We’ve made the big move. We are now happily ensconced in an area that is something like 100% more urban than our last. Even more urban than the (pre-bike) place before last, which is saying something.
I learned to bike in a nice little old-fashioned New England town. It wasn’t the prettiest, quaintest specimen by a long shot, but there was no urban sprawl and not too much traffic. 15 minutes or less from our door and I was riding in premium farm country. The roads were awful, but I didn’t have to share. Most importantly, I knew the rules. Like, how to bike an almost infinite distance without crossing the main highway. Whenever the roads just seemed too much, there was a really good paved bikeway.
Everything is different here. For instance: everyone rides on the sidewalks. This would be well and good–there are no shoulders, very few pedestrians, and heavy traffic–except the sidewalks are in abysmal shape. I don’t have the technical skills, or the moxie, or whatever you want to call it, to curb hop or to ride through the grass when the sidewalk ends abruptly. There are some bike lanes in town, but none in our neighborhood. Also, there is no way to get from our house to anywhere without either crossing or riding along a quite large road.
Which is to say, EEP! Also, my bike is still in the garage, while I drive potential bike routes in my car looking for the safest routes to various things. I have no idea how urban people manage this stuff.