La Vie Velominatus, Part III: Urban Riding

La Vie Velominatus, Part III: Urban Riding

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There is little in life that compares to a ride along a quiet country road. This surely is the altar of our sport, where all the greatest qualities of cycling are brought into relief by the simple act of propelling yourself along by your own power. Despite being social creatures, the experience is heightened by solitude; when no one else is witness this glorious act, we are allowed to slip further into the simplicity of the act. Our arms reaching out to the bars, the rhythm as our legs spin the pedals, the feel of the machine as it glides along effortlessly, the feeling of power as we stand to accelerate over a hill, the wind in our face, knowing it’s generated by our own speed. There is only the road, the machine, and ourselves.

Alas, for most of us, this experience is reserved for special rides when circumstance finds us within reach of such a place. Indeed, many of us spend the majority of our time riding the busy roads found in our urban lifestyles, not deserted country lanes. This reality has us facing a choice between not riding or riding amongst traffic that threatens a significant negative impact on our well-being should something go sideways – like, for example, your bicycle.

While it is inherently more dangerous than riding on quiet roads, the risk of urban riding can be managed somewhat through vigilance and discipline. We must constantly be aware of our surroundings and understand not only the risks traffic poses to us, but also the unpredictability we ourselves bring to a driver who doesn’t understand the way a cyclist thinks, and what we might do next. The bicycle and the traffic together form two parts of a dangerous equation where we control few of the variables and stand to lose a great deal should something go wrong. In light of this, we should focus on maximizing the elements we can control, and marginalize those we can’t.

  1. Ride predictably. When out training in town, consider yourself to be riding in the bunch, except the other riders are cars that can kill you. Just like riding in a group, when in traffic, hold your line, signal when there’s a hazard or when turning, and generally ride as predictably possible.
  2. Ride on the sunny side of the street. If there is a shoulder, ride in it, but if not, stay as far to the side as you safely are able to. Don’t ride so far to the side that it means you might hit something that might cause you to move erratically; there’s nothing safe about suddenly flying out into traffic because you hit something at the side of the road.
  3. Only ride through puddles you can see the bottom of. Water tends to accumulate along the side of the road, and has a nasty habit of being smooth on the surface regardless of what the bottom looks like. If you can’t see the bottom of the puddle, it’s safer to ride around it than it is to ride through it and risk getting launched by a hidden pothole.
  4. Ride aggressively defensive. If there’s a narrow section of road coming up where it will be dangerous for a car to pass, signal to the cars behind and swing out into the middle of the lane until it’s safe for them to pass.
  5. It’s helpful to be able to accelerate quickly to move with traffic if necessary. In the event that you’re riding in a lane in order to discourage cars from passing, it’s good to move at the same speed as the traffic in order to piss them off slightly less and reduce the chance that they go all gansta on your ass and hit or shoot you out of spite.
  6. Be gracious. If a car does the right thing, wave at them in thanks. If you know you are holding them up because you’re obstructing their path, move the side as soon as it’s safe and gesture your appreciation of their patience.
  7. Don’t escalate. You will invariably be placed into a dangerous situation by a driver who is either ignorant of the danger they caused you or is simply an ass. In both of these cases, screaming obscenities at them will only serve to put them on the defensive and make them hate cyclists even more than they already do. If you absolutely must say something, do your best to let them know why what they did was dangerous; if you’re polite and assertive, the message is much more likely to find it’s way home.
  8. Details matter; pay attention to the cars around you. Take note of the subtle signals the drivers are sending you. Are they overly fond of the brake pedal? Are they speeding? Are they swerving, texting, or otherwise distracted? Or do they drive predictably and use their turn signals properly? These things will tell you a lot about how safe you’ll be when they’re close to you.
  9. Avoid overly dangerous routes. Ride on the roads you need to in order to train properly, but also avoid unnecessarily dangerous areas or only ride them when traffic is at it’s lightest. Roads with good shoulders are preferable and, counter-intuitively, bike paths are not always safer places to ride; these are often filled with people of a variety of skill levels who may not be paying attention.
  10. Lastly, cycling is easier to enjoy if you’re alive and in one piece; always ride to proactively avoid placing yourself in risky situations when possible and have a plan if you find yourself needing to take a risk.

