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Old 10-31-11, 12:00 PM   #1
karjak
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How important is viewing scenery on your rides?

Quote Taken from the introduction to Road Cycling post category on bike forums:

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” Ernest Hemingway.

I know many of us in our our age bracket myself included, still like to go at a fast pace on our rides, often in groups and sometimes competing in race or TT events. If one can categorize what is most important on our rides how does viewing the countryside fit into your rankings when you ride?

To experience and feel the environment seems to be a large reason why some make the investment to get out in the elements to ride. I know that “road cycling” per se often means pacelineing at a high speed with more emphasis on tunneling our views directly on the pavement and riders ahead. So is it the thrill of speed that is more important to most? Any changes for older riders in what constitutes why you ride?
In a recent thread on bentrideronlne, the OP talks about the newness of things on his recent acquisition of a recumbent (my response included).

http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...61107#poststop

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeWizMan "I've been riding my recumbent for about a month now and I really like it. I am sold on the many aspects of recumbent riding vs. DF riding. For instance, the lack of physical pain in my neck and butt, the positive responses from the motoring public, and the increased stability of having a lower center of gravity. But, the thing that is impressing me the most right now is the view. I never realized what I was missing when riding my DF bikes. Now, I am appreciating the sky, birds, fall colors, and lake views rather than just noticing concrete and asphalt characteristics. It's a beautiful thing!"

Response:
In the article Bicycling magazine did on recumbents a few years ago this was also highlighted.

July 2006 issue, excerpts from article by author who particpated in Midwest Recumbent Rally in Wisconisn and given an opportunity to ride a HiRacer recumbent:

.................................................. .............
"The last day of the rally stretches the limits. The 50-mile Super Tour would be the true test of how a recumbent performed on the kind of ride upright riders would see as a stiff challenge. Garthus was escorting me personally. We pedaled through farmland and rolling hills, and were soon on the kinds of country lanes that, to cyclists, represent blissful, gauzy perfection.
It seemed even more ideal on a recumbent. The reclining position was a revelation, not so much for comfort, but for the views. Sitting back and tilted slightly up, I felt like I was pedaling in widescreen. I looked down at the bike computer and was surprised to see we were riding at a solid 25 mph"..............

Does hearing such reports make this a priority for some to put on a bucket list? I myself really don’t understand why the popularity of bents hasn’t kicked in a little higher, not only among seniors but riders as a whole.

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Old 10-31-11, 12:17 PM   #2
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'bent's are a PITA, in my opinion. Too slow up the hills, visibility for the rider (except for the sky) too poor, insufficiently visible to other vehicles in traffic. If you have a bad back and are forced to use one, fine - it's better than not riding. But there's no way I'd ride one for choice.

On the wider question, the answer, as usual is " it depends". Sometimes I ride hard for fun, sometimes I am training, sometimes I am using the bike for transportation, sometimes I am touring or just cruising around. Bt the scenery stuff is just as accessible - perhaps more so - by hiking rather than cycling, so the question is why do I ride rather than walk? The answer lies in the sheer physicality of the cycling, the rhythms of it, the fact that I zen out and am conscious, sometimes, of nothing beyond my sensations. A bit like sex, really. The scenery is unimportant in either activity.
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Old 10-31-11, 12:33 PM   #3
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Scenery is very important to me. If I only had to go out and ride boring city streets, I'd quit riding and get my exercise some other way. I do my riding in parks and wooded areas.
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Old 10-31-11, 12:40 PM   #4
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Scenery is important to me, but if I had to choose, I'd take a fast peloton. Fortunately, there is no need to choose. Staying in racing shape requires long hours of easy base riding, when it is easier to enjoy the surroundings. While seeing wildlife when out in the boonies is the best, I also enjoy getting a feel for the urban neighborhoods - being in contact with the sights and smells.
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Old 10-31-11, 12:46 PM   #5
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If I'm not staring at the road 10 feet in front of me, I'm wasting my life.




