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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Aside from training/fitness rides, do you prefer to ride in the road with other vehicles, a dedicated bike lane (assuming it is well designed and not in the door zone), or other dedicated cycle facility?
 

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I'm almost always on roads. There's only one bike lane here and it only lasts for about 2 miles. There are a few MUTs here, but they're far more dangerous than being on the road. Too many walkers, kids, dogs, etc..

I suppose riding with trafic can be a bit dangerous, but it's the only way to train effectively over long distance.
 

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If the road and bike lane are part of the same piece but simply separated by painted lines, I'll ride the bike lane. However, on roads with bike lanes separated I will ride the road for the reason that the road has proper drainage. The stand-alone bike lanes around here are so bad that a day after rainfall the main road will be dry, but the bike lane will have many puddles.
 

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Depends.

Your question is phrased in an ambiguous way that sets false alternatives. A "bike lane" is part of a road. A "bike path" (or "trail" or "MUT") is often separated from the road it parallels -- and doesn't always parallel a road.

There are rarely such separated paths where I'm riding. If there are, I will use them if they're safe for the sort of riding I'm doing, not too crowded, etc.

If I'm on the road (as I am 95% of the time), my rule is ride to the right, IF AND ONLY IF the travel lane plus the space to the right (whether that space is designated or marked as bike lane, shoulder, etc, or not marked at all) is wide enough to allow traffic to pass safely without moving into the next lane. If it's too narrow for that, I'm in the middle of the lane, forcing overtaking vehicles to wait untill there's room to pass safely. I always have a mirror, so I know what's back there. I communicate as clearly as possible, waving cars around when it's safe to pass, etc.

Some roads have narrow lanes, no shoulders, and traffic speeds too high for this kind of riding. I try to avoid them as much as possible.
 

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Depends on the quality of the bike lane. Most of the time the bike lanes are full of debris that gets blown over from the road. Full of gravel and glass. I won't ride in a bike lane that is full of glass or gravel. I had a police officer ask me about this just yesterday in Albuquerque. I told him I was required to ride to the safest point as far right as possible. It isn't safe to ride a 23mm tire through glass. One blowout and I am hitting the deck. He had zero issue with it, just wanted to know why I wasn't using the bike lane (covered in broken glass). Here is a tip to civic planners, don't bother putting in a bike lane if you aren't going to take the time to maintain it.
 

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I prefer to be on a road where other vehicles expect to see me.
Next up would be in a good bike lane that is maintained.

As to dedicated bike paths, I was Tboned (rear wheel) on one of these by a nice big fat sedan 30 some years ago. The dedicated path (9-10 feet wide) is ~20' off the main road with driveways running across it. While I had successfully navigated a highway, causeway, and local roads that day I was hit on a dedicated bike path.
 

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I like to vary my routes based on the type of workout I am doing. In Mpls, MN we are fortunate to have great MUP system. So slow base rides can take you all over town which keeps things from getting boring. Country chipseal for anything more spirited. Locally a map is available which uses green, yellow, red coding to indicate roads that that are good to poor for biking. (Wide shoulders, low traffic good no shoulder high traffic bad).

But I think some of the most dangerous times riding have been some crossings on MUP's. The one I ride most has several places that has you crossing very busy roads at awkward places (blind spots) and has led to more than one close call. Also weekends can be challenging trying to manage the wide range of ability and varying exercise modes (strollers, walkers, roller bladers, casual cyclists) so slow to low moderate rides are best on then.

Not alot of experience with bike lanes for me, but I have seen some here that look like they are trying to eliminate rather than help bikers!

In the end I like to communicate as best as possible and keep myself keenly aware of my surroundings at all times as that way I feel I am more likely to not put myself in a bad situation so I really don't mind riding on the road.

The biggest issue for me is when I am tired and glycogen stores are low, and brain is foggy. Late in the ride I try to take significantly longer and triple check my decisions especially when proceeding could be hazardous to my health.
 

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Aside from training/fitness rides, do you prefer to ride in the road with other vehicles, a dedicated bike lane (assuming it is well designed and not in the door zone), or other dedicated cycle facility?
For me, negotiating busy urban street traffic lanes is exciting on my road bike. While I do try to avoid it whenever I can, I can't help but love the adrenaline rush while in the midst of it all. I always savour the experience immediately afterwards. It's all in a routine daily commute.

I only do dirt roads and park trails on my hybrid, if I can help it. It's generally not quite as exciting, but usually more picturesque.

No matter what, I'm always in my Zen state when cycling...
 

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It isn't safe to ride a 23mm tire through glass. One blowout and I am hitting the deck.
I agree it's best to avoid glass-strewn stretches of road, but if you crash every time you get a flat you might want to work on your bike-handling skills ;-)
 

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What's a bike lane? I live in a rural area.

The 2 MUPs nearest me are a nightmare with walkers, dog walkers, joggers, skateboarders, roller bladers, and people on cruisers riding 3 abreast across the path. They are great, however, after dark in the winter time, when no one else is on them.
 

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What is aside from training\fitness rides? I don't understand.
But as to the rest of the question, undoubtably the road.
Unless I am on my XC bike. Any ride I do is at least obliquely
related to training\fitness, even if I am not doing intervals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
What is aside from training\fitness rides?
Commuting to work, riding to school or the store, or anything where the primary goal is not fitness. For fitness/training rides (other than mtn, cross, track, etc.) where conditioning is the primary purpose, anything but a main roadway is usually not appropriate. Commuting to work or riding to a cafe for dinner has a fitness element, but the primary purpose is to get somewhere. Some people would prefer to do this in the main traffic lane even if other cycling facilities are present, others have a preference for almost any kind of cycling facility that keeps them from doing battle with motorists.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The stand-alone bike lanes around here are so bad that a day after rainfall the main road will be dry, but the bike lane will have many puddles.
Similar problem here with older paths. Fortunately most of our newer paths include better drainage and snow pile buffers. Sadly, one of the newest paths and one expected to be very heavily used has an entire parking lot that drains across the path which has made this section of path really bad the past couple of weeks.
 

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small point but one that is sometimes necessary when talking to law enforcement/ insurance people after an accident/coworkers etc. You are to ride as far to the right as practicable, not possible. While in Illinois practicable is not defined, the deputy I last talked to was not aware of the difference. When I pointed him to the part of the code that defines where motor vechicles are suposed to be on an unmarked road, that same term comes up. "as far to the right as practicable." Therefore that track you can see in the road where motor vehicles track their right wheel, seems to be a concensous as to where practicable is.

I bet if you look at the statutes in your state you will find something very similar.
 
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