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Old 11-26-17, 04:33 PM   #1
SBcycling
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The biggest barrier I have to cycle commuting.

There's 1.5 miles from where I live, to the nearest footpath / cycle path. IF it wasn't for that narrow, "A" road (main road, heavy traffic) there would be no big, scary challenges to cycling everyday. Every other challenge has a simple solution such as the right gear, preparation etc. But this.. is the biggest barrier I have to cycle commuting.

It's a stretch of road, and I know many of you will laugh because it's so little distance, and perhaps not as bad as what you face daily.. but to me, it's a terrifying risk that I'd surely have to de-value my life to take. At least according to family and friends who live here.

I want you guys to take a look at the road I'm talking about. It's the main road from Dublin in Ireland to my city, Derry so there's a lot of traffic from lorries to everything else at all times. But in order for me to truly leave my front door, to get shopping , to uni or work, at the very least I need to face this road.

I've done it before a few times which was scary, but the road itself not a physically difficult one. It's quite flat ish.

MY problems: it's not very wide, cars and lorries go very fast, though straight at parts there's hidden dips and turns that speeding cars may not pay attention to and not see me...

Once I pass this, it's dedicated cycle path from then on. I don't need to share with cars and would feel safe. Even in the dark.

Would you guys be able to give me advice or words of wisdom about facing this? I hate the fact I am out of pocket owning a car, getting lazy and unhealthy and paying a premium to be stuck in traffic.. when I am 21 years old and currently in the position to physically cycle. I've dreamt of being a cyclist only since 2015 to much criticism of people telling me it's dangerous, silly in the winter and how I need a car if I want a decent job ..
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Old 11-26-17, 04:54 PM   #2
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When you are riding with traffic is the traffic in the opposite direction also congested? I ask because if the traffic if light going in one direction you can take the lane and force the traffic to cross the double stripes to pass you.

Taking the lane is about the only option you have. If the traffic laws in your area allow it then you are legally entitled to take the lane, forcing traffic to move over to pass you.

If you're not comfortable with that there's always that narrow patch of grass next to the road. If you're riding a MTB with wide tires you could ride on that. Again, it's only 1.5 miles, so you could get to know that patch of land pretty well to avoid ruts and holes.

Good luck!
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Old 11-26-17, 05:10 PM   #3
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How about that Duncastle road, is it any better? Might change make the 1.5 miles into 3 miles, but if it feels safer and can get you close enough to the cycle path maybe it's an option.
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Old 11-26-17, 05:15 PM   #4
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How about that Duncastle road, is it any better? Might change make the 1.5 miles into 3 miles, but if it feels safer and can get you close enough to the cycle path maybe it's an option.
That road would be fine, but it's got sharper bends and a steeper hill at the end, which I have tried, but struggling to get up the hill, PLUS having cars possible miss me around a bend whilst they speed (there's a lot of speeding on the 'B' back roads here too so I'm more scared of that road vs the main A5 road. But thanks for your reply
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Old 11-26-17, 05:20 PM   #5
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But this is the biggest barrier I have to cycle commuting.

It's a stretch of road, and I know many of you will laugh because it's so little distance, and perhaps not as bad as what you face daily.. but to me, it's a terrifying risk that I'd surely have to de-value my life to take.
I don't blame you for being skittish about that section of road.

Where I live (in the USA) there are a handful of pretty decent light- to moderate-traffic roads that have a bike lane. And then there are all other roads. Some of which are high-traffic suicide missions. Some of which have lower volumes of traffic, but where the road has bumps and curves and blind spots that can prove fatal to riders if the drivers don't drive in anticipation of finding riders on the same road.

Thankfully my commute involves only a single half-mile stretch on a bad and narrow road where drivers tend to be a bit clueless. The rest is only roads where visibility is great and/or a cycling MUP exists that can be taken. I count my blessings each day that it's so easy. Could be much, much worse.

