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Cycling phenomenon

Old 02-18-08, 04:19 PM
  #1  
eb314
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Cycling phenomenon

I've discovered that no matter how fast you ride your bike, cars will always pass you as fast as they can.

Since I've been training for the racing season, I've gotten a lot more in shape and can hold fairly good speed lately. So the other day I decided to ride up and down a stretch of 25 mph road that's about 2 miles long and all flat, and that I wouldn't go below the speed limit. So I'm riding along at about 26-27 and a car comes flying by me. Then another, and another. So I turn around at the end of the road, take a rest, then continue. This time I'm going about 30-33 and cars are still flying by me at probably 40-50. When I drive on this road in my car everyone goes about 25-30.

Drivers hate the idea of people on bikes so much, that they'll floor the gas to pass no matter what speed they're already going. This is at least true in Columbus, Ohio. When I get stronger, I'll try the experiment again at higher speeds.

edit: This is a 4 lane road by the way, so there's no need to pass quickly for safety's sake.
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Old 02-18-08, 04:20 PM
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Accords with my experience too.
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Old 02-18-08, 04:29 PM
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Happened in my small towns main street today too.
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Old 02-18-08, 04:35 PM
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ahhaa that's really funny to me.
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Old 02-18-08, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by eb314 View Post
I've discovered that no matter how fast you ride your bike, cars will always pass you as fast as they can.

Since I've been training for the racing season, I've gotten a lot more in shape and can hold fairly good speed lately. So the other day I decided to ride up and down a stretch of 25 mph road that's about 2 miles long and all flat, and that I wouldn't go below the speed limit. So I'm riding along at about 26-27 and a car comes flying by me. Then another, and another. So I turn around at the end of the road, take a rest, then continue. This time I'm going about 30-33 and cars are still flying by me at probably 40-50. When I drive on this road in my car everyone goes about 25-30.

Drivers hate the idea of people on bikes so much, that they'll floor the gas to pass no matter what speed they're already going. This is at least true in Columbus, Ohio. When I get stronger, I'll try the experiment again at higher speeds.

edit: This is a 4 lane road by the way, so there's no need to pass quickly for safety's sake.
If there are 4 lanes and you're going around the limit, I'd just take a lane. Most drivers will switch lanes to pass if you're not hugging the curb.
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Old 02-18-08, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by eb314 View Post
I've discovered that no matter how fast you ride your bike, cars will always pass you as fast as they can.
Around here they do that even when I'm driving my truck.
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Old 02-18-08, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Accords with my experience too.
Yep. I frequently get "buzzed" on the wide, empty roads I commute on.
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Old 02-18-08, 05:50 PM
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Happens on narrow streets around here on occasion. I think the likely explanation is that people guage speed based on their beliefs about how fast a bicycle should be able to go and don't really look at the speedometer.
Some drivers around here, once they try to start passing and realize that to do so would be dangerous for them (particularly on streets lined with parked cars), back off. Others... not so much. Oh well, plan ahead and anticipate what situation you will find yourself in. Plan escape routes.
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Old 02-18-08, 05:55 PM
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What I like is when I'm cruising through the orchards and some guy in his F-9000 blows by. He was already doing 65, there's no other traffic around, but he still has to mash on the gas pedal to pass me. Bravo, ******bag.
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Old 02-18-08, 06:20 PM
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I was in my car the other day going 55 on a 4 lane with a 45mph limit. I was in the way. Everyone was going 70+. I think it's a larger issue with people not paying any attention (or caring) how fast they're going, most new cars isolating the drivers more and more from road feedback, and a complete disregard of the law. Oh yeah, and extreme impatience.

I was filling out a transportation survey yesterday for my city's DOT. They asked what could be done to make cycling more desirable and safer so that more people would ride. Thier choices included more bike lanes, more and wider sidewalks, more laws to protect cyclists, etc. I pointed out that simply educating drivers on the rules of the road and enforcing the laws we already have, especially the speed limit, would not only make me safer when riding and walking, but also make me a lot safer while driving.

It seems so simple, but it's like sacrilege to even consider that people in thier cars slow down when neccessary and pay attention. You might as well ask them for blood or money.

Az
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Old 02-18-08, 06:23 PM
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Another thing I always see is cars/trucks that as they pass they really gun the engine . . . I wish I had all the gas they waste passing me . . . I'd never have to buy gas again. I guess I'm supposed to be impressed that they can pass a cyclist?
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Old 02-18-08, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ericcox View Post
Happens on narrow streets around here on occasion. I think the likely explanation is that people guage speed based on their beliefs about how fast a bicycle should be able to go and don't really look at the speedometer.
Some drivers around here, once they try to start passing and realize that to do so would be dangerous for them (particularly on streets lined with parked cars), back off. Others... not so much. Oh well, plan ahead and anticipate what situation you will find yourself in. Plan escape routes.
Yeah. That reminds me of a situation on my morning commute a couple of weeks ago. It's a narrow neighborhood street (no center line is painted). I'm late for work so I'm going 21mph. An unmarked street in California is 25mph. So I'm 4mph under the speed limit. And with cars parallel parked I'm trying to stay out of the door zone. Because it's a narrow street, that puts me right in the lane. There's a stop sign a 100 yards or so ahead and some d-bag has to lay on his horn and gun it over 30 to pass.

Seriously, I doubt that saved Mr. D-bag much more than 5 seconds, but God forbid he be behind a bicycle for 100 yards.
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Old 02-18-08, 06:33 PM
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I am particularly fond of my locale where the natives will accelerate to pass only to slam on the brakes and make a right turn just in front of me.

