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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

New Rider

Old 05-22-22, 04:38 PM
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mjsmith7357
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New Rider

I'm new to the forum so if this is the wrong one for this post, I apologize.
I just bought my first bike since I was a kid.. I don't even know if I got a good bike. My question is there a point where you are being to safe? I have a bright green helmet, a reflective vest, legal lights for my town to ride at dusk, and mirrors. My bag on the back even is reflective.

I don't have a car anymore and bought it to ride to the store and to work. I live by a busy road but it has a bike lane and I take residential streets as often as I can.

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Old 05-22-22, 07:17 PM
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Daniel4
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Originally Posted by mjsmith7357 View Post
I'm new to the forum so if this is the wrong one for this post, I apologize.
I just bought my first bike since I was a kid and rode Walmart bikes. I don't even know if I got a good bike. It is a Trek Verse 1. My question is there a point where you are being to safe? I see pros ride by my place a lot and they don' t have half the gear I do. I have a bright green helmet, a reflective vest, legal lights for my town to ride at dusk, and mirrors. My bag on the back even is reflective.

I don't have a car anymore and bought it to ride to the store and to work. I live by a busy road but it has a bike lane and I take residential streets as often as I can.

Am I just being a paranoid new rider?
I've been riding on city streets for over 46 years. I may have more stuff than you have. Don't let the appearance of others dictate how you feel. If what you have make you feel safe then that's what it takes to keep you on the road.
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Old 05-23-22, 05:30 AM
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mjsmith7357
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Daniel

Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
I've been riding on city streets for over 46 years. I may have more stuff than you have. Don't let the appearance of others dictate how you feel. If what you have make you feel safe then that's what it takes to keep you on the road.
Thank you for your reply. Is there any safety tips you have about riding in town? Maybe things that a random blog wouldnít tell me?
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Old 05-23-22, 07:05 AM
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Daniel4
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Once others chime in, the tips will be endless and maybe overwhelming. But don't let that discourage you. Just imagine all the things you do when driving safely.

So let's start there. Practice defensive driving but on a bicycle. I was going to start listing things but that might start sounding intimidating as well. Ride around your neighbourhood and get a feel of how drivers react as they approach you. Bad drivers will try to bully you off the road or to the far side. Do lots of Google searches for safe riding habits. Even here at BikeForums, there are lots of threads by other new riders asking for advice. But, like every discussion forum, for every piece of advice here, there's at least another opposing view because the law can sometimes be vague.
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Old 05-23-22, 07:49 AM
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This is a fairly good place to start.
https://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/
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Old 05-23-22, 07:50 AM
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Here's a good set of tips to get you started.
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Old 05-23-22, 07:53 AM
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It's up to your own judgement about you and your ride and you will get a huge range of opinions. Traffic laws more or less apply to bicycle riders with specific exceptions, but a lot of times drivers expect you to act like a pedestrian. This gives you a lot of leeway to find shortcuts without pissing anyone off.

I have a neon orange helmet and quite a bit of reflective stuff that's not too obvious in daylight. I have lights and fenders but only carry them in the wet dark season. I don't have a mirror but would get a Varia radar if I had more free cash. The "pros" might have more of this stuff than you realize, they like their bikes to be sleek and look expensive so a lot of it is small or built-in or more tastefully garish.

Trek Verve 1 is a good bike for commuting. It will mount up any accessories you like and keep working long term if you take care of it. There are a few iffy bits, but might not even crop up
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Old 05-23-22, 08:22 AM
  #8  
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mjsmith7357 First, the fact that you are thinking about safety puts you ahead of the game compared to many riders.

I learned a lot about bike commuting safely here on bikeforums, and there have been countless lists. Just google: "bike commuting safety tips site:bikeforums.net"

However, I think it's always good to ask, and it gives me a chance to re-assess for myself. As a year-round day/night rider here's what I do:

Equipment wise the big four for me are: HI-VIZ, LIGHTS, MIRRORS, HORN.
Mentally: LOOK AROUND, THINK AHEAD, LEAVE AN OUT, CO-OPERATE...BUT TRUST NO ONE.

HI-VIZ: Passive visibility, bright clothing and reflectors.
LIGHTS: Flashers that can be seen front, rear and sides, and up high on the helmet to be seen better in traffic. A headlight with a wide beam to illuminate the sides of the road, not just right in front.
MIRRORS: I absolutely love my glasses-mounted Take-A-Look mirror. It provides a large, vibration-free view of traffic behind you without looking away from traffic ahead...and by turning your head slightly you can see the whole roadway curb to curb. A helmet-mounted mirror would also be good for this. I also have a handle-bar mirror (except on my folding bike).
HORN: For 25 years I have been riding with Delta AirZound Airhorns. Painfully loud! You pump them up with your bike pump. It will let you be heard in traffic better than anything else out there. Plus a bell for pedestrians.

