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Mud on asphalt....particularly treacherous?

Old 08-04-18, 09:10 PM
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Wattsup
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Mud on asphalt....particularly treacherous?

So it's been raining off and on the last few days, but today the sun managed to poke out its head, so off to the trails I went. There's one section of windy asphalt bike path that I like to have some fun on, pedaling briskly, (but not real fast) through the bends. Well today I was on that section of asphalt path, not really going all that fast, and as I approach a right turn, I notice a small patch of light mud. That little bit of mud didn't register much on my safety radar, (it will next time!) so I just proceeded to roll right through it. The next few seconds are a blur...don't remember exactly how it happened, but i lost control, crashed, basically went over the bars to the left, did a four point "plop" (left knee, left hip, left shoulder and left side of helmet) onto the asphalt, bike on top of me. So a right turn, and I end up going over the bars to the left. It surprised the heck out of me it happened so quickly.

Has this happened to you? What's the take away, besides "Always wear your helmet?"
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Old 08-05-18, 05:56 AM
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Yep, the stuff is like grease. You'll no doubt treat it with more caution in the future. Glad you had no significant injuries.
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Old 08-05-18, 06:39 AM
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Autumn is coming. If you think a little bit of mud is slippery, wait until you try wet leaves.
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Old 08-05-18, 11:36 AM
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fortunately, no. but I really hate mud! I use a coat and covers for feet. and sure, a helmet
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Old 08-05-18, 11:58 AM
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Mud, leaves, etc. can all hide things like deep potholes, broken glass, and ice that can be real problems.
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Old 08-05-18, 12:31 PM
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First century I did, midway through I looked down in time on a curve to see myself hit that silt cover. Barrel rolled myself, bounced up - no broken bones! Bike checked out but I had to realign the stem to steerer. Scrapped the hell out of my knees and elbows. Lesson. Learned.
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Old 08-05-18, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
First century I did, midway through I looked down in time on a curve to see myself hit that silt cover. Barrel rolled myself, bounced up - no broken bones! Bike checked out but I had to realign the stem to steerer. Scrapped the hell out of my knees and elbows. Lesson. Learned.
Years ago, when we almost raced our Century club ride, there was a spot we used to refer to as "cow corner" The farmer used to cross the road there taking his cows out to pasture.. One year, it rained. Needless to say, most of us knew that this corner was going to present a problem to a pack of riders moving at about 40 kph. I managed well, but the rider in front of me lost it on a mixture of water and cow manure. I don't think that anyone else fell, but I am sure that that rider took a VERY long shower after the ride
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Old 08-05-18, 03:28 PM
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Wet asphalt presents a multitude of dangers especially while cornering. The closest I've come to wiping out was on a wet road in town turning left at speed at an intersection. I knew to avoid manhole covers, oil slicks etc. But near the end of my turn my front tire crossed a painted lane marker as slid sideways 3" where it hit unpainted asphalt and regained traction again.

I didn't go down but it was the longest 10 milliseconds of my life. Took 2 miles for my butt cheeks to relax enough to disengage from the saddle. I swear I was riding alone but distinctly remember hearing someone screaming like a 14 y/o girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

Goose crap is not fun either.

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Old 08-05-18, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Autumn is coming. If you think a little bit of mud is slippery, wait until you try wet leaves.
I've got fir needles on my driveway. They're like little roller bearings when wet.

And, I don't drive enough to keep them blown off the drive.

This is a good reminder to scoop them up shortly.
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Old 08-05-18, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Autumn is coming. If you think a little bit of mud is slippery, wait until you try wet leaves.
Or gravel on pavement in the Spring!
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Old 08-05-18, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by SylvainG View Post
Or gravel on pavement in the Spring!
Do they actually clean the sand off of the roads near you?

I have one stretch of road that I regularly hit that I swear must have sand on it from 5 years ago.
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Old 08-05-18, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoopdriver View Post
Yep, the stuff is like grease. You'll no doubt treat it with more caution in the future. Glad you had no significant injuries.

