Country bike goes to the big city.

DSC01124Twenty-five miles north of where I live lies the “big city”. Pretty much everyone who lives in my community travels to this city whenever they need to get some serious shopping done. I don’t like shopping, especially serious-type shopping, so I avoid visiting the big city whenever possible.

But yesterday my youngest brother was playing soccer at the city’s fairgrounds and I decided it was time to face the city, on my bike, for the first time ever. My bike and I stick to rural areas and small towns but now it was time to face the music and see how we would fare in the world of urban biking. We were both a bit on edge. On the ride, I kept glancing at my clipless pedals. Was I really skilled enough to clip in and out properly in roads with bazillions of cars and traffic lights?

The last two miles into the city were all downhill and suddenly, without warning, it was time to turn left and join the city traffic. Gulp. Here we go.

But it wasn’t bad at all, to surprise of my bike and I. No cars honking or crowding us or trying to cut us off. Even though my mind was on hyper-alert mode, I was able to enjoy the fact that I can keep up with cars in the city. I had imagined getting stuck behind every red light, but I was able to stay with flow of traffic and cruise through green light after green light. I think I actually had a bit of fun, but don’t tell anyone that!

I even got to ride my bike, for the very first time, on a designated bike lane, complete with symbols. Strangely enough, none of the cyclists I observed actually used the lane. Most rode on the sidewalks and while one guy was riding in the bike lane, he was riding against the flow of traffic, directly toward me.

“Are we playing a game of chicken?” I nervously wondered.

But he swerved into the street and avoided ramming into me, thank goodness.

The highlight of the night was hanging out with my family, watched my brother’s soccer game. He scored the first goal of the season (you go bro) and his team won 4-1.

I was able to make my way out of the city before nightfall and then my bike and I got lost in the calm and coolness of a late summer night. But we must not have actually gotten lost because we ended up at home.

As I pulled into the yard, my neighbor was pulling out in his car.

“Oh man, you get me every single time!” He called out the window. “I always think the police are after us!”

Hehe, I love my flashing red taillights.

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28 thoughts on “Country bike goes to the big city.

  1. Good for you girlfriend!! How big is “The BIg City?” Where i work is only about 7,000 but I’ve ridden through the heart of Omaha (1.000,000) and Kansas City and St Louis. You adapt. I’ve not seen people not using bike lanes properly there.

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      • It’s not really much different. Omaha, however, has the most aggressive and rudest drivers of anyplace I’ve ridden. A city of 30,000 still has small town attitudes and, obviously, driving practices. That bit about cyclists not even knowing how to use bike lanes is so typical small town America. I’m impressed that a town of that size even had lanes!

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      • Thanks for the heads-up, I will put Omaha on my biking blacklist!

        I love small town USA even if I have to play chicken with cyclists in bike lanes, haha

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      • It’s all what you train yourself to get used to. I’ve ridden across Omaha several times and, obviously, lived to tell about it. I even found $1.28 on the road once!!

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  2. I have just arrived home in a “big city” after spending 2 months at the cottage in rural Ontario. Cycling will be different. I already miss the quiet, rural, and relatively flat roads. I envy you.

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  3. Our city’s seem a bit scarey. Traffic lights are a pain. Cars aren’t friendly and for some reason no one uses the bike lanes here neither !

    We have roundabouts too there scarey!!! Cars cut me up alot on those.

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    • Traffic lights are a huge pain! In the town where I live there are only a few traffic lights but they can’t sense bicycles. Since there is often no traffic I have to wait forever for a car to come and switch the light for me.

      Roundabouts on a bike would be rather tricky!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. And here was me cycling through fields and being held up by cows being herded down a road this week! I prefer the countryside though – too must stop-start in the city, and maintaining such a high level of concentration, it can be exhausting.

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  5. I ride on the sidewalk in my town bc there are no bike lanes and a lot of streets in my town have incomplete sidewalks or none at all, and no shoulder either. I would ride in a bike lane if it was protected/ buffered bc that strip of paint isn’t safe enough and I would ride going the wrong way since the 1 time I chose to ride in the street, going the same way, I was hit by a car and am currently recovering from it. It was also a side street in a school zone which is supposed to be safer…

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    • Thanks for commenting, Ashley!
      This was my first time biking in a city and to me, riding in the bike lane seemed like the safest spot, but you are right-maybe there are reasons the locals choose the sidewalks. I just found it odd because to me seeing a lane decorated with bike symbols was like being a kid again and getting candy! I was so excited to ride on an actual bike lane…probably too excited 🙂

      I am so sorry to hear that you were hit by a car, I have only had once mildly traumatic experience on my bike (getting a nasty bite from a dog) and it took me a long time to stop shaking every time I heard a dog bark while biking on the road so I know a little bit of the trepidation you may feel riding on the street again. So I hope you don’t mind if I send a great big hug your way!

      Best wishes for a quick recovery 🙂

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      • Thanks for replying. Yeah, my town has a lot of single and 2 car crashes so it’s full of stupid drivers hehe. Quite a few ppl have been involved in hit and runs while biking this year in my town besides me and it’s bc they were in the street. I now am going to be more patient in finding safe routes and just not go to some places if there aren’t any.

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  6. The placement and quality of bike lanes vary. I recently rode through Manhattan on my way to ride central park. Some of the older bike lanes are nothing but the busted, debris covered shoulder of the road. The oppurtunity to get doored or crushed by a bus when dodging said door and general overcrowding of some neighboorhoods means riding NYC, generally don’t use the bike lane. You’ll probably hit a pedestrian. Central Park is awesome! Just when you think you couldn’t possibly go any faster, a pack of seasoned club riders will pass you followed by a pro or semi pro rider who will rocket by at 45 mph uphill. Lol.
    Keep up theawesome blog!

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    • I can’t imagine biking in NYC! It really is all about knowing your own area and making the safest choices based on what you know. If I ever bike in a huge metro area, I will want someone who bikes in the area to be my personal guide, haha! Being doored or ran over by a bus is not my type of fun 🙂

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  7. You can get a ticket for riding on the sidewalk in my town. There is an area of my town, where there are 4 bike shops in the same few blocks and they call it the blinky light district because of our flashing red lights.

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    • Yeah, it is against the law in my town as well, but I doubt a cop would ticket someone. I don’t ride on the sidewalks cause I would be afraid of knocking over or scaring a pedestrian. Riding with the flow of traffic makes sense here, I try to stay as visible and careful as possible and it has worked so far 🙂

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  8. Pingback: Race Recap | Bike Like Crazy

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