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Monthly Archives: November 2014

How I Chose the Proper Road Bike Size: A Noob’s Guide to Speed and Comfort (or both if you’re lucky)

The knee-jerk reaction when looking into buying your first road bike might be to hit the Google app where you’ll end up at the Bike Frame Size Calculator.  You’ll put in your height (6′), then stick a book in between your legs, tight against your crotch and measure from the floor to the spine and type in that measurement (34″).  You’ll then be redirected to a new page that will give you your “ideal” frame size (59 cm or 23″ in my case).  You’ll also be given your ideal crank arm length (mine shows 175 but that’s not correct, it’s 172.5 – we’ll get to that in a bit).  In addition, you’ll also be given several other sizes to consider (57-61 cm in my case).  Easy as pie, right?  Not quite.

You’ll also have to deal with a lot of internet/pro chatter about buying a smaller bike.  For instance, Mark Cavendish is 5’8″ tall which should mean a 54 cm frame for him but he rides either a 52 cm or 49 cm Venge depending on his mood.  You’ll no doubt read about many other pros who ride bikes several sizes smaller than their height would suggest is plausible (according to the calculator).  Look at Jen’s Voigt as well (click on “Specifications”).  He’s 6’3″ tall and rides a 60 cm Madone 7 Series.  According to the calculator he should be on a 62 cm frame.  Now for my Venge…  It’s a 56 cm frame but we were looking at a 54 initially because I made it known that I wanted as much speed as possible…  It was my choice to go with the 56 – I split the difference between the right sized 58 and the smaller 54.
IMG_5168 IMG_4999

The first thing you should know about the bike size calculator is that it’s a guide.

The trick with picking the right frame size is choosing between comfort (larger frame) and speed (smaller) or if you’re lucky, you’ll get both as I did.  The smaller frame size gets your butt up in the air and your hands down low so the cyclist can cut into the wind with his or her head and shoulders, not their chest.  In other words, the smaller frames are all about aerodynamics.  Now, many in the industry claim that riding like that is less comfortable but I haven’t found that to be the case.  Conversely, having ridden both upright and as shown above, I am infinitely more comfortable riding low.

We’re not quite out of the woods yet though.  A smaller frame should mean better handling as well, that is cornering and climbing.  The larger bike should descend better because it’ll be what is described as a little less “twitchy“.

All of that taken into account, when picking a road bike a choice must be made:  Stick with the proper size and ride a little more upright and comfortably or go low with a smaller frame and for aerodynamics and responsiveness.  Or go for both.  Just know this up front, if you do go small, there’s a very likely chance that you’ll need a longer stem to make the cockpit reach work.  The frame style will matter as well.  It’s quite easy to tell the two main types apart (there are several, but let’s keep this as simple as possible), you’ve got the traditional which is signified by a top tube that is parallel to the ground and a compact frame which has a sloped top tube:

It is my understanding that choosing the traditional frame limits the size selection quite a bit because the geometry is different (this is according to the owner of my local shop who has decades of experience in frame building, including a 24 hour world record bike).  The compact frames are favored by manufacturers because they don’t need so many frame sizes but they also work to the cyclist’s advantage.  For instance, I actually have a 54 cm traditional frame bike (see my bike page, scroll to the bottom) that happens way too small to ride comfortably at my height, yet we were seriously considering a 54 cm Venge which would have been seriously aerodynamic but would have limited me in my later years when I’m a little less flexible…  In the end, I went with a 56 because I was thinking of my later years.  I’m flexible enough now that I can have a fairly aggressive position on my bike (almost as much as Cav but not Jens).  It also helps that when my shop built my bike they left quite a bit of room for spacers.  Right now it looks a little off-putting having two large spacers stacked on top of my stem, but fifteen years from now when I’m not so concerned with speed I’ll be able to raise the stem up to account for a little bit of decreased flexibility.

