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  1. #1
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Personal: Why, at 74yo, I ride almost entirely M U P S

    I have been reading the threads on bicycle/vehicle accidents and injuries (some critical).

    I Have a son who was not as lucky as some of these folks in that his injury from a common sports activity resulted in total paralysis from the neck down, and another son (with profound developmental disabilities) who became paralyzed due to undiagnosed osteoporosis and a fall. I am aware of what the terrible personal and financial costs are when one becomes paralyzed. A few years back a well-known 41 rider (Sydney) who lives nearby and is our age was killed by a car.

    So, several years ago I did - what to me - was a fair amount of research on the comparison of serious, critical and death rates between road cycling and MUP cycling. My conclusion was that while more accidents occur on MUPS, serious, critical and deadly accidents mostly happen on roads. The MUP accidents are generally minor or medium. Given my continuing very significant family responsibilities, I have no business exposing myself to any more serious danger than I need to, while at the same time I want to have fitness activities that keep me in shape and that are appealing to me and that I will and can do. Bicycling, walking, swimming and resistance training fit the bill.

    So, I ride MUPS almost exclusively. BUT, I must note that the MUPS I ride are excellent in quality, generally very uncrowded, scenic, allow for long distances without any (or few) interruptions. I did a 30 mile ride yesterday with crossing only one street - and that was to get to 24 Hour Fitness for a swim in the middle of the ride. Our MUPS also take one where one might want to go. Banks, town hall, restaurants, supermarkets. cultural and recreation center, etc. All are on a MUP.

    In a few months, with one connector being finished as I type, I will be able to ride one-way for 70-100 miles with no stops for streets.

    Yes, I do ride on streets at times - chosen carefully, and do this infrequently.

    A personal decision, made even more possible by my circumstances (a house deliberately chosen 1/2 mile from the trail, with a connector running behind my house).

    How are these MUPS and open spaces paid for?

    Much is paid for by our lottery profits, which are totally dedicated to trails and open space and the like. This was a decision of the voters of Colorado.

    "Profits are distributed to organizations charged with issuing Lottery funds to improve and support parks, recreation, open space, conservation education and wildlife projects. Our partners in this mission include Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Conservation Trust Fund, and the Colorado Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation.

    Also, almost all of our cities/counties voters have additionally passed significant open space and trails tax levies. IOW, they WANT these trails and open space.

    Colorado is one of the fittest and slimmest states in the country. The interest in fitness here is exhilerating. I go out on those MUPS and pass and get passed by individuals, including women, who also jog and walk. It is amazing to me. Also, with rare exception, our walkers, joggers and bicyclists are courteous and follow basic MUP safety tactics.

    Typical MUP in my area:



    OK, that is my personal story about why I ride where I ride.

    What's yours?
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-25-14 at 07:13 AM.

  2. #2
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    I happen to live in NW Indiana and have the benefit of many country roads which are in fine shape. I use a rear view mirror and I have lights which I use at dusk and dawn. We also have some pretty good paved trails (reclaimed from old RR routes) in the area and many county parks which also have paved trails. Aside from falls occurring of my own fault, no incidents yet. We will see how things go with my new road bike.

  3. #3
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    First, a point of clarification. To me at least, MUPs are paths in which bicycles and pedestrians are both permitted. Bike paths are paths which allow only bikes.

    1. I do a lot of riding on MUPs and bike paths ... probably 80% of my daily commute (5000 miles a year) is on them. Only a short section (3 miles or so) of my daily commute involves a MUP, the rest of my commute (~12 miles) involve bike paths where there are few if any pedestrians. The remaining 2 miles are on quiet side streets.

    2. I do a lot of riding on roads and highways ... also about 5000 miles a year. Those roads and highways on rural roads and typically have very light traffic and good shoulders.

    I agree with you. I believe the chance of a crash is higher on a MUP than on a road or highway. But like you, I think injuries resulting from MUP crashes are typically less severe than those from roadway crashes (lower speeds and no auto involvement).

