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Old 08-16-13, 08:35 PM   #1
vol
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Your worst commuting experience?

Sorry for touching anyone's unpleasant memory , but I'm simply curious to know how disastrous an otherwise normal commuting day could turn out to be (and be prepared for it). Mechanical failures, traffic accident, aftermath of bike theft, violent crimes, animal attacks , unpredicted weather changes, forgetting that you got to work by bike , and so on. So far I have no such experience yet (hopefully never).
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Old 08-16-13, 08:59 PM   #2
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Nothing traumatic, knock on wood, ever. But, a lot of close calls with cars (really their idiot drivers). I am OCD about maintenance of my ride, and will drive to work if the bike needs maintenance, so I've honestly never had a maintenance issue. Like I said, the drivers. That is the issue. Mostly folks who don't understand what a sharrow is, or what it means, or how to properly give right of way. I will aggressively position myself int he lane to reduce the urge some jerk in an infinity has to pass me with 6-12 inches to spare, but regardless...people either can't see the blinking strobe on my handlebar and back of my helmet, or they hate bicyclists, even in a bike friendly area.
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Old 08-16-13, 09:21 PM   #3
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Your worst commuting experience?

Kids, roller bladers, strollers, etc on the bike trail. Very unpredictable. I prefer cars to them. that and rain.
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Old 08-16-13, 09:25 PM   #4
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Rain...yeah it blows, but I can deal with it...cars are still my absolute worst. I don't ride trails on commute, long ride on weekends, yeah, those things burn me especially the clowns who have no idea that stopping on a trail is bad or that wearing headphones in both ears on a MUP while weaving about aimlessly is asking to get smoked by a cyclist.
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Old 08-16-13, 09:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. Would like to hear about specific incidents.
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Old 08-16-13, 09:36 PM   #6
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Shortly after I started commuting, I was stopped at a red light waiting to cross a busier street. There was a large truck on the other side waiting to turn left. The light turned green and I went on my way. Upon passing the truck, he had rolled down his window and yelled "The roads are for F***ing cars!!!" Apparently the 5 seconds he had to wait for me to cross the street before he could turn was way too much.

I feel pretty fortunate that this is my worst commuting story so far.
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Old 08-16-13, 10:38 PM   #7
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double flat, one spare tube, no patches. fail.

won't happen again.....
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Old 08-17-13, 01:38 AM   #8
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My worst experience so far:

I replaced an ancient chain on my winter commuter and noticed immediately on the morning commute that it wasn't working out so well. Skip, skip, skip - the cassette was done too. Being stupid, I figured it would just work itself out or I would find a gear that didn't skip and continued on my way.

A few miles later, I reached a road construction zone where I filtered past a hundred or so cars waiting for the single alternating lane. The flag lady pretended I didn't exist (they eventually improved this and started giving cyclists a head start) and I made my move as soon as I could. Skip, skip, skip - I could barely hit 12 mph and the construction lane was so narrow that every car was now crawling along behind me for what felt like miles but was probably only a few hundred feet. Normally in this situation I would be like "suck it, cagers" but when the bike isn't working you just feel like a complete knob.

This experience made me realize that I must always have at least two foul weather bikes ready to go at all times.
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Old 08-17-13, 02:00 AM   #9
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Sure:

