Today’s Headlines

  • Paul White: It’s Up to de Blasio and Cuomo to Stop the Killing of Children in Traffic Collisions (News)
  • Eric Gonzalez Will Examine Dorothy Bruns’ Medical Records Before Pressing Charges (Bklyn Paper)
  • Sonia Palacios Lost Her Brother to a Driver Who Knew He Shouldn’t Have Been Behind the Wheel (Post)
  • Ruthie Ann Miles’ Unborn Child Survived Last Week’s Horrific Crash (Bklyn Paper)
  • Placard Culture at Work: Cops Bully Officer Who Cited Drivers With PBA Cards (News)
  • New Yorkers Need Cuomo to Deliver Transit That Gets Them to Work on Time, Not Shinier Stations (CL)
  • The Longer Cuomo’s MTA “Genius Challenge” Goes On, the More Embarrassing It Gets (NYT, AMNY)
  • If You Ride the S46, Who Knows If You’ll Make Your Ferry (Advance)
  • Albany May Expedite Eastward Extension of Queens Greenway to Nassau (QChron)
  • Constantinides Wants to Turn Municipal Parking Lot Into Subsidized Housing for Seniors (QChron)
  • Damned E-Bikes (Post 1, 2)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I commute every day from East New York to Coney Island, sometimes having to make up to 3 train transfers due to route changes and delays.”

    From a random spot on the map, 463 Ashford Ave in East NY, to Coney Island, Google

    Maps says 1 hour 18 minutes by subway.

    And 1 hour flat to cover the 10.2 miles by bike.

    That’s the outer limit for most people on a bike, and I couldn’t do it every day.

    But on an E-bike, with a motor assist, it could be a little faster and a lot easier.

  • HamTech87

    Does anyone know the number for the bill that requires doctors to report people unable to drive? The link is wrong in the article below. Thanks.

  • AnoNYC

    “with a motor assist, it could be a little faster and a lot easier.”

    Effortless with a throttle.

  • AnoNYC

    The City Limits opinion piece is unfortunate because too many public transit users think of this funding as a zero sum game. We need to fund public appropriately, we shouldn’t have to choose between service enhancements and necessary aesthetic improvements.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Engineering of consent.”

    They’ve robbed our future, and want to “empower” us to feel we have chosen our losses without having first acknowledged that fact.

    How about “we need to accept stations with tiles falling off the walls, paint peeling from the ceiling, and feces left attended on the floor so we can have a somewhat diminished number of train breakdowns. If millennials don’t accept the former, the latter is THEIR FAULT NOT OURS!

  • Vooch

    PBLs are the way to go for NYC infrastructure spending.

    City should commit to spending $25 million annually for 5 years to build 250 miles of PBLs.

    50 miles per year of PBLs

    This would triple the existing PBL network.

    At end of Feb, Citibike workday ridership was consistently breaking 50,000. In February.

  • Joe R.

    It’s not just the number of miles. It’s also the amount of stopping and starting. Starting up from a stop uses the same energy as riding at a steady speed for a few hundred feet. Repeated starting also causes muscle strain and eventually fatigue. It could be a lot faster and easier if you could those 10.2 miles mostly without stopping. The city needs a lot more nonstop bicycle infrastructure to make bike commuting over 5 to 15 miles feasible. Such infrastructure has the same benefits for e-bikes as it does for regular bikes. A 10 mile commute on regular city streets with an average rider probably would take upwards of an hour. On non-stop infrastructure the same person could maintain maybe 15 mph. The commute would take 45 minutes, give or take. On an e-bike, maybe a little over 30 minutes. That’s feasible for nearly anyone.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Sounds like the Vanderbuilt Parkway will extend to Little Neck Pkwy, but Nassau Co. starts at Lakeville Rd.

  • Brian Howald

    It likely has to do with the fact that the right-of-way beyond Little Neck Parkway is 74th Avenue in Glen Oaks.

  • I feel the need occasionally to ring in with a note of reality.

