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Author Topic: Cycling
The Rabbit
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It's that time of year again -- prime cycling season. Last Saturday, 180 riders started the world's greatest race in France and in 10 days, I'll be heading out on my annual bicycle tour. This year we will be doing a circuit from Basel Switzerland to the French Alps and back.

The bicycle is one of, it not the absolute, greatest inventions of human beings. There is something absolutely magically about traveling under your own power on a bike. Equipped with a bicycle, a human being can move faster than horse and cover more miles per day. A human being on a bicycle is more energy efficient than any other machine and every other animal.

So, have you been out on your bike lately?

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DSH
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I agree with you 99%... Prime cycling season starts as soon as the weather warms up! [Big Grin]

And just for the fun of it, a couple of cycling related links of interest:

The velomobile

How I'd like to commute to work.

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The Rabbit
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DSH, I didn't say prime cycling season had only just begun. [Smile]
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Itsame
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I'm really glad this thread was made. I'm moving to Illinois and have shed my old 80's Univega, but intend to buy a *gasp* new bike. I'm looking for one that is primarily for commuting but can be used for exercise. I'm thinking Giant's Rapid 3. Does anyone have any experience/suggestions?

Thanks

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shadowland
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A new bicycle has been my best purchase so far this year.
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BlackBlade
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I need to stop sulking about my bike being stolen, it's time to get serious about getting a new one and making my goal to ride to and from work happen.
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Raymond Arnold
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I'd like to get a shiny new bike, except that I live in NYC and I just don't feel like dealing with the effort/stress of making sure it doesn't get stolen.
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Strider
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I bought a bicycle two years ago as a way to get around town without having to use a gas powered vehicle. I'm not totally strict about it, if it's too cold or too rainy I won't ride it, but during the summer months I maybe use my car once a week, with my riding tapering off in the spring and fall.

This fall I'll be moving to a warm climate with very little rain, and will be selling my car. Though I'll still have my motorcycle, I'm excited to be car free and to see how I manage!

My bike isn't the greatest (road bike frame is a few decades old, though it has been upgraded with all new everything else), but I'm doing a triathlon with it at the end of the summer. It's been some years since I competed in one, and I'm really psyched to do one again. They're incredibly fun.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
I'm really glad this thread was made. I'm moving to Illinois and have shed my old 80's Univega, but intend to buy a *gasp* new bike. I'm looking for one that is primarily for commuting but can be used for exercise. I'm thinking Giant's Rapid 3. Does anyone have any experience/suggestions?

Thanks

It looks like a great bike but its not what I would choose as a commuting bike. If you are serious about commuting, go for something closer to the classic European city bikes: wider tires, fenders, rack, lights, upright position, internal gears. For commuting you need something that is low maintanance, flat resistant, able to carry a load, ridable in rain and dark. REI has a good one.
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advice for robots
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I need to move my seat back. I got a bike with a big frame, but I still find myself wanting to sit farther back on the seat than is really comfortable. This makes long bike rides, well, sore. I haven't seemed to be able to find a seat or stem that moves the seat to a comfortable position for me. I'm wondering if it's possible at all. What's the best solution?
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Itsame
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
It looks like a great bike but its not what I would choose as a commuting bike. If you are serious about commuting, go for something closer to the classic European city bikes: wider tires, fenders, rack, lights, upright position, internal gears. For commuting you need something that is low maintanance, flat resistant, able to carry a load, ridable in rain and dark. REI has a good one.

I road one of these around Holland and enjoyed it very much, and I also like the idea of low maintenance. My only problem is that I remember it being very heavy and not liking that. Is there something similar but not so heavy?
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DarkKnight
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AFR,
You might want to go to a reputable bike shop and get 'fitted' for your bike. There are tons of different seat/stem combinations. I know it takes me a very long time to get my road bike setup if something gets bumped

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The Rabbit
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There is a range of weights on dutch/german style city bikes, but the bottom line is that any bike with fenders, wide tires, racks, lights and such is going to weigh more than a bike without them. You really can't find a bike with these features that isn't going to be kind of heavy.

