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

Stealth Cyclists ?

Old 04-22-12, 05:01 AM
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John Young
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Stealth Cyclists ?

I have been cycling since I was a kid (now 42) and I have always thought it was important to make sure you are VERY visible on the road. I have always worn the brightest most colourful clothes I could find.

Recently I have noticed more and more road cyclists with black or very dull clothes. Is this some new trend ? Do they think its not cool to wear bright clothes or do they just have death wish ?

Just came home in the car and passed two cyclists on a very dull wet day dressed in all black.... from head to toe in black. Like I say I am myself a cyclist and always watch out for them but I nearly did not see these two.
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Old 04-22-12, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by John Young View Post
I have been cycling since I was a kid (now 42) and I have always thought it was important to make sure you are VERY visible on the road. I have always worn the brightest most colourful clothes I could find.

Recently I have noticed more and more road cyclists with black or very dull clothes. Is this some new trend ? Do they think its not cool to wear bright clothes or do they just have death wish ?

Just came home in the car and passed two cyclists on a very dull wet day dressed in all black.... from head to toe in black. Like I say I am myself a cyclist and always watch out for them but I nearly did not see these two.
If they're anything like me, they're doing it to hide their roadie gut.
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Old 04-22-12, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by antmeeks View Post
If they're anything like me, they're doing it to hide their roadie gut.

*LOL* Never thought of that..... of course black is slimming
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Old 04-22-12, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by antmeeks View Post
If they're anything like me, they're doing it to hide their roadie gut.
That it does.
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Old 04-22-12, 05:40 AM
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I was hit twice on the road and now only ride loops (Boring but safe). At times I will ride with a group in a cycling club on back country roads.
I do wear bright clothing all the time.....even made sure I bought a white (Giro Atmos) helmet. Both times I was hit, they said I didn't see him.
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Old 04-22-12, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ThinLine View Post
Both times I was hit, they said I didn't see him.
That's the equivalent to "the dog ate my homework." I hope you don't believe it. Of course they try to blame you for their mistakes.
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Old 04-22-12, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Sourpuss Magee View Post
That's the equivalent to "the dog ate my homework." I hope you don't believe it. Of course they try to blame you for their mistakes.
^^This. Don't ever trust what someone says when the question of their liability is related to a mishap involving a motor vehicle.
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Old 04-22-12, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by antmeeks View Post
If they're anything like me, they're doing it to hide their roadie gut.
Yup. I'm switching to black too :-)
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Old 04-22-12, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Sourpuss Magee View Post
That's the equivalent to "the dog ate my homework." I hope you don't believe it. Of course they try to blame you for their mistakes.
Maybe.
But regardless of whose fault is it, you (cyclist) lose.
So it's in everybody's interest to make yourself visible. I don't understand the "ninja cyclist" trend.

Last edited by Gluteus; 04-22-12 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 04-22-12, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by John Young View Post
I have been cycling since I was a kid (now 42) and I have always thought it was important to make sure you are VERY visible on the road. I have always worn the brightest most colourful clothes I could find.

Recently I have noticed more and more road cyclists with black or very dull clothes. Is this some new trend ? Do they think its not cool to wear bright clothes or do they just have death wish ?

Just came home in the car and passed two cyclists on a very dull wet day dressed in all black.... from head to toe in black. Like I say I am myself a cyclist and always watch out for them but I nearly did not see these two.
You are making the logical assumption that bright fluorescent clothing makes you more visible. Not necessarily true even if it makes common sense!
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Old 04-22-12, 06:52 AM
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al of my jerseys are white and black...I just realized this. I ride the MUP a lot and the actual roads I'm on aren't very busy at all because they are on the back roads of a military base. Still, I don't think you wearing a bright yellow jersey vs. a black jersey makes you that much more visible. If somebody isn't paying attention, they just aren't paying attention. I want to slam into people with my car when I see them texting and driving...nothing annoys me more.
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Old 04-22-12, 06:54 AM
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I wear the brightest and loudest jerseys I can find...red seems to work well here. I have one that is the AZ flag, and I've been told by some drivers (when they stop at a light next to me) that they can see me from 1/2 mile away.

When I get on my bike, I throw any fashion to the wind. I don't think anyone who hasn't seen me on a bike would recognize me anyway.
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Old 04-22-12, 07:02 AM
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Being seen and being hit because the driver was inattentive or careless are far from being related. Next time you are riding, notice how it seems most cars go by really close to you and then after they pass you they move away more towards the middle of the road. The reason they do this is simple: they were looking at you the entire time and their eyes and hands lean in that direction as well. The moment they pass you, their attention goes back to the middle of the road and so does their car. As stupid as this is, we as cyclist do exactly the same. You want to see it? Start riding on the line for a bout a minute or 2, then turn your head to look back over your shoulder for about 5 sec, and then turn back to look forward and down and see where you are on the line. I bet you that you moved about 0.5-1 foot at least to the same side you were looking. Unless you make a conscious effort not to move, you will move to the side you are looking. It is a natural reaction.

