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  1. #1
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    Biking Through Marginal Neighborhoods

    Hey there everyone. I go to high school in Oakland (for those of you that know it, Bishop O'Dowd) and I live in the bay-o-vista area of San Leandro. The route to school is under two miles, and next year when I have no ride, I'd like to ride my bike. My road bike is going to be nice, not the best, but it may still attract attention. How do I ride through a marginal neighborhood? Is there a way to do it whilst still being safe? I know there's a chance anything can happen, but my parents are not too fond of the idea.

  2. #2
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    My advice - don't ride the nice bike. Buy an old rigid mtb for $40 off of CL or build a beater out of an old steel frame and ride it instead. When it gets stolen or pulled out from under you, you won't be out much.

    As an aside - There are "marginal" neighborhoods, and there are "dangerous" ones. Not sure what yours is, but as a parent I gotta say I wouldn't be too exicted about my kid zipping to/from school through a bad part of town. But, at under two miles you might become king of the sprinters.
    Last edited by bigbossman; 02-02-10 at 06:21 PM.
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  3. #3
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    A couple of things:

    Is it possible to take a more round about route to avoid the marginal area? Sometimes a few blocks makes a huge difference.

    If you can't avoid it, act like you belong there but keep your head on a swivel and keep your pace up. And invest in tire liners.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  4. #4
    thompsonpost
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    Carry a "heater."

  5. #5
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Just get a beater rigid-frame MTB. Bad neighborhoods aren't really bad if the bike lanes aren't covered in broken glass, so the knobby tires will help.

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  6. #6
    Mashing towards happiness mellum76's Avatar
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    If you're riding through a sketchy neighborhood I'd go with the recommended beater bike technique. As an aside, though, the bike would be the last of my worries. I'd carry as little valuables, on your person, as possible: no cash, no credit cards, no cell phone.

    Come to think of it, you might as well skip that neighborhood alltogether.

  7. #7
    Lance Legweak HIPCHIP's Avatar
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    Contact the local police and ask them if there's neighborhoods you should avoid, and if there are ones that are safer.
    Check to see if UC Berkeley has a reclaimed bike store and grab an old bike from them for next to nothing.

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    Hmm, all reasonable recommendations. I might be down at the LBS tomorrow, maybe I'll ask if they have some alternate routes. I mean, I've heard of going on Skyline to Redwood as an alternate route, adding on 20 miles. Haha. The only reason I ask this is because next year our road team is getting going, so I'd like to do some after school rides with all of the guys.

  9. #9
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    South of Dutton you should be fine, north is where this get marginal. Stay off the main street such as 98th, Bancroft, and even MacArthur, Foothill parrallel the freeway is better than those previous mention. There's not a whole lot of residence street that can get to your High School unless you take those West of MacArthur and those are very questionable.

    The suggestion of a beater bike is very advisable. Even a nicer bike locked up at school is a greater target for theft. You mention road team, see what they have as suggestion for your route or of any safe lockable place if you elect to ride your nicer bike.
    "Difference between a well dressed cyclist riding a two wheeled bicycle and a badly dressed cyclist riding a Recumbent is only a-tire"
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  10. #10
    Too Fat for This Sport Diegomayra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
    The suggestion of a beater bike is very advisable. Even a nicer bike locked up at school is a greater target for theft. You mention road team, see what they have as suggestion for your route or of any safe lockable place if you elect to ride your nicer bike.
    Agreed, the main reason I do not ride my road bike to school or stores, the fear of bicycle theft is real. I wish I could lock up my wheels easier, they are so easy to remove.

  11. #11
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    Well, locking the bike is no issue. I know some seniors and juniors, so I can just shove it in their car. It's just getting there.

    Take the ramp onto I-580 W

    Take the Golf Links Rd exit toward 98th Ave

    Turn left at Golf Links Rd

    Take the 1st left onto 98th Ave

    Take the 2nd right onto Stearns Ave Destination will be on the right

    So this is the route I get from Google Maps. Obviously, I wouldn't get onto the freeway, but what do you guys think? Should I just try to carpool and stuff my bike in someone's car in the morning?
    Last edited by DRietz; 02-05-10 at 09:40 AM.

  12. #12
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    (post edited to delete personal info)
    Last edited by colleen c; 02-05-10 at 05:46 PM.
    "Difference between a well dressed cyclist riding a two wheeled bicycle and a badly dressed cyclist riding a Recumbent is only a-tire"
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Some people got their head so far up their butt such that the only thing they hear is muffle when trying to explain anything to them! I only wish they take it out sometimes to smell the roses.

  13. #13
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    And, obviously, ride like hell. It's a short route, so make it your morning sprint. Don't forget your helmet.
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  14. #14
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
    And, obviously, ride like hell. It's a short route, so make it your morning sprint. Don't forget your helmet.
    Yes, think of it as a Time Trial.

    DRietz, I noticed you posted specific detail route. I'm not sure if that's a totally good idea being that this forum can be seen by the public. If I'm not mistaken by your post, it seem as if you are a minor. Just for safety reason, you may want to edit the specific detail in your post and so will I. It's your call, but better be safe I think
    "Difference between a well dressed cyclist riding a two wheeled bicycle and a badly dressed cyclist riding a Recumbent is only a-tire"
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Some people got their head so far up their butt such that the only thing they hear is muffle when trying to explain anything to them! I only wish they take it out sometimes to smell the roses.

  15. #15
    Senior Member toytech's Avatar
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    unless you can stay above 580 I would pass, I live pretty close to the Oakland border in Broadmore, and I would not ride through that area. It can be pretty sketchy under the best of conditions.
    "Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day."--Harry S. Truman

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
    Yes, think of it as a Time Trial.

    DRietz, I noticed you posted specific detail route. I'm not sure if that's a totally good idea being that this forum can be seen by the public. If I'm not mistaken by your post, it seem as if you are a minor. Just for safety reason, you may want to edit the specific detail in your post and so will I. It's your call, but better be safe I think
    Doy! Of course. Taken down. Thanks, Colleen.

    And yeah, it seems like I'll be picking up a beater, or just carpool to school with the racer in the back.

    Thanks again.

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