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Biking at work may not work out

Today was day 3 of biking at work since it's been warmer. I rode the bus from the parking lot up the hill, biked to ITS Franklin for a meeting, biked to ITS Manning and at the end of the day rode all the way back to the Friday Center park & ride lot.

First problem is dealing with the pants and the front gear/chain. No matter what I do, I still manage to get marks on them. Using velcro straps helps, but still no guarantee. So, to avoid this, I will need to start taking a change of pants/clothes. That just adds another hassle of things to remember in the morning.

The worst part is the ride back to the parking lot along Hwy 54. People are just fucking rude. There are three lanes for traffic and I'm all the way over on the right side. I refuse to hug the curb as that is dangerous unless I'm going at a snail's pace (I'm easily doing 10-15mph). So, I'm about 1/3 of the way into the road. This makes me seen and it prevents them from trying to squeeze past me making it dangerous for me yet again.

I have cars come up from behind and then honk their horn at me as if they expect me to get out of the way. WTF?!? I'm in the fucking road, asshole! Why do I need to stop for you? It's very disconcerting to be in this situation and I'm not sure I can deal with it much more. I can try and find another route possibly, but I still think I'm going to face some serious traffic that just don't get it.

It's a huge education problem. Drivers think that bikes have no rights on the road. They care far more about their convenience than our safety. I always use great care when passing bikes when I'm driving. I only pass when there is plenty of room (and no oncoming traffic) and I don't sit on their tail as doing so just makes them nervous and distracts them.

I hope all of my LJ friends here respect cyclists out there. Bicycles have every right to be on the road and they needed to be treated safely. You should consider a bike as a small car on the road. Don't pass bikes unless you can put some distance between you and the bike (I would say at least 3 feet). I know there are some cyclists that feel they can ignore all stop lights and and road regulations and I never condone that behavior. If bikes need to co-exist with traffic, they have to follow the same rules as cars.

It's very disappointing that this biking thing may not work out at the work place.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 10th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
As for the grease/chain/pants problem, my first thought was "haven't you every noticed how bike messengers do it?", but then I remembered that they probably aren't as widespread around your neck of the woods. Anyway, they just roll up their pant leg. Sure, you get grease on your leg, but that just washes right off, much easier than from clothing.

I also think that you need a bike horn. A very loud bike horn. You can shop around to find a cheaper price than that, tho.

Still, it's great on many levels that you're trying to commute via bike so much. Good luck!
Apr. 10th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
I do have a headlamp and I do put it into flash mode. It's one of the 3W LED types and is incredibly bright (lights up 100' in front me at night). That only helps me as I approach intersections or other people ahead of me.

Yeah, I think the pant roll-up thing is it. I would guess that most bicycle couriers wear shorts too.
Apr. 12th, 2008 12:00 pm (UTC)
You could just bike around without pants. :-)
Apr. 13th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
And terrify the locals? No, thanks.
Apr. 10th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
Does this mean I need to stop riding up and trying to rub their back tire with my front bumper?

You'll be proud of me. I was behind one of those 2-wheeled contraptions this morning, in a rather aggravating stretch with no way to safely pass, and didn't spaz and run him down (as much as he was begging for it). :-D
Apr. 10th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm..., I may need to consider carrying small grenades for the bumper rubbing scoundrels.
Apr. 10th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
Bad idea. Use BIG grenades.

And remember: Once you pull Mr. Pin, Mr. Grenade is no longer your friend.
Apr. 10th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
I'll be honest, biking to work isn't just a simple "oh I'm gonna bike to work today" I do have to prepare with a change of clothes and such.

However for me it's worth it, I love the feeling of biking to work.

as for the drivers, yea that sucks, I'm lucky that it's a very biking aware city here.
Apr. 10th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC)
Chapel Hill and Carrboro for the most part are very bike friendly. Many areas are clearly marked with bike lanes and they even have markings on the pavement to show where the metal inductors are located in the road so that a bike can trigger a traffic signal.

Once you start to get away from there and towards Durham, all bets are off. Now you're back with the the bicycle hating "get the hell out of my way" commuters.

EDIT: I just can't find a safe and practical route between my building and the parking lot so far. I'm looking at an alternative when I go home today and see how that goes, but it will be going through a nasty intersection that has no alternate route.

Edited at 2008-04-10 08:38 pm (UTC)
Apr. 10th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
Very sorry to hear about this! I'm always amazed & baffled to hear how hostile drivers are to cyclists, though it keeps happening. Very glad you're safe...

You may be interested in htrouser's cycling blog: http://unsquished.wordpress.com/
Apr. 12th, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)
I used to bike in from Carrboro and drivers could be sooooo stupid/mean. I never had a clothes problem, though. Maybe students were just more shabby by nature, so it didn't matter as much.

My only problem was biking back to Carrboro one night on Estes, slowing down and swerving for traffic and managing to get my front tire stuck in the train tracks. I went flying and also bent the tire all to hell. Of course, the most immediate concern upon standing was wondering how many people saw me :-)
Apr. 13th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
So, were you caught? :) I must say that would make a great video (provided you weren't hurt and all, of course)!
Apr. 18th, 2008 12:51 pm (UTC)
You might want to invest in a pair of gaiters to avoid the grease problem.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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