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Would you guys commute on this road?(23 posts)

Would you guys commute on this road?Humma Hah
Aug 19, 2003 3:35 PM
The company just moved way out in the hoolies. Indoor plumbing is a novelty. The commute just got longer (that's actually GOOD), but more dangerous.

Vint Hill Road is 2-lane winding country road, with a 50 mph speed limit. Driving at 50, it is obvious to me everyone else thinks the speed limit is 60. Parts of it have a foot or more of paved shoulder, but a 3-mile stretch does not. Varying amounts of gravel and grass offer some escape the cruiser can utilize, but probably a bit rough for a roadbike. In the middle of the no-paved-shoulder section is a turn the local rescue squad calls "Dead Man's Curve", a fairly sharp bend with a guardrail that comes practically to the pavement, with no shoulder whatsoever.

I'm riding against the worst flow of traffic at rush hour, and it is not heavy (yet). However, I would expect drivers to get really nervous about passing me if there were oncoming traffic, especially where there are no paved shoulders.

I have seen exactly one cyclist on this road. I asked him what he thought and he said it was only bad on Fridays.

This road strikes me as rideable, but with extreme caution. It is WAY past my wife's comfort level, and she doesn't want me on it. Would you guys commute regularly on a road like this?
No (nm)spluti
Aug 19, 2003 3:46 PM
I'll tell you how it is here Humma..........rwbadley
Aug 19, 2003 3:52 PM
Here in Reno in the last month we have seen several fatalities that involved an auto either going up on the sidewalk (to hit and kill a biker) or off the road (to hit and kill a nine year old girl)

I can envision the road you describe. It is common country type road. I enjoy riding these on weekend mornings and such. My feeling is this one sounds quite dangerous over the long haul. Weekday traffic, with all the cell phones, hair curlers and makeup, spilled coffee, egg McMuffins; all competing for what little attention most of these drivers have in their sleepy, pissed off, drunken conditions.

You may commute and be fine, but the odds of an occurance are going to be really high when you factor in darkness and wet weather etc...

The speeds these cars are traveling will not allow a second chance. I'm sorry, I may have to side with the wife on this one. It's not how careful YOU are, it's the guy in the cage I worry about.

Plan B ...Humma Hah
Aug 19, 2003 4:01 PM
... She favors an alternative that may work. Leave the pickup truck at the old location (the sister company is still there, and I've routinely parked the truck there for daytime errands). Ride the bike the 5.3 miles to the old location, toss it in the back of the pickup, and drive to the new location, about 8 miles further away, down the dicey road.

At the new location, the whole complex has a bike path running around it, and I could get in some lunchtime miles.

At night, drive back to the old location, take the bike out of the truck, and cycle home.

Safer. Still means burning some dinosaur juice, but about 1/2 to 2/3 as much as driving the whole way. Makes me really cranky when roads are not built for bicycles to use safely.
I was going to recommend Plan K(awasaki), but your Plan Bbicyclerepairman
Aug 20, 2003 12:04 PM
is probably better all around...
I didn't renew my motorcycle endorsement ...Humma Hah
Aug 20, 2003 12:20 PM
... the last time I renewed my driver's license.

Those things are DANGEROUS!

I used to have a Suzuki GS450, plus a Honda XR-200, Can-Am Qualifier, and two Kawasaki F7's. The motorcycles have come and gone. The cruiser has out-lasted them all, and the cruiser has at least 4x the miles on it as all of my motorcycles combined.
I didn't renew my motorcycle endorsement ...JS Haiku Shop
Aug 20, 2003 12:27 PM
I also had a suzuki gs450. then i bought a hondamatic 400, then a suzuki gs1000. then i sold them off and rode the bus or walked. that sucked, so i bought a car (i'm on my 3rd car now). then i bought a bicycle. then i bought a few more bicycles and it's all history. though i'm considering saving for another motorcycle. just for kicks. i'm about ready for a mid-life crisis, and a motorcycle is cheaper than a red sports car.

it's been 8 years since i owned a motorcycle, but i did and will continue to renew my "M" classification. i figure it's cheaper and easier than re-qualifying. the gasoline efficiency of bike vs. car is good enough reason to use one for commuting, though i'm not sure if additional auto insurance for a mid-30s motorcyclist cancels the gas economy.
And in conclusion.....spluti
Aug 19, 2003 4:08 PM
Drivers WILL pass you...even if you are exceeding the speed limit. Not because you are in the way. Not because you are going too slow. Not because there is a fire. Not because they are late for work..Because you are a bicycle. And they will do it while throwing caution and safety (yours) to the wind.
Aug 19, 2003 4:36 PM
The road sounds like a 1-2 mile stretch that I take when I commute. I would commute on your road if I could ride before or after rush hour. When I commute, I either leave very early or wait until rush hour is over. I always come home after rush hour. I also rarely commute when it is dark (that's why my commuting stops when daylight savings time ends) or wet. I think that any variable that makes any road more dangerous (like dark and wet) should be a factor in your decision to ride on a road like the one you describe.

