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Discussion: Gear head..not

in: Charlie; Charlie > 2018-07-28

Jul 28, 2018 4:28 PM # 
So cool the way you describe your new bike,,,,light blue. No extraneous info such as Make, model, gears, wheels,, nope light blue is all we need to know.
Jul 28, 2018 5:13 PM # 
Well there is a somewhat opinionated article in next month's Adventure Cyclist that does a decent job describing this new generation of bicycles:

...with stable geometry, low bottom brackets, disc brakes, and clearance for large tires, gravel bikes provide a platform that serves many cyclists exceptionally well.

They are versatile enough to be used for gravel riding, commuting, and light
touring. With a change of tires, they are quick enough for spirited road riding,
and clearance for fenders puts smiles on riders in wet climates. There is a lot to
like about this latest trend....

You can download the entire review and issue here.
Jul 28, 2018 8:19 PM # 
Charlie: stay up in your corner of town. See my post today.
Jul 28, 2018 11:13 PM # 
Yikes! It is a dangerous sport, no getting around it. The ride we had today we saw no cars for 75% of it.
Jul 29, 2018 10:15 AM # 
Too bad. Those New England roads are like semi-autonomous cars: you're supposed to remain alert...but apparently no one is able to, and crashes still occur. When cars drive those lonely country roads, they're supposed to be alert for pedestrians and bikes...but seldom are. Instead they drive too fast, text, and fiddle with the a/c, GPS and CD player. Spotting a similarly-distracted cyclist in the shadows at the side of the road is the last thing they're able to do.

By comparison, at least in Chicago, bicycles in the city are everywhere. In the 40 years I've been here we've finally attained a 'critical mass' of bikes 24/7. Despite the congestion, I think it is one of the safest places to ride. Next time you're in the city, rent one of those 'share-bikes' for the day and try it yourself. I think you'll enjoy it more than you might believe.

Meanwhile, stay safe out there guys!
Jul 29, 2018 2:59 PM # 
Safe in the city? I wouldn't try it. I don't know what the fatality rate is, but quite a few cyclists are killed in NYC pretty regularly, as reported by our daughter who lives there and who wouldn't dream of getting on a bike. Times I have been driving there I have been alarmed by the interaction of cyclists and vehicle traffic. Getting hit by a car anywhere is a terrible thing, but if I'm going to take my chances with it, I'll do it out here in the wilderness.
Jul 31, 2018 8:16 PM # 
Well as the definitive work on NYC bike fatalities says:

....Bicyclist fatality rates in New York City are similar to national rates, though NYC has higher rates of cycling for transportation.
• The bicyclist fatality rate for NYC is similar to the national rate – 2.8 compared to 2.7 per one million residents.
• Census data show that many more NYC adults (11% vs. 3%) walk or bicycle to work compared to the national average....

In other words, New York City has a lot more cyclists on the streets than elsewhere in the US, even rural Connecticut, but has fewer fatalities per bike rider than in small towns and out in the countryside.

Which proves my contention: Biking in the city is safer than on rural roads. Looks like at least 3 times safer!
Jul 31, 2018 11:18 PM # 
Hang on. You can't count just the people riding to work. I ride a bicycle in a rural area, though not often to work. Same with Charlie, his cycling isn't to work unless you count rides from home as a technicality. And PG is doing a lot of cycling as a retiree, which I suspect few Manhattan retirees do. There's a whole lot of rural cycling, but it isn't all commuting. And that 11% figure also includes people walking.
Jul 31, 2018 11:52 PM # 
During my hour ride this morning, I saw at least a dozen other riders in that short spell. Mid morning so not going to work. Know of no fatalities in town though the accident referred to above is scary but it is a particularly dicey set of roads.

Also our town has a high rating in the cycling community for bike friendly-ness. I’m not worried here but would only ride in NYC like in my only previous effort riding the 7 boroughs.
Aug 1, 2018 12:16 AM # 
Well there isn't much hard data collected on cycling. I think the fatality data comes from police reports rolled up by the DOJ.

