The beast

  • #26
Moonbear
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Bartholomew said:
So I recommend... get one of your own! You know, if everyone in cities used bicycles when they could, there would be no traffic jams. Four or five bikes fit comfortably side by side in the space of one car. Cars and trucks are only good for transporting bulky and heavy things or on the open road.
My drive home is quite a bit further than biking distance. I haven't been on a bike since I was a kid! I don't like modern bikes, the handle bars are too low and I feel like I'm going to topple over them. I walk around campus, just drive to get off campus. I'd be too afraid to bike around here anyway. There are very few roads with good shoulders to them, so it just seems like begging to get hit by a car. At least when I walk, there are sidewalks.
 
  • #27
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How long is your drive? I mean in miles, not minutes--being stuck in traffic just does not happen on a bicycle, because if you're in a line of cars you just slip to the right and pass them.

You get used to street bikes pretty fast. They aren't "modern" bikes, they've been around a long time--street bikes from the 1920s look similar to today's street bikes. They are just more efficient vehicles and, once you get used to them, more comfortable. When I first got on my current bike, the handlebars seemed very low and it seemed very uncomfortable. Within a couple days... it felt fine. Now it's as comfortable as sitting in a chair. I recommend you get a cushy saddle; mine is a padded, split-center design. Ordinary racing saddles distribute pressure uncomfortably, however light they may be.

You don't have to be afraid of cars. You as a bicyclist have as much right to the road as they do. Just keep to the right so they can pass, unless it is too narrow for them to pass safely, in which case take the center. Always check behind you before making any moves, though. And use your ears; you can hear everything. Anyway, there are rear-view mirrors that you can put on your handlebars.

At the very least, bike around campus. If your campus is large enough so that you would even consider using your car to get around, it's worth bringing a bike. (get a good lock).
 
  • #28
Moonbear
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Bartholomew said:
You don't have to be afraid of cars. You as a bicyclist have as much right to the road as they do. Just keep to the right so they can pass, unless it is too narrow for them to pass safely, in which case take the center.
Believe me, the roads on my way home that would be impassable on bike. There is NO shoulder once I'm off campus (except one little street that I'm on for only one block), the first steep hill has several nearly right angle curves, so cars would not see you coming around them, and the part of the hill before the road starts curving is usually as far as anyone I know who is crazy enough to bike off campus will go, the second steep hill is enough that the cars strain to get up it, the right lane is filled with potholes, and I'm already wary enough of the cars that cross the center line when I'm in my own car (I have no idea why, but drivers on that road seem to like to drive with one tire on the yellow line). That second hill also has one blind curve, though not nearly as bad as the first one. No thanks. And that's the short way home (about 10 or 15 mi), the other set of back roads is even worse for biking (and driving actually) and would add about another 5 mi to the drive. The only other way is to get on interstates (no bikes or pedestrians allowed). I also pass through a neighborhood where it would not be safe for me to be on foot or on a bike.

At the very least, bike around campus. If your campus is large enough so that you would even consider using your car to get around, it's worth bringing a bike. (get a good lock).
I don't drive to get around campus, just to get off campus. We have shuttles between the two main campuses, though I don't travel between them very often. Everyone is assigned one parking lot, so there'd be nowhere else to park if you drove across campus, and it's way slower than just walking anyway. I love walking, so will walk when others will catch a shuttle or bike unless I'm in a hurry. I'm not someone who drives when I can walk, but I've never enjoyed biking, not even as a kid, so I'm content to walk.
 
  • #29
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You don't _need_ a shoulder. Most roads I ride on have no shoulder; most roads period have no shoulder. 10 miles is certainly doable. The ride to my college is 12 miles, and I've done that a bunch of times.

Which direction would cars have trouble seeing you, going around the curves? If you're going _uphill_, I would not recommend it if it is truly as tight a curve as you say. If you're going _downhill_, then if the cars are going 30-35 mph that's fine, you might even pass them. Only worry then is steering; a bike is not the easiest thing to steer at 30 mph, and if the curve is tight, that could be a problem.

The biggest potential problem is the dark. If your day is done when it's dark, you must not ride a bike back. Still... if you ride a bike at all, perhaps only around campus, you will come to love it. Kids' bikes do not compare to a nice street bike. Get a touring bike if you don't care about performance--they are more comfortable than racing bikes. Your connection to your bike becomes mystical. It is a cliche to say that some piece of equipment becomes an "extension of your body"--but for bikes, it's true. Every motion of your body becomes a motion of the bike; your feet are wheels and you steer by leaning. It's like you have suddenly obtained superhuman powers. It's not your _vehicle_ that's speeding through the streets; it's _you_.
 
