Speed Up Slow Down Cyclists

Today I will take a break from the recent discussions on this blog about where cyclists should position themselves when sharing the road with cars, to discuss — OK, rant — about something that really irks me.

As a long-time cyclist, who is in the process of trying to get back into shape after having taken time off due to injuries, I am presently following a training regimen of sorts. It’s not the type of regimen one would use for sport, as in training for road racing or triathlons, but rather a system of rebuilding strength and endurance which was lost through cutting back on physical activity.

I wasn’t sedentary for long. I only ceased activities completely for about a week. Then, I gradually began to ride my bike and lift weights again.

For several weeks, I was incredibly slow on my bike. More cyclists than usual were passing me — although fortunately, none of them were grandmas or grandpas. Many of them were just typical cyclists, like myself, who were fit and clearly did a lot of riding.     Continue reading ….

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Headstarts At Traffic Lights

Despite years of debate, there is still disagreement about where a cyclist should position him or herself when stopping at a traffic light. Different groups of cyclists have arrived at various conclusions about what constitutes the safest and most efficient approach to navigating an intersection. One’s riding style and tolerance for risk usually determine which of these approaches a cyclist takes.

Those who favor the “take the lane” approach to cycling believe that cyclists should stop directly behind the car in front of them, just as if they were another vehicle. They find the idea of riding alongside the cars abhorrent. And, the concept of controlling the lane intensifies their convictions about always using the full lane for maximum safety.    Continue reading ….

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A Man And His Bicycle

It’s not every day that you walk past a familiar pond only to see a man, wrapped up in music only he can hear, with his trusty bike leaning nearby. The man was gazing out on the water as if he was looking for something that was not there. And his bike was precariously standing on the moist dirt of the shoreline, held up by nothing more than a rickety kickstand, an implement rarely seen on bikes these days.    Continue reading ….

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Bicyclists Are Now Officially Better People

When stumbling upon an article with the title of “Why Riding Your Bike Makes You A Better Person (According To Science)” you must stop and read it. Never mind that it was published on The Huffington Post website, which you may not ordinarily read (I don’t). However, since this cycling article had a positive title, for a change, I thought it was worth a look.

Cycling does improve a person in may ways, but attributing these finding to “science” may be a bit of a stretch. The article in question starts out by telling us that we could all learn something from cyclists. For instance “It should come as no surprise that a dedicated cyclist is bound to be one of the fittest people around.”    Continue reading ….

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Some Fans Think That Taking A Cycling Hero Selfie Is Worth Risking Life And Limb

I have never understood the appeal of selfies. As a photographer, I like to use a camera to shoot photos, not a handheld device. And, I like to set up shots where I will be included in the photo.

Non-photographers and cell phone photographers apparently do not feel the same way. Such people hold their phones in front of their faces and struggle to capture themselves along with someone else who often hasn’t even consented to having their photo taken.    Continue reading ….

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When Or Whether Sidewalks Are For Cycling

Titles can be a tricky thing. Trying to be succinct can alter the meaning of a phrase in unintended ways. Hopefully, that will not be the case with the title of this post.

Sidewalks were named for the function they were intended to fulfill: walking. Or, more specifically, walking on the side of something, usually a road.

A sidewalk’s purpose is to give pedestrians a safe place to walk when traveling from one area to another. It separates pedestrians from motorized vehicles, similarly to the way that bike lanes separate cars from bicycles. In short, it is a refuge from fast-moving traffic.    Continue reading ….

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Improving Urban Cycling Safety By Giving Yourself An Out

I have been giving a great deal of thought to the riding instruction given to new urban riders by cycling experts. I’m not entirely certain what makes these people experts other than the fact that they have had some training which resulted in certification from other experts. The whole thing seems like the chicken and the egg argument, namely, which came first, the experts or the expertise.

In the beginning, statistics about bicycle accidents must have precipitated the creation of rules for avoiding accidents. The idea, I believe, was that by teaching cyclists how accidents happen and what a cyclist can do to avoid getting into those situations, cyclists would be safer.    Continue reading ….

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Can Cyclists Always Recognize Who Belongs In The Bike Lane?

Most of us expect bicycles to use bike lanes and cars to stay out. Of course, things don’t always work out that way. This annoys cyclists, especially when they are impeded in their progress or come close to crashing due to the presence of unexpected vehicles in the bike lane.

The more cyclists ride, the more they grow accustomed to cars crossing into the bike lanes, and even parking on them. When confronted with such situations, it’s difficult not to wonder “who are these bike lanes for?”    Continue reading ….

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Someone Thinks That Drivers Are Dumber Than We Do

Regular readers of this blog will recall the post I wrote a few days ago about the difference between bicycling advocates’ agendas and bicyclists’ interests. In that post, I mentioned a comment I received from a regular reader who, like the bicycling advocates with strong agendas, often quotes figures and statistics as a way of telling cyclists what to do.

It should be made clear that I was not implying that he was the only one who believed the things he commented on or the only one who said them. I meant to say that his comment reflected a common sentiment among passionate official bicycling advocates.

In response, he wrote a comment clarifying his position on the 3-foot passing law and giving examples of why some people believe that “sharing the road” is not the same thing as “sharing the lane.” Despite his examples, which clearly show that he is not the only one who thinks this way, I still disagree that there is a difference between these two things. Still, I think it’s a topic worthy of discussion.    Continue reading ….

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Bicycling Advocates’ Agendas Versus Bicyclists’ Interests

I am a cyclist. Riding is what I do. It is what I have done for decades, and what I intend to do for decades to come.

The miles I have put in have taught me a great deal beyond what my father imparted to me when he taught me how to ride a “two-wheeler” without training wheels. I remember how he held the back of my saddle on my diminutive bike as I shakily struggled to keep the bike upright.

Like all kids, I fell a few times. But determination compelled me to dust myself off and get back into the saddle to try again. Eventually, I managed to ride under my own power with the fear of falling nothing more than a distant memory. It was the beginning of a long journey which is only partially finished today.

Back in the present, I have been thinking about a recent comment I received on a post I wrote about how cars should leave a lane, an imaginary buffer, on the right-hand side of the road. I wrote this as the result of many years of riding in traffic and observing how my own riding affected the drivers around me and how the riding of others affected drivers, as well.   Continue reading ….

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