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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

View Poll Results: Worst traction
Wet Leaves 33 71.74%
Wet Pavement Paint (Crosswalk paint) 8 17.39%
Wet worn down brick/cobblestone 2 4.35%
Light Snow 1 2.17%
Grass/Dirt 2 4.35%
Voters: 46. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-18-07, 08:32 PM   #1
kill.cactus
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Front wheel slippage

Hey all:

I've had my fair share of near-disasters with loss of traction between surface/front wheel. I was just wondering, though, what is the most treacherous terrain for slippage (with the exception of black ice... that is just a given ).

I'd say wet leaves...
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Old 04-18-07, 08:57 PM   #2
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I agree with wet leaves. I always take it easy in the fall/spring when there's lots of them around - I corner easily and lighten up on the handlebars when going through leafy areas.
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Old 04-19-07, 05:46 AM   #3
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You left out ICE
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Old 04-19-07, 05:55 AM   #4
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Wet, metal manhole covers at intersections when turning. Zip! Bang!
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Old 04-19-07, 06:42 AM   #5
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You should concern yourself more with what gives the most unpredictable traction than the worst. Water makes me wary, for stuff like wet leaves I slow right down. But snow? Well with that you know what you're dealing with and it's consistent.

Front wheel slippage scares the bejeezus out of me.
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Old 04-19-07, 07:09 AM   #6
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Wet, steel bridge gratings.
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Old 04-19-07, 07:17 AM   #7
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A number of the paved bike paths around here get a green moss (may be something else) growing on them in late fall, especially on hills that don't see much sun. You normally don't even see it because it is very small and just seems to stay in the crevaces. After a rain or a heavy dew though it seems to come out and gives the path a slightly green haze. It turns into a slime underneath the wheels and is WORSE than ice.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:20 AM   #8
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wet wood bridges with or without light moss

wet pavement where cars are often parked and have leaked oily fluids
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Old 04-19-07, 10:44 AM   #9
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Deisel fuel on wet pavement... the slipperiest combination known to man. Here in France, cars are 50% deisel and trucks and vans about 100%. So if some one leaves off their gas cap and goes around the corner or round about that leaves a good trace of it on the ground.

So one day I was speeding along through the morning mist, legs pumping in a good rythm. On the round about a thought went through my head, "I smell dei..." *crash!* two cars swerved to not run me over. Basically both tires slipped out and I landed on my knee. Limped for two months after.

The other slippery injury was on a bike path. There was a choice of a wooden bridge, or splashing through 3 inches of burbling water on concrete....with green moss. Guess which bad choice I made? Both wheels washed out and my hand landed on something sharp... result 5 stiches. That'll learn me!
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Old 04-19-07, 10:51 AM   #10
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On a trike, the only thing (aside from ice and snow) that causes my rear wheel to lose traction is wet painted road markings.
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Old 04-19-07, 10:57 AM   #11
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Wet leaves, particularly when they've been ground by car tires into a slick pulp at an intersection.
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Old 04-19-07, 11:01 AM   #12
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pea gravel on a hard surface road - it's like trying to turn on ball bearings.

Another hazard for me is cracks and potholes in the turn path - one turn in particular at the bottom of a hill with lousey pavement ...
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Old 04-19-07, 11:01 AM   #13
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Painted markings on a wet road probably rank right up there.
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Old 04-19-07, 11:03 AM   #14
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Wet steel is by far the worst...I cringe everytime I have to clear a manhole cover of the likes when it's wet out.
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Old 04-19-07, 11:20 AM   #15
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With Nokian tires - black ice is not a problem. Have only had slippage once in two winters and that was downhill on a curve.

Wet leaves OTOH are a huge problem - esp when they hide road features under them. I've had a number of slips on those.
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Old 04-19-07, 11:26 AM   #16
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The "wet steel" comment reminded me-- wet trolley tracks are a real danger around where I live. In my area, one has to cross trolley tracks at odd angles in order to go around parked cars, make turns, and sometimes in order to cross a spot where the trolley route takes a turn. Even though you know the danger is coming, it's difficult to manage.

One thing that scares me in the "traction surprise" category is pavement that looks clean enough but has a lot of slick dust or extremely small rock/debris on it.
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Old 04-19-07, 01:13 PM   #17
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Wet manhole covers (should we refer to these as personhole covers nowadays?)

Wet railway tracks

Gravel

Damp conditions and very new tires - there is a mold release substance on some new tires that can affect traction.

Beer

Cheers

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Old 04-19-07, 01:48 PM   #18
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Goose poop.
There's not much worse than leaning into a turn, sliding out on goose poop, and then when you hit the ground you land in the poop.

There are lots of geese along the Sammamish River Trail.
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Old 04-19-07, 02:06 PM   #19
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You forgot one. Metal man hole covers/metal drain grates. That is the worst. Second to that is wet paint.
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Old 04-19-07, 03:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shider
A number of the paved bike paths around here get a green moss (may be something else) growing on them in late fall, especially on hills that don't see much sun. You normally don't even see it because it is very small and just seems to stay in the crevaces. After a rain or a heavy dew though it seems to come out and gives the path a slightly green haze. It turns into a slime underneath the wheels and is WORSE than ice.
I had to deal with something like that a few times, and it is really really bad. So that gets my vote...
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Old 04-19-07, 04:14 PM   #21
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wet metal.. manhole covers, bridge thingies.
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Old 04-19-07, 04:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kill.cactus
Hey all:

I've had my fair share of near-disasters with loss of traction between surface/front wheel. I was just wondering, though, what is the most treacherous terrain for slippage (with the exception of black ice... that is just a given ).

I'd say wet leaves...

From my experience, algae. I ran over it one midsummer's day in the desert and it was instant wipeout. It's far worse than wet steel.
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Old 04-20-07, 08:19 AM   #23
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Oh man, N_C - I just read your sig haha

I find metal grids OK, I rarely ever have to turn ON them.

Mud/muddy grass and wet mulch/leaves are definitely up there for me.
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Old 04-21-07, 11:54 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artkansas
From my experience, algae. I ran over it one midsummer's day in the desert and it was instant wipeout. It's far worse than wet steel.

New to the group here and adding my vote for algae as the evilist of the anti traction obstacles.

I hadn't ridden in a while so I was pretty excited to get out and peddle around a bit. There is a planter island in the road in front of my house and an underground water source weeps water out of the island onto the pavement during much of the winter. I straddled my bike and cruised out of the driveway. About 5 seconds later I hit the wet spot. The bike went down so fast I couldn't even react. Both tires just went straight to horizontal. This stuff makes ice and painted road stripes feel like sand paper in comparison. Shortest ride of my life. The scary thing was, I couldn't even see the algae. It just looked like wet blacktop.

Like an earlier poster said, the stuff you can see you can accomodate. The algae can be nearly invisible. If you want to cycle here in the Puget Sound area (Seattle Region) you better prepare for riding on wet roads. The problem then is how to differentiate between wet road and wet/algae road. I've carefully ridden across wet grates/manhole covers/leaves/paint stripes etc. It can be done.

Riding across algae...Fagettaboutit!!!

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Old 04-22-07, 12:50 AM   #25
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"black ice"
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