I'm posting this link
May 17, 2001 9:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm posting this link mainly so I have an excuse to discuss bike commuting. I recently started riding my bike to work. At first, I did it just to get into shape but I'm beginning to enjoy it for a number of other reasons. The sights, sounds, and smells (not always good, but still...) of the daily ride are much more pleasant than the daily stress of driving. Not to mention the whole "1 mile in a car emits 1 pound of noxious fumes" thing.

Do others ride to work? What are your experiences? Any good stories? Bad stories? How often do you get yelled at to "get out of the road?"
posted by bondcliff (44 comments total)

I ride in to work about 3 times a week, from my suburb to downtown Philadelphia. I love it, especially the 4-5 miles on the bike path next to the river. About 14 miles each way. I don't get yelled at AT ALL in Philly. In Boston I got yelled at a couple of times a week. Boston people are crazy hostile. One great side effect has been that it makes you a much better driver! You're so hyperaware of everything around you on a bike -- you have to be -- and that awareness and caution carries over when you get in a car.

It's the only exercise I don't find completely boring.
posted by luser at 10:00 AM on May 17, 2001

Whenever it's nice enough, I try to bike to work (which is about 4 miles each way), and have been for the past 2 years. Although this city isn't very well suited for biking (no bike lanes and sidewalks that aren't exactly even), I rarely get yelled out, but have occassionally gotten close to getting hit.

I would agree with you, though, that the exercise in the morning is better than coffee in terms of waking me up and getting me going and the ride home at night is usually pretty relaxing, especially if traffic is backed up and I zoom by people as they're sitting and sweating. Through time, I've experimented with different routes and times and finally settled on one that I don't have to deal with very much traffic and it only takes me about 5 minutes longer than driving.

So yeah, I'm positively for biking to work, but just remember to wear a helmet and pay 10 times the amount of attention you would if you were driving. One wrong move and you could end up on the receiving end of a big vehicle (which has happened to me, and believe me its no fun).
posted by almostcool at 10:05 AM on May 17, 2001

I almost got hit by a Volvo driver today. Why is it always Volvos? Are they closet SUVs?

Staying with the negative (but in a positive way ;-), rain isn't as bad as you might expect providing you take dry clothes to change into (for 30mins or less you don't need waterproofs unless it's really pouring down; just a few layers of clothing eveywhere and a windproof outer - by the time you're damp, you're warm).

No-one has ever yelled at me to get out of the road, afaik (UK, Leicester - excellent city, has quite a few cycle lanes + paths).
posted by andrew cooke at 10:06 AM on May 17, 2001

I can't say I always commute by bike, sometimes by skates and sometimes by car, but I can say that a self-propelled commute wins hands down for enjoyability. It's not such a big thing commuting where I live now, but I biked in Chicago for years when the weather permitted and the ride along the lake shore is something I miss severely now.

Of course, I don't really miss fighting the CTA bus drivers who have some sort of vendetta against riders (forced into 2 storm grates and 3 curbs in 2 years), but the other drivers were generally conscientious to us riders.

Keep ridin' and spreadin' the gospel!
posted by BoyWithFez at 10:07 AM on May 17, 2001

I do the ride to work (though not when it's raining or snowing or threatening to rain or snow; yeah, I'm a wimp). It's great for door-to-door trips, and since I live near work, it would take me about the same amount of time to drive as to ride. I have been honked at (even though I hug the curb and ride with the stream of traffic), but I'd get honked at if I drove. Since getting a handlebar-mounted mirror, I feel a whole lot safer.
posted by Avogadro at 10:08 AM on May 17, 2001

I've just started riding my bike to work on nice days. I find it a thousand times more peaceful and of course I get some exercise at the same time.