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Old 10-31-11, 12:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
'bent's are a PITA, in my opinion. Too slow up the hills, visibility for the rider (except for the sky) too poor, insufficiently visible to other vehicles in traffic. If you have a bad back and are forced to use one, fine - it's better than not riding. But there's no way I'd ride one for choice.
After thousands of miles on a recumbent in can report that rider visibility is downright excellent. Other vehicles see me just fine. I enjoy being the first of a mixed DF and bent group to the top of the hills. I enjoy a variety of bikes and find very little of this opinionated ignorance in my fellow riders.
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Old 10-31-11, 12:56 PM   #7
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I ride alone on the road most of the time and find that being hyper-vigilant is a very important aspect of staying safe and alive. That vigilance actually works very well for being aware of your surroundings, and the scenary is a big part of that in rural areas. If I had to only ride with my front wheel tucked under another rider's seat, and my eyes focused on the ten feet in front of me, I would stay in the woods on my mountain bike.
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Old 10-31-11, 01:00 PM   #8
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Scenery is a primary draw for me. Even back when I raced I'd stop to look at a beautiful view.
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Old 10-31-11, 01:09 PM   #9
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Scenery - ++++++++++++++++

Fellow folks and interaction with them +++++++++++++++

I have my bars set so that I CAN SEE.
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Old 10-31-11, 01:12 PM   #10
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After thousands of miles on a recumbent in can report that rider visibility is downright excellent.
Manifestly untrue. If your head is two feet from the pavement, it is clearly impossible that you should have the sight lines of someone whose head is four feet higher.

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Other vehicles see me just fine.
If so, you must either haul a flag or ride in open countryside with little traffic. As a driver, I can tell you that 'bents are pretty difficult to spot in urban environments.

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I enjoy being the first of a mixed DF and bent group to the top of the hills.
Well, good for you. Either you are very fit, or they aren't, or both. Recumbents are demonstrably slower up hills.

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I enjoy a variety of bikes and find very little of this opinionated ignorance in my fellow riders.
I enjoy a variety of bikes and find very little of these thin-skinned pretentious hissy-fits in my fellow riders.
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Old 10-31-11, 01:40 PM   #11
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Most of my riding is on rural roads and I very much enjoy viewing the sometimes breathtakingly beautiful scenery. I sometimes ride in small pacelines to conserve enegy on long rides, but even then I take note of the surroundings. I rarely ride in pacelines so focused on speed that looking around is not advisable. I do enjoy doing that on those rare occasions, but have no desire to do it more often. Mostly I like to see what there is to see.

This might be an interesting topic if it doesn't deteriorate into another stupid upright bikes vs. recumbents debate.
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Old 10-31-11, 02:07 PM   #12
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Most of my riding is on rural roads and I very much enjoy viewing the sometimes breathtakingly beautiful scenery. I sometimes ride in small pacelines to conserve enegy on long rides, but even then I take note of the surroundings. I rarely ride in pacelines so focused on speed that looking around is not advisable. I do enjoy doing that on those rare occasions, but have no desire to do it more often. Mostly I like to see what there is to see.

This might be an interesting topic if it doesn't deteriorate into another stupid upright bikes vs. recumbents debate.
+1 on all points.

The thing I enjoy most about experiencing the environment by bike is when my wife and I visit new interesting places and meet interesting people. Speed is fun, but mostly to the extent that we travel fast enough to get to the next place to stay safely and comfortably.
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Old 10-31-11, 02:09 PM   #13
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I have decided that the bicycle is the photographers dream platform. A bicycle CAN travel fast enough to cover quite a bit of ground, but slow enough that you can actually see stuff as you go by it. For the camera, I usually take the Norco, it's got aggressive enough tires on it now, that I can off road, although I rarely do, it's got a rack on it, so I can put the camera in a pannier. The number of times, I have done a full brake to photograph something can make two hours of saddle time into a 5 hour tour. I really want one of the new pocket digital cameras so I can just toss the camera into the under saddle bag and just have it.....
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Old 10-31-11, 02:10 PM   #14
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I drive a car all day long and it is to get from A to B. All I worry about is how late am I and what the other road users are doing.

