The majority of biking cities are popping with bike lanes and adding a bike lane every week as they improve their initiatives to get more Americans on bikes, but is this really the right way to bike, or is a a vehicular cyclist initiative the correct motivation for city planners? The choice for many successful cities is a mix of both vehicular cyclist training and adding a bike lane here and there. The reason is, you can’t come up with the secret sauce that will match every biker or cyclist. Some bike for easy transport, and some bike for exercise, and others are using the stress management of the sport to their best obsession advantages. Bike lanes or not, you always end up without a lane, so everyone needs to learn vehicular cyclist skills, as the bike lanes always end somewhere.
Vehicular Cyclist Skills are Necessary For Every
Where you ride, matters, but all bike lanes will eventually end you up in a traffic snafu here and there. Imagine a perfect world, where a bike lane is present at your front door, and then continues to your end destination. The mere idea is ridiculous! So, when you are biking, be sure to always consider the road, and the majority of users are in motor vehicles. For this reason, use the bike lanes when you can, but, always prepare for your ride with a vehicular cyclist skill upgrade.
For one, you are permitted and legal in the road, biking with cars and trucks. They do not entirely own the road. I repeat, they do not own the road completely. The majority of vehicular motor drivers are mean and angry folks, who have stress built up for their commute. Add to the mix the new mobile communication networks, and you have distracted driving that may create a instant disaster. The fact is, each year, many cyclists are killed by motorists, and it is not a statistic that is going to drop anytime soon. In fact, as we become more and more a realistic society, and more cyclists are added to the mix, you are going to see this number jump. The next few years are going to be a boost to cycling, as Americans take the image of Lance Armstrong, and change it to everyday road riding. And, as we add these new inexperienced riders to our roads, we need to improve cycling by enforcing vehicular cyclist training in every bike purchase.
Buy your road bike and Get Vehicular Cyclist Training
What I propose is that every road bike purchased, be followed with a safety lecture from every bike shop. The best shops are a huge resource for any cyclist, and bring good training with stern eye stares at new riders. Your life is really in your hands, so a little preparation will be good for us all.
To start, a great book that will really scare the pants off you, but bring you forward to more preparedness so you are ready when you get your first adrenaline pumping experience of the car vs. bike is Effective Cycling by John Forester. The book is a good one to prep you as a new cyclist that yes, you can ride with cars, but yes, you are the smaller force in the midst of the speed and mass. John Forester is quoted as saying, “Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.”
The reason this is true, is that you are not lolly lazily riding along when you are mixed in with traffic. Often being in the bike lane creates a mixed message to all that you are protected and safe. This could not be further from the truth, as you need to always be aware of the surrounding motor traffic, and other cyclists, as they may not be as prepared as you.
Constant Improvement Involves Vehicular Cyclist Training
When riding to work, school or for fun, here are some must have tips for you to always remember:
- Use your skull cap as it is the only protection of your brain!
- Mirrors, lights, safety tape and all kinds of reflective accessories increase visibility
- A mirror on your helmet is a good idea
- As is biker insurance, and a video camera for your protection
- Watch bike lanes when they end, as it can be the most dangerous area of any bike lane
- Cars turn into bike lanes to turn left or right, expect them to be there
- When you ride within traffic, expect angry motorist to want you to move; remember Gandhi at these moments-violence is never the answer.
So, are you ready to ride as a vehicular cyclist?
Are you always searching for a great new way to change your life, be happier, and save some money at the same time? Try biking to work, and you may have found all three! Researchers are always coming up with great information that our brains do so much better when we exercise. It is being slowly proven that late stage Alzheimer’s can be slowed by regular exercise. So, you have to get to work, so why not use that time to exercise?
Even if you live far away from your work, and it is not feasible to bike the entire way, can you think about these options?
I know this seems a bit counter intuitive, but think about this a little bit. If you are driving to work say, 20 miles each way, can you catch a bus, close to home? What about biking to a bus stop, that takes you all the way there, at that point?
Or, can you drive your car for a couple of miles, park at a park and ride, and then bike to work? I want you to think about this seriously. Why not?
Riding to work is going to give you that brief exercise you will need to perform better at work. Often, it will be cooler in the morning, so you will not arrive too hot and sweaty. But, do not let that stop you! Can you join a club close to work, that will allow you to shower and store your bike? What about work, do they offer some benefit of storing your bike there, and maybe some showers?
What about the time spent, you think. Will I be able to manage adding another hour onto my drive in and my drive home? Are you at the gym, for an hour or more each day? Why? Stop staying inside, and mix up your exercise routine. Being outside is not always easy, but it is a way to stay connected to the parts of our community and nature that you do not get in a gym.
What about the fact that you are actually being productive in moving your body in a real way, and making an impact to save money, and use your car less? Everyone is searching for new and innovative ways to get around, and we can start with thinking about mass transit in a new way, and include a bike to help!
Biking is not just about exercise, but the fun of the feel of the road. I do not know of a better way to rule your stress, find happiness and health, and do it with the exhilaration of speed. It is a blast! That being said, so few people are on the road, today. There seems to be a lack of motivation, and I want to encourage you to try it again.
Biking is Not Just for Kids
Many adults used to bike, and biked a lot. It was the mode of transportation for them, as teenagers, and once they got into the car, it was over. I am sad when I see this occur, because, it is needful in our society, that this form of transport sticks. The motivation to get from point A to point B will be a great way to start on your biking lifestyle, but more so, it is really a fun way to get around.
For starters, you are outside, and you are not relying on any motors, gas or other nosy appendages. The run of the tires on the road, and the wind on your arms, really is something. The sun is on your back, and you are wearing your muscles into a pattern of tension and release on a repeating mode that really creates a great amount of fitness. The exercise is there, especially if you run into some formidable hills, but, that is just part of the fun.
And, you are getting around, at your pace. Many people think they have to be just as fast as a car, but that is not always the priority. True, on a busy commute, you may be able to beat the cars around you in traffic, but, more so, the pace is yours. If you are thinking this sounds crazy, and that you will never get to work on time, I want you to think about it. If you could take a bus part of your way to work, how much joy would that bring to your life? It is immeasurable, and if you have the opportunity to try it, I invite you to start thinking differently, and give your life a new boost ahead!
Connect with your environment, your community, and find bike riding fun again.
Many people have a simple bike, that they love to ride, but it is the wrong size for them! If you are riding a lot, and many of us are, the fact that many of us are on the wrong size bike, is pretty common.
Find the Right Bike Sizing
Your bike needs to be really sized against your height and your inseam of your legs. Some people have a really tall and long inseam on their body, but a short torso, so it really depends on your measurements what size of frame you should look for.
Here is a great way to measure for your next bike, or to ensure you are riding the right size frame for you!