An essential tip for beginners

Nuggs
Nuggs Posts: 1,804
edited January 2009 in Road beginners
This will no doubt come as a slap-your-forehead-obvious tip to the more established cyclists on here, but it's something which I hope some people will benefit from:

I've had difficulty recenty with overtaking cars trying to squeeze between me and oncoming traffic. This creates moments of heart-in-the-mouth, squeaky bum and inconsolable rage.

So, when I was out for a ride yesterday, I rode just left of the middle of my lane.

Suddenly cars had to give me plenty of space and check the road ahead, just as they would if overtaking another car (albeit one travelling very slowly!).

I felt far, far safer. I was worried that cars may be unduly impatient, but they weren't. And if they were, then that's their problem; I have a right to space and safety on the roads.

Good luck and stay safe out there in 2009.

Comments

  • Yup really works plus to use anothers line the PF is a gutter sniper
  • Aha!

    You seem to have converged happily with the 'Theory of big' -
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/tibsnjoan/Big.html

    In my experience 'taking lanes' and 'thinking big' does have the desired effect most of the time, just be aware that there are some drivers out there who really don't like it when us cyclist types emerge from the gutters.... and will cut you up just to express their annoyance!

    :evil: :evil: :evil:
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,905
    Definately safer. You'll get the odd prat that gives you the horn still of course. Just yesterday I was coming down a hill at around 30mph in the middle of the lane and some silly old sod was honking his horn and waving his fists at me.
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    Another handy side effect is that you don't ride in all the crap (glass fragments, thorns, hedge trimmings etc) that collects by the verge.

    Des
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • its even better when they honk at you so u kick it up a gear n pull away from them!! or if u can see sum traffic coming the opposite way just gradually slow down (so u dont run over) til your going quite slow n then sprint away n let them catch down the hill :wink::wink:
    Genesis Core 20
  • Gav888
    Gav888 Posts: 946
    I dont know if I would have the balls to ride that far out... I dont feel too safe on the bike and tend to stick as close to the kerb as possible, which for me is about 3 or 4" from the outside edge of the drains or about a foot of the kerb, ive even ridden over a couple of drains by mistake a few times....
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • sicknote
    sicknote Posts: 901
    Gav888 wrote:
    I dont know if I would have the balls to ride that far out... I dont feel too safe on the bike and tend to stick as close to the kerb as possible, which for me is about 3 or 4" from the outside edge of the drains or about a foot of the kerb, ive even ridden over a couple of drains by mistake a few times....

    Hi Gav

    I have done both and after reading here about riding out more in the road, it has been much better by far and it means you have road to move if someone does try to cut you up but if you are so close to the curb.
    You will have no room to move at all or find yourself in a big hole that you dont have the room to go a round.

    It does take a little getting used but after that will will find yourself much happier.
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    Gav888 wrote:
    I dont know if I would have the balls to ride that far out... I dont feel too safe on the bike and tend to stick as close to the kerb as possible, which for me is about 3 or 4" from the outside edge of the drains or about a foot of the kerb, ive even ridden over a couple of drains by mistake a few times....
    I understand your anxiety, but you really will be safer.

    If you can't do it anywhere else, make sure you move out as you near "pinch points" (like islands/bollards, or roads only wide enough for one vehicle) or the b*stard drivers will try and pass you as you go through and have you off! Make sure they have no chance of getting alongside you at these points by taking up the middle of the road. My girlfriend is a new cyclist and I have been telling her to "do what I do" (and as I say :lol: ), but last week she ignored my movements as we approached a pinch point and she had the anticipated close shave - she now understands what I have been telling her!!! :roll:
  • Jay dubbleU
    Jay dubbleU Posts: 3,159
    The other point is to make sure you are visible at night - no point in riding clear of the kerb if drivers can't see you so bright lights and clothing - remember flashing rear lights are legal now and movement makes you more visible
  • JC.152
    JC.152 Posts: 645
    as well if the cars do overtake you and squeeze you a bit youve got room to move to the left (towards the gutter) instead of just landin in the gutter
  • Ken Night
    Ken Night Posts: 2,005
    Gav888 wrote:
    I dont know if I would have the balls to ride that far out... I dont feel too safe on the bike and tend to stick as close to the kerb as possible, which for me is about 3 or 4" from the outside edge of the drains or about a foot of the kerb, ive even ridden over a couple of drains by mistake a few times....

    Gav

    I'm a Bikeability instructor and we're telling kids to "take the lane" where the situation warrants it

    Standard riding position is 80cm from the kerb, for the reasons described above-AND also it allows you to be seen earlier

    We also instruct that riders DON'T undertake.
    “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best..." Ernest Hemingway
  • Gav888
    Gav888 Posts: 946
    Ken Night wrote:
    Standard riding position is 80cm from the kerb, for the reasons described above-AND also it allows you to be seen earlier

    Thanks for the advise guys and Ken, I will be out measuring 80cm from the kerb to get an idea how far out it is, and sticking to it... :)
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • nickcuk
    nickcuk Posts: 275
    80cm from the kerb should be "about 6 inches to the right of a big grid", missing most of the poor road surface and debris that you seem to find at the frame.
  • ShaunL
    ShaunL Posts: 91
    I commute along fairly high usage roads, which consequetly have a very poor surface towards the kerb/bank. I aslo make sure i take as much space as i need and find that the vast majority of drivers are cool with this.

    At the end of the day we are all trying to get somewhere with whatever transport we have.
  • gtitim
    gtitim Posts: 225
    The fact is, if you ride in the gutter you have nowhere to go when the cars scrape by you, i tend to ride further out into the road, then if a car wants to overtake and its safe to do so then I tuck in slightly, if a car overtakes and it isn't safe to do so then at least I have an escape route - always give yourself an option :)
  • BigG67
    BigG67 Posts: 582
    A "rule of thumb" I use is to look for the rubber marks/worn areas on the road surface left buy cars etc. If they're any I ride in the nearside one...i.e. where the nearside wheel of a car would be.
  • JGS
    JGS Posts: 180
    BigG67 wrote:
    A "rule of thumb" I use is to look for the rubber marks/worn areas on the road surface left buy cars etc. If they're any I ride in the nearside one...i.e. where the nearside wheel of a car would be.

    These also usually have the benefit of being a lot smoother as they are worn-in a bit. Also on some roads doing this means you avoid potholes as regular drivers of that road would be doing the same thing (I do anyway!).