counterproductivity of driver culture

105 posts / 0 new
Last post
al-Qa'bong

Quote:

And then there's the new development to the southwest - Harbour Landing, they call it.  Given its proximity to the airport, I've taken to calling it Emergency Landing.  (FFS, what harbour?!  We're in the middle of the bald fucking prairie!!)

I have fun in class with these nonsense terms used to describe motorbound subdivisions.  "Harbour Landing" beats all the sylvan names we have for our concrete jungles.  We've mentioned "Stonebridge" hereabouts already.  There is no stone bridge - but there is a concrete overpass.

Langenburg, Sask. has a couple of rows of houses called "River Heights" that is at the same level as the rest of town, and is adjacent to a drainage ditch.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

We have a subdivision where all the names of the street are "Wascana Estate" somethingorother.  Really tough to find an address out there.  They also have brick walls with no gate - so you get the impression of a gated community without it actually being one.  Very weird.  And all the houses have the same colour palette.  Sort of a neutral/pastel/muted thing going on.  And all the houses look like people live in garages.

I remember the first "lake" subdivision they put up here in the '80s - Lakewood, they called it.  Fake lake, no trees. 

6079_Smith_W

Timebandit wrote:

We have a subdivision where all the names of the street are "Wascana Estate" somethingorother.  Really tough to find an address out there.  They also have brick walls with no gate - so you get the impression of a gated community without it actually being one.  Very weird.  And all the houses have the same colour palette.  Sort of a neutral/pastel/muted thing going on.  And all the houses look like people live in garages.

I remember the first "lake" subdivision they put up here in the '80s - Lakewood, they called it.  Fake lake, no trees. 

At least wascana (pile of bones) is an accurate description, though.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

And all the houses look like people live in garages.

Yeah, I call that design the two-car garage with attached house.

Quote:

At least "wascana" is an accurate description, though.

 

Yabbut, they're dog bones.

al-Qa'bong

Shoot.  You edited, thus wrecking my joke.

6079_Smith_W

Interesting too, that most cities spend their growing time getting rid of natural waterways, then they try to recreate them with fake ponds, lagoons and fountains.

I read an article by Vince Leah about 20 years ago about all the creeks and rivers that used to flow through Winnipeg. There were over 20 of them that were big enough to be named. He mentioned Colony Creek, one of the larger ones. The former stream bed is the depression on Broadway between Great West Life and that Church across the street. At the time he wrote the article the river still flowed underground, and occasionally created seepage in the basement of Manitoba Hall at the University of Winnipeg.

Vancouver also has Brewery Creek, which is just a bunch of commemorative signs now.

6079_Smith_W

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Shoot.  You edited, thus wrecking my joke.

Sorry. I figured I should translate for the national readers.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I have fun in class with these nonsense terms used to describe motorbound subdivisions.  "Harbour Landing" beats all the sylvan names we have for our concrete jungles.  We've mentioned "Stonebridge" hereabouts already.  There is no stone bridge - but there is a concrete overpass.

Langenburg, Sask. has a couple of rows of houses called "River Heights" that is at the same level as the rest of town, and is adjacent to a drainage ditch.

Self-aggrandizing, but there's at least a nod to reality - ie proximity to water...

The older areas have pretty straightforward names:  Cathedral Area ('cause there's a great big cathedral), the Crescents (because at the time they were the only non-grid neighborhood), General Hospital and Pasqua Hospital neighborhoods (next to the hospitals).  Most of the nutty naming phenom seems to have started in the late '40s and early '50s and just gotten worse over time.

6079_Smith_W

There is one consolation to those stupid and inaccurate labels. At least it's not as offensive as pasting the names of those responsible for the invasion (Wolseley, Garnet, Dewdney) all over the place.

(edit)

Though I guess land developers still get to put their names on some things.

Bacchus

Land developers get to name the streets, yes.