Luckily, I can avoid almost all traffic and make my path to work solely on quiet side streets. I just hope it doesn't get too hot in the summer to be able to pedal in to work.
posted by misterioso at 10:10 AM on May 17, 2001

Hey Avogadro, I used to have one of those mirrors, until I realized that when I turned my head before making a move, that was like a turn signal to help other drivers know what I was going to do next. So I bagged it for safety's sake.
posted by luser at 10:13 AM on May 17, 2001

I ride to work everyday, weather permitting. It's faster than driving in traffic and far nicer than riding a cramped streetcar.

I sometimes get into arguments with car drivers who fail to understand that I have the same rights on the road as I do. The sad thing is that not one of these arguments I've had has resulted in any type of positive outcome. Most likely because the arguments get a little heated.

Arguments or not, I still ride everyday and love it. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks of cycling in a city full of cars.

posted by the_ill_gino at 10:17 AM on May 17, 2001

I commute nine miles in the morning, most of which is on a bike path along the Charles River in Boston. The last mile or so is on a very busy street where I have to dodge MBTA busses and speeding cars. I'm rather new at biking so riding in traffic is taking some getting used to.

In the afternoon I take backroads home which cut the ride down to six miles. Steep hills and more traffic have kept me from going this way in the morning when I'm less alert.

I've gotten yelled at once so far (in only two weeks of riding) to "get out of the road" even though I was waiting on the curb with only the edge of my tire sticking out.

My goal is to eventually get to the point where I'm equipped and confident enough to ride in all but the worst weather. Of course, we're also shopping for a house that might end up being twenty or thirty miles away from where I work.
posted by bondcliff at 10:19 AM on May 17, 2001

..same rights on the road as I do..

or the same rigts on the road as they do.

posted by the_ill_gino at 10:19 AM on May 17, 2001

I ride to work every day it's not raining hard and I'm not planning on going out to visit clients. I absolutely love it. It's not a long ride (less than two miles), so I just strap down my right pant leg, tuck in my shoelaces and go. I've never had a serious riding accident on my way to work (I've had plenty while doing recreational/training rides), and nobody has ever said anything negative to me. I've been pulled over once or twice for running stop signs, but the officer let me go with a simple warning -- unlike Davis, where in my younger days I was threatened with a DUI for riding/wobbling home from a local bar.

If/when I change jobs, I'll be looking for a bike friendly employer (showers, lockers, etc.), because I don't anticipate living this close to my office ever again and I absolutely love the feeling of riding to work. It's funny you posted this today, as it is Bike-to-Work Day here in St. Helena, CA. Our local bike shop had a nice breakfast for anyone who came in on a bike from 7-9am.

Congrats, bondcliff, for finding enjoyment in cycling. Welcome to the club. It's good for you and the world. Now, if only we can get those cursed SUV drivers to invest in these instead.
posted by OneBallJay at 10:28 AM on May 17, 2001

For a while I did bike to work (about three miles each way) but after a few incidents I realized it wasn't very wise. I still bike to the health club every now and then and for casual rides on weekends, of course on back roads.

On the way to work I had to go over a narrow and tall highway bridge. I was yelled at, I also had dogs almost jumping out of car windows barking and trying to bite me. I could put up with that, but a couple of times, small objects did fly in front of me while someone yelled something. The railing on the bridge was lower than my bike's saddle. I don't bike over that bridge anymore.
posted by tremendo at 10:38 AM on May 17, 2001

I've been riding to work pretty consistently for about 2 years in Seattle. I used to ride out to Bellevue, both over 90 and via bus on 520. Now I work about 2 miles from home, mostly down hill in the AM. Usually about 3-4 times a week for me now.

I've had a couple close calls on the longer trip, but more since switching to the shorter one. Just yesterday, some a@# h@!# decided that me being in his 'parking spot' was enough justification to get out of his van and confront me face to face. Unfortunately, not a positive outcome. Oh well.

Great way to get to work. On the old, longer commute, I'd ride regularly with a group of folks, which makes a good thing even better.

I recommend about 5 lbs of lights, a mirror, bright clothing and the AirZound horn. Makes me sound like a truck. Only had to use it a couple times, but it probably saved me a trip to the hospital.

