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Cycling in the Flatlands

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Cycling in the Flatlands

Old 01-24-12, 04:48 AM
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Cycling in the Flatlands

It has been purported that both Florida and Louisiana are the two flatest states of the United States. If this is true, why aren't any cities of these two states ever nominated as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities, within the USA?

You would think that if the topography and the geography of a city facilitates cycling, then there would quite naturally be more cycling, taking place within that city, by default.

What am I missing here?

Last edited by SlimRider; 01-24-12 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 01-24-12, 04:52 AM
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Heat, Winds, Humidity, Fog, Hot Sun, Torrential down pours, Hurricanes, Elderly drivers.
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Old 01-24-12, 05:14 AM
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In theory, places with flat terrain and "good" (ie hot) climates should be ideal for cycling. In practice these are where you find the least amount of cycling. You find the most cycling in places with hilly terrain and "bad" (ie damp, temperate) climates.
Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and many NW European cities all have a strong, indigenous cycling culture. Flat, Mediterranean cities have no cycling culture unless it has been recently imported to places such as Seville and Tel Aviv.
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Old 01-24-12, 05:48 AM
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Why , Tampa , St. Pete actually are leaders..... in pedestrian / bicycle fatalities
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Old 01-24-12, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by SlimRider
It has been purported that both Florida and Louisianna are the two flatest states of the United States. If this is true, why aren't any cities of these two states ever nominated as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities, within the USA?

You would think that if the topography and the geography of a city facilitates cycling, then there would quite naturally be more cycling, taking place within that city, by default.

What am I missing here?
Quite obviously, you've never spent a lot of time cycling in a flat part of the world. Flat isn't necessarily good for cycling.

Manitoba, and specifically the Red River Valley, is very, very flat ... I spent 13 years cycling there. While it has its appeal in some ways, the constant wind and field after field after field start to wear on you after a bit. And I had to do my hill training on overpasses. If I wanted to take on some real hills, I had to drive 150 km.
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Old 01-24-12, 06:51 AM
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When I lived in Colorado, one of my bosses went to visit one of our shops in Alabama. He reported, "I went out for a run. By the time I got to the end of the block, I was totally soaked in sweat. No wonder everyone there is fat! It's too hot to exercise!" And there's a lot of truth in that. Here in the Dallas area, we'll ride year round, but that can be challenging in the summer, and involves a LOT of sweat.
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Old 01-24-12, 08:11 AM
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Florida has double the per capita bicyclist fatality rate of other warm weather states like California
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Old 01-24-12, 09:04 AM
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In the case of FL I would say it was the rapid growth in the 80's - 90's (with very little planning) led to difficult roads for bikes and pedestrians. Iíve watched quiet roads that I used to ride in the middle of nowhere go from two to eight lanes lined with never ending strip centers and gated communities. There are safer places to ride but I find I have to do a good deal of route planning ahead of time.

OhÖ the summers are nasty hot too.
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Old 01-24-12, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by SlimRider
It has been purported that both Florida and Louisianna are the two flatest states of the United States. If this is true, why aren't any cities of these two states ever nominated as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities, within the USA?
Drivers and roads.

Best place I've ever found to combine warm weather, flat topography, good drivers and roads is La Quinta, California.
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Old 01-24-12, 09:51 AM
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Here in FL, it's a combination of roads that simply aren't designed with bicycles and pedestrians in mind, and a driving culture that's aggresively anti-cycling. This leads to:

Originally Posted by johnny99
Florida has double the per capita bicyclist fatality rate of other warm weather states like California
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Old 01-24-12, 04:09 PM
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Florida drivers. Those two words alone are a cure for constipation in normal people....

In both Florida and Louisiana, the climate is another factor.
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Old 01-24-12, 04:21 PM
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Since lighter bikes are better climbers, steel bikes are more common in these flat states. Unfortunately, most of the riders in these states are at home with broken steel bikes.

And of the riders that ARE out there, I'd bet most are on carbon, maybe some aluminum....see, there ya go!
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Old 01-24-12, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz
Since lighter bikes are better climbers, steel bikes are more common in these flat states. Unfortunately, most of the riders in these states are at home with broken steel bikes.