    Speaking as someone who does a ten-mile commute each way daily, and has done so for the past seven years (notwithstanding my having skipped much of this past February for my first-ever intentional break), I can say that the starting and stopping is merely an annoyance.

    I ride 6000 miles a year. One year I hit 6800 miles. In July alone I have hit 1000 miles for the past five years. I have done rides to and from Philadelphia, and even one ride all the way to Washington. I have done all of this while making frequent stops at red lights. If making these stops caused strain or fatigue, I would know about it. I can therefore state categorically that it does not cause strain or fatigue. Any strain or fatigue that you are experiencing on a mere ten-mile ride is down entirely to problems with your riding style (for example: constantly sprinting from a stop) or your posture, or your seat configuration, or something along those lines.

    Let us be clear: I do these things. You do not do these things. So you should stop making outrageously incorrect assertions about things you don’t know about; and you should instead believe the reports of someone who knows from experience what he is talking about.

  • kevd

    *condensed version*

    “Look at me, I ride 6000 miles a year”
    brag brag brag – we’re all very impressed. one can criticize and correct some of Joe’s over the top assertions without being such a little twat.

  • van_vlissingen

    Unfortunately, Nassau’s planned trail begins a furlong or two beyond their border with us. But a gap between LNP & Lakeville Rd is much more surmountable than a gap between Winchester & Lakeville Rd. Ultimately, the shorter the gaps in a trail the more the political pressure to close them.

  • Not a brag in this case. It is the reason that my assertions are more credible than Joe’s.

    (But, yeah, now that you mention it: look at me, I ride 6000 miles a year! Of course, anyone can do that. But I am still justifiably proud of actually having done it several times.)

  • Vooch

    Sorry – Ferdinand is NOT a braggart.

    but he does need to stop wearing shorts in Winter 🙂

  • Joe R.

    You’re a sample of one. Would you say the same thing applies to working cylists who might ride 50 miles a day? Can they do repeated stops all day long without it causing muscle fatigue to the point of disability? Answer is no, they can’t. That’s why they use e-bikes, and that’s why they don’t stop unless they have to.

    People also have health issues. In my case I have carpal tunnel syndrome. While this doesn’t affect my legs, it does affect the number of times I’m able to use my brakes before I just can’t. Can’t in this case means I must coast down if I need to stop because I can’t physically squeeze my brakes. Thankfully on a normal ride this usually doesn’t happen because I rarely need to hit my brakes. It would happen riding ten miles and stopping at every red light like you do.

    Any strain or fatigue that you are experiencing on a mere ten-mile ride is down entirely to problems with your riding style (for example: constantly sprinting from a stop) or your posture, or your seat configuration, or something along those lines.

    I doubt it’s posture because I’ve tried riding upright versus riding on the drops. No appreciable difference. It’s not from sprinting from a stop, either. Yes, sprinting strains the muscles more, but sprinting means you make more lights, and hence stop less often. It also means you’re putting out more effort to get up to speed but doing so for a much shorter length of time. So overall, it’s probably a wash.

    And then of course some people have physical issues which prevent repeated stopping and starting, such as being prone to leg cramps, or having joint issues. The fact you don’t have these issues doesn’t mean they’re uncommon. As an example, my sister recently needed a knee replacement. I highly doubt she could have done any cycling which required repeated starting and stopping. Even with the knee replacement, I doubt she could. I personally have inflammation which results in both numbness in my feet after about 30 minutes on the bike, and also causes debilitating cramps if I push myself much beyond by baseline power output too many times.

    You might also better educate yourself on the causes of muscle fatigue:

    Everything I’ve read basically says the same thing, which is repeated exertions beyond your continuous baseline eventually produce muscular fatigue and/or cramps. By definition, accelerating up to speed, even slowly, is a higher effort than maintaining speed. It’s simply a matter of how many times you can repeat this effort in a given time interval. That of course varies hugely among individuals.