Some fantastic riding can be had on urban roads. Always be careful to understand your risks; be agressive when safety requires it, and defensive when it doesn’t.

Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// General // La Vie Velominatus

  1. @RedRanger
    My sister (and bike sensei) lives in Tucson, out near Gates Pass. Love the terrain, not so much the summer. I wish I lived closer.

  2. @xyxax

    My sister (and bike sensei) lives in Tucson, out near Gates Pass. Love the terrain, not so much the summer. I wish I lived closer.

    It scares me just to drive up that road. I would be taking a full lane going down on a bike. 2 days after we moved here back in 99 I turn on the local news to see a chopper lifting a car out cause a old lady drove off the road. I would love to get down there some day soon.

  3. @mouse

    @minionHa, did you get anywhere with the missus?

    Jeez, no I was just on the wind up. Had a face like a banged up tin can.

  4. @Ron
    Nah, thats an aerial shot of Wellington, though it is similar geographically to ChCh. Interestingly I have a mate who grew up in Chch, and openly refers to it as the city of hate. His parents still live there, but that’s not really a ringing endorsement. My impression of ChCh is a racist English villiage from the 1950s, with an over representation of old rich white folk who’ve hit the Gin bottle too hard.

  5. Great article Frank, I’d like to add, from what I read, that we have all almost the same problems, everywhere!
    The silver lining is that we stuffed the post with great and intelligent advices.

  6. Next time I’ll tell you how I felt driving a car on the California freeways, having grown up in Milano…

  7. @minion

    Nah, thats an aerial shot of Wellington, though it is similar geographically to ChCh.

    What? Have you even been to Christchurch? Similar? Chalk and fucking cheese…

    Welly looked just like that today too, and boy did I enjoy the ride…

  8. Yes, Brett, I HAVE visited Christchurch. Worst trips of my life. Thanks for reminding me.

    As for the poor comparison you allege I have made: I think you know what I’ll say.

  9. Just a quick one. First of all I’ve found this site recently and think it is absolutely fantastic thanks to all fantastic Velominati (hope this is correct) contributing to it.

    Secondly to the point, I’ve been commuting to work in London, UK for a while now and found that vast majority of drivers have perfect cycle-friendly manners. It’s been pedestrians and other (fuckface as someone said) bikers who cut across or stepped on a road in front of me not looking, etc.

  10. @Jeff in PetroMetro

    Laps around White Rock lake are as good as it gets here. I live in Lakewood, so it’s right around the corner from me. Over the weekend, we’ll ride east out to Sunnyvale – it’s nice country roads, some rolling hills, etc., but you have to cruise down the access road for Interstate 30 and Hwy 80 to get out there. Some scary things happen on those access roads…

    Let me know next you’re up visiting family and we’ll go spin some laps.

  11. Ugh, sorry, I meant Wellington. I’ve been to Christchurch twice, haven’t made it to Welly. As a traveler passing through, can’t comment too much on my impressions of Christchurch, beyond it’s a pretty cool looking city with the layout, parks, rivers.

    Did get invited to a family farm stay though on a trip outside of Christchurch. Was going fishing and on a rutted road in a pouring rainstorm in an ’83 Mitsubishi ‘Ancer (the L had fallen off). Driving down a muddy road to a lake & camping spot. It was getting more treacherous with each k I plowed on. Finally passed a guy in a massive ute, he stopped me, asked where I was going, told me to turn back with that car I had. Invited me to his farm for a stay, dinner with the family, Scrabble with a daughter. Awesome memory for me.

  12. Since we are on the topic of urban cycling & many of us put up with dangerous drivers, thought this might be good place to contribute this.

