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Old 07-01-11, 05:36 PM   #1
sknhgy 
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Do you mostly ride bike trails/mups or public roads?

Just wondering. The reason I ask is I live in a rural area in relatively close proximity to a large urban area.
When I stay home and ride, nearly all my riding is on rural roads except for the short periods when I'm in town. The only other type of riding I do around home is on gravel mainenance paths along the river or in the nearby wildlife refuges. By far most of my local riding is on 2 lane country roads.
When I go to the city, which is fairly often, almost all my riding is on some type of bike path or mup.
This is kind of a dumb question/post, but do they make paths in urban areas in order to try and segregate bike traffic from vehicular traffic?
If you live in a highly populated area, is most of your riding on paths?
Personally, I avoid riding in traffic as much as possible.
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Old 07-01-11, 05:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Just wondering. The reason I ask is I live in a rural area in relatively close proximity to a large urban area.
When I stay home and ride, nearly all my riding is on rural roads except for the short periods when I'm in town. The only other type of riding I do around home is on gravel mainenance paths along the river or in the nearby wildlife refuges. By far most of my local riding is on 2 lane country roads.
When I go to the city, which is fairly often, almost all my riding is on some type of bike path or mup.
This is kind of a dumb question/post, but do they make paths in urban areas in order to try and segregate bike traffic from vehicular traffic?
If you live in a highly populated area, is most of your riding on paths?
Personally, I avoid riding in traffic as much as possible.
Yes. Plus the cost-benefit ratio improves when multiple users are entitled to get on the pathway, rather than just dedicating it to cyclists.

When I was in full-time professional cycing advocacy, I tried to push the concept that local authorities could better spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) on teaching people to ride their bikes properly on the road rather than spending it on off-road facilities that were sub-standard and often more dangerous that the alternative. But it was to no avail.

There are some good facilities. One of I am most familar with runs as a spine parallel with a railway track for more than 20km in Hobart, Tasmania. It is concrete, and dual lane.

But Machka and I did a 100km ride through Melbourne the other weekend mainly on shared pathways, and there were way too many compromises to make the trip entirely enjoyable and safe. We did it in the Australian winter when the number of users was limited, and even then it was a task to try to anticipate what might happen.

We did another ride in Adelaide on MUPs a few months ago, and that highlighted why I much, much prefer to ride on the road where the behaviour and actions of drivers generally is much more predictable and hence safer.

To answer your other question, we ride on rural roads, and often on what are quite busy highways servicing holiday towns... because that it where we live.

However, I quite look forward to getting to urban and city environments and in traffic because I don't find it that intimidating. I still pick my routes if need be and and there are restrictions on riding on some freeways. I even don't mind riding on the main arterial (interstate) highway between Melbourne and Sydney despite the faster traffic -- the wide shoulders and gentler inclines are quite enjoyable.
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Old 07-01-11, 06:10 PM   #3
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Many places in Florida are not bicycle friendly, certainly not Tampa, and although they have bike lanes, I try to avoid them unless I am riding with my bike club (in numbers). Drivers here in Tampa can't be bothered with paying attention, they are too busy texting or putting on makeup or something else that involves not looking at the road.

I live in a rural area that has 6 county parks within a 15 mile stretch accessible on the same road. The one I ride in has a 7 mile, paved loop with a 2 mile and 1 mile paved service road. There are no vehicles allowed on the loop or the service roads so it makes it very safe. And the park is only 4 miles from my house.

I have been to IL many times, as my father-in-law still lives there (Elizabeth on Route 20 - between Galena and Stockton). We usually fly in to Moline and rent a car and drive to his house along route 84 which follows the Mississippi. It has an awesome bike path that spans about 40 or more miles with hills and all. The closest thing we have here is a 50 mile path that used to be a railroad line that they paved along side of a toll road. It's a very nice path but it's an hour's drive from my house. I only ride it when I am training for distance rides that have rolling hills.
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Old 07-01-11, 06:12 PM   #4
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Old 07-01-11, 08:12 PM   #5
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<---- See my Custom User Title over there? "Plays in traffic". Says it all really.

I live, work, shop, and ride recreationally in the city. I couldn't leave my apartment building on a bike without riding in traffic. Was it intimidating at first? You betcha. 25,000 miles later? Not so much. As it says on the back of the 50+ jersey, "Experience counts".

That said, I do use MUPs where I can, if it's during off-peak times. Two of my commuting routes incorporate portions of the MUP. But I commute at off-peak times.

I find the MUPs much more dangerous in peak times when there are people wobbling along, children, dogs, rollerbladers, skateboarders, iPod Zombies, and what have you. At least on the roads you know everyone is going by the same rule book. They may be ignoring them, but they all know what the rules are.
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Old 07-01-11, 08:30 PM   #6
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I live in west central WI. Decades ago the state government made a huge commitment to upgrade rural roads to support the dairy industry. It is wonderful today to ride almost anywhere in the rural areas safely.
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Old 07-01-11, 08:54 PM   #7
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The bike trails here are made for 15 mph and are often clogged with little kids and mommies with strollers. It's no place for cycling. Besides, they are all flat and that's boring.

