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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I just wanted to pop in these threads and introduce myself. I have been an avid MTBR for several years as I live at the Mission Trails Regional park. Somehow I have been attracted to the allure of road biking. I do not think I would ever give up MTBing, I am just adding roading to my repertoire. I had been thinking bout it for a while, and finally the opportunity presented itself when a new LBS offered me a like new Trek OCLV 120. I rode it around on a trial and fell in love with the ride. I fell in love with discovering the town around me at 15 MPH (don't laugh at my speed I was just cruising around.

Thing is, I have been getting plenty of push-back from my wife and daughter. I am the sole provider, and I totally depend on a healthy body to work. Being a chiropractor, if I mess up my hands, well, there's an issue. I do lots of rehab work on patients, I go way over and above the adjustments at work, and so yeah, I need to preserve my body.

Just curious, I know there is no simple answer, but to what extent is being hit by a car a big issue? I think the opportunity for taking falls in trails MTBing much higher, but the chances of serious injury seem much greater on the road than in the trails.
 

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I'm a new roadie too from the mountain bike world. It has had a huge impact on my fitness letting me go much farther and harder on the mountain bike. Its great being able to just walk out my front door and have access to hundreds of miles of riding anytime I want!

I was extremely concerned about being hit by a car at first. The first thing I did when I bought the bike was buy a bright tail light that will flash, mirror and a bright florescent yellow jersey. I exclusivly rode in a national park with 35mph speed limits and very little traffic here in Virginia. After feeling comfortable with that I stuck close to home on my local country roads with little traffic but 45mph speed limits. I didn't really have any close calls but did get very nervous and pull off the road with a few loaded dump trucks trying to pass. It wasn't long before I ventured into a few small towns and haven't had any problems. I did learn pretty quick to NOT ride a narrow shoulder because people will try to squeeze past you with on coming traffic. Stay in the right tire track on the road and force drivers to pass safely. I've had two people pass close yesterday but most rides go smoothly.

My advice is find a few new friends who have been road riding for a while. They'll know the best routes to avoid traffic and more importantly what time of day certain roads have heavy traffic. There were a few roads I thought were off limits for heavy traffic. It turns out this road is almost empty any other time and has been great to ride.

You should probably wear full finger gloves; maybe even motorcycle gloves. Unless you hit something solid I don't think we're at high risk of broken bones on the road. Its mostly road rash and with your profession road rash on your hands would really suck. I actually use HELD sportbike gloves when riding my mountain bike for the knuckle protection. It also has a leather palm that's designed to handle a sportbike wreck so it will definitely keep your hands safe in a fast downhill road crash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm a new roadie too from the mountain bike world. It has had a huge impact on my fitness letting me go much farther and harder on the mountain bike. Its great being able to just walk out my front door and have access to hundreds of miles of riding anytime I want!

I was extremely concerned about being hit by a car at first. The first thing I did when I bought the bike was buy a bright tail light that will flash, mirror and a bright florescent yellow jersey. I exclusivly rode in a national park with 35mph speed limits and very little traffic here in Virginia. After feeling comfortable with that I stuck close to home on my local country roads with little traffic but 45mph speed limits. I didn't really have any close calls but did get very nervous and pull off the road with a few loaded dump trucks trying to pass. It wasn't long before I ventured into a few small towns and haven't had any problems. I did learn pretty quick to NOT ride a narrow shoulder because people will try to squeeze past you with on coming traffic. Stay in the right tire track on the road and force drivers to pass safely. I've had two people pass close yesterday but most rides go smoothly.

My advice is find a few new friends who have been road riding for a while. They'll know the best routes to avoid traffic and more importantly what time of day certain roads have heavy traffic. There were a few roads I thought were off limits for heavy traffic. It turns out this road is almost empty any other time and has been great to ride.

You should probably wear full finger gloves; maybe even motorcycle gloves. Unless you hit something solid I don't think we're at high risk of broken bones on the road. Its mostly road rash and with your profession road rash on your hands would really suck. I actually use HELD sportbike gloves when riding my mountain bike for the knuckle protection. It also has a leather palm that's designed to handle a sportbike wreck so it will definitely keep your hands safe in a fast downhill road crash.
I see. Thanks! I have a MTB light I use that flashes, but it flashes from the front, and red-blinks from the back (mounted on the helmet). Do you recommend that it flashes brightly to the back? that would make me more visible from behind -- but i do not notice these being used a lot.

