How do you guys overcome the guilt of cycling?

Another Bay Area resident here also wondering whereabouts OP lives. I live on the peninsula and I’d pretty much have to go out of my way to find a bad road to ride on. Many of the busier roads have decent bike lanes and once you’re west of I-280 there’s very little traffic and countless beautiful “country” roads.

I’ve been cycling on the peninsula for over a decade and have had very few incidents. For an area as populous as this, I can’t imagine a better cycling environment.


Used to live on the peninsula, and have friends that love riding up and over to the coast and back.

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Sounds like an excuse to buy a gravel bike.

Cycling comes with guilt :astonished:


That’s what I did yesterday. :grinning:

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I mainly ride my bike on urban roads (Tacoma WA) and have a family of 4 children and wife.

I do the following:

Choose the best roads I can for safety (note these aren’t always the least crowded streets)
Wear the best possible cycling kit for VISIBILITY (bright colors reflective stripes) neon helmet etc…
dual tail lights (one varia radar and one regular light)
100% always use headlights and tail lights

I commute about 50% of the time and have had my share of close calls but nothing major in 10 years. Maybe I am just lucky. I also make eye contact with other motorists and see whether they see me (like in the Avatar sense) or not.

Basically I do what I can and have life insurance for the rest. 3 of the 4 kids are now in college and they think it is cool their Dad is a relatively happy healthy and emotionally stable person which I attribute to my time spent cycling. Cycling is the reason I quit smoking and drinking which more than balances out the dangers of riding a bike.

For me there is exactly ZERO guilt of cycling…just the guilt of who I was before I got serious about riding a bike,


Underrated comment. :rofl:


Like others have said go off road! I spent a good 15 years primarily as a roadie and triathlete and after having kid #2 I was forced on the the trainer for the vast majority of my training for a while. After a couple years of that I started venturing out again and just couldn’t get back into that comfort zone on the road. Even group rides didn’t feel the same anymore.

Eventually, I decided to get off the roads and try some new stuff on the bike. I did a some cross races, than a gravel race, than a MTB race and now I build my whole cycling year around off road events. I still use the trainer a lot because I like structured work, but not having to deal with traffic when I do ride outside is an awesome feeling. Plus the cross/gravel/MTB event scene (at least here in Northern California) is fantastic. So many rides and something for everyone.

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I don’t feel guilty. I help myself feel safe by: helmet (obviously), lights, reflective clothing, riding on the MUP and other non-car roads, riding roads with wide bike lanes, not riding when the sun is low on the horizon, riding in groups, not riding with earbuds, avoiding construction, and similar things.

Get life insurance and write a will if you haven’t already. (I do probate litigation. Seriously: write a valid will!)


I have a dayglow shirt and helmet. I use two obnoxiously bright flashing lights during the day. If somebody hits me, it’s because they chose to. I also check my anger because the closest I’ve ever gotten into accidents and being in danger is when I ‘got into it’ with car drivers.

I hear what you’re saying tho. I have 2 kids and live in a busy place. I avoid roads that I don’t feel are safe, period. I used to live in the city and during that time, I only rode the trainer weekdays and took a drive out for a long ride on the weekend. Still got in 8-9hpw (1hr weekdays plus 3-4hr on Saturday). I agree that a hobby isn’t worth a lifelong injury. Trust me, I lost a few teeth playing hockey!!

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Touchwood I have only been hit once 13 years ago in 160,000miles. Bizarrely that driver’s first words were “I saw you”. They’d stopped behind me at a roundabout (traffic circle) then assumed I would go on as a circulating car would leave. It wasn’t leaving and I be dead under if I’d gone. A lot has happened in the 10 years though including getting bowel (colon) cancer 5 years ago and I was told by docs in uncertain terms that being cycle fit got me through. If anyone close to me had doubts over my safety they were quelled then.


How does a Varia help?

Reframing. I do not want to teach my boy that he should live a cushioned and padded life. In fact I applaud him every time he has a bruise or cut, show him mine and ask him what he learned from the experience.

I really do not like the “safety at all cost” narrative. You can eliminate most risks with better equipment (helmets, Varia, road choice etc). and by increasing your skills (situational awareness, learning to fall,…). There will always be a residual risk however, but that risk is lower than the risk of cowering and retreating to the safety of iPads and Netflix in my opinion.

On a tangent question: how much guilt do you feel every time you step in your car? You are likely to die in that box, but that is somehow more acceptable?


It is a concern but I take calculated risk in other aspects of my life and cycling is no different. I try to ride in groups, go early and be considerate to drivers. I have been hit once and broke a collarbone but that is all in 10 years. It is a bit like surfing for me, I don’t think of the sharks (early morning when out by myself) but will not surf near river mouths solo or in dirty water. Can’t eliminate risk but can reduce.


I don’t feel any guilt about the actual cycling. I do sometimes feel guilty about how much is spent on it!


You probably mean money… and all the T I M E !


Yeah I did mean money. Time not so much, I try and do everything outside of family time where possible, involve the family if possible, and we all need some personal time. :slight_smile:


I don’t have guilt from the danger of it - but I do have the guilt of the time it takes me away from my significant other; also sometimes I can prioritize my cycling a little too much!


My wife agrees with you on this as it relates to me :grinning:

This is what I’ve switched to. I was careful with my road routes anyway but even then far too many cars intentionally buzzing me. Now I just have to worry about crashing hard on my gravel bike and injuring myself on some remote road. But my wife forced me to get a garmin Inreach to track me

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