Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bike to Work Week

This past week was Bike to Work Week. We had great weather this week, and I managed to ride my bike to work each of the four days I worked. To make this week more special, the City of Urbandale closed the safest road for me to take to work so I rode new routes into the office. This has extended my commute from three miles to around six or seven. Not a bad thing, but my choice of roads to cross the freeway is somewhat limited.

I can take 86th Street, a four lane road which is not designed with bikes in mind, as both the eastbound and westbound on ramps are accessed from the right lane where I typically ride. Judging by the way people drive, the extra minute it takes me to clear the ramp is a very critical part of their schedule. Once I'm off 86th, the rest of the ride in is on fairly pleasant residential streets. Thankfully I only had one really close call this week. I can now go a long time without hearing car brakes screeching behind me. 

The other route I can take in is 128th street. This is a nice smooth two lane road that is probably a better choice for me to take, except for the fact that there's more traffic on the road than it was likely designed for, and the people driving on that road are in just as big of a rush to sit in queue at a four way stop as the people on 86th are to get on the freeway. I've gotten passed with cars coming towards me, as well as passed in no passing zones on hills. Once I'm off of 128th, the rest of the ride in is not too bad as it's either a four lane road or feeder streets. 

The one observation that I came up with during this weeks commuting is that the best thing to ensure your survival as a cyclist is take the entire lane. You have a right to the lane, the same way that a motorcycle or someone's grandmother driving 20 MPH in her Cadillac does, so take it. If you don't, automobile drivers will use every trick in the book to force their way by you safely and courteously. As a matter of courtesy, I try and plan my cycling routes so that I'm not on busy streets and holding up traffic. However, the city has prevented me from being able to do that for the next 4 months. The cars are going to just have to deal with me until then.


Anonymous said...


where did you go friday night? after seeing you outside locust tap you dissapeared. hoping you and your bike were fine and you got home OK? wish you would have hung out for a bit.


Steve Fuller said...

Rob, I got home fine. It was apparent that enough beverages had made their way into my system by that point. My leg hurt and I decided to make my way home. I should have let you guys know as a matter of courtesy. Bike and I are fine. A little bit of rash on the shifter and the handlebar tape, but nothing bad. Rule learned. No cub hopping the touring bike. I'll bring the single speed the next time. :)

Anonymous said...

glad to hear you got home safely and you and bike were OK.