Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby VRE » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:33 pm

il padrone wrote:Too many points that I would take issue with in russell.bathard's post to address really. Suffice to cover a few that I may have not made clear before.

If you ride wider in the traffic flow the presence you make will act to reduce vehicle speeds around you. You become a bit less predictable (to drivers - you're not over there in the gutter) and drivers will, despite any frustration or anger, drive more conservatively. This is usually evident by the far fewer horn blasts that I receive, and the cars slowing and changing lanes.

Secondly, my old 'thorn' (funny, that's what I ride :o ) - the mirror. Many think that a mirror is not needed on a bike, that it will cause you to be 'terrified' by the approaching traffic. Use one and get used to the view, the traffic is there whether you see them or not. Wouldn't you rather know more about your surroundings? Don't you think greater awareness of the nearby vehicles - ones that are about to directly effect you - would make your riding safer? Most safety experts I would expect would say yes. Would you rather drive a car with less information and awareness? Would you drive a car, or ride a motorbike without a rear-view mirror?

I only ride wider on the road because I know, through long experience of doing it, that it does make me safer in the road environment. Data collection on this issue is very difficult in its practical collection, and unnecessary as the jury has been out for many years. Also greater riding in this manner by more cyclists works to tame the actions of all other drivers. Do it now!

Agreed on all points. I've been using a mirror for decades, and it's just automatic now for me to keep my awareness of what's ahead of and either side of me, while frequent glances in the mirror tell me what's behind, without me having to bend my neck. I also claim the lane whenever possible. Let's hope Russell starts to believe this, too, because his approach to road cycling will only disadvantage him.

Of course, I still get the occasional idiot who insists on overtaking me in his big metal vehicle without changing lanes, despite the fact that I'm in the middle of my lane, but there will always be some of those people, unfortunately. Overall, I think I get fewer of those when I claim the lane compared to when I ride near the left of the lane (and as mentioned, I try to avoid doing the latter unless there's really no choice).
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by BNA » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:47 pm

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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Christine Tham » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:47 pm

VRE wrote:Let's hope Russell starts to believe this, too, because his approach to road cycling will only disadvantage him.


To be absolutely fair to the original poster, he did clarify that he was mainly writing from the perspective of touring on highways, rather than city streets.

I can sort of understand the attitude. On a lonely stretch of highway in the middle of the night, I suspect it is entirely possible a drunk hoon asleep at the wheels can plough straight into a cyclist claiming the lane.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby RonK » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:10 pm

Christine Tham wrote:To be absolutely fair to the original poster, he did clarify that he was mainly writing from the perspective of touring on highways, rather than city streets.

As a regular cycle tourist I see nothing inconsistent between city cycling tactics and country road tactics.

I consciously try to avoid inconveniencing motorists, but not to the detriment of my own safety. They happen less frequently perhaps, but there are times when it's imperative to claim the lane, just as there are times when you can safely ride on the shoulder, and other times when common sense dictates you should stop until the road is clear.

Perhaps this is why I was rarely troubled by traffic while touring in New Zealand, despite frequent warnings and complaints about bad driving by other cycle tourists in their journals.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby il padrone » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:20 pm

Christine Tham wrote:To be absolutely fair to the original poster, he did clarify that he was mainly writing from the perspective of touring on highways, rather than city streets.

I do agree that there is a clear distinction between highway riding and city streets. However the typical 4 & 6-lane divided suburban road/highway is probably the worst.

It's a matter of degree rather than a change of basic technique. I still find there is a need to maintain your presence on these higher speed roads - just obviously, not claiming the whole lane (well, not often :P ). On such roads you need to judge the traffic speeds closely. On busy highways and suburban 4 & 6-lane roads I would ride fairly well left, but still usually a good 1m from the kerb. Only when starting from a traffic light, or when there is busy traffic both ways on a 2-lane highway would I go anywhere near riding close to the kerb. Once the traffic clears a bit, or there is good room for drivers to overtake safely, I would then move out to follow the left wheel track. Something like this:

Image


Then as traffic approaches I will stay wide there (and no reservations about riding two-abreast) until the approaching vehicle begins to slow and look to overtake. Then I will move off to the white line, even into the shoulder, while they pass. Drives who rev up and tailgate while waiting for oncoming traffic to clear, will find me moving even wider, to make sure they overtake wide and safe. When riding on an open country road where there are obscured corners or blind crests I will hold a wider position, to ensure any approaching drivers know it is unwise and unsafe for them to try to overtake by crossing the double lines.