So, I’m 777 words into this post, quite a few for what should be something fairly simple…  You’re “this” tall and you have “this” amount of reach, you get “this” size frame.  Right?  Well yes, but there’s a bit more to it depending on how far you want to go.  When I got into cycling, I did like most noobs do:  I found a bike I wanted and I bought it before thinking it through.  Then I had to buy another bike that fit me.  The Venge, my third road bike was the first one that I really paid attention to what I’d need, not only right now but in the future as well.

The setup on my traditional 58 cm Trek and 56 cm Venge are almost identical but the simple truth is, the Venge is a lot more comfortable because it’s just a bit smaller and it fits how I want to ride perfectly.  In my case, where I spend between five and six thousand miles a year worth of time on the saddle, it made a lot of sense to pay close attention to what I want.  After all, that works out to about 330 hours give or take, we’re not talking about a couple of rides up to the market once a week.  Where this gets difficult is knowing what you want before you lay down the cash.  Having had a bike that was too small, one that was the correct size by the book and one that is slightly smaller, I’ll be erring to the smaller side from now on because smaller suits my riding style and small is a little more versatile.

UPDATE: My word, all that and I forgot about crank arm length… The calculator said I should be rolling with a 175 mm crank arm length but my in-shop fitting clearly showed 172.5. I tried a number of scenarios on the calculator to make a 172.5 show up but nothing worked, it popped out either 170 or 175… Again, the calculator is a guide, not the law. Use it at your own risk.

Recovery and my key to happiness: Fitness. 22 Years Sober, 8,036 days…

Today I celebrate 22 years without a drop. 8,036 days. 192,864 hours. 11,571,840 minutes. 694,310,400 seconds.

This has been a truly excellent year for me though it’s had its stress and has been anything but easy… I don’t think it’s supposed to be though. In fact, easy and stress-free were never promised when I sobered up. Growing is never easy or pain-free and this has been a huge year of growth. Taking risks, locking horns with challenges, working toward being a better husband and father, the career(s) and trying to pass on my experience, strength and hope to other drunks that it may help them to recover too… Point is, when I was young (and arguably stupid) I thought “making it” would mean a carefree life of fun and happiness – a perpetual vacation in other words.

I haven’t gotten the balance down perfectly yet because I’ve gone too far the other way and spend a good deal of what little vacation I do take working, but I’m getting there.

In the end, the important thing is that I am free from mood or mind altering drugs and that gives me the chance to seek out my happiness. Without sobriety, I’ve proven time and time again, I’m pretty much useless.

I was promised that if I just stayed sober, kept coming back and kept my life clean, my life would become so good I would get to a point where I thought it was so fantastic I would think it couldn’t get any better. I’ve been there dozens of times. Each time I’ve kept on the path, continued to come back, continued to live the clean and sober life… And each and every time I thought I was at the top of my mountain, that it couldn’t possibly get better, it has.

For that, I am grateful. Life sober is good.

One of the greatest factors contributing to my overall happiness and enjoyment of sober life has been maintaining a decent level of fitness (in the first couple of years, then in the last three, I could rewrite that, “exceptional level of fitness”).  Fitness has helped me navigate through almost every stage of my recovery, in fact I’ve been into some form of physical activity all but five years of the twenty-two I’ve been sober.  I can say with certainty, those five years were the hardest.  Hindsight is what it is but looking back those five stick out like a sore thumb.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say fitness is more important to the recovering than for normal folk but I can explain why it is so important to me.  First, and starting with the simple, alcohol was my escape.  Fitness, or training, was the positive answer to the destructive nature of pouring my life down the drain for a drink (or several, as the case was).  For an hour a day, or even three or four on weekend days, I didn’t have to fret about what I had left to do to get my life back in order.  I didn’t have to worry about making amends for being a loser.  All I had to do was get my but outside and move it…  There has always been one major difference between drowning my troubles and working out at them though:  I wasn’t willing to piss away what was good in my life to overdo it.  Fitness was my anti-alcohol.  Fitness didn’t get in the way of going to work, it made work bearable.  Fitness didn’t have me throwing away everything that was good in my life, it added to its greatness.  Unlike alcohol, fitness made my life better.

