specialized bicycles

By Tim Levin
Riding is a solid, secure, sporty and low-priced manner to get about—and it happens to be beneficial exercise, as well. Still, fictions about cycle commuting hold out. Here are six I've picked up over time

1. It's too risky. Yes, there's authentic hazard associated with riding. Cyclists do smash and get slamed by motorcars. But how risky is pedaling in similarity with other methods of transit and with our perception of the risk? A less than you might think.

Consider the studies of a firm that undertakes safety and failure testing, once known as the Failure Group and now known as Exponent. The firm looked at a selection of past-times and worked out that the number of deaths per 1,000,000 hrs of exposure was 0.26 for pedaling, 0.47 for driving, 1.53 for living (all causes of death), and 8.80 for motorbiking. To put it another way, they discovered that the hazards of pedaling were roughly 50% that connected with driving and 15% of that connected with simply with being alive.

Disappointingly, the exact methods Exponent used are proprietary, and the complete paper isn't available to the general public, but rest assured that this isn't a fly-by-night riders' advocacy organization that is making up the numbers. As the company details on its website, it has been relied on to examine high-profile accidents like the destruction of the federal offices in Oklahoma City.

So, for the reason of discussion, let us claim that the Failure Associates analysis is an underestimation and consider another extensive study that measures the risks using a slightly different yardstick—the count of kills per billions of kilometers moved instead of per hour of activity. The Rutgers University researchers who undertook this work concluded that, per kilometer traveled, cycling kills are eleven times as high as car occupant deaths. Seems pretty grim for cycling until you review what the same review found about walking. Pedestrian kills per kilometer traveled were 36 times as high as driving deaths, suggesting that walking is more than three times as dangerous as cycling.

That said, there's always more that cyclists can do to take responsibility for our safety. A disturbing 24 percent of deadly bike accidents involve an drunken cyclist. Study shows that riders get into lots of smaller accidents that could be prevented. Various studies have shown that the failure to use lights at night or a helmet significantly increases a biker's risk. Finally, riders starting out must be especially careful about drivers opening doors and making turns, and about riding on the pavements.

The bottom line: It's not that biking doesn't have danger, but a little perspective is in required, especially when you begin to factor in the many health benefits that biking provides.

2. It's a long way. The cycle may well take too long or take too much energy if you live further than, say, 12 miles from work. But consider ways to expand your maximum range. Many commuters, for example, use foldable bikes so they can go partway on a morning train.

3. I'll need an pricey bicycle. Wrong. You should be able to come across a new or used cycle suitable for simple commuting for less than $500. Find a good, local bicycle store with a knowledgeable staff, explain the terrain and length of ride you're considering, and they'll help you choose the proper frame and number of gears you'll need.

If you're just starting out,

No comments: