Author Topic: Traffic burnout?  (Read 3044 times)

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Offline MrBent

Traffic burnout?
« on: January 20, 2013, 01:44:28 pm »
Hey, cyclotourists:  My wife and I recently concluded a Canada (Jasper) to the Mexico border tour of the Rocky Mtns.  We did this on two recumbent trikes with our dog, Django.  It was a very strenuous but rewarding trip: Divide by Three http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/DividebyThree.  To be honest, however, after riding coast to coast in 2007 and now border to border, in addition to many other tours up to three weeks in length, I feel fed up in dealing with cars.  It's not that I ride in mortal fear of my life all the time.  I'm just sick and tired of the noise, the lack of consideration, and, to be honest, at least some of the risk from bad/aggressive/inattentive drivers.  Do others here lose the motivation to get out there for these reasons?  I'm still going to ride, but in the West, with so few road options, it seems all the traffic gets funneled onto a few roads, routes that cyclists must follow, too.  My experience back east and in the Midwest was much more pleasant than western states in many/most cases because of the different roads available.  Of the western states I've toured, New Mexico is the best with generally very light traffic.  Unfortunately for my touring, I live in California.  The best touring here is in the desert in winter--very quiet and enjoyable.  Thoughts on burnout?

Cheers and ride safely.

Scott

Offline John Nelson

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 02:04:20 pm »
I try to chose sleepy roads whenever possible, and I do find it possible 90% of the time. Following an ACA route is really helpful in this regard, as well as consulting the traffic volume information in state DOT maps.

Sometimes, however, it is inevitable that you'll find yourself on a busier road. I do find, however, that 999 out of a thousand drivers are very courteous and accommodating. I try to get over the other one as soon as possible.

I agree with you about the funneling effect in the west, especially in the mountains. There seem to be a lot more roads in the east.

I think everybody has different tolerances for traffic. I hadn't really ever thought, however, about a "burnout" factor. Most people I know either tolerate traffic or they don't. I see that you got stuck on I-90 for a while in your tour. I avoid interstates like the plague, although I know others that like interstates. Perhaps because your trikes and trailers are wider than a standard bicycle, you feel closer to traffic. I'm sure you'll feel eager to get out there again soon.

Offline jamawani

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2013, 04:20:39 pm »
Dirt.

Offline freightbike

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 01:19:34 pm »
I work in the contruction business, namely concrete truck driving. I really get traffic burnout from being on the side of the road in a construction zone. The callous behavior of vehicular traffic traveling through my workspace gets my blood pressure to the boiling point. For some reason, I feel less threatened when I'm bicycling out on the road riding the fog line. I think the difference may be that I have a choice to be there or not and a sense of situational awareness. I use a helmet mounted mirror and my skills as a truck driver to keep the flow of traffic in mindfull perspective.
 When I toured in New Zealand, I got an AA membership to get a hold of maps that showed all the alternative routes to the main highways. Many of these were dirt and gravel roads however the alternative was, at least on the north island, crazy drivers. On the south island, the traffic was down to about a vehicle an hour. The only truly crazy drivers I encountered on the south island were a tour bus company that would not move over the center line regardless of the fact that the two of us were the only things on that stretch of hwy. The downside was the surface of the "metaled" or gravel roads was aggregate of a size we call "inch and a half binder". It wouldn't wash off the road like smaller rock would.
 Interstates, in addition to wide, flat tire potential, trash filled, shoulders, have generally easier grades.However they also have grinding boredom and with that drivers who are not likely to be paying close attention to their driving. Not to mention they tend to isolate traveling from the territory you are traveling through. I also avoid them unless the alternative is worse.
 Dirt roads are a possible alternative except for rain and wash boarding. Having a bike with a suspension frame or front fork might help. Speed is the downside of dirt but the upside is peace and quiet.
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG

Offline indyfabz

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 02:38:16 pm »
Dirt.

+1. Also, there are a good number of light-traffic places to ride in OR and MT. Last year's Cylcle Oregon route had very little traffic most days. On Day 1 (Bly to Silver Lake) we probably saw a half dozen non-event-affiliated vehicles in nearly 80 miles of riding.

In 2011 we did a loop from/to Missoula starting at the end of June. Except getting out of and back into Missoula, there was very little traffic. Even Butte wasn't bad. What helped is that we did about 60 miles of dirt roads.

Offline MrBent

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 08:15:44 pm »
Yeah, I get dirt.  The few sections we did on our Great Divide trike tour that were dirt were a a lot of fun--if slow and difficult on such rigs.  I think if I ever do a long tour again, it will be the Great Divide Mtn Bike Route on dirt.  These days I'm getting back into rock climbing--an original passion of mine--and I'm thinking about long-distance back packing, too.  NO cars on wilderness single track!

Scott

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2013, 12:06:10 am »
I guess I rarely get traffic burnout.  I ride all over the NW, esp WA and with the exception of a few roads rarely feel threatened. There are many rural options in WA that have very little traffic.  However, I also enjoy riding all over the city of Seattle, traffic or not.  For me, the key is the mirror.  As long as I can see what's coming from ALL directions, I feel I can control the situation to my satisfaction.
I actually thrive in the energy of the city and the peace of the country.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2013, 06:18:35 am »
These days I'm getting back into rock climbing--an original passion of mine--and I'm thinking about long-distance back packing, too.  NO cars on wilderness single track!
If you want to avoid traffic, backpacking rather than bike touring makes a lot of sense.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2013, 09:43:01 am »
Oregon has great alternative roads. Cycle Oregon knows every inch of every one of them. Idaho, on the other hand, usually has only one decent road that connects any two points and, after doing Ride Idaho for 8 years, I've ridden just about every inch of every one of them. The paucity of roadways in Idaho means you share them with everyone and everything. There are areas of the state where you can see one vehicle an hour for days at a time.

I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2013, 09:03:41 pm »
  These days I'm getting back into rock climbing--an original passion of mine--and I'm thinking about long-distance back packing, too.  NO cars on wilderness single track!

Scott
I'm doing more climbing and hiking than biking these days, even at age 64. I sport climb once or twice a week in season and hike regiularly, too. I bike usually about once a week. If you are around WA, and want to colimb, let me know.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline MrBent

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2013, 08:58:16 am »
Cool, John.  I'll be 51 in March.  I love biking, but hiking and climbing are biggies in my life, especially the rock.  It satisfies in a way that biking never can.

@Bogiesan:  Yes, Oregon--except for the coastal route--has lots of great cycling options, especially the eastern portion of the state.  I did a tour last year that came into Oregon from NE Cali near Lava Beds Nat'l Monument then cut east to Lakeview then over the Warner Mtns. and south.  That big loop, about 500 miles starting and ending in Susanville, CA, is one of my favorite tours of all time.  Very light traffic.  We rode it in late May.  That is a route I'll likely repeat.

Cheerz,

Scott

Offline staehpj1

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2013, 09:28:10 am »
Yes, Oregon--except for the coastal route--has lots of great cycling options, especially the eastern portion of the state.

I was kind of surprised reading that since I thought the Oregon Coast was awesome, then I remembered this was a "Traffic burnout" thread.  I did find the state to be a great cycle touring state.

Offline MrBent

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2013, 09:53:37 am »
Yeah, parts of the coast in summer get 5,000 to 10,000 cars a day.  Ugh!!!!

MrBent

Offline jamawani

Re: Traffic burnout?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2013, 05:33:43 pm »
Mr. B -

Are you aware that the Canadian national parks in the Rockies allow cyclists on many two-track forest roads within the park?  In both Jasper and Yoho you can bike deep into the wilderness and set up camp - then hike or climb from there.  The Upper Athabasca River is awesome.