Bad Road Stops My Commute Plans


Well-Known Member
I got a new job, which I will be starting in less than 2 weeks. The company is located about 7.5 mi. from my house. I thought I might be able to commute by eBike a couple times a week, weather depending, but after checking paths to get to the company, I think it's more trouble than it's worth.

The company is located off this one road -- a very busy road that connects through the center of my town and then goes on for many miles. This road is only 2 lane with no room for a bike rider and no sidewalk on either side during a significant portion. I tried riding on this road one day for just 1/2 mile and it felt scary and unsafe and I was forced off the side of the road by 1 obnoxious car and I ended up in the grass. Cars in my area are not polite to bike riders and this is especially true on a 2 lane road.

I tried mapping out different paths to avoid this one road, as much as possible, but it's just not possible to avoid it 100%, and every other path adds anywhere from 2 to 4.5 miles onto the commute.

Disappointing for sure, but there's nothing I can do about that. My town claims to be 'bike friendly' but what that actually means is they stencil some bike icons on some roads. They don't even try on this one main road, it's that bad.
aww. that sucks. is there another approach road that is safe? You can drive your car, park it and commute some portion.
LOL. I thought about it, but other than being about a mile or 2 away, not really. I also haven't quite figured out the lifting of my 51 lb (without battery) bike onto its rack yet either, even pivoting each end on... (Remember I have a shoulder rotator cuff injury that is as yet untreated). What I really need is a ramp solution to get the bike up closer to the rack, to minimize lifting on my end.

You guys can lift 50 lbs like it's no big deal, but in my case... it's a very big deal!
It's even a big deal for me to lift up the e-bikes onto a roof of my car. I hope this somehow works out for you. For example my commute is more palatable if I start at 6AM which means I get to go home from work earlier than my coworkers who show up at work at 9AM. By that time I have 2 hours on them already.
6am! Zzzzzzz.

</not a morning person>

The good news is I'll be able to telecommute a couple days a week so I'll be able to get in bike rides and such.
Adding 2 to 4.5 miles to your commute for safety reasons could be worth the fresh air and exercise IMO. Though you made need to build up to it, taking the long way home has it's rewards. Good luck and get a rear view mirror and daylight flashers. -S
@PowerMe do you have any cycling organizations in your town? For example in my nearest town there is a rail trail org that meets every month and they work with the town to improve cycling in the area (not just rail-trail). There have been lanes, alleys and additional routes dedicated to cycling. The org and the meetings have become an information gathering source for commuting, a great way to exchange ideas and get information to key people in government that make changes. Not a quick fix, but can be a long term solution. So far it's working in my county and I've met some great people. Good luck!
I travel a couple of extra miles just to avoid traffic. Don't let the detour intimidate you. Instead try to focus on the positives of your ride (health, fun, etc.).

If distance intimidates you, only do it once a week at the beginning - it will take a lot of pressure off.

No the distance doesn't intimidate me as it's very doable - 8 mi each way. It's the horrible 2-lane roads that are surrounding where the company is located, with no where safely to ride.

Here's one road near the company that I thought would be an alternative until I looked at it in Google Earth. This is what scares me and there's no way to avoid this kind of road.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 9.17.15 AM.jpg
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Here's the "main" road that I can't avoid going on at least partially. Note the arrow showing zero place to safely ride a bike, and that's on the way to work.

THAT'S what makes me hesitate because cars do not accommodate cyclists on these kinds of roads and near the company it's all these kinds of roads.

There is another way to approach this. It is within the law to do where you can just take the lane if the shoulder is not safe. This way the cars will have to put a blinker on and pass you as if you were a tractor.
If the commute isn't remotely fun, do rides that are fun. Those roads would not appeal to me. I have wayy too many of those roads. So my attitude is to take the bike somewhere fun, at least some of the time. (At least they didn't stencil a little bike on that 6 inch shoulder, though I would have respected their sense of humor.)

When I looked at a picture of your bike, I thought the front would work with the standard 1UP arms. You said you have some stability issues.

Hope you can get beyond that rotator cuff thing. Take things as they come. Don't make it worse. It all comes together, even if it is next year.:D
Agree 100% on the "bike where it's fun to bike!" It's just not a good place for biking, where this company is located, and wishing it weren't that way is not going to change anything. And, this 2-lane road and the other 2-lane roads around it are quite crowded and busy M-F as people head to and from work in the office parks off those roads. In fact, I may take the freeway to get home from work; even though it's additional mileage it will be faster going home due to bumper-to-bumper traffic on those 2 lane roads. Our local road infrastructure is lousy as the area has grown and commercialized, we still have some of these country bumpkin roads and this one just happens to go thru the middle of my town and just happens to be the main path to my new job.

Yes, please get Sonders to start an IGG campaign to widen the roads in my area. Better yet, an overhead dedicated bicycle thru-way like what they're building in Europe would be greaaaat! :p

GEORGE: (EDITED to say I worked it out with the bike rack! I was able to get it onto the rack! Woot!)

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I face a similar predicament. If I hinder traffic, I am taking my life in my own handlebars. The options I have considered are:
  • Put the bike on the bus rack to avoid the danger
  • Drive the bike past the danger
  • Walk the bike in walk-assist mode on the opposite side of the street
  • Get a 2kW or higher hub motor that will exceed car speed, e.g., license the bike as a motorcycle or scooter to legally ride in the car lane. HPC sells bikes that travel over 45mph. 78V, 3.5kW.
  • Drive the bike to work and ride at lunch

I am leaning towards the motorcycle approach, because is safest statistically.

The main reason fast bikes are viable is NMC batteries. I am waiting until NMC becomes more widespread and standardized though. HPC is the only manufacturer that I have noticed who offers NMC on their bikes. Zero has BMS for each NMC cell, which HPC lacks. Please inform of any other NMC bikes you know of.

NMC is half the weigh of other li-ion batteries and has a much further range. NMC chemicals are much less expensive than conventional li-ion batteries. However, NMC sells for a premium. NMC should last about twice as long as traditional batteries. NMC is the most common EV battery and used in Zero motorcycle.

Heavy hub motors necessitate triple-walled rims. HPC conspiciously omits rim info, so I am skeptical.

NMC is a game changer. Zero motorcyle:
  • State-of-the-art 102 volt power pack configurations and cell chemistry
    • Cells last 2,500 full charge-discharge cycles before hitting 80% capacity, yielding as much as 339,000 miles on the original power pack
    • 90 miles per charge for highway speeds, 100+ mph
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Google Maps has a clickable "Bicycling" thing in the search box that shows paths in dark green. Sometimes you can find potential rides fairly close by, or drive/rides. It still shows the paths if you zoom way out on the map.

"Ride with GPS" has some nice features, like the grades. You showed a screenshot, I think, so I put it on the Moto. The Google program, My Tracks, is pretty basic. Ride also saves the rides to the cloud, which My Tracks does in a very cumbersome way. I might pay something, down the line.
I use Google maps a lot (including turning on the green bicycle paths feature). Lots of little broken up green cycle paths, with a couple dedicated bike paths/trails in my town. Unfortunately none of those paths lead me to a safe road near the new job, but I have utilized a few of the safe bike paths near my house for recreational rides, and will continue to use them.

In addition to RideWithGPS, I also use, which is part of the OpenStreetMap initiative.
That main road looks very unfriendly, wouldn't like to think of you riding there.