When I started searching the web for blogs or articles on bike commuting, I quickly discovered that most people don’t commute on road bikes. There is lots of talk about “comfort” on the commute, riding in an “upright” position, and how bigger tires are less prone to flats.
I commute 10 miles each way, and I want my commute to be as fast as possible. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the bike commute – because I do – it’s more that I feel much safer on the road when I ride fast.
There are no bike lanes here, and all of the roads I ride on are heavily used during rush hour. Speed limits on my route go as high as 55mph (with people usually doing at least 65), although the majority of it is 40mph. I’m much more comfortable being passed by a car doing 40mph if I’m riding at 25mph, than if I’m riding at 10mph. Also, the less time I spend on the road, the fewer cars that pass me. The fewer cars that pass me, the less chance I have of getting hit by one of them.
I also feel like motorists respect me more when I’m going faster. It may just be in my head, but I feel that my speed directly translates into my right to be riding on the road. Now, I realize that the law gives me full permission to ride on the road, but judging by the comments that drivers yell at me out their window, they don’t know that I can “take the lane.” If I’m riding closer to the speed of traffic, I’m less of a nuisance and fit in better.
Perhaps if my commute was shorter, or if I had bike lanes to ride in, I’d be happy with something other than a road bike. But for now I’m happy to be in the minority with my drop bars and skinny tires.