What I do:
  • Wear an extremely visible DayGlo yellow jacket.
  • Wear an extremely reflective safety vest in addition.
  • Have multiple lights, reflective tape.
  • Choose the lighter-traffic roads whenever possible.
  • Choose the times of day when traffic is a bit less heavy, whenever possible.
  • And, with some roads, never go near them when on the bike, whenever it's clear that a road is a cyclist's death trap.

Last edited by Clyde1820; 11-27-17 at 03:10 AM. Reason: corrected quoted text block
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Old 11-26-17, 05:23 PM   #6
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I like the idea of riding on the grassy shoulder. I also wonder if getting a rear view mirror would help, so you aren't surprised by what's coming up behind you. You could even walk that stretch.
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Old 11-26-17, 05:23 PM   #7
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I'd say wear bright bright BRIGHT colors where they will see you and with time you get more comfortable being on the road. Here in the states ( where i live anyway) we have bike lanes. And in the event no bike lanes I'm in the normal car lane and they have to go slow because of me but i try to stay on the car in front of me rear bumper. And lastly its 1.5 miles thats so short just get some legs and for that 1.5 hammer down so you don't feel like you are slowing anyone down.
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Old 11-27-17, 02:02 AM   #8
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Would going to an ebike help? Some conversions can comfortably churn out 1500 watts, which is going to get you over 50 km/hr. It's more expensive than a "normal" bike, but it's cheaper than a car and you don't have to use the motor when you don't need it for safety.
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Old 11-27-17, 08:01 AM   #9
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I have a some roads I won't ride. Then there is a narrow road with limited shoulders I will ride. I use my glasses mounted take-a-look-mirror. If I see traffic coming up behind me I pull off and wit a few seconds for it to pass.

I pulled up the google map satellite view for your area and it is beautiful! The birds-eye view is even more incredible, and the street view is astounding...although it does show how narrow the roads are.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Du...6!4d-7.3561973
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Old 11-27-17, 08:50 AM   #10
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I guess my question is why you HAVE to go to whatever is at the end of that stretch of road. I don't know where you live and where you work, so it could be that simple. If the answer is shopping or restaurants or a movie theater, is there a bus or some other form of public transit that goes there? Even if you had to go into Newbuildings to get on the bus, getting there safely would be worth the slight detour.
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Old 11-27-17, 09:00 AM   #11
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If there is parking at the cycle path, drive the 1.5 miles and cycle the rest?
Is a bus an option for the 1.5 miles?
Iíve also noticed that if I ride the same time every day, motorists get to know I will be there and, if I respect them, they will respect me.
Would altering the time you ride a few minutes either way result in either lower traffic enough to be more comfortable or much heavier traffic, enough to slow everybody down a lot? I often prefer riding in heavy traffic if it slows it down enough that there isnít much or any speed differential.
Are there any locals you can consult with for a solution?
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Old 11-27-17, 10:23 AM   #12
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Traffic in Dublin Ireland is way out of anything I know about, but if the road were here, I think I'd ride it.
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Old 11-27-17, 10:41 AM   #13
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Could you drive to the trailhead, park, and ride from there? The analogous trail I ride on, I wouldn't count on my car to not be vandalized when I got back to it, if I did that, but maybe yours would be nicer?
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Old 11-27-17, 02:20 PM   #14
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I would at least give it a good try...with a powerful red flashing light. And beefier tires for going into the grass when necessary.

Last edited by mtb_addict; 11-27-17 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 11-27-17, 02:40 PM   #15
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It's a long-shot, but you could trying contact your government and express your desire for a safe commute. Even better if you can find other cyclists wanting to make that trip, or who you see already doing so. Since there's a dedicated bike path that just ends there, it wouldn't be outrageous to ask for it to be extended/connected. Maybe they'll just paint a sharrow on the stretch, maybe they'll pave the shoulders, maybe they'll flat out tell you to drive, but it wouldn't hurt to ask and find out.
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Old 11-27-17, 02:45 PM   #16
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I can't say for sure, but I'd probably give it a go with the appropriate lights and high-viz gear. Having said that, I'm of the belief that if you're THAT nervous about riding it, then by all means go around. You may need to go a long, long way around but in the end you will be safer and happier.