    The bottom line is places like the Netherlands engineered stopping out of bicycle infrastructure as much as possible, even to the point of building elaborate grade separation to bypass busier intersections:

    There must be a reason for this beyond the fact that stopping greatly increases trip times. Other reasons could include using less energy, and avoiding muscular fatigue. NYC needs to start taking this approach, among doing other things, if we ever hope to get bicycle mode share above the low single digits.

  • My legs are the last things that get cold. That’s where the motor is, man!

    As long as I have my chest and neck covered, and as long as I can keep my hands from getting too cold, I am just fine down to the 20s. Only then do I give up the shorts.

  • Joe R.

    The fact you wear shorts until it’s in the 20s tells me you’re way above the norm in many aspects of cycling (I don’t even wear shorts in the summer because I like my legs somewhat protected in a fall). That and the 6,000+ miles per year. Granted, I’m probably faster than you over distances up to 20 or 30 miles, but I have my limits in how far I can ride in any given week, or overall in a year. My legs get like jello if I ride over about 120 miles a week. And I can’t sustain that pace for more than a few weeks. About 3,000 to 4,000 miles a year is what I can sustain.

  • Vooch

    one day
    we‘ll convince you 🙂

  • ortcutt

    These “Genius” ideas are literally the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. What a waste of money. They could have spent $2.5 million fixing signals but instead they spent $2.5 million on a ridiculous PR stunt. This is everything wrong with the MTA and Cuomo in a nutshell.

  • Joe R.

    It’s still good news. The VMP starts about 1.7 miles from me BUT if I take 75th Avenue I only pass two signalized intersections (Utopia Parkway and 188th Street). At my riding speed at most I need to wait for one red light and I’ll hit the other one on green. Or if it’s already green, I make the other one on green. So for me the current plan would be virtually nonstop riding from me to within a mile of city limits. As you said, Little Neck Parkway to Lakeville road is a less formidable. And if they work on the VMP on the Nassau side, there will eventually be political pressure to close the ~1 mile gap.

    It will be nice if eventually I could go well into Nassau country without hitting any car roads, other than those I need to get to the VMP.

  • Komanoff

    Wouldn’t it make more sense, for people who aren’t (yet) strong cyclists, to ride a pedal-bike or, for the newbies and maybe oldbies too, an ebike, 4.4 miles from 463 Ashford St to the Prospect Park Subway Station, via nice and flat Pitkin and E New York Avenues, and THEN pick up the Q to get to Coney Island? (Yes, that presumes locking up at PPSS, but that seems something we should assume, rather than that an average john or jane would bike 10 miles both ways each day?)

    PS to Ferdinand: I love your broadcasting about your biking — I do it too (albeit at only around 50% of your mileage). But please let’s design bicycling advocacy (and transpo, and pretty much everything) around people as they are, not what we might wish they were? Thank you.

  • Joe R.

    The idea is the less you need to stop, the further you can go regardless of your physical condition. So non-stop cycling infrastructure really would broaden the base of those for whom “bicycle” would be a viable transportation option. That’s something all of us here want to happen.

  • Joe R.

    Most of those ideas were already thought of (and dismissed) by those who have even a passing knowledge of how trains work. For example, “longer subway trains” is something even the MTA thought of, but it would require extending the platforms (at great expense) on most or all stations.

  • JarekFA

    You were shorts into the 20s!?!?!!? I wear performance tights/long johns under shorts until the mid-30s! Then I wear athletic breathable sweat pants instead of shorts while still wearing long john/performance tights underneath.

    My biggest challenge is regulating my chest temp. I always end up sweaty. I do a good job of keeping my head warm wtih a neck/face guard, helmet, ear muffs and glasses (with replaceable lens depending on whether it’s dark or not). My commute is only 5.5 miles. And yah, if I had to do Ferdinand’s distance, I for sure would have a pedal assist, if not solely for the bridges and occasional hills.

  • Joe R.

