the right road at the right time

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mig
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the right road at the right time

Postby mig » 19 Aug 2019, 11:19am

do you avoid using certain roads at certain times under certain weather conditions?

i was driving over the A628 west-east the woodhead pass late on friday night. many users here would know the route - a busy link between manchester and the M1 sheffield area which is a popular route for HGVs. conditions were awful - a strong crosswind from the south-west and lashing rain. up ahead on the main climb i saw two riders together inching up. they had lights but they weren't great ones. ahead of them another lady rider on her own with better lights but clearly struggling in the conditions. no rider was easy to see. traffic on the climb does maybe an average of 50mph give or take.

now i realise that they may have had no alternative to use that route at that time but am left wondering how many here would choose to do the same?

poetd
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby poetd » 19 Aug 2019, 12:33pm

That sounds hairy! Left the bike at home Friday cause I saw rain and high winds and there's a few places on my route with choke points and heavy traffic, though mostly buses.

Only weather based re-route I do is to avoid a road under a crumbling rail bridge when it rains.
All the crumbled stone means the road is permanently full of sandy grit and mud.
20 meters up there in the rain and the bike is utterly caked in road-crud.
I go the long way round to keep my steed shiny. :)

Pete Owens
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby Pete Owens » 19 Aug 2019, 3:07pm

mig wrote:now i realise that they may have had no alternative to use that route at that time but am left wondering how many here would choose to do the same?

Well you obviously thought it the road suitable for your journey, so it seems odd to question why other people might be using the same road at the same time in the same conditions.

Indeed they may well have initially been intending to cross the Pennines the via a different pass, but diverted to the A628 because of the severe conditions. The Woodhead pass is lower and less steep than other potential crossings.

mig
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby mig » 19 Aug 2019, 4:04pm

Pete Owens wrote:
mig wrote:now i realise that they may have had no alternative to use that route at that time but am left wondering how many here would choose to do the same?

Well you obviously thought it the road suitable for your journey, so it seems odd to question why other people might be using the same road at the same time in the same conditions.

Indeed they may well have initially been intending to cross the Pennines the via a different pass, but diverted to the A628 because of the severe conditions. The Woodhead pass is lower and less steep than other potential crossings.


i was driving.

eileithyia
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby eileithyia » 19 Aug 2019, 4:30pm

Did a circuit back before the Tour was coming through, to see the 'Polka Dot' cafe, left the car where we could do a circuit taking in Woodhead on the way back. We were on the tops where the snow fences are when the weather changed from sunny to being hit with wind and rain... very unpleasant conditions. It maybe that when they set out it was not too bad? The alternative would have been to go back via the Snake... so as best burnt as scalded.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

Pete Owens
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby Pete Owens » 19 Aug 2019, 4:42pm

The only difference then is that you had the option of the M62 if conditions were particularly severe. That would be a very long diversion on a bike even if it was permitted.

If conditions a severe, windy, wet etc then cyclists are likely to choose the route that crosses the lowest pass/minimises the number of passes to cross/minimises the amount of time high up. If you look at a relief map Northern England you will a line of hills running N-S known as the Pennines. Any plausible route between Manchester and Sheffield will need to cross those hills somewhere - and the Woodhead Pass is by far the easiest line. So in those conditions it very much is as you say "the right road at the right time"... unless you know of a lower, less steep, less exposed or shorter alternative.

pwa
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby pwa » 20 Aug 2019, 9:07am

There have always been roads that are okay at certain times and not okay at other times. An extreme example for me is the A40 between Landovery and Brecon. In daylight it is a worrying bit of tarmac to be on, with a high proportion of drivers and motorcyclists coming round corners too fast for my comfort. And too much traffic. But the same road at 2am, so long as you have a couple of good bright rear lights, is fine. With very little traffic on the road and very little street lighting your rear lights make you stand out for any approaching traffic. When they catch up with you they are almost certain to have the other side of the road free to move over to. The road is reasonably wide, so generally speaking the risks to life and limb are lower than normal. But in daylight that same road is too busy, I don't feel I stand out enough, and I tend to look for quieter adjacent lanes to go onto. I know quite a few country roads like that.

