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How do you ease the paranoia from riding on the road?

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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

How do you ease the paranoia from riding on the road?

Old 08-17-14, 03:41 PM
  #1  
rick458
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How do you ease the paranoia from riding on the road?

I decided to move from MTB on trail paths etc... to a Road bike on the road.
test rode 3 of them today on three fairly short rides (12 yo daughter was back at the LBS)
still had a high level of Paranoia about cars, coming up behind me, stopping short, and I even got the Turn RIGHT in front of me and enter drive at 3 mph.
What mirrors etc do you use to ease some of that off, I DO NOT want to lose it just get to where
I can enjoy the ride more.
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Old 08-17-14, 03:59 PM
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I probably should grab a mirror myself (been riding routinely for almost a year now). Currently I don't have any mirrors, just super bright lights I'll use if dusk/night.

Overall I think you just get used to the paranoia and it turns more into a feeling of awareness.
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Old 08-17-14, 04:05 PM
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I don't use mirrors, I've gotten very good at looking around and behind me at very frequent intervals when I know I'm in a busy area.
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Old 08-17-14, 04:07 PM
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I'm at the point now where about 95% of the time I can tell, based on sound alone, whether or not a driver coming from behind me is giving me a wide berth, or not moving over at all. Priuses (Prii?) in electric mode are still giving me trouble though -- those hippies can really sneak up on you. Anyways, I've found that turning my head to look back at the driver almost always results in them moving over and giving me more room. It's just a very quick look-back, not enough to cause me to change direction or anything. Just enough to let them know that I know they're back there and I'm keeping an eye on them.

More experience will make you more comfortable, and the aforementioned technique works well enough for me that I haven't yet had to Fred-it-up and get a mirror.
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Old 08-17-14, 04:08 PM
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Last week "The Unicycle Man" was hit and killed about 5 blocks from my house, late, deep ditches, dark clothes, the guy that hit him did not see him until the windshield cracked, he was pretty tore up about it.

Plan A is to get some of those Neon bright Tee Shirts from Academy, rear light, head light, and find some
good reflective tape (If needed I will be getting a Domane soon did not check its reflectivity).

Plan B is ride on the roads to paved bike paths and keep on them until I get more in tune with the bike, pedals etc..
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Old 08-17-14, 04:12 PM
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Be aware and be assertive, but use common sense. No mirror for me.
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Old 08-17-14, 04:15 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by rick458 View Post
Last week "The Unicycle Man" was hit and killed about 5 blocks from my house, late, deep ditches, dark clothes, the guy that hit him did not see him until the windshield cracked, he was pretty tore up about it.

Plan A is to get some of those Neon bright Tee Shirts from Academy, rear light, head light, and find some
good reflective tape (If needed I will be getting a Domane soon did not check its reflectivity).

Plan B is ride on the roads to paved bike paths and keep on them until I get more in tune with the bike, pedals etc..
Wow. According to this article the one time he was wearing clothes it actually was reflective:

Man Known For Riding Unicycle Naked Died After Being Hit « CBS Houston

say he had lights too.
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Old 08-17-14, 04:16 PM
  #8  
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My mirror of choice is Third Eye® Mirrors eyeglass type. There are many different designs available.

I guess those individuals who can ride a bicycle without the aid of a mirror might also be comfortable driving a vehicle without side or rear view mirrors. NOT ME!

I find that turning my head has been compromised due to age and cervical issues.
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Old 08-17-14, 04:17 PM
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I never had this issue. I ride with a mirror and take the center of the lane. When I see or hear a car coming, I move over. I wear bright colors and have blinking LED lights. If I am hit, it's thier fault. Hope they got good insurance.
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Old 08-17-14, 04:29 PM
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You've got to get rid of the fear. Ride the road like you own it. That won't protect you from all risks, but it will let cars know you have a right to the road. Skittish, insecure riding on the street is the surest way to have a problem. Ride with confidence and you will be much safer. My other observation is that drivers are more respectful in lower middle class neighborhoods than in the high class suburbs. I find much less aggressive driving in the blue collar areas. You may feel uncomfortable riding alone in those areas, and that is fair, so get some buddies to ride with you. But don't miss out on some great routes just because they are not in the upper economic strata.
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Old 08-17-14, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
My mirror of choice is Third Eye® Mirrors eyeglass type. There are many different designs available.

I guess those individuals who can ride a bicycle without the aid of a mirror might also be comfortable driving a vehicle without side or rear view mirrors. NOT ME!

I find that turning my head has been compromised due to age and cervical issues.
I NEED a mirror, I broke my neck in 95 and looking hard over my left shoulder is not easily done
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Old 08-17-14, 04:57 PM
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I've never had an issue - I simply constantly keep moving my eyes and knowing everything around me. It really is practice, the same way you do hill repeats. Get used to moving your eyes constantly without changing your line. One way to do this is estimate how far a car is behind you, and then count down. You will be surprised how quickly you nail that. Another thing to think about - "where is my escape route?"

Going on group rides will also help.

the nice part of riding like this is an amazingly refreshed feeling when you are done. That type of concentration is good for safety and help.

