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Old 2020-01-07, 01:19 PM   #16
ruari
 
 
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Originally Posted by Gockie View Post
Another option is to find another route to minimise the need to be at the intersections.
Yeah that is also another great tip that can work really well in certain areas, particularly if you know them well.

You can even combine that with timing (and luck). For example there are three obvious points where I can cross a particular road I need to cross every day. I aim for the first, if they timing is no good, I just go further to the second and try my luck there. I rarely need to go to the third, and rarer still have to dismount because it is not possible at any of the three points.
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Old 2020-01-07, 04:45 PM   #17
Richard C
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruari View Post
Yeah that is also another great tip that can work really well in certain areas, particularly if you know them well.

You can even combine that with timing (and luck). For example there are three obvious points where I can cross a particular road I need to cross every day. I aim for the first, if they timing is no good, I just go further to the second and try my luck there. I rarely need to go to the third, and rarer still have to dismount because it is not possible at any of the three points.
Reading this, the thought popped into my head "Unicycling is an edge case!"
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Old 2020-01-07, 05:37 PM   #18
Gockie
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I recently cycled past a bunch of young kids waiting for a bus. I was on the pavement (“sidewalk” for you Americans), which is legal in Norway.

As I cycled up towards them, I slowed down since children and dogs can be very erratic and unpredictable. Sure enough as I got very close, one of them suddenly jumped in front of me. Presumably to see what I would do(?). Luckily his buddy instantly grabbed him and yanked him out of the way, just before I would have crashed into him.

After this I thought about it for the rest of my trip (and several times since). Now while my very first thought was that it would have been his fault, the more I think about it, it probably wouldn't have been. He was a kid (similar in age to one of my own). They do stupid stuff and it is up to me (the ‘theoretically’, sensible adult) to realise that and to be cautious and in control enough to counter it.

Also while legal for me to cycle there, it is fairly obvious that since it is for pedestrians primarily, if an accident happens, it would be my fault. Further (and to take my Mike's point), I would obviously get the blame. After all, how would I have explained this to others. If I started with “So I was just unicycling along on the ice and…”, at which point they would instantly make up their mind and there would be little point continuing to argue my case.

My take away from this is that whilst I was cautious because kids were about, I need to up that level of caution.
For anybody who thinks that erratic kids and dogs are to blame.... this is why they aren't! Excellent post.
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And to answer the initial question(s). I go with finding something to lean on, timing my crossing, or I just do a dismount and quick remount.

P.S. To expand on the timing thing. It is not just about timing with when I expect traffic lights to change. There are a lot of crossing points where pedestrians automatically have the right of way (so-called “zebra crossings”). As a cyclist I have no rights over cars when crossing one of these points unless I dismount. Obviously I would like to avoid that but if I see that a nearby pedestrian is heading to cross at one of these points, I can slow down or speed up so that I hit the crossing point exactly as they do. Now the car has to stop, not because of me but because of the pedestrian who is crossing at the same time as me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruari View Post
Yeah that is also another great tip that can work really well in certain areas, particularly if you know them well.

You can even combine that with timing (and luck). For example there are three obvious points where I can cross a particular road I need to cross every day. I aim for the first, if they timing is no good, I just go further to the second and try my luck there. I rarely need to go to the third, and rarer still have to dismount because it is not possible at any of the three points.
All 3 posts very well said @ruari, and applies universally.


A different commuting tip I've realised in my neighbourhood. Its easier for me to go through an intersection with a roundabout than a non roundabout intersection. Because with a roundabout, I primarily only need to concentrate on traffic to my right at the intersection on approaching, then keep a lookout for approaching vehicles while on the roundabout, fairly normal stuff, it's pretty easy. (In Aus we drive on the left side of the street).

For a roundabout, there might be a bank up of traffic ahead, that's easy to deal with, (go slower on approach).

There maybe a few vehicles to the right side wanting to go through, depends on the day. Visibility isn't great, so usually I can't immediately know how many there are to the right side. I can (some of the time) go slow enough to let a couple of vehicles make their way through before I have to dismount though.

If I have to dismount.... it's ok. And on the bright side being forced to go slowly at the intersections over time my slow riding skills will improve, and if I have to dismount... well, it's more mounting practice
But I really find a roundabout is better than an equivalent non roundabout intersection for riding. A non roundabout intersection where you are on the side road, you have to look right, left, and straight ahead for traffic. Ie. Traffic coming from all directions before you enter the intersection. This is not as simple as just looking the 1 way for a roundabout intersection.

I'm lucky the streets I ride to get to and from my train station are pretty quiet, people friendly. I also use a zebra crossing too on my way there.

Side note. I also go over a couple of smallish "speed" bumps on this route, I believe they are bad street repairs after people dug up the road and laid cables under the street. I didn't like them initially because I was afraid they'd make me UPD but with more time I've come to enjoy them... btw they have never actually caused me to UPD thus far but my butt can be lifted off the seat while riding over them.

Anyway, more experience with speed bumps I consider good for me since I will encounter them, and being able to deal with a mix of terrain is a good thing anyway for improving riding skills. I'm not going full muni just yet, but bit by bit...
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Last edited by Gockie; 2020-01-07 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 2020-01-07, 06:58 PM   #19
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...... I'm lucky the streets I ride to get to and from my train station are pretty quiet, people friendly. I also use a zebra crossing too on my way there....
I had to look that up.
Zebra Crossing - pedestrian crossing (primarily British English) or crosswalk (American English) is a place designated for pedestrians to cross a road, street or avenue.
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Old 2020-01-07, 07:06 PM   #20
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I had to look that up.
I wondered if you Americans would get it. That is why I included a link in my original reply.

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… so-called “zebra crossings” …
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Old 2020-01-07, 07:09 PM   #21
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Nice thoughts-comments on roundabouts Gockie. Though again, I wonder how many Americans are familiar with them
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Old 2020-01-07, 07:09 PM   #22
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Again, thank you for all the responses.

To celebrate the end of the year, I uni'd the 10-mile round trip to my office and back, stopping at the public library to pick up books for my kids. At many intersections, I was fortunate and able to time my crossing. At a few others, I dismounted, walked across with the light, and then mounted on the other side to continue. I tried grabbing a pole at one intersection but the hills involved UPD'd me after I let go. I walked the crossing and remounted. Some day, I'll be able to mount quickly enough to pedal across, but for now, I was happy to enjoy the commute.

I'm slow, averaging about 4.5mph, but I'm told the 26" uni I'm using is old and heavy. Maybe there's room to speed up.
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Old 2020-01-07, 07:22 PM   #23
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@adamcanderson sounds good, and it will only get easier!

Not sure of your crank length but assuming they are not short already, you could work your way down to something shorter and get a speed boost. I regularly use a 26 in the winter here with 100mm cranks, and with a little bit of effort I can average 16 km/h (10 mph), though that is not my quickest pace. Also my route involves quite a bit of hills and some crossing of roads.

Last edited by ruari; 2020-01-07 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 2020-01-07, 08:17 PM   #24
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Looks like I'm at about 160mm crank length. I will look into getting some shorter ones.
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Old 2020-01-07, 08:51 PM   #25
Gockie
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Nice thoughts-comments on roundabouts Gockie. Though again, I wonder how many Americans are familiar with them
I really loved the roundabouts in Denmark. It seems bikes/cycles have their own dedicated lane on roundabouts wherever you might find yourself riding!

US people... you need to have roundabouts in your country. Mythbusters (TV show) had a segment comparing the efficiency of getting cars through a normal 4 direction intersection vs. roundabout intersections. Turns out a roundabout allowed significantly more traffic to get through the intersection safely. Even for drivers with little experience in roundabouts.
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Old 2020-01-07, 08:52 PM   #26
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Looks like I'm at about 160mm crank length. I will look into getting some shorter ones.
Yikes!! Get shorter ones!
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Old 2020-01-07, 09:21 PM   #27
ruari
 
 
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Looks like I'm at about 160mm crank length. I will look into getting some shorter ones.
My 26 came with 165 as it was intended for Muni and this is how UDC UK specced up the basic Nimbus at the time I bought it. However, I could never get any real speed for road usage and found it a little frustrating, since that is how I ended up using it. I had intended to buy 125mm but by mistake bought 102mm. However I got used to this size after a while. I supposed it helped a lot that I had used 125mm before on a 28, so I guess that was a nice intermediate step. Otherwise 165 to 102 would have been pretty dramatic, had I no experience of shorter cranks.

I would not recommend you went straight down to 100mm. Probably better to buy 125 and get used to them first. 125 will already be a big improvement for road usage anyway.
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Old 2020-01-07, 11:10 PM   #28
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Nice thoughts-comments on roundabouts Gockie. Though again, I wonder how many Americans are familiar with them
Yes, at least around where I live we have roundabouts. Getting more all the time.
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Old 2020-01-08, 02:49 AM   #29
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Agreed on roundabouts getting more traction in, at least, the U.S. areas I live in. But my experience is that most/many don't understand them. That's why I make my kids drive them over and over when they're learning to drive.

Rode my first 32" and giraffe today. Time to start saving for that 32".

Cheers,
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Old 2020-01-09, 11:07 PM   #30
bigevilgrape
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Yes, at least around where I live we have roundabouts. Getting more all the time.

same in the north east. I'm not a huge fan when they put them at busy intersections because no one is comforitable driving though them and everything backs up.
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