Best way to Ride Here?

John Allen

I thank my friend Pamela Murray for  this photo from a from a sub-24-hour overnight bicycle tour in  North Carolina.

Is this photo OK?  I’m asking you.

Well, the weather could be nicer.

But also, the first question you might ask is “would I ride here?” That is up to you, certainly, but then you may have no choice to get from point A to point B. CRW lays out its rural ride routes to the extent possible on quiet, scenic roads. But these often have to be linked by short stretches on multi-lane highways. You might ask then:

  • Is it safe?
  • Is it rude?
  • Is it legal?

There are many examples like this on CRW rides. And some are more challenging then the one in the picture, for example Massachusetts Route 117 at Route 495 in Bolton, on the Climb to the Clouds ride, with the on- and off-ramps.

Let’s get one of my questions out of the way. Yes, it is legal. The North Carolina shoulderless divided highway in the photos is not limited-access, and it is open to bicyclists.

In Massachusetts, the rule is that bicycling is allowed on all public ways except limited-access and express state highways, where posted. Sometimes, though, signs are posted improperly, and you have to think for yourself. (Example: a ramp from Route 30 to Norumbega Road in Weston also leads to Route 128, but the "no bicycles" sign is ahead of where the ramp splits. I have led many CRW rides down that ramp.)

Enough with that. To refine the questions I asked earlier, what is the safest and most polite way to ride here?

  • Should the group split up and ride one by one?
  • Should they be riding single file, close to the right-hand curb?
  • Or are they doing what is pretty much best, given the conditions?

What do you think? Would you be concerned about your safety riding here? Which of these options might make you feel safest? What additional measures might make you feel more confident?

Please feel free to send me your comments. You'll find my e-mail in the Contacts list on the CRW Web site. Next month, I'll respond and give my own answers. I'll give you another spoiler for now: yes, it is reasonably safe, if done right.



John S. Allen is CRW Safety Coordinator, a certified CyclingSavvy Instructor and League Cycling Instructor and author of Bicycling Street Smarts.