A retired scientist and biking friend of mine says that grease is viscous oil, and mud is viscous water. Does it make sense that a tire with some tread might cut through that viscosity and get better pavement contact? I’m running Hutchinson Overrides, 700x38, tubeless, which for all practical purposes, are slicks. They have the tiniest bit of tread on the edges, not even worth mentioning almost.

I was looking for a do-all tire for my purposes, which is some gravel, some (occasionally winding) asphalt bike path through the woods, and some street to get there and back. This whole mud thing is the fly in the ointment, so to speak.

So what’s the solution? Do I just ride like an old lady through the turns, (my apologies to any old ladies here) and hold on tight when going straight through the mud? Is there much danger of dropping the bike if I hit the patches of mud in the straightaways? Should I start wearing knee pads, hip pads, elbow pads? I really took a serious spill. I looked on Google satellite to take a look at that turn again, and now I know why I was so surprised when I went over the handlebars. The turn was not that sharp….the bike wasn’t leaned over all that much. I’d show you the turn, but this website won’t allow me to post photos yet.

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Old 08-05-18, 06:09 PM
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Not that, but a related crash happened to me. Several years back I decided to grab a ride at lunch time (I work at home) and, while riding, a very light rain started. Wasn't really concerned, but as I was turning into a corner, my rear wheel slid out and I went down pretty hard. Apparently, at the start of a light rain like that, the oils in the road can make the road more slick. I was taking a turn and, while I don't recall exactly, I may have touched my brakes going into the turn. So, couple of lessons ... don't brake in a turn (especially if it's wet), and be extra careful even in the early stages of a light rain when you may not think the roads are wet enough to be a risk.
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Old 08-05-18, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Do they actually clean the sand off of the roads near you?

I have one stretch of road that I regularly hit that I swear must have sand on it from 5 years ago.
Yes, once a year in late Spring. If a car is parked, that portion won't be cleaned until next year unfortunately.
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Old 08-06-18, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by SylvainG View Post
Or gravel on pavement in the Spring!
A little off the topic but that reminds me of the folks on organized rides who choose the only gravel free path at an intersection to stop and wait for their girl friend.
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Old 08-06-18, 07:43 AM
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It sounds from your description that you high-sided, which on a right-hand turn will toss you off to the left. Low-siding is the front or rear wheel slipping out to the left on a right hand turn. Low-side crashes are usually less traumatic compared with high-side crashes. A high-side crash is caused not by sliding but by the tire regaining traction which stops the slide and is very difficult to handle. I'm coming at this from a motorcycle background, where a high-side can literally throw you off the road completely and there's very little you can do to prevent it. Sometimes the only way to prevent it is to roll on the throttle to try and keep the rear wheel sliding, but whether or not that will work depends on how much pavement you have to play with. If it works, you can turn a high-side into a low-side, which is generally much preferred if you have to crash. You literally have milliseconds to make that decision - which is against your instinct - to close the throttle.

Sorry to hear about your crash - heal well and come back to ride another day.
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Old 08-06-18, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by speedevil View Post
It sounds from your description that you high-sided, which on a right-hand turn will toss you off to the left. Low-siding is the front or rear wheel slipping out to the left on a right hand turn. Low-side crashes are usually less traumatic compared with high-side crashes. A high-side crash is caused not by sliding but by the tire regaining traction which stops the slide and is very difficult to handle. I'm coming at this from a motorcycle background, where a high-side can literally throw you off the road completely and there's very little you can do to prevent it. Sometimes the only way to prevent it is to roll on the throttle to try and keep the rear wheel sliding, but whether or not that will work depends on how much pavement you have to play with. If it works, you can turn a high-side into a low-side, which is generally much preferred if you have to crash. You literally have milliseconds to make that decision - which is against your instinct - to close the throttle.

Sorry to hear about your crash - heal well and come back to ride another day.
Yep, that's what happened. I remember going over left side of the bars. Curiously, I too, like another poster in this thread, heard what sounded like a 14 yr old at a Justin Bieber concert. Maybe my Guardian Angel?