(Plus it helps not going into a tree when you see an outdoor yoga group in a park...)
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Old 08-17-14, 04:57 PM
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There are some very nice places to ride and walk in and around Houston, I just need to get comfortable in my Biking skin.
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Old 08-17-14, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
You've got to get rid of the fear. Ride the road like you own it. That won't protect you from all risks, but it will let cars know you have a right to the road. Skittish, insecure riding on the street is the surest way to have a problem. Ride with confidence and you will be much safer. My other observation is that drivers are more respectful in lower middle class neighborhoods than in the high class suburbs. I find much less aggressive driving in the blue collar areas. You may feel uncomfortable riding alone in those areas, and that is fair, so get some buddies to ride with you. But don't miss out on some great routes just because they are not in the upper economic strata.

This. If approaching a light, stop sign or turn, I be sure to seize the middle of the road confidently. You will have cars get pissed, yell, etc... And just have to grow thick skin and be very aware at all times.

Part of my ride was on a MUP today and I think that is more dangerous. Cars are more predictable than people walking their dog.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gc3 View Post
Be aware and be assertive, but use common sense. No mirror for me.
This for me as well. Get out there and start on roads with wide shoulders. Get a rear blinky and use it all the time. You'll get used to the noises and soon be able to predict the situations you describe.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:12 PM
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Get this taillight. Visible in daylight hundreds of yards away, will help drivers spot you. Just got one, crazy bright. Every road biker needs one of these.

DAYTIME RED Taillight - 400+ Lumens seat post, seat stay, chain stay or rack mount ? DiNotte Lighting USA Online Store

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Old 08-17-14, 05:27 PM
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What kind of riding are you planning to do initially? Commute with heavy traffic or lightly travelled roads? Narrow roads without shoulders or wide and roomy? Do you have a friend who rides the same roads you are planning to ride? If so ask him/her to show you the ropes.
New to drop bars and being clipped PLEASE do your first rides on a paved path to get the feel for the bike. After that find some neighborhood streets and slowly ease yourself into traffic.

Last edited by TheRef; 08-17-14 at 05:40 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 08-17-14, 05:29 PM
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Don't put yourself in situations where you're not comfortable with it. Road cycling may be something that grows on you, or it may not.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:34 PM
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Keep riding. Find quiet roads and gradually move towards busier roads. The more your ride, the more confidence you feel with yourself and drivers.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by linnefaulk View Post
Keep riding. Find quiet roads and gradually move towards busier roads. The more your ride, the more confidence you feel with yourself and drivers.
^^this. Except stay off of busier roads.

There is a great variation throughout the country in road you can cycle on. Some states are really good about very wide shoulders. Others have a shoulder that is 1" past the white line. In terms of highway riding, I guess it's just better to stay off the busier roads.

J.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rick458 View Post
I NEED a mirror, I broke my neck in 95 and looking hard over my left shoulder is not easily done
I also require a mirror. I have one mounted to my cycling glasses... and I always wear the cycling glasses, a helmet, and cycling gloves (the gloves will save some skin when you hit the pavement). And you will hit the pavement.

There is an inherent danger to cycling with traffic. Cars can make really big and often permanent ouchies. Pain, injury, disability, disease, death.... all are part of life and therefore also a part of cycling. Acceptance of our human fragility.... ends the fear.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by TheRef View Post
What kind of riding are you planning to do initially? Commute with heavy traffic or lightly travelled roads? Narrow roads without shoulders or wide and roomy? Do you have a friend who rides the same roads you are planning to ride? If so ask him/her to show you the ropes.
New to drop bars and being clipped PLEASE do your first rides on a paved path to get the few for the bike. After that find some neighborhood streets and slowly ease yourself into traffic.
Initially I will ride on the road to some good paved bike paths (Fairmont Parkway, Red Bluff, Bay Area Blvd)
I will start out with Shimano SPD SLs and ride the platform side on the road and get used to the Clip unclip action, riding drops getting comfortable sit bones toughened back up etc on the paths.

Last edited by rick458; 08-17-14 at 05:52 PM. Reason: clairity
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Old 08-17-14, 06:30 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
You've got to get rid of the fear. Ride the road like you own it. That won't protect you from all risks, but it will let cars know you have a right to the road. Skittish, insecure riding on the street is the surest way to have a problem. Ride with confidence and you will be much safer. My other observation is that drivers are more respectful in lower middle class neighborhoods than in the high class suburbs. I find much less aggressive driving in the blue collar areas. You may feel uncomfortable riding alone in those areas, and that is fair, so get some buddies to ride with you. But don't miss out on some great routes just because they are not in the upper economic strata.
This. So much this: if you make yourself visible and ride on the road like you belong there (and make no mistake, you do), then drivers will get out of your way. There are certain exceptions, of course - you won't catch me riding on a road with a 55+ MPH speed limit, for example - but for the most part, if you ride like IDGAF, you're solid.

Also, if a car hits you from behind, you'll never see it coming anyway, so why bother worrying about it? All you can do is wear a helmet, wear the clothes and reflectors that leave no doubt that you are visible, keep calm, and bike on.
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Old 08-17-14, 06:49 PM
  #24  
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Start on residential streets you are comfortable with. Then gradually move to busier streets and roads. You might pick a time of day when traffic is less. There's a lot do advice about be assertive and let cars know you have a right to be there. That might work for you or it might not. Just do what you're comfortable with for now. It's quickly gets better an easier.
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Old 08-17-14, 06:53 PM
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Well I am 6'2 270 and will be wearing bright colors I (SHOULD) be hard to miss.
I do have head lights and tail lights on my Hard rock I will transfer over to the Road bike
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