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-   -   2019! The “How was your commute?” thread! (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1163199)

Tundra_Man 02-01-19 08:40 AM

Yesterday morning while it was still below zero it snowed about 1/2". The city didn't bother plowing for that little amount. Coming home from work last night wasn't too bad because the temp had risen to 13 (ABOVE zero!) and the snow was powdery.

This morning all that powdery snow had turned to slush from the cars driving on it, but as soon as it kicked up on my bike it froze almost immediately in the 6F temp. My brakes and drivetrain were a mess of frozen slush. When I'd shift (if it would shift) my chain would skip for a while until it wore the ice down and could grab the teeth. My brakes still worked, but not super well.

Now that I'm at work I put my bike in a heated basement to give it a chance to thaw out. Supposed to be mid to high 30s for the ride home. While I welcome the warmer temps, it's going to turn everything into an even slushier mess.

OhLylo 02-01-19 08:56 AM

This morning was...not great. 45F and a bit foggy:

https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...f445d299a4.jpg

Not terrible conditions on the face of it. I'm appropriately equipped with lights and gear and all that so I figured NBD. Wrong! As I made my way south, it got foggier. Then, the coup de grace: some dude flipped **** on me and pushed me off the road. So I was coming up a road to a roundabout, which has like 10 lights in the middle and is super well light. The bike lane ends and feeds into the roundabout, which is small and one lane. I enter and take the lane as there are concrete dividers everywhere and no car can pass safely, plus it's a roundabout so we're all slow anyways. As I'm hitting my exit, the concrete dividers extend about 100 yards out from the actual circle, so I stay in the lane until I clear this so nobody gets cute and tries to pass here because it's too tight.

Welp, a dude in a silver Accord decided he didn't like this. He laid on the horn, then he edged up on the left and pushed me (not physically, but in the "hit or be hit" sense) off the road. So I'm on the about 18 inches of shoulder thinking, what the hell? This guy then proceeds to pull alongside me, roll down his window, and start shouting expletives mixed with "get off the road" and "ride on the side" and etc. I just stayed on the brake until he was going so slow that he was blocking traffic, and he finally took off. Definitely feeling a bit rattled. I seem to have a powerful jerk magnet lately. I really do need to pick up a camera.

I'd like to take an honest accounting of the situation and evaluate what I could do better. As I mentioned, I have lights front and rear, as well as the standard reflectors and partially reflective clothing. I aim to ride 1m from the right line (if dedicated bike lane/path isn't present) except in situations like this roundabout where taking the lane is necessary. I know conditions weren't optimal today but this happened in probably the best lit area of the whole trip, so I'm dubious it was a visibility issue. Do I chalk it up to road rage and not being able to please some people and press on? Thoughts on what I could do better?

mgw4jc 02-01-19 10:23 AM


Originally Posted by OhLylo (Post 20774279)
Do I chalk it up to road rage and not being able to please some people and press on? Thoughts on what I could do better?

I'd say you did about everything right. Too many drivers are impatient with anything that slows them down, especially cyclists.

When I encounter any such tight squeezes that make it unsafe or impossible for a car to pass, I will try to get through as quickly as possible, or at least try to appear that I am. It is my hope that the driver sees me trying to get through quickly so that they can then pass safely.

As for riding position, I generally ride as far right as possible. This means that some cars will pass with barely crossing the center line and I'm mostly okay with it as long as they appear to be giving some space. Most cars do give more space though. With a road that has no shoulder, 1m would put me in the middle of the lane on a two lane road (1 lane each direction). In that position I would feel like I'm blocking the driver's view of the road ahead and not giving a good amount of space for him to pass.

There are many opinions on riding position in the road. You have to do what you're comfortable with given the road and conditions you have. But yes, no matter how you execute it, there will be someone to get upset and let you know about it by honking, yelling or whatever.

HardyWeinberg 02-01-19 10:34 AM

44F rain

HardyWeinberg 02-01-19 10:36 AM


Originally Posted by OhLylo (Post 20774279)
I'd like to take an honest accounting of the situation and evaluate what I could do better. As I mentioned, I have lights front and rear, as well as the standard reflectors and partially reflective clothing. I aim to ride 1m from the right line (if dedicated bike lane/path isn't present) except in situations like this roundabout where taking the lane is necessary. I know conditions weren't optimal today but this happened in probably the best lit area of the whole trip, so I'm dubious it was a visibility issue. Do I chalk it up to road rage and not being able to please some people and press on? Thoughts on what I could do better?

I think you did well.

Around here roundabouts are sized such that I can take them faster on my bicycle than just about any car/truck, I don't know if yours is large enough or the accord was sporty enough that cars can do it at a higher speed. That is unfortunate.

