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-   -   Love riding in rush hour traffic, me nuts? (https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/263550-love-riding-rush-hour-traffic-me-nuts.html)

World Sport 01-24-07 08:30 PM

Love riding in rush hour traffic, me nuts?
 
As you may have guessed I have a Schwinn World Sport cica 88-89. Don't like the gym so I'm trying to get back into bike riding. When I was 14 I'd ride 75-100 miles in a day then I got my driver's license....

So, decided to ride not to the nearest letterbox but to the central post office here in Santa Monica about 3 miles each way in the dark. I'm pushin 50 (age not mph). So, traffic is so heavy here that I can pass the SUV's and cars if I pedal hard enough and time the traffic lights. I don't let them pin me to the side of the road. I'd never get this excited in the gym! What a rush. And oh yea, the ones talking on their cell phones drifting into me... I rap my knuckles on the side of their car. That wakes them up and I've got a good yell too.

I've got to ride more. Gotta ride. Yea!

Am I nuts?

ahpook 01-24-07 09:12 PM

You might be nuts, but at least you're not alone :)

I explain it like this: some people like climbing hills on roadbikes, some people like bombing down mountains on 29ers, some people ride BMX and do stunts... I get my kicks riding fast through city traffic.

Bikes are cool enough that they can encompass all of these pursuits.

markf 01-24-07 09:36 PM

There are a couple of video clips floating around the Internet of bike messenger types racing one another in downtown Manhattan and other urban locales. Compared to those guys, you and I (and just about everyone else) are very, very normal.

And yes, biking in traffic like you describe is a lot of fun.

Psydotek 01-24-07 09:56 PM

www.playintrafficproductions.com with Rumble Through The Bronx III is my current favorite, maybe not the craziest but it's the most fun to watch due to the better "production value".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e35waU945-Q is probably the craziest one of all bicycle messenger racing videos (and the most well known probably).

I think i'd enjoy riding in traffic, however the traffic around here isn't dense or slow enough for me to go riding through... I mean i love riding on the street but all the streets i ride on are either light on traffic or the traffic moves too fast, nothing like a packed downtown area near me.

JohnBrooking 01-24-07 10:17 PM

It does sound kind of fun, but I hope you were were brightly-dressed with lots of lights and reflective surfaces. (Sorry to sound like your mom, I just felt it had to be mentioned... ;))

Bklyn 01-24-07 10:25 PM

I love the flow of traffic, and I'm always awed at the bike messenger types who get cut off, squeezed in, whatever, who then just flow away without a word. I used to ascribe some kind of mystical Oneness With the Road to them. I've come to understand that the point for them is to make money, and it's a waste of time (and therefore money) to yell at everyone who encroaches on you. Then, last week, I saw a commuter like me — ex-hipster, probably a responsible citizen, quick rider — hollering at some car: "Turn signal! Turn signal! Turn signal!" Man! I thought. What a tool. I flowed on, like a mystical zen messenger, hiding the fact that on any other day, that may well have been me. (No more hollering!)

bikingshearer 01-24-07 10:31 PM


Originally Posted by World Sport
Am I nuts?

Is this a trick question? Of course you are. What's the problem?

ken cummings 01-24-07 10:31 PM

yOU WOULD FIT right in on the Adrenaline Junkie thread I started a little while ago. Whne you get bored start night riding.

TRaffic Jammer 01-24-07 10:35 PM

Welcome to the ebb and flow of traffic.

TreeUnit 01-24-07 10:46 PM

I am kind of an extreme commuter. I love to blow through rush hour traffic, and can understand why you do too. However, I don't know about doing this at age 50.

I made a short vid of myself commuting home from a guitar lesson about a year ago.

I have a guitar on my back throughout the entire ride.

World Sport 01-24-07 10:55 PM

Actually I do get more of a rush a night! Those videos are awesome! Tried to save them but didn't puchase Quicktime so guess I'll have to save the links.

I do have a $20 flashing LED headlight and $20 police style flashing taillight. Seems to do the job pretty good. I keep the headlight aim up high enough to light up side mirrors on cars and that seems to get their attention.

This riding hard a short distance seems to burn a lot more calories than the 150 or so an hour walking. The other day I rode my bike in rush hour in West L.A. and got to my wife's work in 20 minutes instead of 50min by car. What a Rush!