With that, you can be assured, I’ll keep coming back.

Note to Self: Only Eat Big AFTER the Big Ride

Sunday was all planned out on Saturday morning…  It was going to be cold but Mike and I were going to hammer out 30 or 40 miles “no matter how much we had to put on to stay warm”…  Perfect.  Misery loves company.  I’d also put in 45 minutes on the trainer on Friday and went out for an hour on Saturday.  It was going to be a good weekend.

Saturday night was a celebration party for my buddy English Pete.  English Pete finally bit the bullet and became American Pete (though let’s face it, he’ll still be English Pete) so his wife pulled out all of the stops and put together a dinner in his honor.  Thankfully they didn’t pull out the spotted dick but stuck with a fantastic American dinner instead: Burgers, pulled pork, cole slaw and potatoes and good old apple pie for desert.

Now, for those who don’t know, what you do with the pulled pork and coleslaw is put it on top of the cheeseburger with a bit of ketchup and mayo.  For the potatoes, cut them into wedges, drizzle with oil, shake on some seasoning salts and bake them till browned.  My wife made the apple pie.  You can count on one hand the ingredients and it was still hot when we broke into it after dinner.

Unfortunately for me, the burgers were just a little bit too good.  I didn’t have one, I had two and they were big enough that I had a tough time opening my mouth wide enough to fit the burger in.  I did manage to stay quite small with the apple pie and homemade ice cream though.  I guess that’s saying something.  No big deal though, right?  I was going to ride it off on Sunday anyway.

I woke up Sunday to snow and ice covering the roads and a fair bit of flurries.  Way too treacherous to ride on.  Mike called at 9:20 to let me know that he was bailing on the ride (rightly so).  To compensate, diet wise, I had a decent (if small) breakfast and skipped lunch then stuck with a reasonable dinner (fettuccini alfredo with chicken and a small salad) before heading out to the bowling alley.

As far as bowling went, I ended up pretty happy that I skipped the ride as, for once, I had plenty of energy left for the third game.  We took all seven points available so we’ll likely move up another spot in two weeks (we are currently in fifth of something like 18 teams).  That said, I did make a bit of a silly mistake…  In-season I can pretty much count on the weather as long as I’m not looking too far out.  I don’t have to worry about waking up to conditions that are going to keep me off the bike so I don’t have to worry about eating a few hundred calories too many the night before.  Off-season, especially when there’s even a small chance of snow, I’ve gotta keep the big meals reserved for after the ride.

Oh well, if there was nothing to work on, wouldn’t life be boring?  Indeed it would.

For the Love of the Ride: It Feels Like 26…

There are three parts to this next statement: I hate cycling in the cold.

First, I don’t like the fact that wearing enough clothes to stay comfortable slows me down.

Second, I hate that if I rode faster, I’d be warmer but I’d end up sweating which leaks body heat. Layering properly helps but even that isn’t perfect.

Third, if there’s no snow on the ground, I hate cycling in the cold just a little bit less than I hate riding on the God forsaken trainer.

With that in mind, I went out for a little ride today, just sixteen miles but it was, well not too sucky. In fact, with the exception of the last four miles (into the wind), it was really quite not horrible. At least the sun was out every now and again. The temp was right at freezing but with the wind that “feels like” 26. Unfortunately at 18-20 mph it was chilly baby.

Of course, chilly is way better than the training wheels and it sure beats getting fat.