 

Some have a sense of humour, some a sense of history and others a inflated ego to judge by the street names

Brian White

Here is some stuff about how the dutch cycle more than anyone else and how it is being copied elsewhere in the world.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/how-to-make-biking-mainstream-lessons-...

 

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Living close to work you are probably going to save at least 1 day on your bike vs using a car.

Quote:
My car didn't cost $10,000 - I drive an elderly Volvo wagon I bought for under $4500.  She's not flashy, but she gets from a to b and I can load both kids, both dogs and a load of groceries in her if I need to.

With all due respect to the author I'd like to use your number to run some calculations.  In your situation it may very well be the best option but I'd like to see how it might play out more generally.

used car cost: $4500
average national wage:$18.80
hours to pay for it at average Canadian wage:239.36
that's about 31.9 days spent doing nothing but getting the car.
the caa gives operating costs of 13.80 cents based on 18,000km a year for a cobalt lt, but I can't think of any reasons other than poor community planning that would require someone to put in that many kilometres(I guess people travel farther then they need when they believe it is easy for them to do so.) so I'll adjust that to a more reasonable and reasonably cycleable 2080km a year(8km for a 260 day work year).
That's about $287.04 a year to operate. or 15.268 hrs to earn that money.
then once you are in the car: The average Canadian spends close to 12 full days a year travelling between work and home
for those living 1-4km from their workplace the average round trip travel time is 33minutes(i was thinking 4km for my example but I'm willing to be generous here and use the average.)
that's 143 hrs a year based on a 260 day work year

That means after you've spent 31.9 days paying for the car your looking at about 6.55 days spent getting to work and back every year.(and we still need to pay for a licence, insurance and taxes for roads and spend time going to gas stations to fill up and I'm not sure if there stats include finding parking.)

"Beginner, short distance (say 10-15 miles): average speed 12 mph. Most cyclists can achieve 10-12 mph average very quickly with limited training"

So let's assume a city has reasonable cycling infrastructure that allows cyclists to reach beginner speeds of 16.09344 kph living 4 km(not an average of 1-4km) from work you are going to spend  129.25 hrs on your bike or 5.385 days.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

If you accept your underlying premises and ignore the rest of my explanation as to why I choose to drive, sure.

I'm happy to invest some money in a car if it means I don't have to freeze my ass off for 30 minutes waiting for a bus transfer in January.  If you live in a smaller city, you will often find that the public transit isn't so hot.  And as I pointed out, biking on ice is not something I'm prepared to do.  I note that there is ice on the streets now, and it won't be gone until April.  I do, actually, bike quite often in the ice-free months.  But you can't just ignore extreme weather as a factor in whether people choose to bike year 'round.

I think, best of all possible worlds, biking is preferable.  Public transit is awesome, and when I'm spending time in a big city it's my preferred mode of transportation.  But the arguments for these modes of transportation mean nothing if you ignore mitigating factors, and you will convince no-one by refusing to acknowledge their reality.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Timebandit wrote:

  But the arguments for these modes of transportation mean nothing if you ignore mitigating factors, and you will convince no-one by refusing to acknowledge their reality.

You've got many post acknowledging your reality. I also stated clearly this may not be the best option for you in my post.  I still think you'd do better to think up other solutions to your problems than to keep on whining about them.  The fact of the matter is the numbers above still show it's advantageous in terms of time to cycle in summer months even if you have already purchased a car to use in the winter.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

First off, I'm not whining.  I have a system that works very well for me, thanks very much.  Now, you might not like my system, and that's fine, but don't accuse me of doing something I'm not.  If you don't want a response from me, don't quote me. 

Secondly, I wasn't talking about the other posts, I was talking about yours - your analysis makes some large assumptions (infrastructure, for example) that are a little unrealistic in some communities, and ignores some of the key obstacles that I've pointed out upthread.

My solution?  Revamp the public transportation system in this city, because bikes for most people here aren't practical year 'round.  My chances of seeing that happen?  Not in the near future, according to a friend of mine who works at the city planning commission.  The political will to make those changes just isn't there yet.  The reality of being in a smaller, regional centre is that change tends to come slowly and several years, sometimes decades, after larger, more cosmopolitan areas. 

