Author Topic: Biking  (Read 3415 times)

katrinajp

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Biking
« on: May 26, 2017, 01:35:32 PM »
I find myself in a dilemma. I would love to purchase a bike and use it for all of my commuting needs (I live within 5 miles of my workplace), but I live in a city that is not bike or pedestrian friendly at all. Busy roads, no sidewalks or bike lanes, and huge intersections. What is a mustachian to do? I want to increase efficiency but not at the cost of my safety. Any thoughts?

Lady SA

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Re: Biking
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2017, 01:43:47 PM »
Hm. That doesn't sound safe to me. Are there less-direct back roads you could take instead? Residential streets? It might increase your commute length, but safety is more important.
With roads that aren't bike friendly, I would go un-mustachian and avoid biking. An accident can be catastrophic and this situation increases the likelihood of that happening. Cities that don't have bike safety as part of their culture and values (putting their money where their mouth is and installing bike friendly routes) often have careless or aggressive drivers to boot.

I would probably focus on finding a VERY cheap, efficient car and using that for commuting and errands. Efficiency is great but your health is even better!

« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 01:45:34 PM by LadyLB »

FLBiker

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Re: Biking
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2017, 02:52:55 PM »
I also live in a not-so-friendly bike town (Tampa) and commute 5 miles to work.  When we bought our house, though, I made sure that there was a bikeable route.  I do what the LadyLB suggested -- I stick to smaller / residential streets.  If this isn't possible, it might not be worth it.

InnTee

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Re: Biking
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2017, 03:02:21 PM »
As a starting point in exploring a bike route, you could try using Google Maps to get directions from home to work on a bike. It's by no means perfect, but I've found that it sometimes suggests good routes that I wouldn't have thought of. Also handy to get ideas for walking routes.

JJsfr

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Re: Biking
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2017, 08:59:23 PM »
We could help you pick a route if you give us the city name and points A and B.

o2bfree

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Re: Biking
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2017, 08:28:10 AM »
Have you considered riding a scooter or small motorcycle? You wouldn't get the exercise of course, but they're much less expensive than a car and probably safer than a bike in a place with no bike lanes.

nereo

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Re: Biking
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2017, 10:22:47 AM »
I find myself in a dilemma. I would love to purchase a bike and use it for all of my commuting needs (I live within 5 miles of my workplace), but I live in a city that is not bike or pedestrian friendly at all. Busy roads, no sidewalks or bike lanes, and huge intersections. What is a mustachian to do? I want to increase efficiency but not at the cost of my safety. Any thoughts?

Which city are you in?
Often cities that seem 'unbikeable' first appear that way because you are used to looking at it from a driver's perspective, and the routes you know about are the major roads.  Sometimes (but not always) there are other routes available that normally drivers barely know about.

Most every large-ish city has some biking community, and many put out biking route guides and advocate for more cycling lanes.  Google "[your city] cycling club" and see what comes up. Call/email and ask if they put out a cycling friendly map.  Maps.google has a cycling-friendly feature in its menu which can be very helpful.

Finally there's the advocacy part - if you want to see change go to your local township meeting and say so.  peopleforbike.org is one group that advocates and works locally to developing safer biking infrastucture. Chances are they are already present in your community.

MrsPete

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Re: Biking
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2017, 12:53:33 PM »
I live only a mile and a half from the school where I teach, but I would never consider biking.  Only one route exists for my short commute, and it's narrow roads with heavy traffic (and crossing a large intersection).  Add in that for at least half the year I drive in before the sun's up.  Also, I must dress professionally, and I don't want to change before my 7:00 classes, plus I'd have no safe place to store a bike at school.  Finally, if I were biking, I'd be sharing the road with high school students, who are often more focused on friends, music, and breakfast than on their driving. 

My conclusion:  Biking may be a great option for some people, but it isn't something that'd work for my circumstances.  I'm not going to beat myself up about that.

carozy

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Re: Biking
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2017, 02:18:58 PM »
I second the scooter/motorcycle option.  Maybe that could work?  Also would be fun.  California offers motorcycle safety classes, but not sure if other states do.

Infraredhead

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Re: Biking
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2017, 05:59:23 AM »
I could have written your post.  I live in Houston which has got to be the most bike unfriendly city in the states.  I got on Google Earth and found a way to make it to the grocery store and other locations without being killed by crazy drivers.  I use the craziest route of back roads and bayou hops to make it to my destination and it works for me. 

lemonde

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Re: Biking
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2017, 07:11:44 AM »
Wouldn't do it. Americans don't bike because we're bad people; we don't because our infrastructure is designed to make car travel the only safe way of transportation for most people. Until that's fixed, we'll stay at 1%.


nereo

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Re: Biking
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2017, 07:42:19 AM »
Wouldn't do it. Americans don't bike because we're bad people; we don't because our infrastructure is designed to make car travel the only safe way of transportation for most people. Until that's fixed, we'll stay at 1%.

Kinda becomes a chicken-and-egg problem when you look at it that way, though.  If people don't bike the infrastruture doesn't change.

spokey doke

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Re: Biking
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2017, 08:52:02 AM »
if/when you find a good route, and a bike, you should consider ditching any sort of image hang-ups you might have and go all out in making yourself and your bike super visible, with tons of reflectors/reflective tape/reflective clothes, lights, perhaps even a flag...good luck and bike safe

lemonde

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Re: Biking
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2017, 12:58:44 PM »
Wouldn't do it. Americans don't bike because we're bad people; we don't because our infrastructure is designed to make car travel the only safe way of transportation for most people. Until that's fixed, we'll stay at 1%.