Would be great if there were idiot radars like they used to have for cops -- I mean, not idiot cop radars but those radar detectors. Seems like now we have to worry about people texting etc.
 

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Go buy insurance for that, there are many products to choose from and they are reasonably priced IME. I did it. Not for cycling so much but because I have seen friends in trouble from income cuts and illnesses and the like.

I dont think you you are increasing your current risk. Remember, you live in the world too... You drive, eat, travel... First question on the life insurance policy I bought? How often do fly? 2nd Q? How often do fly outside the US? There is a section on sports and hobbies... Maybe cycling raises your premium? Maybe cycling lowers it? I'll have to find an actuary and ask them. You are definately assuming risk, but how much vs MTB vs driving vs walking down stairs or going to a nightclub. Sh*t happens. I had a very close call 2 weekends ago. My worst crash in the last couple of years was caused by a bad decision. I knew it at the time too, but I did something stupid and broke my thumb and got a beat down. So, take it from me and don't make bad decisions! Haha.

I don't ride out in the road btw. I live and ride with a lot of cars and taking the lane every time you go 3 wide is impractical and dangerous in my judgement. It's also kind of rude when I'm riding in rush hour traffic after work. I stay out of their way and hope they leave me alone. I also communicate with cars whenever possible, make eye contact, don't assume the law matters like with right of way... I try to have polite and positive interaction with drivers in the hope that they will return the sentiment over and over with me and the other riders they encounter. YMMV.

Good luck, be safe and welcome to RBR!
 

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I rarely go out alone, I feel (maybe falsely) that there is safety in numbers so I usually do group rides, they're a great way to learn the basics/etiquette, meet people, push yourself, and learn new routes.
I started road riding to build fitness for mt biking and now 90% of my riding is road. :) Sad, I know.
 

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I ride alone on a regular basis and will echo the advice to ride in the right car tire track (on roads with no decent shoulder or bike lane). When I started riding (oh, so many years ago) I thought it best to hug the white line when there wasn't a shoulder so as to stay out of the way of the drivers. In my first eighteen months on the bike I was sideswiped four times! More experienced cyclists taught me to take a portion of the lane and since then I have never been hit from behind. Sure, there are roads that I will avoid - especially at particular times of the day - but that is just using common sense. Hugging the white line is not...
 

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You can get hurt pretty good in the woods too.

I was MTB once too. Now I'm probably 85/15 road/MTB.

Be smart and wear bright clothes and you'll most likely be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I ride alone on a regular basis and will echo the advice to ride in the right car tire track (on roads with no decent shoulder or bike lane). When I started riding (oh, so many years ago) I thought it best to hug the white line when there wasn't a shoulder so as to stay out of the way of the drivers. In my first eighteen months on the bike I was sideswiped four times! More experienced cyclists taught me to take a portion of the lane and since then I have never been hit from behind. Sure, there are roads that I will avoid - especially at particular times of the day - but that is just using common sense. Hugging the white line is not...

Being new to this, the concept of actually riding in the road where the cars are seems rather gutsy. Is this so that we stick out [like a sore thumb no less]? Does this not piss off the drivers? I mean, if I am where the right tire tracks are, don't they have to go around me? slow down, etc?

Why not just get a really annoying light that flashes back, about 500 lumens.... ?

I am not challenging this concept. obviously you have more experience. Just trying to get to the bottom of why I would do it. Thanks!
 

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I was nearly sideswiped today by a Harley rider with ape hangers.

purposely I'm sure.
 

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Where and how you ride is the main determining factor in your car vs bike accident risk. You can never eliminate the risk (boy don't I know it), but you can do a lot to avoid car encounters by choosing when your ride, where, and how you handle traffic.

Re; your hands, I don't think hand injuries are nearly as common as shoulder injuries (usually collar bones)

Anyway, I don't know what kind of, or how much mountain bike you do, but I know far more people who have suffered debilitating injuries on mountain bikes than I do for people on road bikes. Most road racers I know have had a collar bone repaired, usually as a result of a race crash. Two people I know have been involved in car vs bike (I'm one of them). Both of us are back on the bike, although she still has a lot of rehab to do. I know mountain bikers who have suffered head and spinal injuries as a result of encounters with fixed objects (usually trees, one was a rock, another a low speed encounter with a gate).

