Indoor is Safer

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Remember when I lived in Orlando, and I used to go on epic bike rides surrounded by beautiful Florida scenery?


[DSCN9961[3].jpg]  [DSCN9963[3].jpg]


All of that awesomeness/terror was just 3.0 miles from my house behind the Orlando International Airport.  A 10.0-mile stretch of flat, carless perfection.


Yeah. Well. Now I live in Charlotte, and while I think Charlotte is awesome for many reasons, it sucks for biking.  I get to bike in this instead:


No, thank you.


So, until I can find a quiet country road to bike out (or drive out) to, I am stuck on my trainer.


FYI – If you stick books under the front of your bike, it makes the Bell Motivator much, much more comfortable!


Today is SUPER busy – seriously, I’m running around like a headless chicken – but I really, really wanted to get a sweat in.  For my mental sanity and physical release.  All I had time for was 20 minutes on the bike while watching “True Life: I Eloped,” but it was totally worth the effort.  Every little bit counts!




Hummus sammie and soup:


And a bowl of fruit:


Are you a cyclist who trains on the busy city streets?  After seeing my Dad get hit by a car, my friend get hit by a car, and actually being hit by a car myself (last year – it was minor, and I didn’t blog about it), I am REALLY nervous about cars. Any advice?



  • Lauren @ LaDolcePita May 11, 2011, 1:48 pm

    omg gators! so scary! but not as scary as the huge number of hills in my town that deter me from ever getting on a bike 🙂

  • Leanne (Bride to Mrs,) May 11, 2011, 1:51 pm

    Are there not walking/bike paths in Charlotte?

  • cathy May 11, 2011, 1:52 pm

    i am sooo intimidated by biking, honest! that’s why tri training is out of the question (swimming is less scary!). i was once blown off my bike by a huge transport truck that went by fast and close – that was enough of that.
    advice?? can you plop your bike in the car and drive out of the city a bit? and when time is short – – > indoor trainer. it’s like the treadmill: there’s a times and situations where it fits the bill!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg May 11, 2011, 1:54 pm

    I would be scared to ride my bike if I saw people got hit (or if I got hit) — that is scary!

    Advice — always wear a helmet and be as visible as possible, other than that I don’t know!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin May 11, 2011, 1:55 pm

    I am lucky to have a biking/running path right across the street from where I live in DC. It’s the Mount Vernon Trail, and the whole thing is 28 miles I believe and its beautiful along the Potomac! I get scared about biking in the streets too because DC traffic is rough, but this just reminded me that I have to go on a bike ride after work!

  • Freya May 11, 2011, 1:55 pm

    You got hit by a CAR!? Holycrap! I don’t blame you for avoiding the roads!! Though the gators scare me more..!!!

  • Emily May 11, 2011, 1:56 pm

    some drivers are really scary. the most important thing for cyclists on the road is to follow the traffic laws and wear helmets! SO many people on bikes play it fast and loose with traffic lights and with all the crazy drivers out there, it’s just not smart.

    but i hear you, even when I’m doing everything right on my bike, I still have every sense in overdrive so I can be aware of the cars around me. A lot of drivers are just not careful about cyclists.

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking May 11, 2011, 1:58 pm

    you got hit by a car and you didn’t blog about it??

    no advice, I would be scared too! Your best bet might be finding a walking/biking trail. Check if there are any rails to trails in your area.

  • Tami May 11, 2011, 1:59 pm

    Now that the weather is nice (I live in New Hampshire) I can’t imagine riding inside…..I actually just packed my trainer away for the summer.

    We don’t have bike trails but we try and stay on less traveled roads

  • Mary May 11, 2011, 1:59 pm

    Have you tried one of the greenways? You might have to drive and park to avoid the traffic, but then you’ve got miles of pretty scenic cycling. I think you’ve mentioned running the greenways before. I’ve never cycled them myself (I, er, don’t know how to ride a bike!) but I know some people do. You do have to watch out for walkers/joggers but apparently it’s a pretty decent ride.

  • Jennifer May 11, 2011, 2:01 pm

    I ride every day through downtown Seattle to work. I have bright light and bright clothing. However, I HAVE A RIGHT TO THE ROAD. And, I know how to behave. I don’t blow through red lights, I signal (unless impossible), I always stop for pedestrians. I know I sometimes make mistakes, but I have also yelled at a number of drivers for coming too close to me (maybe accidental?).

    Also, going the same route has made me aware of the common things that drivers do (whip around other cars waiting for right turns), so I feel confident in my ride.

    Granted, I am still waiting for the day that someone doors me from their parked car.

    • Mel May 11, 2011, 6:18 pm

      Ditto to this. I ride my downtown commute every day with front, back, and spoke lights. You just have to be safe and feel confident enough to assert yourself into traffic. I stay far out of the door zone.

      Maybe look for group rides?

  • Anne May 11, 2011, 2:02 pm

    local bike shops often do group rides…find out what their routes are and go with them or ride them on your own. They did the hard part:) your local bike association probably has good maps/suggested routes too!

    good luck!

  • Tanya May 11, 2011, 2:03 pm

    I ride around my neighborhood – around and around to get in mileage. Group rides 2 times a week – that’s the ONLY way I’ll be on the roads. I’m very scared of getting hit.

