Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Riding Fast

Are you a slow rider?  Do you feel that you are less safe on a bicycle the faster you ride?  How are your skills when it comes to riding with traffic?  
My riding style has been changing lately.  I have been going through intersections in the middle of the lane more often, so I am directly in motorists line of sight.   I also have been picking my speed up,  shifting into higher gears, and taking the lane in certain places around town.  One of those places is on Monticello avenue coming down from Avon toward Ridge/5th.  After crossing Avon, it is down hill all the way to the next light.  Now, there is a bike lane, but again, it is up against the parked cars.  I don't want to risk getting doored, so I take the lane fully, shift up into high gear, and pedal it down.  Because of the downhill I can raise my speed to match that of motorists, so I am not holding anybody up.  My handling skills have increased, so I feel more comfortable at the higher speed.  If I went at a slower speed, and stayed farther to the right, I risk getting doored.  Also, I feel squeezed in by passing cars.  I believe taking the lane and riding faster is a safer option.  Also, it demonstrates to motorists a higher competency level of riding, which hopefully translates into more respect.  
Another place where faster riding could be utilized is on East Market, coming from downtown.  Again, it is all downhill, and the lane is narrower.  There is not room for lane sharing, especially with the parked cars on the side.  
I suppose the main idea here is that if you can increase your ability to ride faster, it would allow you to put yourself in a more visible position, ride as a part of the traffic without holding cars up, and demonstrate a higher level of proficiency to motorists, in turn garnering more respect from them (hopefully).  

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