One of the lighter ones I've seen is the Vanmoof. It weighs in at ~28 pounds including fenders, lights and wide tires. Plus, it has a sticker on the top tube that reads

quote:
Weight: Your bike's weight equals that of a small pig. This thing will make you fly quite literally.

Before you ride: 1. Read the owners manual. 2. optimize your riding position. 3. stop, take a second. Now start jumping in anticipation. 4. Go outside and make us proud.

Honestly no bike is ideal for everything. There are lots of trade offs. The solution is to own several bikes.
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The Rabbit
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AFR, I second what DarkKnight said. Find a bike shop that has some expertise in fitting. You may have to look a bit as not every reputable shop is really set up to do this right.
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advice for robots
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Yeah, I suppose. We have a pretty good bike shop in town and I'll have to drag myself over there. It's like going to the doctor. I avoid it as long as possible.

I want to start riding to work, and that's one of the details I need to work out before I do so. Also, I have to figure out clothing details. I have a 6-mile ride, which is long enough (for me) not to want to wear my work clothes but some exercise clothes I can change out of once I get there. I'm not sure I want those tight bike pants, however (I'm not THAT serious yet). And do I really have to carry my work clothes along in a backpack? Does someone who's done this have any practical advice?

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The Rabbit
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For a six mile ride, you really don't need specialized cycling shorts/pants but you definitely want to choose pants that do not have a thick seem in the crotch or restrict leg movement. If they don't fit tight around the lower calf and ankle, you'll need some sort of strap (rubber bands work in a pinch) to keep your pants out of the chain.

Specialized bike clothes really do work better on the bike, particularly for long rides. If you are squeamish about tight bike shorts, there are a variety of mountain biking shorts that are loose fitting.

If you are going to change your clothes once you get to work, you either have to carry them in with you or keep a wardrobe in your office. A lot of the people I know who commute do keep clothes at work. I have no idea whether or not that's a realistic option for you.

Of course, even if you keep clothes in your office they do need to be taken to be laundered from time to time. If you don't ride every day, you can transport the clothes on the days you drive a car. If you commonly wear a suit and tie at work you might be able to arrange for a laundry to pick up and deliver at your place of work. More causal attire can generally be transported in a pack.

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advice for robots
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I'm going to have to find the exact right type of pants. Maybe those mountain biking shorts.

Mmmph. I can keep clothes at work, but that all takes planning ahead. I've got both a gym at work with locker room and showers, and an office with a closeable door. Changing at work isn't really a problem. I was just hoping there was some magic option besides stuffing clothes in a backpack. I could leave clothes in my office, but then I have to troop into my work area, grab my clothes, and troop all the way across the headquarters (including directly by the CEO's office) to the gym and showers.

I also have to either cross a railroad track and carry my bike down and up a small ravine by the busy road I have to cross to get to the company headquarters, or ride down the side of said busy road without a sidewalk of any kind.

You don't really have to find solutions to these problems for me. [Smile] I'm just hoping someone will start talking me out of riding to work.

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Geraine
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Arrrrrghhhh bicycle season. Boooo!!!!

The cyclers here in Las Vegas are RUDE. If there are three of them riding together they will block entire lanes of traffic going 15 miles per hour when the speed limit is 45, and won't move even when there is a line of cars behind them.

They threw a fit when the city closed Red Rock to bikers due to preservation efforts. The bikers were DESTROYING the hiking trails and causing all sorts of other damage, and then they threw a fit about it.

Maybe the 110 degree weather does something to their heads.

I have nothing against cyclers in general, just those that bike here in Las Vegas. [Razz]

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Strider
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Gerain, are you saying they take up a total of three lanes or that they ride three together in one lane?