I was riding to work at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii I was just out of a cast and into a walking cast (alu w/rubber feet) because I had broken my right ankle in Afghanistan (though we didn't know that yet). Anyway I'm headed toward the range to be range safety for some Hawaii NG types headed down over there. I come up on a three way intersection, there is a lady waiting at stop sign on my left. I look at her in the eyes to make sure she see's me, apparently she doesn't and pulls into to side of my. So I'm out a bike, I have a cyst the size of a softball on my left leg where her bumper hit me and a broken ankle on the right leg 'twas a wonderful few months.
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Old 08-17-13, 04:58 AM   #10
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I forgot one story that may count as my worst experience: I was riding closely behind a bus when it suddenly stopped. In my effort to stop in time, me and my bike both lost balance. The bike fell on its right side and I fell on the bike. After I got up I found the front basket and handlebar were twisted. The basket ate into my calf and I still have the scars 3 years later, which my friend says look like dog bites. What's funny and embarrassing for me was that both the bus and I had been going slowly (I think the bus was approaching its stop), and this was on 5th avenue midtown Manhattan, so I imagine it was a curious scene that a slow riding bicyclist fell behind a bus.
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Old 08-17-13, 07:17 AM   #11
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I witnessed a pedestrian get crushed underneath a truck that was turning ROR.
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Old 08-17-13, 11:33 AM   #12
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I witnessed a pedestrian get crushed underneath a truck that was turning ROR.
that sounds tramatic wow
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Old 08-17-13, 12:02 PM   #13
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"The roads are for F***ing cars!!!"
Should have yelled back, "Then get your F***ing truck off it!"
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Old 08-17-13, 12:19 PM   #14
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I have been pretty fortunate. My worst commuting experience was getting two flats on the same day, running out of C02 cartridges, and having to walk 3.5 miles home in cycling shoes. I now carry a C02 inflator, frame pump, spare tube, and tube repair kit. Hopefully it won't happen again.
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Old 08-17-13, 07:30 PM   #15
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A surprise snow storm in the middle of the ride home. I had to push the bike home by the time I was 3 blocks away because visibility was zero and I couldn't see the curbs and neither could anyone else. My legs couldn't manage all of the wet snow. Ick.
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Old 08-18-13, 11:33 AM   #16
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Got hit in a small suburban traffic circle. Minor scrapes to me. New rear rim for bike.

I was in the lane travelling with thru traffic.
Lady coming into circle from ramp broadsided me.

Last edited by lungimsam; 08-18-13 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 08-19-13, 01:54 AM   #17
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that sounds tramatic wow
I'm a paramedic so I'm used to blood and gore, and I was far enough away behind some cars that I only heard the thud and saw her fall.
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Old 08-19-13, 07:23 AM   #18
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About a mile into my 11-mile commute, I inhaled a beetle that happened to be flying in front of me. Barely able to breathe, I coughed until I started puking, Somewhere in there the beetle came out into the puddle I made on the ground... Rode slowly home, tail between my legs, eyes still gushing water, and drove to work for the next few days.

The very next bike commute, on the way home, it was roughly 350 degrees F (~443 Centipedes metric) outside, and despite drinking all of the water ever, the water just sat in my stomach and never absorbed. I ended up stopping under a tree and lying down for about 45 minutes before I could move on. Didn't bike into work for about a week after that. That's when I learned to put a few teaspoons of gatorade powder into my water bottles on hot days.
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Old 08-19-13, 07:29 AM   #19
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For the most part, I've only had minor "gnat bites" as problems.

The most challenging was riding home last winter in freezing rain. Outside air temps were just above freezing, around 35-36 (F), but surface temps were colder. I had to keep working the brakes and gears to keep them from icing over. The bike and helmet had a layer of ice on them when I got home. Although, I'd have no reservations about doing it again.
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Old 08-19-13, 07:42 AM   #20
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Nothing awful for me. Mostly a series of flats and wheel issues that involved upgrading tires and wheels that are no longer issues. I did have to learn to control my temper on the road though. I used to curse and flick off cars that would honk at me for doing nothing other than riding lawfully on the right side of the road. One day I did this to a truck. The truck sped up in front of me and for guys looking late highschool early college age got out and were waiting for me on the side of the road when I passed them. They were shouting at me to stop, I'm assuming they wanted to beat the sh!! out of me. Since I wasn't really planning on being beaten up that day I kept riding. They got back in their car and tried to spit on me as they passed. In a perfect world they'd go to jail since it is legal to speak your mind but not legal to beat up people you disagree with. Since this is far from a perfect world I"ve learned to keep my mouth shut. I was lucky these guys didn't have the stones to just hit me with their truck.
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Old 08-19-13, 07:58 AM   #21
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Worst experience was riding on a full stomach and then having to take the meanest dump in my entire life with no opportunities to evacuate. I finally found an isolated spot and ditched into some bushes to do the deed. I had no paper or anything so I just pulled the shorts up and started riding----big mistake. i was itching and burning within fifteen minutes.

