Thursday, February 10, 2011

Step-Throughs: an Advantage in Traffic?

There was an interesting post on ecovelo yesterday, where the author compared how he uses his three transportation bikes: a Rivendell Sam Hillborne, a Surly Long Haul Trucker, and a Civia Loring. All three bicycles are set up with upright handlebars and decent load carrying capacity, but the Civia differs from the other two in that it has a fairly low stepover. And according to the author, the combination of its "upright riding position, step-through frame, and internal gear hub make[s] the Loring exceptionally confidence inspiring for riding slowly when in close proximity to pedestrians and automobile traffic." Initially, I read past that sentence with the kind of matter-of-fact acceptance that goes with processing what you already consider to be a given. But then later I mentally "rewound" and thought "Wait a minute, he is saying that he finds it more comfortable to ride a step-through in traffic than a diamond frame - Is this a generally accepted notion?" 

I used to think the reason I prefer step-throughs for transportation, is that I often wear skirts. But having read the ecovelo post, I realise that even when wearing trousers I feel better on a step-through in traffic. And, assuming that Alan of ecovelo mostly wears trousers, for him there must be other factors involved as well. Maybe for me it's the promise of the easy "hop off sideways" dismount should I need to bail, that makes me feel more secure. But to tell the truth, I am not sure what it is, and whether my preference is entirely logical.

All factors remaining equal (upright handlebars, ride quality, load capacity), what, if anything, would make a step-through bike an advantage in traffic?

63 comments:

  1. On my diamond, when I step off near traffic, my legs hold up the bike however I find that on my folder, essentially a step, I have to hold it up with my hands. I will admit that a Dahon Mu is very different to the step throughs described here. I have not ridden our Electra Townie enough to compare that.
    That's all. Love your blog. Thanks. Matt K.

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  2. My only recent experience riding a step-through is the 'Boris Bikes' in London and those I definitely appreciate the ability easily to get off the saddle whenever you stop and stand flat, rather than balance on your toes from the saddle. Of course, you can do that standing over a diamond frame but it's not so forgiving, especially if the bike is a bit tall for you. I don't know whether for men, the proximity of the top bar to their 'crown jewels' might make them more reluctant to hop off the saddle when stopping and starting.

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  3. I don't know whether for men, the proximity of the top bar to their 'crown jewels' might make them more reluctant to hop off the saddle when stopping and starting.

    I've wondered about that, but several men have told me it's no problem because "they move out of the way" (What! How? What mysterious creatures men are...)

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  4. They move out of the way if there is time to think, but when there is an emergency, as when I hit a hole while crossing a creek, I went where gravity and inertia sent me! I like a step through for many reasons. My Sam Hillborne frame is a little too tall for me but, once in the saddle and riding, I am set up fine. The only "problem" is that the top tube of the diamond frame is just about equal to my PBH! That can be a problem when stopping (intentionally or not!) or when going very slowly when a foot on the ground occasionally would be very helpful while navigating. I can see the advantage of the step through or mixte under slow riding conditions.

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  5. There are so many replies I am avoiding right now that are inappropriate for a first time commenter so I shall limit myself to this. The way they "move out of the way" may not be obvious to an external viewer in a place with such wonderful weather (I would kill for snow) but here in the cyclonic, flooding and still hot an humid subtropics, they have a quite a range of movement...
    Matt K

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  6. "they move out of the way"

    It's true.

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    1. When I was a little kid, the first time I tried to ride a bike I nutted myself on the top tube because it was too big. 14 years later, I still do it sometimes :P

      -John, http://goanddoit.wordpress.com

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  7. I don't really have anything to say, except I have just realized I have to post something in order to be able subscribe to the comments email.

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  8. I find that the few times I've ridden a diamond frame in traffic, I was very uncomfortable-didn't feel that I could see or had enough range of vision, even up on the tops of my bars. I think that was more of a function of the handlebars than the frame style, but since they tend to be coupled....

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  9. For me there are many unanswered questions in the whole "moving out of the way" issue, but I'll stop, because I have the maturity of a 5yo when talking about boys : )

    Erin - I hadn't realised that either; never tried to subscribe!

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  10. cycler - But if the bike had upright handlebars, set up exactly like on your step-through Raleigh Sports, would the top tube in itself bother you?

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  11. I own both types of bike but the step-throughs get most of the use because of the ease of mounting/dismounting. But that could just be the "geezer" factor.