In general, it's very dangerous for a cycler to ride the edge of the lane, as cars will try to squeeze by them rather than move over to another lane. This causes lots of accidents and harm to bikers. It's much safer to ride in the middle of a lane, forcing cars to swerve more broadly around you, with the fallback that if they don't you have room to swerve away and not be run off the road.

Cyclists are not perfect, I've seen many do many stupid things. And I wish both cyclists and drivers would learn a bit more about how to interact with each other, but from personal experience, I can tell you that even when I do everything by the book (actually, especially when I do), I am often times terrified at what cars will do with no regard for the fact that they can easily kill me.

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Itsame
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The vanmoof is nice, but out of my price range (about 600 max).
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shadowland
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
If there are three of them riding together they will block entire lanes of traffic going 15 miles per hour when the speed limit is 45, and won't move even when there is a line of cars behind them.

Then the city should add more bike lanes.
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advice for robots
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I would be terrified all the time too if I were riding down the middle of a car lane. It's fine on a residential street but on a busy throughway I question the sanity of the cyclist a little. Whether or not it's legal and motorists should respect cyclists on the road, it's downright dangerous.
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scifibum
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What bugs me sometimes is when there IS a bike lane and the rider hugs the left side - closer to motor vehicle traffic - instead of staying in the center of the bike lane.

I suppose they are trying to avoid gravel or other debris which lies thicker on the ground further from the trafficked part of the pavement?

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Strider
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
I would be terrified all the time too if I were riding down the middle of a car lane. It's fine on a residential street but on a busy throughway I question the sanity of the cyclist a little. Whether or not it's legal and motorists should respect cyclists on the road, it's downright dangerous.

What are the other options? Some places there is no sidewalk. And even if there was my road bike tires would likely burst on many of them.

The roads I'm talking about aren't even just regular roads either, they are roads with huge "share the lane" bicycling markings going down the center of the lane.

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by Strider:
quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
I would be terrified all the time too if I were riding down the middle of a car lane. It's fine on a residential street but on a busy throughway I question the sanity of the cyclist a little. Whether or not it's legal and motorists should respect cyclists on the road, it's downright dangerous.

What are the other options? Some places there is no sidewalk. And even if there was my road bike tires would likely burst on many of them.

The roads I'm talking about aren't even just regular roads either, they are roads with huge "share the lane" bicycling markings going down the center of the lane.

I don't know. Even with marked bike lanes, it's dangerous. Not like sharing the same lane as the cars, but you've still got to pray that the motorists are all on high alert.

My route to work has a wide, paved bike/walking path above the curb almost the whole way. I'm not sure I would attempt riding to work without it.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
I would be terrified all the time too if I were riding down the middle of a car lane. It's fine on a residential street but on a busy throughway I question the sanity of the cyclist a little.
Depends on the speed limit. In our town there is a three lane arterial with a 30 mph speed limit. When traffic is filling all three lanes, the draft allows cyclists to keep up with traffic. At 30 (or even 40)mph you can take the center of the lane, change lanes, whatever. It takes a little getting used to, but it's no different than riding a motorcycle. Just don't get caught in the middle lane at a red light.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
What are the other options? Some places there is no sidewalk. And even if there was my road bike tires would likely burst on many of them.

The roads I'm talking about aren't even just regular roads either, they are roads with huge "share the lane" bicycling markings going down the center of the lane.

Its counter intuitive to people who don't ride a bike regularly, but riding on the side walk or even a separated bike lane is more dangerous than riding on the road. Every study that has ever looked at it has found the same thing.

Why? Because cyclists are very rarely hit by people who ram into them from behind. Almost all accidents occur at intersections and drive ways. If you are riding in roughly the same place that a car would be, car drivers coming from a cross street or out of a drive way are far more likely to see you than if you are on a side walk, separated bike path or even a shoulder.

Bike paths are for the convenience of car drivers, not the safety of cyclists.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
What bugs me sometimes is when there IS a bike lane and the rider hugs the left side - closer to motor vehicle traffic - instead of staying in the center of the bike lane.

