Author Topic: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle  (Read 4572 times)

1WattLightbulb

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Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« on: May 21, 2019, 12:49:45 PM »

thd7t

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2019, 01:21:56 PM »
This is great!  It's simple, inexpensive and makes a ton of sense!  Thanks for sharing!

CCCA

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2019, 01:24:30 PM »
good idea!

dodojojo

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2019, 09:19:52 PM »
Am I a cynic for thinking there may be a few people who think it would be fun to actually try to hit the noodle?

PDXTabs

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2019, 10:00:16 PM »
In most western states drivers are supposed to give you 36 inches (91cm) of space. Am I the only one that wants a nearly invisible fiberglass pole with a carbide drill bit on the end instead?

Whoops, sorry about your paint. You must not have given me my 36".

NorthernMonkey

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2019, 11:35:49 PM »
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F322544773943

Someone already makes something like this, but slightly more rigid and with a reflector on the end

M5

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2019, 11:41:48 PM »
In most western states drivers are supposed to give you 36 inches (91cm) of space. Am I the only one that wants a nearly invisible fiberglass pole with a carbide drill bit on the end instead?

Whoops, sorry about your paint. You must not have given me my 36".

That would be quite enjoyable. In Nevada, on 4 lane roads, drivers are also required by law move into the next lane unless it's not possible. This rarely happens - I've even had cops blow right by a couple feet away.

I've also had the same experience as the author with descending mountain passes and cars getting angry and impatient. I'm doing 35mph+ with snow melt grates on the shoulders, you're damn right I'm taking the lane!

TheContinentalOp

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2019, 07:12:07 AM »
I saw this. I'm in PA where drivers are supposed to give you 4 feet when passing, but that is honored more in the breach than the observance.

I'll probably give it a try, but I am worried that the noodle will have the opposite of the intended effect.

driftwood

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2019, 07:54:29 AM »
I like this idea! 

I don't think attitudes will change though, especially where the infrastructure was built for cars and now those cars are sharing roads with much slower bicycles. Any time you have travelers going drastically different speeds there will be problems. On roads with multiple lanes however, it should be normal practice to move over into the next lane, not expect the cyclist to ride on the shoulder.

I imagine that if you walked in the route that cyclists used, even if protected by law, the initial emotional reaction of the cyclists to the walkers would match that of car drivers being slowed down by cyclists.

Cool Friend

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2019, 09:13:48 AM »
who else came to this thread thinking the pool noodle was for conking other bikers on the head, Road Rash-style?

Laserjet3051

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2019, 10:17:50 AM »
Gonna be tough snaking through steep overgrown singletrack with that monstrosity. All bikers? Really?

hadabeardonce

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2019, 10:50:33 AM »
I value my 40cm handlebars for squeezing between Teslas on the way to work.

If anything I'd mount a pool noodle as if I were jousting for the purpose of pushing other cyclists forward.

moof

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2019, 11:25:24 AM »
I've also seen it suggested to put a cut down pool noodle just the width of your bike on the back as a clearer indication of how wide you actually are.  That would still let you lane split while commuting.

I would definitely consider the full noodle if I went bike touring, but for commuting I have been happy with the results of just using lots of extra bright flashing lights on front and back.

Edit:  Picture near the bottom if this site (good site on its own right): http://bicyclesafe.com/
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 11:28:58 AM by moof »

bacchi

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2019, 11:40:04 AM »
I imagine that if you walked in the route that cyclists used, even if protected by law, the initial emotional reaction of the cyclists to the walkers would match that of car drivers being slowed down by cyclists.

This happens to other cyclists if the shoulder is too narrow, the cars are too many, and the "real" cyclists are piling up behind the slower, commuter, cyclist.

It's true. Cyclists can be assholes too!

PoutineLover

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2019, 11:48:16 AM »
I have a basket on the back of my bike that sticks out towards traffic, and I think it makes people realize that I need enough space (at least slightly). But there are still plenty of ignorant drivers out there who don't leave any room even when they could change lanes. I would feel a little ridiculous with a noodle on the back of my bike, but I do think it's a good idea.

moof

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2019, 11:56:51 AM »
I imagine that if you walked in the route that cyclists used, even if protected by law, the initial emotional reaction of the cyclists to the walkers would match that of car drivers being slowed down by cyclists.

