Just spent two weeks cycling in the US and found the car traffic very scary

I just spent two weeks in NJ and Maine and now I understand why mountain biking is so popular in the US. Cycling on roads, especially busy or urban ones, is awful. I’ve seen a lot of cyclists using the shoulder to the right of the white stripe as a bike lane. Makes total sense until the shoulder suddenly narrows but cars still think the magical white line protects you and pass you really closely. The giant SUVs are also very scary. However, I also did an awesome 300 km Audax in north NJ and that was all on quiet roads and was very lovely. I’d be interested to hear from road cyclists on here, how do you cope? Do you have to drive to the start of your ride to get away from the worst traffic?

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Gravel.

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This and rural areas. Pick your routes accordingly. I can go miles of pavement and see few cars, or if I pick the wrong road, It’s a constant stream of vehicles passing me.

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I ride on very lightly traveled county roads around my house. Will not ride in our cycling unfriendly town. And mtb a lot too.

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This is how gravel became a thing. The roads are empty … it isn’t a fad and didn’t come from a marketing stunt … riders in the States took Cx bikes and hit the empty roads and: boom, gravel cycling.

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I live in Maine and have family in NY abutting northern New Jersey, and have a bunch of experience riding both regions. It’s all about the roads, though I do find the NY/NJ drivers to be more oblivious to cyclists. In either case, it really helps to know the area — and if you don’t, seek out local riders for their recommendations. I also look for local bike clubs and if their group ride routes are public, I’ll give those a look. Recently I was down in Massachusetts riding in an area I didn’t know well. I used a friend’s route from Strava and Suunto’s heat maps on my Hammerhead K2 to dial up a safe and absolutely wonderful ride around Concord and Carlisle.

All that said, my next bike is gravel!

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Welcome to America!

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Garmin Varia radar. Doesn’t “protect” you like a force field, but keeps you aware of what’s behind you, especially if there are multiple vehicles.

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I use the strava heat map to find the popular roads. Not always 100% but usually a good way of seeing where lots of people are cycling, which is often inversely proportional to car traffic

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Yes that makes a lot of sense. I went on a very nice canal towpath. Totally fine with 28 mm tires and completely car free

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The Maine roads seemed much more relaxed.

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I ride in Portland (OR not ME) and the city is ok as long as you know where the streets are bikeways or shared. I used to ride country roads here and there are great places to ride, but pickup trucks with those giant side mirrors are a menace flying by at 45 mph inches from your face. It’s again about knowing where to go. Now that I think about that, it seems like that would discourage a lot of people from riding. Less than ideal.

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My friends here have hybrid bikes and cycle more for recreation than exercise. They are extremely reluctant to go on roads. Definitely seems like a barrier because you need to build some confidence to ride confidently.

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Many people just hate cyclists.

Gravel isn’t immune to it either… yesterday on a ride I had good experiences with cars on the road but a horrible experience with a dirt bike rider. He was looking for a path off the gravel road we were both on, and kept accelerating past me, enough to spray me with gravel a couple times. I flipped him off and told him to come back, but he just gunned it and took off again. Maybe he didn’t mean to do it? But come on, use some common sense.

Another time in the same gravel area a group of dirt bike riders came by me from the opposite direction and one of them ran me off the road. It’s like he simply didn’t see me or target fixated on me and couldn’t make the turn, but I literally had to leave the road to not get hit. I was able to stop the a guy that was trailing him by a few seconds and told him to tell his buddy to be careful and that other people are out there. The guy apologized for his friend and was very polite.

The funny thing is I grew up riding dirt bikes, and although I don’t do that anymore, I still have a CBR600rr in the garage that I like to take out.

Unfortunately, it seems that in the US at least, its the right wing conservative guys who think its fun to mess with cyclists. As they sit fat and stupid in their lifted trucks and wear beards, proud of their ignorance and hate of cyclists.

Unfortunate because I consider myself conservative as well. And I drive a truck. And I am in the military.

I know I can really mess with these guys by wearing my military branded gear… put them in the conundrum of “HOW CAN I MESS WITH THIS CYCLIST AND STILL SUPPORT THE TROOPS!!!”

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I can’t believe you actually wrote that…possibly one of the greatest false stereotypes ever posted on TR.

Joe

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To me that is what it seems like, sorry. Like I said, I don’t like it either since I consider myself conservative.

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I usually won’t ride in the road unless I have at least 1 buddy, even if we’re single-file hugging the side of the road. Not sure if it’s just strength in numbers, but it always seems like cars are less a-hole-ish when there’s more than 1 cyclist to pass.

And while I can always expect big lifted trucks to pass too close, what baffles me is that lots of times it’s also cars WITH BIKE RACKS ON THE BACK! In a “bike-friendly” community no less! There are also cyclists that don’t have a clue when they’re driving either.

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Totally match my experience. I’ve been buzzed inches away and honked by big trucks while riding in the gutter. I never ride on the road, it was on the third of a mile i have to go on to reach a trail from my home.
I’ve also been coal rolled riding on a trail next to the road (not even being on the road) riding with my 5 yo on her bike and my 3 yo in a trailer. That’s a sad moment when you have to find an explanation for your kids on why people would do that.
You can read the thread on patriotic jerseys for a ton more examples

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exactly my point, liberals typically aren’t out rolling coal in their subarus.

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Used to ride on the road a ton here in CA when I was younger and consider myself lucky that in 15ish years I never had a serious incident. Several years ago I decided to quit the road before that luck ran out.

Gravel and MTB is all I ride now.

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