A comment regarding your wife's comfort level: Given that your wife's fears are not without reason, I probably would put her concern into the equation. The last thing that you want to hear after you have had a mishap on the road is "I told you so." Of course, your wife will have to understand that if you cannot ride to work (or have a long ride to work) that you will need more time on the weekend to ride.
re: Would you guys commute on this road?KeeponTrekkin
Aug 19, 2003 7:13 PM
I would find an alternative. I am 3 months into a new job and park and bike commute. I have moved my park/start point to the max of safe roads. And the roads I won't ride are not quite as bad as you describe. I want to get home to my family, every day. I am amazed weekly by the idotic behavior of drivers on my commute. I always ask myself: "What if that idiot did what s/he did where there was no shoulder?"


Thats a typical road here in NC unfortunatleyabicirider
Aug 19, 2003 7:37 PM
seems NC doesn't believe inshoulders or really maintaing roads typical road here in NC spped limit 45-55 no shoulder at all white line then grass gravel pot holes everywhere god I'm sick of NC get me out of here
Be Safe Out On THe Roads!!!!
Ray Still
Mooresville, NC
Thats a typical road here in NC unfortunatleyBob Johnson
Aug 19, 2003 8:14 PM
I was just in Flat Rock, NC and have to agree...

Beautiful country but the roads are dangerous for biking. No shoulders at all. They actually had "bike route" signs up on roads with narrow lanes and guardrails against the lane.

I rode a couple of days but it was nerve-wracking.
Beware of anything labled "bike route" in NCgf99
Aug 20, 2003 4:21 AM
The only accomodation for cyclists on those routes is the signs, which I think were put up many many years ago when those roads were three car a day country byways.
Beware of "Share the Road" signsHumma Hah
Aug 20, 2003 6:16 AM
My last trip to NC I noticed that, when they run out of a stretch with something they can reasonably call a bike lane, they put up "Share the Road" signs. That's basically a message to cyclists that they have to go out in the car lanes, where they can bet the motorists backed up behind them on a twisty no-passing zone are seriously contemplating pulling out the .357 Magnum in the glove compartment.
They do that down there too?biknben
Aug 20, 2003 6:40 AM
I have a few "Share the road" signs on my commute. It seems like they just go around and put theese signs anywhere there happens to be a shoulder. That's it! No painted lines indicating a bike lane or anything. No rhyme or reason to the route. Just a flippin sign. Gee thanks you cheap bast@rds.

I noticed a new sign on my route indicating the
i beginning
of a "bike route". Too bad there aren't any other signs beyond that to indicate turns or anything.

BTW Hummah: I have stretches of road on my commute similar to what you describe. I don't enjoy riding them but I do. I leave early enough in the morning that it isn't bad. During the PM rush, I just say screw it and people pass when they get a chance. I'm not a prick but I'm not giving an inch either.
Here in Maryland, too . . .ms
Aug 20, 2003 9:47 AM
They seem to sprout up where is road is bad, kind of like a deer crossing warning -- except that the motorists worry more about deer than they do about cyclists.
Aug 19, 2003 11:27 PM
Most of the roads I ride on are two lane, no shoulder, 60 mph speed limit. I typically ride ~3 ft from the edge of the road which forces cars to overtake in the oncoming lane, and gives me room to wobble if something really big goes past. However, the roads are not the main routes used by rush-hour traffic, and the local drivers are pretty good with bikes on country lanes.
It strikes me that the biggest worry is not the road, but the skill level of the local drivers. Getting rear-ended by a car at 50mph would be serious, so I understand your wife's worries.
Humma hah, you just described most PA roadways! nmwspokes
Aug 20, 2003 3:42 AM
and MO roads. nmc722061
Aug 20, 2003 5:29 AM
no. there must be another (longer?) option. nmJS Haiku Shop
Aug 20, 2003 5:57 AM
This sounds familiar....where is it?Gregory Taylor
Aug 20, 2003 6:41 AM
Vint Hill Road sounds familiar -- I think that I've been on it. Where is it?

You know, if you have doubts about it, and your spouse has doubts about it, I'd try your plan "B", which sounds do-able. Yes, this is the wuss option, but if Mama isn't happy, ain't no one gonna be happy.
Northern Virginia, Prince Wm and Fauquier counties.Humma Hah
Aug 20, 2003 9:57 AM
Vint Hill Farms was an Army base that did a lot of shortwave listening (it formerly belonged to a radio amateur who could pick up signals from everywhere, sort of a radio magic spot). The base closed a few years ago, and now they're putting in an industrial park and housing. The Vint Hill Road runs between VA 28 and US 29, between Gainsville and Warrenton.
depends on your comfort with riskColnagoFE
Aug 20, 2003 7:37 AM
sounds like bad news to me. i could ride to my job from boulder to denver, but riding on a 2 lane with heavy traffic is just not fun or safe so i take the bus instead.