So....can a tire with decent tread prevent slipping on a hard surface? My internet searches find mixed opinions on that question.
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Old 08-06-18, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
Yep, that's what happened. I remember going over left side of the bars. Curiously, I too, like another poster in this thread, heard what sounded like a 14 yr old at a Justin Bieber concert. Maybe my Guardian Angel?
That sound could be guardian angel speak for "merde". On motorcycles, we say "never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly".

Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
So....can a tire with decent tread prevent slipping on a hard surface? My internet searches find mixed opinions on that question.
Sure, in most cases. But you added a lubricant to the mix - mud. Sand, wet leaves, even grass clippings can be a lubricant in the wrong place. One of the worst is a diesel fuel spill 3/4 of the way around a curve. You've already picked your line and set your throttle and lean to stay on the line. Now you see a darker spot on the road, and your stomach gets kind of hollow because you know what it is and that you're about to leave the pavement. Yep, another lubricant - ready to ruin your day.
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Old 08-06-18, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
A retired scientist and biking friend of mine says that grease is viscous oil, and mud is viscous water. Does it make sense that a tire with some tread might cut through that viscosity and get better pavement contact? I’m running Hutchinson Overrides, 700x38, tubeless, which for all practical purposes, are slicks. They have the tiniest bit of tread on the edges, not even worth mentioning almost.

I was looking for a do-all tire for my purposes, which is some gravel, some (occasionally winding) asphalt bike path through the woods, and some street to get there and back. This whole mud thing is the fly in the ointment, so to speak.

So what’s the solution? Do I just ride like an old lady through the turns, (my apologies to any old ladies here) and hold on tight when going straight through the mud? Is there much danger of dropping the bike if I hit the patches of mud in the straightaways? Should I start wearing knee pads, hip pads, elbow pads? I really took a serious spill. I looked on Google satellite to take a look at that turn again, and now I know why I was so surprised when I went over the handlebars. The turn was not that sharp….the bike wasn’t leaned over all that much. I’d show you the turn, but this website won’t allow me to post photos yet.
For dealing with mud (puddles), it's more of a bike-handling thing than any specific tire or tread pattern. You will want to get your weight back, go in as straight as possible, and keep pedaling. When the front wheel hits the mud, it will slow relative to the rest of the bike, and start heading for the path of least resistance.

What gets people out is that they usually stop pedaling, which transfers some weight on to the front (physics:by removing the drive torque reaction) Most of the time riders will tense up their arms, which means that you're fighting the reactions of the front wheel. Keep loose and go straight, letting the bike move around under you.

WRT tires, the kinds of open knobby tread patterns that are good in mud, are slow on gravel and crap on pavement. 'Cutting through the mud' only really applies off road, and it's more a matter of pushing enough to one side or the other that you can steer against it, rather than digging down to solid ground.

You might want to consider a touring/adventure tire like the Conti SpeedRide, or the like, that has a file-tooth or fish-scale tread pattern, so that you get a little more grip on the soft stuff, but doesn't slow you down too much on hardpack and pavement.
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Old 08-06-18, 10:20 AM
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Stairs are the worst...


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Old 08-06-18, 11:19 AM
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unexpected mud is evil
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Old 08-06-18, 02:54 PM
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So I went back to the scene of the accident. The shoulder is still a little sore, but I really needed to see for myself what happened the other day, and I think I've figured it out. First, the trails there have a good deal of moisture, some mud in spots, AND ready for this...... leaves! There are little friggin' leaves all over the trail in spots, along with other tree debris! And to add to that, I think this bike (it's a new bike for me) is a bit too big... ...too much reach. There's too much pressure on my hands, so if the wheels slips and the bike goes even a tiny bit sideways on me, the bike wants to continue going sideways, because of inputs from my heavy hands on the bar. In other words, the d@mned thing can be twitchy. And then there's the seat. It's too small for me. I knew that, and I had planned to replace it soon, but even that I can see being a contributing factor. Because it's so narrow, I tend to push my butt back on it to relieve the weight, again, putting more weight on the hands!