    But until they have bike paths in the mountains, I ain't giving that up.

    Heck ... now that I think about it, I do know of a few MUPs on mountainous roads, and I avoid them. The few I am aware of are too narrow for the kind of speeds cyclists can attain going downhill. I consider them MORE dangerous than the adjacent roadway.
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  4. #4
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    You wrote:

    First, a point of clarification. To me at least, MUPs are paths in which bicycles and pedestrians are both permitted. Bike paths are paths which allow only bikes.

    I had written:

    " Also, with rare exception, our walkers, joggers and bicyclists are courteous and follow basic MUP safety tactics."

    I was discussing MUPS, not bicycle paths.

    Concerning MUPS in the mountains:

    We have hundreds of miles of MUPS in our mountains. In some places, through narrow passes, you MUST take a MUP from place-to-place. I.e., Vail Pass. Many of these are used heavily - in fact, for me, too heavily by inexperienced out-of-town Colorado visitors. I don't ride them. However, we have lots of passes without, also - in fact, most do not have MUPS.

    Last week my wife and I rode on the 40 mile Rio Grande Trail - Glenwood Springs to Aspen, little used, and complete with a bear!
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-24-14 at 06:51 PM.

  5. #5
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post

    I was discussing MUPS, not bicycle paths.

    Gotcha.
    Proud parent of a happy inner child ...
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post

    Last week my wife and I rode on the 40 mile Rio Grande Trail - Glenwood Springs to Aspen, little used, and complete with a bear!
    I've done that ride- is that great little sandwich/pizza joint still there at the Aspen end?

    We have lots of good backroads here. And I find myself driving 40 miles the the neighboring county to use the MUPs. Why? No leash laws in my county. It's just too freaking tiring to deal with the dogs...
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  7. #7
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dellphinus View Post
    I've done that ride- is that great little sandwich/pizza joint still there at the Aspen end?
    Woody's Tavern?

  8. #8
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    We have good roads for riding here. I stay off MUPs as much as possible. They terrify me. No one I know has died on a MUP but we've had some severe injuries. I'm as much or more worried about me hurting someone else as getting hurt myself. I had someone walk out of a side trail right in front of me, pushing a baby carriage. Didn't even look. Everyone's going 5 mph, right?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Woody's Tavern?
    I checked Google Maps- I think it's now Sabra's Deli. Wasn't then. It was just off of or near the end of Puppy Smith.
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  10. #10
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    Some of my riding, about 7000 miles per year, is done for those local things that most Americans use their cars for (shopping, entertainment, commuting and such). When a bike path is available and at all reasonable to use, I'll use it. My standard for reasonable is pretty low. I'll happily triple the distance ridden to avoid lousy roads; this is often necessary since our bike paths aren't well placed or well built.

    Another 7-12,000 miles per year is for the pure joy of riding. This is done almost exclusively on the road, mostly suburban and rural highways and some forest service roads. Actually, some of this riding is also done in lieu of driving, but since I call it a tour it seems like pure joy to me.

    I do pick my time and route to minimize the number of poor motorists I have to deal with. It's not unusual to ride fifty miles and have five to ten cars pass me or to ride 150 miles and have twenty cars go by. I do love the nice lights that are available these days since the best time to ride, if you like to avoid traffic, are those golden hours between the landing of the drunks and the launching of the commuters.

    I will say that I did less joy riding during the years my son was dependent on me and my wife and I only recently restarted riding our tandem extensively. For many years, the risk of both of us being wiped out at once was just not worth taking, vanishingly small though that risk is. It is nice to be in a place in my life where I can simply vanquish fear of rare bad events and go out and enjoy what I enjoy.

  11. #11
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    I do quite a bit of MUP riding when I ride (catching up on home improvements lately). We have a pretty handy one up here and I live at the halfway point where I can do about 20 miles, one way, either direction. It does have a couple of detours to the streets though (one each way). And I have to hit the streets and roads for most of my 60-70 mile rides. But I sure take lots of advantage of that network of MUPs up here. That's one reason I picked my home location.