  • Angela May 11, 2011, 2:03 pm

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice to offer on cycling on busy streets, except that I’ve always heard that you should ride against the traffic, but can I suggest that you use more compassionate idioms in your posts? I know that this is your blog and it’s totally your decision to write what you want, but I think that you can convey how busy you are without referring to a headless chicken -having five lovely hens as companions, this comment seemed particularly disturbing. This is something I’m working on myself because I think that some senseless sayings have become a part of our vocabulary without us being aware of it. For instance, replacing “kill two birds with one stone” with “chop two carrots with one knife” or “there are bigger fish to fry” with “there are bigger potatoes to bake”, or something silly like that. I think that you influence a lot of people on your blog and could help this consciousness about compassionate dialogue become more mainstream. I’m hoping that as a vegetarian you can sympathize. As always thanks for being so open to your readers and for showing us how little changes we make everyday can add up to something big. Sorry for the long post.

    • Jenn May 11, 2011, 2:22 pm

      Sorry but I think this is absolutely ridiculous. Life is already hard enough without people having to be politically correct about IDIOMS! I understand taking offense to “retarded” and other common slurs people make but when you are starting to take offense to a saying about frying fish then I think you need to step back and look at the bigger things in life. I highly doubt Caitlin wants to literally kill birds and have headless chickens in her life so give her a break.

      • Anne May 11, 2011, 2:38 pm


      • Annie May 11, 2011, 3:03 pm

        Is Angela’s post for real? That has to be a joke, right?

        First, there is proof that biking with traffic is safer than biking against traffic. Biking against traffic is what you DO NOT want to do. As they say in the biking world, don’t act like a salmon!

        Second, more compassionate idioms? 100% agree with Jenn’s reply so no need to say more 🙂

      • Errign May 11, 2011, 3:24 pm

        Absolutely agree with Jenn.

        • Angela May 11, 2011, 4:31 pm

          I’m sorry if I provided incorrect information about biking with/against traffic. It’s just what I’ve heard. I did not intend my original comment to seem critical of Caitlin and of course I didn’t think she meant it literally. It was simply a suggestion and something I am working on myself. As I said, I respect that this is Caitlin’s blog and I understand that she can write whatever she would like. I just wanted to express my opinion and a “bigger thing in life” to me is our culture’s insensitivity towards animals. This is a topic I’ve heard about in other vegan venues that I thought would be interesting to bring up. I thought that this was a place that encouraged constructive, positive conversation and I didn’t mean to provoke these replies.

    • Karen May 11, 2011, 4:26 pm

      Angela: Seriously?

    • hippierunner May 11, 2011, 5:02 pm

      “I was running around like a carrot missing it’s leafy green top”. Same ring to it? Maybe? Angela, I think what hurt your credibility is that you gave advice you weren’t certain about- no more telling people to ride against traffic. That’s dangerous! Bikes have as much of a right to be on the road as cars, so they naturally should ride with traffic, in the correct lanes etc. Haven’t you ever seen a bike lane?! I hope you have a nice day and remember not to take things too seriously.

    • Mel May 11, 2011, 6:20 pm

      Riding against traffic is a bad idea and illegal. A cyclist has the same rights and responsibilities as a car.

    • Ali May 11, 2011, 10:34 pm

      I was also going to chime in with the riding against traffic thought – very illegal! Make sure you know all the hand signals and start out on streets close to home that are less traveled and work your way up to traffic. As for animals… they lack the necessary brain size/power to have metacognition. In other terms, they can’t think about thinking. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what you call them, because they don’t know. Now, I would never mistreat an animal in any way. However, there is a line to be drawn in how “correct” we should be, as other commenters have pointed out…

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:11 am

      While I totally respect your opinion AND I want you to feel comfortable about commenting with your thoughts on HTP… it was just a metaphor 🙂 I just meant it as a metaphor.

  • Jess May 11, 2011, 2:04 pm

    Two pieces of advice: own the road AND follow the rules. By own the road, I mean make yourself visible and present; don’t shy away from riding further away from the curb if necessary (if you hug the curb, cars are more likely to ignore you or not see you; if you’re riding further out, they’re forced to see you and adjust accordingly); and make it known (as politely as possible) to drivers that pass too closely, cut you off, etc. You don’t necessarily want to road rage at them (though I have….and sometimes it feels damn good), but again–you want to make sure they KNOW you’re there.

    Following the rules means obeying the rules of the road or whatever laws apply to bikes in your city/state. Drivers get very resentful about cyclists they see running red lights+stop signs, weaving, riding side-by-side, etc, and I can’t say that I blame them. Show drivers that you’re going to follow the rules and behave more like a car–that is, more predictably on the road–and MOST (of course not all) will give you respect and distance in return.

    Local cycling groups are great sources of info for safe(r) places to ride, local bike laws, etc; I googled Charlotte and came up with this site that may be helpful:

    • Mel May 11, 2011, 6:21 pm


    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:09 am

      Great advice.

  • Gina @ RunningtotheKitchen May 11, 2011, 2:04 pm

    every little bit does count! love that you took advantage of that 20 mins.

    I’m stuck inside all day for work and then head straight to the airport and don’t get home until midnight. I’ve been taking walks outside at every break we get.

    I’d be nervous about that traffic too! I don’t really bike anywhere other than our bike trails around me so I don’t have any advice.

  • Amanda (Eating Up) May 11, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I would be so scared to bike on a road!

  • chelsea May 11, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I actually prefer busy roads, I don’t know why. I think it has to do with the fact when I first started riding my husband (bf at the time) didn’t really give me a choice. He wanted me to train, he took me on group rides and I just adapted. There is always a chance of being hit, I’ve been hit by car review mirrors, people in cars have reached out their windows and push me over and I’ve had things thrown at me…but thats just the nature of the beast. Sadly, there will always be people who hate bike riders, but I have always believed that when its your time to go its your time to go, so wether I am out riding or eating a meal when it’s my time to pass it will happen. I have a no worry attitude about life, my husband is a professional cyclist and has epilepsy, he has had a few seizures while riding (once at night) but I don’t spend my time worry about the things I can’t control. So if you follow the laws, use your bike signs, wear colorful clothing and grit your teeth and bear it you’ll do fine. Drive around to find a route and ride to the country roads….the trainer gets really old, believe me! And, don’t get me wrong I’ve had my crashes, ones I don’t even remember but the worse ones I’ve had were on Mountain Bike trails…and a helmet has always saved my life. I’ve been bruised, I’ve been bloody but I am alive today because of a helmet.