I was working in Roswell, NM and had a 6.5 mile one way commute and thought it was too cold in winter to do it or get sweaty at other times of the year. Was going to buy a 10-speed road bike at Walmart and ended up paying a guy $20 a week to borrow his car. That ended lasting nearly a year. Can't believe I was such a wimp about the bike.

Bklyn 01-24-07 11:26 PM


Originally Posted by TreeUnit
I am kind of an extreme commuter. I love to blow through rush hour traffic, and can understand why you do too. However, I don't know about doing this at age 50. I made a short vid of myself commuting

Cool-looking video. Two questions:
1. Were you skitching on that white pickup truck in the first few blocks?
2. Alan Parsons Project? You sure you're not 50?:rolleyes:

ms.gio 01-25-07 12:04 AM

I wouldn't say that you're nuts.

When I used to ride with someone I know we used to ride in Chicago rush hour traffic all the time. I actually enjoyed it. At first, it was a little scary but, after a couple of rides, I actually looked forward to it. Maybe it was for the adenaline *shrugs*. I think my favorite time when cycling in downtown Chicago would either have to be when riding down Michigan Ave during bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic or when I raced in an alleycat. I'm not as extreme as some riders but I do enjoy the adrenaline rush whenever I do ride in traffic.

Whenever I am in those positions I just try to remember to ride safely and responsibly.

joe v 01-25-07 01:25 AM


Originally Posted by Bklyn
I love the flow of traffic, and I'm always awed at the bike messenger types who get cut off, squeezed in, whatever, who then just flow away without a word. I used to ascribe some kind of mystical Oneness With the Road to them. I've come to understand that the point for them is to make money, and it's a waste of time (and therefore money) to yell at everyone who encroaches on you. Then, last week, I saw a commuter like me — ex-hipster, probably a responsible citizen, quick rider — hollering at some car: "Turn signal! Turn signal! Turn signal!" Man! I thought. What a tool. I flowed on, like a mystical zen messenger, hiding the fact that on any other day, that may well have been me. (No more hollering!)

Oneness with the road, eh? Go talk to emergency service folks, they've seen some of that, believe me. There's nothing funny or cool about riding in heavy traffic, you may be visible all you like, you may be lit like a Xmas tree, the thing is a driver may spot you too late or not at all and you end up 'one with the road'.
No, you're not nuts, but in the immortal words from 'Hill Street Blues' I say: Hey! Be careful out there!

LóFarkas 01-25-07 03:19 AM

Just consider it another extreme sport... Not worse that motox or snowboarding and at least the ambulance is always close by:)
I get a kick out of threading through thick traffic, too. I try to do it reasonably safely and so far it's been working.

TRaffic Jammer 01-25-07 08:57 AM

I am a retired messenger and I do call my style of riding extreme cycling. I ride like I'm invisable and never ever assume that anyone sees me. My methodology to ruling the street is to ride so that nobody has to alter their drive/walk to accommodate me. (the obvious exception being going around from behind, but if I'm in front I win) Ripping traffic a new one everyday....woooohoooo. Just remember a zig instead of a zag and you're done. Today I had to lock up the back wheel at 30kms/hr for an instant to scrub my speed, breaking the backend to the right so I could carve across the front end of a car and traverse to the centre of the two lanes traveling in my direction because some yahoo thinks sticking the nose of his car into traffic is how you get a main street to stop for you. After all these years I wish I could bunny hop to hood ride....:lol: Most of all enjoy yourself, and remember you are a grouper fish swimming with sharks. If you are going to crash into a car, lock up the back wheel and get sideways, taking the car with the side of your body, dispersing the impact with as much area as possible, you'll heal and a good chance your ride will too.

TheBrick 01-25-07 10:07 AM

+10^10^10^...^10 on riding like your invisible. You are not mad. It's every one else (thats what I say anyway). I love riding in heavy traffic as well. Get your brakes diled and find a gear you like and go for it (unless I am on a very long straight strech I have not found a need to change gear in the city, wasted time and effort, plus riding in one gear gives you rippling legs that you wife will love ;)!). Remember to try not to cut up other cyclists, they are just trying to get about like you. If you are really interested try and find some alley cats in you area even if it is just to watch at a check point get an idea of how it works. Some are listed in the single speed forum (alleycats are not single speed fixed gear exclusive so don't be put off, they are just listed in that forum).

Also check out http://www.digave.com/videos/ for some fun vids.