Anybody who's looking for advice on riding safely in traffic, check out effective cycling. One of the interesting things I learned was that cyclists on pedestrian walkways are at more risk than those in traffic (not cited on that site)... interesting.

Ride safe!
posted by daver at 10:57 AM on May 17, 2001

I've been biking into work for about four years now. I don't think I've every had anyone yell at me. Although I have come close to being hit several times. And the DC police pulled me over once (they thought I was a courier).

I can get into the city faster on my bike than I can by metro or car, it costs nothing, it chills me out after a rough day at work, and it's good for me. Why don't more people do this?
posted by cornbread at 10:58 AM on May 17, 2001

I used to live closer to Orlando and tried out biking for a little bit. It was somewhat enjoyable until I went through the windshield of a minivan on my way home one afternoon. It is actually kind of funny now that I look back on it, I was thrown back out of the minivan after they hit the breaks and I actually landed back on my feet standing over my crumpled bike. I was in shock and standing in the middle of the street with broken glass all over my neck and hair and I kept trying to get back on my bike to ride it home. I remember thinking that my bike must have been embedded in the pavement because I couldn't pick it up, turns out my shoulder was dislocated. Great fun.

Now I live on the coast in a much more relaxed beach town and I LOVE riding my bike to work. Apart from the occasional afternoon thunderstorm sneaking up on me I've never had any bad experiences here. Plus it's great knowing that you are getting some exercise and saving money at the same time. I would recommend it to anybody who has the ability to do so to give it a try.
posted by fluxcreative at 11:03 AM on May 17, 2001

i've been walking or riding a bike to work for a while, but i have recently started to ride the bus instead for that extra 15 minutes of Reading time it gives me.

for errands and further-than-downtown lunch excursions though, my bike resides here in my office.
posted by th3ph17 at 11:21 AM on May 17, 2001

One thing worries me though. It seems everyone who has riden for any length of time as a crash story. Getting hit by a car, going through a windsheild, getting run over by an M-1 Tank, etc.

Should I just make a point of wiping out on the way home tonight and get it over with?

Luckily, when I was taking flying lessons very few pilots had crash stories.
posted by bondcliff at 11:28 AM on May 17, 2001

I live so close to my work/school that it actually takes longer to drive, find a distant parking spot and walk than it does to ride straight to my building.
I happen to be one of those heretics who doesn't believe in the dogma of "Share the Road". In my opinion roads are for motor vehicles and sidewalks are for all non-motorized traffic (except buggies or donkey and ox carts). I think it is much safer for all concerned (the harm to a pedestrian from being hit by a bike is much less than the ham to a cyclist from being hit by a car)
posted by Octaviuz at 11:30 AM on May 17, 2001

I rode my bike most days last year, and still get to do it off and on now and then, and I have had about a dozen close calls, near misses, or prevented accidents.

The thing is when you ride, you have to assume the worst in drivers. If you can imagine the worst thing happening in front of you, prepare for it.

Example: you're coming up to a stopped intersection, and the light turns green at the last second, so you can get a jump on the cars. Now you have to assume they are going to make a right turn into you (especially when you don't see blinkers on, they never use blinkers when there's going to be a crash).

That way, on the 1-in-10 chance someone does turn right into you, you're ready for it, and can avoid an accident.

The hardest thing to see coming is being doored. There a cyclist's bill of rights (pdf) that touches on this. They're hard to prevent (sometimes you just have to ride next to parked cars, and you might be too high up to see if there is anyone in them), but if it happens, it is 100% the car owner's fault (according to the law). I've been nearly doored twice, both times were under extraordinarily dumb circumstances on the part of the people in the car (at a red light, a passenger decided to just get out of the car on a major street without looking back first, both times).
posted by mathowie at 11:40 AM on May 17, 2001

I bicycle in Boston too, and drivers here are complete assholes. In fact, today I got into an altercation because a driver almost hit me while I was walking (pedestrian!) in a crosswalk, with a walk signal! This f*cker had the nerve to slow down and yell at me, so I put a nice dent in his car with a 3/4 full soda can. He stopped and got out to threaten me, but the fat f*ck couldn't come close to catching me (love those bike muscles!)