  • Jumanah @ Healthy Living in the Middle East May 11, 2011, 2:07 pm

    I tried biking on busy roads a couple of times and after almost getting myself killed stopped! I agree with you and also prefer indoors over busy streets!

  • Carmen May 11, 2011, 2:09 pm

    I completely understand the fear of busy streets. Charlotte has bike lanes, but drivers go 5-10 miles faster than the speed limit on the streets beside them (Selwyn, Colony, Queens, etc.) This has made me so nervous to begin cycling.

    My boyfriend drives out to Union county (Weddington, Waxhaw) on weekends to avoid traffic. Some of the local bicycle shops (like Bicycle Sport and Bicycle East) lead group rides and might have great route suggestions.

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:08 am

      Oh thanks for this recommendation!!! I will check it out.

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans May 11, 2011, 2:10 pm

    Busy city streets are the reason I don’t own a bike. I am terrified to even attempt to ride in Toronto traffic. I know there are bike paths in some places and trails in others but I need to find a safe way to get to them which I haven’t yet.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 11, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Sometimes a little TV/relaxation break is just what’s needed to get through a busy day! I can’t say I’m much of an outdoor cyclist. I teach group cycling classes in a studio 3x per week, but I’m not so sure I’d be as confident outside!! I guess all I could say is don’t forget your helmet!

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) May 11, 2011, 2:13 pm

    My Dad has been a cyclist my whole life and has gotten hit by a car three times. The worst one was when I was 8… he flew 30 feet, shattered his knee cap (doesn’t have one any more), had his finger tips ripped/ worn off from skidding on the road, opened up his face (just missing his eye & needing like 100 stiches just on his brow), and so much road rash (some down to the bone)… after that I NEVER wanted to ride on a busy street. I always ride on the side walk to my bike trail… or ride on streets with very low traffic. I have no advice bc riding on busy streets (other than wear a helmet & proper riding clothes so you slide and don’t stick to the road if you fall) scares the *ish out of me… :l

  • Samantha Angela May 11, 2011, 2:13 pm

    How do the books make the trainer more comfortable?

    • Susan May 11, 2011, 3:02 pm

      The back of the bike is elevated a bit being in the trainer and the books level the bike out. Otherwise you’re on a downward angle and it can be uncomfortable. That’s how it is for me, anyway.

  • Kara May 11, 2011, 2:14 pm

    I live in a very rural area and I think it’s more dangerous to bike here! Windy country roads suck for bikers. A guy got hit by a trailer on the back of a truck and it broke his back (and this happened like a mile from my house). Not worth the risk!

    I know they have a ton of these in VA, but look for converted railroad tracks into trails, those are the best for biking and running.

  • Liz May 11, 2011, 2:14 pm

    I ride in the city streets of DC all the time. Granted, I try to take routes that put me on bike lanes or less busy streets as much as possible. I’ve never been hit (many, many close calls), but my dad has been as well. I try to keep in mind that, like driving, it is a risk I’ll have to deal with.
    It took a while to get comfortable with biking around the city, but now it’s second nature. It totally reminded me of being a 16 year old getting my license & driving for the first time:
    -At first, it’s scary.
    -Then it’s only a little scary and really fun.
    -Then it is just a way to get around (OK, not quite as boring as driving but it doesn’t thrill or scare me like it used to!)

  • Gavi @ Gavi Gets Going! May 11, 2011, 2:17 pm

    I live in San Francisco, and some of my favorite rides are through city streets. I’ve learned to be a careful rider by doing (and not doing!) a few things:

    * I don’t listen to music when I ride. I know people who do, but it makes me feel unsafe. I like to be able to hear when cars are approaching.
    * I use my voice. I don’t have a bike horn, so I use my voice to alert drivers to my presence.
    * I use hand signals when I am making a turn, slowing down, or stopping.
    * I am constantly shifting my eyes to see who/what is around me at all times.
    * I wear a helmet!!

    Good luck to you in finding bike paths in your area!

  • Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out May 11, 2011, 2:20 pm

    No advice. I’m really nervous about cars, too. I only like to run on greenways. They make me SO nervous.

  • Sonia (the Mexigarian) May 11, 2011, 2:21 pm

    I am really nervous about cars as well. I’ve been biking on trails and paths for a while now but just got a road bike that i wish to train with on the road but that requires being near cars. I’m looking into training with a women’s group nearby as there are safety in numbers and I can learn a lot from them.

    I hope to one day commute to work by bike, but Hubby is very adamant against it due to the terrible drivers here. I somewhat have to agree with him.

    As cyclists we have no control over the drivers around us. All we can do is be vigilant with our attention on our surrounding and bike as safely as we can (like not crossing the street while traffic is going[just saw this this morning].

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife May 11, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Well, I got hit by another biker on a BIKE/WALK path. SO that doesn’t help much, eh???

    I’d say to wear a helmet, look both ways during intersections, and stay to YOUR side! Never think the cars can see you, b/c most likely they CAN NOT!

    love hummus + soup. great combo!!

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:05 am

      Hmm what’s a bike/walk group? Do you bike and walk at the same time?

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) May 11, 2011, 2:23 pm

    I am terrified to bike on the road. People are so careless in the car. I hope today is good crazy for you. It’s just crazy here!

  • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment May 11, 2011, 2:23 pm

    Are there any running trails around bodies of water near you? I only ask because I’m also in a big city and have seen lots of bikers get mowed down by reckless drivers (although to be fair, we also have our fair share of kamikaze bikers, and I’ve seen a lot of them plow into cars/people themselves after violating traffic laws). I love running on the trails by the Charles, and they’re usually very well-maintained and bike-friendly, too. I’ve been jogging along and totally forgotten I’m smack dab in the middle of a giant city — I wonder if Charlotte has anything like that?

  • Wendi Matt May 11, 2011, 2:24 pm

    I live in Greenville, SC (Hi Neighbor!!) and while I would LOVE to ride my bike to work.. we actually have a beautiful city… it’s not conducive to riding a bike. There are no bike paths and people down here, 1. can’t drive anyway and 2. when they do, they don’t understand that bikes are like cars and we expect the same traffic rules… SO, that means… not as much biking for me.

    We do have a lot of cycling groups (thanks George Hincapie) and lots of opportunities to ride with groups, but it’s still not as practical.

  • Erin May 11, 2011, 2:27 pm

    There is an amazing bike path 4 miles from my house…that I drive to in order to bike. I feel stupid driving 4 miles to ride my bike but the roads on the way to the path are really busy and I just feel uncomfortable on them!

    • sarah k @ the pajama chef May 11, 2011, 4:39 pm

      same with me! i live about a mile from a super great bike path that i run on…yet i drive there everyday because it’s off of a busy, windy road with no shoulder and no sidewalk. it’s a bummer but it’s much safer to drive instead of biking/running.

  • Ashley @ Thefitacademic May 11, 2011, 2:30 pm

    So scary! I live in Tucson and while it’s a big cycling city, you really have to drive a ways to get to any unpopulated streets. Since the hubbs & I share a single car, it’s hard for me to steal it away for a bike-ride when he needs it for work! Maybe I’ll have to look into that Bell Motivator. 80 bucks isn’t terrible, but it seems like a lot considering what it is (just a thing that holds your bike in place). You think it’s worth it still??

  • K May 11, 2011, 2:32 pm

    My husband is a pro cyclist, and we have lived in two major cities before moving to the smaller city that we live in now. He was hit by one car (minor injuries), and we have a friend who was killed by a car while riding. The best advice I can give is:

    1. Be visible. Take the lane, don’t hug the curb. Point in the direction you are turning, and make eye contact with cars at stop lights.
    2. Don’t be afraid to be vocal or smack the window of a car that comes too close.
    3. Never, ever, EVER bike against traffic. That is very bad advice.

    Be safe!

    • N May 11, 2011, 2:39 pm

      Just curious why biking against traffic is very bad advice. I have always been told that this is the way to go because you see what’s ahead of you and are more visible to on coming traffic.

      • K May 11, 2011, 2:52 pm

        If you ride against traffic, it is much easier to get hit by cars that are turning onto or off of the road you are on. A car is not going to be expecting or lookinf for someone to be traveling the wrong way down the street.

        Also, if a car is coming up behind you, they can slow down until it is safe to pass. If you are heading toward them in their lane, they may not have that opportunity to move over, and you will have nowhere to go either. Always best to go with traffic.

      • Susan May 11, 2011, 3:03 pm

        Also, you run into trouble when you come up against someone who is riding with traffic.

      • Errign May 11, 2011, 3:25 pm

        Bikers are subject to the same rules of the road as cars (well, a lot of them), so biking against traffic is essentially, driving in the wrong direction.

  • Jen May 11, 2011, 2:40 pm

    This is why running > biking. We can use sidewalks.

  • Marianne May 11, 2011, 2:43 pm

    My parents live in Matthews, NC…right on the border of Charlotte and when I was running there over Christmas on back roads I had a pack of cyclist pass me and I saw painted arrows on numerous roads so there is probably a pretty good cycling community. I saw that someone posted a link for Charlotte cyclist…you might contact them for some routes. I did find this route on MapMyRide:
    and there were some links to more routes there as well.

    You might just have to drive to areas where you can cycle but there are definitely some less populated country roads in the area b/c I did my long run on them!! The greenways there are great for running but I wouldn’t want to take my road bike on them….well the one I am familiar with (McAlpine park) isn’t paved.

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:03 am

      Yay! Thank you so much.

      Yea no good cycling greenways in Charlotte 🙁 sad.

  • Kacy May 11, 2011, 2:44 pm

    I’m so scared of biking for that reason. We have no good biking trails or paths in Oklahoma so that doesn’t help. I think the trainer is a good solution!

  • TC @ P&L May 11, 2011, 3:07 pm

    I commute by bike in San Francisco and Berkeley every day, so I’ve had my share of close calls with cars (and my boyfriend has had his own share of accidents, including getting hit last week!)

    But we love biking and will never give it up! The best advice is to start by being a safe rider–have the right gear (lights, reflective clothing, helmet) and ride defensively, follow traffic laws, and stay out of a cars blindspot (ie, don’t ride right next to them if possible.)

    Luckily, there are plenty of bike lanes around the city here, but if there aren’t in your area then that is a good reason to get involved in the community and demand them.

  • Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! May 11, 2011, 3:08 pm

    I’m afraid I have no advice, since I’m terrified of getting hit by a car as well! I guess the only thing I would say is whether or not there’s a trail that you could potentially drive the bike to, and then get out on it. Of course, I know you mentioned you’re a one-car household, so I guess that would really only work if the hubby doesn’t have to go anywhere! Haha

  • Susan May 11, 2011, 3:15 pm

    Don’t be afraid to be in the road (easy for me to say since I haven’t been hit by a car, though). You have a right to the road, just like the cars. I went to a road biking safety class and the presenter told us to ride in the space where the right side car tires would be on the road. If the road is narrow, I know there’s the feeling that you’re holding up traffic, but you just have to get over it. The cars will slow down behind you until it is safe to pass.