This happens to other cyclists if the shoulder is too narrow, the cars are too many, and the "real" cyclists are piling up behind the slower, commuter, cyclist.

It's true. Cyclists can be assholes too!
Yep.  Guilty as charged.  I'm an asshole cyclist.  I get used to having the bike lane almost exclusively to myself all winter, then come Spring there is an influx of fair weather riders for a few weeks until they go back to driving.  I get a bit frustrated and annoyed with them for sure, especially the all the ones who have no clue what the rules of the road are.

I've nearly been T-boned by cyclists who don't stop to turn on red, nor look for other cyclist legally crossing the intersection in front of them.

I've been nearly hit by an e-biker who blasted out of the shadows from the wrong-way side walk across the crosswalk while I was turning left (he nearly got hit by a car at the same time!).

I've been stuck behind folks who had just blasted past me just as the light turned green rather than queuing up.

I've been annoyed by cyclists who go onto the sidewalk to cross in the crosswalk rather than use the bike lane, then move over into the bike lane halfway through the intersection without warning, making it very hard to figure out WTF rules they think they are following, or how they think the queue is supposed to work.

I've had runners going the wrong way in the bike lane refuse to go onto the sidewalk (a darn nice one at that) and force me to go into traffic to avoid them.

While none of that justifies some of my cycling assholery, I think it does explain some of it.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 12:01:35 PM by moof »

Loren Ver

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2019, 02:23:18 PM »
I imagine that if you walked in the route that cyclists used, even if protected by law, the initial emotional reaction of the cyclists to the walkers would match that of car drivers being slowed down by cyclists.

This happens to other cyclists if the shoulder is too narrow, the cars are too many, and the "real" cyclists are piling up behind the slower, commuter, cyclist.


Or how drivers react to other drivers that are going slower than they are, even if the slower one is following the speed limit.  Many people don't like other people not doing what they are doing or slowing them down when they are DRIVING and the road is THEIRS while they are DRIVING on it, and you all need to get out of the way or go home.  Or something like that :).

ministashy

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2019, 02:29:37 AM »
When it comes to obeying the rules of the road (written or unwritten) my rule of thumb is to determine whether doing so make me more or less safe.  If the rule is stupid/poorly thought out and endangers my safety, then yeah I'm going to be an asshole cyclist and do what I need to do to keep myself safe (hopping onto the sidewalk, taking the entire lane, etc.)  If the rule doesn't endanger my safety, then I'll follow it.  I figure my life is worth more than some ephemeral virtuous idea of being a 'good' cyclist--and let's face it, if you're a cyclist in the US, you're going to get screamed at either way.

I really like the pool noodle idea, but in an urban setting, you'd really need them sticking out from both sides of your bike.  And that just gets a bit ridiculous. (Plus a bit hazardous for pedestrians/other cyclists/etc).

Knapptyme

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2019, 06:05:48 AM »
The pool noodle is a neat idea in context of touring, IMO.

Per the cyclist assholery mentioned above, I guess I must be the slow one. Generally a commuter with kids in tow, I'm happy to see as many people out walking, running, or biking on my usual routes as possible. I'll get over or slow down because I'm mostly glad they're not in their cars. (Let it be noted that frustration ensues when someone has headphones on or earbuds in and doesn't hear/respond to my bell and continues to weave their own unpredictable path going forward in front of me.)

Mini-rant: What gets me riled up are drivers who stop for me to cross the street (there's no crosswalk at the end of my residential street to be riding the right way). Would they stop for a car to cross the street? Do they stop at an actual crosswalk when they're supposed to? Do they consistently follow the rules for people's safety? I wish drivers ed helped people know the rules better. But then, as an educator, I understand it may not be the system's fault. People are not really programmable. They make mistakes, sometimes by accident, mostly on purpose.

thd7t

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2019, 07:14:55 AM »
I imagine that if you walked in the route that cyclists used, even if protected by law, the initial emotional reaction of the cyclists to the walkers would match that of car drivers being slowed down by cyclists.

This happens to other cyclists if the shoulder is too narrow, the cars are too many, and the "real" cyclists are piling up behind the slower, commuter, cyclist.