Private life I don't drive. I let other people drive me- usually round the bend with their poor driving standards but sitting in the passenger seat I see things I cannot when driving. That view of the countryside improves when I am out walking- which I don't do a great deal--------- OR cycling.

Walking is a big deal for me as the knees have given up the ghost but cycling doesn't bother me. Last Sunday I went out with a few mates and the pace was a bit fast in places. Everyone takes their own pace uphills and to me they are one of the better parts of a ride. I push myself to my limit and no more. Faster than some and slower than quite a few. But hills are where I am going to get my body workout that keeps me fitter than a lot of my neighbours and friends. So I do enjoy getting out on a ride and building up a sweat. I also enjoy the thrill of fast downhills but that is just me.

However it is the bits in between the uphills and the downhills that I seem to want to do other things than other riders. I keep a sensible pace up but the speed some riders go at is not enjoyable. Last Sundays ride took in a lot of elevation- both up and down and I enjoyed the buzz of getting tired- or keeping my wits about me on the slippery surface downhill. But once on the flat it was paceline time. No chance to look around- no chance to view the different scenery to what I normally ride on and no chance to recoup energy for the next hill. So 10 miles from the end and I told the others that I was cutting short. I took a shortcut back to the car and slowed down to what I call a sensible pace. I saw the wildlife at the side of the road- I saw the different plants that are up in the forest to what I am used to and I stopped and watched a couple of young stags practicing for the rutting season that they will be able to participate in in a few years time. That last 8 miles of the ride were enjoyable. Still had a hill-Still kept up a reasonable pace but at that lower pace I saw things I would never see if I had stayed with the others.

I do view the scenery but at the same time I manage to retain the fitness I had 20 years ago before cycling took a hold on my life.
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Old 10-31-11, 02:12 PM   #15
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Even when in a fast paceline or peloton, fixating on what's right in front of you is a bad idea. You need to be looking at what's happening further up the road, and gauging your proximity to the wheel in front of you without staring at it. Watching what is off to the side, though, isn't quite as easy. Nor is stopping, but I think I've only stopped just to watch something once, when I came across a hunting Peregrine falcon just as she went after something on the ground.
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Old 10-31-11, 02:49 PM   #16
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For me, the number one consideration in choosing a route is scenery. I go where I think I would like the visual environment most on any given ride. As for recumbents, too low, too hard to get up hills, too hard to be seen by cars for my tastes. I'm perfectly happy cruising along on my road bike, touring bike, or single speed bike taking in the sights, using muscle power, and getting some cardiovascular exercise.
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Old 10-31-11, 02:54 PM   #17
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Not very important. I ride for exercise. If I want to see a view, I will take the car somewhere.
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Old 10-31-11, 03:01 PM   #18
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This is one of those things I can’t seem to change about myself. I try very hard to relax and enjoy the scenery but I just can’t maintain that approach. The need to push, ride hard and ride fast is a more overwhelming urge for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like riding in pretty country, I live in beautiful country, it is just that once I’m in the ride, well, I’m into the workout not the scenery.
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Old 10-31-11, 03:32 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
Most of my riding is on rural roads and I very much enjoy viewing the sometimes breathtakingly beautiful scenery. I sometimes ride in small pacelines to conserve enegy on long rides, but even then I take note of the surroundings. I rarely ride in pacelines so focused on speed that looking around is not advisable. I do enjoy doing that on those rare occasions, but have no desire to do it more often. Mostly I like to see what there is to see.

