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Jul 05, 2008

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nickjohnson

I have to disagree with a lot of this article:

>For one thing, it's considerably safer to cycle slow. You get to watch out for traffic,
> cars and pedestrians who step off the curb in front of you. If you go slowly
>enough, you can actually hit that car door that's opened in front of you and not get injured.
>
And if you *DO* get hit, there is a much greater difference in momentum between the car and you.
It would be as if you were hit harder.

Also, if you ride slow, cars get more aggravated by your
presence on the street, and are more likely to do things like cut you off, weave around you in
unsafe ways, etc. From my experience, the closer your speed matches that of traffic, the more
respect you get on the road.

>Besides which, it uses less energy and you get where you're going to only
> a few minutes later...of course, I never cycle more than a mile or two.
>
Well, if you never cycle more than two miles, I have no idea what to say to you.

It's debatable that you use less energy. When you travel slowly, a greater
fraction of your energy output (your legs) is spent overcoming rolling resistance.
The bicycle becomes much less efficient. Also, significantly more energy is put into
things such as balance. This is why it's easier to climb a hill at 12mph than it is at 8mph.

>And you wouldn't get your blood pressure up about pedestrians straying
> onto the bike lane on the Brooklyn bridge since you would just slowly sidle around them.
>
Haha. Even if you ride slowly on the bkln bridge, those pedestrians will still get in your
way in unpredictable and rude ways. And there are so many of them that you *can't* ride
around them; they form a wall of "god bless america" shirts.

>I have often mentioned that the difference between the way cyclists behave in the
>US and in Europe is a matter of their motivation. Here we seem to be in a hurry
>and the bike is a way of getting there and getting exercise at the same time. If
>you check out the pictures on the Copenhagen blog you would see that there are
>hundreds if not thousands of people cycling as an everyday activity in Copenhagen
>No spandex and no helmets.
>
There is more than simply a cultural divide there. There is also the fact that copenhagen
is small and dense, and that there is such a large percentage of the population on bikes
that cars are quite mindful of cyclists. Really, your comparison is not well thought out.

Anne (http://sustainableflatbush.org)

Well, as you know, I'm completely with you here, Chandru! For us Slow Cyclists, efficiency is really not the point... it's just an enjoyable way to get from one place to the other.

And by the way, children and pets are not the only ones afraid of the Spandex Speeders. They are simply a menace, and this is a cyclist talking! Anyone who feels the need to ride laps on a bicycle at 30mph has no business in Prospect Park.

chandru

So it's better to be going fast at the time of an accident so you are closer in relative speed to the other vehicle? Wow. Iae, I was talking about hitting a parked car, and being somewhat facetious to boot.

"Also, if you ride slow, cars get more aggravated by your presence on the street"...common sense should prevail. I was talking about 1) bike lanes or 2) (in the majority of my cycling) on residential streets where cars can easily go around me.

Iae, cycling fast on streets is plain suicidal. Bikes have neither the control not the braking ability to avoid accidents at speeds like 15mph.

And I don't buy your energy calculations. The energy required for propulsion goes up as the square of the speed, and is clearly way beyond the rolling resistance you mention. If you can do 18mph uphill, more power (pun intended) to you. I'll see you later.

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They are simply a menace, and this is a cyclist talking! Anyone who feels the need to ride laps on a bicycle at 30mph has no business in Prospect Park.

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