I never used to be as aggressive as I am now, but Boston is killing me. Anyone else feeling the need for pedestrian vigilante-ism? I say, carry a nice size brick with you. When someone cuts you off, lob it through their window and disappear.

I like the airhorn idea as well. I had a friend who used to carry a big old chain on his motorcycle. When someone screwed him, he'd cruise their car and smash it with the chain. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem as practical on a bicycle.
posted by preguicoso at 11:48 AM on May 17, 2001

i biked to work nearly every day until about a month ago when i moved to a house farther from the office. thanks for the posts guys, you have made me want to start riding again (in spite of the 110 degree summer afternoons here in phoenix.)

one thing i wonder though, are we merely "preaching to the choir?" sure, we all think commuting is great but how can we help others feel that way?
posted by kzam at 11:51 AM on May 17, 2001

I'm finding that, percentage wise, there are just as many ignorant pedestrians, Rollerbladers, runners, and cyclists as there are motorists.

So far I've had no close calls with cars but several with joggers and bladers. I think it should be legal to decapitate a Rollerblader if he can't hear you scream "on your left!" because his walkman is too loud.
posted by bondcliff at 11:54 AM on May 17, 2001

He stopped and got out to threaten me, but the fat f*ck couldn't come close to catching me (love those bike muscles!)

Oh, yes, fat people are all out of shape and don't ride bicycles, after all.

I think the Bicyclist's Bill of Rights is wholly necessary. One thing to take into consideration, though, is the fact that many, many bicyclists don't follow the rules of the road. Blowing stop signs seems to be the most common, and the only ways to combat this are education or ticketing. I don't think ticketing's gonna happen.

There's a bike shop two blocks from my place, and I'm going to get one there (any recommendations, anyone?) - I need to bike more, pure and simple.
posted by hijinx at 11:59 AM on May 17, 2001

sure, we all think commuting is great but how can we help others feel that way?

Lobby, lobby, lobby. Get to know your city councilperson and push for bike lanes and bike trails. Join an advocacy group. Talk to your local bike shop owner about efforts in your commnunity.

The best way to get more folks using bikes and other forms alternative transportation is to make the built environment friendlier to non-auto travel. Of course, you will have to show that there is a demand for such travel, so it helps if you get others to bike along with you. I'm fortunate in that as a planner I know some of the folks who are influential in city/county government, and have been able to make some inroads, but change generally requires some effort.
posted by Avogadro at 12:05 PM on May 17, 2001

(any recommendations, anyone?)

I ride a 10 yr old Specialized Crossroads (a hybrid bike with flat handlebars and bar-ends) with 700x28 tires which are wide enough to handle bumpy, road-salt-damaged city streets but have the large road-bike diameter that decreases rolling resistance. Maybe you should get a used bike (a good one though) and fix it up with new tires, seat, and a tune-up so that you don't worry too much about the inevitable pounding that it will get.
posted by Avogadro at 12:09 PM on May 17, 2001

I just started biking to work last week, for the first time ever.

I figured it would be a summer thing only, so I sped to the nearest Zellers and grabbed the cheapest thing I could find. The bicycle sucks, entirely, but it gets me around.

I don't really know the rules of road safety. We have bike lanes along every stretch of the way from my home to my office, but there are still a few intersections and lane changes that I don't know how to handle properly. I bike along the busiest street in Kanata, which is quite scary for a non-biker like me, but I'm adjusting.

I like the feeling of being worn out when you get to the office. This calls for coffee!
posted by Succa at 12:17 PM on May 17, 2001

I've got a Trek 730 hybrid outfitted with a rack and some paniers for my clothes. It really is perfect for commuting. I can take a pothole or a curb in stride.

