Have you ever thought of giving up the road bike?
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  1. #1
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    Have you ever thought of giving up the road bike?

    Here in southern California it seems like people are getting critically injured or killed by cars left and right, at least once a month. I doesnít matter if itís an area with bad roads and no shoulder or a new community with wide bike lanes. Itís distracted drivers. Hell, even the local MUT isnít safe with recent muggings and bike thefts. So as much as I love solo rides Iím only doing group rides now. And my extra cautious wife is paranoid every time I go out.

    Has anyone else thought of giving up the road bike entirely? I love mountain biking too, and at least with that I feel that most of the burden of safety is on my own shoulders (except a possible mountain lion attack). But at least there wonít be any run-ins with cars. I still donít think I could hang up the road bike for good, but it is something I think about on a weekly basis.

  2. #2
    Old guy with a bike
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    I just about did for the past 18 years. Most of my biking have been off road. However, I have easier access to more bike friendly roads now and will be getting back on road more. I've had more than my fair share of close encounters with bad drivers but that's just L.A. life. Don't give up.

  3. #3
    I ride in circles..
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    Nope.. I'll never give it up for any reason other than if I stop having fun and enjoying it. You could die walking in a parking lot while out getting groceries.. die getting your mail.. Slip in the shower.

    Life is a risk.. So you either live or die living.
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  4. #4
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    I'll never give up my road bike. I've been riding since 1984, and have to say that things are getting more hectic out on the roads. In fact, I got knocked off of my bike twice last year by crazy drivers, but I'm willing to accept the risks in order to do something that I love to do.
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  5. #5
    Bike Wing Conspiracy
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    Does riding fixed on the road count?

    I got tired of gears years back and after riding as a messenger for so long.

    I always said I would go back to gears after the weight of the geared bikes met the fixed gear models.

    That criteria has been achieved, but I dont have 2000-8000 to drop on a bike at the moment.
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  6. #6
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    I have been thinking about it recently, especially after a conversation w/ my wife where she admitted that my commuting to/from work on the bike worries her more than I previously understood. Kinda like I gave up motorcycles when I got married and became a dad -- didn't seem like the risk was worth it anymore.

    But it doesn't seem like lots of cyclists are getting hit by cars here in SLC. I believe my commuting and fun ride routes (usually from one suburb to another, as I don't work downtown) are about as safe as they can be, and in 4 years of commuting now, I've not really even had what I'd consider a "close call" w/ an automobile. So I'm not gonna give it up yet. But I do see some people riding downtown or other places and wonder what they are thinking.
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  7. #7
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    Statistical misunderstanding, selection bias, paranoia.

    it seems like people are getting critically injured or killed by cars left and right, at least once a month
    It only "seems like" it because you're looking for it. It's not that bad, and it probably hasn't actually gotten worse; in fact, it may be better.

    Do you know how many people die in traffic accidents in the U.S. on an average day? Around a hundred. How many of those are on bicycles? one or two. In the whole country. And probably half of those are kids, riding with far less attention and skill than you use.

    Think about the odds implied even by your perception. Southern California is a region with a population of more than ten million. There are probably tens of thousands of people who cycle more than once a week, and possibly hundreds of thousands who ride at least once every week or two. One death or serious injury per month? That's a very small number.

    So on a broad statistical basis the chances of you getting hurt are pretty low. And you can (and almost certainly do already) improve those odds significantly. A skilled, attentive rider is even safer than the average. A significant number of those injured or killed riders did something careless. Certainly not all of them -- there are bad drivers that do things no one can avoid, but it's actually pretty rare to get caught up in something like that.

    So I suggest we all try to get realistic about the risks and dial back the fear a little. Hone your skills, maintain your equipment, learn and employ good traffic techniques, pick your routes sensibly. If you do all that, the odds against getting hurt on the bike are probably better than your chances driving on the freeway.

  8. #8
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    Giving Up

    I sold my bike and did just that when my son was born in mid 2007. After moving from mtb to road 2 years prior, I thought that just getting back on the trails would be the safest bet. I'm certain that it was safer, but by February of 2008, I had ordered another road bike. For me mountain biking just did not provide the same enjoyment as going out and putting in the miles on an early morning. Also the drive to/from the trails took up an hour that I could have spent on the road bike right out my door!

    I now have two boys and just rode my first century back in October, and plan on doing 2 or three this season.... but when I go out on a solo ride, i never entertain the notion that I could be hit at any moment, I just try to ride aware of my surroundings....I would say stick with it if you love it; if you find that the fear of what may happen is no longer making it fun, then it's time to try something different.

