Turn Right to Go Left

12
Jan
2011

Once I get on my bike, crank the pedals, and hit the open road….the last thing I want to do is stop.  I like riding like a mad man for my entire route without having to take my feet off the pedals.  I really, really, really dislike it when I have to stop for a red light, traffic, or anything else (we have a rule in our house not to use the H word….hence the use of dislike).

So with this in mind, how do I make it through a ride in a busy city like Austin?  I Turn Right to Go Left (and many times Turn Right to Go Straight).  If you have kids and you’ve seen the movie “Cars“, you’ll remember Doc Hudson using this line when spitting out some race car wisdom to Lightning McQueen.  But my “Turn Right to Go Left” technique is much different than what old Doc was talking about.

When I need to make a left hand turn, most of the time it takes waiting for a green light or green turning arrow to make it happen.  Instead of sitting at the light, I’ll go right and cycle along for a while before making a U turn back in the direction I needed to go.

Additionally, if I’m riding along and hit a Red Light, my first instinct is to turn right instead of stopping.  What this allows me to do is keep moving and not be subjected to sitting on the side of the road.  I turn right, pedal my way out of traffic, do a quick 180 back to my route, and then take a right hand turn back to the road.

Let me be totally clear here….I am very safe when doing this and I would never do it in heavy traffic.  I’m doing this on roads and in situations where there are  barely any cars on the road.

The odd time this technique isn’t possible due to traffic or other factors, but the majority of the time it allows me to keep on riding.  Are you with me on this one?  Who else H’s stopping once they are out on a ride?  What techniques do you use to keep the tires rolling?

Enjoy Your Ride

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24 Responses to “ Turn Right to Go Left ”

  1. PedalmanTO on January 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I’m always looking ahead and checking for stop signs and red lights. Red lights, I’ll slow down to a crawl and hope it changes to green. A stop sign- I stop. In my city(Toronto) there is always traffic and cyclists are gaining more respect every year. They will only be able to continue this if they follow the rules of the road.
    I see lots of new people jumping on the bike as an alternate mode of transportation each week. If they see me ahead of them not coming to a complete stop at a red light(one foot down) before making a right turn, the chances are they won’t either.
    I don’t like losing my momentum but I think I would really dislike getting hurt or know that someone else got hurt because they were ‘just doing what I did’

  2. Jonathan Davis on January 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I really dislike stopping as well! When riding solo and on the congested roads of Oxford, UK I always try to obey the traffic lights (I detest red-light jumpers) and other rules of the road.

    However when approaching a light that has turned amber, before going red, I begin to coast towards the light and merge into the traffic, as the cars are slowing down also. Best bit about UK traffic signals is that you get an amber light before green, so it’s a nice way to get primed for a sprint.

    Sometimes when I’m in the front the cars will slow down with me, and we’re off to a rolling start when the light goes green again! The only thing it messes up is my average mph reading :)

    One rule I’m not sure about is going the “wrong way” up a one-way, as a cyclist is this allowed? It may depend on the traffic laws of the city, but I thought it was commonly accepted.

  3. Jonathan Davis on January 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I really dislike stopping as well! When riding solo and on the congested roads of Oxford, UK I always try to obey the traffic lights (I detest red-light jumpers) and other rules of the road.

    However when approaching a light that has turned amber, before going red, I begin to coast towards the light and merge into the traffic, as the cars are slowing down also. Best bit about UK traffic signals is that you get an amber light before green, so it’s a nice way to get primed for a sprint.

    Sometimes when I’m in the front the cars will slow down with me, and we’re off to a rolling start when the light goes green again! The only thing it messes up is my average mph reading :)

    One rule I’m not sure about is going the “wrong way” up a one-way, as a cyclist is this allowed? It may depend on the traffic laws of the city, but I thought it was commonly accepted.

  4. Anonymous on January 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I don’t like to stop but I will if I get caught by a light. Usually though I’ll see the light change up ahead of me and just slow down to time the light changing green or work on my track stand if it doesn’t change right away. For stop signs I’ll slow, do the briefest of track stands, and then mash on the pedals to get started again.

  5. Clive Chapman on January 13, 2011 at 7:38 am

    I thought you were on about “countersteering” a skill I learned when I was doing my motorbike training. When you are riding along you push on your right handlebar and you go right, weird, try it on you push bike. I was thinking about this on my commute in this morning and did it for the first time while cycling, it works! Don’t ask me how, but it does.

    You see! Even on a dark rainy Birmingham England commute I’m thinking about one of your posts Darryl, how sad am I?! LOL!

    • Anonymous on January 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

      Awesome….nice to know that I was inside your head today while on your commute. I’m going to give your technique a go.

