- By far the most important, make sure you shower before you ride if you won't have a chance afterwards. IIRC, a shower will get rid of 99.9% of sweat eating odour causing bacteria, and that bacteria has a doubling period of about 20 minutes when well fed, so a shower gives you 3-4 hours stink free even if covered in sweat; much longer if you have a chance to change & dry off before those 3-4 hours are up.
- wear cotton. It might feel icky after you sweat, but it won't stink like technical fabrics will. Wool is a good compromise -- the smell of wet sheep is preferable to locker room.
- change your clothes and dry off when you get to work.
Is your commute that long that it's impractical to just cycle at a comfortable, non-sweaty pace?
When it is not hot out (like now), I'll just wear appropriate pants and skip the shower. I find my dress pants rub too much in certain areas when on a bike so I still have to change, but it is quick and I shower at home.
I have to say that I really love biking to work. It's way less stressful than sitting in traffic and there are some health benefits too. Plus it has a way lower carbon footprint.
Also, I think your advice to ride at a moderate speed is a good one. When I first got into bicycle commuting, I was reading the bicycle subreddit and I was told more than once that it never gets easier, you just get faster. Well, they were wrong. It gets way easier. I understand what they mean by "you just get faster", but I think it's potentially discouraging to new out-of-shape riders like myself.
It gets way easier and for me is almost meditative. My mind wanders like crazy.
Or go the Chinese route and get an electric assist bike.
The bigger obstacle for where I live would be 90F temperature and 80% humidity. You get sweaty regardless of hills (or any physical exertion for that matter) - just by being outside an air conditioned room for more than 10 minutes.
Biking in a hilly place like San Francisco however, there is no escape from being sweaty.
Obviously some people live and work in areas where a sweaty climb is unavoidable, but far fewer than you seem to imply. And it helps a lot that it's virtually never hot here.
Having moved from Georgia, it doesn't matter if the route is flat when it's 95 and nearly 100% humidity. That's way more relevant to sweat than the SF hills are.
For a grade over a certain percentage and longer than some duration, it is probably indeed the case that sweating is unavoidable. But you can usually trade a short steep grade for a longer shallower grade, even in San Francisco. The absolute worst portions of SF hills are usually only a block or two long and are much more likely to be found where you live, not where you work.
You can get just as hard of a workout as with a manual bicycle — it's just that you go faster and cover more distance.
However, it also gives you the option to pedal lightly and rely on the motor more, when getting sweaty isn't convenient.
In my experience, it's an extra 5 minutes of work. Do you consider that to be "a lot"?
Does it really have to? I'm sure you can avoid that by not using hot water (or even going with cold-ish) and not spending more than 3-5 minutes in the shower. Also you can turn off the water if washing your hear takes time. Seems simple to address.
I've got three shirts (purchased from Amazon before a trip to SE Asia) and they've been worn every week for the last four years. Despite the odd moth-like hole they're doing great and are excellent for cycling / working out.
I find merino wool to be far the best base layer. It's fantastic at wicking and doesn't smell at all.
I commute bi bicycle all year round and admittedly I'm not the chilled kind, so I tend to get soaked (from inside out) quite often, especially if the temperature is >15 C. However, I hate commuting in full bike gear, so having a shower just before leaving has helped tremendously. So does washing in the regular bathroom at work the critical spots where odor develops first (i.e. armpit). All I need is a small towel and a spare t-shit/shirt in case if the ride was too much fun and couldn't keep the speed moderate :)
This. The other nice thing about wool is that you can go days between washing those pieces.
Short term freezing isn't very effective as a way to kill bacteria. Once the garment is made warm again, the bacteria wakes up and the stink returns.
So this what I do;
- Low intensity workout to prevent too much sweating
- Body wipes, need to find unscented brand at reasonable price.
- Change T-Shirts, if I sweat too much.
- Lululemon ABC pants - If time is really short, I just workout in these pants. They don't look too athletic so I can wear these in office. (I am looking for alternatives though these are just too expensive).
I feel more buzzed the whole morning after my ride in. I'm lucky I have a convenient shower at work as well.
Or are people who are at relatively low risk of those diseases more likely to cycle?
The way the headline reads, many people will be led to believe "Oh, if I start cycling, then I'll cut my risk of cancer and heart disease."
This study does not lead to that conclusion. All we can say is that there is a correlation between cycle and lower cancer/heart disease risk - even when accounting for a few other factors.
Given that there are other ways of concluding that regular aerobic exercise cuts cancer and heart disease risk - and indeed the preponderance of the evidence suggest that it does.
But I doubt the effect is really to almost halve the risk of those diseases.
I know, vague hand-waving, but hopefully others can pitch in with data.
> The way the study, published in the British Medical Journal, was carried out means it is not possible to determine a clear cause and effect.
> However, the effect was still there even after adjusting the statistics to remove the effects of other potential explanations like smoking, diet or how heavy people are.
