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What do you do about bad roads?

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What do you do about bad roads?

Old 04-09-11, 10:50 PM
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nicoth
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What do you do about bad roads?

Hello. What do you do about unavoidable rough patches in the street? Go slower? Bunny hop? I suppose it depends on the type of obstruction. I'm curious because my current strategy is to stand on the pedals and ride right over anything, which seems a bit painful for my bike. Thanks.
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Old 04-09-11, 11:29 PM
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Your back side will be fine but all of the load gets transfered to the wheels, and possibly damaging the wheel in hitting the debris or pothole ect. I stay seated and steer around it but usually tag it with the rear wheel but you also need to know who or what might be around you if your going to swerve. Yes are roads and even some of the paths are poor to say the least.
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Old 04-09-11, 11:39 PM
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Jose Mandez
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The first and last 1/3 mile of my commute is down a cruddy old gravel country road. With this sort of road, going uber slow seems to only make the bumpiness feel even worse (also, going very slowly through very loose patches of dirt/gravel=very good way to crash). I generally try to keep a moderate pace (around 12 mph) and steer for the parts of the road that have the smaller, finer rocks and avoid the parts that have the big, bumpy rocks.

For the urban section of my commute, there aren't too many stretches of bad road; one stretch is about a mile from work and is heavily trafficked, and luckily all the bumps are near the right side of the lane, so I veer to the left and "take the lane" for that stretch (undoubtedly to the chagrin of the cars behind me).

As far as advice, I offer this: If I were on a low-traffic road, I would probably veer onto the other side of the road if necessary to avoid a bump. If you have to hit a bump, grip the handlebars only firmly enough to keep control of the bicycle, but don't grip them like a jackhammer (unless you want your arms to feel like they just got hit with a jackhammer). Standing on the pedals might not be the greatest idea because it gives you only four points of contact with the bike and may make your position less stable than if you were to remain seated amd have five points of contact. Finally, make sure your tires are adequately inflated in order to avoid pinch flats when your tires do encounter jagged pavement.
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Old 04-09-11, 11:55 PM
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tjspiel
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As you guessed it all depends. Sometimes it's not safe to swerve around an obstacle. If it's a long stretch of rough road, you can't hop over the whole thing. Typically if I can't avoid going over it, I'll "unweight" the bike by getting my butt off the saddle and using my arms and legs as a suspension. Actually, I feel more confident that I'll be able to maintain my balance in this position if the bike is getting knocked around a bit than if I'm seated.

If bad roads are a problem over a large portion of your commute, wider, lower pressure tires may help. If you're currently inflating your tires to the max pressure you could probably ease back 10 or 15 psi depending on how heavy you are and how much stuff you're bringing along with you.

If the roads are bad enough, a suspension may be warranted or maybe even taking a longer route to avoid the worst stuff.

Last edited by tjspiel; 04-09-11 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 04-10-11, 04:44 AM
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Jim from Boston
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Originally Posted by nicoth View Post
Hello. What do you do about unavoidable rough patches in the street? Go slower? Bunny hop? I suppose it depends on the type of obstruction. I'm curious because my current strategy is to stand on the pedals and ride right over anything, which seems a bit painful for my bike. Thanks.
Jim’s Law of the Road is that “No matter how lightly traveled and well paved a road is, a vehicle will likely pass on the left as you encounter an obstacle on the right.” This is my strongest argument to wear a rearview mirror to make the correct, and sometimes instantaneous judgment.

Each situation may well be different, but I usually stand on the pedals when I have to ride over an isolated bump.
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Old 04-10-11, 06:25 AM
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I try to avoid large potholes, but sometimes it's hard to do that when cars are coming on the left. If I have to ride over it I just lift my butt off the seat and stand on the pedals, I ride fixed gear on most days so standing on the pedals to avoid something gets real interesting when going fast.
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Old 04-10-11, 07:10 AM
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Scooby214
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I lift off the seat and stand on the pedals when going over rough spots. The definition of a rough spot depends on which bike I ride. My normal commuter bike has 26x1.75 Continental Contact tires. Running about 60psi rear and 52psi front, they can go over all but large potholes without jarring me too much. My road bike has 700x23c tires. I have to stand on the pedals much more when riding over rough spots on the road bike. I don't lower the pressure on the 23c tires below 110psi because I don't want to risk snake bite flats. I would step up the road bike to 25c or 28c tires, but there is only about 3mm clearance between the rear tire and the front derailleur clamp with the 23c tires.
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Old 04-10-11, 10:07 AM
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SouthFLpix
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Normally I just ride through the rough patches, which is one of the main reasons why I decided to spring for a Brooks saddle. The saddle I had was fine for perfectly smooth roads, but the roads I use are quite often in bad shape since they are 'back roads'.
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Old 04-10-11, 11:05 AM
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colleen c
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Usually this time of the year, all the potholes are emerging from the winter season. My old route of going over a freeway overpass is really bad from the 18 wheelers getting on the freeway. I have thought of installing a Crane Creek Thudbuster on my bike, but since my bike runs on 25's and carbon forks, I decided to just changed route instead. One thing you might be able to do is to contact the city to see if they can patch those bad spot ASAP.
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