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Beginner Commuting In a Big City

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Beginner Commuting In a Big City

Old 03-02-15, 07:19 PM
  #51  
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If you want to learn how to ride in traffic then go watch the movie "Premium Rush"...Mad riding skillz, I swear it made me into a better rider
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Old 03-02-15, 07:35 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
I'm sorry, but I just have to say... That is, in my opinion, one of the single stupidest things I have ever read on BikeForums.
It's called the Idaho stop. Look it up.
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Old 03-02-15, 08:00 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Ok, you talking about costly mistakes which can lead to accidents and cost the cyclist their life ??.... Well then, I believe that bicycle commuting is more about using common sense then about taking orders from "cycling experts"...A cyclist needs to do whatever it takes to survive and get safely from point A to point B. If somebody feels it's safer to run a red light or a stop sign then break the law and do it. A cyclists can't follow riding styles or rules set by other cyclists.
I think you should go back and spend some time reading my post. Nowhere did I advocate blindly taking orders from "cycling experts", and I specifically said one should devise their own system through trial and error. You're literally attacking a straw man here.
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Old 03-02-15, 10:52 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
It's called the Idaho stop. Look it up.
Yeah...I know what the Idaho Stop is, and it's not the same as "always run the light and traffic signal." It allows a cyclist to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign (and even then, it's only fully legal in Idaho, and partially so in a few other places). As far as I can tell, it's about allowing cyclists a greater degree of leeway - especially along more lightly-trafficked routes - to allow for more efficiency and conservation of momentum. I'm afraid I honestly don't know how it's supposed to make anything safer for anyone, though, when the result of running red lights and such is invariably to make a cylist less predictable to motorists (not to mention more infuriating). The best things for safety on the road are a carefully chosen route, good visibility, and predictable riding behavior. In any case, however, to make a sweeping generalization to a newbie bike commuter that the safest thing to do is to "always run the light and traffic signal" is irresponsible at best, so I'm going to hope that it was merely a case of poor wording.

Meanwhile, what's up with all this morbid talk about "make it home alive" and "do anything to survive?" What kinds of hellish warzones are you people riding through to breed such fear and paranoia? How did a thread started to offer advice to a new commuter turn into a group rant about how cyclists are fragile little critters who must dart and dodge to avoid being trampled by blindly rampaging dinosaurs (a very poor analogy, by the way)? Whence came this bizarre "wisdom" going around which states that one should ignore both traffic laws and any instructors or experts one may encounter in favor of "trial-and-error?" I mean, I fully realize and respect the fact that there will always be an element of risk inherent to cycling, but cripes...what an insufferably obstinate bunch of pessimists we have around here...
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Old 03-03-15, 04:52 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… IMO, just as when the behemoth dinosaurs were co-existing with little furry mammals, they may have been not necessarily predators and prey, but I’m sure a survival strategy for the mammals was to stay away from the dinos just to avoid getting trampled. So too, my survival sense tells me, don’t congregate with cars when they jam up at intersections; and look who won out by following the Law of Survival.

Fortunately my rides are at early hours on lightly-traveled residential, light commercial and exurban roads, and anyways, Boston drivers are notorious for their own “trangressions.”

Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
…Meanwhile, what's up with all this morbid talk about "make it home alive" and "do anything to survive?" What kinds of hellish warzones are you people riding through to breed such fear and paranoia? How did a thread started to offer advice to a new commuter turn into a group rant about how cyclists are fragile little critters who must dart and dodge to avoid being trampled by blindly rampaging dinosaurs (a very poor analogy, by the way) ?

I mean, I fully realize and respect the fact that there will always be an element of risk inherent to cycling, but cripes...what an insufferably obstinate bunch of pessimists we have around here...
Well said, and thanks for reading my post. At least I didn't receive the same reprimand as spare_wheel.

Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
I'm sorry, but I just have to say... That is, in my opinion, one of the single stupidest things I have ever read on BikeForums.
I fortunately ride away from the “hellish warzones” for which Boston is notorious, and traffic avoidance is a cornerstone of my commute. On the streets currently narrowed by massive snowbanks, I frequently pull into driveways to allow upcoming cars to pass.