And of the riders that ARE out there, I'd bet most are on carbon, maybe some aluminum....see, there ya go!

Mr. Beanz!

One of these days, the Gods of steel are going to suddenly collapse your carbon when you could least afford it!

Only upon that blessed day, will my faith in a supreme being be renewed!
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Old 01-24-12, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SlimRider
Mr. Beanz!

One of these days, the Gods of steel are going to suddenly collapse your carbon when you could least afford it!

Only upon that blessed day, will my faith in a supreme being be renewed!


Sorry man! I still got aluminum and steel as backups. I will never be without.

But serioulsy, climbs add so much more to the cycling experience. I don't mind our long flat trail cause I'm always meeting new people and friends for my videos and pictures. If I had to ride all flat land while meeting less than 5 riders per ride, I'd get bored.
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Old 01-24-12, 05:50 PM
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Florida and Louisiana are both culturally "anti." In general they are hostile to cyclists.
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Old 01-24-12, 06:30 PM
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colorado is the flatest state in the union. it's just a little.....horizontally challenged here and there.
as for the south- put a beer in the bottle cage, a confederate flag on a bicycle mast, have a shotgun in a scabbard mounted, those big bicycle tires from bike choppers, and knock out several teeth where the loss can easily be seen. you'll fit right in, maybe.
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Old 01-24-12, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ka0use
colorado is the flatest state in the union. it's just a little.....horizontally challenged here and there.
as for the south- put a beer in the bottle cage, a confederate flag on a bicycle mast, have a shotgun in a scabbard mounted, those big bicycle tires from bike choppers, and knock out several teeth where the loss can easily be seen. you'll fit right in, maybe.

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Old 01-25-12, 03:55 AM
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I hate riding in the flat lands. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.
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Old 01-25-12, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Florida and Louisiana are both culturally "anti." In general they are hostile to cyclists.
After living in Tampa for the last 2+ years I can attest to this but also add they are "anti" anything that is not car related. The public transportation is virtually non-existant and any attempts to fund new or upgrade the existing public systems is voted down. And yes, the drivers can be very aggressive towards cyclists.
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Old 01-25-12, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by SlimRider
What am I missing here?
Fun.
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Old 01-25-12, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
While it has its appeal in some ways, the constant wind and field after field after field start to wear on you after a bit. And I had to do my hill training on overpasses. If I wanted to take on some real hills, I had to drive 150 km.
East central Illinois is also like that. I lived and rode there for 5 years and it was like being on a billiard table. Dull, dull, dull.
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Old 01-25-12, 08:58 AM
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I live in a gated 55+ community in So Florida. Most of the Florida remarks are true.
It's fun to see new retired people move in and then go and buy bicycles. For the most part most of them haven't ridden since they were kids and don't have a clue.
They buy his and her matching bikes without getting measured or having the bike set up/ adjusted for them. Never learned how to shift them. They ride them with no leg extention looking like contortionists and wonder why this ain't so much fun and I'm in pain.
Before you know it, a couple more bikes in the garage collecting dust and in the way.
And no, I wouldn't buy one of those poorly thought out things at a tag sale. I wouldn't take some of them for free.
It's a shame because a bike down here can really be an asset because of the proximity of all the recreation areas close by.
People leave the bike inthe garage to drive a couple of blocks to the tennis courts, pool etc.
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Old 01-29-12, 06:22 PM
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I grew up riding in the Tampa Bay area. People in Arkansas are amazed at my fearlessness in traffic.
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Old 01-29-12, 08:12 PM
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I've spent most of my life cycling in the rural/suburban northeast USA and recently spent a month cycling in Sarasota FL. I would rate Sarasota and Manatee counties as very good for cycling in general, and the flatness is not as boring as I thought it would be. You just ride faster overall on the flats than in the hills. You don't get the scenic views and the nice descents that you get in the mountains, but no place is perfect. For interesting cycling I think visual variety, smooth road surfaces, and lack of traffic are more important than flatness per se.
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Old 01-30-12, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by JimF22003
I hate riding in the flat lands. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.
So..ah...Jim,

How do you feel about riding in the flat lands?
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