My point is that although well intentioned and filled with common sense thinking, glow in the dar clothing does not necessarily make you get hit less even if it may or may not make you more visible.
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Old 04-22-12, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by dgasmd View Post
Being seen and being hit because the driver was inattentive or careless are far from being related. Next time you are riding, notice how it seems most cars go by really close to you and then after they pass you they move away more towards the middle of the road. The reason they do this is simple: they were looking at you the entire time and their eyes and hands lean in that direction as well. The mount they pass you, their attention goes back to the middle of the road and so does their car. As stupid as this is, we as cyclist do exactly the same. You want to see it? Start riding on the line for a bout a minute or 2, then turn your head to look back over your shoulder for about 5 sec, and then turn back to look forward and down and see where you are on the line. I bet you that you moved about 0.5-1 foot at least to the same side you were looking.

My point is that although well intentioned and filled with common sense thinking, glow in the dar clothing does not necessarily make you get hit less even if it may or may not make you more visible.
you turn your head to look back you tend to sway in the direction you've turn because you are leaning, I've worked on this for awhile to not sway so much anymore because I figured it to be a hazard to other riders with me.
If a diver is paying attention it won't matter how bright your colors are, they might just think you look more like a clown at that point (im not saying bright colors are bad either), if they aren't being attentive then the chances of them seeing you in time anyways doesn't matter.
The other problem with riding in traffic that I've noticed is not the first driver to pass you but the following drivers, the ones behind them that aren't paying attention and just going with the flow.
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Old 04-22-12, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by DropDeadFred View Post
you turn your head to look back you tend to sway in the direction you've turn because you are leaning, I've worked on this for awhile to not sway so much anymore because I figured it to be a hazard to other riders with me.
If a diver is paying attention it won't matter how bright your colors are, they might just think you look more like a clown at that point (im not saying bright colors are bad either), if they aren't being attentive then the chances of them seeing you in time anyways doesn't matter.
The other problem with riding in traffic that I've noticed is not the first driver to pass you but the following drivers, the ones behind them that aren't paying attention and just going with the flow.
PArtly, but not completely due to it. Next time you ride in a car with someone else, point out something on the side of the road far ahead and have them look at it until they pass it. Then watch them lean towards the line on that side.
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Old 04-22-12, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by DropDeadFred View Post
you turn your head to look back you tend to sway in the direction you've turn because you are leaning,
Just to be clear, what dgasmd says is correct, and it has little to do with leaning, so it is still relevant in a car - it's called "target fixation" and it's something that motorcyclists, in particular, are taught to be aware of.
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Old 04-22-12, 07:27 AM
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it seems that the major brands should carry a lot more high visibility race-fit style jerseys. i don't get this either. we aren't riding on a closed course tour de france.
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Old 04-22-12, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Just to be clear, what dgasmd says is correct, and it has little to do with leaning, so it is still relevant in a car - it's called "target fixation" and it's something that motorcyclists, in particular, are taught to be aware of.
I see
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Old 04-22-12, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by dgasmd View Post
You are making the logical assumption that bright fluorescent clothing makes you more visible. Not necessarily true even if it makes common sense!
Indeed. Even the brightest clothing will not be visible if the driver's attention is not on the road.
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Old 04-22-12, 08:19 AM
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Even if a rider has preference for wearing dark-colored clothing while sharing the road with other vehicles, for sure they know they can compensate for that by using reflective devices such as reflector-enabled gear and/or lighting. It's hard to see a cyclist whenever there's little to no daylight available from a motorist's standpoint.

Unless the cyclist is a real ninja who's out on a mission, then by all means that's a fair warning to motorists. If you see an all-black cyclist with a samurai tucked at the back, either give him a wide berth or just take another road.
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Old 04-22-12, 08:42 AM
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You are talking lack of lighting and we are talking middle of the day. At least I was.........
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Old 04-22-12, 09:09 AM
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I like to be as visible as possible especially at night. I use a bunch of Radbots with Superflashes and super bright LEDs up front. about 1000lumens up front.
I am considering using it as a day time running light.
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Old 04-22-12, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by John Young View Post
I have been cycling since I was a kid (now 42) and I have always thought it was important to make sure you are VERY visible on the road. I have always worn the brightest most colourful clothes I could find.

Recently I have noticed more and more road cyclists with black or very dull clothes. Is this some new trend ? Do they think its not cool to wear bright clothes or do they just have death wish ?

Just came home in the car and passed two cyclists on a very dull wet day dressed in all black.... from head to toe in black. Like I say I am myself a cyclist and always watch out for them but I nearly did not see these two.
The "new trend" is riding bikes instead of paying $4+/gallon gas (or however much more expensive it is for you in the UK).

This means new riders without much clue about how to ride safely, without lights on the bike (legally required, too, sometimes; DC's minimum is a white front light and red rear reflector), and without having invested in more-visible clothing (cycling-specific or not).
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Old 04-22-12, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Shinjukan View Post
Even if a rider has preference for wearing dark-colored clothing while sharing the road with other vehicles, for sure they know they can compensate for that by using reflective devices such as reflector-enabled gear and/or lighting. It's hard to see a cyclist whenever there's little to no daylight available from a motorist's standpoint.

Unless the cyclist is a real ninja who's out on a mission, then by all means that's a fair warning to motorists. If you see an all-black cyclist with a samurai tucked at the back, either give him a wide berth or just take another road.
I've seen umbrellas that have a samurai sword-style handle and a case that slings over your back.
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Old 04-22-12, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dgasmd View Post
You are making the logical assumption that bright fluorescent clothing makes you more visible. Not necessarily true even if it makes common sense!
Yeah you are always going to get some drivers that wont see you no matter what... but surly bright clothes will help.

I know when I am driving I always notice the bright clothes on cyclists a long way back
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