That doesn't mean we aren't applying pressure where we can, but chirping along about how wrong we are by those who offer blithe "solutions" without understanding what it's like on the ground is, well, less than helpful.

ETA in response to your addition:  As I've pointed out, I do, actually, cycle in the warmer months.  However, it's still to my advantage to have a car for the rest of the year, and for certain errands that aren't bike-able.  One being hauling a cello and a kid to music, for example.  Now, if we had awesome public transportation, we'd do that instead.  Meanwhile, we drive.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Timebandit wrote:

That doesn't mean we aren't applying pressure where we can, but chirping along about how wrong we are by those who offer blithe "solutions" without understanding what it's like on the ground is, well, less than helpful.

Where did I tell you how wrong you are?  Given your situation and interest in changing things I'd think those are useful numbers to have in terms of convincing people the car isn't quite as effective as they believe and that it might be better to invest in winter proof cycling infastructure than roads for cars.  That post was nothing but numbers based on averages.  it's up to you to choose what is useful to do with them in your situation.  I will tell you I don't think it's useful for you to get these numbers and whine to me about winter and small towns again.

If you want to run some numbers for where you live and post them I think that would be great.  I promise I won't whine to you about cities and temprate climates when you do so.

the driving commute times I used was canadian average for a cyclable distance.  Every day one commutes by bike given those numbers you are saving time.  If you'd prefer it was calculated for just summer rather than 260 day of the year go ahead and calculate that.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I'm not in a "small town"!!!  Gad, you mega-city-dwellers piss me off, sometimes! 

My point is that your numbers are possibly a little off, and may actually be irrelevent to most people living in this country, given that you don't acknowledge other conditions.  And given that roughly two-thirds of Canadians live in rural or smaller/medium-sized centres, you are inflexibly dismissing a rather large piece of the issue.  That's my point.

And again, I am NOT whining.  Please stop saying that - it's inflammatory and counter-productive to the discussion.

al-Qa'bong

In Saskatoon they're building these curvy, wheelchair-ramp extensions on sidewalks at the corners of intersections.  I'm not sure of the rationale behind these things, but they stick out into the right lane of the road and create a very narrow area for bikes to pass.  They are doubly dangerous when they're covered by snow, as a cyclist can't always see them clearly.

For all the talk about making the city greener, the hot air coming from City Hall would be better expended in thawing bike lanes in winter.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Of course the less money you make an hour the less value you get out of using a car to get to work.  For those earning 10.25 an hour(the highest minimum wage in the country) you will on average throughout canada when living a cycle-able 1-4km from work loose an additional 12.74 hrs of your life before taxes or 28hrs in total a year earning money to keep a cobalt lt running.

that brings time for car to get to work including time used paying to operate the car up to 7.125 days a year.

Let's say we compare it to a cyclist able to travel 20kmh, a bit beyond our above beginner speed, but within the limits of speeds said to be typical in muenster.  You will spend about 4.33 days getting to a workplace 4km away.

Bacchus

Hmm except in Toronto most people live 30-50km or more from their jobs (If you live in the suburbs like etobicoke and work downtown its about 35km more or less one way). That leaves transit(if you live in toronto) or car (if you live outside toronto but need to go there) or Go train(if you are near a station or the parking is ok for you to drive there)

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Carefull, In toronto almost nobody travels 30km. Around toronto they might travel that far, I'm still not sure it would be appropriate to say most do.

Yes, Toronto ranks last in a survey of commute times of 19 different cities. An average round trip commute in the GTA is 80 minutes.

But I think the just supports the assertion driver culture in counter-productive don't you? The suburbs are afterall a product of driver culture.

It would be great if public transport options improved also.  My parents live about 30km away in the suburbs I bike there using an indirect collection of bike paths and side streets in 1 hour and 45 minutes.  The time it takes me to get to union station from my house, to take an express bus to the suburbs and to get from the bus stop to my parents house is about the same. If it's a time when there are no express buses the bike is faster.

