Poll

Which Route

Route A - slightly longer and with hill in middle, but safer
20 (95.2%)
Route B - slightly shorter, less hilly, but less safe
1 (4.8%)

Total Members Voted: 20

Author Topic: Vote on my Bike Route  (Read 4098 times)

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3406
  • Age: 36
Vote on my Bike Route
« on: July 22, 2014, 07:47:23 AM »
Self identifying myself as a wuss with this question, but so be it - more experienced bike riders abound here.  Rode bike to work for 2nd time from our new address.  Took ~30 minutes to cover 4.7 miles, including 5 minutes to walk my bike up the 2nd part of a hill - couldn't make it up this hill the first time I did this either.  Looking on Map My Run, I've found an alternate route.  House(~200ft) is high point of either route, work is low point (~60 ft.).

Route A (the one I've actually used): 4.7 miles - first 1.5 miles are residential and not so bad - however upon exiting neighborhood, I am right around the same low elevation as work.  Next mile is uphill - all the way back up to where our house is - not very steep for .6 but the next .4 miles is my undoing - goes all the way back up to same height as house.  Both times I've done this route, I've gotten off the bike at a convenient spot and walked it for about 5 minutes as I just didn't have the last .1 or .2 in me, even on my lowest gear.  Past that point, no problem.  This route is either on pretty calm residential roads, or has bike lanes.

Route B: 4.5 miles - exit the neighborhood a different way and much more quickly.  This one keeps me at the same height as my house for the most part - quite flat.  Pretty gently downhill to the office once that part starts.  Downside is this route involves ~1.5 miles on a fairly heavily used 2 lane road with little shoulder and no bike lanes.  Other than that 1.5 miles, pretty much same situation as other route - residential or having bike lanes.

I'm tempted to try route B because it looks easier on paper, but I'm not eager to use that 2 lane road.  So, which way would you go?

<Edit> - Corrected Typo
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 07:56:53 AM by dandarc »

TeresaB

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2014, 08:09:48 AM »
I would go for safe. The hill will be less of a problem as you get more in shape, but the two-lane road will stay dangerous.

PindyStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 241
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2014, 09:08:17 AM »
What is the speed limit on the 2-lane road and are there other features that would make it dangerous (blind corners/rises, complicated traffic controls that didn't think about bicycles, lots of distractions, etc.)? Do cars park on the side of the road? "Fairly heavily used" could mean a lot of things, but usually traffic moves in clumps so if you are only on the road for a short time you might not even have anyone pass you.

Depending on this sort of analysis, I would think that the 2-lane road may actually be safer than moving through lots of stop signs in residential neighborhoods where cars don't expect to see a bicyclist. If you take your lane to prevent cars from being tempted to pass into oncoming traffic, the chance of an accident may be quite low.

This would also depend on your biking speed. At your current speed of ~11 mph you may not be as inconvenienced by making full stops and being wary of cars stopping at the residential streets. I bike a bit faster so my preference would probably be for the more direct route with fewer stops (presuming there are fewer stops on the larger road).

I think in any case you will be able to condition yourself physically to get up the hills. I climb in & out of a river valley on my commute and at first my legs burned every time on the way out; now it is just part of the routine.

It is just a different kind of mental conditioning to get used to biking with traffic on larger roads--and both are good to have as a bicyclist. If someone honks at you just presume it's someone you know saying hi and wave back! :)

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3406
  • Age: 36
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2014, 09:57:19 AM »
What is the speed limit on the 2-lane road and are there other features that would make it dangerous (blind corners/rises, complicated traffic controls that didn't think about bicycles, lots of distractions, etc.)? Do cars park on the side of the road? "Fairly heavily used" could mean a lot of things, but usually traffic moves in clumps so if you are only on the road for a short time you might not even have anyone pass you.

Depending on this sort of analysis, I would think that the 2-lane road may actually be safer than moving through lots of stop signs in residential neighborhoods where cars don't expect to see a bicyclist. If you take your lane to prevent cars from being tempted to pass into oncoming traffic, the chance of an accident may be quite low.

This would also depend on your biking speed. At your current speed of ~11 mph you may not be as inconvenienced by making full stops and being wary of cars stopping at the residential streets. I bike a bit faster so my preference would probably be for the more direct route with fewer stops (presuming there are fewer stops on the larger road).