-Kedosto
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Old 11-27-17, 08:45 PM   #17
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Take the longer route. The hill WILL get easier and it won't take nearly as long as you'd think.
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Old 11-27-17, 11:49 PM   #18
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Yeah, I'd skip that one. No provision for anything but fast moving traffic. I imagine breakdowns cause jams too.

The Strava global heatmap is a good way to see what other people do in your area. It shows that people do it, but it looks like more people use the B48. The B48 also gets some runners whereas the A road gets NONE. Google Maps also shows it as "bicycle friendly" though I don't know why, the quality of the road looks no better.
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#14....94738/hot/ride
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Old 11-28-17, 11:57 AM   #19
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Mountain bike on the grass is also what I thought. Are there obstacles at other portions of the road? Before long you just might wear your own rut of singletrack!

I've heard of studded tires for snow, do they make scythed tires for grass?
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Old 11-28-17, 12:49 PM   #20
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Hi!

A-roads over here are quite tough, especially in the countryside.

Having said that, I find most people quite polite and willing to wait for you. That A5 isn't that bad unless there are hedges as well (would get that a lot at the Scottish borders on the A roads) or dips in the road that prevent people from seeing you.

I would NOT ride on the verge as a slight dip, which is common would cause you to correct and send you into the carriageway.

If you want to ride the A5, which you could do if it's mostly like that photo ...

1. Get a Hi-Vis backpack and vest.

2. Ride with the traffic (left side).

3. Ride about 18" / 45cm from the edge of the road.

4. People won't honk and in general will be polite.

5. Try to only ride during the light (not at night) ... lots of pubs make it more dangerous.

I would disregard nearly all of the information above as almost none of those people have lived in the British Isles and often live in Suburban America, which has it's own unique issues (guns and SUVs) that you won't see over here.

Good luck mate
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Old 11-28-17, 03:09 PM   #21
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Like the others, I would ride on the shoulder. I would not, however, want to ride it with 1.5" (38mm) or narrower tires. The 2.5" Extraterrestrials on my Surly Troll would eat it up, as would, of course, the 4" tires on my Borealis Yampa.
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Old 11-28-17, 03:24 PM   #22
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Do NOT ride on the shoulder. That's a horrible idea in Ireland. Ride on the street and people WILL respect you with Hi-Vis clothing on.

edit: Like I said before, most people posting have no experience with an "A" road. That verge is horrible. Hi-Vis backpack and vest with some text to draw the drivers attention.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?biw=....0.xnWE5QtpE0c

That LOMO one is quite good as you look like a worker (but actually moving!)

And ****, it's 30L and £32.99 RRP.

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Old 11-28-17, 03:36 PM   #23
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Also, if you have a pack already, I see a ton of HUMPs on the train/street.

Custom Hi-Viz Cycling Rucksack Cover | Branded Sports Products

which is an easier solution.
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Old 11-29-17, 12:24 AM   #24
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Riding on the shoulder is a horrible idea pretty much anywhere, it doesn't have to be in Ireland
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Old 11-30-17, 04:52 AM   #25
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That looks like a nice stretch of road as long as you don't have to share it with cars and trucks. With high visibility clothes and flashing lights you can probably ride it safely 99% of the time, but 99% is not good enough. If traffic is fast and heavy and there's no room for error, errors are inevitable; and likely fatal to the cyclist. So I cannot recommend riding that road.

Bicycling is not dangerous: it's the cars that are dangerous. Cars are the problem, so it's ridiculous to suggest that the solution is adding another car to the mix.
I deeply resent the notion that to have good job you need car. Getting a cycle path added to that road is probably not a realistic option, but even so, you should probably speak to the planning commission or whoever's in charge of that sort of thing.

And then ride your bike on the longer route, hills be damned.
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