    See if you can train with a group or drive to an area where there are less cars.

    Oh, do you have a senior community nearby? There’s one a few miles from where I live and we do weekly rides out there. Nice, wide streets and not a lot of traffic.

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:02 am

      Hahah I love that you ride in the senior community. 🙂

  • Ellie @ The Mommyist May 11, 2011, 3:20 pm

    I got hit by a car while riding my bike when I was 15 so I’m also a little nervous rinding in traffic. I do it sometimes. I live in Portland so most people do. My husband commutes on his bike and he’s never had a problem. You just have to ride smart. Wear a helmet. Never wear headphones. Always use your lights, even when you don’t think you need them. Never assume cars see you or will stop for you. Always ride in the same direction as traffic and never on the sidewalk. Don’t ride on busy streets, unless they have a bike lane, choose a parallel street. Follow the rules of the road.

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas May 11, 2011, 3:22 pm

    I don’t bike.. but run on fairly busy roads. And it can be scary. I was over concerned watching for cars coming out of streets last weekend.. and tripped (embarassing) into the middle of the street (even more embarrassing)

  • Errign May 11, 2011, 3:22 pm

    I have never advice – NH has no cities, really! My dad has been hit a few times though – goes to show even if it’s not a busy area, if people aren’t paying attention – that’s the problem!

    I do know though, that you have to not be afraid to really be in the road and visible.

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) May 11, 2011, 3:43 pm

    I totally thought I remembered you blogging about being hit by the car? Or maybe tweet? Or maybe it was an actual car accident. Either way – it scares the shiz out of me. I don’t think I could do it!

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:01 am

      Maybe it was a tweet. Or maybe I DID blog about it. Who knows! LOL

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me May 11, 2011, 3:54 pm

    I’ve only been doing indoor cycling and I absolutely LOVE it. BUT I do not have a good area for outdoor biking. Like you, I have no desire to bike on busy roads and possibly get hit! I’m scurred. I’m stickin to inside for now or aimless circles around my neighborhood 10 times. 😉

  • Sarah for Real May 11, 2011, 4:13 pm

    I have three words for you:

    Inflatable Motorcycle Suit

  • Chelsey May 11, 2011, 4:28 pm

    I suggest you check out these to blogs. The second on has lots of good advice about biking on streets. The first one is written by two ladies, one in Chicago and the other in TN, who commute by bike.

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:00 am

      Thanks for passing these along!! What great resources!

  • Kelly May 11, 2011, 4:32 pm

    I agree with you about Charlotte roads being dangerous. I’m usually biking for transportation rather than for exercise and often bike on the sidewalks because people are so agressive and unfriendly to bikers. I have no advice, but if you get any good ones, I’d love to hear them!

  • Nicole (I have trouble with forward motion) May 11, 2011, 4:35 pm

    Cars make me nervous, too. We have a ton of bike trails here in Columbus, but unfortunately you have to drive to all of them. I long to live in an area where I can safely walk/bike to places like the store, library, etc. There are some adjacent neighborhoods I can ride in, but that gets boring pretty quick- at least I can use them as a safer path to going to the store as opposed to the main road that has no shoulder.

    Even though there seems to be a big bike movement here in the city, I don’t think drivers know (or care) what the rules are for sharing the road. At least not here in the ‘burbs. Down in the actual city, I think they’re more used to it.

  • Grace May 11, 2011, 4:36 pm

    I too live in a city with scary streets, but fortunately there are a decent number of bike or ‘shared’ bike/car lanes available, and there’s a reservoir a few miles from my house that cyclists can ride around.

    If you can find bike lanes or better yet bike paths, those might be your best bet. It can also be comforting to have a buddy to ride with. Then you’re more visible and if worst comes to worst, you’ve got someone to call you an ambulance. You might also see if Charlotte has a cycling club you could join.

  • anne May 11, 2011, 4:38 pm

    Go to one of the local bike shops and ask them about group rides. They typically meet outside of town and have marked courses. Or they could give you some tips to feel more comfortable.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) May 11, 2011, 4:43 pm

    This is one of my main obstacles to biking. I have a nice, long trail not too far from me, but I still need to bike there (or sometimes the boyfriend totes my bike in his truck to the entrance for me). Plus, I wouldn’t bike on that path alone because people have been beaten for their bikes there!

  • Kristina May 11, 2011, 4:55 pm

    People have given you great advice, so not sure what I can add. I admit that now that I’m more confident on the bike in general, I feel better about riding in traffic, but only up to a point.
    I definitely stick to certain routes that I know are more bike-friendly than others (some of it for me is knowing that I don’t have to make a lot of stops and can get into a groove and just RIDE). Also, going for a ride when there is less traffic has helped. In my opinion, there is no better time for a great ride than early on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Finally, I do bike right out my door, but I also don’t mind driving out to the coast (CA) and going for a ride along Highway 1. It may seem silly to drive to go for a bike ride, but I’m okay with that.

  • Beth@naturallyoursbeth May 11, 2011, 4:59 pm

    I live right now in the middle of nowhere so biking is great. But I’m moving in June to a large city. I’m def gonna miss my peaceful biking and all of those cars really do make me nervous.

  • Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily May 11, 2011, 5:04 pm

    I moved from a completely bike friendly area to…well lets just say I’m pretty sure they hate people on bikes here. So I have find trails far away from the public.

  • Veronica (Hating ED) May 11, 2011, 5:05 pm

    I have no advice, but I’ll be reading through the comments because bike riding in southern California is intimidating to me and the one thing that deters me from a tri.

