equipment that will make them seen... ... drivers fail to see semi-tractor-trailers. But, I'm not here to slow anyone's roll. Use all the flashing equipment and safety vestage you want. Then go ride. Buying all that junk and then taking the car anyway is what will make me laugh at you.

    H
    Pincipal is the same. I'd just flip sides of the road, and +1 on acifast's post, that is spot on! Acidfast's post covers the "philosophical" aspect, and I quite agree. The videos cover the technical aspect of safe lane positioning, which is important when going fast downhill on a bicycle.
    Last edited by Slaninar; 11-10-12 at 08:56 AM.
    Evviva il comunismo e la libertÓ.

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