Christine Tham wrote:I can sort of understand the attitude. On a lonely stretch of highway in the middle of the night, I suspect it is entirely possible a drunk hoon asleep at the wheels can plough straight into a cyclist claiming the lane.

I can understand this is a risk, on an open road. So is a lightning strike. At least with the drunk hoon I have a greater chance of doing more to avoid them. I don't let it worry me too much. Riding on country roads between 2am and 6am are the real crazy hours for this. I don't often do this - there are those occasional Audax rides that I do.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby il padrone » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:29 pm

Another example of road position on a quieter main road (Tassie on the Lakes Highway). Traffic was very low and we could hear and/or see them very well as many of the group had mirrors. Rod was a bit too wide just here, but he's happy with it - may have been overtaking (?)

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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Christine Tham » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:02 am

il padrone wrote:Rod was a bit too wide just here, but he's happy with it - may have been overtaking (?)


LOL - that would be my normal position if the road is quiet (can't see anyone in front of me or behind me). The theory is it maximises visibility for any driver approaching from the distance in either direction.

Thanks for the pictures and the comments about your experiences with touring.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Xplora » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:29 am

Pics indicate totally reasonable behaviour for a country road, and probably not enough lane claiming in the city (except Rod LOL). Road users in general are supposed to slow down and HTFU. Do cars blast tractors for going slow? Road graders? trucks going up steep gradients? There is a whole other lane and there is very little "competition" for overtaking speed with a bike. They don't have to rev up the car to overtake the bike... so perhaps they just have to learn to drive properly if they have a problem with such situations above?
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:49 am

Christine Tham wrote:
il padrone wrote:Rod was a bit too wide just here, but he's happy with it - may have been overtaking (?)


LOL - that would be my normal position if the road is quiet (can't see anyone in front of me or behind me). The theory is it maximises visibility for any driver approaching from the distance in either direction.

Thanks for the pictures and the comments about your experiences with touring.

+1 Be wide, be visible. 'Twill take but a second to move single file once something approaches.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby find_bruce » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:15 pm

My experience correlates with the advice of Christine & il padrone.

Just to pick one example, today I was the subject of a close shave by a taxi. While the Taxi driver is to blame for his own conduct, my riding position did not sufficently discourage it. As you can see from the video still below, I did not move sufficiently to the right to (1) avoid the car door zone & (2) require vehicles coming from behind to change lane to pass me. Please do not feel the need to educate me further as I have already had a period of introspection in relation to this - I am sharing simply so that others may learn from my mistake.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby il padrone » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:45 pm

Christine Tham wrote:Thanks for the pictures and the comments about your experiences with touring.

Glad to help people out. One point to make re. touring is the value of the panniers. They make you seem noticeably wider to following traffic and they react by giving a wider berth. I commute with two panniers and it is noticeably different to the response when I just ride an unladen bike.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby westab » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:01 pm

il padrone wrote:One point to make re. touring is the value of the panniers. They make you seem noticeably wider to following traffic and they react by giving a wider berth. I commute with two panniers and it is noticeably different to the response when I just ride an unladen bike.


+1 I find the same and they also allow me to easily wear one of those reflective fluro vests that can be see for miles. OK not a good look but my priorities when cycling are : 1) Safety, 2) Enjoyment, 3) Fittness, 4) Cost, 5) Looks, then lots of other things that are good for self and others.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby AndrewBurns » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:14 pm

find_bruce wrote:My experience correlates with the advice of Christine & il padrone.

Just to pick one example, today I was the subject of a close shave by a taxi. While the Taxi driver is to blame for his own conduct, my riding position did not sufficently discourage it. As you can see from the video still below, I did not move sufficiently to the right to (1) avoid the car door zone & (2) require vehicles coming from behind to change lane to pass me. Please do not feel the need to educate me further as I have already had a period of introspection in relation to this - I am sharing simply so that others may learn from my mistake.


