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trading bike trail for open roads?

Old 03-20-10, 04:25 PM
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iwegian
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trading bike trail for open roads?

what's your take on this?

there's a road that leads directly to my town and the bike trail is 5 miles longer. both are pretty flat so no difference in speeds. certain times the road can be real busy, like both lanes are busy and there's multiple 'drive bys'(cars passing at less than 3 ft away from you).
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Old 03-20-10, 04:28 PM
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the road in question isn't a 2 lane highway, it's a 4 lane with a divider.
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Old 03-20-10, 06:11 PM
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You can force them to move over if you "take the lane". I commute a lot on 4-lane 35mph roads, but cagers usually do 45 and up. In the places it's narrow I tend to drift a little into the lane if I see traffic coming up from behind. Usually works pretty well.
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Old 03-20-10, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Wake View Post
You can force them to move over if you "take the lane". I commute a lot on 4-lane 35mph roads, but cagers usually do 45 and up. In the places it's narrow I tend to drift a little into the lane if I see traffic coming up from behind. Usually works pretty well.
+1. If you position yourself in the middle of the right lane, that should really take care of things. You need a good mirror to get this working. You might also think about travelling when traffic is a little lighter.. perhaps an hour earlier in the morning.

Don't forget too that the trail will have some things to look out for: cyclists riding on the wrong side. Gangs of bikers taking the whole trail... that sort of thing. If it's a MUP, the list of obstacles climbs exponentially.
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Old 03-20-10, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by iwegian View Post
what's your take on this?

there's a road that leads directly to my town and the bike trail is 5 miles longer. both are pretty flat so no difference in speeds. certain times the road can be real busy, like both lanes are busy and there's multiple 'drive bys'(cars passing at less than 3 ft away from you).
My tendency is to go the extra distance to avoid automotive traffic. That's what I do, but in my case it only adds about 3 miles. But you don't say how long it is either way, so I only say take the MUP if the extra 5 miles doesn't make the total distance extreme. You can always take the shorter route on days you are in a hurry.
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Old 03-21-10, 09:53 PM
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I basically have 2 routes to work. My bike path route (10.2 miles each way) and my streets route (8.2 miles each way). Both have their positives and their negatives. The path, which is an MUP, can be extremely crowded in the good weather making it barely usable as a commuter path. But at night, in the winter when plowed or free of snow, in the rain, in the cold, windy days or even cloudy days it can be fantastic and pretty much all mine for the taking.

Even on a gorgeous day I'll take it just for fun but I have to give myself plenty of time and be real patient or I'll resent the ride.

The streets are a utilitarian means of getting to work. It's fun in that it's a bike ride but it's urban scenery, lots of traffic lights, lots of intersections, tons of cars, trucks and buses and scads of jaywalking pedestrians. The bike path for scenery and fewer intersections (about 6 for the whole 8 miles of bike path I'm on) and for the lack of interaction with cars. But the streets for straightforward riding when needed.
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Old 03-22-10, 11:32 AM
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Really not enough info. There are so many factors to consider. I'm sure each route has its advantages.

If the road route doesn't scare the crap out of you, you'll have to try both.

If I had a path that ran independently of streets, and went straight to work, I'd probably take it. But if it were 5 miles longer, that'd be a tough call. I have a path right next to one leg of my commute, and I ignore it.

But, your 4-lane divided street. There's a street like that around here that I would never ride on, but others that I ride on routinely.

Again, too many things to consider that only the "eyes on the ground" can really process.
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Old 03-22-10, 11:36 AM
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It's great to have two routes to chose from. I'd try them both, and get comfortable with both. My guess is you'll take the road when you're in a hurry, but there will be plenty of beautiful afternoons when you take the path.
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Old 03-22-10, 11:55 AM
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I'm in the same boat as buzzman. In winter the only negative aspect of the MUP is that it isn't always rideable (ours get groomed, not plowed, so you have to let them set up and not ride them when it's above freezing), but it's never crowded. Come summer, our MUPs get so packed on nice days that it takes forever to courteously and safely navigate them. Generally I can take the path to work in the morning before everyone and their dog is out, but ride home on the streets because it's less frustrating than slowly weaving through the often oblivious crowds.

But if your path isn't crowded, I would take it as long as I wasn't late. Ten extra miles of paved, car-free biking every day sounds awesome.
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Old 03-22-10, 12:33 PM
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There is a 4 lane divided street that I take for part of my commute, in preference to quiet residential streets. It is wide enough to share with trucks and busses, and there are fewer intersections where I have to slow down. There is a trail I will take in the summer but at the moment it is too rutted for comfortable riding.
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Old 03-22-10, 12:42 PM
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Do any of you find the path faster than the road? I find my average speed is higher on the path than on the street, just due to the fact that there are fewer intersections and a lot fewer stop signs/traffic lights.
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Old 03-22-10, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Do any of you find the path faster than the road? I find my average speed is higher on the path than on the street, just due to the fact that there are fewer intersections and a lot fewer stop signs/traffic lights.
I generally find the path faster than the roads, especially in the colder months, when it's raining, and in the mornings, for precisely the same reasons. Come the afternoon/evening ride home, and it's a crapshoot, though, depending on how many people are out. I still take the trail anyway, if only because I pretty much have to for part of the route to cross the river. I know I generally need to add another 5 minutes or so to my commute time home on those nice days, though. Of course, they are just that - nice days, so I'm OK being outside in it an extra five minutes anyway!
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Old 03-22-10, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Do any of you find the path faster than the road? I find my average speed is higher on the path than on the street, just due to the fact that there are fewer intersections and a lot fewer stop signs/traffic lights.
The paths are only faster for me when they're empty or close to it. I don't like passing walkers at speeds greater than about 6 mph, so if there's a lot of them on the path then my average speed stays really low. But if there's nobody out there, then the lack of stop signs and lights makes my MUP route slightly faster than my road route, despite the MUP route being a little over two miles longer.

I think that the lack of stopping on the MUP is partially countered by the fact that I never go full speed on the path, even when it's relatively empty. Whereas on the streets I'm willing to sprint between lights and stop signs, and to go as fast as I can on the downhills.
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Old 03-22-10, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Do any of you find the path faster than the road? I find my average speed is higher on the path than on the street, just due to the fact that there are fewer intersections and a lot fewer stop signs/traffic lights.
Yeah, I find that very, *very* true as well. I tried taking the road a couple of times and had forgotten what spending 4 minutes waiting for a stop light was like (on my bike). With the trails, I was just used to it being annoying when I had to come to a stop and wait 30 seconds for the traffic to clear up so I could make it across the road, lol - I though that was annoying actually just sitting and waiting at lights is...it's long. ;-)
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