    For regulating your chest temperature, my suggestion is to underdress a bit so your chest feels a little cold at the start of the ride. After 5 to 10 minutes you’ll feel fine. For a sustained ride, I’d recommend wearing something which can easily be unzipped as you get hotter while the ride progresses. If need be have a few layers which can be unzipped.

    The biggest problem for me is keeping my extremities warm. When it’s under the low 30s, my feet and hands both get too cold. The hands especially are an issue. There’s a limit to how thick gloves can be as too thick impacts my ability to work the controls, the shift levers in particular. End result is wearing gloves which leave my fingers feeling numb towards the end of 80 or 90 minute rides. I’d be OK for shorter rides, but I’m of the mind if I bother to take my bike out, then I’m going 20+ miles.

  • I suggest that we deal with the reality that we bicyclists will always have the need to make frequent stops. There’s no conceivable way around this (notwithstanding someone’s fantasies of grade-separated bike facilities, which is a terrible idea for many reasons). Red lights are a fact of life. Even in the ideal world in which we get the Idaho stop, bicyclists would still have to come to a full stop before proceeding through an intersection.

    So complaining about starts and stops is rather like complaining about the weather; it’s a background condition that is going to be there regardless.

    Anyway, the idea that some people would prefer to ride a short distance to the train rather than ride all the way on a ten-mile commute is a sensible one. I can see the sense in avoiding a climb onto a bridge if you can. So, to facilitate that we should be working towards getting extensive bike parking facilities at key subway stations.

  • Joe R.

    There’s tons of ways to get around your so-called “need” to make frequent stops besides full-on grade separation. Getting rid of unnecessary traffic signals is a good start. At least 90% of the traffic signals in this city aren’t needed for safety reasons. They were just put there to slow down cars.

    We can also do things like bollard off minor side streets to car traffic, then put the bike lane on that side of the street. Since there’s no cross motor traffic, cyclists can get a flashing yellow “yield to pedestrians” while motor traffic lanes get a red light. This idea would work citiwide. You’ll still have major intersections but for those you could seriously consider overpasses or underpasses, as is done in the Netherlands. The cost overall would be a fraction of a full-on viaduct but it would provide virtually non-stop travel.

    And then you can make bicycle boulevards which are set up to give priority to cyclists over traffic on the cross streets.

    There are lots of ways to radically reduce the need to stop, even if we can’t eliminate it altogether, short of banning all streets to motor traffic. We just lack the political will to do so. Advocates also seem strangely silent on this issue, as if they’re afraid if we make too many demands nobody will listen to them.

  • For me the secret is layers.

    This morning I wore two thin waterproof shirts, then a nylon turtleneck sweatshirt, then a shirt of some woven stretchy material (don’t know what it’s called), topped off by a fur-lined sweatshirt. And I’ve got two scarves, as well as three layers of gloves.

    Going home now, when it is about ten degrees warmer than it was in the morning, I will do without the woven shirt. And I will probably switch the top pair of gloves from lined to unlined. (I also have a pair of warm reflective gloves that I will wear if I sit here any longer and have to deal with the dark, despite my beloved Daylight Saving Time.)

    When it gets down to the 20s, not only do I abandon the shorts, but I use a couple of more scarves, wrapping one mostly around my face (being careful not to affect my ability to draw in oxygen). And I replace that top layer I mentioned earlier with a thicker sweatshirt or sweat jacket. Finally, I replace the bandana that I wear under my helmet with a piece of rubberised headwear designed for cold weather.

    But let’s hope that those days are gone for the season. And soon we will be saying goodbye to freezing altogether!

  • Simon Phearson

    I sprint out of every stop. And honestly, I wouldn’t say the stop-starting causes me as much fatigue as, say, hills, headwinds, and pressure to stay ahead of reckless drivers. Really, it murders my cassettes and wears my cleats out more quickly, more than anything.