> It means the reason cycling cuts cancer risk cannot be down to weight loss in the study.
Joking! (Well, mostly.)
This may be mitigated in newer vehicles with particulate filters, I am not sure. I don't know whether filters can eliminate NOX as well as PM2.5.
There have been a number of other studies that put the expected increased lifespan (due to better health) vs expected decreased lifespan (due to accident) anywhere from 7:1 to 70:1. And that is just mortality; biking brings a host of benefits on top of that.
I was making a joke (and I am a cyclist), but appreciate your reply.
I recall another study that linked regular flossing with reduced heart disease. However, that study was on a behavior that was much too narrow -- People included to floss are also much more likely to engage in other health-positive activities.
For example when comparing mortality rates of drinkers and non-drinkers, the fact that a lot of non-drinkers are former alcoholics with significant health issues is often ignored.
Asking about it just seems like such a basic component of the data gathering.
It makes sense that obese people are less likely to bike to work, and also that people who bike to work are less likely to become obese.
There are two reasonable hills on my way to work (and I'm a sweaty guy) so I've had to learn to deal with the inevitability of sweating.
The NUMBER ONE most important change I made was getting a rack and an Arkel saddle bag. Not carrying my backpack on my back cut down my sweating a TON.
During the winter I wear regular clothing with uniqlo v-neck airsim undershirts. I will sweat a little but generally I shed layers as I get hot. I've switched from cotton shirts and blue jeans to mostly flannel shirts and mostly black jeans -- both of which help to cover any incidental sweat spots. I've also switched to more breathable sneakers for daily use. I'll bring a change of shoes clothes if I need to be dressed fancier.
During the summer, with Manhattan heat and humidity, there's no avoiding getting sweaty. I bring a change of clothes, cool off for 5m after parking my bike and then change and walk into work. Not ideal, but the health and exercise benefits significantly outweigh the downsides.
In regards to sweating in summer, I just wear a t-shirt and change my shirt once I arrive, and have never had too many issues. Worst case I hit the deoderant I keep in my desk.
> The NUMBER ONE most important change I made was getting a rack and an Arkel saddle bag
This + baby wipes.
I just wish they'd change the turn left slip lanes on First Ave. They're not very safe.
Then my employer moved from 6 miles away to 12, and have two kids in elementary school. Now I feel like shit, overweight, and guess I'll die younger.
Solution: cheat a little bit. I've converted to an e-bike (added a hub motor kit). You can set it up so that it gives you assistance, but still requires peddling. Upshot in your case, is you can get a 6-mile workout, while traveling 12 miles (you basically ride in a higher gear, so you go faster/further for a given effort level).
I've also seen people get an extended-length cargo bicycle, add the electric assist, and use it to take the kids to where they need to go along with getting a few days worth of groceries.
I had one year in particular where I was both cycling to work every day (10km round trip) and cycling to school 2-3x a week (50km round trip). I lost ~30lb in about six months. In fact, as I wasn't trying to lose weight, I didn't even realize I'd been losing so much weight for a few months, and mentally doing that wasn't hard at all - just felt like a normal routine (certainly helped that cycling was often my fastest way to get to both work and school, and almost always a close second).
I don't know anything about your specific circumstances, but depending on what your daily route to work looks like, you might be able to make it work with a special bike. There are fast cargo bikes which fit two children and could even be outfitted with an electric motor (e.g. http://www.larryvsharry.com/). Or the obvious solution, road bike + trailer.
I'm not saying it's a bad tradeoff. In addition to living longer, staying fit makes you a better model for your children and increases the quality of the time you spend with them.
Not if you're dead...
All morbid jokes aside, it's important to take care of yourself so you can take care of your kids. If you're not going to bike to work, spend that extra forty minutes biking with your kids or throwing them around the yard.
I don't want to accuse you of not exercising or using your kids as an excuse to not take care of yourself, but it's really easy to unintentionally do just that.
So sometimes when the weather is bad I won't ride for a week. I'm usually depressed by the end of those weeks. :-(
Of course not as good as a daily routine, but maybe could work as a compromise.
Not in EU they aren't. At most they are being now built assuming you should go there by public transportation, but certainly not that you drive there.
The population of the region is about 300,000.
Much of the US has population densities like this, below 50 people per square mile. People generally live at much higher densities than that, but it still doesn't justify much in the way of public transport.
Which isn't to say that the US does a good job with public transport, but a significant part of the difference is the affordability and utilization of given levels of service. In many higher density areas, public transport tends to be okay.
Apart from NY and SF (?), what other areas are you thinking of?
Objective To investigate the association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, and all cause mortality.
Design Prospective population based study.
Setting UK Biobank.
Participants 263 450 participants (106 674 (52%) women; mean age 52.6), recruited from 22 sites across the UK. The exposure variable was the mode of transport used (walking, cycling, mixed mode v non-active (car or public transport)) to commute to and from work on a typical day.
