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Old 11-14-04, 05:40 PM   #1
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The Joys of Urban Cycling!

Hey there,

I've been an urban cyclist for about 15 years, first in Toronto and now, Chicago. (I'm trying to see how far I'm can go without ever owning a car!) After nearly getting wiped out last week by a car running a red on Lakeshore Drive in Chicago (think interstate highway with a set of lights that allows pedestrians/cyclists to access the lakeshore bike path), I've been feeling a little less intrepid lately. I've been harassed (as a cyclist and as a woman cyclist) by pedestrians throwing sticks in my wheels, guys reaching out of car windows to pinch my butt, motorists throwing beer bottles at my head, and SUV drivers wanting to engage in fistfights (along with suffering more than a few dumb wipe outs), but for some reason this last experience has left me a little shakey in traffic--a liability to any urban cyclist. So...
as I head into my umpteenth season of winter biking with a little less enthusiasm than in previous years, I thought I'd join the forum to gain some of that enthusiasm back.

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Old 11-14-04, 06:13 PM   #2
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Compared to Canadians, Chicagoans are brutes.
Peter Wang, LCI
Houston, TX USA
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Old 11-14-04, 07:03 PM   #3
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Hang in there, from a fellow Chicagoan that has seen just about everything. And P.S.-stop at Walgreens and pick up some mace for the guys who just won't leave you alone when they pass you in a car. Nothing like a little mace in the face to give you a big, ole smile.

I live downtown, at Navy Pier, so I don't have a choice- I have to fight bad traffic all the time. So I totally know what you're talking about. Keep riding, keep your eyes open for any dangers, ride with some caution, and you may find that you'll have an easier time of it. I also went through the whole withdrawal from riding thing after some bad incidents in traffic, but after building up some confidence, I was able to resume riding on the roads. Just find a way of riding within your comfort zone, and when you do ride within your zone, you'll find more confidence to ride in the streets.

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