Roads like that are not part of my own personal network of cycle routes, except for the very few occasions when I choose to cycle after midnight. In my head I have roads and tracks I consider good for cycling, others I will cycle on for a while if it has a purpose, and some I just won't cycle on in normal hours, except possibly for a very short distance to link two quieter roads. I think those of us who have been cycling for a long time have built up mental maps of good and bad roads, and of times to avoid certain roads.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby The utility cyclist » 20 Aug 2019, 10:52pm

mig wrote:do you avoid using certain roads at certain times under certain weather conditions?

i was driving over the A628 west-east the woodhead pass late on friday night. many users here would know the route - a busy link between manchester and the M1 sheffield area which is a popular route for HGVs. conditions were awful - a strong crosswind from the south-west and lashing rain. up ahead on the main climb i saw two riders together inching up. they had lights but they weren't great ones. ahead of them another lady rider on her own with better lights but clearly struggling in the conditions. no rider was easy to see. traffic on the climb does maybe an average of 50mph give or take.

now i realise that they may have had no alternative to use that route at that time but am left wondering how many here would choose to do the same?

Firstly, people who can't easily see other road users need to slow down and use their eyes, there's never a situation that you shouldn't have enough time to not hit people/stuff, like broken down vehciles, fallen trees, animals and other unlit stuff, it just sounds a bit victim blamey.

But to answer your question, you ride your route, why should you continually cede, change route to suit others when doing nothing wrong, shouldn't we be ensuring we 'get in the way' so that motorists are used to having to slow down thus not hit the vulnerable person? In any case given the odds of coming a cropper at the hands of a blind moron is less likely than being killed by a terrorist, why are we even worried about this, do you avoid walking/driving into a city, change your holiday plans in case of a hijacked plane, nope, just do what you do, where you want to do and stop thinking you need to get out of others way or thinking about how you're going to get killed when the chances are extremely remote.

As for weather, jeez, it's weather, it happens all the time, just ride, you could get mown down somewhere else avoiding some hypothetically remote chance of something happening elsewhere.

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Cugel
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby Cugel » 21 Aug 2019, 8:17am

The utility cyclist wrote:
mig wrote:do you avoid using certain roads at certain times under certain weather conditions?

i was driving over the A628 west-east the woodhead pass late on friday night. many users here would know the route - a busy link between manchester and the M1 sheffield area which is a popular route for HGVs. conditions were awful - a strong crosswind from the south-west and lashing rain. up ahead on the main climb i saw two riders together inching up. they had lights but they weren't great ones. ahead of them another lady rider on her own with better lights but clearly struggling in the conditions. no rider was easy to see. traffic on the climb does maybe an average of 50mph give or take.

now i realise that they may have had no alternative to use that route at that time but am left wondering how many here would choose to do the same?

Firstly, people who can't easily see other road users need to slow down and use their eyes, there's never a situation that you shouldn't have enough time to not hit people/stuff, like broken down vehciles, fallen trees, animals and other unlit stuff, it just sounds a bit victim blamey.

But to answer your question, you ride your route, why should you continually cede, change route to suit others when doing nothing wrong, shouldn't we be ensuring we 'get in the way' so that motorists are used to having to slow down thus not hit the vulnerable person? In any case given the odds of coming a cropper at the hands of a blind moron is less likely than being killed by a terrorist, why are we even worried about this, do you avoid walking/driving into a city, change your holiday plans in case of a hijacked plane, nope, just do what you do, where you want to do and stop thinking you need to get out of others way or thinking about how you're going to get killed when the chances are extremely remote.

As for weather, jeez, it's weather, it happens all the time, just ride, you could get mown down somewhere else avoiding some hypothetically remote chance of something happening elsewhere.


Its best in all spheres of life to contrast one's theoretical rights (and the supporting duties of others) with actuality; practicality; the real risks as opposed to the (much reduced) ideal risks.

Personally I would like to see motorised traffic, and the drivers, severely policed: curtailed; otherwise made far less dangerous than is current. As this isn't going to happen (yet at least) I assess the risk of riding down some Toad-infested rat-run or racetrack in poor weather and cycle accordingly. Naturally, this means avoidance of the weather-beaten rat-races and racetracks. When you're lying maimed or dead on the verge, your rights will seem a poor reason for having chosen such a road.

