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  1. #1
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    Riding on the edge . . .

    . . . of the road.

    The last time that I did any serious riding on the road was in rural Kansas – fourteen years ago. I did not have much traffic to contend with. (I had two or three hour rides where I would see one or two cars.) Six months ago I started riding my mountain bike on local green ways to get in shape. That wasn't doing much for me so a month ago I decided to get a road bike. Now I’m riding about twenty or twenty-five miles a day on the back roads in urban North Carolina. There can be a lot of traffic at times.

    I have been trying to ride as close to the white line as possible. But when I do that I find that drivers are more apt to “squeeze” by. (Soccer moms in Honda mini-vans and little old ladies in old Buicks seem to be the biggest offenders.) So I decided to move out into the road . . . . not much . . . about two or three feet. That seems to aggravate some people but for the most part they don’t try to squeeze by.

    So here is my question. What do you do? Do you hug the white line on the right or do you claim your “fair share” of the road and ride a few feet off the edge? (North Carolina gives bicycles certain rights. We have a "Share the Road" campaign.)

  2. #2
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I try to ride in a position that gives me room to maneuver and encourages traffic to pass me safely. This means not hugging the very edge of the road. That is unsafe for me and it encourages car drivers to ignore me, so they pass closer. I also try not to unnecessarily obstruct traffic. There is nothing gained by obstructing car traffic in situations where they could safely pass. In situations where it would not be safe for a car to pass me at all, I will move out into the road and take the lane for long enough to get through a short narrow section of road or to make a turn.
    All of this has to be tempered by reason. I do these things to be safer. If drivers are not willing to share the road, I don't push it. I don't see any satisfaction in having "he was in the right" chiseled into my tomb stone.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg
    I try to ride in a position that gives me room to maneuver and encourages traffic to pass me safely. This means not hugging the very edge of the road. That is unsafe for me and it encourages car drivers to ignore me, so they pass closer. I also try not to unnecessarily obstruct traffic. There is nothing gained by obstructing car traffic in situations where they could safely pass. In situations where it would not be safe for a car to pass me at all, I will move out into the road and take the lane for long enough to get through a short narrow section of road or to make a turn.
    All of this has to be tempered by reason. I do these things to be safer. If drivers are not willing to share the road, I don't push it. I don't see any satisfaction in having "he was in the right" chiseled into my tomb stone.
    +1

    Also, I "take the lane," moving out not quite halfway into it, when climbing a hill, or approaching a blind curve,

    In the first case, I want to be sure the car behind me doesn't try to squeeze past me 'til I've crested the hill and can either wave him around or caution him to wait. I learned to do this the last time I ever hugged the white line when climbing/cresting a hill. A car came over the hill from the opposite direction, which caused the overtaking car to swerve back toward me. An adrenaline-pumpin' near-hit! Now I just sit out there far enough in the lane where only the most irrational driver would try to pass on a hill by going far into the other lane.

    In the second case, I want to be sure I'm visible before disappearing from an overtaking driver's line of sight, and to leave him with the impression that I may still be out in the lane once I get into the curve (I actually move back toward the white line once into the curve).

    I also check carefully behind me when making a left turn, and move in to take the lane when it's safe to do so, holding it 'til I've navigated the turn.

    Most of the roads I ride are out in the countryside, and are so infrequently traveled that one can usually hear a car coming from either direction long before it's seen. I'm a road cyclist, not a commuter, and so have no great desire to ride on urban streets more than necessary. Besides, who wants to breathe all that exhaust? Of course, there are occasionally chaser-dogs out in the countryside, but that's for another thread....

  4. #4
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    When I break out the road bike I find that riding the edge makes me a mailbox! Drivers assume that I am part of the scenery and squeeze by even in the face of oncoming traffic. They will do this at speed more often than not.
    I live in rural CT where guard rails squeeze the side of the road every few hundred feet for wet lands or other obsticals. In these places I move off the edge to discourage the high speed centerline crossers but I also use a mirror to adjust my speed to attempt to cross these areas in lighter traffic flow.
    I did however have the mirror smashed off the bike by a school bus that appeared to be doing 60ish in a 50 zone while passing me on the wrong side of the centerline before he got squeezed back into me by an on coming school bus!!!!! All I could think of at the time was the opening sceene from the original Star Wars. (lets see how your memory works) There was just this huge yellow wall going by forever.

    At certain times of the year (major drunk holidays and near graduation) I just leave the road bike home and go out on the trails.

  5. #5
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I try and find roads and ride during times where it is not quite as much an issue with vehicles. That is becoming more of a challenge with the growth rate in the area we live in. On crowded roads I usually ride the white line but will take more room as needed.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg
    I try to ride in a position that gives me room to maneuver and encourages traffic to pass me safely. This means not hugging the very edge of the road. That is unsafe for me and it encourages car drivers to ignore me, so they pass closer. I also try not to unnecessarily obstruct traffic. There is nothing gained by obstructing car traffic in situations where they could safely pass. In situations where it would not be safe for a car to pass me at all, I will move out into the road and take the lane for long enough to get through a short narrow section of road or to make a turn.
    All of this has to be tempered by reason. I do these things to be safer. If drivers are not willing to share the road, I don't push it. I don't see any satisfaction in having "he was in the right" chiseled into my tomb stone.
    +1

    I've been road riding for a few years and have only encountered a handful of drivers who have become irritated because I was on the road.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe
    I try and find roads and ride during times where it is not quite as much an issue with vehicles. That is becoming more of a challenge with the growth rate in the area we live in. On crowded roads I usually ride the white line but will take more room as needed.
    Same here. I used to ride my steel beater on #49 from University area to Harrisburg and back when I first started riding again. Now I'm wary about riding that road, whose shoulders are wide but often full of debris, on the 100+psi tires of my beautiful new Scott. I usually put my bike lovingly in my old Honda, and drive, for solo or group rides, to various places in Gaston, Cabarrus, and Stanly counties where there are plenty of quiet roads with little or practically no traffic. They do still exist.

  8. #8
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe
    I try and find roads and ride during times where it is not quite as much an issue with vehicles.
    I try to do that, but it isn't always possible. Today was one of the times it was. I just finished a 36 mile ride from home on the great rural roads that are the reason I chose to live where I do. I went for miles without seeing a car. Where I did see them, there was usually plenty of room for them to move into the other lane to pass. There was one SUV pulling a utility trailer who passed me in the opposite lane in a curve. Luckily, no car was coming the opposite direction at the time, but I was looking for an escape path just in case.

    The closest I came to a problem was 2 white tail deer who bounded out of the woods into the road as I was jamming along about 25mph. But they were far enough ahead of me that I was able to ease up and let them across without incident.

    Sure was hot today. 95 F when I finished!
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx
    At certain times of the year (major drunk holidays and near graduation) I just leave the road bike home and go out on the trails.
    We are smack in the middle of graduation around here. I'm running on the treadmill this weekend.

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