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What happens when cyclists hit potholes?

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What happens when cyclists hit potholes?

Old 01-10-24, 01:47 PM
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What happens when cyclists hit potholes?

On the latest episode of the Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast:

Automotive engineering analyst Kara Laing, an everyday cyclist, explains her new work on the modelling of hitting potholes.
It turns out no one's ever even asked the question before. It's an interesting conversation.
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Old 01-10-24, 02:14 PM
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I'm sure we've ask the question. But I suppose it's good that someone did some investigation and publicly documented their findings. Gives us more facts to misunderstand and misuse to bolster our opinions! <grin>
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Old 01-10-24, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
I'm sure we've ask the question. But I suppose it's good that someone did some investigation and publicly documented their findings. Gives us more facts to misunderstand and misuse to bolster our opinions! <grin>
Exactly!
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Old 01-10-24, 10:01 PM
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The practical conclusion being that hitting potholes should be avoided.
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Old 01-11-24, 05:00 AM
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Skimming to the bottom of the transcript, it appears this conversation was 32 minutes and 53 seconds long. To save me the time reading it, can someone let me know if it is a good thing to avoid hitting them or not? I've always avoided potholes but if this is some new tech knowledge I need maybe I'l go back and actually read it.
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Old 01-11-24, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuck M
Skimming to the bottom of the transcript, it appears this conversation was 32 minutes and 53 seconds long. To save me the time reading it, can someone let me know if it is a good thing to avoid hitting them or not? I've always avoided potholes but if this is some new tech knowledge I need maybe I'l go back and actually read it.
I doubt that there are any revelations here.

1. Avoiding potholes is still highly recommended.
2. Higher volume tyres and suspension reduce the impact of potholes.
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Old 01-11-24, 09:03 AM
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i have no question that it's not going to bring about a positive outcome. I do question as the why anyone wouldnt think it's a bad thing?
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Old 01-11-24, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuck M
Skimming to the bottom of the transcript, it appears this conversation was 32 minutes and 53 seconds long. To save me the time reading it, can someone let me know if it is a good thing to avoid hitting them or not? I've always avoided potholes but if this is some new tech knowledge I need maybe I'l go back and actually read it.
The conclusion was: Bunny hopping is an effective technique to avoid potholes on a bike, but not so much when driving a car.
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Old 01-11-24, 10:16 AM
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Depends on the pothole and the speed, I remember sitting in the sears automotive department with a busted from tire from a pothole on Central Ave in Lathem, NY that was just outside that same sears, it that made the bumper of my mercury bounce off the pavement from the depth, 3 more came in while I was sitting there, one had the control arm of his smaller car nearly ripped off in the same pothole and just managed to limp the car in. Hitting that with a bike at any speed would be an endo for sure, a busted wheel and probably broken fork or worse. Something like a 1/2 deep pothole on a downhill just where the light and shadow met and too hard to see through the glare before hitting the shade where your eyes couldn't adjust meant a controlled slowdown as the pinch flat let the air out of the tube. Sucked but safely dealt with.
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Old 01-11-24, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina
What happens when cyclists hit potholes?
Sometimes you are ridding the perfect road on a perfect day and BAAAAMMMmmmm. That pot hole will put ya down and leave ya in the dirt...

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Old 01-11-24, 01:46 PM
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It's not the pot holes we have to worry about; it's the pot heads.

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Old 01-11-24, 03:46 PM
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When I hit a pothole, things spew from my mouth that I could never repeat here....
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Old 01-11-24, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
The conclusion was: Bunny hopping is an effective technique to avoid potholes on a bike, but not so much when driving a car.
Damn. I'm not much better at that on a bike than in a car.
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Old 01-11-24, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jon c.
The practical conclusion being that hitting potholes should be avoided.
Who would have imagined!
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Old 01-11-24, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuck M
Damn. I'm not much better at that on a bike than in a car.
When I’m in my car and in a hurry, potholes are filled with water in rainy season, and a bicyclist is close by that’s when I can’t miss them.
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Old 01-11-24, 06:22 PM
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Depends, if you have seen the pothole and are prepared or if you haven't seen the pothole (because it is a dark street, or your bike headlight is dim, or some other reason) and are unprepared. Also depends on the pace at which you are riding.

Happened to me twice, and both times bike headlight was losing its charge, it was dark, and I hit the pothole, all of a sudden. The potholes threw me off balance, both times.
(1) the first time, as I hit the pothole and was falling flat on the road, I used my hand gloves and knees to stop myself from falling on the road. I had abrasions to my both knees. My hands were fine, since I had gloves on them. The bike fell flat on the road.
(2) the second time, the pothole threw me off the road into the greener uneven grass on the right side of the road. I was able to jump off my saddle and balance myself with my two feet, but my right palm scraped against my bike bell and caused some bleeding. I was able to balance the bike and take its control.

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Old 01-11-24, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Eyes Roll
The potholes threw me off balance, both times.
I admittedly skimmed through it quickly, but I certainly didn't see that addressed.
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Old 01-11-24, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul
i have no question that it's not going to bring about a positive outcome. I do question as the why anyone wouldnt think it's a bad thing?
You should ask your local road dept. what size/depth of pothole qualifies for repair. It'll likely be pretty big and pretty deep because cars.
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Old 01-11-24, 11:25 PM
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Potholes vary tremendously, and likewise the effects of hitting them at various speeds. So, other than the conclusion that they're not good, there's not much to summarize.

Actually, there is one bit of useful advice, which is not to use the front brake as you're hitting a pothole.
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Old 01-12-24, 06:59 AM
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hitting pot holes bad...
avoiding pot holes good...
avoid pot holes...
wow that was exhausting...time for a nap
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Old 01-12-24, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Korina
You should ask your local road dept. what size/depth of pothole qualifies for repair. It'll likely be pretty big and pretty deep because cars.
it falls on deaf ears unfortunately.
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Old 01-12-24, 09:16 AM
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We have more potholes here in my part of the country than just about anywhere else in the world I've ever been. Still my cycling is on some pretty smooth surface.

I go around potholes. Never occurred to me to go through them. Not sure why I'd want to.
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Old 01-12-24, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
We have more potholes here in my part of the country than just about anywhere else in the world I've ever been. Still my cycling is on some pretty smooth surface.

I go around potholes. Never occurred to me to go through them. Not sure why I'd want to.
The problem is not seeing them until it is too late, or having to swerve into traffic to avoid them.
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Old 01-12-24, 12:43 PM
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I'm fortunate to encounter them very infrequently. We may have a lot of other problems but we're still managing to keep the road surfaces in good repair.
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Old 01-12-24, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
We have more potholes here in my part of the country than just about anywhere else in the world I've ever been. Still my cycling is on some pretty smooth surface.

I go around potholes. Never occurred to me to go through them. Not sure why I'd want to.
There are places where pothole repair is so far behind that they grow and merge together, until you can't go around them. There are some rural roads out here where you can see where the potholes were patched, and then the patches developed holes.
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