  6. Eric Hutchins on January 13, 2011 at 5:05 am

    First I have to say that I love the “no H word rule” we need to starting using that with our kids. but thats a whole nother story.

    I totally agree with the concept of your post. I REALLY DISLIKE stopping for traffic lights, but, I want obey the road rules as much as I dont want to get squished. I do as much as I can to get away from town and way from traffic, but, time does not always permit that. So I think this is an effective solution.

  7. Heather Nielson on January 13, 2011 at 1:22 am

    I’m right there with ya Darryl! I absolutely HATE (I don’t minding using the word ;-) stopping at stop signs and stop lights – a few maybe at the beginning &/or end of my ride are okay, but I want to RIDE. Another thing I do is practice track-standing at the stop-light – multi-training/tasking I guess. Thanks for the post!

  8. Chrisgomez Photo on January 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Depends on what I’m doing. If I’m going for distance then I’ll choose a route that doesn’t have many lights. If I’m downtown then I just account for having to stop at lights and plan on making up for it in the hills doing repeats, so the front end of my ride will consist of pure torture to the quads on hills followed by an easy recovery/speed work through Shoal Creek. Once I get to campus I’m extremely cognisant about lights b/c of campus police. Again I account for it prior & will just do like the other person said and do a sprint to get the speed back up. If the shoulder is wide enough & there’s no other riders behind me then I’ll do figure 8’s or just track stand it until the light changes.

  9. Antoine RJ Wright on January 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    It depends on the road and conditions. But usually, nah, I’m god for stopping, getting into the left side of the lane, or turning lane, and waiting my turn with the cars to turn. It breaks the riding flow yea, but keeps me in the flow of traffic.

    Now, when there is no traffic, and I’m riding somewhere unfamiliar, this would be something I’d do.

  10. Tony Lussier on January 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I don’t mind stopping at lights at all unless I’m in a full sprint chasing someone down. I typically use a stop light as an opportunity to pound on the pedals once the light turns green. It’s a nice little sprint workout. Sometimes changing the way you perceive something will change the way it effects you :)

    • Anonymous on January 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      Thanks Tony…that’s a great way to look at it. Nice perspective.

  11. Amanda on January 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE the photo!! Very cool pic! :)

    • Anonymous on January 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      Thanks for commenting on the photo. It was another great creation by my man, Myron….he’s awesome.

  12. Archergal on January 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    You sound like my husband, who will drive 5 extra miles to avoid a 2-minute traffic slow-down or a stop. O_o

    In my world, stopping appropriately is part of riding (or driving, for that matter). But I’m like @crazyjarhead: a crazy vehicular cyclist. :).

    • Anonymous on January 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      Yeah, your husband totally sounds like me. Thanks for your comment.

  13. Victor on January 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Darryl, I am going to disagree with your on this one. We as cyclists are always struggling for respect on the roads . I think to get respect we need to ride predictably and by the rules. Making a turn then later making a u turn is unexpected and unpredictable from the motorists point of view.
    Can you imagine if cars did the same?

    Thanks for post.
    Victor

    • Anonymous on January 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Victor, I don’t mind you disagreeing with me at all…but I should note that I’ve extremely safe about this. I’m not doing this where there is a lot of traffic…in fact most of the time I do it, I’m the only one around. I would never recommend doing this in heavy traffic or in circumstances where it’s not safe.

      Darryl

      • Victor on January 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm

        On a quiet road its ok. But the prob I see is that beginner cyclists seeing more experienced pros like yourself doing this then they are not as careful.

        • Anonymous on January 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm

          Good point, Victor….you really are an awesome bike advocate. I’ll be more mindful when I do this in the future and watch out for other cyclists as well. I honestly need to do something because the thought of stopping at lights sends shivers down my body.

  14. Pamela on January 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Yep, H it. And love the ban of the H word. I’ll usually adjust my speed far in advance to avoid clipping out for a full stop, and I run lights if I the traffic favors it. Waiting to see if I ever get pulled over by a cop for this. I don’t carry a driver’s license. What would they do? Has this ever happened to anyone?

  15. Torsten on January 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I’ll do it to avoid crossing multiple lanes of very busy traffic, but I’m pretty anal about stopping for lights. I’ll generally choose routes where I don’t have a lot of long stop lights.

    • Anonymous on January 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      I wish there were more routes that didn’t have any lights at all around here. That would be perfect. Plus….any light in Austin seems to last forever.
      Next time I ride with you I’ll show you my technique and how safe and effective it can be.

      Darryl

  16. Anonymous on January 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I don’t mind stopping. But then I am an evil vehicular cyclist bent on spoiling the fun of all other cyclists. ;)

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