    I think the real drawback for bike commuters, when stop-starting, comes from time lost. On any given ride on my usual routes, I probably spend one minute stopped for every two traveling. And that’s just irreducible, at this point. I can’t bike fast enough to avoid the lights I’m catching. (People shouldn’t be driving fast enough to avoid them, either, though they often do.) Someone like Ferdinand, with all the time to waste in the world, is probably losing even more time.

    I think the real reason to ignore Ferdinand on these issues is that he just doesn’t share the same concerns as a typical bike commuter. He doesn’t care how long it takes for him to get to where he’s going, and he racks up those high miles by taking whole days off of work that most of us wouldn’t be able to take, if we wanted to. He’s perfectly fine averaging 10 mph over his trip. Most of the rest of us aren’t.

  • Joe R.

    It’s worth mentioning there are some health/joint issues where repeated stopping can cause fatigue but in general you’re correct in your assertion that sprinting from every stop doesn’t cause any more fatigue than a lot of other things. It’s certainly no worse than accelerating slowly. With the latter, you hit more red lights, hence you’re accelerating up to speed several times as often. Even if the stress of each acceleration is less, the cumulative effect of more of them is about the same as sprinting from every stop. And yes, I’ve tried it both ways. No appreciable difference in terms of fatigue, but a big difference in travel time.

    Really, it murders my cassettes and wears my cleats out more quickly, more than anything.

    Yeah, it’s murder on the drive train. In my younger days I used to break chains every now and then going full tilt from a stop.

    He’s perfectly fine averaging 10 mph over his trip. Most of the rest of us aren’t.

    Exactly. When I’m on a bike, it’s for one of two reasons. One is exercise. In that case, I’m not in a hurry to go anywhere but I obviously need to ride at a fast enough pace to derive enough benefits from it to make it worth my while. I also need to be able to maintain that pace long enough to at least maintain my current fitness level. I can’t maintain any given pace for as long if I end up with muscle fatigue. And as you said, it’s not just stops contributing to muscle fatigue. Hills, headwinds, and keeping up with traffic all take their toll. However, the effort above baseline is generally a lot less for the latter three. Sprinting up to speed from a stop for me is ~750 watts, albeit only for a few seconds. Fighting a headwind or a hill might be 250 to 300 watts compared to my baseline of ~180 to 200 watts. Sure, it takes its toll, but in general my heart/lungs fatigue before my legs do. Sprinting from stops causes an aerobic deficit and a quick build up of lactic acid. If you do it repeatedly, you get cramps.

    Anyway, second reason I’m on a bike is obviously to get somewhere. Here time is obviously important. When I figure if it’s worthwhile taking a trip by bike versus some other mode, I usually figure 4 minutes per mile. I’m not fine averaging 10 mph, and apparently neither are you or most other people who actually need to be somewhere at some given time. Just as another example, Elizabeth F mentions that her e-bike makes her bike commute feasible as it allows her to average ~15 mph.

  • Driver

    Red lights are a fact of life. Stopping for each and every one of them is not.

  • Vooch

    Agreed – cycling is the perfect solution to the last mile challenge

    Advocates should be advocating for bike racks at every subway station

    ( and maybe even at Grand Central )

  • Vooch

    reallocate 1 lane of


    to a protected bike lane


  • You need to watch it with your assumptions about my not caring how long it takes to get somewhere, and especially about my having “all the time to waste in the world”. (If only!)

    I’m neither self-employed nor independently wealthy. I have to be at work at a certain time. So I leave home at the time that’s necessary in order for me to get to work when I have to be there, just as does everyone else who commutes by any means to a job.

    And anyone who earns vacation days could elect to use them in the way I use them. Most people, however, choose not to; most people take a full week rather than five separate days according to the weather.

    But you’re right that I’m content to average 10 miles per hour. This is because I have found, based on a great deal of experience, that that’s my speed. And in averaging this speed I have no problem getting to work, doing my errands, visiting my mother, visiting friends, and riding for pleasure all over this great City and to every state from Connecticut to Virginia. (Here I bravely risk another scolding by kevd.) One bikes at one’s own speed; that’s how bicycling works.

