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I have a whole new respect for you city commuters

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I have a whole new respect for you city commuters

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Old 11-02-09, 10:43 PM
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one_beatnik
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I have a whole new respect for you city commuters

I live in rural America where a traffic jam is 3 cars stuck behind a tractor! Today I rode into Des Moines...a nice 83 mile ride from home...and was trying to use some bike trails in the city to get where I was going. Without warning ahead of time, the trail was barricaded with a trail closed sign. Now where? I backtracked a ways and headed north on residential streets which weren't bad, but narrow. Got on Douglas headed east. What a pain! There was a path on the side for awhile, but it just ended. This is quite a busy street and especially at 4:30 PM. I ended up just using the sidewalk for a couple miles. I hate even the concept of that, but the street was not safe for me. Where I was going was on Douglas, so there weren't a lot of choices.

I don't know how some of you do it. Des Moines is not a huge city, but still.

Good on you all!
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Old 11-02-09, 11:05 PM
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I took my bike into Manhattan a couple of months ago and got stuck in rush hour traffic. In NYC, it's fairly lawless, and cyclists tend to go between cars, in any lane, or between any two lanes. Well, traffic was so dense, we were all stopped, and I could not move out from my position. I was totally sandwiched in, and I could not get out from between the cars I was in.

If you're ever in this part of the land, look me up, and I'll give you the tour of your life.
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Old 11-02-09, 11:08 PM
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Here's something funny.

I live in the city and ride city streets all the time. Doesn't bother me at all as long as I'm familiar with the area.

I grew up in a small town and used to bike on country highways, never thinking anything of it. Now the idea of cars and trucks blowing by me at 55 to 70 mph makes me nervous !
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Old 11-03-09, 12:14 AM
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The "TRAIL CLOSED" sign would just encourage me to ride the bike trail for a change!
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Old 11-03-09, 12:55 AM
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When the streets seem to dangerous i normally get off the bike and walk it on the sidewalk.

So far i haven't come to a situation where i needed to walk the sidewalk for any extended distance. I would probably consider biking it at that point if the pedestrian count was low.
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Old 11-03-09, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by icebiker76 View Post
The "TRAIL CLOSED" sign would just encourage me to ride the bike trail for a change!
My favorite construction sign is "Bike Lane Detour ->" when I was living in Minneapolis.

Oh hey look it's a sign that doesn't mean anything
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Old 11-03-09, 05:36 AM
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one_beatnik, I'll be honest with you, I'd rather ride in a city than in a rural area, and I live in a somewhat rural area. Slower moving urban traffic scares me a whole lot less than Bubba in his pickup truck doing 60 in a 40, or Susie homemaker on her cell phone trying to make it to school on time. City drivers for the most part at least have a sense of awareness about them.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I took my bike into Manhattan a couple of months ago and got stuck in rush hour traffic. In NYC, it's fairly lawless, and cyclists tend to go between cars, in any lane, or between any two lanes. Well, traffic was so dense, we were all stopped, and I could not move out from my position. I was totally sandwiched in, and I could not get out from between the cars I was in.

If you're ever in this part of the land, look me up, and I'll give you the tour of your life.
Ha ha ha. I was thinking the same thing. Of course, everything is relative and going from country roads to Des Moines probably is a big shock.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:29 AM
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I like both urban and rural commutes...both have up sides and down sides.
I think it's the suburban commutes that tend to be a little more stressful.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
one_beatnik, I'll be honest with you, I'd rather ride in a city than in a rural area, and I live in a somewhat rural area. Slower moving urban traffic scares me a whole lot less than Bubba in his pickup truck doing 60 in a 40, or Susie homemaker on her cell phone trying to make it to school on time. City drivers for the most part at least have a sense of awareness about them.
Actually, I agree with CCrew. Riding in the city is less stressful than riding in the country. At least in most cities, you don't have cars and truck flying by at 70 mph. The tighter and slower traffic in the city isn't that bad in comparison.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
City drivers for the most part at least have a sense of awareness about them.
I see you don't live in Atlanta. For most of these folks down here there is no such thing as a 'sense of awareness' when it come to anything outside their car. But I've learned to ride smart and have developed a heightened sense of awareness for them. Two coworkers that ride have each been hit twice in little over a year. You have to be very aware when city riding or you'll end up someone's hood ornament; and that comes from a born and raised New Yorker now living in the south.

