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  1. #1
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    Railraod track covers

    After some incidents at a ride recently has anybody ever seen temporary mats that could be laid across tracks to provide safer crossing of tracks during organized rides. My apologies if this was posted somewhere else but I tried to do a search of the forums and kept getting errors Thanks for any input

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guinnessmike View Post
    After some incidents at a ride recently has anybody ever seen temporary mats that could be laid across tracks to provide safer crossing of tracks during organized rides. My apologies if this was posted somewhere else but I tried to do a search of the forums and kept getting errors Thanks for any input
    Someone had mentioned they used carpet to cover tracks during group rides here.

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    Well, that's a start. What about vacuuming the entire course to remove any glass other debris? I'm tired of getting flats. But seriously, mark the road hazard with paint or whatever. Road hazards are a part of riding.

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    Senior Member tergal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikepro View Post
    Well, that's a start. What about vacuuming the entire course to remove any glass other debris? I'm tired of getting flats. But seriously, mark the road hazard with paint or whatever. Road hazards are a part of riding.

    Could alway cover the road in bubble wrap !
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    Quote Originally Posted by UberGeek View Post
    Someone had mentioned they used carpet to cover tracks during group rides here.
    I've never seen railroad tracks get covered, but when I did Ride the Rockies (many years ago) they would lay carpet over the cattle guards on the downhills. Cattle guards, for those who haven't had the pleasure, are essentially about 10 steel bars laid across a ditch in the road. It's essentially like hitting a dozen railroad tracks in quick succession.

    Unlike many railroad track crossings, cattle guards are invariably perpendicular to the road, so you don't have to take them at some strange angle.
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    Keeping in mind this is a safety forum there are rides where you have to do more to help the less capable riders and tracks that at strange angles across the road making it very difficult to navigate without going into oncoming traffic. The seasoned folks had no trouble but the novices took spills - call me a wuss ok call me a wuss at your own hazard but often you need to provide a little help to keep the people riding and falls with injuries is not the way to keep the people biking

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    I had to cross a Bison guard in the road once - the minute I crossed it I thought WHAT AM I DOING I crossed back and watched the Bison from the other side of the fence and Bison guard LOL

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    What about something like this?
    http://www.cableorganizer.com/cord-c...ity-covers.htm

    Would need one for each rail but they're also easy to move. You would also need a volunteer to tend to it to ensure it stays in the right spot and to move it if a train approaches.

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    On NYC's 5-boro ride, the city covers expansion joints on the Verazano Narrows Bridge with plywood. These expansion joints are the ultimate bicycle trap with slots wide and long enough to drop a bicycle wheel down to the forks.

    A section of plywood can be laid across the gap, and kept in place with strips attached to the bottom on both sides of the rail.
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    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Old, rubber crossing, ABOVE ^

    New , Concrete crossing, BELOW :


    What kind of crossing is it? The Rubber mats are being replaced by concrete. In some parts of the country, Rubber mats have not been installed yet, and the crossings are wood planks.

    Show me a picture of the crossing, or tell me which type it is, based on the photographs, above.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

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    Senior Member kmv2's Avatar
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    Just learn to ride over them. Perpendicular, not horizontal.
    I learned the hard way in a streetcar track. Never made the mistake again.

    If you're in a group ride, the leader should be aware of the tracks, and attempt to take the lane so everyone can take the tracks at the appropriate angle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kmv2 View Post
    Just learn to ride over them. Perpendicular, not horizontal.
    I learned the hard way in a streetcar track. Never made the mistake again.

    If you're in a group ride, the leader should be aware of the tracks, and attempt to take the lane so everyone can take the tracks at the appropriate angle.
    There's a difference between knowing how to take tracks, leading a group on public roads, and running an event on closed roads. The basic advice of how to cross tracks, and sharing a "tracks ahead" warning apply to the first two, but not necessarily to an organized ride on closed roads.

    Large group rides attract a large number of inexperienced riders. Also, since the roads are closed riders expect that the route was chosen and is free of hazards. Lastly, riders on these rides are often less attentive, and less on guard since they feel safe. The option of saying "tracks ahead" doesn't exist since the riders aren't in a single group. So that leaves 2 options for dealing with tracks or any road hazard. Either have a "flagman" to call out a warning to approaching cyclists, or where possible, eliminate the hazard.

    In the early days of NYCs 5-boro ride, we quickly learned that eliminating potential hazards was critical to a good safety record. The city did it's part by targeting the "pothole patrol" at the entire route and covering bridge expansion joints. We also had "flagmen" stationed in advance of hazards that couldn't be corrected such as the down slopes of bridges warning riders to slow down because of congestion at the bottom.