    A rally to get more people out on bikes and use fewer resources. Sept. 24, 2011 all around the globe. Throw one in your city/town if there isn’t one! I’ll be riding & enjoying the fun in North Carolina. Any party involving bikes is one I’ll attend…

  13. @benjamin
    Coooool! Dad and step-mom live in the bubble (University Park). So I took University Blvd. through SMU almost all the way to the lake. I can get there no prob. Lakewood. Awesome! I live in a very similar neighborhood in Houston called Woodland Heights. We can exchange contact info through Frank. Wouldn’t want any of these neerdowells actually finding me.

  14. @PeterP
    Welcome, PeterP. London? Don’t let Jeremy Clarkson run you over. But if he does, I’d appreciate it if your last dying words to him were, “Jeff in PetroMetro really loves Top Gear.” I’d really appreciate it.

  15. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    I’m not sure how to do that, but sure. Are you going to ride Hotter Than Hell coming up here soon?

  16. Ooh, that’s an interesting idea. Hadn’t thought of doing it. I’m free that weekend. Let me think about that, make sure the schedule really is okay, find a place to stay, and whatever else I gotta do. 7am start doesn’t allow for a drive up from Houston that morning. Hell, it’s 3 hours from Big D. Probably shouldn’t start driving at 3:30am, ride 162km from 7am to whenever (of course we’ll be done by 11am), and either drive home to Houston (6.5 hours) or drive to Dallas, then to Houston on Sunday. Probably need to find a place near Wichita Falls (like there are any rooms left). I ought to do it. Hmmmmm.

    As for getting each other’s email address without broadcasting it worldwide, email Frank. He’s got mine. We chat like school girls.

  17. Great post, frank!

    Living in a “city” and riding both therein and through the outskirts, I must say that suburban cycling is – to my experience – far more dangerous! The speeds are faster, the shoulders frequently narrower and the drivers busier with things other than driving (i-gadgets, music, Garmin-ati, cellphonage and stuffing fries into their milkshaken pie holes). Makes one miss that most traffic calming of all appliances: the urban pothole!

    Great tips too!

    I might add: Ride on the sunny side of the street when it is going WITH traffic (NEVER salmon)!

    When you reach the crest of a hill, move as far right as possible. Post crest is always a blind spot for speeding 5,000 pound potential killers. Make sure you are out of the way.

    Finally, stats that the LAB has show that most cycle/car interactions are due to the cyclist making a mistake. Don’t be a douche! Think like a car, ride like you are a slow car. Take the lane. Own that space. Stop at stop signs and lights. Be predictable and communicate with drivers using more than one digit. When YOU are riding, you represent all of US.


  18. @Rob

    It is interesting that the law applies equally to bicycles and they have as much right to the road. If they are NOT impeding the flow of traffic a bicycle can be in a lane. Therefor when I am going down 5th Ave to lower Manhattan my favorite place is the middle lane @ 50kph – no doors, easy evasive action for peds, open view for pot holes. Acting like a car is not only legal it often is a visible and safe tactic.

    Bearing in mind that you do all that on THIS BIKE.

  19. @frank
    I was reminded of Rob’s Dahon the other day when I saw a guy in full Garmin Slipstream kit dismounting from a Dahon. Part of me said Rule: Fail, but then I wasn’t so sure. I only wish I’d had my camera ready…

  20. My favorite trick to riding in traffic is the ‘HI BOB!’.

    Someone cuts you off yell ‘Hi Bob!’ at them like you know them.

    Someone starts cursing and gestureing? A great big ‘Hi Bob!’ usually stops them.

    They start to think, hey this clown thinks he knows me. And it totally screws with their head.

    Course if they continue to rant, I just blow kisses at them. (6’3″, 300#, tattoos and a crewcut. Yep I am a big ugly bastard.)