Avogadro, do the bar ends make a difference? I'd kind of like to be able to vary my hand position once in a while and bar ends seem like a cheaper option than installing drop handlebars. As I've said, I'm new at this so I'm trying to learn more about the advantages of different components.
posted by bondcliff at 12:19 PM on May 17, 2001

I do not bike to work.
I think my situation is more typical on the west coast than back east.
I live 30 freeway miles or about 40 to 50 non-freeway miles from my place of employment. I live in a rural area and commute into town.
I drop my son off at daycare and pick him up. Daycare is about 1/4 of the way to work. I chose to do this due to give my son a shot a better schools as the schools closer to where I work are not up to my standards. My place of employment could also change at any moment. working in the software industry can be like that.

Biking isn't an option for me and many like me.
Trains would be great ... but we don't have them in Seattle.
Bussing would also be nice ... but I have to cross county lines and bus routes don't run over the routes I need to take.
So I drive. (Gonna get a Honda Prius once I can afford it)
posted by Dillenger69 at 12:34 PM on May 17, 2001

hijinx, I run a mountain bike (full suspension even - it's the SUV of the bike world, ugh) with slicks and wish I was big enough to admit I wasn't going to go off road much (if at all) when I got it and instead gotten a hybrid.

I've been looking longingly at the high end Trek hybrids for a while now, and whenever I retire my SUV bike, I'll get one of those.

Hybrids should sell like hotcakes, but they don't. Road riders prefer a "real" road bike, and manly men think they're going to conquer mountains every weekend, when the reality is that people like an easy to ride, upright, fast simple bike. There are usually 3-4 models in each bike company's line that could be classified as hybrid.
posted by mathowie at 12:36 PM on May 17, 2001

Bar ends do make a difference, especially when in you're in traffic and need to see around vehicles. I have a pair of "L" shaped bar-ends (get the kind that clamp around the handlebars, not inside the hollow ends) that let me sit up straight in the saddle, or allow me to move forward for better aerodynamics. I had looked at retrofitting drop handlebars, but they weren't worth the trouble and expense.

Bridgestone makes great commuter hybrids, but they aren't available in the U.S. anymore (I'm not sure if they still make them).
posted by Avogadro at 12:41 PM on May 17, 2001

Oh, and Dillenger69, if you gotta drive, you gotta drive; biking isn't an option for everyone, but the Prius seems to be a good way to go (or wait until 2003 one of those hybrid Escapes if you have to haul stuff).
posted by Avogadro at 12:46 PM on May 17, 2001

Thanks, Matt and Avogadro, for the tips. The hybrid seems to be along the lines of what I need; there are nature trails and the like in my current neck of the woods but, realistically, it's going to be used more on pavement. I'm not opposed to an old bike, either... I will see.

Maybe I should've kept that ol' Huffy I had when I was a kid.

(Dillenger: it's the Toyota Prius, but there's also the Honda Insight. FWIW reviews seem to indicate the Prius is more livable. Now, back to the topic.)
posted by hijinx at 1:02 PM on May 17, 2001

Most of my life I have not owned a car, so I not only biked to work but everywhere else, too. Since I've mostly lived in college or beach towns, this was no problem.

I live in Atlanta now, which is decidedly most bike un-friendly. My apartment is about ten miles from where I work, but I can't imagine riding a bike through the cut-throat traffic. (And I can totally identify with the pedestrian vigilantism. Nothing beats crossing with the light only to have to stand in the middle of a busy road because people in cars insist on turning in front of you. Why can't they just stop? Arg!)

Two other problems I have with biking to work here are the smog and the heat, neither of which are to be trifled with. Luckily, I intentionally live and work close to train stations so I can get that extra reading time in air conditioned (most of the time) comfort and avoid the horrible, soul sucking, pollution spewing Atlanta traffic.