  • hippierunner May 11, 2011, 5:07 pm

    I cycle (to commute not train) on busy city streets in Los Angeles and the thing I feel that keeps me safe is that I bike aggressively. I know that bikes have as much right to space as cars, so I assert myself and make sure to be very certain with any action I take. Also, I always look around and stay alert to the surroundings, I bike knowing that a car could possibly come from here or there and think of what I would do if that were to occur.

  • Amy May 11, 2011, 5:12 pm

    I live in Alabama and a girlfriend and I get up early every Saturday morning to do our bike/run workout. We try and get out around 6:30 to beat any major traffic. Definitely RIDE WITH TRAFFIC and not against. We try and keep it on roads that are not majorly winding or hilly and also have other lanes to pass us without having to get close or cut over into the other lane of traffic. I love my road bike!! We also have parties where we get our trainers together (and books to stack with) and do Spinerval DVD’s. A great workout!!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss May 11, 2011, 5:27 pm

    That’s how running is for me back home. I have NO sidewalks around me house so road runnin’s my only choice unless I decide to travel somewhere else. The drivers are much more friendly to bikers since there’s a ton of them going to and from campus..but running is still really scary.

  • Vaala â—ª May 11, 2011, 5:30 pm

    I ride outside. I couldn’t even imagine riding inside on the trainer although I do have one.

    My advice? Pick the time of day for the route you’re planning on taking carefully. I.e. for my old favourite route (before I moved cities) you needed to leave very early in the morning in the summer and in the winter, because of the hours of darkness, you could leave just before rush hour so that during it you were far away and by the time you were on your way back the traffic had died down. I also learnt that on steep, twisty downhills to basically take up the whole lane to keep yourself safe because you need the width of the lane to take some of those corners. Remember that you are a vehicle on the road and have just as much right to be there as the cars (so obey the road rules too, just as you would if you were driving).

  • Amy May 11, 2011, 5:33 pm

    OMG you got hit by car?! Thank God it was just minor!

  • Elena @ GagaForGrapefruit May 11, 2011, 5:45 pm

    eek, one of my biggest fears is getting hit by a car, so i don’t bike anywhere near a street. i also have a fear of biking on trails though cause i’m get anxiety when other bikes zoom past me. it’s just a lose-lose all around on my end 🙂

  • Karlee @olivewineandfood May 11, 2011, 5:56 pm

    i haven’t been on a bike since i was riding down a hill and my (cheap) brakes broke off 🙁

  • Rae May 11, 2011, 6:14 pm

    Amen, sista. I got hit by a car while out riding a few years ago…after a grade 2 shoulder seperation, I do 99% of my rides indoors. Of course, I have a computrainer, so it helps. If I do go outdoors, I do it during the day during the week….less cars 🙂

  • Molly @ RDexposed May 11, 2011, 6:21 pm

    I’ve fallen off of my bike among cars when stopped in traffic…fallen off due to clip in shoes btw! ha

  • laura May 11, 2011, 6:26 pm

    i feel fat today

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 7:52 am

      Did something happen at school? I hope you know you are amazing regardless of how you feel about your body.

    • Veronica (Hating ED) May 12, 2011, 2:01 pm

      “Feeling fat” is usually a mask for something else that is going on. Can you expand on that?

  • Vanessa May 11, 2011, 6:41 pm

    I ride on busy streets all the time for both commuting around the city and long distance trips. My partner and I are cycling across Canada this summer so heavy traffic will be unavoidable!

    Riding in traffic can be/is usually nerve-wracking and frustrating, especially in places where drivers are not accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists. Luckily, cycling has become so popular that there is some level of driver awareness in most places but a lot of responsibility falls on the cyclist too.

    Bicycles are vehicles and this implies a few very important things. First of all, learn and follow all road rules in your province or state (including signaling, proper turning and passing, stopping and staying off the sidewalk!). Second, do not be afraid to (safely) claim your space on the road, you have just as much right to be there as the drivers so there is no reason why you should be forced onto a washed out shoulder. ALWAYS be alert to what is going on around you the same as you would driving, don’t distract yourself with headphones or cellphones! It is never safe to expect that other vehicles will see you -in fact, assume that they don’t and be prepared to make concessions. My general rule for city cycling is to assume that all taxi drivers are trying to kill me; this may not be the case but they sure drive like it is!

    All of this might make it sound scary but being prepared for bad drivers helps you to avert accidents and decrease risks. If you’re nervous about starting out, try non-peak periods for a while to build your confidence with road riding. You honestly do get used to it and it is an amazing way to travel.

  • Tammy @ Palm Trees and Manatees May 11, 2011, 7:16 pm

    Caitlin, Caitlin, Caitlin!! You must be talking about Lake Nona, because there’s where I’m living right now (well, for the next month anyway). Could you please tell me where this 10 miles of carless perfection is?? I’ve been looking for that! Thanks so much!

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 7:51 am

      emailed you!

  • Kim May 11, 2011, 7:23 pm

    I bought a bike rack and haul my bike to the awesome Katy Trail. I hate riding in traffic – it scares me. I bet Charlotte has some great trails.

  • Carly May 11, 2011, 7:46 pm

    I live in Chandler AZ and LOVE that there are bike lanes on all roads and an amazing paved trail perfect for biking or running along a canal 🙂

  • Jess S. May 11, 2011, 8:19 pm

    I bike in NYC (specifically, Manhattan) everyday and when I first started I was terrified. Talk about majorly scary traffic. Even the other cyclists are scary. The one thing that helped was to act fearless like everyone else. If you’re timid about it, people will cut you off, never yield to you, and you’ll end up with even greater chance of getting hurt. BIKE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! take charge of the road. Of course, that doesn’t mean be wreckless, but conjure up some authority over the road.