Main outcome measures Incident (fatal and non-fatal) CVD and cancer, and deaths from CVD, cancer, or any causes.
Results 2430 participants died (496 were related to CVD and 1126 to cancer) over a median of 5.0 years (interquartile range 4.3-5.5) follow-up. There were 3748 cancer and 1110 CVD events. In maximally adjusted models, commuting by cycle and by mixed mode including cycling were associated with lower risk of all cause mortality (cycling hazard ratio 0.59, 95% confidence interval 0.42 to 0.83, P=0.002; mixed mode cycling 0.76, 0.58 to 1.00, P<0.05), cancer incidence (cycling 0.55, 0.44 to 0.69, P<0.001; mixed mode cycling 0.64, 0.45 to 0.91, P=0.01), and cancer mortality (cycling 0.60, 0.40 to 0.90, P=0.01; mixed mode cycling 0.68, 0.57 to 0.81, P<0.001). Commuting by cycling and walking were associated with a lower risk of CVD incidence (cycling 0.54, 0.33 to 0.88, P=0.01; walking 0.73, 0.54 to 0.99, P=0.04) and CVD mortality (cycling 0.48, 0.25 to 0.92, P=0.03; walking 0.64, 0.45 to 0.91, P=0.01). No statistically significant associations were observed for walking commuting and all cause mortality or cancer outcomes. Mixed mode commuting including walking was not noticeably associated with any of the measured outcomes.
Conclusions Cycle commuting was associated with a lower risk of CVD, cancer, and all cause mortality. Walking commuting was associated with a lower risk of CVD independent of major measured confounding factors. Initiatives to encourage and support active commuting could reduce risk of death and the burden of important chronic conditions.
Deaths through CVD in the UK are at 17%, Netherlands at 10%.
Note you do have to die from something at some point, so having 7% of your population dying early from CVD should reduce your incidence of other deaths within the population. ;)
"Our model indicates that in London health benefits of active travel always outweigh the risk from pollution. "
What I'd like to know is, given an accident rate, pollution level, and other factors, what is the "safety factor" of walking/cycling vs. tube/rail/bus/car/taxi?
Edit: These graphs are great:
- In 1% of cities worldwide, pollution levels are high enough that "active travel" is dangerous past 30mins of activity.
- ~40,000 people in the UK die earlier every year due to air pollution.
I found walking meant you were mostly on busy roads as these were the most direct routes.
It's not worth for the money either: rents go up a lot if you have to live at places with no cars, but still in modern places close to good work/social life.
Unless London is significantly (>~20x) more dangerous than the Netherlands, I'd expect the result to hold there too.
As for incidents, the risk is offset by health benefits. Last time I checked it was approx 1 serious incident per 100,000 miles ridden (which is much more than the lifetime of most riders).
As for traffic incidents - I don't think they're massively different in London compared to the rest of the UK.
The study in the article indicates that risk of death _by any method_ goes down by 41%, though admittedly it's not based on London data.
-edit- Not the article I mentioned above, but similar results: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35717927 (cycling & walking perform better than public transport r.e. pollution intake.)
I used to commute through the fumes to Soho, by bike, taking approximately an hour each way. There have been other commutes, e.g. around the North Circular or straight up the A5 to Stanmore, however, I nowadays avoid central London due to the air quality. It is as simple as that, the air is not good. There is no way to effectively avoid this if you do need to actually get somewhere central.
I believe that the traffic is manageable and not a problem so long as you like hi-viz and ride as per the Highway Code.
If you do have to commute to central London then don't - get another job a bit further out and get your life back, and your health.
Nowadays I get trains places once or twice a month but otherwise just cycle the river ('Thames') and other low pollution areas, e.g. Richmond Park.
Also winds are prevailing one way due to how the earth spins, so make sure you live in the West of London and not the East.
Outer London good, inner London = move!!!
I prefer to think of exercise as normal and sitting around as the disease-causing deviation. I would say:
Not cycling to work can increase cancer and heart disease
Sitting around when you could get your heart pumping can increase cancer and heart disease
Oppositely, you could say equally that "smoking causes lung cancer" or that "Not smoking reduces the risk of lung cancer". But mandated warning labels read the former, because "smoking causes cancer" assumes that the default state of a person is to be not smoking, and that smoking is a choice they make. To someone who habitually smokes in a culture of smokers, this is a different way of thinking.
It's an unusual state for people to be so sedentary. We sleep in a bed, sit in a car and drive to work, sit at a desk in an office, sit in the car again, go home and lay on the couch and watch TV or browse the Internet, and repeat. To not get exercise is weird. And yes, to these people, they should be informed that exercising is good for them.
But this message, conveyed instead as "not exercising is bad", implies that not exercising should be considered abnormal behavior and that daily exercise is the default.
Not sure what makes this city think that the roads belong to cars only...
It requires action by the government  and less of an ego from ALL road users.
I think the latter will be the hardest sell.