Since I live in a relatively small community feel-ish neighborhood, I had been thinking about getting a bike for my non-commuting and weekend errand needs. With that, I could cut my car use down to large grocery shopping runs and trips out of town. This thread is definitely getting me excited about it.

Oh and my years of bike as main mode of transportation have made me hyper-vigilant about "sharing the road," which is not always easy if you happen to also be sharing the road with some one driving RIGHT BEHIND YOU who is not so willing to drive 15 mph until a cyclist can be safely passed.
posted by jennyb at 1:16 PM on May 17, 2001

while my bike actually has a 1100 cc engine in it, we go through a lot of the same hazards that cyclists do on the roads. All too frequently you hear the motorist saying "i just didn't see him". You always have to be watching out for the moron making the left turn in front of you. I've found that keeping an eye on the front drivers side wheel helps because that will start moving before anything else on the car. Having some nutcase in a pickup truck trying to share a lane with me is going to piss me off. I've heard of bikers carrying ball bearings or little stones in their pockets for tailgaters that just won't back off. I always try to look out for the bikers in every sense of the word.
posted by jbelshaw at 1:35 PM on May 17, 2001

i have been riding my bike to work in austin, tx since early feb. and i don't think i would accept another job that was outside of biking distance. it is one very small thing people can do to make a huge impact on the environment and personal health.
it makes me sad to see so many SUVs commuting around with only one person in them, i wish others would realize the benefits and make a sacrifice too.
posted by ggggarret at 1:42 PM on May 17, 2001

I guess that I don't want to see riding bikes as a sacrifice (I understand what you're saying ggggarret, though I feel like I'm stuttering). If bike-commuting or any other way of life (including use of motorcycles) that deviates from the "norm" of suburbia is to take hold, it needs to be attractive rather than an ascetic alternative. There needs to be a reason for lone-auto commuters to get out of their cars; perhaps emphasizing quality of life (better health, no-to-low insurance, no vechile maintenance or gasoline costs, livable neighborhoods) issues associated with bike-commuting is part of the answer.
posted by Avogadro at 1:52 PM on May 17, 2001

ggggarret: wait until July-August. :) you'll be having some hot sticky fun then. Tip: bring plenty of water.
posted by jbelshaw at 2:00 PM on May 17, 2001

BTW, riding your bike in the winter is not particularly difficult. The Icebike site spreads the love. (I coined the word and run the mailing list but have nothing to do with the site.)

Finnish studded tires for your bicycle, anyone?
posted by joeclark at 8:37 PM on May 17, 2001

I don't ride nor own a bike and I smoke like a chimney. Besides that I'll be dead way before any of you, I must say, that when I'm late for work and I'm forced into driving down that winding Lakeview Blvd. in Seattle (runs parallel to I-5 north of Mercer to Roanoke) I'm invariably met by a biker with plenty of room to his right--could get over more but chooses not to--and collects a long line of traffic behind him by more than eight cars as he takes his time pedalling around like a smug republican with a green streak.

O people, believe you me, I would ride a bike if I could afford one. Indeed, I most often ride the bus. But can you bikers for one moment remember the last time you were held up behind a tra-la-la-ing cyclist, with plenty of room for them and your horrible, ignorance laden car? But that damn, leg shaven, health twit simply would not ride two feet closer to the six feet away curb? How many people here bike to work usually, but when late are forced to use the car? Or have an engagement after work which requires a car ride? Sometimes you have to drive. When a comparatively slow moving rider, with obviously plenty of the time to spare that you don't, gets in your way and obnoxiously makes no effort to ease your pass, there is nothing more powerful to the car driving-mind than utter hate for those two wheeled lollygaggers.

posted by crasspastor at 11:09 PM on May 17, 2001

Crasspastor - yup, some cyclists are arrogant, unthinking schmucks. So are some drivers. It's both sides of the line: for every time I've been slowed down by a cyclist riding inconsiderately when I'm in car, I've been carved up or nearly hit by an inconsiderate driver when I'm on my bike.