Ride smart and be aware...always!
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Old 11-03-09, 07:40 AM
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City and suburban riding can be surprisingly safe. It depends more than anything on what roads you take. Being unfamiliar with a city, it can be hard finding the safest roads to ride on. But if you live in an area a while, you get a feel for what where it is safe to ride or not. My commute takes me from the outer suburbs to the edge of the city, with most of the route on neighborhood streets and about 3-4 miles on 4-lane roads. The closest I've coming to getting hit was from drivers backing out of driveways on quiet neighborhood streets.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
one_beatnik, I'll be honest with you, I'd rather ride in a city than in a rural area, and I live in a somewhat rural area. Slower moving urban traffic scares me a whole lot less than Bubba in his pickup truck doing 60 in a 40, or Susie homemaker on her cell phone trying to make it to school on time. City drivers for the most part at least have a sense of awareness about them.
The rural driver that you contemptuously refer to as "Bubba in his pickup truck" is probably a lot more used to sharing the road with non-automobile traffic than a suburban driver. There's a big difference between suburban and rural, although a lot of urban dwellers are so insular that they don't know it.
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Old 11-03-09, 08:41 AM
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I'm sure that the comfort zone is just what we get used to! I ride rural highways most of the time and seldom have any problems. I have bigger problems in town, even the town I work of 7000. The car drivers there are clueless. I rode in Omaha a week ago and had no problem at all. I was in DM at near rush hour and one of the busier streets in town. There were no side street going where I wanted.
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Old 11-03-09, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
I like both urban and rural commutes...both have up sides and down sides.
I think it's the suburban commutes that tend to be a little more stressful.
Tend to agree... and it all has to do with speed and density.

Low speed dense urban traffic is OK, as is high speed occasional rural traffic, but when high speed traffic is thick and heavy... it is no fun.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by icebiker76 View Post
The "TRAIL CLOSED" sign would just encourage me to ride the bike trail for a change!
I was at a bicycle advocacy training session a few weekends ago. One of our instructors came in from Los Angeles.

He was enjoying the River Trail, and despite having been warned by his host, when he saw the "Trail Closed" sign on the trail, he and the other instructor barreled on along.

Soon he came to a puddle in the trail and decided to go through it. Got down to his axles, down to the top tube and was soon in waist high water, when he lost his balance and fell completely into the water, holding the other instructors iPhone bravely up to avoid wetting it.

Around here, we call that puddle the Arkansas River, which was then 6 feet above its banks.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
The rural driver that you contemptuously refer to as "Bubba in his pickup truck" is probably a lot more used to sharing the road with non-automobile traffic than a suburban driver.
You don't cycle in my area. We're an impediment to Bubba...... I've had more close calls in my town than driving in downtown DC.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:49 AM
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It's funny what you get used to after a while. I was riding home last night after dark and a car whizzed by me about a foot off my handlebar. About a block later it occurred to me how close it actually was and that it hadn't phased me at all.

The idea that I've become that fearless in traffic is scary in itself.
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Old 11-03-09, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by CaptainCool View Post
My favorite construction sign is "Bike Lane Detour ->" when I was living in Minneapolis.

Oh hey look it's a sign that doesn't mean anything
Ha ha, I think I saw couple of those in Bay Area (or could have been SoCal), I thought exact same thing.

UD
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Old 11-03-09, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Tundra_Man View Post
It's funny what you get used to after a while. I was riding home last night after dark and a car whizzed by me about a foot off my handlebar. About a block later it occurred to me how close it actually was and that it hadn't phased me at all.