A clever & sustained advertising campaign (IMO, led by the same people that did the Melbourne Metro's "Dumb Ways To Die" ) would be awesome.
More education in school about not being a dickwad on the road would be good, too.
The last time I can recall something being thrown at me from a car was about 12 years ago.
Most drivers now are more alert for bikes more of the time and many drivers now give way to me when I'm riding - even when they have right of way.
Previously the stuff being thrown at cyclists wasn't usually down in a rage - it was more of a mischievous lark for the car occupants.
As you stated - the problem now is the rage some drivers get into when something breaks them out of autopilot/daydream mode. There are many factors for why this is happening more.
One is that Perth is so sprawled out that and many people are driving for over an hour each way to work and back. On the freeways and highways they lapse into autopilot mode then when something unexpected happens they get a flight/fight response. Since you can't reasonably flee from a car moving at speed - the adrenaline is channeled into the fight response.
Another factor is the relatively high (compared to other states in Australia and other countries) level of ice (methamphetamine) use. When the users are high or suffering withdrawal they can lose it over trivial things.
Not sure what makes this city think that the roads belong to cars only...
This goes back to the vast majority of people that must rely on a car to get around due to the coastal suburban sprawl in and lack of decent public transport options in Perth.
Five years ago I spent a few months working in France. I spent a fair bit of time cycling around Paris and was expecting the worst since Parisian drivers had a reputation for being crazy. Indeed I witnessed the driving on the footpath thing a few times and there was a lot of horn honking and gesturing. However, in general I felt much safer riding on the roads in Paris than I do in Perth. The drivers in Paris are conditioned to having cyclists of all types on the road (lycra is much rarer for a start - not fashionable enough maybe?). They are much more attentive to what is happening around them, I guess because they don't have an opportunity to lapse into autopilot as traffic is rarely light. The driving on the footpath thing seemed to be a careful maneuver aimed at improving lane efficiency during peak hour (ie to get around a temporary block into free lane space up the road).
So I guess being accustomed to cyclists is a factor in setting drivers attitudes. As I stated earlier, in my experience Perth drivers have improved in this regard and hopefully will continue to do so.
It's 5km a day and I generally go for a nice walk on my lunch break so I think I walk about 7km to 10km a day. I'm definitely feeling better although I haven't lost much weight (maybe 2kgs or so).
They do say in the article the benefits of walking only start to kick in over 6miles a week so I guess I'm good!
49,000 people in the US are injured on the road every year-
You may say its a false equivalency, but there are 33,000 gun deaths (suicides/homicides) in the US every year
Compare this to motor vehicle deaths: there are 35,000 of those per year in the USA .. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_i...
Furthermore, 49,000 cycling injuries is very high when you consider that only a few percent of the US commute by bike (a few million people), but hundreds of millions of people drive by car!
Is it? When I think of cycling injuries, I typically think of broken arms, wrists, etc. No fun at all, but unless it's a particularly bad break, it only means being pretty severely inconvenienced until you heal. (This is assuming you wear a helmet, of course - brain trauma is no fun no matter what the cause.)
Traveling by car can also put you at risk of permanent disability, but generally you are more protected- what would kill you on a bike would disable you in a car, and what would disable you on a bike would merely inconvenience you in a car
I really love my bike, and my go kart, and motorcycle, and all of the lightweight forms of transportation I have that pose very little danger to me on a flat, clear road
But I really think that even with most drivers being alert, the physics of sharing the road are very broken
It's either ban cars, make bike only highways, or tell riders to ride at their own risk and pray for an insurance claim
Cyclists have an increased risk of dying in a road traffic accident, but decreased risk of dying from stroke, heart disease, cancer, etc etc.
It isn't worth holding our breath for even a token bike highway project LOL :(
There's also a lot of recreational paths that end up making areas quite a lot more bike accessible. And I mean rail trails extending for tens of miles along transport corridors, not just trails to nowhere in parks.
Unfortunately, even with wide shoulders and good visibility, "accidents" still happen thanks to unalert/hostile drivers (check out the recent terrible death of Mike Hall in Aussieland)
Rail trails are pretty cool to be honest, and there is a good and much needed network here. Of course, it will never be as extensive or well maintained as auto roads are here in the US for political reasons
They are allowed on Interstates, frex on I90 from just outside of Issaquah to Spokane. It's not all that pleasant or fun, but they are allowed.
Shoulders suck as a place to ride though, it's where all the road debris hangs out, waiting to puncture a tire.
Are you sure that Washington doesn't just have a provision in state law requiring action to close a shoulder?
Yes, that's why I said "(not limited access roads, just highways)", because of the ambiguity in the word "highway". A couple of states do allow bike access on a large portion of limited access highways, mostly in the west.
We don't have bike trails because they are expensive and little used (because of population density more than anything). That's a political reason, it isn't exactly a surprising or awful reason.