Thankfully, I had two water bottles on me. I pulled over and went into some more bushes. I used the water in one bottle to clean my ass and the other to wash my shorts. Problem solved.
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Old 08-19-13, 08:18 AM   #22
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I've always had this motto that even the worst day commuting on the bike is better than the best day in the car. But, going down 4 times and almost going down dozens of times in one ride on ice patches pushed that concept to it's limit.

A weird late spring combination of an unexpected overnight rain/freeze followed by a very thin layer of dusty snow was the culprit and I didn't have the studded tires on anymore. No injuries, just a lot of frustration and I got really wet from hitting then sliding along on the icy wet ground.

I wasn't the only one caught out on this one. Every time I encountered another cyclist they were picking themselves up off the ground as well. We exchanged pleasantries and a few swear words about how unexpected and treacherous this was. And I think it made us all feel better that wee weren't alone in this madness. The evidence of other cyclists crashes could be clearly seen everywhere in the thin show. Brutal.

Looking back on it, it was pretty comical, I wasn't hurt and I did get a "worst commute ever story" out of it but, at the time it sucked.
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Old 08-19-13, 08:48 AM   #23
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Worst experience was riding on a full stomach and then having to take the meanest dump in my entire life with no opportunities to evacuate. I finally found an isolated spot and ditched into some bushes to do the deed. I had no paper or anything so I just pulled the shorts up and started riding----big mistake. i was itching and burning within fifteen minutes.

Thankfully, I had two water bottles on me. I pulled over and went into some more bushes. I used the water in one bottle to clean my ass and the other to wash my shorts. Problem solved.

The Fates laughed at me as I read this story whilst chewing on a Hershey's bar.
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Old 08-19-13, 11:30 AM   #24
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I've only been commuting for about 2 months now, so I'm sure this won't be the worst for long. There's about a half mile stretch of my commute home where I'm riding a very slight downhill incline through a residential neighborhood and about every 300 yards or so there's a speed bump.

One day I was approaching a stop sign at the intersection where I turn left onto this street. I signaled that I was stopping and took the lane in front of someone (with tons of space between him and me mind you. Not at all a dangerous move for me to have done) before stopping at the sign so it'd be easier to turn left without having to wait for or worry about the car behind me. I'd already stopped, set off again, and started turning left by the time he'd started to slow down for the sign. Since this street is a nice downhill ride I'm easily capable of maintaining 20+ mph and being that I'm on a bike I can just hop a little over the bumps without having to slow down. This guy behind me apparently didn't like that I got in front of him and was trying to speed up to pass me but he never was able to because of the speed bumps. When I turned off the street onto a bike path, he finally caught up to me and I could still hear him yell into the trees where I'd pulled off "Stay out of the road, a$$hole." I just laughed because I found it funny that, despite the fact that had I been in a car I would've been even more of an inconvenience to him than I was on the bike, he still felt the need to share his displeasure with me.

I guess the only lesson that can be learned here is that no matter how much you follow the rules, pay attention, and ride defensively there'll always be jerks out there who find our presence annoying or insulting or something. I just do my best not to provoke people.

Last edited by joyota; 08-19-13 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 08-19-13, 11:39 AM   #25
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Worst? Getting left hooked by a car. It left me with a knee that looked like hamburger, sent me to the ER and surgery, left me in the hospital for 4 days, kept me off the bike for 6 weeks, and, finally, left an interesting scar and no feeling in my knee cap for the last 30 years. There have been many others but they all pale in comparison.

But it didn't stop me from commuting for the last 30 years either. Roll with the punches.
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