Forum home Commuter cycling forum Commuting chat

It's just too scary...

GarethPJGarethPJ Posts: 295
edited April 2009 in Commuting chat
My usual commute is about 8 or 9 miles to the station. I'd like to ride the whole way to work this summer, but there's a problem. The first couple of miles or so of that route are bloody terrifying. And the problem with our geography is that there is no alternative to that first couple of miles.

It's an A road and the main link to the motorway so it's very busy. It's narrower in places than some of the B roads round here. It's all blind bends and crests and double white lines for half it's length. HGVs are only allowed in one direction against my morning direction, but that doesn't stop them travelling the other way. It's a 40 limit, but as usual that seems to be the slowest speed anybody travels at.

The real problem is the width of the road combined with the lack of oportunity to overtake combined with the almost solid stream of concoming traffic coming from the motorway. The windiest part is the first 1/2 mile or so and it's all double white lines. Drivers take all sorts of risks to get by cyclists when it's quiet, but when it's busy it's hell.

I've always been wary of it, but today I had to drive to work and on that road I came across three cars following a cyclist. I thought "they'll wait until he's over this blind crest before they overtake" but they didn't. The first car went and was lucky. The second followed the first and just got away with it. The third pulled out just as she approached the crest, and then swerved back in when she saw the oncoming tractor that had created the gap that had saved the first too from a head on collision. Luckilly she didn't tail end the cyclist.

Anyway the questions are; do you ever get used to cycling in these conditions? Is it ever safe to cycle in these condtions? And what the hell was that roady doing on that road with all that carbon, lycra and sponsor's logos at that time on a monday morning?

Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Why shouldnt the cyclist be there ? He has every right ?
  • Eau RougeEau Rouge Posts: 1,118
    GarethPJ wrote:
    And what the hell was that roady doing on that road with all that carbon, lycra and sponsor's logos at that time on a monday morning?

    Going to work like everyone else?
    Change of clothes at work, and the bike and gear on hand for either a ride at lunch, or a decent ride on the way home. It's what I'll be doing this summer.

    I refuse to cycle back up the hill I come down in the morning though for the same reasons you listed, narrow road, blind crest's, uphill, and a 60mph limit. I'm lucky, I can add an extra mile and avoid it all though.

    As for you're problem.....
    Is there really no alternative? Maybe the bike can take a route the car can't?
  • Rich158Rich158 Posts: 2,348
    You got two options really, try to leave earlier when the traffics a bit lighter, or find an allternative, albeit slightly longer route if you can.

    In my experience once you get used to a stretch of road it's not nearly as scary as it first seems, although that stretch does sound a bit like an accident waiting to happen. I'd give it a go when the traffics a bit llighter and see how you get on..
    pain is temporary, the glory of beating your mates to the top of the hill lasts forever.....................

    Revised FCN - 2
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    Sounds like a fairly typical, busy UK road to me, designed in practice for motor traffic only but in theory cyclists are accommodated, assuming of course they're suicidal enough.

    I'd ask the same question, is their really no other alternative? Road maps tend not to show very minor roads that well. Perhaps you could post the route you are doing and others local to you could advise their workarounds?

    I can understand if there isn't, like the others have said you might have to adjust your riding time, or find some other work around.
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,690
    My commute was along a main A road joining the M3 & M4 seemingly a perfect short cut for lorries and horrific at times for me, I just rode defensively and tried to ignore the huge lorries whistling past with just inches to spare, pot holes and man hole covers really spiced things up esp when it was raining.

    I have since found a back route along almost traffic free quiet lanes, typical to find such a lovely commuting ride now that I've been made redundant.
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • If there really is no other route how about putting the bike on a rack & getting the dangerous bit out of the way by car? Then park up & ride the rest of the way. Either that or get someone to drop you up the road with your bike. A lot of fuss but could avoid a nasty incident.
  • RoastieRoastie Posts: 1,968
    GarethPJ wrote:
    Anyway the questions are; do you ever get used to cycling in these conditions? Is it ever safe to cycle in these condtions?
    1. Perhaps you may.
    2. I would not want to make a call on that sitting here in front of my laptop, but trust your gut. If you don't feel comfortable with it, it probably isn't a good idea.

    There are some 30mph lanes that I have found terrifying and some national limit roads that I have felt completely comfortable on. Personally I think that narrow roads, blind rises or corners and fast moving, impatient commuter traffic don't mix well.

    Sorry to be the voice of negativity.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    GarethPJ wrote:


    Anyway the questions are; do you ever get used to cycling in these conditions?

    Difficult one. I'm sure you could get used to it, not sure that makes things any safer though.
    GarethPJ wrote:
    Is it ever safe to cycle in these condtions?

    If you ride defensively and ensure you are visible then, yes it should be. I'd be tempted to ride further out in the road on the approach to any blindspots, make it harder for those behind you to attempt risky manouevers.
    GarethPJ wrote:
    And what the hell was that roady doing on that road with all that carbon, lycra and sponsor's logos at that time on a monday morning?

    Training? I popped out for an hour pre-commute on my carbon steed this morning. Then popped home, swapped bikes, grabbed my kit and cycled to work.