  21. I had an aggressively defensive moment the other day and I think this article helped…I was riding along on a kind-of country road that was kind of busy at that time. I was hugging the shoulder, doing my best to let traffic go by. Three close passes for no reason and I said, “Okay, lads, you’ve had your chance, you’ve buggered it, so fuck off.” I took up the lane, moving over enough that the drivers had to wait behind me or wait for a very clear space to pass. I don’t like taking a lane, but they had their chance.

    Gotta ride aggressively defensive.

  22. I tried to ride off-peak hours but got caught today as rush hour started to get going. (I’ll commute during rush hour, but that’s different since I’m just trying to get from A to B, not get a workout in.)

    Wanted to see what you lads would do in a similar situation to one I encountered today.

    Riding on the outskirts of an urban area. Three lanes, one turning left, one going straight, one going right onto the interstate. Edge of city, cars busy trying to get onto the interstate or cut over to the next city.

    I was riding in the far right lane, staying as far right as possible. It was a turn lane and I wasn’t turning. As I got near the intersection I signaled and started to move left, then peeked. (I should have peeked first). As I turned to look a laborer van comes flying past me, way way way too close for my liking, then jerks over to the right to get on the interstate.

    I screamed as loud as I could, waved my arm at him, he slowed down seeming to signal he knew he’d nearly hit me. The drivers behind him gave me room too.

    I know I should have peeked early, made sure it was clear and been even more firm with my signal. But, aside from that I’m wondering how you guys ride in a similar situation.

    I try not to take up the lane to let traffic keep flowing. I also don’t like riding to the far left of the turn lane because wackos will still pass at high speed on the right to get on the interstate. Riding to the right of the straight lane puts me between two moving lanes of traffic. This isn’t a downtown downtown area where cars are just creeping between lights, but are starting to go fast on the outskirts.

    So…how would you ride?

    Stay right but LOOK and signal well in advance of moving over? Take the lane? Other?

    Of course the ridiculous thing is the driver surely knew I was not getting on the interstate, as it’s insane, and illegal. He was just being an impatient arsehole.

    And of course, this was just the beginning…got home as fast as I could and rode very defensively aggressive but still had a few more dangerous encounters. Just one of those days…and to make it all the more fun was putting in 70 k in 104*F heat. Yeehaw!

  23. @Ron

    Ugh, I try to avoid roads like that is what I do. I don’t like riding around where interstates enter to exit, as folks are preoccupied with that and tend to be driving way too fast.

    But given YOUR situation, I’d still ride straight in that lane, rather than taking the middle lane, but make sure before you reach the interstate entrance you look behind you so you are aware of what the traffic catching up to you is doing.

    Personally I’d find another parallel road, if possible.

  24. mcsqueakie – Thanks for the reply. I’ll have to look at an alternate route. It’s kind of a small bottleneck I need to pass through. Most of the time I take the long way and simply avoid this area.

    Yeah, that is what I thought I should do – stay right, don’t take up the lane, but when I need to get over look in advance, signal very, very clearly and then take the lane as the turn lane gets near the entrance to the interstate.

    I try to impede the flow of traffic only when absolutely necessary. However, since reading this I’ve been doing it more often when I feel my safety is at stake. Well, I kind of always have but felt guilty. Now I just do it and don’t feel bad at all. Gotta keep the cagers in line sometimes.

    I think this is the best option, but wanted to see what some of the Followers might suggest.

  25. @Ron
    Avoid that road like the plague – even taking the footpath for a stretch (and riding slowly) is a better option.

    From the sounds of that road, if you persist in riding it, you are just fucking with the law of averages and sooner or later your number will come up.

    Whether you are doing the “right thing” or not by taking up a lane, signalling clearly… all those things are irrelevant if you combine fast (turning) cars and multiple lanes…

  26. @Marcus @Ron

    Yeah, I try and stick to roads that run 35 MPH or slower, because then the speed differential between me and the passing cars is much lower. I’ll only ride next to fast traffic if there is a good shoulder (like the width of a lane itself) that I can be in.