And the cycling data probably comes from the 2010 Census, which for a few forms, had special questions asking 'how far from work do you live?' and 'what means of transport do you use for your commute?' That may have been the only hard national data available. I don't think the Census attempted to accumulate recreational riding. But judging from the cyclists I've seen in Central Park, there's a lot of recreational riding there too.

So town or country, there is some consistency in this data set. Just because you, PG and Charlie don't bike to work, doesn't mean that your neighbors don't either. Even if you lived in NYC, Brooklyn Heights for instance, and worked in Wall Street, I doubt that you'd bike to work there, riding across the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan. But I used to do that ride every Sunday morning when I lived in Midtown...and sit on that elevated walkway overlooking the harbor with Staten Island in the distance, watch the ferries, and read the NYTimes in the sun.

There are great bike rides in the country; but there are places and sights in the city you can enjoy only on a bike too.
Aug 1, 2018 12:41 AM # 
I currently live close enough to work (20 miles) that cycling is possible, and if it were not for my busy schedule this summer, I'd be trying to do just that once a week or so. But I'm pretty sure that few if any of my neighbors are doing that. I do see cyclists on the road here, but few of them look like they're going to work. As opposed to when I lived in Cambridge where many or most of them did. On a normal day, how many bikes are in the bike rack where I work? Zero.
If the other tradeoffs in life made cycling to work more feasible, I'd do it often.
Aug 1, 2018 3:30 PM # 
On the question of safety I'm not sure I would call rural New England roads safer than city streets, generally speaking. They're often winding, cars can go pretty fast, and drivers aren't expecting a lot of cyclists. Cities that have made some attempt at building up bike infrastructure often have wide or even buffered bike lanes on straight roads with lower speed traffic. The dangerous parts of city riding are often the intersections, and certainly in the US there is no shortage of hazardous intersections for cyclists. But I don't think I'd feel much more comfortable on a narrow, winding New England road with cars zipping by at 50mph than on a city street with lower speeds and a populated bike lane.
Aug 1, 2018 3:31 PM # 
Oh, and doors. Doors are a hazard in this country since there are so many parking spaces on the streets and the bike lanes are often too close to them! But I still don't think of rural riding as particularly safe, either.
Aug 1, 2018 4:04 PM # 
Well, there’s rural and rural. The other day Peter and I were riding and had been at it over an hour when we reflected on how many cars we had seen to that point. The answer was two.
Aug 1, 2018 5:53 PM # 
Most serious bike injury among my acquaintances was my neighbor’s son who got taken out by a car door in . . .

Aug 1, 2018 6:36 PM # 
I think the most scared I’ve been on a bike was riding just outside San Antonio. I got the impression that the drivers there were not used to cyclists and really didn’t want me on the road. Local attitudes probably make a big difference on how safe riders feel.
Aug 1, 2018 7:14 PM # 
Closest call I ever had, and the only time I had actual contact with a car was in Honolulu. A lady hooked my handlebar with her mirror and I couldn’t pull free. The bike ended up going under the rear wheel of a city bus, and I ended up behind the bus sliding. Some pretty substantial road rash and a very broken bike.
Aug 1, 2018 7:52 PM # 
Awareness of bikers/pedestrians is key. Our local community is very actively promoting bicycles and has been awarded the Silver level for Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of Wheelmen as can be seen in this town website.
Aug 1, 2018 8:59 PM # 
I bicycled from CT to CA with no incidents or close calls that I can remember. But an oncoming car made a left hand turn in front of me in Somerville MA, resulting in a smashed windshield when it hit me and I went up onto the hood.
Aug 3, 2018 11:51 AM # 
Rural Sweden, bike roads, not lanes but separate roads. Drivers give you as much room as they can (although today 2 cars passed me and the one on my side seemed close, but they were going about 5mph than I was), most roads have few cars (2 on one stretch of road). Way nicer than in suburban Boston. As for city, I am more nervous these days, but when I rode in the city I was careful and never had any incidents.

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