So, I have always loved bicycling. As a kid, I used to ride a bike for hours, and was always enamored by that sense of freedom that comes with it. I eventually outgrew my bike, and my family wasn't exactly in a financial place or desire to replace it. As an adult, I bought my own first real bike in my 30s. It was a Trek Fx 7.3. I used it as a commuter bike around campus (I went to college as an adult) and as I was a student-teacher- no more than a few miles at a time. During a commute home, I was going through a light, glanced up just to make sure I had plenty of time, glanced down, and a car was turning into my lane. I tried to stop. Couldn't. I ended up flipping over the handlebars and landing on my head. I of course did not have a helmet on. I had a concussion (couldn't actually remember the letters of the alphabet for a few days without really concentrating on it). To add insult to injury, I had no insurance- health or otherwise and the police said I was as at fault as the driver who turned left into my lane, despite me having a green light. I never road the bike in town again. It has sat for 9 years. I am now going to try to get back on it. I live on a loose gravel road and have bought new tires for the road, but I do want to get back into going on longer rides. So, I have a helmet and bike shorts. I have a bike. I have new tires. Outside of courage, what else do I need to have? Any advice for a zaftig newbie would be appreciated.
I'd say you're set to go. You might want to pick up a tire pump and repair kit for flats, however. Other than that, you'll know what you need as you go along.
Any chance you can bike off roads for a while? Any rails to trails or dedicated bike paths for you?
I had a partner who gave up biking after a too close call with a car. She said she would consider going on bike paths but she was still too freaked out about how inattentive people are when they are driving particularly to non drivers.
I understand. I've been knocked down by cars three times. I've stopped biking because of other health reasons, but I avoided any version of heavily trafficked area or roads without bike paths before I quit.
Find your own way home. Bike gives you Liberty.
Solace, luckily I live on a dead-end dirt road that has about a 2.4-mile dirt road attached that is lightly trafficked. It isn't much- but it is a start. I have also been mapping out some routes, and I think I can- once I have my courage up- hop on a higher trafficked road for about 100 meters and then go to a low traffic paved road that has a lake loop attached to it, and then end up on the higher trafficked road for about 400 meters- but all that will come with time. The bike paths for me ultimately require me to travel for 30 minutes for a 4-mile trail or an hour for an 8 mile as far as I can tell.
I have found that country roads are actually pretty safe. I don't know if statistics will bear me out on this, but I'd venture to guess that most accidents like yours tend to happen in urban areas.
I ride almost exclusively on country roads and everyone seems to follow the same simple rules of traffic. Motorist can see you long before they pass and there is usually plenty of room for them to give you some space. Sure, speeds are higher, but traffic patterns are less herky-jerky and there are less distractions (unless people are texting).