If you know a way to get a sub-30-minute commute under those constraints by any means where career opportunities for software engineers an be found, please do tell. I'm stringing together a motorcycle and a train, and I'm still at 45 minutes each way on the best of days.
People tell me how "lucky" I am that I live in a bike friendly area, close to shops, restaurants, etc and within a 10 minute walk from the train station. Then I explain that it wasn't "luck", I purposely chose where I live because of all of these features.
On the shittiest day at work, or the most stressful situation at home, there's been nothing better than getting on the bike and just taking a ride wherever I have to be or going for a spin without strong purpose. It allows me to clear my mind, forget about everything else, even if just for a half an hour.
Feeling the spring breeze or even the frosty winter air's bite on my face while pedaling down the street often puts a big smile on my face even at times where otherwise I'd surely not be smiling.
I've lived in car-oriented suburbs all my life, and was raised to just go for it. It's not a big deal to get passed by the occasional car on suburban streets. The main roads on the city grid are intimidating, sure, but there are usually much quieter streets running parallel a block or two over (cars avoid them due to frequent stop signs, which bikes can generally roll through with impunity).
Grab the Google cycling directions - it's decent at finding those quieter roads - and just try it sometime. It's not that scary. (I find that it's miserable due to physical exertion if there's even a slight incline, but that's another conversation).
The biggest danger on two wheels is a car not seeing you at an intersection. A bike lane isn't going to help much there anyway. Lights, a helmet, bright colors, using the correct lanes in bigger intersections, and general defensive riding will go far.
My commute is also 10 miles in the urban east side of Kansas City, MO. This is most likely one of the least cycling friendly places in America and yet here I am, cycling to work every day and loving every minute of it.
Bike should have chain guard and long fenders to keep your ass and back dry and with mud flaps to keep your feet dry(ish). Might be a good idea to use rain boots and keep shoes in a bag if it's raining.
I definitely miss not having chain guard and fenders with Seattle weather, but have switched over to a raincoat and boots for biking. Waterproofing the commute is totally worth it.
Technology might have improved since I bought my last soft shell pant, though.
This past year I've been walking instead of cycling since it's more exercise.
The raincape/poncho, however dorky people may view it, is actually one of the more effective wet weather items provided it's not too windy.
My point was moreso that any sort of rainproof gear will eventually cause you to sweat due to decreased venting, and it's about finding the balance between sweating, or getting rained on. Everyone's mileage will obivously differ given different bodies, air humidities, and length of commute.
If it's raining, assume you have to change clothes. Any DWR-coated clothing will eventually wear off by the end of a season or two. And your shoes and socks will be the wettest items anyways.
Also during rain, there's a fine line between getting soaked from the rain, or sweating out from your rain jacket. Showers Pass has made bike-focused rain gear for a while that has plenty of reflective details and options for venting. Your basic rain jacket from TNF, Marmot, Patagucci will work in a pinch, too.
For moderate weather, plenty of companies have been (or used to be) targeted for bike-commuting: Swrve, Makers & Riders, and Outlier (the last one has moved away). They all offer stretchy pants made with synthetics so they dry quicker. Newer wool slacks with a touch of spandex from your typical big box retailers like Banana Republic also work because they're slightly stretchy and breathable. You'll probably wear them out faster, though, since wool doesn't handle abrasion that well.
But yeah, depending on the weather, how easily you sweat, and how far you have to ride, you may need a second set of clothes. Hopefully your office doesn't have a hoteling setup.
Hard to say about cancer and heart disease but it definitely has cut about 20 lbs off my weight and kept it steady for over 5 years.
I live in a not very bike friendly city so had to design my own route.
I can't imagine biking in a city such as London(very strict rules on where you can bike and seems quite dangerous).
My current commute is over 14km each way and I cannot do it daily due to time restrictions (and overall fitness).
I find when I bike commute regularly, even with this short route, it makes a massive difference in my stamina for other activities I do far less frequently, namely road biking, skiing, and climbing.
When there's a will there's a way!
* edited for slightly more clarity.
Location: a commuter city, sidewalks rarely used in AM, not much usage in PM.
My commute is 80% private paths, and 20% on a road in the city. I've seen a lot of cars crossing the bike lane and I've only been biking for 2 weeks.
If it's a sidewalk along, say, fenced-in land with no driveways, risks are much lower. But cross intersections at pedestrian speed.
This is a pretty decent website:
That said, investigate what off-road trails and even parking lot/park cutoffs you can find to keep off suburban arterials for as much of the commute as you can.
i've experienced hundreds of dangerous near collisions with high speed bicyclists as a pedestrian in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities.
it's possible to do serious damage by colliding with a pedestrian, particularly if that person is elderly. for such a person, a fall can result in a major bone fracture -- not something easy to recover from.
please keep in mind that pedestrians have no other option but sidewalks. if bicyclists use sidewalks heavily enough, they will take away everyone's ability to engage in a very low-pollution form of transportation.
also, some people have no other choice but to be pedestrians, so bicyclists on sidewalks literally eliminate the primary transportation option for some members of society.
finally, i'll point out that most mass transit riders are pedestrians for part of their journey. so bicyclists on sidewalks make mass transit participation more risky and thus raise its economic cost.