My theory is that the drivers can't perceive instantly how fast you are really going and you compute as "JAB" (just another bicycle). That's my own acronym. I just made itup for posting to this thread.
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Old 02-18-08, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by eb314 View Post
Drivers hate the idea of people on bikes so much, that they'll floor the gas to pass no matter what speed they're already going. This is at least true in Columbus, Ohio. When I get stronger, I'll try the experiment again at higher speeds.
That's a fun experiment, but I'm not so sure all drivers pass out of hate. For many, I think it's just an instinct: they're tooling along, see a biker, and immediately think "better get over it" and pass you. Lots of people underestimate the speed of cyclists.. hell, I even find myself going over the speed limit to pass some cyclists from time to time. It's a natural reaction.. although of course, it's kind of dangerous.
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Old 02-18-08, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Godwin View Post
If there are 4 lanes and you're going around the limit, I'd just take a lane. Most drivers will switch lanes to pass if you're not hugging the curb.
+1 Just take the lane. Drivers who are impatient, riding on ego or over compensating for their lack of physical ability? F*ck 'em
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Old 02-18-08, 07:48 PM
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I have noticed this too. I can be going 10 over the speed limit on my bike, and people still feel the need to fly by me. You get so used to it that when someone does actually pass you slowly, you get confused why a car is driving next to you in the wrong lane(going the same speed!) instead of staying behind you or flying past you.
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Old 02-18-08, 07:50 PM
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You ought to try it on mountain canyon roads. On most of them around here, I can take a downhill turn at 10 to 20 mph faster than most cars but they still think they have to pass. Kind of fun...in a frighten sort of way...to watch them slide the corner after they speed up to pass me. Then they slow way down to go around the rest of the corners.

I like having fun with them on dips and speed bumps, too. I've had them so intense on passing me that they've shot out a shower of sparks when their exhaust system bottoms out. I can take the same bumps and dips at much higher rates of speed then they can. Extra points if you can rip off something important
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Old 02-18-08, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You ought to try it on mountain canyon roads. On most of them around here, I can take a downhill turn at 10 to 20 mph faster than most cars but they still think they have to pass. Kind of fun...in a frighten sort of way...to watch them slide the corner after they speed up to pass me. Then they slow way down to go around the rest of the corners.

I like having fun with them on dips and speed bumps, too. I've had them so intense on passing me that they've shot out a shower of sparks when their exhaust system bottoms out. I can take the same bumps and dips at much higher rates of speed then they can. Extra points if you can rip off something important
Haha that's amazing. We have a lot of hills around here, but nothing with major switch backs that isn't 30 miles in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 02-18-08, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You ought to try it on mountain canyon roads. On most of them around here, I can take a downhill turn at 10 to 20 mph faster than most cars but they still think they have to pass. Kind of fun...in a frighten sort of way...to watch them slide the corner after they speed up to pass me. Then they slow way down to go around the rest of the corners.

I like having fun with them on dips and speed bumps, too. I've had them so intense on passing me that they've shot out a shower of sparks when their exhaust system bottoms out. I can take the same bumps and dips at much higher rates of speed then they can. Extra points if you can rip off something important
That is just plain awesome. I think you should shoot for a personal best by trying to get a cager to drive him/herself right off the cliff. Then double back and take pictures.

hmm.. I just thought of this. If you've got a car trying to pass you, when his bumper is about at your crank, you should brake as hard as possible(without endoing, crashing, or drifting into the lane). The driver might get psyched out, slam on the brakes, or maybe just gun it. Their actions just might be erratic enough to get'em over the edge.
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Old 02-18-08, 09:17 PM
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personally when I'm driving and there's a bike in to my right, I instinctually try to pass them quickly so I'm not driving right beside them.

even though I've been riding for years, I still feel overly cautious and give bike riders more space than they need to from the experience I've obtained while on the bike.

many car drivers move way over when they pass me and it seems unnecessary but welcomed.
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Old 02-18-08, 09:22 PM
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Since getting back into riding, I've tended to give even more space to cyclists (not that I've ever crowded one--I *did* used to bike alot more). But since I know what it's like to be on the other end of the stick, I'll come to a crawl behind one if it's the safest thing to do. Which means I have to step on it when I get a chance to go around.
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Old 02-18-08, 09:31 PM
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Upon further observation...

Not only do autos (well, typically trucks) hate having a bicyclist in front of them, they feel a great importance to down shift . Nope, it's can't be a calm, quiet pass. It has to be a "headers-wide-open-exhaust-screaming" sort of pass. Helps get their message of superiority across better, I guess.
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Old 02-19-08, 01:55 AM
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Wait till you're bombing downhill and actually pass a vehicle. The surprised look on the drivers face is priceless. Until they gun it and try getting around you before the next curve, that just sucks...
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Old 02-19-08, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Az B View Post
I was in my car the other day going 55 on a 4 lane with a 45mph limit. I was in the way. Everyone was going 70+. I think it's a larger issue with people not paying any attention (or caring) how fast they're going, most new cars isolating the drivers more and more from road feedback, and a complete disregard of the law. Oh yeah, and extreme impatience.
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Old 02-19-08, 02:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Geoff326 View Post
personally when I'm driving and there's a bike in to my right, I instinctually try to pass them quickly so I'm not driving right beside them.

even though I've been riding for years, I still feel overly cautious and give bike riders more space than they need to from the experience I've obtained while on the bike.

many car drivers move way over when they pass me and it seems unnecessary but welcomed.
++ Agree with this. It's nerve-wracking to be next to a cyclist on a fast, narrow street.

Also, the 'gunning' you hear that sounds so threatening is most often their automatic dropping the hammer when they're just trying to get by you cleanly and quickly.
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