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  12. I believe the moving-out-of-the-way issue would be a mechanism to cope with a bike that's too tall. A properly sized bicycle should allow one to stand over it without anything touching at all.

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  13. Velouria said..."but I'll stop, because I have the maturity of a 5yo when talking about boys."

    I'm right there with you! But then again, I can seem that way in regard to many subjects. Truly though, it is more of a genuine interest in something, and it just tends to come out sounding like a small child's reaction.

    Anyway... I was just going to say that I don't feel any more or less comfortable/confident on my diamond frame or step through frame in traffic. Perhaps it is that I am able to have stand over clearance over the top tube on the diamond frame, or maybe it's that the handlebars are up higher than most diamond frame owners ride, or that I ride the diamond frame somewhat more regularly than the loop frame? I wish I knew. With the exception of riding in a skirt/dress (due to my extreme klutz factor), personally, I am comfortable in traffic on either.

    I know that doesn't answer your question, but I guess I was kind of interested/perplexed because I don't notice a difference.

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  14. Hrm, I'm reasonably comfortable on both my diamond frames in traffic (which is almost the only way I ride these days.) OTOH, I don't have any bits to worry about having to move out of the way.

    I have an old Schwinn step-through frame that I ride occasionally. It's especially good if I want to take Dog2 out to run alongside the bike, because I CAN hop off really easily at need. Still didn't keep him from pulling me over once though. Need more dog training.

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  15. For men, riding a step through model in traffic helps build moral character. Especially when sharing the road beside a diamond-frame riding female, it shows we are above and beyond any petty stigmas. Sensitive new-age guys, for sure.

    Aside from any mechanics to do with protecting the family jewels, (which is a somewhat overrated issue) the fortitude required to ride a step through and a beret simultaneously might be seen as a badge of honor, flaunting the mores of society.

    Ultimately it falls to each individual male to decide where they choose to draw the line regarding this badge.

    :0)

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  16. My semi step-through is great because a permanent high load rest on the rear rack, excusing Karl Wallenda-type moves.

    There are ways to bail on a bike whether it's a step-through or not. You've written about your upper body wimpiness before, but strength in there is more important than you think if you have to either tuck and roll or hit the deck hard.

    Jim

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  17. I regularly ride a step-through to get around town. I used ride a diamond frame, but I'm probably never going to switch back on a regular basis. It has nothing to do with any jewels getting in the way - I'm tall enough I can safely stand over the top bar on my diamond-framed road bike - but instead it has everything to do with mounting and dismounting.

    Swinging my leg all the way over the seat to get off a diamond frame can be troublesome, especially if I have any sort of cargo on a rear rack and/or I'm wearing dress slacks (my daily commute presents me with both of those challenges). With the step through frame I simply step off the bike. That's it.

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  18. My two bikes are an old steel diamond frame (62cm) and a modern city bike (58cm) with an xtracycle added on... the city bike feels better when worming around in traffic because it offers more angles relative to my body. The taller top tube can be thought of as "hinged" to my body, while the lower top tube has a good 6" more side-to-side room between my legs. That wiggle room permits me to position the bike and my body in a lot more strange configurations to both gain visibility and weasel around car mirrors and street signs.

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  19. I feel slightly responsible for having lowered the tone of this discussion now. Anyway, at the risk of lowering it further, it also occurred to me that one advantage of a step-through is that with a laden bike (especially one with a basket rather than panniers) it's harder to lean it to mount/dismount and getting your leg over can be difficult with a lot of stuff strapped onto a back rack. It doesn't really explain the ease of use in traffic issue though.

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  20. Well, I used my father's road bike for transport at the age of 12. It was a huge frame, and you can imagine the result. I still get nervous on a diamond frame.

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  21. I suppose in the event of a crash, you're less likely to get hung up on the bike falling off sideways on a step-thru than on a diamond frame, though of course, as the bike falls over, the step-over height decreases significantly :)

    I generally don't worry about groin injury in the event of hopping off the bike, as I have enough clearance over the top bar, I'm not likely to really land on it hard unless something weird happens.

    I think by "move out of the way," we're just referring to the fact that the region is generally floppy, and will kind of squish to one side or the other when pushed on :D Unless there is some strange muscle group I haven't discovered yet... (*tries just in case*)... nope. :D (sorry, couldn't help it)

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  22. Alan does a great job comparing the bikes in their strengths and weaknesses. He owns three bikes, so has the luxury of naming them as good, better or best. As the owner of one diamond frame bike, I think I became comfortable in traffic by finding a bike that fit, improving my own bike handling skills and becoming familiar with the routes I take.