    I’m not familiar with your part of the country, but up here there is a lot of good riding to be had on calmer roads, so I interact with the high speed traffic as little as possible. I’m lucky though because I can get to that without having to deal with shit interstate and whatnot, you may not be as lucky.

    Keep in mind a lot of the techniques discussed here apply to city traffic that is generally moving more slowly or predictably than traffic on the outskirts of town may be, so taking the lane, signalling, etc. may just be ignored where you are riding.

    Good luck out there! You should grow an ironic mustache and move to Portland if you get a chance.

  27. Came upon a bicycle-pedestrian accident on my commute home tonight. The cyclist was standing to one side saying “she’s bleeding! I’m so sorry!” (is that in the first-aid protocol?) The lady who got hit was just finishing a seizure and had blood pouring out of a 4 cm laceration on her left temple which I compressed with a t-shirt from my bag.

    She eventually came to and wanted to get up and go home. When I said no, she got mad and I told her I was a doc and she said “You are not! That’s a lie!” Apparently I was not looking pro.

    To top it off, a roller-blader came speeding down the hill and had to veer across the road to avoid the scene and crashed over a parked bicycle into some bushes. No injuries but his idiocy is permanent.

    The ambulance finally came and carted her off for neck x-rays, CT scan, stitches. The cyclist (let’s say “casual bike rider”) stuck around to the very end but there were no cops, no questions.
    A good reminder of the damage we can do to pedestrians, even when they are at fault (not clear in this case).

  28. @xyxax
    The victim is very lucky you came along; Merckx knows what could’ve happened if you weren’t there and an unknowing person had allowed her to leave. Well done!

  29. @xyxax
    Scary stuff, mate. A commuter was just killed a week or so ago in Seattle; broad-sided by a car. Hit and run, of course.

    Your story just goes to show how dangerous those mixed-use paths are. I’ll take the road any day and at least know what I’m getting into.

    Good job for keeping her calm and under compression until the medics came.

  30. @all
    Very sad news from Wisconsin today; the founder of the biggest Nordic ski race in the country was killed while riding his bike; by – wait for it – a distracted motorist. Tragic.

    A founding member of the American Birkebeiner Nordic ski race in northern Wisconsin has died of injuries suffered in a bike accident.

    David Landgraf, 62, of Bloomer died Monday afternoon at a hospital in Duluth. The retired Bloomer High School physical education teacher was biking on Wisconsin 27 near Hayward last Friday when he was struck.

    A Sawyer County sheriff’s report says the 24-year-old woman that hit Landgraf had turned to talk to her children and when she turned back, she saw the biker, swerved to avoid him, but struck him.

    The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram says Landgraf was one of only three people to ski every American Birkebeiner since its founding in 1973.

    As a Nordic ski racer in my youth, my life revolved around that race. This is tragic beyond articulation.

  31. Ugh. That lady should have her license revoked, as clearly she is unable to handle the responsibility that driving entails without being distracted.

    Distracted driving should also be something that can be persecuted depending on the circumstances, such as this one that results in the death of a vulnerable road user. Unfortunately, the drivers usually walk away without even a slap on the wrist.

  32. @mcsqueak
    I don’t think there would be a driver in the world who could honestly say they haven’t been distracted at one point of another. It’s just lucky that most distractions don’t have such tragic consequences.

  33. *or

  34. I haven’t been following this thread much, but there were 3 people on bikes (not calling them cyclists), no helmets, no lights, no reflectors, hit by a car last week in suburban Portland, one died, one hospitalized. The driver was not cited.

    I can’t imagine in what scenario this driver wasn’t at fault, if you can’t see far enough in front of you, dark or dusk, you are going too fast.

    -myself a statistic

  35. @Oli

    Indeed, that’s why I don’t believe in mandatory minimum sentences for crimes – I think the specifics of a crime/accident/crash/whatever need to be worked out before a fair punishment can be given.

