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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To start with, I have been road riding since 2001. All mountain biking before that, 1995 on, with only commuting on the roads. Big, wide, comfortable, low traffic roads....

Which brings me to my question. I only work about 8.5 miles from my home, and would love to commute it sometimes. I don't have facilities here, but I have a nice, private office to clean up in. But the issue is that the only way to get to my office involves a very, narrow, twisty, poorly paved two-lane road with lots of sharp, 35mph turns on it. Not the whole way, but the last 3.5 miles easily are this way.

Question is, how do you decide which roads are just not friendly for riding on? Obviously, I steer clear of roads with inordinate amounts of traffic. I live in a decent sized metro (Birmingham-Hoover, AL), so there's lots of cars, lots of cell-phone talking, and lots of inattentiveness.

Any thoughts?
 

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There are some roads that are just not safe to ride on - i.e. lots of fast traffic, and no shoulders. Some roads are a matter of personal oppinion. If you don't feel comfortable or safe riding them, you should ride elsewhere. It sounds like the roads you are talking about have heavy traffic, but that doesn't mean they aren't good to ride on. If you feel you can make the commute safely, then go for it. Just remember to keep an eye on what's happening around you. Those motorists can be crazy. :)
 

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Time, not place

I have said it many times here on RBR: The most important thing with respect to commuting by bike is not the roads that you take, but the time of day when you take them. Drivers are crazy during rush hour when they are trying to get to work on time in the morning and home in the evening. Do your commute either before or after rush hour and you will be much safer. Here is an example: I usually leave home around 8:10 a.m. so that I am at the tail end of rush hour -- there are school on my route that begin classes at 8:15 -- I usually pass there around 8:20; and most office workers have to be at work by 9:00 a.m. -- I usually hit the edge of downtown around 9:05 and get to my office around 9:10 a.m. In the evening I usually do not leave until 6:30 or 7:00 p.m., well after most traffic has passed. Earlier this week, I had a conference call at 9:00 a.m., so I left home about 20 minutes earlier. I had more close calls and generally unpleasant riding on that ride than I had had in the previous 10 rides combined.
 

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MarkS said:
I have said it many times here on RBR: The most important thing with respect to commuting by bike is not the roads that you take, but the time of day when you take them. .
I totally agree. The most pleasant commute I've had was earlier this winter when I left my house at 6am. There was a light coating of fresh snow on the roads that my studded tires handled just fine and it was so peaceful without the traffic. The snowflakes looked so cool in my headlight. I'll remember that ride forever.

I also avoid recreational rides (and my wife avoids running) during pm rush hour.
 

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suburban commuters can be sacry-

like the other posters have said - I agree that the rush hour commuters are scary. Hoover is a rapidly growing area, and I think those areas tend to be worse than established neighborhoods. SUVs everywhere, with everyone jostling for position.

On 280 is where that road rage woman shot the other woman a few years ago - that commute is terrible.

I would consider mapping out an alternate route that is maybe up to 2 miles longer, but keeps you away from the busier streets as much as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think it's entirely possible that this current work location is not going to be "commutable". The roads are simply too narrow, and my choices are too slim. To respond to the poster who thought I should alter my commute times, sounds like you are in the ETZ. Here in Bham, we are in the central, and most people get to work at 8:00am. And they drive from some way -off locales, so they are on the road at 7:00am. And like me, they usually never leave at 5:00, so they roads here are basically clogged with HUGE-AZZ SUV's from 7:00 till 7:00 everyday.

Granted, I work 12 hour days now...........No wonder those new voler bibs make me look like lederhosen on me...
 
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