It's true. Cyclists can be assholes too!
It is true!  If you're on a bike going to work, you're the "real" cyclist compared to recreational cyclists.  If you're a professional cyclist and you're running into this problem, you're not good at your job!

GuitarStv

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2019, 07:22:55 AM »
I've had runners going the wrong way in the bike lane refuse to go onto the sidewalk (a darn nice one at that) and force me to go into traffic to avoid them.

So, I try to be pretty friendly and understanding, but this one really bothers me.  I stay in the bike lane and if they don't move will come to a stop in the lane until the jogger moves onto the sidewalk.

driftwood

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2019, 08:10:45 AM »
I think most humans respond poorly to having someone in their way, regardless of transportation mode. If two people abreast in a hallway walk slower than me I fume. Get out of my fucking way! You're slowing down my life! Agh!

I like seeing some cities putting in better bicycle infrastructure. It's desperately needed. We would all benefit greatly from transportation setups in cities that have good, safe routes for walkers, cyclists, and vehicles.

But until that happens the best we can do is try to not be the impatient asshole when we are the faster vehicle, and maybe figure out how to non-confrontationally educate our friends and family about giving the slower vehicle the safe distance it needs.

LiveLean

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2019, 08:48:08 AM »
Ex-triathlete here and I gave up cycling because it got too dangerous in the smartphone era. You could put a dozen of these pool noodles on your bike and it still won't make a difference with the many people driving while staring at their phones. I have a number of friends who have been killed and permanently injured by distracted drivers while cycling.

Cyclists don't help themselves either by riding with ear buds in. And let's not get started on the recreational bike riders who will look at THEIR phones while riding.

GuitarStv

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2019, 10:39:05 AM »
Cyclists don't help themselves either by riding with ear buds in.

While I'd agree that blasting loud music to drown everything else out would be quite stupid . . . I've not found any research that using a single ear bud at moderate volumes has any detrimental impact on awareness while cycling.

dougules

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2019, 11:19:43 AM »
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F322544773943

Someone already makes something like this, but slightly more rigid and with a reflector on the end

Not rigid is a good thing.  If somebody actually does hit it, it's less likely to affect you. 

Am I a cynic for thinking there may be a few people who think it would be fun to actually try to hit the noodle?

True, but that shouldn't be a huge issue if you attach it such that it will come off before affecting your balance. 

ysette9

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2019, 11:30:45 AM »
Cyclists don't help themselves either by riding with ear buds in.

While I'd agree that blasting loud music to drown everything else out would be quite stupid . . . I've not found any research that using a single ear bud at moderate volumes has any detrimental impact on awareness while cycling.
My husband rides with one ear bud in to listen to podcasts while being aware. Iím cool with that even if I donít do it myself (too much wind noise). I have been surprised at the number of bicyclists, runners, and pedestrians who wear earbuds and even noise-canceling headphones while on the road and trails. I always ring my bell to indicate I am overtaking someone and many times people have no clue I am there until I am physically passing them. That seems foolish.

dcheesi

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2019, 11:35:10 AM »
I imagine that if you walked in the route that cyclists used, even if protected by law, the initial emotional reaction of the cyclists to the walkers would match that of car drivers being slowed down by cyclists.

This happens to other cyclists if the shoulder is too narrow, the cars are too many, and the "real" cyclists are piling up behind the slower, commuter, cyclist.


Or how drivers react to other drivers that are going slower than they are, even if the slower one is following the speed limit.  Many people don't like other people not doing what they are doing or slowing them down when they are DRIVING and the road is THEIRS while they are DRIVING on it, and you all need to get out of the way or go home.  Or something like that :).
ďanybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniacĒ --George Carlin

Kmp2

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2019, 03:09:41 PM »
You are definitely not alone - I have had dreams of doing this. Unfortunately to drivers who probably don't even remember me but take up way too much of my headspace for way too long after an incident.

In most western states drivers are supposed to give you 36 inches (91cm) of space. Am I the only one that wants a nearly invisible fiberglass pole with a carbide drill bit on the end instead?

Whoops, sorry about your paint. You must not have given me my 36".