Also, the go station where my parents live has a huge parking lot and never more than a couple bikes parked there.  Most of the people driving to the go station are likely live within 4km of the station.

George Victor

A GO train has just been promised for Cambridge, KItchener and Waterloo, connecting to the Big Smoke, two triips daily, each way, starting late next year.  Four trips each way sometime later....

This is progress. Unfortunately it is not emulated within Waterloo Region, where big real estate had convinced regional council that an $800 million light rail project is needed to trundle down the main streets of Kitchener and Waterloo, connecting two shopping malls.  It would, of course, attract big money for the developers of high rises appealing to the retiring Boomer bulge.  What it would NOT do is provide transportation to and from work for a workforce facing service jobs to replace the vacating industrial work.  And you can't own a car while paying the other bills on those incomes.  It was argued that that would be the only way to keep development from expanding on the fringes (while, of course, it would only be necessary for Ontario's municipalities to rise up and join Toronto's planners in calling for the abolishment of the Ontario Municipal Board).

A huge protest has gone up, aided by the fact that federal and provincial governments are suddenly not able to fulfill their financial commitments to the project, made way back in the salad days of 2007.

What is dawning on the politicians who were wined and dined by developers and their academic lackeys in planning, is that expanded bus routes and decreased intervals between buses will be the only means of serving the new local economy which, without the presence of RIM and Toyota, would look like Hamilton. My daughter wanted to bus but found the 3-hour daily commute (six kilometres)  would not work, with a youngster in school. At least, the second-hand Echo she took on was incomparably better than her earlier old timer.  Powered by "butterfly farts" , in comparison, apparently. She hopes to bus, someday.

And at the same time, the province has admitted that it must again put off the construction of a four-lane highway across farm and wetland between Kitchener and Guelph, at a  ridiculously conservative extimated cost of $400 million.  Who said there aren't any benefits to a major recession?

Bacchus

No I meant IN Toronto. I live in etobicoke and when I go downtown its between 30-35km one way depend on how I go.

 

And the Go parking lots are usually full. I know several people that drive into the city only because they cant get parking at the station and taking transit to the station adds too long to the commute (1-2 hours each way)

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Technically etobicoke is in the mega city of toronto but it's etobicoke.  

 My 30km bike ride is from bloordale to meadowvale.  How can Etobicoke be 30km?   Are you going from etobicoke to scarbrough?  Taking the highway from the north of etobicoke down to the lake then going up north again into toronto?

How far do they live from the go stations? why is the station so far? Wouldn't it make more sense to just have more stations you can bike to? How many bikes do you think could be parked at etobicoes go station if there were no cars there?

 

Bacchus

Technically is the soul of truth ;o)

Etobicoke is in the city of Toronto. And I go north etobicoke down 427 to gardiner to yonge then up to wellseley.  And as far as I know, they are around 10km from a station, give or take a km.

 

Why is the station so far? Because the transit system is asinine? Where I am, there is a Go station, where my work was, there was a Go station right outside. But for me to take Go meant my 20-30min drive becomes an hour to an hour and a half because my station and that station dont connect, I would have to either go to Union and catch a another train or a streetcar(higher cost of course but actually quicker). And transit outside of Toronto? Ive heard the horror stories where any transit is 2-3 hours of wiating and transfers and waiting.  Improve it, and the amount of bikes you could put in those parking lots would be staggering (in fact you could take half, put apartments in and still have tons of room for bikes)

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

okay, I'll try to preface future references with 'old'  as I think the differences is life style, service and design of the two places are enough are worth making the two areas distinguishable.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Timebandit wrote:

I'm not in a "small town"!!!  Gad, you mega-city-dwellers piss me off, sometimes! 

My point is that your numbers are possibly a little off, and may actually be irrelevent to most people living in this country, given that you don't acknowledge other conditions.  And given that roughly two-thirds of Canadians live in rural or smaller/medium-sized centres, you are inflexibly dismissing a rather large piece of the issue.  That's my point.