  9. #9
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    Even though I live just a 40 minute drive from NYC, I'm fortunate in having easy access to many low traffic, scenic local roads for riding. And, as others have stated, it is not clear that it is significantly riskier to ride a bike than to drive a car. Yes, you are more vulnerable to injury from other road users, but on the other hand your speed is much lower which makes injury less likely and less catastrophic. So, no, I've not thought about giving up road riding.

    Of course, I can't speak to the conditions where you ride, so it is possible that if I rode where you do then I'd reach a different conclusion. You need to do what you think is the right thing for you.






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  10. #10
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    I've engaged in many risky sports and activities and basically accept the fact that I can (and have) get hurt. Luckily my wife has also engaged in a number of these, including being an avid road rider and motorcyclist, and is not risk averse to the point of stifling any of the activities I've wanted to engage in.

  11. #11
    A wheelist
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    I've been riding for 50 years. In the 90's and most of the 2000's I did mostly mountain bike and I enjoyed nipping in & out of town on trails. But the worst crash I ever had (road or mtb) was four years ago when I was on a wide piece of trail not 1/4 mile from my door. A loose dog came bolting out of tall grass at the side of the trail and I t-boned it at 18mph. I did a Superman imitation and went head-first through a large bush. I broke my carbon fork (mtb) and got a small branch impaled in my face. I could have broken my neck.

    So even benign-looking trails aren't safe. Before and after that I came across many loose dogs on the signposted trails. The landowners of the trail area (our municipality) just shrug their shoulders and tell me the signs are up and they can't police the trails all the time. The dog owners don't give a $#it and think the "dogs must be leashed" signs don't apply to them. Being nice or yelling at them has the same effect - they still don't care.

    So, I'm now back out on the roads. I choose my routes in & out of town carefully and stay off the worst roads out in the countryside. I just do my best and hope that it works out ok. If it doesn't then I guess I'm the one who made the choice. Not riding is not an option.
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  12. #12
    Just Plain Bitter
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    I recently walked away from cycling for several months. It was no longer fun for me to ride. You when ride is done around my house it involves getting 2 of everything ready. I had to clean, tune, repair and load to of everything. "She" did not want to help, only ride and I got to the point where I said screw it. I just wasn't int to all the work I had to do to go do something that should be fun.

    This has recently changed with the addition of a bike that I bought as a grocery getter and cruiser. Turns out it is good for some other things as well as pointed out by a friend. Looks like I can hit the road for a few days with a tent now all by myself! This has me excited about cycling again! Now I need to put on some base miles all over again and get back in shape to do this but it gives me something to aim for. I have made it clear to my GF she is now responsible for her own bike and its maintenance. I can only hope this will stand the test of time.
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  13. #13
    DEK
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    I did give up riding for about 4 years because I was tired of being a target when I rode. I had full pop cans thrown at me; a guy in a pick up who intentionally swerved from the opposite side of the road which caused me to crash; and numerous other incidents.

    I've since gotten over my fears and have been back on the bike for about a year. We'll see how long it lasts.

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by trip221 View Post
    Has anyone else thought of giving up the road bike entirely?
    Every time I climb

    We hear about crashes and (very unfortunately) some people getting killed here too. When I hear about those things my thoughts are always that I need to brush up and refresh my riding in traffic skills rather than stopping.

    My wife wasnít very comfortable with me riding in traffic either. But as I got stronger and more knowledgeable her comfort heightened. She saw me reading about safety techniques and I talk to her about it. She asks questions and I give sensible answers so she feels better about it. But, she does still worry and tells me to drive safely (yes, she says ďdrive safelyĒ Ė I love her) as I leave for work, and I do.

    Maybe brushing up on how to ride in traffic will help bolster your and her confidence?
    I ride mostly in the honorable pursuit of being kissed on both cheeks at the same time by one blond and one brunette. But not redheads, they scare me.

  15. #15
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    I'm confident in my riding skills and dealing with traffic. It's the distracted drivers that scare me. When riding solo I have a bright tail light blinking, wear high visibility kits, and keep as far to the right as is reasonable. But if someone's playing with their iphone there's nothing you can do.

    But you guys are right, it's not something I'll be able to give up. And my wife would be pretty pissed if I spent that much on a bike and it didn't get used.

  16. #16
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    What else am I going to do for exercise outdoors year round? Run? Walk? In the rural area where I live, with no sidewalks along most roads, you're even more vulnerable to cars running or walking, than you are on a bike. And not that crime is a concern here, but if it was, I'd rather take my chances that the bad guys can't outrun me on a bike, than if I was on foot.

    I'm lucky to live where I do. Most drivers are used to sharing the road, and give me room. If anything, many vehicles tend to give me way more room than I need.