RidingMatthew 02-01-19 10:47 AM

i agree with @mgw4jc and @HardyWeinberg it sounds like you were doing the right thing and it just the right time for that guy to show himself an idiot. be careful out there.

robertorolfo 02-01-19 11:46 AM


Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg (Post 20773115)
This one
Also, here is this morning's commute, sped up 4x (so I am not passing the schoolbus on the right as fast as it looks...) In the end I don't know how much of the optical artifacts in the little movie are from the camera or from the program (Lightworks) that I used to stitch the segments together and increase the speed, and compress it some more.

Let us know how it holds up after a little bit of use.

Nicely done in the roundabout at the start, and what was the deal at 5:22? It's hard to tell with everything sped-up, but it looked, um, interesting...


Originally Posted by NoGlider
I can't believe people are riding today.

It's pretty brutal, and I've been cutting my ride short by using the ferry both ways. That said, there is hardly anyone out on the bike paths.

OhLylo 02-01-19 11:49 AM


Originally Posted by OhLylo (Post 20774279)
This morning was...not great. 45F and a bit foggy:



Not terrible conditions on the face of it. I'm appropriately equipped with lights and gear and all that so I figured NBD. Wrong! As I made my way south, it got foggier. Then, the coup de grace: some dude flipped **** on me and pushed me off the road. So I was coming up a road to a roundabout, which has like 10 lights in the middle and is super well light. The bike lane ends and feeds into the roundabout, which is small and one lane. I enter and take the lane as there are concrete dividers everywhere and no car can pass safely, plus it's a roundabout so we're all slow anyways. As I'm hitting my exit, the concrete dividers extend about 100 yards out from the actual circle, so I stay in the lane until I clear this so nobody gets cute and tries to pass here because it's too tight.

Welp, a dude in a silver Accord decided he didn't like this. He laid on the horn, then he edged up on the left and pushed me (not physically, but in the "hit or be hit" sense) off the road. So I'm on the about 18 inches of shoulder thinking, what the hell? This guy then proceeds to pull alongside me, roll down his window, and start shouting expletives mixed with "get off the road" and "ride on the side" and etc. I just stayed on the brake until he was going so slow that he was blocking traffic, and he finally took off. Definitely feeling a bit rattled. I seem to have a powerful jerk magnet lately. I really do need to pick up a camera.

I'd like to take an honest accounting of the situation and evaluate what I could do better. As I mentioned, I have lights front and rear, as well as the standard reflectors and partially reflective clothing. I aim to ride 1m from the right line (if dedicated bike lane/path isn't present) except in situations like this roundabout where taking the lane is necessary. I know conditions weren't optimal today but this happened in probably the best lit area of the whole trip, so I'm dubious it was a visibility issue. Do I chalk it up to road rage and not being able to please some people and press on? Thoughts on what I could do better?


Originally Posted by mgw4jc (Post 20774415)
I'd say you did about everything right. Too many drivers are impatient with anything that slows them down, especially cyclists.

When I encounter any such tight squeezes that make it unsafe or impossible for a car to pass, I will try to get through as quickly as possible, or at least try to appear that I am. It is my hope that the driver sees me trying to get through quickly so that they can then pass safely.

As for riding position, I generally ride as far right as possible. This means that some cars will pass with barely crossing the center line and I'm mostly okay with it as long as they appear to be giving some space. Most cars do give more space though. With a road that has no shoulder, 1m would put me in the middle of the lane on a two lane road (1 lane each direction). In that position I would feel like I'm blocking the driver's view of the road ahead and not giving a good amount of space for him to pass.

There are many opinions on riding position in the road. You have to do what you're comfortable with given the road and conditions you have. But yes, no matter how you execute it, there will be someone to get upset and let you know about it by honking, yelling or whatever.


Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg (Post 20774440)
I think you did well.

Around here roundabouts are sized such that I can take them faster on my bicycle than just about any car/truck, I don't know if yours is large enough or the accord was sporty enough that cars can do it at a higher speed. That is unfortunate.


Originally Posted by RidingMatthew (Post 20774456)
i agree with @mgw4jc and @HardyWeinberg it sounds like you were doing the right thing and it just the right time for that guy to show himself an idiot. be careful out there.

Thanks guys. Re: lane position, maybe it's years of motorcycling habit but riding a meter or so out when there's no shoulder ensures I have some room to make an emergency maneuver if needed rather than virtually guaranteeing myself a crash because it discourages people from trying to make a too-close pass (3 feet to pass law here). Some jerks still do pass, of course, but that's my operating theory. When I have a shoulder and conditions permit I stay right as much as possible.

The roundabout probably can't be traversed safely by a car faster than a bike. It's small so I'd be surprised if you could take it faster than 15mph or so, which is about the speed I go as well. But this dude entered the roundabout at a different point behind me and didn't start his little fit until we were in the exit stretch so I don't think it was a circle speed issue, I think he was just being an impatient jerk. Oh well. TGIF!