    Unlike the roadways, MUPs are more often as dangerous as you care to make them. If you want to speed around blind turns, past strolling pedestrians, weaving little kids on bicycles or dogs on long leashes (or none at all) then your chances for collisions are still in your own hands.
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

  12. #12
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    Mr. Fox, you have sound reasons for choosing to ride MUPs, and some choice MUPs on which to ride. You are fortunate to live in that area. For a time I lived in Boulder and biked to work mostly by path. The picture seems familiar to me.

    Since you asked, I choose to ride roads almost exclusively. I prefer to ride at a moderate pace, which I feel is discourteous and unsafe on the busy MUPs where I live now. On the road, however, I am seldom capable of an unsafe speed. Unfortunately I have to agree with you that the risks of serious injury are in fact greater on the road vs. MUP. I do worry about that. It's a dilemma. I should add that when I do find myself on an MUP I go slow and exercise caution.
    I.C.

  13. #13
    Senior Member yote223's Avatar
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    20 yrs.in the Military taught me to "Prepare for Anything" and "Plan for the Unexpected". Just getting out of bed in the morning is the biggest risk that we all take. Any one of a million things can take you out. There is no sense living in the fear of "What If". Just go with a "Heads-Up" attitude, be aware, and be ready to take on whatever is thrown at you. Adapt and overcome.
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  14. #14
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    In the town where I work there is a couple short MUPS in a liner park aboiut 5 miles total, it is winding through a tree belt along a creek, it is crowded with pedestrians, rollerbladers, kids on huffys, skateboards, fat chicks on BSO's struggling along, moms pushing baby carriages, old folks meandering along wondering side to side to see the views of the park, toddlers chasing squirrels, squirrels chasing toddlers, dogs chasing toddlers and squirrels, why the hell would I wanna ride on that?

    My riding is all roadway, mainly thoroughfares in town with two lanes going one direction, no along street parking or country roads from barely wide enough for two vehicles to wide with nice shoulders.

  15. #15
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    Our local MUPs are horrible, often crossing driveways and poorly maintained. Families walk dogs off leash and they are typically next to a road with a decent shoulder. The only time I ride on a MUP is when I ride with a person who is uncomfortable on the road. Even when I visit a city with a good MUP I'll typically prefer road riding as long as there is a decent shoulder but I'm not even too picky about that. During my life I've tended to engage in highly risk sports (solo scuba diving, hang gliding, solo ocean kayaking...). I'm fearful of being hurt badly but have no fear of death. I enjoy the challenge of hills and the diversity of road riding so it's what I will do. In the past I've paid a price or two for my willingness to take risks and respect anyone who chooses to minimize the risks in their life.
    Alaskans for global warming.

  16. #16
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    I guess this is OT. Two years ago the residents of Calhoun County, Illinois voted down a proposal to add a bike lane to the main road in the county. They specifically don't like bikes there. I'm glad I moved. I now live in a close by county that has an extensive system of bike trails. It is fantastic.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

  17. #17
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    I'm much pickier as I get older where I enjoy riding too. I live in an urban area and at this point I don't have enough time or endurance to ride out side the city. We have segmented MUPS here with separate walking lanes painted on the side or narrower paths that have grass between the wheeled and the walking. When they're not overcrowded I prefer them to most street riding if only because you don't have the noise as well as danger of motor vehicles. In off peak times they are just wonderful.

    We also have on street painted lanes of various kinds. The major north central north and south one way streets in Minneapolis have some of the best of that lot, which largely run outside the door zone. The streets speed limit was lowered to 30 MPH, but many drivers still drive it 35 to 40 sprinting to make the traffic lights or just to save 30 seconds on their trip. Moving across two lanes of that to make a turn decreases my fun, but again is traffic is lighter this kind of riding is OK. Even so I'll often take parallel side streets to this because they're quieter.