The Rules of Cycling are there to Help, not Hurt You… Or Your Feeling

I read a really funny article, The Unwritten Rules of Cycling Etiquette, yesterday… It was linked by Gerry at The Vicious Cycle in a post about wearing ear buds while cycling.  Before I get into this, know one thing about me:  I LOVE posts about cycling’s rules – and I don’t mean that facetiously, I really enjoy them thoroughly.  Allow me to explain…

Gerry, the author of that post, says he sees no French cyclists wearing the things on a bike but he does see North Americans do so, and from the sound of it, fairly regularly. It is his opinion that “…riding my bike is one of the few times during the day that I’m actually unconnected to the virtual world, so those precious hours on the road are a breath of fresh air. I also get tons of inspiration on the bike, not to mention a fair few good ideas (or ‘ideas’, at least). I might be wrong on this, but I bet that this wouldn’t happen as much if I had that next guitar solo to think about.“.

If I am to be politically correct about it, that sums up my position fairly. My unvarnished opinion is a little less um, nice. That said, many of the “Rules” of cycling, written or unwritten, are not there to make a person feel less than, they’re there to help a fellow, in the gender-neutral sense, fit into an otherwise very cliquey group.  It appears that some people tend to take the tongue-in-cheek nature of the rules a little too seriously though, and wind up with their feeling hurt.  Notice, that’s the singular, not the plural.  Yeah, that’s not a type-o.  In the circles I run we call that our “bullshit feeling”.

In any event, going back to the unwritten rules of cycling etiquette, take this one on cycling shorts:

MEN: there are many rules regarding shorts. First of all, they don’t exist. Forget about them. The only acceptable garments to wear are bibs, no exceptions.

Now, I could get all flustered at the fact that I’ve got well over $500 in the four pair of shorts that I own right now, get mad and run out and spend another $500 on bibs – simply because this guy says shorts don’t exist, but I don’t have to…  They do exist in my neck of the woods.  In fact, most of the guys I ride with wear shorts in lieu of bibs.  So while that may be a rule somewhere, it’s not one where I ride.  Another fine example is the shaving of the guns…  I do but there aren’t too many others in our group.  In fact, and this is kind of funny, I shaved the day before my first club ride because I read on the internet that I’d be looked down on as a noob if I didn’t.  In fact I was a noob but let’s not that get in the way of a funny story.  Imagine my surprise when I showed up and there were only three other guys with shaved legs.  The other 25 or so were au natural.  Yes indeed, I did feel a bit like a dope.  That said, my legs do look stellar when I’m hammering down the road so it’s not all bad.  And on top of that, my wife really digs it (bow-chicka-wow-wow).

There are other rules as well that fire people up…  Matching kit, sock length, saddle bags, short color, saddle/bar tape color, there’s a rule for almost everything.  Take a look at two photos for me, first with all of the rules followed [ED: All of the rules that matter]:

Not bad if I do say so myself (and I do say so myself)…  Okay, now this one where I didn’t follow any:
Olympic Triathlon_07092011-5
Folks, there are so many fashion f*ck-ups in that photo that I don’t know if I can count them all, call it a veritable shit-ton.  See, this is where having a healthy, if huge, ego really comes in handy because I can look at those two photos and say, “hey, that last one was all of three months into cycling for me…  I didn’t know my @ss from a hole in the ground and that’s okay (if gnarly)”.  When I sat down in my first Algebra class, I opened to the back of the book and thought, “I’m screwed”.  I wasn’t, I just didn’t have the knowhow on that first day.  Well, cycling is no different.  Point is, if I hadn’t read the rules with at least some semblance of an open mind I’d still look like that dork in the second photo.  Say what you want about how strictly one must adhere but I’d rather be the guy in the first photo any day of the week and twice on Sunday (and that’s not even my good kit).  On the other hand and as I explained before with gun shaving, many of the “rules” only apply in certain areas.  Take saddle bags, strictly against the rules, yet there are only a few of us on Tuesday night who forgo them for carrying the tube, pump and tire levers in our pockets.  For my first two years I used a saddlebag.  That changed when I bought my Venge though, because the bag made my bike look like a Ballchinian:

I just can't stand my bike looking like a Ballchinian.

I just can’t stand my bike looking like a Ballchinian.