HardyWeinberg 02-01-19 12:03 PM


Originally Posted by robertorolfo (Post 20774580)
Let us know how it holds up after a little bit of use.

Will do


Originally Posted by robertorolfo (Post 20774580)
Nicely done in the roundabout at the start, and what was the deal at 5:22? It's hard to tell with everything sped-up, but it looked, um, interesting...

That was just a segment where the rightmost lane becomes right turn only and the bike lane shifts from the right of that lane to the left of it.

I used lightworks to combine the mp4 clips and speed it up (but I forgot to add the final clip). I wish there were an easier program to use. I am used to audacity where you can just point at a time point of an audio recording and delete all to the left or all to the right, or fade in/out or whatever... but lightworks seems to require manipulation to set a point like that and then more manipulation to do something to stuff on either side of the point

MontgomeryMeigs 02-01-19 12:09 PM

I believe drivers act aggressively and confront cyclists because they think they won't get caught and won't suffer any consequences.

For years I've carried an old point-and-shoot camera in a small camera bag attached to the stem. If a driver starts misbehaving, especially riding alongside shouting obscenities, I grab the camera - which I think has more of an impact than a smart phone would - and point it at the driver. It doesn't even have to be turned on. In nearly all these incidents, the driver promptly took off.

In a few cases, the driver became even more angry. In those instances, I simply hit the brakes. With the bike being able to stop more far more quickly that the car, this immediately put me behind the car. In traffic, he's already stacked up cars behind him so he can't hit his brakes too. Now, I'm out of the danger zone of getting sideswiped and also in a great position to get a picture of his plate. Once the driver believes I can get a picture of his plate (even if the camera still isn't on), he's done and out of there.

Now, some people wouldn't want the extra weight of a camera dangling from the stem in an ungainly-looking bag, and I understand that entirely. But I'm willing to put up with a few extra ounces along with the fashion demerits of looking like a 'Fred' in return for something I've found very effective in chasing off aggressive drivers in a non-confrontational manner.

Tundra_Man 02-01-19 12:18 PM


Originally Posted by MontgomeryMeigs (Post 20774631)
I believe drivers act aggressively and confront cyclists because they think they won't get caught and won't suffer any consequences.

For years I've carried an old point-and-shoot camera in a small camera bag attached to the stem. If a driver starts misbehaving, especially riding alongside shouting obscenities, I grab the camera - which I think has more of an impact than a smart phone would - and point it at the driver. It doesn't even have to be turned on. In nearly all these incidents, the driver promptly took off.

In a few cases, the driver became even more angry. In those instances, I simply hit the brakes. With the bike being able to stop more far more quickly that the car, this immediately put me behind the car. In traffic, he's already stacked up cars behind him so he can't hit his brakes too. Now, I'm out of the danger zone of getting sideswiped and also in a great position to get a picture of his plate. Once the driver believes I can get a picture of his plate (even if the camera still isn't on), he's done and out of there.

Now, some people wouldn't want the extra weight of a camera dangling from the stem in an ungainly-looking bag, and I understand that entirely. But I'm willing to put up with a few extra ounces along with the fashion demerits of looking like a 'Fred' in return for something I've found very effective in chasing off aggressive drivers in a non-confrontational manner.

I have a flashlight zip-tied to the top of my helmet which I use as a supplementary/emergency backup headlight. Most of the time it's not on. More than once at intersections people have asked if it's a video camera. I wonder if a lot of drivers think it is, and as a result drive accordingly around me? I really don't have that many incidents compared to some people.

robertorolfo 02-01-19 12:21 PM


Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg (Post 20774615)
That was just a segment where the rightmost lane becomes right turn only and the bike lane shifts from the right of that lane to the left of it.

As mentioned, it's hard to judge with that playback speed, but it looked like a situation where he/she was changing lanes right at the same time that you were moving left, which can be pretty bad because a lot of drivers will be looking at what is coming from behind at that point, and not necessarily noticing something that was ahead of them and now moving into the lane that was empty a few seconds prior. Plus all the cars stacked in the left turning lane only exacerbating the situation. I'm definitely not trying to say you did something wrong, just that I wouldn't want to have to ride through there every day.

Edit: just watched it again and I now see there are three lanes of traffic, and that wan't a left turn lane but just the center lane for proceeding straight. Anyway, it's still a bit iffy for me. I also saw the school but thing, and while I know you said you weren't going fast, I wouldn't have ridden through there with the doors open.

HardyWeinberg 02-01-19 12:55 PM


Originally Posted by robertorolfo (Post 20774656)
Edit: just watched it again and I now see there are three lanes of traffic, and that wan't a left turn lane but just the center lane for proceeding straight. Anyway, it's still a bit iffy for me. I also saw the school but thing, and while I know you said you weren't going fast, I wouldn't have ridden through there with the doors open.