Bottom line is, go ride your bike. Manage your own risk and you'll be fine (or you won't).
 

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Being new to this, the concept of actually riding in the road where the cars are seems rather gutsy. Is this so that we stick out [like a sore thumb no less]? Does this not piss off the drivers? I mean, if I am where the right tire tracks are, don't they have to go around me? slow down, etc?

Why not just get a really annoying light that flashes back, about 500 lumens.... ?

I am not challenging this concept. obviously you have more experience. Just trying to get to the bottom of why I would do it. Thanks!
The idea of this concept is to discourage cars from taking risk trying to squeeze between you and oncoming traffic. They will always err to the shoulder side to avoid hitting the car, which means hitting YOU instead. If you take a part of the lane, they are forced to wait for a safe, hopefully lawful opportunity to cross the center line and pass you.

I do the 'take the lane' thing, but only in specific situations where I feel there is a high risk of what I described above. If there is rideable shoulder, or there is room to bail out, I ride to the side. I'm also inclined to take an opportunity to pull off (driveway etc..) I know cars are backed up behind me. I don't want them pissed at me.

As I said before, the best offense is a good defense. As much as possible avoid roads with no shoulder or other safe place to ride. Ask around the local shops and join group rides. Get to know other road riders and ask them where the better (and worse) roads to ride on are. Routes that are commonly used for cycling are better, because drivers are more accustomed to seeing cyclists.

If you don't have road friends to consult, you can take a look at Strava Heat Maps and look for popular routes there too.

Strava Global Heatmap
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
yes, those apes. They have that look about them, like they should be cruisen in a prison yard. Very anglo saxon kinda norse viking trash descendant look to those guys. They need to spew their testosterone and I wouldn't want to be the cyclist to get slimed by one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The idea of this concept is to discourage cars from taking risk trying to squeeze between you and oncoming traffic. They will always err to the shoulder side to avoid hitting the car, which means hitting YOU instead. If you take a part of the lane, they are forced to wait for a safe, hopefully lawful opportunity to cross the center line and pass you.

I do the 'take the lane' thing, but only in specific situations where I feel there is a high risk of what I described above. If there is rideable shoulder, or there is room to bail out, I ride to the side. I'm also inclined to take an opportunity to pull off (driveway etc..) I know cars are backed up behind me. I don't want them pissed at me.

As I said before, the best offense is a good defense. As much as possible avoid roads with no shoulder or other safe place to ride. Ask around the local shops and join group rides. Get to know other road riders and ask them where the better (and worse) roads to ride on are. Routes that are commonly used for cycling are better, because drivers are more accustomed to seeing cyclists.

If you don't have road friends to consult, you can take a look at Strava Heat Maps and look for popular routes there too.

Strava Global Heatmap
This is all very helpful information. I am sure I am not competent on all this yet but now I know where to start with all of this. I guess we all realize there is no way we can eliminate the losers in the human race (not to mention the thoughtless teens) that can in one reckless moment change it all for us and our loved ones, but at least we can intelligently manage risk.
 

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Like me, you are all going to die, but, most likely, death will not come from riding a bicycle.

 

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A person with a family, bills, mortgage needs to think about all that. Your family is against you riding the road. If you live in the city then it is not going to be safe and every ride will have it's near misses.

Jogging, hiking and mountain biking sound like good outdoor activities and your family may want to join in or not. I think almost everyone loves hiking. My wife and I hike every chance we get. We just hiked around Pinecrest lake (Sierra's) a couple days ago and this Wednesday we are going on a twilight hike at Pinnacles National Park (just down the road from us).

Anyway it's just up to you. Strangers on the net are of no use in deciding what is best for you and your family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A person with a family, bills, mortgage needs to think about all that. Your family is against you riding the road. If you live in the city then it is not going to be safe and every ride will have it's near misses.

Jogging, hiking and mountain biking sound like good outdoor activities and your family may want to join in or not. I think almost everyone loves hiking. My wife and I hike every chance we get. We just hiked around Pinecrest lake (Sierra's) a couple days ago and this Wednesday we are going on a twilight hike at Pinnacles National Park (just down the road from us).

Anyway it's just up to you. Strangers on the net are of no use in deciding what is best for you and your family.

Yes I have all of those things, mortgage, the whole shabang. I think getting ideas from strangers is okay if it is taken into context. But no, I wouldn't let strangers make my decisions.
 
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