No Cycling In Russia

Its been over a month since my last post.  So much for two posts a month, April to November :).

Susan and I were in Russia for part of that time (photos here).  After that I was involved in sorting reviewing and posting the photos.

Susan is back to group riding of a sort.   Once a week she will ride with the club.  We both hang off the back of the ride, however.
Since both of her broken bone accidents had to do with encounters with other riders, this is the best way to part of club ride.

During the week we often ride alone and go out no later than 8:00 am.  The pace is faster than it was, but still we no longer shoot for a better average.
One or two riders we feel comfortable with (by invitation only) may join us.
Often, we do not invite anyone as that gives us the flexibility to change the destination and the distance on the fly.

I ride alone or with a group once or twice a week.

Its a different kind of summer — but as I have stated in earlier posts — not any less enjoyable.

The best part about all this riding is the amount of food I can eat without gaining weight!


Born Again Cycling

As the summer progresses my riding is settling into the new pattern alluded to in the previous blog.

My rides with Susan are now up in the 35-50 mile range, at a low to moderate aerobic rate. (L)

My weekend rides without Susan, with our regular riding group are the same mileage but at a moderate to high moderate aerobic rate. (M)

My weekday rides with the Tue/Thur group tend to push the high aerobic rate. (H)

If I ride four times in a good week I get:

L on Saturday
M on Sunday
L  on Tuesday
H on Thursday

The BIG SURPRISE about all this is that I feel good about all the rides.  I am ready for the L rides as well as the M and H rides.

I am less tired between rides since I am not always riding hard.

I am ready for the L rides as a way to just enjoy the scenery and not worry about other riders (these rides are all two to five people, no pace lines).

Of course, I have an advantage in being able to ride pretty much as often as I want.  Not sure I would feel the same if I was still working.

For me the key is, Susan is back on her bike, riding the distances I like at a speed I find comfortable (i.e. not too slow).

All is good.


The Return

After her accident resulting in broken bones, last August, Susan (my wife) was not sure if she would ride again or not.
That was what prompted the poll of two posts ago (which she purposely did not look at).

The fall of 2010 was recovery time.
The winter and early spring of 2011 was cross country skiing and the gym.

Two weeks ago, Susan asked me to take her on a nine mile ride on the bicycle path along the Wantagh Parkway (on Long Island, NY) to Jones Beach, and back.
It was her first time on the bicycle since August 8 2010.  The rule was, no pushing the pace, just enjoy the ride.

The next week we took a 20 mile ride with our son, in Baltimore.  This was on hybrids, six on quiet city roads, the rest on paved and unpaved bicycle trail.
Considering the terrain, pushing the pace would have been most unwise, so it was not an issue.

Earlier in the week, we rode 15 miles through our traditional stomping grounds on the north shore of Long Island.
The ride pace was 11.9 mph.

This morning,  we rode 27 miles at a ride pace of 12.8 mph.  Again the rule was, keep the pace at a level Susan was comfortable with.

As Susan cautiously confronts the hazards of riding along with the joy it has also re-taught me several things about riding:

  • As far as a workout is concerned . . . an average of 65% of maximum heart rate will do as well for you or better than 80% plus.
  • Even at a reduced pace I still burn 75%-90% of the calories I would at full bore.
  • I truly enjoyed the ride, because I was riding with someone I wanted to ride with, regardless of the miles or pace.
  • I do not miss tracking my distances, averages, and total elevations per ride.
  • While I will continue to go on longer and faster rides, I really do not have to always go on longer and faster rides.

As Susan discovers what her riding future will be, I am re discovering riding just for the joy of it.


Of Stop Lights, Stop Signs, Speeding And Other Riding Habits

On the main page of The Bicycle Site (late March 2011) are some links to stories about cycling in Central Park NY.

It seems there are a few faded signs about a 15 mph speed limit in the park.  However, the real speed limit is 25 mph.

NYC’s finest have been ticketing riders for speeding over the false speed limit of 15 mph.  They have also been ticketing for going through red lights, even though the park was close to automobile traffic at the time.

The speed limit issue will probably get resolved as the reality of 25 mph circulates.

Cyclists are suggesting that, if the park is closed to auto traffic, the only reason to stop at a red light should be to give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross.  Sounds like a reasonable solution to me.

