I Lovingly Call it "Threading the Needle."

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by decompiler, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. decompiler

    decompiler Member

    For all the riders here, are there places you ride at that are just about too treacherous to ride on? Are there any dangerous places that you have no option but to travel through?

    I live in Columbia Tennessee and the biggest gripe I have about this town is that there are practically NO sidewalks in the E N T I R E town. So if you are having to walk or ride a bicycle through the town, you have to do so literally at the edge of the roadway right up against the traffic. Nearly all the roads have hills or slopes on either side of the lanes. You have the hazard of having to maintain a very thin disntance between you, the traffic and falling off on the side of the hill beside you. Some hills are more pronounced more than others. Some hills are so big that no one would find you if you were struck and flung down the embankment.

    Here's a pic leading to my apartment here in Columbia. I lovingly call this area "Threading the Needle" when I'm on my bike.


    The slope on either side of the road is no so pronouced here. But right behind me in drops off considerably. As you can see, the space you have to ride on is literally about 18 inches wide. There is a thin gravel path you can ride on but it is treacherous to ride on that portion of the roadway. Most of the time the gravel area is on the decline on the side of the slope of the road that begins to dip down. And if the gravel throws you, you are taking a very quick flying ride into the middle of a field either on your face or on your back. Of course in the pic the land is realitively flat. And it's the only area I travel in that is this flat.

    This is a pic further behind the first pic. You can see this slope much better:


    One little slip up and you're unwillingly in the for the shortest ride of your life. Straight onto your face!

    This road gets really heavy traffic as well. Just about a hundred feet further down the road is the DMV. The distance between you and the traffic whizzing past you is so finite that the draft of the car whizzing past you can drag you down the road or blow you off the roadway. And THE very first time a truck barrelling past you with something sticking off the side of it - you're dead. You're instantly maimed and in the hospital missing something you were carried in with.

    This area is not a terribly long stretch. Rather than riding my bike on this stretch, I just walk it until the road begins to widen more. Then I hop on and pedal away.

    Anyone else have an area they hate but must ride through?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2008

  2. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    You're fortunate to have that much space. The way the roads in New England are all windy and narrow you're literally on the white line between traffic and trees, dirt hills, a ditch or a hundred year old granite stone wall.

    But I think the roads here make for excellent riding. I wish I had some good pictures to show you. Most roads have just about enough room for 2 cars. Some don't even have any lines ;)
  3. decompiler

    decompiler Member

    I'd love to see some pics of the areas you have to travel through, SirJakesus.
  4. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    Here's my needle

    they are widening my street & re-doing the intersection.

    Here's the needle, I have to thread.....in front of my house.
    for the next 3-4 months! It's gonna be an ever-changing needle! hehehe
  5. decompiler

    decompiler Member

    I really hope they build you a sidewalk, srdavo!!

    If they're widening the road anyhow, they might as well build a sidewalk on at least one side of the road, right?
  6. I hope Colorado never kicks me off the bike trails. I really feel fortunate here. Without the trails no way can I ever make a trip as far as 30 miles away.
  7. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    well. they almost have the intersection project finished.

    yes...we got sidewalks.....and a new concrete driveway!!!
    they are done with the sod....now all thats left, in my yard...they're gonna disk the remaining lawn, & re-seed. (to smooth it from their loader ruts)

    as for the safety of the new wider road & intersection.....I'm not sure yet!?!?
    the cagers move faster....much better flow, but it's kinda scary on my 2-wheelers.

    needle.jpg 100_2395_0001.JPG
    I finally got all the mud off my new driveway....but the bobcat's tire marks are going to take a while.

    show us your treacherous roads...etc.
  8. kerf

    kerf Guest

    Got no sidewalks, got no bike path, what I do have is busy 4 lanes that during the middle of the day are dangerous. This has forced me into becoming nocturnal. A good lighting system and an alarm clock gives me the roads when traffic is lite. Not the situation I would hope for but I does give me a chance to ride. I don't mind the dark but the cold takes a toll on this old man.
  9. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    I have a wide shoulder for the first 8 miles of my commute, and again for the last 4 miles. The other 21 miles varies between 8 - 16", bordering bogs, rock walls, and mostly a drop into a freezing river. Since the trike is 30" wide, drivers just have to get used to going around me. Fortunately, there isn't too much traffic.
  10. andrewdavis19

    andrewdavis19 Member

    Decompiler, I live in Lewisburg (20 miles away) and have rode in Columbia TN on my MB. Claim a lane, dog! Eff those cagers!! I rode mine down James Campbell (the road the mall is on) and I'll be ****ed if I'm risking crashing because of riding on a non-existing shoulder. From what I've heard and read online, it's illegal to ride anything with wheels on a sideWALK and bicycles have up to half of the lane by law. From my experiences, cagers are more likely to notice that you are traveling at a much higher rate of speed than a non-motored bike if you are actually in the lane instead of the shoulder. Are you the guy a I flagged down over on trotwood by the church down from Food Lion? I was in the white Caddy.
  11. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    thank you!
    exactly right. we have a right to be on these roads.

    just make sure you are visible.... lights, flags...whatever it takes.
  12. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    well -- when riding down from this mountain -- it's time for some prayers
    there is no real bike lane -- in many places the white line is less than a foot from rocks
    the speed traveled by most cars and others is around 55 mph
    there are well aged gamblers coming from an Indian casino and many of them
    passing very close -- I don't think some even see me
    casino busses with hardly enough room for them -- much less me
    it's a windy 5 mile down hill trip
    we usually have one or two people killed on this little stretch of road each year
    my friends girlfriend -- killed a couple of years back
    it's rated one of the most dangerous roads in southern Calif


    I usually try to get my wife to put my MB in the back of her truck -- for a ride down

    always better to be alive when we -- ride that thing
  13. will_start

    will_start Member

    I have a few spots where I need to thread the needle.
    Although it seems safer than most of the things listed above.
    The thing is, as you get more experienced in threading that needle
    you find ways that make the process quicker, safer,
    and that just plain work.

    Before you know it, any other bikers/cyclists follow your lead and
    also thread the needle the same way.

    You did it and didn't die, so they follow.


    My Humble 2c (au)
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2008