Bikes are in an unenviable position where they're not quite pedestrians but not quite vehicles, and there are few specific protections for them. They're often forced to ride on the road with the flow of traffic, while pedestrians are either off the side of the road facing towards traffic where they can see oncoming cars, or better yet are separated from vehicle traffic by a curb, a greenway, and have several feet of concrete to stick to. Bikes don't have any of that protection 99% of the time.
Riding on the sidewalks is a very attractive proposition when the alternative is riding 15mph on a road with no shoulder surrounded by cars going 45mph. I'm not saying cyclists should ride on sidewalks as is, but I fully support making sidewalks into multi-purpose trails where they can accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists. Cyclists should not be forced onto dangerous roads.
Mixed use paths are only safe if the cyclists are leisurely riding. Cyclists at speed sharing a path with pedestrians are quite dangerous. Pedestrians are rarely paying attention and will wander directly in front of cyclists. Being on a "sidewalk" is also quite dangerous to cyclists if the trail ever intersects car traffic, and it will if useful for commuting.
The solution is not to put cyclists on pedestrian paths but to make bike paths in the road safer. Part of this is infrastructure. Part of this is building slower roads. Much of it is culture as drivers need to do a better job of being safe with cyclists.
Again cyclists take the blame for all of the problems, while still not being provided with any solutions. Pedestrians often have headphones in and can't hear bikes, but if bikers are wearing headphones they're told how dangerous it is for them. Pedestrians weave side to side making it hard to pass, but bikes are expected to keep a perfectly straight line when riding on often rough roads. Pedestrians often have almost perfect maneuverability due to their low speed and ability to step sideways out of danger, but bikes are to blame if they can't stop or jump sideways at a moment's notice. Pedestrians can often step to the grass to get our of danger, while many road bikes could suffer damage to their wheels (or rider) if they left the paved surface.
The problem with putting in separate bike paths is now we have three different road systems sharing the space, which in cities is often limited and in rural areas is economically unfeasible to maintain. And it still doesn't solve the problem of cross streets, which both pedestrians and cyclists suffer from at the hands of motorists.
Maybe the answer is to draw a line down the sidewalk to indicate to pedestrians and cyclists that they need to stay to the right (or left depending on country) so faster modes of transport can safely pass. Maybe we should enforce a speed limit on bikes in certain areas. But all of the problems pedestrians face at the hands of cyclists, cyclists face against motor vehicles, but the danger is far greater. Getting hit at 45mph while you're riding at 10mph is a lot different than being hit while walking by a bike going 10mph.
Drivers hate bike. Pedestrians hate bikes. Competitive cyclists hate recreational bikers. Recreational bikers hate speed demon bikers. I don't know, maybe the solution is banning bicycles. Seems that would make everyone else happy, wouldn't it?
Unfortunately, "everyone just do a better job" is generally a failing strategy. This is also the problem with getting drivers to do a better job. They just won't, at least not without a lot of effort.
> Again cyclists take the blame for all of the problems, while still not being provided with any solutions....
That's because cyclists are the problem. All the things you describe about pedestrians apply only because bikes showed up on sidewalks. Pedestrians weaving side to side and wearing headphones are only safety issues if fast-moving vehicles are sharing the path. It's not that pedestrians are immune from fault. Pedestrians who wander into traffic randomly are considered at fault. But they aren't at fault for acting like pedestrians on a pedestrian path. We don't put cars and pedestrians onto shared paths and then expect pedestrians to walk in perfectly straight lines to allow cars zip past them at 20mph.
And there is a solution for cycling, which is to make roads safer for cyclists. There are lots of ways to do that. There isn't a lack of ability, but a lack of will and funding.
> The problem with putting in separate bike paths is now we have three different road systems sharing the space, which in cities is often limited and in rural areas is economically unfeasible to maintain. And it still doesn't solve the problem of cross streets, which both pedestrians and cyclists suffer from at the hands of motorists.
Yeah, it's tough to share the space efficiently. Dumping the problem on pedestrians doesn't fix it, though.
Pedestrians also don't have as much of a cross-street problem as cyclists. This is a place where pedestrians tend to pay attention and cars tend to look for them. Cyclists have a much bigger problem because 1) cars aren't looking for fast-moving vehicles on the sidewalk half a block away, 2) cyclists can't stop at a moment's notice when they realize the car isn't going to stop.
> Maybe the answer is to draw a line down the sidewalk to indicate to pedestrians and cyclists that they need to stay to the right (or left depending on country) so faster modes of transport can safely pass.
This doesn't generally work. Pedestrians will cross the line whenever it's convenient to do so, or if they're not paying attention, or whatever. You could maybe make it work by making it extremely wide, but then you might as well have separate paths and physical barrier between them.