So you are calling every city in Canada except the largest three cities medium or small?  Because the numbers I've seen show that about 50% of our population live in cites over 600,000 while about a third live in the three biggest metropolitan areas. 

Your definition of medium sure looks like a large city to me but then I grew up in a mid sized city of 80,000.  I would say medium in my world might include cities like Saskatoon or Regina but not Calgary or Edmonton or Quebec City.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_100_largest_urban_areas_in_Cana...

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

We would probably do well to think of the 3 largest cities as over grown.  For the size of this country it's always seemed crazy to me that we're not more disperesed.

While I many things are evidently more efficient when you have a higher population for a given area I imagine there is a tipping point when the population is too heavily concentrated and further population density starts to become counter-productive.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Timebandit wrote:

I'm not in a "small town"!!!  Gad, you mega-city-dwellers piss me off, sometimes! 

My point is that your numbers are possibly a little off, and may actually be irrelevent to most people living in this country, given that you don't acknowledge other conditions.  And given that roughly two-thirds of Canadians live in rural or smaller/medium-sized centres, you are inflexibly dismissing a rather large piece of the issue.  That's my point.

So you are calling every city in Canada except the largest three cities medium or small?  Because the numbers I've seen show that about 50% of our population live in cites over 600,000 while about a third live in the three biggest metropolitan areas. 

Your definition of medium sure looks like a large city to me but then I grew up in a mid sized city of 80,000.  I would say medium in my world might include cities like Saskatoon or Regina but not Calgary or Edmonton or Quebec City.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_100_largest_urban_areas_in_Cana...

Fair point and in my world, I'm inclined to agree with you, although in comparison to the big three, medium isn't so out of line.  I'm not familiar with Quebec City, so I'm not sure about population density - however, Edmonton and Calgary, even though they are larger, have a similar density to space ratio to Regina and Saskatoon - and Calgary has very serious 'burb spread, which I'm sure is a major challenge to public transit in the outlying areas.

Still, my main point was that neither Regina nor Saskatoon qualify as "small towns" - although our little centre-of-the-fucking-universer over there seems to think they do.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

how the numbers post conversations played out in a different forum.

http://www.ibiketo.ca/forum/advocacy/counterproductivity-driver-culture

Interestingly enough more attention given to social justice concerns there.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture
ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

http://transitiontoronto.ning.com/profiles/blogs/dusting-off-the-bike

Quote:

… and then, this week I did it. And it was incredibly satisfying, all around awesome, and actually not that big a deal. And as I build conditioning, I think it will become how I get to work on most days.

Proof: Bike + Cubicle

For comparisons sake, it took about one hour. Transit is the same or slightly slower (three vehicles, ten minute walk). Due to the oddly lopsided Toronto rush hour, car is faster in the mornings, as little as 35 minutes, and up to an hour at night if the 401 is a parking lot. But what a great feeling.

lagatta

Bicycle lights are indeed mandatory fore and aft in the Netherlands, but not any specific type, and now the law has been changed to accept lights on one's person rather than the bicycle itself.

I travel to Amsterdam at least once a year and have almost never seen a cyclist wearing a helmet. About the only exception was a couple of Mormon missionary types. I have seen helmets on small children being carried on parents' bikes, but it is rare - the Dutch prefer other means of ensuring child safety, especially bakfiets - cargo bicycles similar to the ones dépanneurs use here.

The safest places for cyclist have the highest modal share rates of cyclists - and the lowest rates of helmet use (I mean among everyday cyclists, not athletes).

I was in Amsterdam late February early March this year (last winter) and it was considerably colder and icier than in Montréal! Think the weird weather phenom was due to "Arctic oscillation" or something like that. We had scarcely any snow and several Western European countries got whallopped. There were fewer cyclists than usual but many still cycled - yes, major streets have dedicated bicycle lanes. But other safety factors are the fact that all Dutch schoolchildren have to take a cycling course as part of phys ed, meaning that all local drivers also know how to cycle and are attuned to it, and the strict onus law - you'd better not hit a cyclist or pedestrian (or if a cyclist, you'd better not hit a pedestrian) or you'll pay something, even if the more vulnerable road user is drunk, stoned or otherwise careless.