I cycle to work most days. I've cut down a bit recently (knee pain!), but it's a really great feeling. Cambridge (UK) has a pretty healthy cycle culture. And it's not just 'leg shaven health twits' who cycle here - the age range certainly includes a number of middle aged and OAP types. The city council's pretty good about encouraging cycling: lots of excellent cycle paths around the place. Drivers are normally considerate. The main problems I'd have would be either boyracer types (young bloke, Ford Escourt with a spoiler on the back) buzzing you, taxis driving in the Bus/Taxi/Bike lane carving up the cyclists, and buses. Oh, the buses. The local bus drivers' attitude to cyclists seems to be "I weigh several orders of magnitude more than you, therefore I have no need to take your interests into consideration." Bastards.

For the record: 3km commute, on a bloody old 15-speed hybrid. I'm vaguely saving for a better bike (the Cannondale Bad Boy looks nice - 26" wheels, 1" tyres, MTB geometry, solid forks - nice little hybrid), but given the amount of cycle theft around here, I'm not in a hurry. ;)

Sad, isn't it: in any bike purchase, you need to factor in about 15-20% of the cost of the bike for a decent locking system. I've not had my bike nicked yet, but most of my mates have lost at least one.
posted by jackelder at 4:09 AM on May 18, 2001

I agree about obnoxious cyclists. They are out there. There are many more obnoxious motorists though. Keep in mind though, that we often ride several feet away from the curb to avoid debris, sand, and storm grates. Also, if cars are parked on the side of the road cyclists need to ride far enough away from them so they wont get hit by any opening doors.

On another note, it seems every day since I started riding something reminds me of how much better riding is than driving. Whether it's another rider wishing me a good morning as he passes, a smell from a local restaurant, a goose walking her goslings along the river edge, or just the stalled cars honking their horns at each other.

This morning, there was a man stationed at an intersection in Cambridge (MA, USA) handing out free water bottles and lights. I asked what the occasion was and he said "The occasion is that you're cycling!" The Cambridge Bicycle Committee was celebrating "Green Month."

I don't imagine the RMV would ever hand out free cup holders to passing motorists.
posted by bondcliff at 6:14 AM on May 18, 2001

Crasspastor - if all it takes is one cyclist to hold up the traffic then I think it must be pretty congested anyway. You'd only get to the next queue faster. I'm completely behind (ha ha) any cyclist who takes as much of the lane they feel is necessary to prevent elbow-shaving overtaking by impatient motorists.

The recommended road position is just inside or just outside the lane of actual traffic flow, and near centre lane if there is no room to safely overtake without changing lane.

I commute on a Brompton folding bicycle and the bus. Sometimes I ride my audax bike all 18 hilly miles. Maybe I should work closer to home so I can cycle more.
posted by MrImpossible at 6:33 AM on May 18, 2001


I know it can be frustrating when a bicyclist isn't far enough to the right, but experienced bicyclists simply will not subject themselves to the "door lane" if they have half a brain. Believe me, you only need to be clothes-lined once by a car door when you're moving at a nice clip. Ouch!
posted by preguicoso at 7:27 AM on May 18, 2001

I use my road bike almost everyday for my 3 mile commute to work here in Washington, DC (Live in Foggy Bottom, work on the Hill) It's actually much faster than taking the metro or driving.

What I like:
-fresh air
-passing cars stuck in traffic
-there's no better way to wake up

What I hate:
-car exhaust fumes, especially from trucks/busses
-getting all sweaty to work (showers available at work, but still)
-can't go anywhere directly from work after work (hang out, shop, bar, etc) unless I want to go back to work late at night and ride home, or not bike the next day.

However, my workplace is very bike friendly and I am certainly not the only one biking to work. I would encourage anyone who likes to ride a bike to at least try it.
posted by Witold at 2:21 PM on May 18, 2001

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