How to Ride Over Road Obstacles

 

Most public roadways aren’t pristine stretches of asphalt. They are typically covered in obstacles and present various hazards that are quite dangerous when you’re on a bicycle.

Here is a quick guide on how to navigate over or around obstacles on the road.

Pot holes.

 

The best method is to ride around a pot hole. If you spot the hole far enough in advance (thanks to keeping your head up and scanning the road ahead,) you can check traffic and move to the left or right of the pot hole.

If you spot the pot hole too late and you have to go straight through it, use a technique called “unweighting” the wheels. Right before your front wheel hits the pot hole, slightly spring your body up into the air. Your bike doesn’t need to leave the ground; you just don’t want a lot of force on the wheels when they hit the edges of the pot hole.

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Sewer grates.

 

Sewer grates are another obstacle that you want to ride around. These grates are typically on the shoulder, so check traffic and move to the left to ride around the grate.

If there is too much traffic, and the grate’s slots are perpendicular to your wheel, you can ride over the grate (just try to go in a straight line.)

However, if the grate’s slots are parallel to your wheel, your wheel could possibly slide down into the grate, throwing you over the handlebars! In this case, either go to the left or stop if you have to let traffic pass by.

 

Roadkill.

Ride around roadkill if possible. It will keep you cleaner.

If you have to hit it, you can unweight your wheels and glide over it or at least shift your weight backwards so the front wheel goes over it lightly. (If the front wheel hits it hard, you could go down.)

 

Railroad tracks.

The key here is to cross over the railroad tracks at a right angle. Go straight across them. If the tracks are angled, try to angle yourself in the lane so you cross at a right angle.

Traffic permitting, of course.

 

Sand and gravel.

If you encounter sand or gravel, go through it in a straight line.

Don’t try to turn, and don’t brake unless absolutely necessary. Either movement could cause you to slide out or skid.

 

Wet leaves.

Wet leaves are very slippery, so try to avoid them. If you can’t, coast over them in a straight line. Do not turn or use your brakes, because the outcome will be even worse than on sand or gravel!

Those tips should make the roadways safer.

 

How to Go Around a Sharp Turn or Corner

 

Cornering is an essential skill. When done properly, it is tons of fun!

Here are the steps to cornering properly.

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Slow down.

 

Slow before the turn. Don’t brake during the turn.

Braking during a turn is dangerous, which is why you want to do all your braking before the turn.

Feather the rear brake if you have to slow during the turn, but not the front brake. You need to let the front wheel track through the corner.

 

Pick a line.

 

Pick a good line. Make the turn less sharp. Do an outside-inside-outside line as road conditions and traffic permit.

 

Look.

 

Look through the turn. You will be looking to the exit. (Remember, always look where you want to go.)

 

Turn.

 

Push against the handlebar with your inside hand, and lean into the turn.

Weight the outside pedal for stability. Also, having the inside pedal up decreases the chance that you catch it on the pavement when you lean.

For example: If you are making a left turn, you are pushing with your left hand. You have your right pedal down at the 6 o’clock position.

 

Pedal.

About 3/4 through the turn, you can start accelerating to regain your speed.