I'm in my mid-50s and have cycled for at least 40 years, most of the year (cycled all last winter, but weather was exceptionally mild). Never worn a helmet, never will. Always use lights after dark or in waning light. It amuses me when I see helmeted lycra types zipping along at night, completely invisible!

Amsterdam also has excellent public transport, with many, many tram lines. They also have something of a metro and are expanding it, which seems odd for a city built on water. But smaller Dutch cities - and I mean smaler than Regina or Saskatoon - even Amsterdam is not a very big city - have good public transport too. The problem isn't the size of the cities and towns; it is sprawl.

The core of Québec City (the Old City, St-Jean-Baptiste, St-Sauveur, St-Roch, and even Limoilou) is relatively dense, especially the historic city, as there were no cars and most people walked, rather than using horses or steers. Québec also had a good tram system which they are attempting to bring back now. Unfortunately, even historic cities built centuries before cars such as Qc and Halifax are now ringed with cancerous sprawl.

Unionist

Great post, lagatta! You might yet convince me to shed my helmet...

lagatta

Unionist, I don't care what you or anyone wears, as long as you cycle, and don't tell me what or what not to wear!

Fidel

Bonjourno lagatta. Ca va bien?

lagatta

All is well, but my home computer and rabble software don't get along. I constantly get logged off. Now I'm at a friend's place feeding and petting her cat + watering plants, so I'm using her computer (with her permission).

lagatta

104 years of cycle paths in the Netherlands: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/11/104-years-of-separated-bicycle.html

A classic: This is Amsterdam, and this is my bike: http://amsterdamize.com/2010/07/08/this-is-amsterdam-and-this-is-my-bike/

All kinds of people riding in normal clothing.

Brian White

If you look at the Amsterdam video, you might be wondering why so many people ride the crappy slow old style bikes.  Well that works for commuting up to about 8 klicks each way per day. And they are pretty reliable. And a lot cheaper.

And bicycle thieves (which are a big issue) tend to not go for those bikes as much.

My first bike was like that (Max distance I did on it in a day was about 70 miles). On a better bike with the racing or touring handlebars, max went up to over 130 miles in a day.  Unfortunately, I hardly ever cycle.  Lazyness, I guess.

Very nice video.

6079_Smith_W

Re: old bikes in the low countries

There are are also cobblestones and bricks in places rather than pavement, and there are virtually no hills. And yes, Amsterdam is small. I remember walking once from the main train station to Schiphol; it only took a couple of hours.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Cycling is a great idea, but unfortunately, owning a bike either means having to spend more on a lock than you did on the bike, or else just somehow be OK with the idea that sooner or later someone is either going to steal your bike, steal your tire, steal your seat, or (I've actually seen this) steal a $4 brake cable.  If I had my bike right now, I'd be riding it.  But guess what happened to it?

We treat auto theft seriously, but I don't think we treat bike theft seriously.  If Igor Kenk had, in his possession, 3000+ stolen cars, would he already be out of jail?

Brian White

Actually it is pretty true. I had a 25 dollar bike from value village or sally anne and someone tried to steal the seat in broad daylight at can tire or office depot, I think. Thats about 9 years ago. I also was overworked once, exausted and dropped into a thrifties once on the bike. I forgot all about it, (must have walked home),  for about 4 or 5 days, went back and it was still there! (It had a lock).

Snert wrote:

Cycling is a great idea, but unfortunately, owning a bike either means having to spend more on a lock than you did on the bike, or else just somehow be OK with the idea that sooner or later someone is either going to steal your bike, steal your tire, steal your seat, or (I've actually seen this) steal a $4 brake cable.  If I had my bike right now, I'd be riding it.  But guess what happened to it?

