Monday, November 14, 2005

Road bike vs mountain bike. And motor bikes

I've done a few rides on my mountain bike now, and it seems to make no difference in my average speed. I don't know what this says about the way I ride. Maybe I am a very leisurely rider on my road bike, so I never really push it to the max. Or I'm so excited to be on a bike with suspension that I'm fooling myself into thinking it's a motorcycle. Whatever it is, all the differences seem to add up to going the same speed overall.

It's definitely more work now when I start off after a stop sign. I find myself standing up on my pedals all the time. It makes me feel like I'm a little kid on my BMX. And going up hills I lose my momentum much quicker. Fortunately I have about 10 or 12 gears on this bike that are lower than my lowest road bike gear. Now instead of cruising up some of the smaller hills, I almost immediately drop into the easier gears and spin my feet in circles for the next few minutes as I inch my way up the hill.

I'm really enjoying the trigger shifters on the mountain bike. This might be what's keeping my overall speed up. Like natural Timotei shampoo, I can use my trigger shifters as often as I wish. (what simile!)

So the mountain bike is working out well for me.

On to the motor bike. Apparently they are being encouraged by Toronto city council by giving them free parking. Vespa dealers must be happy. One of the reasons being cited for the law is the practical problem of giving them tickets. I guess wind is a big problem when the vehicle doesn't have a windshield wiper. It sounds like a problem that must have a solution. Wrap it around a handle bar with some tape. Send it in the mail. There has to be more to this. The other motivation being cited is an environmental one. I don't know a lot about city politics, so I won't comment on the backers and their histories.

I'm still open to the idea for now. If motorcycles and scooters actually follow the speed limit and don't start driving like they do in Italy where every spare foot is treated as a motorcycle lane, I'd rather have them around me than more cars; as a cyclist, a pedestrian and a car driver for that matter. I'm going to look into the pollution issue. A quick search showed that fuel mileage is much better on a motorcycle or scooter. Pollution is much worse on a two stroke engine on a per kilometre basis, but if the engine is four-stroke, the pollution is either similar to a car or cleaner.

As for references, everything seems to point to a french study (in french) that was timed with a campaign to ban motorcycles in Paris. People were very angry about the potential law and forgot how to do math. I'll try to find some better discussion on the topic.

Darren J 11/14/2005 05:07:00 p.m.


Go to
there's an article in this section called
"Motorcycles and Bicycles: Debunking Myths"
that discusses pollution re motorcycles.

As for the same speed on both bikes - are most of these urban rides with lots of starts/stops? Because it seems the main bottleneck to speed is traffic lights, which car drivers don't realize lets us keep up with them :)
Great link Tanya. Saves me some searching! The idea of scooters hopping up onto Toronto sidewalks and blocking pedestrian crossings is not anything to look forward to.

I think the points about scooter/motorcycle promotion leading to more vehicles on the street is a good one. The new laws may help some car drivers get on motorcycles for part of the year, but it could also lead to subway riders buying motorcycles. Next summer it'll be important to see how much of an effect this one law has. Promotion of 4 stroke over 2 stroke will be key.

I do tend to ride through residential neighbourhoods, so there are many stop signs and stop lights along my ride. This is probably a bigger factor than my trigger shifters!
i like to ride my bike around in new zealand, its fun with my huge backpack full of groceries! mmmkay

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