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Love riding in rush hour traffic, me nuts?

Old 01-24-07, 08:30 PM
  #1  
World Sport
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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?
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Old 01-24-07, 09:12 PM
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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.
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Old 01-24-07, 09:36 PM
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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.
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Old 01-24-07, 09:56 PM
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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.

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Old 01-24-07, 10:17 PM
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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... )
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Old 01-24-07, 10:25 PM
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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!)
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Old 01-24-07, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by World Sport
Am I nuts?
Is this a trick question? Of course you are. What's the problem?
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Old 01-24-07, 10:31 PM
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yOU WOULD FIT right in on the Adrenaline Junkie thread I started a little while ago. Whne you get bored start night riding.
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Old 01-24-07, 10:35 PM
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Welcome to the ebb and flow of traffic.
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Old 01-24-07, 10:46 PM
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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.
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Old 01-24-07, 10:55 PM
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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.
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Old 01-24-07, 11:26 PM
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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?
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Old 01-25-07, 12:04 AM
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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.
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Old 01-25-07, 01:25 AM
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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!
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Old 01-25-07, 03:19 AM
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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.
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Old 01-25-07, 08:57 AM
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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.... 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.
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Old 01-25-07, 10:07 AM
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+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.
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Old 01-25-07, 10:26 AM
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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.
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Old 01-25-07, 10:29 AM
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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.
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Old 01-25-07, 10:59 AM
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Am I nuts?
What's the diffence between "being nuts" and "having nuts"?
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Old 01-25-07, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by unkchunk
What's the diffence between "being nuts" and "having nuts"?
Yes.
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Old 01-25-07, 01:51 PM
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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.
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Old 01-25-07, 01:56 PM
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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.
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Old 01-25-07, 02:45 PM
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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.
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Old 01-25-07, 02:48 PM
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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. 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.
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