You gonna eat that?
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas Church of Hopeful Uncertainty
Bikes: 1966 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, 1973 Schwinn Varsity, 1983 Raleigh Marathon, 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS
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Getting more comfortable with VC
When I started riding again early last year I was a total sidewalk ****. Then I graduated to gutter bunny, then I started to take the lane when it seemed to make sense. But I still tend to take the neighborhood roads to avoid traffic.
Recently I've started to just go where I need to go, regardless of traffic. Take the lane. Go for it. My office is on a very busy street with three lanes each way and lots of merges and stuff. I could avoid it, but the last few commutes I just went for it- right up the gut, so to speak. Today I rode the busy streets for a few miles, then started to cut through a neighborhood. I made a wrong turn and ended up out on one of the busy streets again, in the middle of a retail district with lots of right-turn-only lanes, etc. I thought about turning around and trying to find the turn I missed but decided instead to press on. I passed through a green light and saw a friend in her car, waiting to make the right turn onto the road I was on from the side street. She rolled down her window and said "hi!" I nodded back and pressed on.
A pickup truck was behind me, then changed lanes to pass. As he did so, he honked and I looked over, half expecting a rude gesture, but instead he waved and gave me a thumbs up. About a half mile after that I had to merge two lanes over to make a left turn. I watched as cars whizzed by at 40, but as we approached the light, they had to slow a bit. I waited for one more car to pass on my left, then emphatically pointed to the lane and just took it. No honks, no threats. I made the other lane change into the turn lane and the car I had moved in front of to take the first lane just eased on by me.
I was following traffic law, signaling, all that, and it worked. Riding in traffic can be a delightful experience. I'm still surprised when I navigate through traffic, how accommodating the motorists are. I think the fact that it's 100 degrees and they can't imagine riding out in this weather gives them a little empathy toward this poor, poor cyclist. Little do they know how much fun I'm having.
I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.
Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."