    I'd suggest trying the route a few times more, if you really aren't happy then find another route, there must be one, it might well be longer but Summer's nearly here ( :shock: ) and a few more miles can't hurt.

    Good luck.
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • GarethPJGarethPJ Posts: 295
    chuckcork wrote:
    Sounds like a fairly typical, busy UK road to me, designed in practice for motor traffic only but in theory cyclists are accommodated, assuming of course they're suicidal enough.

    I'd ask the same question, is their really no other alternative? Road maps tend not to show very minor roads that well. Perhaps you could post the route you are doing and others local to you could advise their workarounds?

    I can understand if there isn't, like the others have said you might have to adjust your riding time, or find some other work around.


    Trust me it's no standard road, as far back as 1973 we were promised a bypass in parliament, but something (mostly the local authority) gets in the way.

    As for alternatives I know every road down as far as bridleways or restricted byways within five miles and there is no reasonable alternative. It's the geography, the road runs along a ridge. So to take the alternative to the south you need to drop down the valley and up onto the parallel ridge - then there's the climb back out of the valley from down close to river level. That adds two miles and a hard drag. To the north you're into the city and while it doesn't add much in terms of mileage it add quite a bit in terms of time and takes all the fun out of the route.

    Oh and the roady guy riding to work? Maybe he was, on Cervelo P-series, wearing a lycra one piece and an aero helmet, but personally I don't think he was. I'd assume he was out training and didn't know what that road could be like in the rush hour, but maybe I'm wrong.
  • doog442doog442 Posts: 370
    I see where you are coming from....surely he wasnt cycling to work because as a commuter you may have seen him before...lets be honest (and i do some road work) he took a wrong turn or wrong time of day...bet you dont see him again...

    My commute takes in suicide alley connecting London with the south west but never,ever have i seen someone out for a 'training ride' on it....why????? because....some roads are not designed for roadies on training rides or cyclists full stop now are they...(problem is some people cant accept it) and will plow on down them causing mayhem to motorists
  • GarethPJGarethPJ Posts: 295
    We see a lot of roadies up here at the weekend. I'm wondering if he was following a weekend route and the traffic came as a surprise.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    GarethPJ wrote:

    Trust me it's no standard road, as far back as 1973 we were promised a bypass in parliament, but something (mostly the local authority) gets in the way.

    As for alternatives I know every road down as far as bridleways or restricted byways within five miles and there is no reasonable alternative. It's the geography, the road runs along a ridge. So to take the alternative to the south you need to drop down the valley and up onto the parallel ridge - then there's the climb back out of the valley from down close to river level. That adds two miles and a hard drag..

    Can't see the problem here! 2 miles extra and a climb will do wonders for your fitness anyway and climbing is good for the soul.
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • GarethPJGarethPJ Posts: 295
    The problem with the extra distance, particularly with the climb, is one of time. As it is I get to see my kid for about 45 minutes on a week day. I don't want to be eating into that time. I used to work 8 miles from home, but I got relocated to an office 10 miles further away so commuting time more than doubled. I'm trying to find the fastest practical route to work. There's nobody I can find doing a vaguely similar commute so talking to other local commuters is out.

    The obvious alternative would be to find a job nearer home, but nobody is hiring.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    Go faster? :lol:

    Well you're in a right pickle then I guess. Perhaps try sticking with the nasty road. At the end of the day, the regular traffic may well get used to you in time, remember that no one is actively trying to hit you and whilst it may be scary it's unlikely that you'll be involeved in an RTA - and once you get used to the road it won't seem so bad. My GF is struggling to ride on the Embankment in London at the moment. She's terrified of the 4 lanes of fast moving traffic - and I was too when I started, now I don't ever worry about it. I appreciate your road is probably far scarier, but if the alternative is not to cycle then I'd try and stick with it for a bit longer at least.

    Best of luck.
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • GarethPJGarethPJ Posts: 295
    Go faster? :lol:

    Well you're in a right pickle then I guess. Perhaps try sticking with the nasty road. At the end of the day, the regular traffic may well get used to you in time, remember that no one is actively trying to hit you and whilst it may be scary it's unlikely that you'll be involeved in an RTA - and once you get used to the road it won't seem so bad. My GF is struggling to ride on the Embankment in London at the moment. She's terrified of the 4 lanes of fast moving traffic - and I was too when I started, now I don't ever worry about it. I appreciate your road is probably far scarier, but if the alternative is not to cycle then I'd try and stick with it for a bit longer at least.

    Best of luck.

    Cheers. I think it's the only realistic option, and I'll probably get used to it in time.

    Maybe I do need that Cervello P-Series and Chris Hoy's legs and then I could keep with the traffic! As it is I'm stuck with my old Peugeot and Will Hoy's legs. :wink:
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    Lol! I get to go down 2 busy dual carraigeways out of Brizzle onto a motorway - usually a racetrack in the morning!! I even get to climb a flyover, by an airfield!

    Often cycle to Bath on the ringroad too - push myself a bit harder!

    Get on the drops and floor it!
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    I have the Old Man of Hoy's legs today :(
Sign In or Register to comment.