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Taking the full road on descents

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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Taking the full road on descents

Old 04-06-21, 07:36 PM
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Taking the full road on descents

How fast do you think you have to be going in order for it not to be ******y to take the whole road on a descent? i don't drive so I don't really know how it feels from the cars point of view. On my commute to work I usually take the main hill at low 30s, and feel fine taking the whole road because the speed limit is only like 35. I was riding in the hills this week, on unfamiliar fast roads with a 50 mph speed limit, and I found myself taking the road even so. I was going mid 30s, but im not confident with descending and didn't feel happy staying in my bike lane. At what point do you come out of the bike lane and claim the whole road? In my mind like just be patient the hill will be over soon you can pass me then...
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Old 04-06-21, 10:05 PM
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I will only take the road if I am doing the speed limit and there are no cars around. Any other time I think you would be just pissing off drivers.
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Old 04-06-21, 11:48 PM
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42 mph
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Old 04-07-21, 01:29 AM
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I cant put a number on it, its more a vibe. Ive overtaken (slow-moving, obviously) motorised traffic on downhills, but Ive also moved over to allow them pass. There are descents around here that have enough twists and turns that Im confident I wont slow down a car significantly unless theyre in a big hurry. Theres also others with longish straightaways where I can pull to one side and let them through. My speed on those straights is probably getting towards 40mph and above, and in the corners low to mid 20s.
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Old 04-07-21, 01:34 AM
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that's what the garmin varia radar is for...just sayin.'
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Old 04-07-21, 03:39 AM
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That tax you pay entitles you to hold up traffic on the way up too you know.
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Old 04-07-21, 03:41 AM
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88 mph
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Old 04-07-21, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh
88 mph
Great Scott!
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Old 04-07-21, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Dean V
42 mph
This is the correct answer.
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Old 04-07-21, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat
This is the correct answer.
What was the question again?
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Old 04-07-21, 05:45 AM
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Whatever speed is required to make your descent safe. Where I ride, the roads are narrow and the pavement is so bad you need absolute freedom to dodge holes. You dont get that a foot from a curb or the grass.
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Old 04-07-21, 06:08 AM
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If I'm matching or exceeding the speed limit, I don't have any qualms about using the full lane, likewise if there are safety implications as Mo describes.
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Old 04-07-21, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Leinster
What was the question again?
Do you need to have a towel with you at all times just in case.
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Old 04-07-21, 06:48 AM
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Depends on the road, there are plenty of descents around here where a car can't/won't keep up with a bike, I'll use the whole lane in that scenario since I know if there's a car behind me, they're not going to take any of those curves as fast as I will. When it straightens out, I'll move over so they can pass. Coming down off the parkway, it's usually the cars slowing the bikes down. lol
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Old 04-07-21, 09:28 AM
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Descending >30mph on an often debris-strewn shoulder, especially with cars passing within a foot or two? No thanks.

AFAS taking the whole road: narrow, winding, adequate sight lines- yes.
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Old 04-07-21, 09:48 AM
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I'll take more and more of the lane as speed and safety dictate, but I'll try to allow cars to pass when I can. The decision to move further into the lane is unrelated to posted speed limits, but is instead based on need.
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Old 04-07-21, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
How fast do you think you have to be going in order for it not to be ******y to take the whole road on a descent? i don't drive so I don't really know how it feels from the cars point of view. On my commute to work I usually take the main hill at low 30s, and feel fine taking the whole road because the speed limit is only like 35. I was riding in the hills this week, on unfamiliar fast roads with a 50 mph speed limit, and I found myself taking the road even so. I was going mid 30s, but im not confident with descending and didn't feel happy staying in my bike lane. At what point do you come out of the bike lane and claim the whole road? In my mind like just be patient the hill will be over soon you can pass me then...
​​​​​​It feels like a violation of the natural order. No matter how fast you're going. You can be doing 2 or 3 x the speed limit and most drivers will be unhappy.

I mostly ride in the city, so I have a lot of roads to choose from. As much as possible I do big descents on low traffic roads. I usually get to ride anywhere I want, meaning I can avoid debris and imperfections in the pavement. Also people are in less of a hurry. There's a long, steep one coming out of West Seattle, most days I have it to my self, when there's car traffic they usually wait until the bottom to pass. A lot of other ways down the hill lead to freeway on ramps, and they're incredibly uncomfortable no matter where I ride. So I don't use them.
​​​​
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Old 04-07-21, 10:09 AM
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As others have said...it depends. If my speed is holding up traffic, I'll stay out of the way as well as I can, considering the conditions of the road and how they affect my safety. If my speed is faster than traffic, I'll take the whole road.

Here's an example from my ride last weekend, on a road that is twisty enough where decently-skilled cyclists are significantly faster than cars...
Earlier on this descent, I had one motorcycle pass me and one car move out of my way. It was a lovely day with more cyclists on the hill than cars
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Old 04-07-21, 10:18 AM
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I really like my Varia radar.
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Old 04-07-21, 10:29 AM
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If a motorist cannot safely pass a slower moving vehicle safely, they should not be licensed to drive. Motorists are not entitled to go as fast as they want.

Take up as much road as you need to be safe.
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Old 04-07-21, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Dean V
42 mph
Don't panic!


---


In Virginia a bicycle is considered a vehicle and technically has the right to the full road. Within the law is a stipulation that slower vehicles have to move over for ones doing the speed limit. So I tend to only take the road if I am doing the speed limit or close. But when you think about it a car, a vehicle, is not required to do to do the speed limit, in some cases like on higways there are minimums, but I don't know if there are on general roads. But for the sake of advocacy I don't like to piss off drivers.
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Old 04-07-21, 10:59 AM
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The long descent I'm most likely to do, the cars can't really go much faster than I do and there's no shoulder most of the way, so I use the whole lane. There are one or two sections that are straight and long enough, and wide enough, for passing so if a car is behind me, I'll pull as far right as is safe to let them by.
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Old 04-07-21, 11:04 AM
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The full road? You mean you want to take up all the lanes? How will you do that?

Otherwise, I'm always in my lane whether on a bike or in a motor vehicle.
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Old 04-07-21, 11:35 AM
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When you say "the full road", I hope you mean the lane, because you shouldn't be crossing over to the other side of the road under any circumstances.
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Old 04-07-21, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Bmach
I will only take the road if I am doing the speed limit and there are no cars around. Any other time I think you would be just pissing off drivers.
Pissing off drivers during a descent really isn't a concern for me. My safety is worth more than the minor slowdown they may experience.
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