GuitarStv

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2019, 06:43:21 PM »
Take the lane.  If you don't give drivers enough space to squeeze by you, they tend to be pissed off . . . but then change lanes to pass you.  If you try to be considerate, they will not be and you'll be at risk.

Not Sure

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2019, 10:33:47 PM »
My commute is on a 65-mph highway and I use a cut-down version of the standard bicycle flag mounted horizontally on my rear rack so that it sticks out 35-inches past my handlebars.  It works but I'm not sure I would want it in a city environment.  I've ridden several hundred miles like this and had two people hit it.  It's helped dozens decide not to buzz me as they usually would if anything is in the oncoming lane (or just because they enjoy it).

I have my doubts that a pool noodle is stiff enough not to get bent and flop all over in the wind.

BicycleB

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2019, 11:19:35 PM »
Great post, @1WattLightbulb. Pool noode = GENIUS!!

Dicey

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2019, 09:19:39 AM »
As a rider who has circumnavigated Nova Scotia and ridden PCH from SF to LA, plus scads of training rides on PCH, I think this is a fabulous idea for the open road. For urban rides, I'd be inclined to center the noodle, as drivers opening car doors is an omnipresent hazard.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2019, 03:45:04 PM »
Take the lane.  If you don't give drivers enough space to squeeze by you, they tend to be pissed off . . . but then change lanes to pass you.  If you try to be considerate, they will not be and you'll be at risk.

I live by this. But let me tell you what happened on Tuesday. Took the lane on a two lane road (two lanes total) and a large truck decided not to wait and passed me on the right. So I got forced to the center into the opposing lane. Cute.

I know some bicyclists wear go-pros. Might need to think about that.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #33 on: May 24, 2019, 03:51:17 PM »
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F322544773943

Someone already makes something like this, but slightly more rigid and with a reflector on the end

A pool noodle with reflector tape on the end seems a more DIY approach.

facepalm

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2019, 05:38:15 PM »
You don't mind if I mount one facing the opposite way on the back of my motorcycle, do you? I just want to make sure I give bike riders their space as I pass them.

All kidding aside, the first thing I thought upon seeing this was "what a stupid idea." I can just see some car drivers going out of their way to see how close they can get.

dodojojo

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2019, 06:36:47 PM »
I live by this. But let me tell you what happened on Tuesday. Took the lane on a two lane road (two lanes total) and a large truck decided not to wait and passed me on the right. So I got forced to the center into the opposing lane. Cute.

WTF!?

I used to eschew bikepaths for roads--because I'm a "real" cyclist.  Ugh, idiot. I now stick to paths as much as I can.  It's just impossible to stay away from all traffic though if you live in big metro area and cycling is your form of transportation.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2019, 06:38:43 PM by dodojojo »

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2019, 07:56:03 PM »
I live by this. But let me tell you what happened on Tuesday. Took the lane on a two lane road (two lanes total) and a large truck decided not to wait and passed me on the right. So I got forced to the center into the opposing lane. Cute.

WTF!?

I used to eschew bikepaths for roads--because I'm a "real" cyclist.  Ugh, idiot. I now stick to paths as much as I can.  It's just impossible to stay away from all traffic though if you live in big metro area and cycling is your form of transportation.

I love biking to work but in candor Iím not so sure Iíll continue to do so much longer. I already wear a flashing safety vest, have lots of lights and do what I think prudent to avoid getting myself killed. In the end I canít stop the asshattery of others. And I do have a responsibility to my family to actually make it home.

ministashy

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2019, 02:31:52 AM »

I love biking to work but in candor Iím not so sure Iíll continue to do so much longer. I already wear a flashing safety vest, have lots of lights and do what I think prudent to avoid getting myself killed. In the end I canít stop the asshattery of others. And I do have a responsibility to my family to actually make it home.

I found that for dealing with asshole drivers in an urban environment, my two best friends were an air horn mounted on my bike (for oblivious drivers and headphone/earbud wearing pedestrians both) and a very visible camera mounted on my helmet (whether it was running or not).  It looks dorky, but it's worth it, safety-wise.  Even folks who want to get into your face tend to think twice about being on candid camera when they do it.


mtnrider

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2019, 04:50:24 AM »
I fully support this pool noodle idea... but I think the real solution is to built infrastructure for cyclists.