When we ride on the road, however,  we do go through red lights and stop signs.

Stop Signs are a problem for cyclists,  given the effort to bring a bicycle up to speed from a full stop.  However, the reality of the situation is that a car will win any car/bicycle contact battle.  My compromise is to come to a slow down or rolling stop as long as I have a clear line of site down the perpendicular streets for 100 yards (because cars can show up real fast).

Red Lights are a real issue, however.   Even a full stop and look left and right and then riding can be dangerous at certain intersections.   Some red lights are at semi blind locations and a car that was not there a second ago can be bearing down at 30-40 mph an instant later.

After several deaths on Long Island, NY last year, between cyclists and cars, at intersections, we all need to realize that the extra minute of wait time is a lot safer than the need to go now.

I now wait for the cars that do have the red light to actually stop.  I make eye contact with the drivers.  I raise a hand to say thanks.  It keeps me safe and helps change driver attitudes about cyclists.


Accident Poll Results

Here are four views of the Bicycle Accident Poll, based on 100 replies.

Poll Total 100 Responses All Votes Women ONLY (14) Had One Surgery (20) More Than One Surgery (16)
Age Group
Uner 30 3% 5%
31-55 50% 72% 40% 40%
56+ 47% 28% 55% 60%
Male 86% 5% 35%
Female 14% 100% 95% 65%
Type of Cycling Accident 36% of all polled had surgery

43% of women had surgery

One accident with a break or fracture that did NOT require surgery
45% 43%
One accident with a break or fracture that DID require surgery 20% 14% 100%
More that one accident with a break or fracture that did NOT require surgery.
19% 14%
More that one accident with a break or fracture where one or more breaks DID require surgery. 16% 29% 100%
Feeling About Riding Again To be fair, most people who have stopped riding altogether probably did not see this survey.

Interesting to note, however, that more of the people who only had ONE surgery (15% compared to 0%), took time off from riding or took a long hard look at what to do.

At this point, do not plan to ride again. 1%
Had to seriously think about, or am currently thinking about riding again. I either did eventually ride again or plan to in the foreseeable future 6% 14% 10%
I took a significant amount of time off (part of a season, all of season, more than one season), but eventually got back into riding
5% 5%
I always planned to get back on my bicycle as soon as I could, and I did. 83% 72% 85% 91%
None of the above or have not yet decided. 5% 14% 9%
Regarding fault of causing the accident:
None of the above accidents was my fault or due to my bicycle.
30% 28% 30% 39%
One or more of the above accidents was at least partially my fault. 40% 43% 20% 54%
One or more of the above accidents was primarily or completely my fault. 30% 29% 50% 7%
Since the accident how do you ride (or plan to ride) compared to how you rode before the accident? Multiple entries are okay. Percentages here can be over 100 because mulitple selections were allowed.
I ride slower
18% 36% 10% 25%
I ride alone or in much smaller groups. 11% 36% 10% 33%
I ride with groups but position myself to always have a lot of space between other riders.
12% 21% 10% 7%
I ride with groups, but only in the back and/or in the front
4% 14% 5% 18%
My riding habits have not changed. 42% 14% 65% 40%
There are also things not mentioned above. 40% 43% 40% 40%
How long have you been riding on a regular basis?
0-5 years 10%
6-10 years 22% 72% 30% 15%
11-20 years 33% 28% 40% 50%
21 or more years 35% 30% 35%

What To Do After The Bicycle Accident?

There was a 11/29/2010 article in the NY Times by Gina Kolata. She had a cycling accident a short time ago and published the following:

Fell Off My Bike, and Vowed Never to Get Back On
The article opens with:

“I crashed on my bike on Oct. 3 and broke my collarbone, an experience so horrific that my first impulse was to say I would never ride on the road again.”


Here on Long Island, NY 2010 seems to have the season of broken and fractured bones for many cyclists.  Some accidents happened to people riding alone, some in groups and, unfortunately, two deaths when cyclists got hit by a car.

My wife, for sure, is uncertain of what the spring will bring, after her broken elbow accident in August.

I know a man who went through the same process after a broken hip…but decided to get back on his bike.  He rides differently (no concern for male testosterone games), but just as often as he did previously.

I know another rider, who got back on his bike after surgery on his clavicle, even before the physical therapist thought he should.

I know people who stopped riding altogether and people who took a year or two off, then came back at some level.

It is  a highly a personal choice.  There will be logical reasons and emotional reasons and each person needs to really decide for themselves.

This all got me thinking . . .what are the other bicycle accident victims doing and thinking?

Perhaps we can develop some answers via a quick poll.  It takes less than a minute and no login is necessary.

Please click below to answer.  I will post results as soon as I have 100 or more votes.  I will then update the results periodically.

The Bicycle Accident Poll
Glenn, Webmaster

Finding New Rides

While Susan is recovering from her broken elbow — and not yet able to drive, I am finding interesting new rides and new ways to get to old starting areas.

Primarily, I started exploring the local roads that go from my house to one of our club’s starting points.

To my surprise, though flat, they are wonderfully rideable.

I have already created loops from 10 to 25 miles for my shorter rides.

For my 30 -45 mile rides, I have 11 miles flat from my home to the club start point, then however many miles of hilly terrain I want that day, then 11 miles flat to get home.
This allows me to keep a higher ride average than an all hilly ride would be.

The point is, we all probably have roads and routes to explore for a nice change of riding routes.



What Did Not Happen?

Sometimes the idiot rider in front of you stops suddenly, without calling it out.

Sometimes the inexperienced group rider passes on your right side, without calling it out.

Sometimes its a crossed wheel, in-attentiveness or one of a myriad of  instances that cause bicycling accidents.

BUT SOMETIMES 13 people are riding and behaving in a pace line, on a flat smooth road and horrible things still happen.

No one crossed wheels.  No one slowed down. No one hit a bump or pot hole.

But three people got seriously hurt.

What Did Happen?

Rider one went down and broke his jaw and several of his teeth.

Rider two went down and broke his clavicle severely enough so that surgery is recommended if he wants to ride again.

Rider three went down after almost avoiding it all, every so slowly but landed wrong and broke her elbow.

Rider four went down but was not seriously hurt and rode back to start.

What happened?

Rider one’s wheel failed.  It literally cracked.  At this point we do not know why.

What Did I Learn From This?

  1. Accidents can happen at any time for any reason.  All the more reason for riders to deal actively with the controllable parts of group riding.
  2. As much fun as a pace line is, the closer I ride to other people the greater my chance of being in a crash of some kind.
  3. A slower pace, some hill climbing and keeping my distance will still result in a nice ride.
  4. I will, at sometime, probably ride in a pace line again, but I do not when or the circumstances.
  5. If I ride my bicycle the way I do, no matter how safe I am, there is no guarantee that I will never be in an accident.

The best we can all do is to be on our best bicycle behavior when we ride.


Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, July 19, 2010. Glenn and Susan are here.  Today we rode along the Old Highway and New Bike Path along the river gorge.

We pulled out of Hood River, OR (about an hour and half from Portland – which has to be the most bicycle friendly city in the US . . . another story) to the bike path part of the Old Hwy. (no cars). Steady easy climb of 4-5% through the forest with one ‘drop dead’ view after another (photos when we get home) of the river and gorge, several hundred feet below. Rode through the rebuilt tunnels with windows to the gorge.  Then down to the end of trail (with the black bear spotted warning sign) onto the Route 30 into Mosier, OR. 

Since Interstate 84 now runs along the gorge SR 30 is very quiet. Past town long rolling climbs, gradually going up, through open vistas and woodlands. Towards the top, at Rowena Vista View (about 700 feet above the river) we the landscape becomes a bit eerie and the winds run steady about 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. Then down about 2 miles of wind drive switch backs to the non town of Rowena.  It is on the map, but there is nothing but some private homes along the road.

We could have gone to the next real town, The Dalles, but the climb back up the switch back was in our heads.  We had a snack and headed back. Okay, the climb was not too bad, nothing over 6% grade and a slow even pace.

While most of the ride back was downward, we were also riding with heavy cross winds.  Several times our bikes were moved across the road. However, the scenery was gorgeous and continuos.  Bike Rentals in Hood River were $30 a day for Giant road bikes. Tomorrow is back to hiking. Glenn