Kinda becomes a chicken-and-egg problem when you look at it that way, though.  If people don't bike the infrastruture doesn't change.

I hear you, but everything I've read from countries where it's been done successfully (i.e., not the US) suggests the infrastructure's got to come first.

Quote
In the 1960's this city [Copenhagen] was as car centric as any other city. Visionary decisions were made and now we can see the result of constant fight for life-sized city. City that is made for people, for its citizens. The vast network of safe, segregated bike lanes criss-crossing the city has encouraged people to use their bicycle. Everything starts with infrastructure. Build safe, reliable and connected infrastructure - more cyclists will come.



People aren't going to cycle until they feel safe; people aren't going to feel safe until infrastructure is in place. Sure, there are always going to be outliers--nearly always young, fit, wealthy or desperate males--who risk cycling in dangerous environments. But in every truly bike-friendly country / city around the world, you'll note how cycling is something people of all ages and both genders do, at low speeds, without special clothing, and generally without stress. Grandma's not getting on a bike unless she feels safe, and mom's not going to ride to work unless she feels safe, nor let her children ride to school unless (once again) she feels safe. Until we accept this and start building, nothing's going to change.

Khan

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Re: Biking
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2017, 09:31:49 PM »
You could also add e-bike motor depending on road speeds encountered and willingness to brave traffic.
Scooter/Motorcycles are fun, though you do have to accept the much higher risks they pose if you are involved in an accident.

jmwagner5

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Re: Biking
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2017, 09:53:36 PM »
I have to say this is one of the most frustrating things about trying to be a frequent biker and converting others to increase the amount of biking within their own lives.  No matter how much effort I put into making myself clearly visible, I am still entirely at the mercy of one driver looking at a text message or talking on their cell phone and not paying attention to the road ahead of them. 

Whenever someone brings this up to me in conversation about why they wouldn't want to bike somewhere the only response I can really offer is, "life is full of risks and I can 100% guarantee that sitting on my ass all day will bring me heart disease or diabetes while I can be fairly certain that most biking situations won't end up with me dead in a ditch".  Not a very inspiring speech.

nereo

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Re: Biking
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2017, 05:58:53 AM »
I have to say this is one of the most frustrating things about trying to be a frequent biker and converting others to increase the amount of biking within their own lives.  No matter how much effort I put into making myself clearly visible, I am still entirely at the mercy of one driver looking at a text message or talking on their cell phone and not paying attention to the road ahead of them. 

To me, this is the most compelling reason why we'll rapidly move to driverless cars.  Human error (along with drunk driving) causes most fatal accidents. Allowing distracted humans with little training to operate 4,000lb machines at high velocities within a few feet of one another seems absurd in the abstract. I'll even predict that within 10 years most car insurance companies will charge you a premium if your car is human-driven.

katrinajp

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Re: Biking
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2017, 07:06:04 AM »
Lots of helpful information here! Thanks for weighing in on the topic! Going forward, I'm going to be on the lookout for back roads that are biker friendly, and check into the cycling club. If I'm feeling crazy I might even contact the local township and petition for change.

nereo

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Re: Biking
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2017, 07:13:39 AM »
Lots of helpful information here! Thanks for weighing in on the topic! Going forward, I'm going to be on the lookout for back roads that are biker friendly, and check into the cycling club. If I'm feeling crazy I might even contact the local township and petition for change.

Glad to hear our ramblings were of some help.
Also - it's not crazy, it's democracy.  Voicing your wants at the local level is how change happens.

SmallCheese

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Re: Biking
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2017, 09:23:03 AM »
I lived in Orange County, CA last year.  I had a 4 mile commute from our apartment to my office, which was just behind John Wayne airport. I didn't bike it often, but I did do it and I am NOT an avid biker by any means. I just decided to do it one day and bought a bike and went out there. There were not bike lanes on half of the route, and I didn't ride on the sidewalk (where there were sidewalks) because those are for pedestrians. Honestly I just built up the confidence and followed the rules of the road. Cars have to respect you.

THAT said, on occasion it was terrifying, because the drivers out there don't respect anybody, nevermind bikes, but it can be done even in places that don't have good bicycle infrastructure. Practice on safer roads until you're ready. But, you know yourself and if riding those roads isn't something you're willing to do or comfortable with, don't beat yourself up for being un-mustachian about it. Take the car.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 09:25:29 AM by SmallCheese »

PoutineLover

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Re: Biking
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2017, 09:49:22 AM »
I am lucky to live in a city where lots of people bike, so most cars are aware, although there are always going to be assholes who pass too close. Starting with smaller streets and using pedestrian signals instead of car ones for turns are both slightly easier than fully blending in with traffic. Use lights and reflective gear to make yourself more visible. For a short commute I think biking is almost as fast as driving, and once you get used to it it becomes less scary.

InnTee

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Re: Biking
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2017, 10:54:58 AM »
Also I've found this site to be useful when it comes to cycling safety: http://bicyclesafe.com/