How to move the rights and duties towards a state of actuality? Political processes. What are these in detail? Gawd knows in this day and age of general socio-kultural lunacy.

Cugel

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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby Vorpal » 21 Aug 2019, 8:39am

The utility cyclist wrote:Firstly, people who can't easily see other road users need to slow down and use their eyes, there's never a situation that you shouldn't have enough time to not hit people/stuff, like broken down vehciles, fallen trees, animals and other unlit stuff, it just sounds a bit victim blamey.

But to answer your question, you ride your route, why should you continually cede, change route to suit others when doing nothing wrong, shouldn't we be ensuring we 'get in the way' so that motorists are used to having to slow down thus not hit the vulnerable person? In any case given the odds of coming a cropper at the hands of a blind moron is less likely than being killed by a terrorist, why are we even worried about this, do you avoid walking/driving into a city, change your holiday plans in case of a hijacked plane, nope, just do what you do, where you want to do and stop thinking you need to get out of others way or thinking about how you're going to get killed when the chances are extremely remote.

As for weather, jeez, it's weather, it happens all the time, just ride, you could get mown down somewhere else avoiding some hypothetically remote chance of something happening elsewhere.

Whilst I generally agree with this, some places are extremely unpleasant to cycle. I'm not going to put up with that just to assert my rights.

Given a choice between a busy main road and a quiet road, with similar (likely a bit longer) trip length, I am likely to choose the quiet road. I might ride on the main road if I am in a big hurry, but probably not otherwise. There are some place that I have no interest in cycling, like the A12 in Essex. I may have a legal right to use it, but I have no interest whatsoever in doing so. I'm sure I would survive the experience, but I am equally sure that it would be unpleasant.

Poor weather can reduce visibility. We know that people *should* slow down when driving in poor visibility, and equally that they might not do so. However, the OP obviously saw the cyclists, and it seems from some distance away.

In the circumstances given in the OP, the A628 does not seem an unreasonable choice, and there is no reason the cyclists should not use that road. There are times when it may be wiser to take a break or a rest day, but rain isn't necessarily cause to do so.

I have sometimes made different route choices because of weather, and visibility may affect that. I'm more likely to consider wind, and attempt to avoid crosswinds, by going down one side of hill, rather than another, for example.

I also have once or twice taken shelter from the weather. Once, it was blowing so hard, I could barely remain upright. Another time it was hailing. One time, touring in the Cairngorms, I was in strong crosswinds and there was no shelter. I just got off and walked until I could ride again, but it was hard going with a loaded bike in strong winds.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

pwa
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby pwa » 21 Aug 2019, 8:43am

Whilst agreeing that we should be cycling where we want to when we want to, and not being too intimidated by traffic, there is also the question of what is pleasant and enjoyable, and what is just horrible. It is mostly the latter that really puts me off bad roads. I find being continuously overtaken by noisy vehicles on a busy road really tedious, and a simple desire to enjoy my cycling pulls me onto the first available quiet alternative. This is my own preference and I wouldn't go telling other people they have to do the same.

But I have done regular commutes that involved very busy urban roads, including a major roundabout, at peak time, and no practical quiet alternative existed. So I just took the view that I was entitled to my share of the tarmac and rode it, not in the gutter, and survived. Time after time after time, I survived. Keep a predictable line, signal as you would if you were a competent car driver, and stand up for yourself. The road is yours if you choose to use it.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby The utility cyclist » 21 Aug 2019, 1:39pm

Sometimes rides are not meant to be pleasant or enjoyable, sometimes rides are perfunctory, simply about getting from A-B, which means going in as straight a line as possible, and as advocated by Mikael Colvile-Andersen as one of the things that encourages people to cycle and that people who do cycle will seek to do.
Circuitous/longer journeys are not always attractive, you have no guarantee this equals 'more pleasant' anyways, and in the circumstances described by the OP there's no way I would be trying to find a longer route for the sake of some perceived increase in unpleasantness when I'm already focusing hard on what I need to be doing to get up the slope, keep upright and not hit things in the road because it's pitch black.