Personally I suffered from the risk inherent to cycling when hit from behind while riding well-lit and far to the right myself on a wide, well-illuminated, low volume, low speed, residential suburban road. But don’t cry for me, Argentina; the Force to Ride is strong within me.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-03-15 at 05:03 AM.
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Old 03-03-15, 08:19 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
In any case, however, to make a sweeping generalization to a newbie bike commuter that the safest thing to do is to "always run the light and traffic signal" is irresponsible at best, so I'm going to hope that it was merely a case of poor wording.
[SKIP]
Whence came this bizarre "wisdom" going around which states that one should ignore both traffic laws and any instructors or experts one may encounter in favor of "trial-and-error?" I mean, I fully realize and respect the fact that there will always be an element of risk inherent to cycling, but cripes...what an insufferably obstinate bunch of pessimists we have around here...
Speaking of sweeping generalizations, nobody is providing a wisdom that implies cyclists should always ignore both traffic laws and instructors/experts in favor of "trial and error."

The "wisdom" is that the advice/guidance and "rules" offered by self appointed BF experts and so called "instructors" should be taken with a grain of salts and NOT as gospel applicable for every cycling environment and traffic situation.

And speaking of paranoia and bizarre wisdom, do you think cyclists should seek guidance from "Instructors" or "Experts" that still quote from the Good Book of John Forester?
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Old 03-03-15, 08:52 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
it's not the same as "always run the light and traffic signal."
And you know how to selectively quote too!

The bit you left off: "If the coast is clear it's"


I'm afraid I honestly don't know how it's supposed to make anything safer for anyone, though, when the result of running red lights and such is invariably to make a cylist less predictable to motorists (not to mention more infuriating).
It's not only safer...it's politer.

Last edited by spare_wheel; 03-03-15 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 03-03-15, 09:13 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Lanovran
I'm afraid I honestly don't know how it's supposed to make anything safer for anyone, though, when the result of running red lights and such is invariably to make a cylist less predictable to motorists (not to mention more infuriating).



Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
It's not only safer...it's politer.
Based on five years of daily bike commuting in Philadelphia in the 70's and yearly visits to the area since, a bicyclist who stops and waits at intersections clear of opposing traffic will be the "unpredictable cyclist" since nobody expects such behavior.
Also, I seldom, if ever, have come across any indication of drivers in the real world "infuriated" by cyclist (or motorist) behavior at intersections unless it was behavior that caused drivers to unnecessarily slow down.

On the other hand, in the world of BF A&S and Commuting, wild-eyed drivers going berserk at the sight of a cyclist appears quite common.
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Old 03-03-15, 09:31 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Frankly, I have posted that I would not be inclined to encourage, unless by example (nor discourage) someone to cycle-commute, but if they so chose, I would freely and gladly give any advice. Regarding spare_wheel’s admonition, I had posted to this thread on the A&S Forum, ” Remind Me Why I Should Care What Motorists Think...”
I have seen that previously and in numerous re-posts, and while I am sympathetic with a reluctance to encourage something that might cause harm, in all honesty I think that your concern is misguided.
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Old 03-03-15, 10:58 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Frankly [given the state of current Road transportation], I have posted that I would not be inclined to encourage, unless by example (nor discourage) someone to cycle-commute, but if they so chose, I would freely and gladly give any advice…

Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I have seen that previously and in numerous re-posts, and while I am sympathetic with a reluctance to encourage something that might cause harm, in all honesty I think that your concern is misguided.
Thanks for your comments, wphamilton, and I respect and enjoy your current and previous posts. If you think my concern was misguided, take a look at this morning’s scrivenings to this thread on the A&S Forum, ” How can we get more people riding their bikes?”…ballistic

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-03-15 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 03-03-15, 11:11 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for your comments, wphamilton, and I respect and enjoy your current and previous posts. If you think my post was misguided, take a look at this morning’s scrivenings to this thread on the A&S Forum, ” How can we get more people riding their bikes?”…ballistic
It's just that there is a net gain, even including accidents, even fatalities. If I could take credit for commuting cyclists' increased lifespan and improved health, I would gladly accept the blame for their increased danger. But we're not really responsible for either one, no matter what we say.

Actually in practice I tend to follow your script: I'll say to someone if you're tolerant of the risk it's worthwhile. It's not very persuasive in getting more people on bikes, but seeing me out there every day in all weather is a more effective advocacy. I think. And you are making that "statement" as much as I, or more. Either way the goal of more cyclists is laudable, nothing to feel hesitant about.
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Old 03-03-15, 11:13 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Diaz View Post
Nice argument you guys are having.

I can get one of these for half the price. Thoughts?

Halfords | Carrera Virtuoso Road Bike 2015
Since you mention a big city and Halfords, are you in London? Or even if you're not, does your city have a bike share like the Boris bikes? If there is, it would be an easy thing to try part-time or part-way. I got to try the ones in Paris a few years ago, and it was a hoot.

That bike is probably fine, and it costs about the same as a single car payment. As a few of us said before, the best way to figure this stuff out is to try it and see for yourself what you're lacking or what feels like too much to carry. Beyond lights, a pump, and a patch kit, the rest is really up to you.
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Old 03-03-15, 12:07 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
And you know how to selectively quote too!

The bit you left off: "If the coast is clear it's"
I left it off because it seemed superfluous, and entirely beside the point. It's not always easy, nor even possible, to tell if an intersection is "clear" on approach, and especially for a newbie. A lot can change in just a few seconds. It just seems to me that to say it's "safest" to "always" do that maneuver, while it may just be a case of confusing phrasing on your part, is very misleading. At any rate, I do apologize for responding to it with such an irritated and irksome tone as I did; however, I honestly see no merit, safety-wise, in selectively re-interpreting traffic signals just because you're on two wheels instead of four. Heck, if nothing else, it increases the odds of being ticketed (the state of Idaho aside).

Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
It's not only safer...it's politer.
I suppose we're just going to have to disagree on that count. What I personally consider safer and more polite towards my fellow road users is to accept the notion that we're all bound by the same set of rules, and following those rules makes it easier to interact with one another on the road. Do people often break those rules? Yes, and it's important to stay alert to that, but I see no reason why I should be the one setting the bad example. The number one complaint that I hear about cyclists from non-cyclists is about how "arrogant" and "dangerous" we are for so frequently running red lights and stop signs. Meanwhile, I'm hoping to counter that stereotype until the laws, infrastructure, and/or society's acceptance of bicycling change to the point where it's no longer an issue.
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Old 03-03-15, 01:17 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
… What I personally consider safer and more polite towards my fellow road users is to accept the notion that we're all bound by the same set of rules, and following those rules makes it easier to interact with one another on the road.…The number one complaint that I hear about cyclists from non-cyclists is about how "arrogant" and "dangerous" we are for so frequently running red lights and stop signs. Meanwhile, I'm hoping to counter that stereotype until the laws, infrastructure, and/or society's acceptance of bicycling change to the point where it's no longer an issue.
My “rant about how cyclists are fragile little critters who must dart and dodge to avoid being trampled by blindly rampaging dinosaurs (a very poor analogy, by the way)” was in reply to this discussion on the A&S thread, ”Remind Me Why I Should Care What Motorists Think...” started by JoeyBike

Originally Posted by bicyclelove View Post
Running a red light gives us (cyclists) a bad rap. Motorists see us as just scofflaws and don't respect our right to be on the road because of that. This is really the biggest thing I hear from drivers. Running red lights just makes us all look bad.

Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
You are forgetting a few:

1. Bikers/cyclists are entitled (or think they are better than us.)
2. Bikers/cyclists don't pay for bike lanes/roads.
3. Bikers/cyclists ride in the middle of the lane (and should ride on the sidewalk/or on a different road/or not at all)).
4. Bikers/cyclists ride too slowly (and should ride on the sidewalk/or on a different road/or not at all).
5. Bikers/cyclists ride on the sidewalk and should ride in the bike lane (or on a different road/or not at all).
6. Bikers/cyclists roll stop signs.
7. Bikers/cyclists wear dark clothing/lycra/chartreuse/tights.
8. Bikers/cyclists don't wear helmets.
9. Bikers/cyclists don't use lights.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I’ve been away from A&S for a while and just happen to note this thread, and skimmed it. As a decades-long, year-round cycle commuter in Boston, and from many discussions with motorists, that is an excellent list. I agree that the opinions of motorists about cyclists’ citizenship in general is way down (and even off) the list.

One public reflection of those motorists’ attitudes is occasionally expressed on a talk radio show here in Boston, The Howie Carr Show, with anti-cycling rants as the topic. I once called in with this reply about filtering and (carefully) running red lights….
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Old 03-03-15, 02:42 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
The number one complaint that I hear about cyclists from non-cyclists is about how "arrogant" and "dangerous" we are for so frequently running red lights and stop signs.
Where do you encounter all these infuriated people complaining about arrogant and dangerous cyclists? Do they bring these observations gratuitously to you; are they presented in some sort of rationale tone; or is it more like the ranting seen in the comments section of any online publication on any and every subject?
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Old 03-03-15, 05:38 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
What I personally consider safer and more polite towards my fellow road users is to accept the notion that we're all bound by the same set of rules, and following those rules makes it easier to interact with one another on the road.
Following all the rules of the road and following every letter of the law doesn't guarantee that a cyclist will not run into a conflict with some jackass driver who is having a bad day or a driver who thinks it's a sport and fun to use their 4000 pound steel box to harass cyclists.
There are some people out there who just don't like to see bicycles on the road and it makes absolutely no difference to them if a cyclist is following rules or not.
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Old 03-03-15, 07:20 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Where do you encounter all these infuriated people complaining about arrogant and dangerous cyclists? Do they bring these observations gratuitously to you; are they presented in some sort of rationale tone; or is it more like the ranting seen in the comments section of any online publication on any and every subject?
Well, IME FWIW,

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...As a decades-long, year-round cycle commuter in Boston, and from many discussions with motorist [acquaintances], that is an excellent list [of things that give cyclists a bad rap]....

One public reflection of those motorists’ attitudes is occasionally expressed on a talk radio show here in Boston, The Howie Carr Show, with anti-cycling rants as the topic. I once called in with this reply about filtering and (carefully) running red lights….
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Old 03-03-15, 09:03 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Well, IME FWIW, "One public reflection of those motorists’ attitudes is occasionally expressed on a talk radio show here in Boston, The Howie Carr Show, with anti-cycling rants as the topic."
FWIW, IMO, most radio talk call-ins/shock DJ commentary is as representative of intelligent thought as the dingy commentary posted by ranters in response to articles about bicyclists on blogs and newspapers. Does anyone think sensible bicyclists should pay attention and/or modify their cycling behavior in order to try and placate irrational goofballs?
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Old 03-03-15, 09:38 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Where do you encounter all these infuriated people complaining about arrogant and dangerous cyclists? Do they bring these observations gratuitously to you; are they presented in some sort of rationale tone; or is it more like the ranting seen in the comments section of any online publication on any and every subject?

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…One public reflection of those motorists’ attitudes is occasionally expressed on a talk radio show here in Boston, The Howie Carr Show with anti-cycling rants as the topic….