Not intending to lecture you bruce because I know you already realise it now but for those who are wondering of the reasons to ride in the lane I'll point out two things about that photo:

- If you hug the left when there are parked cars there you're in the door zone, if that van were to fling its door open right at that moment the rider might be killed (either spear into car door or be flung under the taxi) and the van driver might get a small fine
- As can be seen the road ahead is clear and there are dotted lines along the middle so the taxi could easily have changed lanes to get around but because it didn't have to it didn't bother. If that taxi driver has a momentary lapse in concentration or control and jinks left the cyclist gets the Malachi crunch between it and the van = dead
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby il padrone » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:26 pm

AndrewBurns wrote:- As can be seen the road ahead is clear and there are dotted lines along the middle so the taxi could easily have changed lanes to get around but because it didn't have to it didn't bother. If that taxi driver has a momentary lapse in concentration or control and jinks left the cyclist gets the Malachi crunch between it and the van = dead

Yes. This is a perfect example of the "lazy/indignant" motivation I mentioned earlier. Mostly with taxi-drivers it's abject laziness :roll:
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Christine Tham » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:27 pm

This is a video clip from yesterday's ride to work, and I think it is a good illustration of seamless integration with traffic, along with lane changes (I had to change lanes to overtake stopped buses 4 times).

Bit of a background for non-Sydneysiders: this is Military Rd from Mosman to North Sydney. This is the busiest road in Sydney, and during peak hour traffic crawls to under 20 km/h for all vehicles. This clip was taken at around 7am in the morning just before peak (15-30 mins later and the road will be a car park).

Lately I have been capping my speed to 40 km/h on this road, so that I have some power (headroom) to accelerate and change lanes, as stopped buses are quite common (although 4 is a bit unusual). For reference, my fastest time on this stretch prior to me capping the speed is an average of 45 km/h over the entire stretch (I am ranked second for this Strava segment behind Melissa N. who I know is a faster rider than me so there's no way I can beat her on the segment).

As you can hopefully see in the clip, reserving power for changing lanes works well as it allows me to change lanes early and seamlessly. Note that I am treated by other road vehicles just as a normal road user - everyone is well behaved. Although not shown in the clip, drivers will often slow down to allow me to change lanes (usually after I indicate with my hand, but often automatically without any signalling on my part).

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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Summernight » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:39 pm

Christine Tham wrote:


Motorcyclist at 4:03 - I wouldn't have done that lane split if I was the motorbike rider. :roll:

Christine Tham wrote:Lately I have been capping my speed to 40 km/h on this road, so that I have some power (headroom) to accelerate and change lanes, as stopped buses are quite common (although 4 is a bit unusual). For reference, my fastest time on this stretch prior to me capping the speed is an average of 45 km/h over the entire stretch (I am ranked second for this Strava segment behind Melissa N. who I know is a faster rider than me so there's no way I can beat her on the segment).


Reserving power... At 40kph? :shock: Please tell me it is a downhill segment. I don't think I'd be capping any power at 40kph -it'd be cheeks blowing, heart pounding, lung busting, muscles screaming... :lol:
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby zero » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:37 pm

Summernight wrote:
Reserving power... At 40kph? :shock: Please tell me it is a downhill segment. I don't think I'd be capping any power at 40kph -it'd be cheeks blowing, heart pounding, lung busting, muscles screaming... :lol:


Its close enough to flat, uphill towards the end. there is probably a couple of km/hr net wind assistance due to the various draft sources. other than that, the video plainly shows Christine is a very strong rider.

In any case reserving power works just fine for me at 30km/hr from a mountain bike - 30km/hr is what I can average for an hour, but there is no reason I can't run up to 40 temporarily to simplify a move. Note that on a 6 lane road like this, its important to do the lane changes as early as Christine does both for getting a gap, and for ensuring your gap isn't driven into by someone in the far right lane (without running out of avoidance options yourself).
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Xplora » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:15 pm

Christine Tham wrote:This is a video clip from yesterday's ride to work, and I think it is a good illustration of seamless integration with traffic, along with lane changes (I had to change lanes to overtake stopped buses 4 times).

Something I think is key to this vid is that the visual looks like it was taken from an SUV. CT is behaving like a car would, with similar early indications, smooth transitions for the lane, and obvious power application as you would expect from a car - but she's clearly not as fast as the cars. Only difference.

We shouldn't beat around the bush with this - you are responsible for a lot of the reactions around your riding. It seems quite sensible and reasonable to be on the road if you are sending signals that imply you should be there. If you act like an L plater, you attract a lot more negativity. A lot of crappy driver behaviour is not vehicle specific. Aussie drivers don't have much patience for people without good traffic management skills, and will show respect for those who "belong on the road".