  • #30
Moonbear
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Bartholomew said:
Which direction would cars have trouble seeing you, going around the curves? If you're going _uphill_, I would not recommend it if it is truly as tight a curve as you say. If you're going _downhill_, then if the cars are going 30-35 mph that's fine, you might even pass them. Only worry then is steering; a bike is not the easiest thing to steer at 30 mph, and if the curve is tight, that could be a problem.
You do realize that if I have to go downhill to get to work, it's uphill to get home, right? The curves are blind from both directions. As for those cars...hah! The speed limit is 35, you're supposed to slow for the curves, but most are doing 40 in that area. The second road is 45, half the cars do 55 and the other half 40 (people here can't drive). I'm telling you, it's not bikeable, maybe for someone training for the Tour de France or something, sure, but not for me. I've never seen a bike on those roads, ever. I have friends who are crazy bikers (Europeans who bike everywhere), and even they won't bike to my house. Good heavens, 35 mph on a bike????!!! Sorry, I like my brains in my head, right where they've always been.

When does my day end before it's dark? And I did mention that neighborhood I'm not going to bike through, right? It's also winter, and it's been raining since December (I don't think we've had more than a week of sunny days this year).

Enjoy your biking, but it's not for me.
 
  • #31
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Blind curves are much less blind when you're on the outside of them. A bike on the inside of a blind curve has to worry; a bike on the outside of a blind curve is plainly visible from a good distance.

But if your day is not done during the day, you can't bike back home. So... bike _on campus_. You should get an old (1970s-80s) 10-speed road bike that fits you, which will be pretty cheap, oil its chain, put on tires, make sure it has good brakes, and go for a spin. (perhaps stay on the sidewalk until you're comfortable on the bike).
 
  • #32
Moonbear
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Bartholomew said:
So... bike _on campus_. You should get an old (1970s-80s) 10-speed road bike that fits you, which will be pretty cheap, oil its chain, put on tires, make sure it has good brakes, and go for a spin. (perhaps stay on the sidewalk until you're comfortable on the bike).
Here's the deal, I don't mind you being enthusiastic about bikes and sharing your enthusiasm. However, I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell me what I should or shouldn't do. I have no need to bike on campus. Why would I go to the expense of getting a bike and lugging it to campus when I have two perfectly good feet to walk me to where I need to go? Hmm...let me see, I'll hop on the bike, ride it the 100 feet to the corner, walk it across the intersection, ride it another 20 feet to the next building, oh wait, now I need to ride it around the block to where there's another bike rack, now walk further to the building from the bike rack than it was to just walk from front door to front door, and find myself on the complete opposite side of the building from where I needed to be...yeah, that's useful. The only time a bike would possibly be useful to me would be the rare days I need to go from the medical campus to the undergrad campus for something, but then I just hop the shuttle that stops across the street from my office/lab. Once on the undergrad campus, again, no need to bike, I can walk everywhere.
 
  • #33
Mk
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Evo said:
My foot is covered with bloody gashes, large pieces of skin hanging off my foot in strips, and since I'm allergic, it immediately became swollen and bright pink and felt like it was on fire. NICE CAT!! :grumpy:

I'm terrified of falling asleep now. :frown:
Get my shotgun! I'm goin after that... that thing!

Bartholomew said:
So I recommend... get one of your own! You know, if everyone in cities used bicycles when they could, there would be no traffic jams. Four or five bikes fit comfortably side by side in the space of one car. Cars and trucks are only good for transporting bulky and heavy things or on the open road.
Have you ever seen that cover of National Geographic, of Shanghi, there's gotta be like 100 people stuck in a traffic jam, all on bicycles.
 
  • #34
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With 100 bikes in a small amount of space you might have a traffic jam. But consider how much _less_ of a traffic jam than... 100 cars.

Moonbear, everywhere there is a streetlight, a flagpole, a sturdy piece of modern art, or a steel railing, there's a place to lock your bike. You don't _need_ to use a bike, but it's addictive if you give it a try. Getting and outfitting a pretty good 1970s-80s street bike can cost you <$100. What do you have to lose?
 
  • #35
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One thing about biking is how the wind affects you. When there's enough wind to set a flag flopping, it feels like a gale in your face going against it. When the wind rises for a moment to say 15 mph it feels like you're about to be stopped short. Conversely, going with the wind, you're suddenly, effortlessly, moving 10 mph faster than you would in still air. Air resistance is the only factor that prevents you from doing 50 or 100 mph, and breezes can affect your speed dramatically. It's like sailing.
 
  • #36
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I set my front bicycle wheel spinning this afternoon with a single good push. I timed it: 6 minutes 35 seconds later, the wheel finally stopped spinning.

Bicycles are such precision instruments.
 

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