I suppose they are trying to avoid gravel or other debris which lies thicker on the ground further from the trafficked part of the pavement?

SciFi, The bike lanes in Utah are typically in deplorable condition. Most of them do not meet the minimum federal guidelines for bike lanes. They are frequently on a shoulder that is so cambered that its really impossible to ride on except on the far left edge. They are frequently blocked by garbage cans, parked cars and storm drains (which by the way can be really dangerous). The asphault is often broken and crumbling. They are filled with debris. Road hazards you don't even notice in a car can be a dangerous obstacle for a bicycle.

Weaving in and out around obstacles is very dangerous. Its much safer for a cyclist to ride at a consistent position on the far left edge of a bike or even in the traffic lane than it is to ride down the further to the right where they have to dart in and out to avoid obstacles.

For the most part, cyclists in Utah would be better off without the bike lanes. Its dangerous to ride in most of them and because they are there, cars drivers get angry if you don't.

[ July 08, 2011, 12:00 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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aspectre
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2013327/Tour-France-Cyclist-collides-car-sending-rival-barbed-wire-fence.html
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The Rabbit
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Yeah I watched that on live TV. That was a nasty mistake on the part of the driver. It wasn't however the worst crash of the day. Several of the top riders including Vinokourov, Van Den Broeck, and Zabriskie broke bones in an earlier crash and had to abandon.
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Swampjedi
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Living in NYC really made me dislike people on bikes. They'd do stupid things like run red lights, attempt to mow down pedestrians, run the wrong way down a road, and ignore good sense. Then again, I did live near Williamsburg (or Hipster Central).

The one group I saw that followed the law (in my neighborhood) were dressed up in spandex and riding fancy bikes. Perhaps that's the difference between "person on bike" and "cyclist" - cyclists follow rhe rules?

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aspectre
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Living in Manhattan made me realize there ain't a rational reason in the world for owning a private car there.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by aspectre:
Living in Manhattan made me realize there ain't a rational reason in the world for owning a private car there.

QFT
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Swampjedi:
Living in NYC really made me dislike people on bikes. They'd do stupid things like run red lights, attempt to mow down pedestrians, run the wrong way down a road, and ignore good sense. Then again, I did live near Williamsburg (or Hipster Central).

1. In Manhattan, car drivers also do all those things on a relatively regular basis. Far more pedestrians are injured by automobile drivers than cyclists.

2. I sincerely doubt that there are many cyclists attempting to mow down pedestrians. If you hit a pedestrian on your bike, you will usually be injured at least as severely as the pedestrian. I'm sure there are many cyclist in New York that don't watch out for or yield to pedestrians but I really can't believe they are aiming for them unless they've got a death wish.

3. US city streets are often designed to cause conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians. It doesn't have to be that way.

4. Most Americans have not been properly taught how to ride a bicycle in traffic. Many are ignorant of the rules that govern cyclists. Its extremely common for people to believe that cyclists are supposed to ride on the left hand side of the road, that cyclists are supposed to stay on sidewalks or that cyclist aren't allowed on roads without a bike path. Even police officers routinely cite cyclists for doing things that are completely legal. I think the key solution to this is to make cycling "literacy" a requirement for getting a drivers license. There ought to be about 20 questions on the drivers license exams regarding pedestrians and bicycles and you should have to get 100% of them right to get a license.

5. Police officers should know the laws regarding bicycles and enforce them. A great deal of the time when bicyclist are cited for traffic violations, they weren't doing anything against the law. And most of the time when they are breaking laws (like riding on the side walk, going the wrong way down the road etc.) they won't be cited even if a police officer witnesses it.

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Strider
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Here's a really funny video about the dangers of using bike lanes in NYC

I also want to echo a lot of what Rabbit is saying about bike lines. Here in my town, the car free organization that lobbies for alternative transportation issues is very against bike lanes for a lot of unforeseen dangers that come about with their use. They've gotten share the lane markings put down on most roads.

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