That light/turn thing is actually pretty low-key; the camera on the handlebar doesn't capture the amount of looking over my shoulder that I'm doing etc...

The school bus segment also doesn't capture what I know about how many kids are getting on and how many I already saw do so, but I hear you on that

robertorolfo 02-01-19 03:20 PM


Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg (Post 20774726)
That light/turn thing is actually pretty low-key; the camera on the handlebar doesn't capture the amount of looking over my shoulder that I'm doing etc...

The school bus segment also doesn't capture what I know about how many kids are getting on and how many I already saw do so, but I hear you on that

Yeah, I know what you mean about the camera not seeing what you can when you turn around. And ditto looking ahead for the kids. I was actually trying to see in the video if any of them had gotten on or off yet, and I got the impression that they hadn't, but clearly that's wrong. If anything, I'd be worried about the parents of the kids freaking out (and one was standing right there) if you ride by even slowly. They tend to be super touchy about some things...

essiemyra 02-04-19 05:41 AM

A very nice commute in this morning with the temp at 33 f degrees when I left the house. The weather person said there could be black ice on the road in places, which in my mind made no sense as I thought the roads were dry. I was wrong, the roads were wet. Though it had not rained yesterday or last night that I knew about. Anyway, I lucked out and did not find any patches of black ice.

acidfast7 02-04-19 05:57 AM

Walked into work today (30 mins). Very nice actually. Got to stop and support a local cafe and window shop. Drizzle but not so cold. Seaside was stormy, which is pleasant!

Overall, very nice way to start the day!

mgw4jc 02-04-19 07:31 AM

Low 30s to start and getting up to near 70 today! Quite the change from January. It is already staying light enough on my way home that I don't really need the headlight. Starting to feel like spring a bit, but I know that can change again.

I left early and went to the gym on the way to work. A quiet morning there as I suppose folks slept in after their Super Bowl parties.

pdlamb 02-04-19 08:43 AM

Back in the saddle again...

I was out of town early last week, and just wasn't motivated to get everything together to ride when the polar express hit town. Then it was glorious, bare-legged cycling this weekend! Followed by today.

40% chance of rain after 10:00 this morning; so why did the air feel like there was something in it, and that something was hitting me, and it was wet?? I could have been a lot worse, of course; no tights or knee warmers makes pedaling a whole lot easier.

arsprod 02-04-19 09:43 AM

@pdlamb said most of my experience! Last week was polar vortex hell with actual temps at -15. When it passed we got 6 inches of snow. This morning it was 43F - that's almost 60 degrees warmer. It was sooooo nice to have regular tires and not studs. Supposed to be in the mid 50's this evening but rain. I'll take the rain!

Phamilton 02-04-19 10:07 AM


Originally Posted by arsprod (Post 20778494)
@pdlamb said most of my experience! Last week was polar vortex hell with actual temps at -15. When it passed we got 6 inches of snow. This morning it was 43F - that's almost 60 degrees warmer. It was sooooo nice to have regular tires and not studs. Supposed to be in the mid 50's this evening but rain. I'll take the rain!

Me three! First commute this morning since about 2 weeks ago. I don't ride below about 10deg F.

HardyWeinberg 02-04-19 01:06 PM

28F, windy, snowing, icy; put on studded tires but still avoided just about all merge opportunities, stuck to x-walks etc...

https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...c71b602fc1.jpg

RidingMatthew 02-04-19 01:44 PM

weather app said 35 but i saw 28 on my way in. So hard to dial back my winter weather gear to get it right. I hope I am cool enough on the way home (currently 69F)

Darth Lefty 02-04-19 06:38 PM

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...f9924f9d3.jpeg
Intermittent weather today. I exchanged the truck for the bike around 9:30, by lunch it was raining again. Watching the radar.

on the way in I encountered these guys. I started to turn around but they waved me through. This photo is looking back.

mgw4jc 02-05-19 07:56 AM


Originally Posted by Darth Lefty (Post 20779506)
on the way in I encountered these guys. I started to turn around but they waved me through. This photo is looking back.


The trees are working? Good of them to branch out like that.

About 40F when I left home and I went with shorts. It felt great! High of 75 today! Left home when I like to and made good time. Managed to get 15 miles instead of the usual 13ish.

pdlamb 02-05-19 08:07 AM

Overcast, damp, and warm enough (60F) that I saw the first mosquito of the season today. Maybe a few more weeks of winter wouldn't be so bad, at least if it were milder than last week.

Traffic was fairly light, which is always nice. I hit three straight yellow lights downtown, and rolled through them all!* Another bike commuter caught up with me a few miles from the office, we end up riding together every few months. Nice to know I'm not completely alone in my craziness.

*For the scold in our midst, it fit my driver's ed criteria: if you won't be able to stop short of the intersection, go briskly through. And none of the three lights turned red before I cleared the intersection.


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