    • Theodora May 11, 2011, 9:06 pm

      I live in NYC, too, and I just got a bike a few weeks ago. I’m glad to hear it gets less scary, because right now I am TERRIFIED!

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 7:50 am

      Haha bike like you mean it, love it!

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans May 11, 2011, 8:34 pm

    I live in Philly and ride my bike in the city all the time. The best thing you can do is get as comfortable on the bike as possible. As soon as you KNOW that you can make your bike do what you want it to do 100% of the time, then you know that you will be completely in control of your ride. Of course, then you just have to make sure everyone else is aware of you! I always assume that drivers aren’t paying attention and err on the side of caution (which my boyfriend doesn’t and drives me bonkers). I’d also look into finding a local group to ride with, even if you just end up asking them what routes they take.

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food May 11, 2011, 8:54 pm

    The only advice I have is to ride with other bikers. I only ride on roads when I’m with a group.

    I wish that I could tell you that I’m not scared of biking but I am and I have competed in triathlons! It gets easier the more you do 🙂

  • Jen May 11, 2011, 8:56 pm

    I don’t even know how to ride a bike (my boyfriend wants to teach me how this summer… ohhhh there are going to be some stories and pictures and bruises from that!), so I can’t offer any advice about bike-riding specifically. When I run in high-traffic areas, some spots without sidewalks, I actually try to go during rush hour because then the cars are mostly stopped or are at least going slowly enough for me to be able to avoid them in plenty of time. Be careful out there if you decide to brave the streets!

  • Kristen May 11, 2011, 9:19 pm

    cars defiantly scare me. I would much rather ride on a trail

  • McKayla (green groats) May 11, 2011, 9:28 pm

    I hear ya. Riding on busy roads can be nerve-racking. I don’t normally ride thru large cities (just Portland, ME), but I did spend this past fall riding in and out of large European cities for 3 months. Riding in traffic requires complete focus and confidence. As my trip progressed, I became much more comfortable riding close to cars just because of all the practice.

    If you follow rules of the road, signal confidently and eary enough, cars will have a better sense of where you are going, and they will be able to better avoid you. In my opinion, it just takes practice. The more riders we get on the roads, the more comfortable cars will feel riding alongside bikes. The problem with US drivers is that we are not used to navigating around bikes. I do, however, have hope that this trend is slowly changing. Good luck!

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 7:47 am

      I hope so, too! It’s time drivers realize we have a RIGHT to the road.

  • Krystina (Organically Me) May 11, 2011, 9:28 pm

    I love that strip of land by MCO. It’s beautiful!

  • Kristin @ FoodFash May 11, 2011, 10:20 pm

    I just walked to dinner through downtown Tampa with my mom (urban planner) tonight and let her know the reasons why I’m afraid to ride my bike to work and she said she’d let the bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee know. I looked this up for you – – maybe you can join or contact them? Good luck!

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 7:46 am

      This rocks!!!

  • Meaghan May 11, 2011, 10:33 pm

    Wow! Lots of trauma with cars! That would be hard- considering what you were used to in FL. I hope biking indoors is beneficial enough for you, still a great workout (and better that just sitting in front of the television). 🙂

  • Alli May 11, 2011, 10:39 pm

    I just moved to Mobile, AL from Cooper City, FL (right outside of Ft. Lauderdale)and I have been trying to figure out the same thing!
    I found that I have to get out there at the break of dawn (or 7:45 on Saturdays) to ride safely. I avoid the busiest roads and mainly ride neighborhoods…its much less scary when nobody is awake!

  • Morgan May 11, 2011, 11:12 pm

    I have no advice but I just thought I would tell you that I got the song ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ stuck in my head after seeing that turtle picture…random but true!

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 7:44 am


  • jose May 11, 2011, 11:14 pm

    riding outside is scayr i got hit by a car yesterday and now im freaking out cus i have a marathon in a few weeks and i wont be able to run it unless i recover quickly, so bummed and stressed. 🙁

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 7:43 am

      ohmigod! i hope you heal up quickly. rest, rest, rest! did you go to the doctor?

  • Maija May 11, 2011, 11:45 pm

    I live and bike commute in Portland, OR (super amazing, I live in one of the most bike-friendly cities in the US) but it can be SO intimidating in any city– my best advice

    1. practice defensive biking- just like defensive driving. Assume the car’s can’t see you, and even if they do, they won’t give you the right of way. Biking is not the time to be optimistic.
    2. Know that you always have the right to “take the lane.” If you’re on a busy road, just peddle right down the middle of the lane. Cars may get annoyed but it’s way better to have an irritated motorist than a parked car to open up their door right in front of you.

    Don’t be afraid, though, be brave and have fun!

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 7:41 am

      YES i so agree to #2! Biking right next to the curb is so dangerous and scary, and we have a right to the entire lane.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) May 12, 2011, 12:10 am

    I am so terrified of getting hit by a car! I don’t have a helmet, so I am not riding my bike til I get one. People can be real idiots when they’re driving… there is no way I’m biking without one again!

  • Khushboo May 12, 2011, 1:22 am

    I am really cautious about crossing the streets because a few years ago I got hit by a car. As I was crossing the street, a car turned around the corner right into me- I went flying atop the bonnet and then slam down to the ground! At the time it was awful: I zonked out, covered in blood, and rushed to A&E. My whole body/face was covered in bruises! There really is a God because I healed amazingly- not a scar in sight today. I really swear by the application of vitamin E- my friend advised me to apply it constantly to avoid scarring and it seemed to have worked.

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 7:41 am

      omg i cannot believe that – so scary! i am glad you were ok!