I do most of my riding on 2-lane mountain roads. I don't live in town so I don't have to ride there, but when I need to I do it. I just take my place in traffic.
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Old 07-01-11, 09:22 PM   #8
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.................

I find the MUPs much more dangerous in peak times when there are people wobbling along, children, dogs, rollerbladers, skateboarders, iPod Zombies, and what have you. At least on the roads you know everyone is going by the same rule book. They may be ignoring them, but they all know what the rules are.
I totally agree, mostly. I'm not sure how many drivers know the rules though.

How many times do you meet a car head-on just after they've cut thru the corner while making their left turn? How about the lady (sorry girls, but it happened to be a lady) who vehimantly complained to a reporter about the recently installed "Red Light Cameras"? It seems she had gotten a ticket for stopping in the sidewalk at a red light. Her complaint....if they're going to install these cameras they should first explain the rules to us!

That being said, I must say that I feel safer on our roads on my bike than I do in my car. On my bike I can often escape a daydreaming driver whereas in my car I'm helplessly stuck in traffic, just a big old target waiting to get creamed.

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Old 07-01-11, 09:25 PM   #9
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I ride the roads as much as possible. We have a number of MUPs in northwest Arkansas, but they are often congested with walkers, runners, dogs, skaters etc. I use the MUPs as necessary to avoid the really busy, multi-lane roads.
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Old 07-01-11, 09:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Just wondering. The reason I ask is I live in a rural area in relatively close proximity to a large urban area.
When I stay home and ride, nearly all my riding is on rural roads except for the short periods when I'm in town. The only other type of riding I do around home is on gravel mainenance paths along the river or in the nearby wildlife refuges. By far most of my local riding is on 2 lane country roads.
When I go to the city, which is fairly often, almost all my riding is on some type of bike path or mup.
This is kind of a dumb question/post, but do they make paths in urban areas in order to try and segregate bike traffic from vehicular traffic?
If you live in a highly populated area, is most of your riding on paths?
Personally, I avoid riding in traffic as much as possible.
I've ridden on empty rural roads, MUPs, heavy urban traffic, bike lanes, bike trails, etc. I would say my preference is a low traffic PAVED rural road, heavy urban traffic, an unpaved rural road, bike lane, bike trail, MUP. Yes I would prefer to take my road bike down a washboard rural gravel road, then on a MUP. MUPs are loaded with frustration, mostly in the form of meat pylons that you need to slalom around at .2 MPH because they are either too selfish or too stupid to be considerate of other path users, and step off the trail to yap.
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Old 07-01-11, 09:45 PM   #11
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Roads, in or out of towns, 99% of the time.
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Old 07-01-11, 11:44 PM   #12
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All country roads. All the time. The nearest path/bike facility is 25 miles away.

The scenery is usually beautiful...
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Old 07-01-11, 11:53 PM   #13
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I live just 6 miles from the South downs- a 100 mile ridge of offroad fun.If you lived that close to them- then your first bike would have been and MTB. The freedom of the countryside and the lack of motor vehicles just cannot be ignored.



Trails may be a bit rough and ready but great riding to be had.

But we all mature and locally we have a MUP called the "Cuckoo Trail". An old disused railway line that is part of the nationwide trails and is named after the Bird that inhabits the woods along the trail



Artistic touchs made along the trail aswell that enhance the enjoyment of all users.

But road riding is pretty safe over here now. Car drivers respect cyclists but there are still plenty of back roads to enjoy the scenery on.



So yes I do ride mainly on trails- Mups and road
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Old 07-02-11, 12:03 AM   #14
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Our bike paths (actually legally defined as roads without sidewalks, but used as sidewalks without roads) are clogged with four-across people who drive there any day it doesn't rain. They are just no fun to ride on. I only use them to get to shopping destinations. Add in the fact that they are not interconnected and only extend for a few miles, and they are really my least favorite place to ride.

Lucky for me, I have abundant moderate-traffic rural roads and some awesome BLM roads nearby. Today I went for a 150 mile spin and had one stretch of 60 miles and another of 40 miles where I didn't see any cars moving (a few RVs were parked along the rivers). The only knock on the BLM roads is that they overlayed the nice pavement with chipseal seven or eight years ago. However, that only knocks the experience down to 9.9 from 10.
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Old 07-02-11, 12:08 AM   #15
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Roads. Low traffic country roads much of the time. Busy intown roads some of the time. There aren't any mups where I live. When I ride in a place where they have them, like Atlanta, I ride the paths when traffic on the nearby roads is very heavy, but prefer to be on the roads when it is not so bad.
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Old 07-02-11, 05:15 AM   #16
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Rural roads ... no such luck. We are so spread out that rural roads is just another name for shortcuts. Since we can't build up, we build out and the housing developments are everywhere so people use the rural roads as shortcuts rather than drive on the primary roads making most rural roads into primary roads with less stops. I live in an area (mentioned above) that the road going near my house used to have a dozen cars on it at any given hour of any given day when I moved here 35 years ago. Since they have built up in the area to the east of me, it sometimes takes me 10 minutes in the morning before I find a spot open enough to get on the road to get to work at 6:30 am. It's pretty much that way all day because this road connects the interstate to the neighboring county and the housing developments to the east. It's a shame because this road has had a great bike path ever since I can remember. It's a 40 mph speed limit which in Florida means double it if there aren't any cops around. Since it also turns into a major street to the west and goes behind the University of South Florida, the daytime traffic is mostly college kids going to and from class. I've watched them swerve all over the place because they would rather text their friends than pay attention to their driving. Rural roads .... no thanks.

