Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

what to do when getting riding in a rut/crack in the road

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

what to do when getting riding in a rut/crack in the road

Old 04-29-16, 07:29 PM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 414
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 208 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 22 Times in 14 Posts
what to do when getting riding in a rut/crack in the road

I did a face plant not too long ago due to my front tire going into a dried up rain gully about 2" deep by 4" wide. I went down even before I knew what was happening. But I did see that i was riding in it a few yards and maybe could have gotten out if I did a bunny hop or something to lift the front tire out. I guess the best thing would to look ahead and not get steer into it but what if you accidentally get into one? I see some ruts and stuff on the roads that I ride and some look pretty wide. It look pretty nasty and would not want to be on 25mm tires at that point.

What would you do???
RockiesDad is offline  
Old 04-29-16, 07:46 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,964

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 124 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4361 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 21 Times in 21 Posts
The first rule of bike riding is that you need steering to stay upright. The minute you drop a front wheel into any groove narrow enough to limit your ability to steer, you're doomed.

So the key to getting out of a rut is not go get into one in the first place. As anyone who rides where there trolley tracks knows, you have to cross them at a steep angle (right angles are best, and about 30° would be the minimum. This applies to tracks, gratings, gaps between concrete slabs, bridge expansion joints, and so on.

For wider ruts, get your body to one side of the bike, hesitate a moment to start a fall and turn hard to climb out of the rut as you bring the bike back under you. Whether this can be done successfully, even with perfect technique depends on the width and depth of the rut and whether the tire can grab the edge and climb up, or slide and crab along without climbing.

Note that the trolley track rules also apply to turning off a road onto driveways. If you attempt this from the right edge of the road, you'll be too parallel to the step up to the driveway and the tire will ride the ede as it would a rut, and you'll go down. If you want to turn into a driveway, pull out into the lane, then execute a turn so you hit the driveway edge at the same 30°+ angle as you would trolley tracks.
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 04-29-16, 09:37 PM
Me duelen las nalgas
canklecat's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 12,286

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 186 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3954 Post(s)
Liked 1,718 Times in 1,105 Posts
I know from recent experience those falls happen quicker than I can think my way through it. But the body can be trained to react instinctively. Beyond that, I'd rather try to minimize the risk.

Twice in one week around March I fell in almost exactly the same spot on the local MUP. On both occasions I veered off the paved path to go around meandering toddlers and dogs on 20-yard retractable leashes (which is pretty much not a leash at all but a jump rope). And on both occasions other cyclists were approach very quickly, faster than I could pass the pedestrians and their kidlets and pets on the left and get back to the right. (My gripe about speed racer cyclists on the MUP is for another time.)

My experience with announcing "On your left" is that most folks will veer toward you rather than away, or they don't hear at all over their earphones. After a couple of pedestrians yelped in terror when I said "On your left" in a normal voice (I don't bark or yell), I decided to skip that ritual, other than for passing other cyclists.

The lesser of several evils seemed to be to veer off the paved path and go around the walkers, giving the approaching speed racer cyclists the paved path. No problem there. I'd done this many times before, no drama.

The problem, both times, was re-entering the pavement at only around 5 mph and the tires rebounding off the 1/2" to one-inch ledge like a SuperBall shot out of a cannon. Slow motion flop onto the ground. Embarrassing, only a little painful once from a scraped elbow.

I was puzzled why suddenly the bike was refusing to navigate a simple task like that. Turned out I'd over-inflated the tires. Reducing the air pressure restored normal (to me) feel.

But I also realized I'd overreacted to those minor jolts, braking way too hard, jerking the handlebar, and putting a death grip on the bars.

I decided I needed more practice reacting to being jolted off balance by little stuff. So I rode around my own neighborhood sidewalk (hardly used by any pedestrians), riding the rut between the grass and pavement ledge, getting used to the bike being jolted and nudged off balance. With some practice I found the ride air pressure to handle this without risking pinch flats. And I felt more confident that I could react appropriately.

