Commuting Tip #2 Don't Race your Ride

It's about the time all the leaves have come out on the trees when the "I'm going to be the next Lance Armstrongs" come out on the trails (heaven forbid they ride on the road). Their guns are blazing as they fly down the trail on their way to work. Then around the water cooler they brag about their 7 mile commuter, how they cut 30 seconds off of their ride from the day before and complain about the runners on the trail. Commuting by bike is not a race! Let's all say it together, commuting by bike is not a race. Amen. This is especially true for the newbie cyclist because it won't be long until this cyclist mentioned above starts to hate the sweat and the backpack and the traffic on the multiuse trail but it doesn't have to be that way. For many bike commuters the commute IS the morning second cup of coffee as they peacefully ride almost in a cycle trance on their way to work arriving much later then the former cyclist but happy and dry having just enjoyed a great start to their day.

Previous tips
- Don't drive your bike commute

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7 Comments

As a fellow road racer, (in

As a fellow road racer, (in case you were not being sarcastic) right-of-way is best determined by weight (which of course also varies with speed). The heavier (faster moving) vehicles have less ROW because they will cause more damage when either they, or a by-standard, inevitably make a mistake... in other words the faster you go, the less space you are entitled to; notwithstanding emergency vehicles, or if you're driving in Russia with a migalki. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/17/world/europe/17moscow.html

This attitude has become quite normal on Toronto trails, most often from the sport fetishizers, but increasingly by commuters and the leisure set too. It's part of the democratization or expansion of white suburban values into the city or onto the bike.

unfortunately this rule is also lost on SUVs, et al.: drivers who not only drive like they're in 3500 lbs. vehicles (when they're in 4500) but are oblivious to how much viewing space they obstruct for surrounding users, ramping up risk for everyone... it's about mutual respect, and as the heavier or more risk inducing, legally you have to give the right of way.

Don't completely agree

I'm sorry, but I can't completely agree with your commute=slow premise. I commute and I tend to ride semi-fast. I'm not racing anyone and I'm not even necessarily trying to beat my own record. I just go as fast as I can because I enjoy it. And yes, I see it as a form of exercise. However, what I do agree with is being more cautious around non-bikers on multi-use trails. Whenever I see anyone else, other bikers included, I slow way down until I'm past them. I don't want to intimidate them and I don't always trust how they're going to react. (I particularly worry about dog-walkers. I have no confidence that the walker is going to be able to control their dog, although, to their credit, most do just fine.) I've seen far too many bikers blow by people with no regard for their safety as though they owned the trail and had more right to be there than anyone else. (Can I just take this opportunity to ask whywhywhy do some joggers feel the need to jog on the side of the road when there is a perfectly good sidewalk 3-6 feet away? Do they not know they are creating a hazard when a car, a biker, and themselves try to occupy the same space?)