This might be an interesting topic if it doesn't deteriorate into another stupid upright bikes vs. recumbents debate.
Yes,

I felt a little hesitant about posting it because of what might happen. Just got back from a glorious self supported 5 day tour in the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota. Did about 22,000 feet of climbing. Was prompted to post after reading a longtime DF cyclist viewing experience in first month of riding recumbent. Reminded me of what was written in Bicycling Magazine article.

I do in fact ride both a LowRacer and HiRacer recumbent. Both bikes are very fast and have done time tirals and races with both. Also have experienced many fast pacelined rides with friends on uprights ( I like to feel like a roadie too). The thing is though, they really do offer an excellent option as just a leisure-type look as you go sightseeing bike. Able to ride fast, efficient and comfortably while taking in the scenes around you.

One of the things that really made sense to me and was posted online by an upright rider on one of those stupid upright/bent debates is, that people sometimes like the more aggressive positioning of riding on an upright. Maybe with age one might loose a little aggressivness and just want to kick back and view the roses (actually one can be aggressive riding supine). Anyway it's an option for those who haven't tried and maybe something older riders want to experience. I sometimes cringe as to what is said about recumbents. Some of which might be true. Fact is a lot of people do go to them for physical reasons and this seems to carry a stigma for some people to ever try one out.



Need to do more of this type of scenic riding. Turning 65 next month.


LowRacer not for everyone but this one trasformed easily to touring bike. A HiRacer probably offers one of the best viewing platforms - while also retaining comfort and speed.
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Old 10-31-11, 04:13 PM   #20
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Nice scenery. I couldn't care less about the type of bike.
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Old 10-31-11, 04:18 PM   #21
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Scenery is very important to me, even if it isn't a majestic mountain vista.

I have no desire to ride in a peleton because I really don't care how fast I can go just to be going fast. Arriving at my destination half an hour (of whatever) sooner won't make the ride any better. Unless I'm running from a thunderstorm, of course. Or trying to catch a train.
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Old 10-31-11, 04:38 PM   #22
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Arriving at my destination half an hour (of whatever) sooner won't make the ride any better. Unless I'm running from a thunderstorm, of course. Or trying to catch a train.
Riding fast isn't about the destination, it's about the journey. Just as it is when riding slow.
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Old 10-31-11, 04:45 PM   #23
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Manifestly untrue. If your head is two feet from the pavement, it is clearly impossible that you should have the sight lines of someone whose head is four feet higher.



If so, you must either haul a flag or ride in open countryside with little traffic. As a driver, I can tell you that 'bents are pretty difficult to spot in urban environments.



Well, good for you. Either you are very fit, or they aren't, or both. Recumbents are demonstrably slower up hills.


I enjoy a variety of bikes and find very little of these thin-skinned pretentious hissy-fits in my fellow riders.
Don't be a hater tater.

I'm grateful to have a loaner 'bent. Otherwise I'd be pretty much grounded.

I love quiet rural roads. I'll be interested to see how it is to ride a 'bent on one.

City riding, now that's a PITA.
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Old 10-31-11, 04:50 PM   #24
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Riding fast isn't about the destination, it's about the journey. Just as it is when riding slow.
Understood. However I don't trust myself to do the right thing in a crowd of bikes going fast, and I sure don't know whether to trust everyone else! It keeps me from relaxing and enjoying the scenery.
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Old 10-31-11, 05:01 PM   #25
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The aspect of the scenery that really brings me out aren't visual. It is the sounds and smells of the places I ride that speak to me. It's not that I don't enjoy the views of our mountains, hills, valleys, meadows, creeks, lakes, rivers, beaches and oceans, it's just that there is so much more to experiencing them than just seeing them. Seeing a beaver is just fine, but the rush of having one jump into a wide spot in the river twenty feet away in the dark as you ride by is much more memorable. I remember riding up Mt. Lassen several decades ago and feeling sorry for the folks in their cars because they couldn't hear the racket the insects were making.
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