So, dear friends, whilst it may seem so at times, road cycling (and even mountain biking) rules are not meant to constrict you…  They’re meant to be worn as a comfortable (yet form-fitting) kit that lets one move about freely.  They’re not a straight jacket.

Except the damned headphones…  Don’t wear headphones on a bicycle for God’s sake.  There’s only one easier way to  spot a noob…  They have their tighty whities or granny panties sticking out of the waistband of their cycling shorts.  Yes, I have seen it before and yes, I did chuckle.

Your Mountain Bike Can WHAT?! The Laugh Out Loud Search Term of the Cycling Year…

This one made me laugh out loud:

“My mountain bike can keep up with road bikes”…

No. It. Can’t.

Never mind the silly grammatical flaw… The people riding those road bikes you can keep up with on your mountain bike are slow. Period. Bring your mountain bike up to Michigan and I will kick your ass. Twice, just to make sure you know it’s not a fluke and you pick the distance.

Is this statement cocky?  Sure, a little bit, but c’mon folks… 

Now, to analyze the statement with a straight face – which I almost attempted (the straight face part, the analysis is actually quite simple), I can use my own experience on the Dawn Farm Ride for Recovery this past April.  I rode that one with my wife, her first 100k ride.  We were averaging between 15 and 16 mph and we were passed by a kid on a straight fork 29’er (no shock), barely.  Now, anyone who knows anything about mountain biking knows that only really fast riders choose a hard-tail mountain bike without a front shock.  They give up the comfort of a shock for two simple reasons, for weight and speed.  He was averaging, on his mountain bike, between 17 and 18 mph to pass us, but he couldn’t hold that for long…  He’d pull ahead for a bit, then fall back and latch on to our little four man and one woman train for a while, etc..  Point is, that kid knew what he was doing, he could ride and the best he could do was 16-17 mph… I’m not breaking a sweat till I hit 17 on my road bike. I’m not breathing heavy till I hit 19 and I’m not working till I hit 21-22. A sprint? 31-32 mph. You’re geared out on a mountain bike at 29 – and that’s if you have a huge 42 tooth big ring!

This is very simple: If you can keep up with a real roadie on a mountain bike, call Sky and take Wiggo’s job. Otherwise, keep it to yourself lest you come off like a dope. Whoever you are out there though, good God, thanks for the laugh. I needed that.


Cannot beat this:


Which is Better, A Road Bike or a Mountain bike?

Before we even get started, this is the correct answer to the question:

A road bike AND a mountain bike.

I’m sure that’s a little too simple though so let’s dig deeper for the sake of those who seek great wisdom and two-wheeled happiness.

The answer is subjective and stacked against the road bike from the beginning, with one small factor that gums up the whole works: As bikes go, road bikes are the sexiest by a long shot and to argue otherwise is futile. Think of the road bike as the super car, the Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini or AMG Benz of bicycles. They do one thing, very well: They get the rider down the road, fast. They straighten tight corners (you’ll be able to corner better than most cars trucks) and tame steep grades… Ahem, as long as the road is paved. And therein lies the rub. Trying a road bike on a dirt road at speed will tighten the sphincter of even a seasoned pro. Road bikes are light, sleek and beautiful and are my suggestion for any middle-aged man looking for a midlife crisis to sate, they just suck on anything but a paved surface.  This isn’t to say, obviously, that a woman can’t enjoy a road bike (because to suggest so would be stupid), just that cycling fits the whole “male midlife crisis” phase – and it’s a lot healthier than most other options to boot.

On the other hand you’ve got the mountain bike. If we were to compare the mountain bike to a vehicle, it would have to be the Jeep. It’s the all-purpose, ride anywhere answer to cycling. They’re fun and symbolize cycling freedom because you can go almost anywhere that one can hike and get down the trail 3-5 times faster. They’re solid, durable and comfortable, if slow.