> Maybe we should enforce a speed limit on bikes in certain areas.
Good luck with that. Most bikes don't have speedometers and in any event, the safe speed on a shared path is far slower than most cyclists want to travel, namely jogging speed.
> But all of the problems pedestrians face at the hands of cyclists, cyclists face against motor vehicles, but the danger is far greater. Getting hit at 45mph while you're riding at 10mph is a lot different than being hit while walking by a bike going 10mph.
That doesn't mean that dumping the problem on pedestrians is a good tradeoff. Not only do mixed-use paths put pedestrians at higher risk, they still put cyclists at risk (possibly worse risk, due to the intersection problem), and they frustrate both cyclists and pedestrians. It's not a good solution for anyone except leisurely cyclists who can frankly cycle on sidewalks today and it's fine.
Also, bikes are often going faster than 10mph.
Again I'm not saying that bikes on sidewalks is a good idea. But it's a hell of a lot better of an idea than bikes on roads. You can make up a million reasons why it won't work, but all of them are overshadowed by the huge amounts of cyclists who get killed or seriously injured by motorists every year.
How many cyclists need to be killed because pedestrians don't want to have to walk in a straight line?
If your only solution to the problem is to blame pedestrians for not walking in straight lines then you have no practical suggestions and you're no better than the people you say just blame cyclists. Pedestrians will not suddenly become vigilant as they walk, nor should they. Sidewalks exist specifically so that pedestrians have a safe place to walk.
Edit: Just for fun...
> Again I'm not saying that bikes on sidewalks is a good idea. But it's a hell of a lot better of an idea than bikes on roads. You can make up a million reasons why it won't work, but all of them are overshadowed by the huge amounts of motorcyclists who get killed or seriously injured by motorists every year.
On a road, you have room to intuitively swing out and away when approaching a "blind corner": a situation where a car might emerge, where visibility is bad (tall fence, bushes, whatever). You glance over your shoulder or into your rear-view mirror, then pull out into the road more to be seen sooner if a car pops up.
Cycling on a sidewalks with the same safety as on the road requires you to slow down to an almost complete stop at any driveway, alley, or street where visibility is bad; you're taking a big hit in your travel time.
The surface of sidewalks is often not of the same quality as that of the road; sidewalks are not suitable for cycling at 30 km/h and above, even when you have a decent stretch of side walk to be able to do that safely. Sidewalks are often concrete slabs with gaps between them and misaligned.
Maybe we have this disagreement because I live in a rural/suburban area and not in a major city, so I see recreational bicycles on sidewalks all the time and there is no infrastructure for bikes other than a single straight-line MUP. And on long uphill sections where my speed dips down to 5mph, fuck yeah I'm getting on the sidewalk. I'd be insane not to. 90% of the car/bike accidents in my area are on normal stretches of road, not at intersections. The driver just doesn't see the bike, or thinks he's given the biker enough room but hasn't.
Pedestrians won't become vigilant. Neither will cars. Neither will bikers. So the answer is just let cyclists die so one of the more important groups of people don't have to be slightly inconvenienced.
I appreciate the conversation we've had today, and I'm glad the task of solving this problem isn't left to the two of us.
Your speed limit suggestion isn't bad, it's just not really actionable. Making bikes travel at or close to pedestrian speed would make cycling useless to most serious cyclists. And if you set the speed limit far higher than pedestrians, it does nothing for safety. Then of course there's the problem of enforcement. Given the general ineffectiveness of speed limit enforcement for cars, I'm doubtful. And as you noted, bikes already legally have to follow the posted speed limit, and when it's inconvenient (i.e. long downhill stretches with 30mph limits), they don't, and it's generally unenforced.
But yes, if you live in a rural area, the calculation is probably different for you. Sparsely-used sidewalks/MUPs are in general safer than heavily-used MUPs. A MUP with good visibility and few users can be shared with relative safety, especially if there is a safe "shoulder" to veer onto and no blind intersections. My sidewalks are crowded with pedestrians and littered with intersections for streets, alleys, and driveways, all of which make cyclists on the sidewalks less safe than the roads where cars are driving 30mph (ish). And yeah, if your speed drops to 5mph, I have no problem with you chugging along on the sidewalk, even in the city (though you still need to watch out for pedestrians, and you'd probably find it's not worth the hassle). At that point you're pedestrian speed. I am surprised that most of the accidents in your area are on straight sections of road, though. I'm pretty sure the majority of accidents involving cyclists in Seattle are at intersections of some sort.
I appreciate the conversation, too.
That said, the missing component in this discussion is that there are some cities - like Tampa - that are so horrible for biking and walking that the risk of riding on the sidewalk is lower, and there aren't any pedestrians anyway.
Biker wasnt in sight.
The study doesn't appear to control for differences in wealth. I would suspect that the population of people who bike to work skews wealthier (higher rents close to work centers, less likely to have to go from job to job).