I'm like Columbo, huh, a regular sleuth? I think I figured this thing out. I have some stems I can try to change the fit, and I have a Brooks B17 I can try too.
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Old 12-07-20, 10:38 PM
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I thought I'd revisit this thread after two years. I've fallen twice since I last posted, and I've learned a few things too. Last year in August I was cruising down a section of gravel path that I hadn't been on in a long time....in other words, I wasn't current, it all seemed new to me. There had recently been a storm, and there were some washed out divets or gullies, and I was starting to gather too much speed. At that time in my riding career, this neophyte thought it a good idea to almost exclusively use the rear brake to slow, as I might lose control on loose-ish gravel using the front brakes. So....it went, brake, SKID, rear wheel drifts a few inches, then try again, brake, skid, adrenaline up, try again, brake, skid, oh, and I forgot about that 90 degree TURN....and then I fell miserably attempting to make the turn. I tore up my shoulders, knees, broke ribs, and required a tetanus shot. Fun! I got to learn all about Giro's crash replacement program too!

So from that point on, I was a fervent believer that the rear brake was all but useless in anything other than level or uphill. I started using the front brake exclusively. Remember, this is a mixed path, some asphalt, lots of gravel of all consistencies and occasional mud. So...Slowing for a turn? Do as much front braking as I can BEFORE leaning the bike over, turn, it works great! Over the past year I learned how to use that front hydro in almost all conditions. No falls! I was excited that I had gone almost an entire season without a fall! And then I fell.

It was tiny strip of grass that I've cut across a hundred times in the past with no issue. I have to slow to about 5mph to go over it, as I am approaching a street crossing. So...I'm on the grass, and it was like someone kicked me off the bike it happened so fast. I'm not 100% sure how I fell, but I'm thinking I must have used the front brake, hit a patch of mud, and the front wheel locked up and instantly slid out from under me. I might have had my weight just very slightly forward, as I usually take a little weight off the seat to ease over the bumps in the grass. I wasn't turning, I know that, and if I had used the rear brake, the fall wouldn't have happened so abruptly, I would have remembered the rear skid. I might have been tired, had 25 miles of gravel under my belt, and got sloppy and pulled too much front brake. I smacked my head pretty good too!

So what did I learn? I learned you can fall at any time, any place. That patch of grass was probably the last place I ever thought I could fall. The scary thing is that there are several sections that I like to fly on in which I'm 5 feet from a 75 ft drop into the creek. You fall and go over that edge, and there's a very good chance you won't be coming out under your own power. Oh well. It's not as safe as bowling, but it's a helluva lot more fun.

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Old 12-07-20, 10:55 PM
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I have been using rim brakes exclusively.

Mostly pavement riding.

My rear brake isn't quite as grabby as the front brake. So, I tend to use it as a drag brake to modulate the speed. Then grab 'em both when I need to. Always plan ahead and slow down before something bad comes up.

As mentioned above, the fir needles on the driveway can be treacherous, and I've learned the hard way to pay attention.
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Old 12-07-20, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post

. Always plan ahead and slow down before something bad comes up.
See, that's the thing, It's a 30 mi ride, and most times I go all out, as fast as I possibly can. There's not a whole lot of margin for error. Mud puddle? Plow through. Three inch deep gravel? Slow down a bit and white knuckle through it, sometimes 50 yards of it. Thinking about it now, I'm surprised I haven't fallen more. In the last two years, Strava says I've ridden that 30 mi section exactly 104 times.

As I was getting up after that last fall, a father and son team moseyed up to the stoplight, identical bikes, fenders, lights, identical shoes, nice bags with probably everything under the sun in it. Those two probably do a lot of very sensible (read slow) riding, like a couple of boy scouts, prepared for anything. They'll fall once in a hundred years. Me, I'm just the opposite. I'm lean and mean, I carry a Co2 cartridge..that's it! Eh, I also have a front and rear light. I don't want to get run over by an old lady turning at a light. If I'm gonna get killed, I want to do it to myself.
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