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Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle on roads

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Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle on roads

Old 05-19-19, 06:48 AM
  #1  
MrJames67
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Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle on roads

https://qz.com/1620913/the-best-cycl...a-pool-noodle/


What an outstanding idea. Our office manager's mom, mid forties, was nicked near here by a trucker going by even though she had yellow helmet, high viz vest, and two rear blinkies. Daytime. And was on the narrow shoulder. It grazed her left handlebar. Six breaks in her left arm, she got some money later for it, but her arm is not normal and still hurts today.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sometimes, all the cure in the world.

These noodles are one dollar at the Dollar Tree stores now.
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Old 05-19-19, 08:56 AM
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djb
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while travelling in other countries, I have considered getting an extension something or other and having an orange flag or whatever, but never actually did because overall, drivers were generally respectful enough for space.

Looking back at decades of bike riding, I have actually personally found that in North America there have been way more incidents of drivers passing by so close , for no reason, that it is clear to me that the attitude of self righteous/aggressive thing towards cyclists is very much prevelent in a "car culture" society --although I realize that it is still rather rare in the big scheme of things.

Ive ridden in France a lot, in my area of Canada, and in parts of Latin America, and the vast majority of people are very respectful and patient.

I have, however, had truck or car drivers pass so close to me , when no one was coming in the oncoming lane, that it had to have been a clear decision to scare the cyclist, but I realize that there are a..holes everywhere, but in an area of only "car culture", it stands to reason that more people will have less understanding of what they are doing, and/or to NOT do things that are socially unacceptable, like buzzing a biker just for a giggle or because you are pissed off at the world.

bottom line--the more that regular people bike, the more understanding and patience they will have with cyclists when they are driving their vehicle and passing someone on a bike.
Thankfully in my region, cycling has been growing in popularity, so more and more and more regular people who also drive vehicles ride themselves.

sorry to hear of that story, the sad thing is that everywhere, there are overly tired truck drivers that are in a rush and not paying enough attention. These unfortunate situations happen here also once in a while, with tragic results.

last thing--using a mirror is so important. When I hear a truck coming, I keep an eye on it, and that second or two heads up of Joe Blow trucker crowding the edge of the road hopefully means I am looking and can react to it.

so please everyone, use effective mirrors.
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Old 05-19-19, 11:29 AM
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You beat me to the punch on this article. The first thing I did upon discovering this was to text the link to my brother. I was going to post something here later on when I had the free time.

I do wonder what may be the optimal length for one of these pool noodles given that you may need to carry this around while off the bike. Somewhere between three and four feet? Three feet strikes me as bordering on being too short. A metric length of 100cm to 120cm may be a good range therein.

(edit: Turns out Dollar Tree offers these for sale on their website and the length is ~47" which would be 120cm. The ones in the article photographs appear longer to me.)

Last edited by estasnyc; 05-19-19 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 05-19-19, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by estasnyc View Post
.....given that you may need to carry this around while off the bike. ....
no need to carry. most of them come with a hollow core, some with a slit the entire length. will hold tight to the inside of your frame triangle.

we used to use these on our race trailer. rear door opened down as a ramp, with wire cables on each side. once open, slipped some noodles over the cables to prevent painful oopsies.
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Old 05-19-19, 01:41 PM
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I toured Ireland , maybe because I was in the early season The traffic was lighter..
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Old 05-19-19, 03:56 PM
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Not for me. I find the rare close pass is done by a holes who could care less and would probably see the noodle as a target to try and tag. When I looked at the pic it was the first thought that popped into my head so I assume it would pop into others as well.

Referring to the story in the OP: With all the stuff that rider was using what would a pool noodle have changed. Do we assume a trucker would be afraid of the damage to their truck caused by one? Otherwise it would appear the rider was easy to see as it was.

