Not so easy

We did a simulated commute from home to my wife's place of work, to test the time required and the feasibility of doing it regularly. It wasn't a bad ride, although the traffic in my little town can be challenging.

There are really three problems with commuting here in general:

1) Cars : The drivers here in Almost don't seem to have a clue. Do I pass or don't I? What does the left hand held up at ninety degrees to the shoulder signify? Don't I have the right of way because I'm in a Lexus? They are clearly annoyed by the presence of any bicycles on the road whatsoever. This situation is not helped by naive cyclists of all ages that ride on the sidewalks or on the left side of the road (i.e. against traffic). Somewhere in the dim past people were taught to ride this way, but now they can and should act like vehicles. This means stopping at stop signs and all the other annoying things that vehicles are required to do, and behaving courteously when the inevitable space invasion occurs.

2) Cars : Don't seem to understand that starting from a dead stop uphill on a bicycle is not always an easy or graceful thing. Recumbents are especially prone to wander because of the small wheel size and geometry. The only time I get annoyed with my equipment is when I'm unable to start smoothly because I've forgotten where to stop my feet in their progress around the crank. It is hard to get that position back just right, to remain calm and un-flustered, when horns are blaring or Harley Davidsons are rumbling past.

3) Cars : There are just too damn many of them. Routine ignorance of speed limits and traffic signals, poor communication in line-of-sight, and allowing distractions like phones, kids, or waving at pals, have given me some hair-raising experiences over the years. I always wear a helmet now, because I just can't trust the drivers intoxicated with the power and convenience of driving a "living room" around.

I'm still not decided about commuting or not commuting. Cars stink.

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4 Responses to Not so easy

  1. OxygenGirl says:

    I have to give it to you for atleast attempting. Cycling to work is not so feasible in my neck of the woods but it is something that I have always wanted to do, especially now with the gas prices. And the exercise and semi-fresh air would do wonders before and after a long, hard day at work.

  2. jaklumen says:

    Well, I'm not the best example of a driver– I have been known to eat while driving– but it seems as populations swell in our area, the bad examples seem to multiply.I'm in terrible shape, so I have not gone out to see the new connections of old bicycle trails and paths that expansion to Highway 240 supposedly brought about. I'd like to try, because when I was younger, a friend and I toured all three main cities in our area on a tandem bicycle.But I say that with reservation because the expansions were made to deal with the convoys of workers travelling it to go work at the various contractors at the nuclear reservation. I avoided driving around there at certain hours to skip rush traffic, and in some ways, expansion from 2 lanes each way to 4 have made things *worse*– the speed limit is still 55 mph, but cops have to chase speeders down anyway. Smokey and the Bandit, anyone?I have heard of exceeding disrespect towards cyclists, and I agree, it's really too bad some of the more casual ones don't follow the rules very well. I guess "driving a bicycle" hasn't set in well enough in society's psyche to enter the common parlance, especially since many say "ride a motorcycle", too.I used to be somewhat serious about cycling as a hobby, many years ago. Things have changed enough that once I am in shape to be serious again (and I can manage to *get* a bicycle again), I'll have to re-examine the area more closely.

  3. Doug says:

    I prefer walking to cycling for short trips, but I am trying to find ways to use the bike more. It doesn't help you if you don't get on it!

  4. Doug says:

    A lot of "safe" roads around here have become four-lane menaces. I try to find alternate routes, but there are times when you simply must share the space with cars, often in areas that are traffic "challenging" for the cars too. Lots of patience is needed.

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