I guess it is one of those difficult conundrums - yes, the most experienced riders can pull 40kmh up a hill for a while, thus preventing delays AND sending signals better that they belong. Still - all skills take practice, you just need to be smart enough to accept tutelage from those who know better :mrgreen:
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby il padrone » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:34 pm

Xplora wrote:I guess it is one of those difficult conundrums - yes, the most experienced riders can pull 40kmh up a hill for a while, thus preventing delays AND sending signals better that they belong. Still - all skills take practice,

*cough* :shock:

Plenty of experience here, but I sure don't pull 40kmh up a hill, even on the road bike. All the tutelage and practice will not see that either.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby TigerFilly » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:14 pm

Where was the first of those touring photos taken il padrone?
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby il padrone » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:37 pm

TigerFilly wrote:Where was the first of those touring photos taken il padrone?

Tasman Hwy, Tasmania, near Runnymede. Right about here actually, a few kilomtres before Bust-Me-Gall Hill (in the background). This section was one of the few bits of "flat" road on our Tasmania Tour :lol: Photo was taken with a zoom lens.

Ain't Google Streetview wonderful :D
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:43 am

find_bruce wrote:My experience correlates with the advice of Christine & il padrone.

Just to pick one example, today I was the subject of a close shave by a taxi. While the Taxi driver is to blame for his own conduct, my riding position did not sufficently discourage it. As you can see from the video still below, I did not move sufficiently to the right to (1) avoid the car door zone & (2) require vehicles coming from behind to change lane to pass me. Please do not feel the need to educate me further as I have already had a period of introspection in relation to this - I am sharing simply so that others may learn from my mistake.

Useful example, thanks for sharing. And if you can learn from your mistakes then you will be far ahead of a lot of people I know.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Christine Tham » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:26 am

il padrone wrote:I sure don't pull 40kmh up a hill, even on the road bike. All the tutelage and practice will not see that either.


I can't do 40 km/h up a hill either.

Although practice will improve speeds. When I started commuting on Pacific Highway two years ago, I was probably doing 15 km/h on hills, and 25 km/h on the crests. These days I am doing 25 km/h on the hills, and 35 km/h on the crests. I can probably go over 40 km/h on a crest, but I would be really pushing (probably because I am changing lanes so that I can turn right at the next intersection).

All it took for the improvement was riding the roads regularly. Oh yeah, and the EPO.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby TigerFilly » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:44 am

il padrone wrote:
TigerFilly wrote:Where was the first of those touring photos taken il padrone?

Tasman Hwy, Tasmania, near Runnymede.
I thought it looked like familiar countryside - my parents live(d) on the Tasman Highway. A lot further North though, up the top of a very steep, windy hill that gets lots and lots of cyclists going past. Considering the effort and time it takes my car to climb, I'm very impressed with anyone that can cycle it!
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby find_bruce » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:16 am

AndrewBurns wrote:Not intending to lecture you bruce because I know you already realise it now but for those who are wondering of the reasons to ride in the lane I'll point out two things about that photo:

- If you hug the left when there are parked cars there you're in the door zone, if that van were to fling its door open right at that moment the rider might be killed (either spear into car door or be flung under the taxi) and the van driver might get a small fine
- As can be seen the road ahead is clear and there are dotted lines along the middle so the taxi could easily have changed lanes to get around but because it didn't have to it didn't bother. If that taxi driver has a momentary lapse in concentration or control and jinks left the cyclist gets the Malachi crunch between it and the van = dead

Thanks for being gentle with my bruised ego Andrew. The really sad thing is that I have been commuting on Sydney streets for more than 20 years & I thought I had learn't this lesson years ago. While I know il padrone's comments weren't directed at me, they are equally applicable - I had seen the parked cars ahead & rather than indicate early and make a positive move out, I was being lazy & careless.
casual_cyclist wrote:Useful example, thanks for sharing. And if you can learn from your mistakes then you will be far ahead of a lot of people I know.

I would much prefer to learn from the mistakes of others, but oh well
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Xplora » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:24 am

My KOMs are mostly short climbs at pace :mrgreen: I have been surprised just how fast I can commute since getting the Bryton. You guys are probably pushing quite strongly - road users know when you are capable. I have followed a bloke who takes a similar route through Westmead as I do, and while he does not pull the same peak speeds as I do, after following him by car and bike, there is no question he is The Business out there. It just shocks me how obvious it is... Perhaps many potential cycle commuters just never get enough practice or fitness to project that Aura Of Control.
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