We treat auto theft seriously, but I don't think we treat bike theft seriously.  If Igor Kenk had, in his possession, 3000+ stolen cars, would he already be out of jail?

lagatta

Old or new upright city bicycles are not « shitty » they are well-adapted their purpose and environment. I have a Raleigh Sprite mixte from the 1970s. She is a 6-speed – we do have some hills here, but I could make do with a three-speed. Actually racing handlebars and frames, not to mention those ghastly mountain bikes, are far less adapted for urban riding, and not as safe for that purpose as upright bicycles. There is good reason the latter are making a comeback.

Brian White

Racing handlebars are great, because you can relax your back with the different positions,  the frames of the "racing" bikes for urban use  are a lot more relaxed . "Racing bikes" are not something I would like to ride.

That "touring frame" type takes  lots of weight.   They are just fine for urban use. (Just ask a cycle courier). The only problems with them is the high crossbar (for ladies) and the high steal rate (for everybody).  When I worked in a feed mill in Ireland, I could start a tourist weekend after work on friday.   So 4.30 finish, go home on the bike, change, and whip off to a random b and b up to 50 miles away before nightfall. 

Thats simply impossible on the old "city bikes"  unless you have an Arnold terminator body.  I will grant you that the first "racing bike" that they sold me was like you described.  Top gear was 128 inches or something crazy like that.  (Professional sprinters did not even use that gear when they are in a sprint finish!) And that was the "normal" bike sold at the time!  They are horrid.

For a tour around Ireland my top gear was about 80 inches and I don't think I even used it. 1100 miles in a couple of weeks so not bad.

If your city bike has a light frame, and a 5 speed hub gear and you just use it for short urban trips, then yeah, I agree that it is a fine choice.

If you add drop handlebars, then it can do pretty long trips without backpain too.

lagatta wrote:
Old or new upright city bicycles are not « shitty » they are well-adapted their purpose and environment. I have a Raleigh Sprite mixte from the 1970s. She is a 6-speed – we do have some hills here, but I could make do with a three-speed. Actually racing handlebars and frames, not to mention those ghastly mountain bikes, are far less adapted for urban riding, and not as safe for that purpose as upright bicycles. There is good reason the latter are making a comeback.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I am getting interested in getting a bike again.  I used to ride but when I moved to the Lower Mainland there were no bike lanes or paths to speak of and every other week a story of a cyclist being hit by a car.  

We now have extensive bike lanes and paths so I am not scared but I have back problems.  Any one know the plus and minuses on recumbent cycles?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

They're good for longer hauls and at higher speeds and probably have a lower rate of prostate cancer associated with them. They're probably less manueverable at low speeds, however, and as a cyclist you'll be doing a lot of that.

lagatta

No drop handlebars for me, especially not in city traffic. Yes, the Sprite is a fairly light bicycle for her category, and she now has much lighter wheels than she was born with. I have very good gears - 6, not five, and a super-low gear for climbing hills without hurting my arthritic knees. A high bar is also a poor choice for anyone, male or female, with that kind of joint problems. She fits me really well and doesn't give me back pain. She is an urbanite - has been to Laval, Longueuil and to both ends of Mtl Island, but she is not intended for touring.

Wouldn't those cutaway seats (with a hole where the privates are, obviously in a different place in male and female designs) also mitigate risk of prostate cancer? Though I think you are talking serious athletic use to entail such a risk, not everyday commuting.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

heh. I don't think women bicyclists have any worry in that regard. But I think I know what you meant.

I'm in more hilly terrain these days than a few years ago and find I'm riding less. It's more of a challenge.

I once rode a rental in the West End of Vancouver and was surprised by how few riders there were. Riders go along the shore, around Stanley Park, etc., but few were in the hilly downtown. Some of those hills require superhuman effort. But I think there was something else going on. Maybe the riders didn't feel safe or something. A Vancouver babbler might be able to answer than. I'd be interested to know.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Pages

Topic locked