I use a mirror and choose roads with good shoulders or light traffic.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-19-19 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 05-19-19, 03:59 PM
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I think this is a good idea. It will make it easier for a driver to visualize how much room to give you.
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Old 05-19-19, 04:10 PM
  #8  
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I've often thought about a spring steel wire with a PCD lathe cutter attached to the end. They won't know how that massive scratch down to the steel got on the side of their car! "Somebody keyed my car somewhere and it cost me $2000 bucks to get the entire side of my car sprayed"
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Old 05-19-19, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Not for me. I find the rare close pass is done by a holes who could care less and would probably see the noodle as a target to try and tag. When I looked at the pic it was the first thought that popped into my head so I assume it would pop into others as well.

Referring to the story in the OP: With all the stuff that rider was using what would a pool noodle have changed. Do we assume a trucker would be afraid of the damage to their truck caused by one? Otherwise it would appear the rider was easy to see as it was.

I use a mirror and choose roads with good shoulders or light traffic.
I am with ya on this one.

Pool Noodle at Walmart: $2
Bike Noodle at LBS: $25
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Old 05-19-19, 08:23 PM
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Ill pass. But i also dont ascribe to using a mirror, so my view probably isn't worth much more than Bob's.
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Old 05-19-19, 08:55 PM
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This is the stupidest idea yet- how to induce even more rage. Why don't you just wear a traffic cone on your head? They're free all over town. Dress as Ronald Mcdonald while you're at it. Drivers either see you or they don't, and seeing this wobbling down the road will only anger the already volatile typical American jackass. We're already the slowest dorkiest thing on the road as it is, with our styrofoam helmets and sissy shorts. How about you practice riding in a straight line? Ride the stripe, hold a steady pace and move over when you're obviously clogging things up. This is just common sense. We are the weakest most vulnerable users of the roads. I like touring Europe because the drivers are skilled- they actually get training and it is expensive to get and keep a license. Not so in the US. Riding skills trump a foam toy every time.
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Old 05-19-19, 09:22 PM
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Before going out for a ride I shall attach my gazillion candlepower flashing front light, flashing back light, wheel reflectors, flexy-pole bike flag, air canister boat horn, and pool noodle. I then put on my reflective vest, mirror, helmet camera, pepper spray and revolver.

If these various accessories make you feel safer, then use them by all means. (Well, except for those super bright white blinking lights.) But until I see any studies showing that these various accoutrements make any significant difference in rider safety I'll limit my safety equipment to a helmet, also lights when it's dark, foggy, or raining. They've served me well for the last 50 years.

I've had my share of nasty experiences with cars, four to be exact, but no pool noodle or flashing lights would have helped in any of those instances. Two of them were drivers who assumed that because I was on a bicycle I must be slow, so after passing me made right turns in front of me, running me up the curb each time. One was an oncoming driver who chose to make a U-turn in front of me: Her apology/excuse was "I thought I had plenty of time." The fourth was a driver on the wrong side of the road on a blind turn.

As for the "take the full lane when descending" nonsense advocated by the writer of the linked article, If you can't keep from riding off the shoulder when taking only the outside foot or two of the lane, then you shouldn't be riding your bicycle on hilly terrain. Be as polite to the drivers as you expect them to be to you.
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Old 05-19-19, 09:26 PM
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You can be skeptical but I wouldn't be so quick to categorically dismiss this. A lot of the scary near-misses I've experienced outside of a city have been not from drivers almost running me under their wheel but from side-view mirrors coming within inches of my left shoulder as they pass by at near-highway speed.

I never had the sense that these were deliberate acts of sadism but more that this was about drivers not having a good sense of how near something can be on the right side of their vehicle. It's my experience as a driver that you don't really develop or maintain that sense unless you're in the regular habit of parallel-parking your vehicle into a tight space or having to navigate high-volume street traffic such as squeezing around a double-parked car.

There are MANY urban drivers who have never mastered this. I get stuck behind them all of the time while driving. It's also why I'm able to get around faster when I'm on my bike.

Go far enough outside of the city and I dare say that virtually all of the drivers there, probably always driving from a driveway at home to a parking lot at work or at a mall, have had no such experience at all since, maybe, passing their road test to first get a driver's license.