I'm curious how many of these types of longitudinal studies are at their core just confirming the correlation between wealth and health.
I would suspect that the population of people who bike
to work skews wealthier
https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publicatio... page 12
1.5% of people with household income less than $10,000 bike to work, 0.4% of people with household income $75,000 to $99,999 do.
In the last few years I see bikes sold here in Canada with giant tires 15cm (six inch) wide tires.
Driving is hard enough I can't really see biking in winter in -20C then add the windchill making it feel like -40C. No room to bike on the road either and sidewalks are never plowed until hours later.
Look for the initial comment posted by myself on this thread, then come back to this.
Biking home I still felt uncomfortable with using the roads, so I opted for the sidewalks again and came across this:
Shoutout to the commenters who were spot on with their advise.
But yeah, exercising is healthy. Who knew?
This research answers questions about whether benefits from cycling outweigh harms from pollution (yes) or harms from road traffic accidents (yes).
You're actually more at risk to die if you constantly walk than if you are sedentary (1.03 to 1.0) and more likely to die from cancer if so (1.10 to 1.0). If you only occasionally walk though, you are less likely to die of cancer than if you always walk.
I think honestly there are issues here. And why would cycling affect cancer of all things, and only constant cycling?
Obesity is linked to about 20% of cancer cases.
People who cycle tend not to be obese.
One attempt to circumvent a pothole ( plenty in chicago) and next thing you know you head is under a truck tire.
No thanks, I'll go the gym instead.
Some people for example would say the same things of motorcycles, yet there is no shortage of people who recognize and take the risk to ride out there.
Also, many cities have a plethora of bike paths that network through them and lanes set aside for bikes. That combined with high-visibility gear and recognizing those pain points to avoid or tread carefully mitigates a great amount of the risk you take.
It's a factor to weigh in for sure, but it's not as bad as you make it out to be. Anecdotally that's a shame about your co-workers, but for example there are dozens of people who bike to work everyday at my work and none of them have died in the ten years I've been here.
So I suppose you should really phrase that as a factor to consider rather than a blanket statement that it's not worth the risk in the U.S.
This is not an equivalent analogy there are no health benefits from motorcycles, people do it purely for fun. If you are getting someone sort of thrill biking around heavy vehicles then, by all means, go for it .
I am talking about people choosing biking for their supposed health benefits.
> many cities have a plethora of bike paths that network through them and lanes set aside for bikes. That combined with high-visibility gear and recognizing those pain points to avoid or tread carefully mitigates a great amount of the risk you take.
I only have experience with chicago lanes. There are very few of them and almost none of them are actually protected from the traffic. For example, a car making a right turn has no option but to go into the bike lane, almost no one is trained to watch out for bikes and cars mirrors are not designed to accommodate bikers. There are many many issues like this.
But as you said it would be much safer if bikers knew what they were doing but biking on street requires no tests, anyone with a bike can get on the streets with 18 wheelers. Some of these people have never driven a car and are just guessing what needs to be done. They don't think general traffic rules apply to them, like zooming past stop signs , running red lights ect. I see this on a daily basis.
Why do we allow this to happen is beyond me.
Maybe incentivize it with a tax break or something if you take the (paid) training every x years and bike to work at least x days a month on average.
* I'll draw another inappropriate comparison here and say similar to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation that designs the cirriculum for virtually all motorcycle training
Three times I have been knocked off my bike by cars, with many more near misses. Luckily the worst outcome was one day off work and a couple of weeks off the bike.
Perth has a car culture and urban sprawl similar in some ways to Los Angeles. Most people drive to work if they can.
The majority of cars on the road during peak hour have only the driver inside (ie single occupant). Traffic congestion on the major arteries is a problem.
Encouraging more people to ride bikes to work is one way to lessen traffic and parking problems. It also reduces environmental impact and as the article states - has health benefits. The state government here also encourages cycling and other car alternatives for commuting for these reasons.
My regular year-round cycle commuting has inspired a some of my colleagues to try it over driving and/or public transport (note this is not through any pro-active evangelizing on my behalf). A few of them have converted to semi-regular cycle commuters. Other colleagues who can't convert to cycle commuting due to distance, time or family constraints have been inspired to restart recreational cycling.
So while I am painfully aware of the risks of cycle commuting I also believe that leading by example is a powerful thing.
The more cyclists on the road, the more accustomed car drivers become to their presence which should lead to safer driving behaviors.
However, if no one is willing to take the risk of cycling on the road, how will it ever get wider adoption and acceptance?
I've seen people who have never driving a vehicle buy a bike from walmart and ride next to 18 wheelers on the road.
That to me is insanity , why are people supporting this?
Also, The next time you are on the road take a look around you and note how many drivers are distracted by their mobile devices. Just because the motorist has gone through government regulated tests doesn't mean that they are obeying the law.
Well the topic at hand is 'Cycling to work'