The idea that I've become that fearless in traffic is scary in itself.
I think about that myself sometimes. Usually traffic gives me plenty of space, but even when I get passed by a semi only 2 feet or closer, going 50 MPH, all that goes through my mind usually is "cool, he'll make a tailwind that I can ride for a few hundred yards." I actually found myself getting irritated a few weeks ago when a semi moved way over to pass me, because I couldn't catch his slipstream.
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Old 11-03-09, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
You don't cycle in my area. We're an impediment to Bubba...... I've had more close calls in my town than driving in downtown DC.
I'm sure you have, but according to Wikipedia, your "rural area" is a city with a population of about 23000 people, with a university and museums and all kinds of stuff. My "rural area" doesn't even have a stopsign, never mind a stoplight ;-)
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Old 11-03-09, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
I like both urban and rural commutes...both have up sides and down sides.
I think it's the suburban commutes that tend to be a little more stressful.
Here I agree. I much enjoy cycling in the most dense areas of Denver. And the rural roads are rather nice.

Its the suburban roads, with too many high speed arterials, not enough connecting roads, and all the soccer moms in their SUVs that are the most stressful.
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Old 11-03-09, 11:14 AM
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You guys are all from training grounds for L.A./N.Y....LOL!

The lights turning red,put it to the wood!

But officer,it's only been red for a few seconds!

Where does it say there's only one car in a lane?

Since when can't you pass on the right?

Did you ever notice that the blinkers are broken on most of the new cars?

Are ambulance drivers suppose to be talking on the cell phone when their lights and sirens are blazing,and driving on the WRONG side of the road,heading into oncoming traffic???

DUDE!...look at all of the colored lights.....

Were the inventors of the California stop,make the brake lights flash and your good to go!

In my city,you ask the cops why they didn't give someone a ticket for a traffic infraction that happens right in front of them and they tell you to your face that "it's not my job"...who's job is it?

They better start putting street signs in spanish,so the drivers in SoCal can understand them!


Give me a country road anytime,trucks and tractors,PLEASE!!!!

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Old 11-03-09, 11:19 AM
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I agree with city riding being less stressful than country riding. I have no problems with a cabbie passing me going 25mph with 1ft to spare. Our speed difference is under 10mph.

On the other hand, if a car passes me 4ft away going 55mph, I will have brown stains. I'm just not used to cars whizzing by at high speeds.

Another thing I have to give props to for you country riders:
- you ride for miles on end without having to stop. I can't do that. I need a break!!! I'm used to constantly slowing down & speeding up ever 300ft for traffic lights. I think I will be bored out of my mind if I find a steady cadence and get into a rhythm for 10 miles without any stops.
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Old 11-03-09, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by one_beatnik View Post
I live in rural America where a traffic jam is 3 cars stuck behind a tractor! Today I rode into Des Moines...a nice 83 mile ride from home...and was trying to use some bike trails in the city to get where I was going. Without warning ahead of time, the trail was barricaded with a trail closed sign. Now where? I backtracked a ways and headed north on residential streets which weren't bad, but narrow. Got on Douglas headed east. What a pain! There was a path on the side for awhile, but it just ended. This is quite a busy street and especially at 4:30 PM. I ended up just using the sidewalk for a couple miles. I hate even the concept of that, but the street was not safe for me. Where I was going was on Douglas, so there weren't a lot of choices.

I don't know how some of you do it. Des Moines is not a huge city, but still.

Good on you all!
I think the trail that is closed is the one with an overpass being worked on. They do not want anyone to get hit with chunks of concrete being dropped to the ground below, part of which includes the trail. Des Moines not huge? Compared to NYC or L.A., no it isn't but Des Moines is a city of at least 300,000 people then throw in the surrounding and you're talking close to half a mil. Oh yeah, never ride on Douglas, unless you have a death wish. It is one of the main arterial east west roadways in that section of town. Depending on how far north you had to be you would have been better using the Inter-Urban Trail. It runs east and west, terminates at the Neal Smith to the east, and I do not know where it terminates to the west, never ridden the whole thing. The Neal Smith runs all way out to Big Creek. The InterUrban also connects with the Trestle to Trestle which runs out to Johnston. Next time you do this look on bikeiowa.com there is info. about the trails in central Iowa.
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