The road bike is my personal favorite because it’s more refined, faster and sexier, so much so that I have a tough time finding the time to ride my mountain bike as much as I’d like (though I do like to go for a family ride on the dirt roads after my training ride on the weekends).  Keep in mind, this is my own personal opinion, I have a few friends who would rather cruise on their mountain bikes and play in the dirt than ride a road bike.  Again, this is subjective.

Which is best, if one can’t have both, will come down to a personal choice of what fits your needs and personality best.  A mountain bike is far more versatile and can be used for anything from trail riding to commuting simply by putting a couple of road tires on it.  On the other hand, if you want speed and the idea of riding with a large group appeals to you, I’ve demonstrated there is nothing better than the road bike*.

As for which is more comfortable, this aspect of choosing a bike is exceptionally controversial and I am one of  those who make it so.  Many people suggest that riding in a more upright position, as on a mountain bike, is preferable to the aggressive position used on a road bike.  While a road bike can be set up to accommodate the upright position, I have always preferred being lower, more aerodynamic.  I can comfortably ride for upwards of 50 miles on my mountain bike but I’m good for more than double that on my road bike.  I’d love to be able to write that a mountain bike will be more comfortable but I can’t (even though both of the bikes pictured above have gone through a multi-step setup process by a professional).  I favor the aggressive position on the road bike and this is why:  Before I started cycling I’d had back issues ever since I was a kid.  I started on a mountain bike and my back improved but I really found relief when I switched to the road bike and the further I lowered the stem, the better I fell.  I got to a point where I can now go up to a month without needing a pain reliever (Aleve, Tylenol, etc.).  In other words, don’t immediately think that because a bike has drop bars on it, it’ll be less comfortable.

The one piece of advice that I will pass along concerning the decision to choose a road bike or a mountain bike, if you can’t have both, is this:  To thine own self be true.  If you’re really into speed, don’t try to find it on a mountain bike unless you’re also into speed on single tracks and dirt.  Conversely, if speed isn’t all that important and you want to ride on more than just paved roads, go for a mountain bike or hybrid.  Of course, if all else fails, get a cross bike and a second set of lighter wheels that you can put road tires on…  This is a great way to get the best of both worlds.

*As a minor aside, time trial bikes are faster than road bikes, there is no doubt.  For the purpose of this post, however, I’m taking into account the social aspect of cycling and the one thing everyone should know about time trial bikes is that they’re meant for non-drafting conditions, with the exception being team time trials in racing.

UPDATE: A commenter who goes by Eckels22, wrote to say they are looking at a Specialized Diverge Carbon Comp as an answer to the cross bike, meets race bike, meets all around long distance bike (I’d call it a cross between the Crux and Roubaix). I’d forgotten the addition of the bike to Specialized’s stable. If my local shop gets one in, I’ll see if I can test drive it for a review but it looks like a REALLY nice cross between an endurance “squishy” bike and a cross bike. However, and I should say this, I won’t buy one. I’ll never say never, but I’d probably opt to save $500 and pick up a carbon Crux or $1,500(!) and get an aluminum Crux with internal cable routing (!) for an all-arounder.

Injury Recovery: Uncharted Territory

In the last three years I can’t remember ever taken off more than two days in a row from some kind of physical activity, usually riding a bike or running.  Either on a trainer, on the road or on a trail.  There have been a few times where I had a really rough day working out in the yard cutting up a dead tree or something that I would count as a workout but I had to be absolutely worn out afterwards to do so.

I’ve taken the last three days off and in the last five only ridden fourteen total miles.  To say I’m itching to get back out is an understatement of epic proportions.  On the other hand, we’ve had flurries every day for the last four so I’m not exactly weeping about it.  I’m finally trying to deal with a nagging case of tendonitis in my right arm that’s been bugging me for about five months now.  For four-and-a-half of those months the pain was at least tolerable but in the last two weeks it’s really gotten bad.  I was hoping, of course, to make it to winter so I could at least get some miles in on the trainer and I pretty much did.  I’ve allowed myself a few excuses to stay off the trainer though…  A long put-off trip to the dentist’s office yesterday to repair a broken filling and begin preparations for a crown and bridge got in the way yesterday, for example.