    I drive basically every day (maybe not on the weekends), so I don’t want to come off as some anti-car nut… but to me, when driving your primary focus needs to be on the road and environment around the car. When you turn your vision away from the direction the car is traveling to pay attention to something that is not related to the movement of your car (i.e. checking blind-spots before switching lanes) you are asking for trouble. And I think people who are distracted by stupid stuff in the car, like talking to a kid or a dog on their lap need to be held accountable for their decisions.

    Turning around to talk to the kids, or looking down to switch the song on your iPod is not only dangerous, but you need to ask yourself is it worth crashing and potentially killing someone over it. I don’t believe anyone would ever want that to happen, but I feel people are too easy-going with what is really a very important and dangerous task that has been watered down to something that is a “right” for every teen who turns 16 (legal age to drive here in America). Maybe people would take it more seriously if there were harsher consequences.

    Sorry if this sounds like a lecture; it’s certainly not directed at you – I’m just blabing on the topic. I have pretty strong feelings on the subject, clearly!

  36. @mcsqueak
    Hit and run is a HUGE problem in the PetroMetro. We have a large number of drivers who don’t have the means of paying for legally required liability insurance. So when they are involved in some type of accident, they run. It’s become a cultural norm here.

    Also, PetroMetro is car culture dominant. Therefore, cyclists involved in accidents are almost always blamed.

    I wear a Road ID, but that will only help the authorities figure out who I was before I became a cadaver. Oh, and my death by automobile was my fault. I shouldn’t have been in the road.

  37. “reduce the chance that they go all gansta on your ass and hit or shoot you out of spite”

    Ha! Too classic.
    As with a heap of others i’m from Noo Zelund (Dunedin) and so I can be out of the city and in the country or in forestry in 10 mins. So great.

  38. Respect! You can also be standing on the beach looking at the south pole and making snowmen. Stupidly I moved to Dunners from Gisborne to go surfing. Ended up freezing and being chased out of the water by seals.

    Those northerners don’t know what cold is. It snowed in January the year I moved there.

  39. @minion
    For me, if water is below 30C, my lips turn blue. I prefer bath water.

  40. Yarp I’ve migrated to that point of view. Great waves but not fricken worth it. I used to put my wetsuit on at home in the shower so I could fill it up with warm water.

  41. I assume you didn’t have to ride the bus to the beach.

  42. @minion

    Cold… bloody hell it was 17C when I walked out this morning. Spent the whole ride wishing I had shoe-covers and long-fingered gloves.

    I’ll stick it out this week and put them on (and undershirt) when I come back after Eid.

  43. @ChrisO

    Reminds me of the times over Dec and Jan in Doha when I’d be running in the morning in long sleeves. Brrrrrrr.

    Oh well, no seasons here in Singapore, really. If I go out at 5am it might be 27C. Go out at 8am it’ll be 30C. Go out at 3pm it’ll be 31C. June, December, doesn’t matter.
    Might just rain more, but rarely for long. Too warm to worry about wet-weather gear, too, as I’d just sweat inside most things, and water smells better than sweat.

  44. Erm….

    I don’t think we’re in the same ball park…remember it’s nearly summer here

    While by the numbers it’s aboput as cold as northern England or Scotland, it’s the lunacy of jumping in the 9 degree water to go surfing because it’s warmer than the air in Winter that gets you.

  45. It’s all relative innit…

    17C for me is less than half the ‘normal’ temperature I’m used to riding in, so I’m calling it cold !

    When I lived in London I used to swim in Tooting Bec Lido all year round.

    I wore a wetsuit and gloves but would still swim a mile or so in water that was 3 or 4C. Occasionally with ice on top. A swimming/tri wetsuit however is only 3-5mm, so I’m pretty sure my core temperature would have been much lower after 35mins. When I would get in the hot shower afterwards my hands used to feel like they’d been shut in a door as the blood came back in. Cycling after that didn’t seem to be cold at all ;-)

    @Blah I gather there is some good cycling around Singapore. I know a very good (tri) cyclist there, so let me know if you want his details. I helped him out when he was on some project assignments in Abu Dhabi so he owes me.