I agree that MUP's are congested with joggers and skaters and whatnot, but I only find that to be true early on the weekend mornings. I go to the park after work and, on most days, I'm the only one there. So, it's really not too bad.
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Old 07-02-11, 06:04 AM   #17
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At least 90% single track, the rest roads. I don't like mups. The several I've tried are too boring and/or too crowded with pedestrians who have no clue how to "share the road". The trails I use are multi-user as well with some including horse traffic. On the trails, multi user works mostly as those folks seem more cooperative. Horse encounters have been interesting and very friendly so far.

Sharing with horses works only where the soil is hard pack. In the softer soil of N Florida, the hooves tear up the trail and it'll make for an uncomfortable/aggravating ride. We are lucky that they keep horses and bikes separate there. In the mountains though, hoses damage the hard pack enough that the steep trails suffer serious erosion which makes cycling very challenging.

Rails to trails are too straight and too flat and become really boring.

We had great hopes for the r to t on prince Edward Island on one of our RV tours. It was a cinder trail which was fine as we were using pretty wide tires on the road bikes. Both sides were lined with very tall bushes. You had absolutely no views and was like riding in a green-lined tunnel though you could see the sky. We rode like 15 miles and went back to roads which were great with many along the water.

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Old 07-02-11, 06:23 AM   #18
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Both. The main thing here is the MUPs are for recreation, not transportation. So if you just want to get out and enjoy the day and aren't in a hurry the MUPs are pretty nice. But, if you actually want to get somewhere ride the roads.
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Old 07-02-11, 08:44 AM   #19
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Lincoln Ne has 125 miles of really nice hard surface trails in and around the city. I ride these trails about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time is spent on rural roads and hiways with shoulders. There is also hundreds of miles of out of town trails here in Nebr, and over in Iowa. These out of town trails are mainly crushed rock. While I could ride my bent on them I dont like to because of the dirt and dust. They are for my mountain bike.
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Old 07-02-11, 10:43 AM   #20
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Roads. Always. I am not fond of MUP's and find them of little use. My typical rides start and end with 10 minutes of city roads then it changes to this:

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Old 07-02-11, 11:01 AM   #21
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I'm a bit like TSL in that I use both to commute. I ride recreational on both. When I go to an MUP I ride the bike to get there. Where I live the trick is to find less traveled routes. Over 350,000 cars go in and out of Philadelphia every day. I live near the "Golden Triangle" (intersection of three of the major highways headed to Philly). Finding less traveled routes is a necessity.
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Old 07-02-11, 11:41 AM   #22
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I'm in transition...

I just bought my bike in April. For the first two months I rode exclusively on the local MUP while I built my riding skills and confidence. However, I found that riding on the trail is often an exercise in frustration, for all of the reasons mentioned by other posters in this thread.

As of last weekend, I've started riding on the roads. I live in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pa., and many of the local roads can get quite a bit of traffic during certain times. I have carefully plotted my routes to quickly get me on more rural roads with less traffic, and so far I been riding very early in the morning which reduces the car traffic even more. I will continue following this strategy as I build my skills, confidence, and endurance even more. So far, I like riding on the roads quite a bit more than the MUP.
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Old 07-02-11, 12:36 PM   #23
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Public roads out of my house. I don't like transporting the road bike. I don't/won't do urban riding.
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Old 07-02-11, 01:03 PM   #24
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Most of the year/work: We have a fairly extensive MUP system, currently being resurfaced (badly needed), most all of which runs right along the river.
However, as others have said, one has to be 'dawdling along' for it to be any real fun; otherwise, an exercise in frustration.
So, I use it when I know it will not be busy, else am on the roads (urban and countryside) ... let's say 20% MUP/80% road (road bike).

Summer/'away': (province of New Brunswick, on Fundy coast) ... country roads (dirt/gravel), singletrack about 5 minutes from the door; entrance to Fundy trail about 20 minutes away. MTB all the way (my 'real' cycling passion)
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Old 07-02-11, 01:29 PM   #25
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Where do I ride? Roads, MUP, and bike lanes. I live at the purple spot on the map. How can I get out without riding on a road?
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