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Old 11-02-2012, 04:16 AM   #1
CaptainHowdy
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Gaining Confidence

I screamed at a car today. I know, not the Zen persona I try to project, but damn, I felt his mirror brush my flapping shirt sleeve. I mean really!
There was a stop sign ahead, so I pedaled with all my might with intent to raise my left leg and kick his mirror right off his door.
I don't know that I could have pulled off the daring, but graceful, ninja like move that was playing out in my mind. But the honey badger had awoken and was in motion.
Luckily he dashed through the stop sign and speed off out of sight.
But it occurred to me; three months ago I would have been hugging the edge off the road, darting off into the grass and dirt whenever I heard an approaching car. I would have raised my arm and screamed, "Sorry" for getting in his way.
I feel my confidence increasing with every mile. I now ride a good two to three feet out in the road. I still yield, but only when it is clearly safe to do so. A car slowing down behind me does not intimidate me like it use to. A sense of mutual respect has replaced my sense of fear.
And, excluding today's isolated incident, drivers appear more respectful and courteous. They wait to pass until they can in the oncoming lane. Most wave and toot their horns, instead of honking and flipping me off.
Can't wait to see how far it grows. I think I might go ride some logging truck roads; naaaaa, I may be honey badger, but I ain't crazy.



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Old 11-02-2012, 09:34 AM   #2
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I think there a few threads that relate to your experience CaptainH! I have found the longer I ride ( as in years and not length of a ride ) the less it generally bothers me, acceptance in the fact that it''s going to happen??? Maybe I dunno know.

I have found, myself, it's better to take that 2 or 3 ft where and when it's necessary. It tends to force the issue with drivers to either slow down and pass when it's safer to do so or make that extreme move around you. I've said it a hundred time before, I live in a good area for riding and don't have that many issues.

I will say that I ride 99% of the time in the morning only and that makes a huge difference. Recently I waited for someone, who consequently was a no show, for an afternoon ride and I HATED it! Traffic, school buses, young kids getting out of school driving like there was no tomorrow and general impatience.

I occasionally do a fall ( as in the season) group ride on Sunday afternoons that isn't to bad.

Okay I'll stop here before I get any further off topic



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Last edited by rola643; 11-02-2012 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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I'll say this, only because I've seen it in person.

Remember, you have as much of a right to the road as anyone else.

Here's the difference between you and the other vehicle operator:

The have a weapon that weighs at least a ton.

Kicking that mirror would certainly make a point, and I'm sure they'd get the message. However, if it all goes pear-shaped, you could get very, very hurt.

Not too long ago I was riding with a group that I do not normally ride with. Similar thing happened, and one of the cyclists caught up to the car and kicked the mirror. The car driver then jerked the steering wheel to the right which hit the cyclist. The cyclist went over the hood, head first.

I'm not sure where the chips have fallen as of yet, but in the end, is being buzzed worth the physical injury that can result?

I usually let them get up in front of me a bit and let out a loud "WTF!" Its enough to get their attention, but not confrontational enough to start a problem IMHO.

As much as I will not back down from being mistreated, when it comes to bike vs. car/truck/jazzy scooter/hoveround, its kinda like bringing a knife to a gun fight, ya know?

I agree with Rola, there are certain roads I ride where I'll take up a decent amount of room, simply to force the cars to take a wide berth around me or wait. I also think that doing this, if they do buzz me, I've just padded my run off area a little bit in case I have to swerve right.

Just be careful out there, shorter days and the holiday insanity is upon us, I think, just in my opinion, that people are more distracted and rushed than any other time of the year.

Ride Safe.

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Old 11-02-2012, 12:11 PM   #4
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Just to add on, Cap, I think its great you are gaining confidence on the road. I think that the confidence you gain pays dividends in safety.

Congrats for sticking with it!

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Old 11-02-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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Cap'n, it is good that you are building confidence because that is something that us newbies needs to do in order to get more enjoyment out of the time we spend in the saddle. So, I am wondering with your situation and the comments made by Rola and Knee, what are the speed limits on the roads you ride? Are you riding primarily on inner-city roads where it is 30-35 mph or in urban areas where it might be 45 mph? Or, are you out on the "highway" where it is pretty much anything goes?

The reason I ask is that my riding is 99.9% out in the anything goes areas and a car/truck/tractor approaching from behind could be doing 30 or 70 mph and paying attention or being distracted by the deer on the side of the road or by the cell phone and that all too important text message they have to send. Because of this, my level of confidence is building much slower than I would like.