    But there are streets I used to ride regularly in my younger days that I avoid mostly now. Busy streets with no bike lanes and harried drivers just no fun. It was easier to take the lane and ride close with traffic speed when I was in my 20s! But if need to take streets to complete my journey I do. Life is risk, and I'm choosing to spend some of my risk because I enjoy riding my bike and I live were I live.

    Because I ride to get places and to do things as well for the fun of it, I need to mix streets, bike lanes and MUPs. I choose routes based on what will make the ride the most fun. Sounds like you take the similar criteria in your situation and apply them in a way that lets you enjoy riding. Nothing wrong with that.

  18. #18
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    You couldn't pay me to live in the city. Where I live, I can ride 30 miles on the trail and see 2 other people. Or I could ride on my country roads and never see a single car in 30 miles.
    Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!

  19. #19
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    When riding alone I prefer the Mup but if there is a group I like riding on the road. I will do either but those are my preferences.

  20. #20
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Then there's someone like myself, in order to get to one of our local MUPs or quiet back roads, there's several miles of urban streets and traffic that I have to negotiate with. I've mentioned this many times, in all my years of riding bicycles, I've never hit or have been hit by a motor vehicle.

  21. #21
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    i stay off the one popular MUP in our town, as it is not very long, and has high pedestrian use. Another nearby MUP - the Ironhorse trail seems to cross a road every quarter mile. The one ride I have had on the American River MUP was a joy - not very many road crossings and pedestrians and cyclists that really understood and followed the rules of the road.


    Regarding Dnvr's points about the general health of Coloradoans, there is a book about that: http://www.amazon.com/State-Slim-Met...olorado+health

  22. #22
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    I get where you're coming from, and I respect that. I choose to ride on the roads, and use Bike Paths when available and convenient. I try to be safe, while acknowledging that driving is safer than cycling. Consider also that Flying in a commercial jet is safer than driving. Does that make people flock away from driving? No.

    The fact that I am increasing the odds of getting killed by riding a bike on the streets does not equate to a certainty that I will. I increase my odds of survival by riding smart, and defensively, and taking bike paths where available and convenient.

    I have a history of heart disease, and getting off the bike carries risks also. For me to stay focused on working the cycling into my life, it has to be largely part of my day to day transportation. Putting the bike in the car to go to the nearest MUP (5 mile drive, 8 mile MUP end to end) every weekend is not something I think I would keep motivated to do.

    EDIT This is a typical daily commute. Bike Ride Profile | 9 miles near Irvine | Times and Records | Strava. It is wide bike lane for the first 1.7 mile, then I hit the Bike Path. I leave the Bike Path at mile 7.5 for another 1.2 miles of bike lanes with only one hazardous spot, where it crosses a freeway on ramp. I approach this, turn to look for traffic, signal as if to make a left lane change and go for it. Often there is no oncoming traffic. This is an unintended benefit of signal timing. If there is, I make eye contact and they usually let me go. I have been right crossed a couple of times, but am always prepared for it.
    Last edited by CommuteCommando; 07-25-14 at 11:35 AM.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  23. #23
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    I live where there are a number of MUPs(within a couple blocks) and many streets with bike lanes. At 76 though I prefer riding on the streets and roads as I feel more relaxed there than on a MUP. I do agree with the OP that the road accidents tend to be more serious and even fatal than those on the MUPs. And yes I have been hit by a car on a bicycle and hospitalized.

  24. #24
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    MUPS in Colorado rule. If I lived there, I might ride on the road only to get to the MUPS. Cycling heaven, I tell you.

  25. #25
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    MUPS in Colorado rule. If I lived there, I might ride on the road only to get to the MUPS. Cycling heaven, I tell you.
    Oh, Mr. Dudel, I have been waiting for and anticipating your reply!!




    TWL reigns.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-25-14 at 12:05 PM.

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