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
FWIW, IMO, most radio talk call-ins/shock DJ commentary is as representative of intelligent thought as the dingy commentary posted by ranters in response to articles about bicyclists on blogs and newspapers. Does anyone think sensible bicyclists should pay attention and/or modify their cycling behavior in order to try and placate irrational goofballs?
Well, are we interested in the opinions of those of intelligent thought who agree with us, or the opinions of infuriated, irrational goofballs who consider cyclists as arrogant and dangerous?
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Old 03-03-15, 09:57 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Well, are we interested in the opinions of those of intelligent thought who agree with us, or the opinions of infuriated, irrational goofballs who consider cyclists as arrogant and dangerous?
Personally, I am interested in the opinions of those of intelligent thought whether they agree with me or not, and do not necessarily view that anybody who doesn't share my opinion or views as infuriated, irrational or a goofball. I believe intelligent people can tell the difference between rational thought (even when it supports an opposing opinion) and nuthouse ranting (even when it supports a shared opinion).
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Old 03-03-15, 10:15 PM
  #71  
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Well said; I was trying to be ironic.
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Old 03-03-15, 11:23 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Well said; I was trying to be ironic.
Thank you. To be honest I have a hard time following what you are trying to say when you keep referring to snippets of your and others' previous posts from other threads in a very confusing manner. If you wish to repeat phrases or comments from previous posts, I would recommend just cut and paste the words and leave out the references to the other posts and context from other threads.
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Old 03-04-15, 08:27 AM
  #73  
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If I may veer off-topic:

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
...To be honest I have a hard time following what you are trying to say when you keep referring to snippets of your and others' previous posts from other threads in a very confusing manner. If you wish to repeat phrases or comments from previous posts, I would recommend just cut and paste the words and leave out the references to the other posts and context from other threads.
Thanks for that reply. Just yesterday, a local E-acquaintance on BF wrote,

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
you have mad quotation skills…
As a (solo) adherent to a cycling lifestyle for decades, I was astounded to serendipitously find BikeForums in 2008, and meet all these subscribers with concerns and stories I had kept to myself. I wrote in my Introduction,

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…I have been perusing this site for a few weeks and I have had several comments to make so I hope to make useful contributions to future discussion threads, as well as glean from the comments of others….
I have become such an enthusiastic subscriber, that posting has become a veritable hobby/pastime. My profession involves writing too, so in general I enjoy crafting documents and posts as a self-proclaimed "wordsmith."

Last year I came upon a post that to me embodied the communication style that I like about BF. In response to a long quote, turbo1889 wrote:

Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
First of all you have no need to apologize for a lengthy post, least of all to me of all people. Part of the reason I like forums as apposed to other forms of written communal internet forms is because I consider it the "long deep conversation format" rather then the quick short snappy sound bite like format like twitter and such.
So when I nest quotes, I feel I’m emulating a conversation…”He said," then “You said," then “I said, and now I’m saying…” I leave my quotes as links to identify the author, and if anyone is interested in reading further, or verifying those quotes, they can easily be followed right from the post.

Instead of just snipping, or writing "<SNIP> or "[SKIP]," I use ellipses,"..." to eliminate as much as possible, and still leave the context of the quote comprehensible; and I bold key words and phrases to emphasize the core content of the discussion.

Furthermore,

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… what I have gotten directly from BF [is]…the opportunity to post and literally "journal" my thoughts and activities about cycling and lifestyle (even if nobody else reads them), but which I wouldn't write down otherwise….
While even if nobody reads my posts, I do try to communicate clearly to the reader. At least I try to evenly space, and keep my paragraphs short for easier readability, FWIW.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-04-15 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 03-04-15, 03:46 PM
  #74  
Beth W
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Originally Posted by Diaz View Post
Basically I'm just looking for any advice/input experienced commuters have for me. I'm quite an impatient, sometimes reckless person, to be honest, but I don't want to cause any accidents or get hurt too badly.
Thanks
I was in your shoes about 7 months ago. One of the things that really helped was to seek out our local bike coalition and take a couple of their classes on riding in urban areas. In San Francisco, they have sit-down classes as well as "on the road" classes to help folks become more comfortable and learn their rights and the rules. It helped me feel a lot more confident. Also, see if you can get a map of where the better bike lanes are and map a route that feels safe/comfortable to you.
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Old 03-05-15, 03:13 PM
  #75  
Diaz
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Got a bike...can't figure out how to shift the gears down? There are levers next to the brakes. The one on the right shifted the gears up, one on the left seems to have no effect. Needless to say, my legs are rather sore.
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