LOOK AROUND, THINK AHEAD, LEAVE AN OUT, CO-OPERATE...BUT TRUST NO ONE: Same as when driving, except on the bike I yield more due to greater physical vulnerability on a bike. And on a bike, if traffic gets too dangerous I will transition to a sidewalk or shoulder...things you can't do in a car.

I agree with Daniel4 "Don't let the appearance of others dictate how you feel. If what you have makes you feel safe, then that's what it takes to keep you on the road."

Finally, welcome to bikeforums.net. As with any online forum ignore the haters and trolls, although BF seems to have fewer of them than other online forums out there.
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Old 05-25-22, 07:44 AM
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eye contact w/ a car driver is no guarantee. meaning sometimes eye contact makes the driver think you acknowledge them & you are prepared for them to proceed, while at the same time, you think it means they acknowledge you & they are prepared for you to proceed

it's a process. this time, next year, you'll be sharing your own tips. welcome to the forum!

how long is your commute?
what general location are you in?
in general, what roads are you riding on?
do you have any specific intersections you're curious about riding thru?
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Old 05-27-22, 10:18 AM
  #10  
mjsmith7357
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
eye contact w/ a car driver is no guarantee. meaning sometimes eye contact makes the driver think you acknowledge them & you are prepared for them to proceed, while at the same time, you think it means they acknowledge you & they are prepared for you to proceed

it's a process. this time, next year, you'll be sharing your own tips. welcome to the forum!

how long is your commute?
what general location are you in?
in general, what roads are you riding on?
do you have any specific intersections you're curious about riding thru?
the town I live in is Burlington, IA. My commute to the store is a little over a mile one way. The commute to work is about a mile in a half.

The road I have to take is a highway that turns into a city street as you get by my place. I try to take residential as much as I can.

my issue is streets that have no bike lane that are generally not safe. There isnít even a sidewalk. I have yet to try that road because of fear of getting hit. That road has 3 stop lights.
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Old 05-27-22, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mjsmith7357 View Post
the town I live in is Burlington, IA. My commute to the store is a little over a mile one way. The commute to work is about a mile in a half.
The road I have to take is a highway that turns into a city street as you get by my place. I try to take residential as much as I can.
my issue is streets that have no bike lane that are generally not safe. There isnít even a sidewalk. I have yet to try that road because of fear of getting hit. That road has 3 stop lights.
trust your intuition
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Old 05-27-22, 11:17 AM
  #12  
Daniel4
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Originally Posted by mjsmith7357 View Post
the town I live in is Burlington, IA. My commute to the store is a little over a mile one way. The commute to work is about a mile in a half.

The road I have to take is a highway that turns into a city street as you get by my place. I try to take residential as much as I can.

my issue is streets that have no bike lane that are generally not safe. There isnít even a sidewalk. I have yet to try that road because of fear of getting hit. That road has 3 stop lights.
Have you already biked your routes? If so, how do you feel about them after cycling? Do you know any friends or local cycling clubs that may have members ride along with you sometimes?

In your first post, you mention about the pros who cycle. Are they going the same route? Maybe motorists are already accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists.

When you ride on the road, don't play "nice" by hugging the edge. You may fall over or get squeezed further. Take the lane with confidence.

I have two action cameras: one on my helmet and one pointing backwards. Another idea is to mount a bike flag horizontally or a pool noodle to force motorists to keep their distance.
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Old 05-27-22, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mjsmith7357 View Post
is there a point where you are being to safe? I have a bright green helmet, a reflective vest, legal lights for my town to ride at dusk, and mirrors. My bag on the back even is reflective.
I don't think so. Safe's good. Most precautions are cost-free, other than the money to acquire them or the change in approach to implement them.

Myself, I ride on MUPs and paths whenever it's practicable and safe to do so. Mostly because many of the streets where I live have limited sight angles and distance, combined with zero shoulder space and very few cycling lanes, such that it can be quite dangerous on many streets to be there. I have multiple lights, reflectors, wear bright/reflective vests and jackets. I have a bell. I wear a helmet. I do ride on less-busy, less-dangerous roads whenever possible. All good steps toward safety, I'd say.

About the only things I don't yet do: ride in a group, have a mirror, and have a video/audio recording (front and rear).

Welcome to the forum, by the way. Kudos for getting back into cycling. Not a bad way to go about the day, all things considered.
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