Confession: I almost said I’d try an electric “bike”

When I heard that CU Boulder was looking for people who were willing to try riding an “electrically assisted bike” for a few weeks to get a chance at winning a free one, I almost threw my helmet in the ring.

Electric motor
Electric motor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The story said the Exercise Science Lab is recruiting people who usually commute by car or bus for a study of the potential benefits of commuting with such a “bike.”

Then I asked myself:

  1. Is a two-wheeled vehicle with an electric motor really a bike?
  2. I usually commute by bus or by bicycle (without an electric motor), and will do almost anything to avoid driving a car to Boulder, so would I even be eligible?
  3. Didn’t I just spend too much for a new wheel and hub for the ass end of my commuter/MTB? Shouldn’t I start amortizing that?
  4. Can I commit to doing four weeks of anything?

Then I answered myself:

  1. Not really.
  2. Probably not.
  3. Yes. Yes.
  4. Um…

Don’t daydream on a bicycle?

…every cyclist must assume that every car driver could kill them. And you should never daydream.

Here at the Smith Compound (SC) we can’t say that Timothy Egan is wrong in this sad NYTimes piece about the death of a 31-year-old Seattle woman.

Indeed, while cycling we assume that every motorist, pedestrian and cyclist in the immediate vicinity is about to do something stupid, as they very often do.

But never daydream? It is surprisingly easy to become lost in thought while pedaling down the road or trail.

To never daydream is to deny one of the greatest pleasures of going about the countryside on two wheels.

Never is asking too much.

The SC prefers a more moderate approach: Be aware of your surroundings, and daydream when there’s no one else in sight.

empty road
Time to think, to dream

County closes damaged roads, but just to cyclists (again)

It could just be wishful thinking, but it looks like Boulder County’s transportation decider—or perhaps someone who writes the words for him—has modified his internal-combustion bias ever so slightly.

He was quoted as follows in a Longmont Times-Call story about why the damaged canyon roads are closed to cyclists:

While these conditions are experienced by both motorists and bicyclists, bicyclists are much more likely to have their safety compromised.

That’s an improvement, in that he acknowledges the roads are dangerous for motorists, but not much of an improvement.

The roads, he says, are more dangerous for cyclists than they are for motorists because of steep drop-offs and increased heavy equipment traffic. I’m going to hazard a guess that more motorists than cyclists go over those steep drop-offs on canyon roads and that there are more collisions between big trucks and other motor vehicles than there are between big trucks and people on bicycles.

The biggest hazards to cyclists are careless drivers, and maybe someday Boulder County and others will acknowledge that.

 

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More fuzzy thinking on Boulder County roads

There he goes again.

Boulder County Transportation Director George Gerstle is quoted in the Daily Camera as saying a canyon road will be closed to cyclists for several weeks, but open to motor vehicles.

Why is it closed to people who travel by bicycle?

View of Ward from below along Lefthand Canyon Road
View of Ward from below along Lefthand Canyon Road (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His explanation:

“It’s not wide enough for big trucks and bikes at the same time.”

Apparently it is wide enough for big trucks and automobiles, though.

As I said before, we are all traffic. Either allow traffic on the road, or don’t.

Pedal on.

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Do some traffic signs increase risk to road users?

Our community’s pernicious motor-centric bias is on display along U.S. Highway 36 between Lyons and Estes Park.

As we drove that route Monday to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking, I couldn’t help but notice the road signs that singled bicyclists out for special attention. Bicycling was “not recommended,” the signs said, and cyclists were advised that they did so “at their own risk.”

Some questions

  • When do cyclists ever not ride at their own risk?
  • Were we driving our car at someone else’s risk?
  • Are motorists less inclined to be careful and polite around cyclists when they see such warnings?

By telling the community that some roads are unsafe for non-motorized travel, and telling all road users who can read that cyclists really shouldn’t be around, our transportation officials reinforce the notion that roads are just for cars and trucks. They make the roads more dangerous for bicycling.

Tell them they need to stop doing that.

Boulder County Transportation

Colorado Citizen’s Advocate for Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation

Share the road

Having bicycled up Highway 36 to Estes Park a couple of summers ago, I’m not really eager to do it again, but that’s beside the point.

Whenever you see someone on a bicycle, people, pass with care.

That’s what “share the road” means.


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Why are we so careless about driving safely?

Good question…

“…why are some societies—for example, ours—so careless and lacking in conscience about driving safely?”

It’s not about scofflaws on bicycles. Read on, at Sign of the Times | Road Rights | Bicycling.com.

There’s Another Way | Road Rights | Bicycling.com

“I didn’t see the cyclist” is the negligent driver’s universal get-out-of-jail free card. It shouldn’t be.

via Theres Another Way | Road Rights | Bicycling.com.