After that I picked some patches of deep gravel, sand and gravel, rutted dirt paths, etc., and rode back and forth slowly, deliberately doing risky stuff to get accustomed to the bike being off balance: nudging the bike up against the sides of ruts at too-shallow an angle, picking the worst paths through gravel, etc. Just getting used to the sensation, and minimizing my reactions on the handlebar and brakes.

I still practice this stuff on almost every ride, just a few minutes each ride.

At age 58 with slow reflexes, I'm not gonna deceive myself that it'll help at speeds above 15 mph. If the bike gets jolted off balance I'm probably going down. But it can't hurt and does help me enjoy my slowpoke rides on local gravel paths and busted up paved roads at my usual 8-12 mph loafing speed.
canklecat is offline  
Old 04-30-16, 07:36 AM
Senior Member
indyfabz's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 28,790
Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12514 Post(s)
Liked 4,631 Times in 2,388 Posts
Why didn't you simply stop?
indyfabz is online now  
Old 04-30-16, 07:41 AM
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 4,618

Bikes: Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1381 Post(s)
Liked 640 Times in 329 Posts
Rut induced get-offs happen very quickly. My last road wreck came compliments of a rut. I was riding beside a friend chatting, and I was down before I had a chance to react.
Paul Barnard is online now  
Old 04-30-16, 08:05 AM
well hello there
Nachoman's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Point Loma, CA
Posts: 15,196

Bikes: Bill Holland (Road-Ti), Fuji Roubaix Pro (back-up), Bike Friday (folder), Co-Motion (tandem) & Trek 750 (hybrid)

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 432 Post(s)
Liked 168 Times in 107 Posts
Some people don't even understand how dangerous a little rut can be.
I'd rather hit a gigantic pothole, then a little rut at the wrong angle.

Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
Nachoman is offline  
Old 04-30-16, 10:05 AM
Senior Member
digibud's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Further North than U
Posts: 1,996

Bikes: Spec Roubaix, three Fisher Montare, two Pugs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Agreed. Once in a rut if you don't already have the skills (if you need to ask...) you're doomed. Maybe you could brake real fast but typically you go down. Stay out to stay safe.
digibud is offline  
Old 04-30-16, 10:14 AM
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
10 Wheels's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 31,503

Bikes: 2010 Catrike Expedition, 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 856 Post(s)
Liked 275 Times in 137 Posts
I hit a small rut with 700 X 23 tires. 57,000 miles riding experience.
It put me into the grass where a one inch Pipe was waiting for me.

Don't remember the crash or the next three days.

Bruised both sides of my brain. Damaged Left Eye muscle and one nerve.
Two Surgerys, still healing ,Medical bills $94,000.

Thankful for Insurance and All the Help from Family and Friends.
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Old 04-30-16, 03:06 PM
Senior Member
Looigi's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 8,951
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
The only hope is to bunny hop out of it. This can happen riding along an raised edge that will prevent the wheel from turning that way. If your CG goes past that edge you need to steer in that direction to regain balance so the only recourse is to hop your wheel past the edge.
Looigi is offline  
Old 04-30-16, 03:21 PM
Senior Member
bobwysiwyg's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: 961' 42.28° N, 83.78° W (A2)
Posts: 2,344

Bikes: Mongoose Selous, Trek DS

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 941 Post(s)
Liked 318 Times in 188 Posts
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
I hit a small rut with 700 X 23 tires. 57,000 miles riding experience.
It put me into the grass where a one inch Pipe was waiting for me.

Don't remember the crash or the next three days.

Bruised both sides of my brain. Damaged Left Eye muscle and one nerve.
Two Surgerys, still healing ,Medical bills $94,000.

Thankful for Insurance and All the Help from Family and Friends.
Wow!! Glad your healing is coming along.
bobwysiwyg is offline  
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
Advocacy & Safety
07-10-19 12:08 PM
General Cycling Discussion
06-04-19 08:40 PM
Road Cycling
05-25-19 08:04 AM
General Cycling Discussion
07-11-16 07:34 AM
Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg)
07-07-16 03:33 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.