  • natalie @ May 12, 2011, 2:25 am

    oh how scary! no there is no way you would get me on the road, a good friend of mines husband got hit by at car last week..its terrible.

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday) May 12, 2011, 4:52 am

    as if dipping bread into soup wasn’t divine enough…just add hummus!

  • Hats @ See How She Runs May 12, 2011, 5:46 am

    I don’t cycle much, but when I’ve expressed an interest I’ve been told:

    – Cycle WITH traffic. As others have said, bikes are subject to rules of the road just like cars (I think people are getting confused with the advice to WALK against traffic when there are no sidewalks). Also, don’t weave or run red lights – this just pisses off other road users, is careless and dangerous, and shows a lack of respect for motorists. If cyclists want motorists’ respect, they need to show respect to the motorists.

    – ALWAYS wear a helmet. It amazes me that some people don’t – any extra protection between you head and the tarmac surely is a good thing…?

    – Be visible. Lights on bikes, reflective clothing, etc (even if you’re cycling during the day). Bear in mind that if a motorist is driving in bright sunlight and you’re in the shade, you can be quite hard to see. Also don’t forget to wear sunglasses in really bright weather so you can see too.

    – Don’t listen to music! This also amazes me – it is dangerous and downright stupid. Cyclists need to be alert and aware of their surroundings. Compared to a car, a cyclists is pretty small and hard to spot (see above ^).

    – See if there are any cycling proficiency or city cylcing course in your area. These will help with learning rules of the road and might boost your confidence.

    Good luck! You’re definitely braver than I am 😛

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 7:40 am

      These are GREAT tips, thank you SO much!

      • Hats @ See How She Runs May 12, 2011, 10:35 am

        Maybe one day I’ll pluck up enough courage to ride a bike in traffic. At the moment I think I’ll stick to trails. Though when I was last out cycling we ended up going down a farm track where the mud had been churned up but had dried rock solid into mounds. My derriere did not like me after that!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey May 12, 2011, 7:30 am

    I don’t think I would ever have the gutso to go out on the street to train on a bike! Too scary!

  • Running Mama May 12, 2011, 7:46 am

    Yikes. I’m a lttle skittish about biking now too. My highschool buddy lost his adorable wife last year. They lived in Utah with their 2 little girls (the youngest only 3 months old). She was with a group of cyclists training for a triathalon and some guy hit her. So sad. Be careful.

  • Tom in Maine May 12, 2011, 8:53 am

    Well I just brought my bike into work today to bike with a friend. The high today is 61 with sun/clouds. We ride on a busy road that has a steady stream of commuters who are 99% great. I find when we ride to stay a couple of inches to the left of the white line (on the right edge of road). This allows the drivers to see you plainly, and it gives you some wiggle room in case of bad road edges.

    Also, you must know about where you can find good biking routes near your home. Google maps also has a bike feature as well.

    Time to get out there and ride!!

  • Natalie May 12, 2011, 9:43 am

    I’m a former NYC cyclist, now I live in rural Salisbury, MD, so I do have some pointers from both sides.
    Be visible: reflectors and flashing lights are your friends, sideview mirrors on your helmet, while dorky, are a total safety plus.
    Ride like you’re driving a car: go with the flow of traffic, stop at stop signs and red lights, slow down at yellow (you won’t make it anyway).
    Be noisy: horns and bells are life savers. Most drivers can’t see you, aren’t expecting you and CERTAINLY cannot hear you (you don’t have a motor). You need to make noise to let them know you’re coming by. In NY I have even yelled out a big HEY, or ON YOUR LEFT at passing pedestrians.
    Pedestrians are your enemy: Avoid them like the plague. They will dart in front of your bike out of nowhere. They just aren’t afraid of you, so you need to be afraid of them, for their own safety. Yield at crosswalks, alert them to your presence if they’re walking in the street (happens a LOT).
    Some streets are just a no go: Not every street can be navigated safely. Times square during rush hour, before the bike lanes were installed, were an obvious death trap. Bumper to bumper traffic is just not the right environment for a cyclist.
    Have fun: I found road biking in NY to be an exhilarating experience, but then again, I’m a thrill seeker. Even if you’re not, it’s a great way to get around your city that’s cost efficient and eco friendly.

  • Emily May 12, 2011, 11:04 am

    I’m not a cyclist but there are loads of cyclists in London! I know a fair few people who ride their bikes in to work etc. The things I notice are that at traffic lights they try to sit ahead of the traffic and get off before the cars. And that they have make sure they are visible with fluorescent yellow/orange.

    They’re trying to make London more bike friendly with bike lanes and stuff. Maybe you could speak to people in your city and lobby for change there? The politicians won’t know there is demand unless you voice it! We have (Mayor) Boris’ Bikes here too now. Banks of bikes that you can hire for short journeys in the city and then leave in another bank where ever you like ( Its an amazing concept!

  • Melanie May 13, 2011, 7:53 am

    Further proof that it’s good to live outside of Charlotte!! Aside from lower taxes and, what I discovered yesterday is the most efficient DMV EVER (the one in Monroe). We’re 10 minutes from 485 (In Wesley Chapel), but there are plenty of country roads out here for cycling! I have a friend that lives in Fort Mill and cycles and she says it’s pretty good out there too!

    • CaitlinHTP May 13, 2011, 7:59 am

      hahah I know, I have a friend in Fort Mill and this is why her husband refuses to move out to the city – cycling!

  • Tiffany @ Simply Shaka May 22, 2011, 6:20 pm

    Ha, I think that’s my friends white Liberty in that picture!

    With the number of bikers there are, you would think they would have wider roadways here. I forever feel like I’m going to hit someone in Myers Park when I drive through there, no bueno.

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