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

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

Old 04-29-16, 07:29 PM
  #1  
RockiesDad
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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???
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Old 04-29-16, 07:46 PM
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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.
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Old 04-29-16, 09:37 PM
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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.
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Old 04-30-16, 07:36 AM
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Why didn't you simply stop?
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Old 04-30-16, 07:41 AM
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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.
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Old 04-30-16, 08:05 AM
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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.
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Old 04-30-16, 10:05 AM
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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.
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Old 04-30-16, 10:14 AM
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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.
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Old 04-30-16, 03:06 PM
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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.
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Old 04-30-16, 03:21 PM
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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.
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