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  23. I asked my husband about the "move out of the way" situation as well, and he confirmed it. Guess you have to be a guy to understand.

    Though I don't yet own a step-through (sigh), I have found on test rides that it is nice to have the top bar out of the way of my knees when I'm in town and turning here and there. I don't notice the bar on my diamond frames when I'm pedaling for speed.

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  24. I've never had any issue with diamond tubes in traffic, having started on riding on a bmx, eventually moving to mountain bikes, and in the last decade moving on to derailleur and fixed-gear road bikes. The only step-throughs I've ever ridden have been borrowed cruisers at the beach so maybe I just lack the proper perspective, but I can't imagine what advantage they might be. In traffic I want responsiveness and maneuverability, and I'm not sure that a step-through would help with that.

    As for the top tube issue I am 6'2" with slightly more of my height in the torso than typical, and so tend to have very little standover clearance; none, in fact on my fix ( a 63cm, compared to a 60 on my derailleur road bike). I personally always have a least one foot in my toe strap when I'm straddling my bike, so it's never been a problem keeping my anatomy clear.

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  25. When I decided to get a bike after years and years I got a folding bike, one of the reasons was feeling waaaay more comfortable on something with a low step through and small wheels. I felt closer to the ground and like I could easily dismount if needed. I now am so used to it that I find big wheels kind of freaky. :)

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  26. I think I'm going to have to request a demonstration from my husband of this moving out of the way thing. ;)

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  27. I love the ability to step off my saddle, bend down and adjust a shoe, or twist around to my saddlebags while at a stop light on my diamond frame. Hopping off at sidewalks or for crosswalks is great...

    On that note, I feel like drivers rarely stop for someone trying to pedal across a crossing, but if I get off and walk my bike I'm more likely to get through. Anyone else have that experience?

    There is also what you've said about drivers being more respectful of a Mary Poppins cyclist, which would definitely make it more comfortable to ride a step-through frame.

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  28. Julianne said...

    On that note, I feel like drivers rarely stop for someone trying to pedal across a crossing, but if I get off and walk my bike I'm more likely to get through. Anyone else have that experience?


    In my part of the world, someone standing next to a bike is a pedestrian and entitled to all the niceties that go with that. Someone astride a bike is considered a vehicle and had to obey traffic laws.

    I have to confess, that I have used this to my advantage at nasty left turns. I proceed straight and a vehicle, dismount and cross the street as a pedestrian, then get back on my bike. Or just walk across both streets.

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  29. IMO Marketing alone has defined what is a "girls" bike and what is a "boys" bike.

    As an engineer I see the two designs as just designing for a different application to be chosen from. The right "tool" for the job at hand.

    That said, when my legs bother me I'm not one bit shy about riding my "girls" bike....A Bridgstone mixte.

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  30. I recently began riding a step-through instead of a diamond frame and the difference in how safe I feel is monumental. It's a bit hard to explain why, but it's as if my body can move more independently of the bike. For example, if the bike wants to tip over, or fall, it doesn't affect my balance. Also, my legs have a much fuller range of motion in front, rather than being trapped on their respective sides of the bike. Also, I'm afraid of kicking someone when swinging my leg around a diamond frame (has almost happened) so it's much easier to get on a off a step-through without taking up lots of room or doing acrobatics.

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  31. Velouria, I think the difference you feel comes from frame geometry. Your step-throughs have much more relaxed seat tube angles than your diamond-frame bikes, allowing a more comfortable upright riding position even if your bars are at the same relative height on both types. Fork rake makes a difference too. The greater rake on road bikes gives stability at speed but feels wobbly at low speed. Low rake, quick steering forks that feel secure in city traffic can be downright scary running downhill at 30 mph on the open road. Horses for courses, as they say.

    Geometry aside, step-throughs are great for those big loads on your rear rack that are a PITA to swing a leg over when mounting/dismounting. Look at Surly's Big Dummy and the other cargo bikes out there - they are all step-throughs for this reason.

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  32. fubaru - But I've ridden my husband's vintage Raleigh DL1 (in platform heel shoes in order to clear the top tube!), which has the same geometry as my own

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  33. ^^
    Well, it must be the proximity of your sensitive parts to the top tube, then. I'm never completely at easr riding a bike I don't clear flat-footed.