TRaffic Jammer 01-25-07 10:26 AM

Once you perfect your smooth carvin' style.....tell your friends NOT to follow you. My disclaimer being there is barely room for one, let alone two.

newbojeff 01-25-07 10:29 AM

My 2 favorite traffic conditions:
1. Open road, no cars, and
2. Gridlock: just shake your head at all the people stuck in their cars and ride on through.

unkchunk 01-25-07 10:59 AM


Am I nuts?
What's the diffence between "being nuts" and "having nuts"?

Psydotek 01-25-07 11:11 AM


Originally Posted by unkchunk
What's the diffence between "being nuts" and "having nuts"?

Yes. :D

slowandsteady 01-25-07 01:51 PM

I don't get to do it much, but I love riding in traffic. I usually ride on rural roads which is wonderful when there are no cars, but if it is "busy" it gets to be a bit nerve wracking being passed at 50 mph plus with no shoulder. Riding in traffic is more stimulating and challenging. The fact that it requires more skill to navigate and cognitive abilities to negotiate your next move it what makes it so fun.

caloso 01-25-07 01:56 PM

Well, look at it this way. Most people are content to stand on the beach. Others like to sit in a boat beyond the break. And some people live to ride the waves.

jyossarian 01-25-07 02:45 PM


Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer
Once you perfect your smooth carvin' style.....tell your friends NOT to follow you. My disclaimer being there is barely room for one, let alone two.

How's this for fun: you and another rider, both commuting and both carving up the road, each taking a different line through traffic so you're not following each other. And did I mention you have to both carry on a conversation, shouting at each other across 2-3 lanes of traffic? I've already done this a few times w/ another BF'er, both of us on fixies and both commuting to work.

TRaffic Jammer 01-25-07 02:48 PM

The conversation can take away from the concentration, but it is fun. I've ended up carving into on coming on occasion and threading their lanes. :lol: this only as a last resort.... *hope the wife doesn't read this, she worries enough* I'm not keen on group rides downtown for this very reason, though occasionally the company is nice.

jyossarian 01-25-07 03:08 PM

This is more like two riders running into each other on their way to work more than any kind of planned riding. But yeah, it does make it harder to concentrate, plus you both have to take more caution at red lights when neither of you feel like stopping. ;)

chephy 01-25-07 03:20 PM


Originally Posted by joe v
There's nothing funny or cool about riding in heavy traffic

Of course there is plenty of funny and cool stuff about heavy traffic riding. There is also a bit of some very real danger. That only makes it more cool. It doesn't hurt to be careful, of course, but I betcha it's safer than lots of extreme sports out there.

TRaffic Jammer 01-25-07 03:20 PM

....and of course inadvertently, the tempo increases, the carve a little tighter, and the race is on. :lol: The accidental alleycat. Man it is soo hard to get killed by a car in downtown traffic, mashed no, killed, yes. I can't remember what site I was reading but the line was along the lines of 'messengers are harder to kill than cockroaches" :lol:

Shiznaz 01-25-07 03:57 PM

I have a 20 year old Polish house mate who just got really in to cycling since he moved in with me nearly 2 years ago. He is so reckless it makes me cringe. He definitely likes riding in traffic.

He cycles assuming cars will stop for him. He literally thinks he OWNS THE ROAD. He bombs through red lights without slowing down or looking. He buzzes pedestrians because he thinks its fun. He rides at 1am on friday and saturday BECAUSE the drunk drivers are out. He then dive bombs drunk pedestrians on the street so close and fast I am literally afraid he will kill someone. He rides against one way streets at night without lights even if there are one way streets going the right direction 50 meters to either side. He pulls the most dangerous maneuvers for no reason.

He is almost impossible to ride with because he has no group riding etiquite and is totally unpredictable. Riding on the street he usually tries to pass you on your right. He sits on your wheel and then passes you on the left just when you need to merge left to avoid an obstacle. He will ride abreast with you and if you see an obstacle and start to slow down or speed up to get into single file, he will match your speed and then do somethign crazy at the last minute. He will often show off and go through an intersection really dangerously while the people riding with him stop and wait until its safe, meaning he has to wait at the other side of the intersection. He doesn't respect your line going in to a turn and cuts you off mid corner. He has come in contact with me more times that I can remember just riding.

He is generally a huge ass on the road, and rubs it in everybody's faces, with no responsibility or accountability. I'm waiting for the day he never shows up at home in the evening.

I keep yelling at him and trying to teach him, but he never listens. I asked him why he does it. Fun and adrenaline. Now I know why people make mean jokes about the Poles.

rando 01-25-07 04:01 PM

yes! :eek:


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