I think in any case you will be able to condition yourself physically to get up the hills. I climb in & out of a river valley on my commute and at first my legs burned every time on the way out; now it is just part of the routine.

It is just a different kind of mental conditioning to get used to biking with traffic on larger roads--and both are good to have as a bicyclist. If someone honks at you just presume it's someone you know saying hi and wave back! :)

The road in question is pretty much dead straight - so no dangerous corners.  3 traffic lights between me and the end of that stretch of the route.  Not sure what the speed limit is, but people tend to go in the 40-50 range when not at the lights, at least when I've driven on it.  So the legal limit is probably 35 or 40.  I've seen cyclists on this road, but not many.  There are 2 office complexes and one apartment complex, in addition to fairly spaced out houses and the occasional church, along this road, so the traffic is probably heaviest right around when I'll be doing this, unless I adjust to a very early commute, which I guess i could do, but in the past getting up before 7 has not been good for long-term results for me.  I'm pretty sure I will be passed many times along this road.

That's a good point about having to stop - I think the hilly route I have been taking actually has fewer potential stops along it, at least going to work.  The return trip has a couple of lefts at busy intersections - these are rights on the way in - don't really have to stop at them heading to work.

I'm lucky in that there is a lot of non-vehicular traffic in our neighborhood - I see more walkers / runners / cyclists than cars most days - and we don't have sidewalks, so these people are in the road.  I think I lose more time to being afraid of the speed on the downhills and riding the brakes than to slowing / stopping for traffic in the neighborhood.  I will be particularly careful this winter when some of these rides will be in the dark though.

PindyStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 241
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 10:03:59 AM »
Yes, I agree 40-50mph traffic with no bike lanes is not ideal. It would probably be quite stressful for a daily ride, and sounds like you enjoy the route through the neighborhood which is very important.

rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2014, 10:07:30 AM »
I would go for safe. The hill will be less of a problem as you get more in shape, but the two-lane road will stay dangerous.

Agree with this completely.  In a week you'll be riding up the hill and in a month you won't even think twice.  A busy road, save construction changes, stays busy and dangerous.

count me as another vote for this option, for the same reasons :)

TrMama

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2918
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2014, 10:39:05 AM »
Route A. It's only 0.2mi longer and your fitness will increase quickly as you ride more frequently. Make tackling that hill your new mission in life and show it who's boss!

If you don't have clipless pedals, consider getting some (or some other method of attaching your feet to the pedals). They really help with hill climbing since you can push and pull on the pedals.

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3406
  • Age: 36
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 10:45:39 AM »
Route A. It's only 0.2mi longer and your fitness will increase quickly as you ride more frequently. Make tackling that hill your new mission in life and show it who's boss!

If you don't have clipless pedals, consider getting some (or some other method of attaching your feet to the pedals). They really help with hill climbing since you can push and pull on the pedals.

Actually bought some power-grips last time I was at the bike shop.  Will put them on tonight!

frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1649
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 10:47:36 AM »
Route A.

Suggestion:  For now, take the hill as slowly as you need to with a goal of not stopping (and having to walk your bike).  As you start panting (if you do), slow down and/or lower your gear.  Once you can make the hill, you'll be on your way to doing it faster and better.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13637
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 11:10:28 AM »
I'd take the hilly route . . . riding up hard hills makes you more awesome, and it's safer.  This is a no-brainer.  :P

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3406
  • Age: 36
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2014, 06:49:11 AM »
Finally gave it another shot - made in another 200 feet up the hill this time, only had to walk it for 3 minutes.  Guess it does get easier - total ride time was 29 minutes.  If I can get this down to 20 minutes, it'll be pretty close to the same as driving when you factor in the 5-10 minutes of walking from the average place I can park here (bike rack is right at the front door).  First things first though, gotta actually do it more than once in 2-3 weeks.

enigmaT120

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 390
  • Location: Falls City, OR
Re: Vote on my Bike Route
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2014, 11:03:39 AM »
I would vote for the hilly route.  My commute goes over a huge ridge in between my town and the one where I can catch a bus, and I like it mostly because it's not busy.  In 9 miles I rarely get passed by more than 5 cars, and sometimes it's zero.  The first few times I rode I couldn't ride up the hills either.  You get stronger.  There's also a trick to hill climbing, if you can find the right gear and stand up.  It's like doing a stair master or something.  You need good balance, because it's slow going, but it's not as hard as you would think.