  17. #17
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    In the past 40 years Iíve visited the ER six times (see rule #81), twice in the last three years. This has given me lots of thought. My wife would love for me to quit. I think about quitting but cycling is too fun.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Statistical misunderstanding, selection bias, paranoia.



    It only "seems like" it because you're looking for it. It's not that bad, and it probably hasn't actually gotten worse; in fact, it may be better.

    Do you know how many people die in traffic accidents in the U.S. on an average day? Around a hundred. How many of those are on bicycles? one or two. In the whole country. And probably half of those are kids, riding with far less attention and skill than you use.

    Think about the odds implied even by your perception. Southern California is a region with a population of more than ten million. There are probably tens of thousands of people who cycle more than once a week, and possibly hundreds of thousands who ride at least once every week or two. One death or serious injury per month? That's a very small number.

    So on a broad statistical basis the chances of you getting hurt are pretty low. And you can (and almost certainly do already) improve those odds significantly. A skilled, attentive rider is even safer than the average. A significant number of those injured or killed riders did something careless. Certainly not all of them -- there are bad drivers that do things no one can avoid, but it's actually pretty rare to get caught up in something like that.

    So I suggest we all try to get realistic about the risks and dial back the fear a little. Hone your skills, maintain your equipment, learn and employ good traffic techniques, pick your routes sensibly. If you do all that, the odds against getting hurt on the bike are probably better than your chances driving on the freeway.
    Statistically you are about as likely to be injured or killed driving as you are biking. Which is still high in comparison (much higher chances than being killed in airplane crash, being struck by lightning, being eaten by sharks, bitten by poison snakes, being killed by an intruder and other things we humans tend to be irrationally paranoid about). Much lower than being killed by heart desease or cancer.

    If you are not ready to give up driving because of the risks, you shouldn't give up cycling either. If you do not ride drunk (a lot of fatal injuries happen to people who ride bikes at night, intoxicated), wear a helmet and follow some common sense rules (be visible, watch the drivers, etc.)

  19. #19
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    Internet and mass media tend to make you realize how often bad things happen.
    Sure plenty of people get hurt biking. Check out the number of people who are injured stepping up curbs if you want a REAL look at danger.

    You say it seems these days people are constantly being killed....
    Its easy to hear how many people faced tragedy yesterday and not notice how many didn't.

    People die all day everyday. Some of them had to be on bikes at the time.

    Even based soley on statistics you are fairly safe... look around you and see all those people riding on the wrong side of the street with a bike with brakes that need service at night in dark colors with no light.
    Hell if anything, i feel like with all the stupidity I regularly see people on bikes do (especial the non cyclist croud), the statistics are low to the point where a competent and cautious rider should mathmatically be damn near bullet proof.
    Last edited by scryan; 02-15-2012 at 12:32 PM.

  20. #20
    eminence grease
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    no...
    You'd be better off with a netbook, they do everything better.

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  21. #21
    Pitts Pilot
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    Every one of my rides involves a fast descent. I have close calls with drivers in the wrong lane or pulling out or stopping - plus dogs/wet/debris etc. on probably 50% of my rides. I'm probably going to have to quit cycling fairly soon - when I die.

    I'm getting old for thrashing myself on the mountain bike, but I too have really been focused on how often I have very serious close calls on the road bike in the mountains. I could hugely reduce my close calls by slowing down, but I'm a bit of an adrenaline junky...

  22. #22
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    The only times I ever thought about it was the 2 different times that I suffered through herniated cervical disc problems. Both times it sort of "snapped" out of the blue a few days after doing a lot of riding. It made me question whether I should continue riding when my body seemed to be rebelling against it, and the thought of giving up seriously bummed me out.

    I've managed to recover each time and learned a lot more about looking for the signs of problems, avoiding bad bike fit (namely handlebars set too low). Thankfully, I'm feeling 100% again and avoided any surgery or drugs to get back to good.

    I certainly have been tailing back on racing, but there's no way I'm gonna stop riding just for fun. I do lots of mountain biking and look forward to cyclocross each fall too. Doesn't matter to me whether it's road or off-road. Just swinging a leg over the bike and taking it in is a happy place that I don't want to give up.

  23. #23
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    After my second knee surgery I thought the decision was made for me... that got me very depressed.

    I'll stop when I can't; and can't has to be pretty dramatic as I've seen many riders missing body parts doing just fine.

  24. #24
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    riding too risky...?

    my other hobby is cave diving...

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  25. #25
    @TwoWheelsDC
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    I read a study that said nearly 9 out of 10 people will die at some point in their lives, so I don't leave the house anymore.

    But in all seriousness, if we all hang up our spurs because it's too dangerous, it'll just get more dangerous. As more cyclists hit the road, cycling will get safer as drivers become more accustomed to interacting with cyclists.

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