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Old 11-02-2012, 04:35 PM   #6
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Sixty, I ride all of the above. Mostly 45-55 country two lane with no shoulder to speak of.
The rules do not change, with the possible exception of a four lane highway that I will NEVER ride again, damn rumble strips!
While my confidence has grown from getting out there, I think it has grown more by reading posts from other cyclist here on TwoSpoke and other blogs, articles, and statistics.
I wish I could give you links, but a few things I discovered on the net...
1. Riding two to three feet in the lane makes you visible. Drivers are not use to looking to the shoulder.
2. Most dangers are in front of you. You are statistically more likely to hit a car pulling out or turning in front of you. It seams the most common fear of getting hit from behind is way down on the list of likely accidents. More of a chance of a door opening into you.
3. The closer you ride to the right, the closer they will pass on the left. Claim the lane.
You have to KNOW that you belong on the road. If you don't think you should be there they will believe you.
Look through old threads on safety, google "claim the lane", look in to local laws. Cause when you KNOW you belong, they WILL believe you (most of them anyway).
And for that distracted, texting, careless driver; they are just as likely to cross the center lane and take you out in your car as they are to plow over you on your bike. Life is fragile, there are no guarantees. Get out and enjoy it. Tell fear to kiss your...
Hope that helps ;-)

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Old 11-02-2012, 05:11 PM   #7
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I have found that certain areas at certain times are best avoided. The twisty, hilly 2 lane road I take in to work at 5am is awesome in the morning, during the rush hour home, it is akin to vokunteering for a kamikaze flight.

I take an alternate route, but there is a nasty intersection with merge lanes that no one ever yields to. So to avoid that, I cut through a shopping center.

Confidence takes time, I will never forget my first ride out on major roads (other than as a whip skidding teenager) how I couldn't feel my hands after a few minutes from the white-knuckle death grip I had on the handlebars.

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Old 11-02-2012, 07:48 PM   #8
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I ride in the part of the road where a cars right tire normally rides because it forces them to slow down or change lanes. When I have to ride on the road. Three miles of my eight mile ride are on a highway break down lane because there is no side road to ride on since it's a bridge over the waterway to the island. And it's a 75mph road so I deal with the noise of cars flying by me constantly.

I will take the whole lane when my oldest son rides with me though. I make sure he knows the amount of space we are allowed and to call the cops if anything happens with the car type and plate number. We do a fair amount of police calling while driving because of dumb drivers or drunk drivers so he knows what to say

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Old 11-02-2012, 09:38 PM   #9
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Good to see your confidence building. Try and not to be come a testosterone fueled car kicker. Remember us cyclists all contribute to the public image of our kind.

I also hate the mirror buzz. I get that quite a bit and have learned what roads in my area are clear by time window.

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Old 11-03-2012, 06:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainHowdy View Post
Sixty, I ride all of the above. Mostly 45-55 country two lane with no shoulder to speak of.
The rules do not change, with the possible exception of a four lane highway that I will NEVER ride again, damn rumble strips!
While my confidence has grown from getting out there, I think it has grown more by reading posts from other cyclist here on TwoSpoke and other blogs, articles, and statistics.
I wish I could give you links, but a few things I discovered on the net...
1. Riding two to three feet in the lane makes you visible. Drivers are not use to looking to the shoulder.
2. Most dangers are in front of you. You are statistically more likely to hit a car pulling out or turning in front of you. It seams the most common fear of getting hit from behind is way down on the list of likely accidents. More of a chance of a door opening into you.
3. The closer you ride to the right, the closer they will pass on the left. Claim the lane.
You have to KNOW that you belong on the road. If you don't think you should be there they will believe you.
Look through old threads on safety, google "claim the lane", look in to local laws. Cause when you KNOW you belong, they WILL believe you (most of them anyway).
And for that distracted, texting, careless driver; they are just as likely to cross the center lane and take you out in your car as they are to plow over you on your bike. Life is fragile, there are no guarantees. Get out and enjoy it. Tell fear to kiss your...
Hope that helps ;-)
All very good information, Captain! I do tend to ride pretty much out in the lane, more so because the traffic is pretty limited to a few vehicles per ride. To date, I have not had any real close calls and no mirror swipes...thank goodness! And, I am not letting the confidence with traffic deter me from riding. I will say that I am very jealous of those who have the urban setting or MUPs to ride in/on! In order to ride from where I live, it means loading the bikes on the cage and hauling them out to the paved road! Ugh!!

Thanks for the input!


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