  46. @ChrisO
    @Jeff in PetroMetro

    Clearly V and 9 only apply to cycling for you saft lot

  47. Ugh, had one of those days yesterday. Just a few minutes in I decide to “yield” a stop sign in order to get away from a stream of angry cars. It was 17.15, as rush hour was getting going. As I crossed to the opposite side of the intersection fancy Miss Saab rolls up, rolls down her window, then tells me to obey the laws. I asked her if she ever exceeds the speed limit. When I can be safer by doing so, I’m going to bend the laws. And I sure as hell don’t need the citizens police brigade giving me orders.

    Just a few minutes later I was honked at. It was one of those, “Um, do you expect me to dismount and wait off the road until you pass?” moments.

    Two hours of riding, three handfuls of close passes, one woman rounding a corner coming my way far above the speed limit…with one hand on the wheel…and most of her face obscure by a super gulp cup. My goodness. If I have one hope in this world it’s that people will take driving more seriously. It’s a total farce how careless and reckless the majority of drivers are.

    As I rolled back into the city from the country I sat up and said to myself, “Just let it all go, enjoy the final leg, find some peace.” As I did so a huge truck decided it was good to pass me as another car went by on the opposite side of the road. I HATE when drivers think it’s okay or safe to pass three wide. If anything goes wrong I’m either killed or sent into the ditch. And this was in a neighborhood. And I’d moved far left to take up the lane and say, “Don’t pass me here.”

    I caught the fool at the next light and told him he nearly clipped me with his mirror and killed me. Instead of saying, “Oh wow, I’m sorry,” he proceeded to cuss me out. I’m positive he’d have gotten out of his truck or tried to run me over were there not many other cagers around serving as witnesses.

    I do my best to set up my days to ride off-peak, but the ride I had yesterday makes me wonder if it is even worth it to ride at rush hour. It really sucks having to share the road with maniacs. Why does working until 5 give you the right the threaten my life? Why can’t Scrabble or net gaming be my hobby?

    Defensively aggressive would have required a police escort and some weapons yesterday.

  48. Nice to review this article… I think it is time appropriate Ride safe this weekend gentlemen..

  49. Nice article and tips frank.  I’m a British Cycling trained Bikeability instructor and SkyRide Local leader and most of what you say is taught by BC.  When we instruct to school children (and adults)we are very much of the ride assertively, claim the lane style. I fully endorse a right (UK) signal but lefts are unnecessary, although a courtesy.  A clear road position and a good look behind lets cars know you are about to do something. 

    A nice test is to ride at the side of a main road (60 mph) and occasionally do a really obvious look behind as your hear a car approaching and they will pass six feet away.  This is scientific fact! 

    I concur with a poster above-never once had issues in London as was always a lot faster than the traffic in most places in central London.  In Lincoln I have had three isolated incidents of random drive-by abuse. Lincoln does literally have the most pointless ‘bike lanes’ in the world though.

  50. I don’t know I live in a pretty large urban area (Seattle), granted it’s not NY or LA or somethng, but I’ve found (and been shown) some pretty sweet long routes for training rides that don’t put me in dense traffic with homicidal drivers very much at all. Mainly I leave my in-city neighborhood and take the bike lane out I-90 and ride Mercer Island, Newcastle and other Eastside residential areas. Sure there are cars and you have watch yourself, but I don’t feel like I’m putting my life at risk every ride. I also ride downtown and on errands in denser traffic but generally not right at rush hour and I know which streets to take and which to avoid.  I make it a point not to drive to somewhere to bike (unless it’s a race or event) that just sounds like a hassle, plus I’d be wasting time I could be riding (not to mention gas).

    Are you telling me there are people who’s rides consist of nothing but busy access roads and arterials? They have more V than I. Ride out to the suburbs and semi-rural spaces. Club riders usually know where to go. Also those places tend to have some nice hills.

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