Years ago, I was bumped off the road by a driver chatting on his phone.  I looked over and saw the guy as his truck started squeezing my bike into the curb.  In a second or so, he bumped my handlebars (I think!  I wish I had video), nudging me into the shoulder and over the handlebars.  Fortunately I only got road rash and sprains from that crash.  The driver didn't even stop.

After I got my nerve back, I experimented with putting a brightly colored fake wide "load" on the back rack so drivers would perceive me as bigger .  I didn't get hit, but it also didn't stop cars from getting close.  Then smart phones started becoming popular and I could see drivers texting while driving on busy roads all the time.

Now I don't ride roads during any of the peak driving times.

We need real cycling infrastructure.

dodojojo

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2019, 07:10:37 AM »
It still amazes me to see drivers with their heads down as they approach intersections.  Crazy.

driftwood

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2019, 11:05:28 AM »

I love biking to work but in candor Iím not so sure Iíll continue to do so much longer. I already wear a flashing safety vest, have lots of lights and do what I think prudent to avoid getting myself killed. In the end I canít stop the asshattery of others. And I do have a responsibility to my family to actually make it home.

I found that for dealing with asshole drivers in an urban environment, my two best friends were an air horn mounted on my bike (for oblivious drivers and headphone/earbud wearing pedestrians both) and a very visible camera mounted on my helmet (whether it was running or not).  It looks dorky, but it's worth it, safety-wise.  Even folks who want to get into your face tend to think twice about being on candid camera when they do it.

Same reason I have a gopro mount on my helmet and another on the back of my motorcycle. Don't always have the cameras in there or operating but I hope they are a visual deterrent to those who would be assholes.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #41 on: May 30, 2019, 05:18:30 PM »

I love biking to work but in candor Iím not so sure Iíll continue to do so much longer. I already wear a flashing safety vest, have lots of lights and do what I think prudent to avoid getting myself killed. In the end I canít stop the asshattery of others. And I do have a responsibility to my family to actually make it home.

I found that for dealing with asshole drivers in an urban environment, my two best friends were an air horn mounted on my bike (for oblivious drivers and headphone/earbud wearing pedestrians both) and a very visible camera mounted on my helmet (whether it was running or not).  It looks dorky, but it's worth it, safety-wise.  Even folks who want to get into your face tend to think twice about being on candid camera when they do it.

Same reason I have a gopro mount on my helmet and another on the back of my motorcycle. Don't always have the cameras in there or operating but I hope they are a visual deterrent to those who would be assholes.

Interesting about the go-pros. Went to a bike commuter class and the leader had a helmet mounted go-pro and a rear facing camera. He mentioned that driver behavior improved a bit.

powskier

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #42 on: May 30, 2019, 09:35:48 PM »
I have a friend who figured out that carrying a replica AK 47 on his back made cars pay attention and give him space. It didn't have the little orange barrel plug thing and it's an open carry state. He thought about carrying a real one but his son's toy was lighter.
My rule is always be visible, obey the law but be deliberate and aggressive.

wbarnett

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #43 on: May 31, 2019, 09:13:24 AM »
who else came to this thread thinking the pool noodle was for conking other bikers on the head, Road Rash-style?

I loved that game so much.

Seems like a good idea for touring, but it would be awkward to carry around the office everyday after my morning commute. Someone else mentioned an air horn. I've never gotten one, but love that idea too. Although apparently it's illegal in Colorado to have a horn on a bike.

leonblack

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #44 on: June 02, 2019, 05:42:44 PM »
Interesting approach.

I'm in Philly where there are a plethora of bike lanes and usually abide with the 4 feet of distance.

I'd be nervous that a car of hooligans will roll the window down and try to play crack the whip with the noodle.

Just Joe

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2019, 12:06:51 PM »
I want a train horn for my bike...

Fortunately my commute is on quiet country roads. I just wish there were more of us out there to help motorists expect us.

SuperNintendo Chalmers

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Re: Article: Why every cyclist needs a pool noodle
« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2019, 06:36:09 PM »
Well, if pool noodles are good enough for crocs, surely cyclists can benefit from them.