    You’re welcome to try to go faster. But, as it turns out, 10 miles per hour is about the speed that conditions will let you average in a city. So the attempt to go at much greater speeds is bound to leave you frustrated.

    Do not be the bicyclist equivalent of the motorist who has become brainwashed by those car ads that depict speeding around a city on empty roads. In a city you’re not going to have empty roads; and you’re not going to have non-stop rides. If you want that, you’ll have to find a rural setting without urban density.

    If we could go back in time and avoid the policy errors that have deformed our cities, then we’d have streets without curbside parking, and we’d have licencing standards that would allow only a minuscule fraction of the population to attain the privilege of driving. In that setting, we’d surely have significant sections of our cities dominated by bicycle boulevards; and averages of closer to 20 miles per hour would be possible (even for me).

    I would imagine that such a fantasy appeals to almost everyone who reads this site. But, in the real world as it currently exists, one must come to terms with the fact that frequently stopping and starting is an inherent characteristic of city riding.

  • The law says otherwise.

    Of course, I am quite aware that many bicyclists ignore this law. What those bicyclist fail to appreciate is the degree to which they are making enemies by this practice.

    When people see a bicyclist running a red light, they become filled with anger and resentment. And here’s the important bit: this anger and resentment occurs even if the bicyclist in question is riding in a completely safe manner.

    The mere act of running a light on the part of a bicyclist (even in the safest possible manner) generates complaints from the public. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for bike related measures to win the support of politicians.

    You want to know why Jimmy Van Bramer has suddenly gone cold on the proposed protected bike lanes on 43rd Avenue and Skillman Avenue? It’s very likely because his office has seen an increase in complaints about bicyclists.

    Each individual can do only what one individual can do. So, in my attempt to set a good example for other bicyclists, and to be a good bicycling ambassador to a hostile general public which holds the future of our bike infrastructure in its hands, I stop at all red lights.

  • Joe R.

    Really every grade-separated highway or railway in the city should have an elevated bike lane hanging off it. That would form a pretty good network. And since the structures already exist, there are no aesthetic or other issues to adding bike lanes to them.

  • Simon Phearson

    You need to watch it with your assumptions…

    Nothing is wrong about my assumptions. Most working people cannot, as you do, call in a vacation day on as short a notice as you do. Most working people cannot, as you do, schedule in an ample amount of time for a pleasantly leisurely bike commute to work. You have a degree of flexibility in your work; good for you. It’s not typical. You should not portray it as such.

    You’re welcome to try to go faster. But, as it turns out, 10 miles per hour is about the speed that conditions will let you average in a city.

    Incorrect. I stop for all red lights and I typically cap out at an average 15 mph (despite being able to go much faster than that when conditions allow). I don’t think I could attain a faster average speed than that without running red lights, true. But 10 mph is not the cap.

    Do not be the bicyclist equivalent of the motorist who has become brainwashed by those car ads that depict speeding around a city on empty roads.

    Amusingly polemical, but ironically wrong. As it turns out, the road often is empty. It’s sometimes amazing to notice how much of our streetspace is dedicated to cars that no one is using at the time, vs. the number of people actually driving. Or traffic is spread out such that there is plenty of room to go full-tilt. Keep in mind that steady car traffic is pretty fast, by cycling standards, so it’s perfectly logical to book it in certain conditions, even if the road isn’t empty. That’s usually how it goes on Vernon, Steinway, and Skillman in Queens, and Manhattan and Franklin in Brooklyn, and parts of some of the Avenues in Manhattan. And then the bridges provide an opportunity to make up time, too. You can safely climb the QB or WB bridges probably up to 13 mph in typical traffic, and faster if you’re conscientious.

  • I agree with that. Every time I am on the bike lane adjacent to the Belt Parkway or the Cross Island Parkway or the Wantagh Expressway I realise that this should be the norm everywhere.

  • Vooch

    joe r.

    I‘d argue these existing parkways are plenty wide enough to accommodate PBLs with minimal cost.

