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Steel frame vs. lightning

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Steel frame vs. lightning

Old 06-22-06, 07:30 PM
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MRGolfo
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Steel frame vs. lightning

I have a gunnar Roadie and it's steel. Rides wonderfully but on my ride today, the sky got very dark. Then there was lightning and then I cut my ride short. Should I really worry about this?
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Old 06-22-06, 07:58 PM
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KevinF
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I think being outside in a thunderstorm is generally considered a bad place to be. "get low" is the advice I always hear if you have to be outside in a thunderstorm, and that's not really what you're doing if you're on a bike. I don't think the material of your bike has a whole lot do with it -- the only way I'd be staying on it is if I knew there was shelter real close by.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:00 PM
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Bizurke
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The area where I live has thunderstorms all the freakin time. I was worried about riding around on a makeshift lightning rod during my commutes and other times I'm out but after a while I figured that my chances of getting struck are probably about the same. Now if you get struck then I never said this. But I wouldn't worry about it too much.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:03 PM
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Ah, another benefit of carbon.....
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Old 06-22-06, 08:09 PM
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If the lightning is going to strike anything, it's probably going to hit the top of your head or a shoulder. Steel, Al, carbon isn't much of a factor...unless you're wearing it on your head. Has anyone seen those lightning shows on discovery channel (years ago) when they show the video of streamers going up from fixed objects on the ground? If your hair is standing up in a storm, you have a "strike me" primer coming from your lid.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:11 PM
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I think you're safe as long as you never put your feet down. Your rubber tires should insulate you from the ground such that you're not a lightning rod.

Just remember that I have no idea what I'm talking about.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:12 PM
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Carbon's conductive too...at least as conductive as pine. Pine takes most of the lightning strikes around here. However, I'm not sure what level of conductivity qualifies as a bona fide lightning rod.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:16 PM
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Not true. If the field is strong enough for lightning to arc hundreds/thousands of feet, the extra inch of rubber won't make a difference. It's the total impedence of the path that is going to determine how much current will flow.


Originally Posted by SpongeDad
I think you're safe as long as you never put your feet down. Your rubber tires should insulate you from the ground such that you're not a lightning rod.

Just remember that I have no idea what I'm talking about.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:16 PM
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Not true. If the field is strong enough for lightning to arc hundreds/thousands of feet, the extra inch of rubber won't make a difference. It's the total impedence of the path that is going to determine how much current will flow.


Originally Posted by SpongeDad
I think you're safe as long as you never put your feet down. Your rubber tires should insulate you from the ground such that you're not a lightning rod.

Just remember that I have no idea what I'm talking about.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by SpongeDad
I think you're safe as long as you never put your feet down. Your rubber tires should insulate you from the ground such that you're not a lightning rod.

Just remember that I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Actually the reason a car is a safe place to be in a storm has nothing to do with its rubber tires. Even an old car with no wheels in a junkyard would work. A car is safe because it is a Faraday cage. What this means is electricity goes around the OUTSIDE of an electrically conductive cage, so inside you are okay. Incidentally, a convertable or a car with a fiberglass body would NOT be safe in a lightning storm.

God bless!
Wayne J.
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Old 06-22-06, 08:30 PM
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Has there ever been a report of anyone getting hit by lightning while riding? Always reading about golfers getting lit up.
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Old 06-22-06, 10:03 PM
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Although I doubt it will happen, there is always a chance...

Interestingly enough, a motorcyclist in Colorado (on 36 between Denver and Boulder) got hit and died yesterday. The bolt put a hole in the concrete of the highway.

All this during "Lightning Safety Awareness Week"
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Old 06-22-06, 10:03 PM
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Aluminum is a better conductor than steel. Those giant high tension power lines use Aluminum cable with a steel core for strength. The engineers don't even bother factoring in the conductivity of the steel core, it's so low compared to the aluminum. Graphite can be a good conductor in the right conditions too. I don't think the type of bike frame you are on has much to do with it.

If lightening is flashing around you you're at danger whether you are on foot, on a bike or in a plane. They all get hit sometimes. People have been killed in cars that have been hit too.

I was almost hit once, the lightening hit the ground about 50' away and I was in the discharge zone. Not surprising, it was like a moderate electrical shock. Fell over on the ground shaking and blanked out for a few seconds. 8 years later I get a really creepy feeling everytime I see lightening.

Last edited by bccycleguy; 06-22-06 at 10:11 PM.
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