A pool noodle would give them something more forgiving to avoid than your head or shoulder.
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Old 05-19-19, 11:45 PM
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Really, do you see those cars and trucks full of scrapes up their sides and missing side view mirrors? If not one would image they actually know how to avoid things. As a life long cyclist and driver who lives outside the city I'd say most people know how to drive within the lines if they want to. More so than most people on bicycles actually know how to ride them safely.

I never ceases to amaze me how fear based some people are when cycling or how they try to compensate for that by advocating strange ideas for others but I don't let those people set my priorities as far as how I choose to ride.

And are people still using the term "life hack"? Sounds like something a person who writes blogs for a living would apply to a theoretical idea that seems like it should be good in real life... try going to the authors website and see how many pool noodles you see her actually using.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-19-19 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 05-20-19, 04:35 AM
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With the visual conspicuity enhancements the subject rider employed, I have my doubts adding the pool noodle would have commanded the driver's attention. There's no way to know.
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Old 05-20-19, 04:58 AM
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When I was shopping for a rear light, for an upcoming tour, I read in a review for the Cygolite Hotshot, that it produces a cone of intense red light, which automatically causes traffic to move over. I observed just that on the tour I just finished. Traffic was moving over further than necessary for no apparent reason.
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Old 05-20-19, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
And are people still using the term "life hack"? Sounds like something a person who writes blogs for a living would apply to a theoretical idea that seems like it should be good in real life... try going to the authors website and see how many pool noodles you see her actually using.
One of my more favorite quotes from modern films is this from "Contagion": "Blogging isn't writing. It's graffiti with punctuation."
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Old 05-20-19, 07:20 AM
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I agree that you need pool noodles, but moreso because the hollow ones are easily cut up and placed around the frame tubing for effective protection in shipment.
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Old 05-20-19, 08:21 AM
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Speaking from my own experience and location, the motorists who come too close are not doing so accidentally. They are crowding me because they believe I shouldn't be on "their" road (and I always ride as far to the right as possible). A pool noodle would simply be, from their perspective, further provocation, and would serve as a target.
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Old 05-20-19, 08:44 AM
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A pool noodle would come in handy if you rode off a bridge. Other than that, why would you want something sticking out so far? I came across a guy with one of those on a bike path, and actually yelled at him to get out of my way because it was impossible to pass. It appeared he had just been riding on city streets, but he clearly shouldn’t have been using it on a bike path.
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Old 05-20-19, 09:02 AM
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When I used to commute to work l noticed, in my mirror, that on straight stretches of road drivers would begin to move to the left and then as they would almost reach me they would move to the right. Then after passing they would move back to the left. Especially older drivers. They teach in defensive driving to look away from accidents in front of you and look to where you want to go as a lot of drivers will drive straight into the accident. In road racing training they will teach you to always look where you want to go as your brain will automatically take you in that direction. Drivers will look towards you as they pass, I found it is especially noticable in slow speed passes as the driver spends more time looking towards you as they pass.

No solution, just an observation. Sometimes when I see a car coming up behind me I'll move a foot or so to to the left and slowly, as the car approaches, back closer to the shoulder, seems to keep some drivers a little less close.
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Old 05-20-19, 09:08 AM
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My trick on country roads, when I hear a car approaching, is to look back and them and sort of wobble a little (which I exaggerate a bit for effect) then move over to the right edge as they approach and hold my line.

Could be my imaginations, but it seems like when people see me move over to the right first, they are more willing to move left and actually give me more room, than if I were to be aggressive and try to "take the lane" in situations where I have no need for that much space. Courtesy > Posturing.
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Old 05-20-19, 01:54 PM
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I always try to use my noodle when cycling.
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Old 05-20-19, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I always try to use my noodle when cycling.
I would hope so, or else we would soon have to catheterize you.
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Old 05-20-19, 02:52 PM
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Ride with pool noodles.

Wobble all over the road to alert motorists.

Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
advocating strange ideas for others
Truer words not spoken.


-Tim-
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