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Bumping bikes

Old 07-24-16, 12:02 PM
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Striebob
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Bumping bikes

I've starting riding bike trails with my wife, and I tend to follow her pretty closely. What would happen to her (and to me) if we bump tires? Would she be able to control the bike? Would I? I know it will happen eventually; I just want to know what to expect. Thanks
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Old 07-24-16, 12:11 PM
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The person following will be affected and at risk of crashing or losing control, because steering, thus balance is affected.
The leading rider may not even realize wheels touched until hearing the cursing from behind.
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Old 07-24-16, 12:18 PM
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Nothing to her, unless she panics. You'll probably go down. You don't have to if you keep the calm, but you might. If you really fear you will be touching wheels, just give her more space.
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Old 07-24-16, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Striebob View Post
I tend to follow her pretty closely.
Doesn't strike me as a smart thing to do. Why do you do that?
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Old 07-24-16, 01:17 PM
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I've lightly bumped into the wheel in front of me, and nobody crashed. But it was a straight-on hit without too much force.

Crashes are caused by contact that steers the following rider's wheel. (Or by high force contact of any type.)

For example, you are overlapping the rider in front, with your front wheel on the left side of the front rider's rear tire. If the front rider moves left and hits your front wheel, that steers the front of your bike to the left. But you aren't leaning into the left turn (as you normally must do), so you crash to the right side as the bike zips out from under you. The steering forces on the front rider are less, so they are more likely to stay upright.

The same thing happens if the front rider suddenly brakes hard and swerves around something in the road. (This is actually more likely than riders staying overlapped.) So on group rides, I avoid swerving and unannounced hard braking. I have to assume someone is right behind me. If there's a sudden pothole, I'll usually ride through it, trying to lift off the saddle to reduce the hit. That's why calling out bad holes or debris on the road is needed on faster group rides.


Actually, for overlapped tire contact, the correct response is to steer into the wheel! But there's often not enough time to react, and it's counter intuitive, too.

Last edited by rm -rf; 07-24-16 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 07-24-16, 01:33 PM
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If you are thinking about this, it's because that little voice in your head is trying to tell you that it is not a good idea. You need to listen to that voice. I have failed to listen to my little voice a few times, and can attest to unpleasant consequences.

Welcome to the forum, by the way.
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Old 07-24-16, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Striebob View Post
I've starting riding bike trails with my wife, and I tend to follow her pretty closely. What would happen to her (and to me) if we bump tires? Would she be able to control the bike? Would I? I know it will happen eventually; I just want to know what to expect. Thanks

No, don't let it happen. If you think it's inevitable, it means you aren't paying enough attention, and are probably riding unsafely. This is as if you think that rear-ending another car on the street is inevitable. That's just wrong and means you're an unsafe or inattentive driver.

The trailing rider is likely to fall and get hurt. Always be safe, prevent predictable problems, and never let your front tire bump the bike ahead of you.
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Old 07-24-16, 04:23 PM
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The guy in back usually crashes, unless he's really really good. The person in front that gets its rear wheel hit usually doesn't even notice it.

I was in a race once where a guy crashed in front of me and hit another guys rear wheel so hard, the wheel buckled, jammed into the stays and the guy in front started skidding. Even after getting hit that hard the guy didn't fall until he came to a complete stop and couldn't get unclipped and just fell over.
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Old 07-24-16, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Striebob View Post
I've starting riding bike trails with my wife, and I tend to follow her pretty closely. What would happen to her (and to me) if we bump tires? Would she be able to control the bike? Would I? I know it will happen eventually; I just want to know what to expect. Thanks
When I was younger and less concerned with my well-being my mountain bike riding buddies and I would always tap the rear wheel of the guy in front if they were going too slow. All done in good humor with a few joking words and no one ever crashed. Didn't do it often- in retrospect it was an unsettling feeling when it was done to me.
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