In any event, my arm is actually feeling a lot better since I’ve been off.  I was nervous about whether I’d done too much damage by waiting so long to give it time to heal and am quite pleased with my progress…  So that means it’s time to start thinking about putting in some winter miles – it’s time to get on that horse again.

Unfortunately our forecast is crap over the next ten days with highs only near or barely above freezing, with some snow even, so while I may get in some decent time on the mountain bike (finally) I’m thinking most of my road bike time will be spent on the trainer.  Either way, I’ve been on a fantastic tear for three years with some excellent mileage for a working guy…  I have to get back at it before I realize how easy it is to be lazy and end up wrecking next season in the process.

A Note from a Cyclist to Motorists… Why Cyclists Ride the Way We Do.

We know that there’s a small chance you hate us, a cyclist on the road traveling exactly where your right (left if you’re in the UK) tires go, forcing you into the other lane to pass us.  Yes, believe it or not, we do hear your horn blaring in protest and yes, we know you want us to move over further towards the edge of the road so you can sneak between us and a car in the oncoming lane.  And yes, there is a reason we don’t move.

Those of us who have been cycling for a while know that if we give you just two extra feet, you will try to fit three feet of vehicle in that space and the chance that we end up in the hospital, or worse the morgue, increases exponentially.

In the 16,000 plus miles I’ve ridden on the road in the last few years I’ve witnessed one bicycle accident.  We were traveling west as close to the edge of the road as we could because we, unfortunately, had two miles of busy road to get through before we hit the country back roads and sparse traffic.  An older man tried passing our eight man and one woman pace line (that’s where we ride one directly behind the other).  A car came over the hill the other way so the man moved right, reflexively, clipping the last rider in the group with his mirror.  He went down, bruising two ribs and breaking his arm.  He was lucky as were the rest of us.  Road rash heals, but had that driver clipped the first or second of us in the train, we’d all have gone down and someone would have likely been run over.  Later, after the police, fire dept. and ambulance arrived, the investigating officer asked the old fella why hit the cyclist.  His response was simple:  “There was a car coming the other way”.

See, if you (the motorist) only have two choices, wait for opposing traffic to clear or run a cyclist down, you will be less than happy and delayed by a few seconds but you’ll give us enough room so we won’t be dead.  On the other hand, given three choices, the third being trying to sneak your vehicle in between us and the oncoming traffic, you’ll take that one every now and again and that’s where this gets dangerous for us.

As cyclists and (usually) motorists as well, we know this sucks – especially when you’re in a hurry and you don’t want to be thirteen seconds later than what you will be already because you left late.  Really we do get it, after all chances are we’re the same way with the sole exception being we’re more understanding when we come up on a cyclist on the road.

The point is, “the farthest right that is practicable” is dead center of where your right (left in the UK) tire would be.  It seems counterintuitive I know, but ride a bike for a while and you’ll see it as well.  That’s the safest place on the road to be (unless there’s a decent shoulder or bike path though those require a different vigilance on the part of the cyclist because they’re actually a little more dangerous than riding on the road for a few other reasons – chief being that motorists will cut cyclists off to make turns in front of them, happens all of the time).

Next, and I can only speak for the group I ride with, most of us don’t want to ride on busier roads.  If we’re out there on an excessively busy road, it’s only to get to somewhere a lot less congested.  Think about it, the biggest danger we face on the road is a motorist, the last thing we want is to increase our odds of not making it back to the driveway to see our spouse and kids.

Finally, and this goes for everyone – motorists, cyclists and politicians:  Get us off of the road surface.  All we need is a 3′ wide shoulder on each side of the road and you’d never have to slow down for another cyclist again.

And you thought 25 mph on a bicycle was fast…

25 mph is pretty decent as an average pace but what would happen if you put a rocket under your saddle?  207 mph, on a bicycle.

Dude, I gotta get me one of those!