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  34. With the platforms there was a good inch of clearance, so I felt okay with that. But you are right in the sense that I was probably not 100% comfortable on the bike - if only for my choice of footwear alone. Would be interesting to try a diamond frame bike that was my size and in eevry way the same as one of my upright bicycles except for the top tube.

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  35. My problem (being rather short) is that there aren't many diamond frame bikes that are "comfortable" in the sense that I can hop off the seat and stand over the seat tube and not feel at least somewhat squeamish.

    This (for me at least) is why I tend to avoid diamond frames altogether and generally feel more "safe" riding anything that doesn't have the straight top-tube. Even with my former Bianchi that was allegedly a good fit (according to the bike shop) it never felt right riding it in the city or in traffic. So perhaps it is a matter of having a well-fitting bike that is proportionate to one's height?

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  36. Ok, I actually went and read the post.

    "The upright riding position, step-through frame, and internal gear hub make the Loring exceptionally confidence inspiring for riding slowly when in close proximity to pedestrians and automobile traffic."

    As my experience differs from his, none of this makes sense to me.

    Jim

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  37. Well, it must be the proximity of your sensitive parts to the top tube, then, or habit. I mount/dismount a step-through by swinging my leg over without thinking about it, having grown up riding diamond frames. And I'm always on edge coming to a stop riding a frame that's too tall.

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  38. For the males out there, just how many times have you had an "incident" with a top tube? I would venture to guess it's extremely unlikely, although it could happen. The one and only time in my life that I thought I was never going to be able to pass on the family jewels was when I was riding out of the saddle and my foot slipped off the pedal... I came crashing down NOT on the top tube but on the saddle, and holy $%$%^$$#!#@$%$!&%^&. Let's just say I limped for days afterward, and it wasn't because of no injured leg. I was 14 at the time, and it was probably a good thing that I didn't decide to have kids until 20 years after...

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  39. somervillain - I rode my diamond frame Rivendell, with drop bars, in very dense Provincetown traffic on a daily basis for nearly a month back in September. I had no close calls with the top tube, but that may actually be because of the drop bars. I am so used to dismounting a roadbike via backward leg swing, that it would never occur to me to attempt to dismount to the side when I am in a leaned over position.

    But that is not to say that I enjoyed riding the Rivendell in traffic. I missed my upright bikes and wished I could have had one of them with me in addition.

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  40. Velouria, does Harris Cyclery stock the 'uomo' version of your bike? Surely they would let you test one. Easier than finding a DL-1 in your size, I would think.

    Did I just double-post there?

    :-(

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  41. Vel, I think you're ready to try a Moulton. Or have you already?

    Dr.Moulton was quite concerned with the top-tube when he designed his prototype, as you may well know.

    One of my favourite videos, here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8522870086389552343#

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  42. fubaru - They don't have any of the Bella Ciao bikes in stock yet, but "mine" will arrive in the beginning of May. Not sure if they will get diamond frames right away as well. However, they do have men's Pashleys in my size, so I could easily try one.

    NorthernMike - I have tried a Brompton, but not a Molton. I think the latter may be just a little too freakish for me : )

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  43. somervillain - I got my first nice touring bike to help get back in shape after shattering my leg. I started riding it while I was still in a knee cast. I had several unfortunate incidents where I came down hard on the seat or top tube and fell over. Somehow, I never could get psyched up to ride it after I returned to work so I sold it to a friend's daughter for a song.
    Now that I think about it, almost all the bikes I've owned since I got back into cycling have been mountain bikes or step-throughs. Hmm...

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  44. Velouria, I'm confused by what you wrote. My incident had nothing to do with drop bars, and nothing to do with a top tube. My point was that I've never, ever had a close encounter with a top tube (even during my teenage years, when I rode my bikes like a raging bull and fell more times than I can recall). My one and only serious incident was with the saddle (in which the jewels didn't have time to "move out of the way"), which could have happened on any bike, step-through or diamond frame.

    fubaru: that's interesting. So, you have had several incidents with a TT. However, you were an unusual case since you were riding in what I would consider to be a compromised form, what with a cast (!!!).

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  45. I misread your comment as asking whether *women* had incidents with top tubes, but then decided to keep my comment anyhow.

    But on a separate note, and I will try to ask this as nonchalantly and maturely as I can... I guess what does not make sense to me is how they "know" when to get out of the way. There is no muscle control in there, what enables them to move on their own? I mean, is there a built-in sensor that warns them of top tube proximity?