    There is no real solution to the railroad crossing hazard since they need a slot for the RR wheels' flanges, so we all need to know how to handle them safely, but they should be covered on organized rides.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmv2 View Post
    Just learn to ride over them. Perpendicular, not horizontal.
    I learned the hard way in a streetcar track. Never made the mistake again.

    If you're in a group ride, the leader should be aware of the tracks, and attempt to take the lane so everyone can take the tracks at the appropriate angle.
    Rode in Germany for three years, where they have numerous street cars. Rule # 1, never ride between the tracks regardless how smooth it looks.

  14. #14
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike View Post

    Old, rubber crossing, ABOVE ^

    New , Concrete crossing, BELOW :


    What kind of crossing is it? The Rubber mats are being replaced by concrete. In some parts of the country, Rubber mats have not been installed yet, and the crossings are wood planks.

    Show me a picture of the crossing, or tell me which type it is, based on the photographs, above.
    Like the second photo, 'covers' were put on the local track crossing. I don't know what prompted the railroad company to do that, since I never seen any other cyclists' riding across it. I am just glad that it was done. It is thick enough to still allow room for the wheels of rail cars to go through the train crossing.

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    the tracks in question have been on this road for about 100 years and the angle is gradual and horrible and the gap is the perfect width for skinnies to drop into. I wish it was a normal crossing but these are more like street car rails and thus without the support structures etc. Maybe talking to the owners (ADM) they could eliminate the crossings but I doubt it

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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    The tracks in my town, run parallel to the top part of a 'T', crossing the 'bottom' leg of the 'T'. The part of the 'T' that is crossed, and the right side of the top of the 'T', are even with the tracks. But the left side of the top of the 'T', has about 6-10ft. gradual decline. So coming up that incline from the opposite direction, and trying to make that right turn, is next to impossible, without getting hit by traffic, either behind, or to the right of the turn. It still is bumpy to go directly across the tracks, despite the improvements the rail company made to the track crossing.

    This: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q...-8&sa=N&tab=il shows the dip in the road.
    Last edited by Chris516; 06-07-13 at 07:18 PM.

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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    The ride sheet for the Tour De Cure in Napa Valley actually stated for riders to stop and walk bikes across one track crossing because of the angle of the tracks. This ride is supported by on-duty LEO, and one is stationed right there at the tracks telling each rider to stop and walk. Not doing so will net you a ticket.
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    They covered the railroad tracks at a century I rode in a few years ago. It was a nice touch.

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    Permanent solution

    There is a more permanent solution: http://www.strail.de/index.php?id=197&L=1

    veloSTRAIL is a new and innovative inner panel system that eliminates the flange grooves.
    An easily replaceable flangeway element closes the flange groove. Any rolling stock, will easily press the replaceable flangeway element down but accomodates enough resistance for pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users, baby carriages and inline skaters. As an added benefit ice formation in the flange groove is no longer possible.
    veloSTRAIL inner panels are available in 600 mm and 1.200 mm and are
    designed for a train speed of max. 120 km/h.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
    I've never seen railroad tracks get covered, but when I did Ride the Rockies (many years ago) they would lay carpet over the cattle guards on the downhills. Cattle guards, for those who haven't had the pleasure, are essentially about 10 steel bars laid across a ditch in the road. It's essentially like hitting a dozen railroad tracks in quick succession.
    Cattle guards here in montana are hard to even run across. Your leg could easily get stuck down in one of the holes and the bars themselves are slippery as anything. I wouldn't dare try riding across one on a road bike. Mountain bike maybe, never a road bike though. Honestly for these, a carpet wouldn't even do anything. As for train tracks? I'd say get used to them, they're not bad.

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    We have this one cattle crossing around here that I have crossed before, by riding on one of the "support" rails that runs the same direction as the road, near the middle of the road. It's a little scary riding on a 2 or 3 inch wide bar, and you have to go real slow, but it's certainly possible. Though I probably wouldn't do it if it were wet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
    Cattle guards here in montana are hard to even run across. Your leg could easily get stuck down in one of the holes and the bars themselves are slippery as anything. I wouldn't dare try riding across one on a road bike. Mountain bike maybe, never a road bike though. Honestly for these, a carpet wouldn't even do anything. As for train tracks? I'd say get used to them, they're not bad.
    +1 even as a dumb kid in Montana I didn't ride across cattle guards

    and a odd bit of trivia: In Alberta they called cattle guards "Texas Gates"
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    For a ride on closed roads set up ahead of time: quarter inch plywood covered in carpet. Make sure the piece of carpet is a good foot bigger than the plywood and the plywood will be ideally a couple feet past the tracks in both directions.

    If you do go this route ideally have someone at the crossing to make sure the plywood/carpet doesn't get pushed too far away. If not try and have someone check on it periodically.

    Also since you mentioned roads being closed make sure someone has contacted the RR track operator, and make absolutely sure you remove the wood/carpet when done.
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