Friday, February 24, 2012

Riding the Line


I was just goofing around with my camera on my commute home, perhaps trying to get a different angle with my handlebars and the setting sun or something, when this guy on a road bike blew past me like I was standing still: whooooosh. Anyway this photo reminded me about the question of riding the line, which I seem to notice more of lately. Forgetting that he happened to be passing me at this instant and needed to go out there so he's not a very good example, it seems like I've noticed more cyclists riding in areas with bike lanes who choose to ride on or very near the line, right about where I happened to take this photograph. One rider (who also blew past me) this morning was riding right down the middle of it. Is it some training technique? Some kind of obsessive-compulsive game (I'm in!)? A statement: "no bike lane can hold me!" For safety, or technique? Imaginary pace line practice is a good guess. Again, I don't mean just while passing one bicycle commuter traveling at an average speed, I mean the whole way. White line fever. This weekend, the weather looks fine. Think I'll go for a ride, or two. Perhaps on the line. Perhaps not.


  1. As a road bike rider myself I always try to avoid riding on painted lines........If they are a bit damp they can be as slippery as a snake....I've seen a number of riders come a cropper due to a wet line.... Wouldn't have thought that's much of a problem in your part of the world though.....


  2. The smooth line provides the cleanest spot on the road reducing the chance of flats.

  3. Trevor beat me to it -- those painted lines can be very slick. Not recommended.

    I also think it's a dangerous road position. Cars tend to pass very close to the line when there's a bike lane like that. If you're on it ... could be bad news. In the bike lane, you should be OK. In the lane, you're OK. On the line ... scares me.

    Have a great weekend!

  4. Since I'm not privy to cycling conditions in your area I'd guess that he's playing a game to pass the time, testing his skills. Holding the line. Who knows?

    By the way, what's with Blogger making us type two words to prove we are not a computer. It's driving me crazy.

  5. I know the feeling well.
    The whooosh part I mean.
    I don't get folks who don't make use of a perfectly good bicycle lane.
    Sort of like sky diving.
    If you know what I mean.

  6. Hmm he looks fast.

  7. I think it's down to both practice holding a line (by actually holding a line), and a smoother feeling on the smoother paint with 120 psi in 700x22 tires. As Trevor notes, and Apertome concurs, to be avoided when wet, certainly, but we're talking 8.3 inches of avg annual rainfall, so it's not an everyday problem.

  8. What John said, I have caught myself riding the line as well, especially in areas where the actual lane is older or rougher asphalt - the white line feels much smoother and dare I say faster (less rolling resistance)


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