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  46. somervillain--pottering around in the city on a horizontal tt bike, no Incidents to report. It's simply not an issue.

    However, there's a reason the tt severely slopes on mountain bikes.

    Velouria--let's just call it a universal ball joint.

    Jim

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  47. I agree! I have been thinking about bikes a lot and what I amdoing with the bikes I currently own. My Xtra is a townie which isn't the most stable frame but I like it b/c of the step through. I have thought of ditching it for a radish but the bar is considerable higher. for me baring weight when I ride being able to have access to the ground and freedom to exit the bike to the side is essential.

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  48. Velouria said
    I guess what does not make sense to me is how they "know" when to get out of the way. There is no muscle control in there, what enables them to move on their own?

    If they need to move out of the way, they move largely because they are pushed by the top tube. They can still make contact with the TT (through your clothes, unless you like riding nude - not recommended in freezing temps as you don't want to get stuck to the steel TT). It would not be hitting the bar that would do damage or cause pain but rather being squished between the bar and the pelvic bone. More on hitting in a moment. The bar is cyclindrical which means when it is hit, soft, mobile anatomy can easily slip to the side. Even if the pelvic bone lands on top it is still pushing a roughly spherical object against the curvered side of a small radius cylinder with plenty of lubrication (the extracellular matrix/fluid, not what you were thinking). If the scientist in you wants a demonstration experiment (and you have no willing volunteers) try a plastic bag with a grape and some water or oil inside. Leave the grape relatively loose and try to squish it with a cylindrical handle of some sort. I can't test that as I currently lack grapes but the analogy I think holds up.

    "Hitting" the TT (as opposed to "squishing") is very unlikely to cause damage because you are never going to hit it very fast. When you dismount you are approaching the ground, and therefore the TT, at a fairly low speed so when things hit, it doesn't hurt. If you crash (the "sudden" situation), let's say you hit the back of a car, most of your momentum is going forward. Even if you hit the TT in the crash situation you slide along it and things get bad if you hit the stem.

    As Somervillian said, the saddle is the scary bicycle component. Flat and solid enough. But step throughs have saddles too.

    Finally, like any automatic movements, we have a lifetime of experience avoiding crushing. It would only take a very small movement of the hip to mean the difference between squishing and sliding out of the way. At the slightest sign of squishing or even preceding any squishing our spider senses will tell us to move (or we have modelled our position in space, including these sensitive areas and just know subconsciously exactly where they are and where they are going, the result of having had a cerebellum all our lives?).

    To leave that topic alone, you could always try adding a top tube to your step through and experiment. All you would need is an appropriatly sized piece of wood, a sawn off broomstick perhaps, and some gaffer tape (or some bamboo and home styled hemp (or knitted) lugs). Make sure the ends of the wood are not tight against the nice painted bike though, you are not trying to increase stiffness, just see if not being able to quickly step off is the issue or is it a geometry issue. I suspect it is a mixture of both.
    Thanks
    Matt K

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  49. It's true that there is a risk of denting the top-tube, but in my experience that kind of fall just does not happen. If you manage to fall off the bike, which I have done a good plenty of times, the top tube will never be an issue. What poor somervillain describes wrt sitting quite hard onto the saddle is much more likely and plausible. It almost happened to me a number of times and is one reason I don't ride in a spirited way without clipless pedals.

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  50. Saddle injuries can be quite gruesome. A work friend of mine was out mountain biking alone and came down hard on his suspended front wheel. The bike recoiled and he received his carbon fiber (or whatever it was) light weight saddle into his inner thigh. The saddle broke, and his thigh developed an internal bleed that was soon the size of a baseball. Not sure what he ruptured but he crawled his way to the trailhead, somehow made it to a friend's place and passed out on the couch for a while. If it was his femoral he'd probably had bled out.

    So, yeah, coming down on the saddle sucks.

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  51. Knitted lugs!!! I love it, Matt.

    Anyway, yes, Matt's analogy of a grape in a bag is pretty much spot on, and better than the analogy I was going to use. I was going to use a huevo reference, if only for the added humor of that word being the euphemism of choice among sophomoric males for the topic at hand: ever notice how hard it is to break an egg yolk? It keeps slipping away from the spatula as you frantically poke at it trying to stab it. But after a while, the unlucky yolk meets its demise, just as some unfortunate souls manage to fall hard on their saddles, before those yolks slip safely away from danger.

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  52. A step-through frame has one fatal disadvantage in traffic. You are not allowed to use a step-through frame for cycling instructor training, which is all about riding in traffic.

    I presume the reason has to do that instructors have to be able to show students how to ride ANY bike and diamond frames require techniques that don't need to be used on step-through frames.

    I was actually a little disappointed by this since I'd considered borrowing my daughter's step-through frame for the training simply because it's a fun bike to ride around town.

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  53. I'm not exactly sure what what make a step through an advantage in traffic. I prefer to have a light weight bike so that it can be maneuverable. I'm a guy and I'm used to straddling over the bar to get on a bike and I've never quite understood the thought process behind that.

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  54. I don't have experience riding diamond frames, but the ability to quickly dismount-bail makes me feel safer riding in all kinds of conditions, including in traffic.

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  55. I just experienced the advantages of a step through frame in traffic today. I was biking along and my mittens were dangling on the handlebar because I had gotten too hot. The wind blew and they flew off-luckily onto the shoulder and not the highway. In spite of the tricky corner/hill I was climing I was able to quickly dash off my bike, set it down, picked up mitts, and get back on the bike after stuffing the mitts in my bag. With the diamond frame, I'd have to stop, check for traffic, dismount etc and then getting back on would require a bit of work because of the hill. My diamond frame had a tire blow out so have been riding my summer raleigh "magenta" and I really love being able to step off and on so easily. Not that I am an invalid or anything but I do have trouble getting my leg over the saddle if I am ascending a hill. In a pickle, say to avoid an accident or get out of the way of something a step through can be really easy to get off and out of the way. Plus in a tight space between traffic and parked cars, one sometimes has to be careful where and how they fling their leg over the saddle.
    But, I would not say I feel any less safe biking in traffic on the diamond frame bike,

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  56. I find the step through is more convenient with lots of bags or packages on a rear rack, but less convenient for parking(harder to lean the bike against a pole or tree.

    I don't see a direct connection to traffic, with the tenuous link being any place I get lots of items I'm putting on the rack, other people are probably shopping to, so there is traffic.

    Stephen

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  57. MamaVee - Have you seen my review of this bike at Harris? I think you might really like it. It's comfortable, compact, and the step-over is extra low.

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  58. Even before my transition, some of my errand/commuter bikes were step-throughs. They are easier to mount and dismount with a load of groceries, for example. And, for a long time, they could be had cheaply and were not as much of a target for thieves as diamond frames are. Now that situation is changing, albeit slowly.

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  59. Two things:

    The upright riding position, step-through frame, and internal gear hub make the Loring exceptionally confidence inspiring for riding slowly when in close proximity to pedestrians and automobile traffic.

    The conversation here has mostly focused on the "[automobile] traffic" part of Alan's statement, and largely ignored the "pedestrians", which he mentioned first. Note that Alan didn't make any statement about feeling safer on the Loring; his statement was about "confidence". I'm not going to speculate any further on what Alan meant by this, but I did want to point out something that seems to have been overlooked.

    Second, about the "moving out of the way" -- since nobody has clearly described this, in my opinion, I'll give it a try. When stepping down on the ground from any bicycle (but most relevantly from a diamond-frame), people generally do not jump down and land on both feet simultaneously. I know that I always step down with one foot, leaving the other on a pedal. Even if I do not lean the bike, thus decreasing the distance from top tube to ground, I step to the side, shifting my vertical axis to the side of the top tube. Also, because one foot is then higher that the other, my pelvis is tilted, effectively increasing my pubic bone height. Basically, it's not an issue when stepping down. When crashing, bicycles rarely remain upright, and even when they do, it would take an extraordinary coincidence for the "crown jewels" to have a collision with the top tube.

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  60. I definitely feel less secure in traffic with drop handlebars. Upright, and taller than your standing height, is the way to be.

    Any time I've gone over the handlebars, the top tube was safely out of the way of my crown jewels and parallel to the ground by the time I was cruising through the air. One benefit of having toe clips, I've found, is that when you do fly over the 'bars, the bike stays with you and safely lands on your back, unscathed. A helmet proves it's value in this situation too- the only damage my helmet has ever sustained is in the back, due to the bike landing on it.

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  61. I'm not going to speculate any further on what Alan meant by this, but I did want to point out something that seems to have been overlooked.
    beach cruiser bicycle

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