    Convert existing motor lanes to PBL requires jersey barriers and some signs

  • Joe R.

    You also need separate entrances and exits for bikes. It’s certainly feasible, but my guess is you’ll get a lot of backlash from motorists over losing a travel lane. Doing it my way avoids that.

  • Joe R.

    When you look at a map of the railways, els, and highways, it’s a pity this wasn’t done. You would have a really nice network where most people were within a mile or two of a nice, grade-separated greenway. Moreover, it could be done for minimal expense relative to building such a thing from scratch.

    That said, I keep thinking of Queens Boulevard as a logical place to build a grade-separated bikeway. It’s a major trunk route. You could put the viaducts between the main road and service roads. The existing bike lane could be used to get to the exits and entrances to the viaduct. The aesthetics wouldn’t matter much as Queens Boulevard is pretty ugly no matter what. At least the viaducts wouldn’t shade the sidewalk. They would also double as shelter for the bus stops once the buses start using the main road. Once you get past 49th Street you can hang the bike lanes off the #7 viaduct, then have a flyover which connects directly to the Queensboro Bridge. And while you’re at it, you can maybe have a diverging route hanging off the #7 el all the way to downtown Flushing. Build it, see how it works. If it proves viable then start putting more elsewhere, starting with hanging them off existing grade-separated infrastructure.

  • AMH

    Carpal tunnel’s a bitch. Have you considered a bicycle with coaster brakes?

  • AMH

    Red lights every few hundred feet are not an immutable fact of life–they can be timed for an easy cycling pace, and they do not need to be installed at every single minor cross street!

  • Vooch

    But your way is expensive

    As for on-off ramps; simply reallocate every other on:off ramp to bikes.

  • Joe R.

    Not really. The problem with coaster brakes is you’re using the rear wheel for braking. You don’t have much stopping power when braking with your rear wheel. I’ll also be limited in my gearing with a rear hub and coaster brake. Besides that, I hardly use my brakes. I’m able to anticipate things in enough time to mostly coast down if I need to reduce speed. Eventually I may get the CTS fixed, but that’ll have to wait until I have Medicare as I haven’t had any medical insurance since I was kicked off my parent’s plan when I was 20 or 21. I’m of mixed feelings though getting carpal tunnel release. For one thing, I’ve heard it doesn’t always work in very severe cases like mine where some of the nerves are possibly dead. For another, I have absolutely nobody to take up the slack while I’m recovering.

  • AMH

    You can supplement a coaster brake with hand brakes, of course. It sounds like you might need a backup for when you can’t squeeze the levers. If you need a wide range of gears though, that makes it tricky.

  • Joe R.

    The gearing is the problem. It’s not so much wide range but rather closely spaced. Right now I have a 42-53 chainring and an 11-25 10-speed cassette. I can actually do most of my riding on the 42t chainring. 42-25 is fine for climbing the steepest hills I encounter. It allows me to comfortably maintain 9 or 10 mph. 42-11 is good for a comfortable cadence up to 26-27 mph. That’s as fast as I normally go for anything but short bursts. I can get well into the 30s for brief stretches with the 42-11 gear, albeit at a pretty high cadence. And then I have 53-13, 53-12, and 53-11 for the rare times I might do extended cruising at higher speeds, like when I have a very long downgrade or a strong tailwind. 53-11 is good for a comfortable cadence up to about 35 mph or so.

    Overall from highest to lowest this is only a range of 2.87. Lots of geared hubs have that, but not with, say, 12 or 13 ranges. A Rohloff hub would probably work, but it’s expensive. I’d also likely need a new bike for any type of geared hub. It’s more than I want to go through just for something I may never or very rarely need. The trick is I avoid hitting the brakes for routine stuff, like when I approach intersections to pass red lights. I slow enough by coasting down so I can stop, but I rarely need to. That keeps the hands in good enough shape to hit the brakes for the rare emergencies. Riding after 10 PM helps also. Not much around at that time that I need to stop for.