roubaixtuesday
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby roubaixtuesday » 21 Aug 2019, 1:45pm

mig wrote:do you avoid using certain roads at certain times under certain weather conditions?

i was driving over the A628 west-east the woodhead pass late on friday night. many users here would know the route - a busy link between manchester and the M1 sheffield area which is a popular route for HGVs. conditions were awful - a strong crosswind from the south-west and lashing rain. up ahead on the main climb i saw two riders together inching up. they had lights but they weren't great ones. ahead of them another lady rider on her own with better lights but clearly struggling in the conditions. no rider was easy to see. traffic on the climb does maybe an average of 50mph give or take.

now i realise that they may have had no alternative to use that route at that time but am left wondering how many here would choose to do the same?


I once did precisely the ride you've just described - had arranged to stay with friends in West Yorks and was caught in terrible weather over the woodhead. One of the very wettest rides I can ever recall.

So I guess I'm an example of someone who would choose to do the same. But I would have jumped at an alternative less unpleasant road had there been one.

mig
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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby mig » 21 Aug 2019, 1:55pm

roubaixtuesday wrote:
mig wrote:do you avoid using certain roads at certain times under certain weather conditions?

i was driving over the A628 west-east the woodhead pass late on friday night. many users here would know the route - a busy link between manchester and the M1 sheffield area which is a popular route for HGVs. conditions were awful - a strong crosswind from the south-west and lashing rain. up ahead on the main climb i saw two riders together inching up. they had lights but they weren't great ones. ahead of them another lady rider on her own with better lights but clearly struggling in the conditions. no rider was easy to see. traffic on the climb does maybe an average of 50mph give or take.

now i realise that they may have had no alternative to use that route at that time but am left wondering how many here would choose to do the same?


I once did precisely the ride you've just described - had arranged to stay with friends in West Yorks and was caught in terrible weather over the woodhead. One of the very wettest rides I can ever recall.

So I guess I'm an example of someone who would choose to do the same. But I would have jumped at an alternative less unpleasant road had there been one.


i understand that. i saw these riders as i'm (i suppose) more vigilant than many in looking for cyclists on that road. too many twists and dips for me to ride that in those conditions. it really was foul/dangerous.

i guess that you also had to put up with rather dour faces on arrival that night. they're all like that in west yorkshire :wink: #runsforcover

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Re: the right road at the right time

Postby Vorpal » 21 Aug 2019, 3:47pm

The utility cyclist wrote:Sometimes rides are not meant to be pleasant or enjoyable, sometimes rides are perfunctory, simply about getting from A-B, which means going in as straight a line as possible, and as advocated by Mikael Colvile-Andersen as one of the things that encourages people to cycle and that people who do cycle will seek to do.
Circuitous/longer journeys are not always attractive, you have no guarantee this equals 'more pleasant' anyways, and in the circumstances described by the OP there's no way I would be trying to find a longer route for the sake of some perceived increase in unpleasantness when I'm already focusing hard on what I need to be doing to get up the slope, keep upright and not hit things in the road because it's pitch black.

Of course there is no guarantee that a longer, more circuitous ride is more pleasant. It's just a matter of fact that in the UK, direct routes are often unpleasant to cycle, and the pleasant routes are often (not always) less direct. In general, I will take back lanes, rather than a direct route, for a more pleasant journey. That's not always true, and frankly, it shouldn't be like that. I agree with Colville-Andersen on this one. But for now, at least, that's the way it is, not only in the UK, but many other countries, as well.

I cycle because I enjoy it. I want my rides to be pleasant, as much as possible, and will almost always choose the most enjoyable route that time constraints allow. That doesn't mean I take the 20 mile route to work. That means I take the 10 mile route to work. There is a slightly shorter route, but it's both harder work and more traffic. I can also take the main road from my house, and save myself 200 yards or so over the quiet, parallel residential street. I have done that exactly once in the 7 years we have lived here. I needed to get to the chemist before they closed and I figured my best chance was a sprint down the main road. I made it with a few minutes to spare, and would do it again in similar circumstances, but I prefer the quiet route.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom