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Dealing with bridges and RR tracks

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Dealing with bridges and RR tracks

Old 05-09-21, 05:58 PM
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Caliper
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Dealing with bridges and RR tracks

I've long been bent-curious and recently taken the plunge into riding some of these bikes. One thing that I knew about, but didn't know just what a nuisance it would be is not being able to hop or lift the wheels over road obstacles. I can avoid potholes (usually) but on the roads and trails I ride, there are several bridges and RR tracks to cross. The bridges on the bike path seem the worst with some of the crossings having a 1" or 1.5" step up onto the bridge. On an upright bike, these are no issue to take at speed (in some cases 20+mph) and scarcely a hindrance, only missing a pedal stroke or two. On the 'bent, they give me pause. So far I have just kept my tire pressure on the high side, favored the largest tires I can run and slowed down for these obstacles. I have tried leaning my shoulders against the backrest to lift my butt out of the seat, but that doesn't seem to do that much. Is there a better way to deal with these road hazards? Slowing down especially is fairly anathema but I don't have a better solution yet. Any suggestions?
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Old 05-09-21, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
I've long been bent-curious and recently taken the plunge into riding some of these bikes. One thing that I knew about, but didn't know just what a nuisance it would be is not being able to hop or lift the wheels over road obstacles. I can avoid potholes (usually) but on the roads and trails I ride, there are several bridges and RR tracks to cross. The bridges on the bike path seem the worst with some of the crossings having a 1" or 1.5" step up onto the bridge. On an upright bike, these are no issue to take at speed (in some cases 20+mph) and scarcely a hindrance, only missing a pedal stroke or two. On the 'bent, they give me pause. So far I have just kept my tire pressure on the high side, favored the largest tires I can run and slowed down for these obstacles. I have tried leaning my shoulders against the backrest to lift my butt out of the seat, but that doesn't seem to do that much. Is there a better way to deal with these road hazards? Slowing down especially is fairly anathema but I don't have a better solution yet. Any suggestions?
Simply pay attention to where you are riding. And-------------------I agree about the mis match of road or trails on to a bridge. Some how road builders cant seem to make an approach that is smooth last. Apparently they dont pay enough attention to compacting the dirt and underlayment right where you go onto the bridge proper.
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Old 05-09-21, 06:58 PM
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The worst RR crossing I ever encountered was at the edge of the Michigan State campus where the tracks were angled at about 45 degrees. I hadn't been used to riding a narrow tire bike or even finding a crossing that wasn't at right angles to the road. Of course when I entered the crossing the bike went sideways and I went down in a heap. A two wheeled recumbent is no different when it comes to crossing them - slow down and move into the road so that you are crossing the tracks straight on. We have a few of them in the Las Vegas valley and so far I never went down on one of them riding a recumbent.
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Old 05-09-21, 07:03 PM
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RR Tracks have left many riders with a Bad ride.
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Old 05-10-21, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
The worst RR crossing I ever encountered was at the edge of the Michigan State campus where the tracks were angled at about 45 degrees. I hadn't been used to riding a narrow tire bike or even finding a crossing that wasn't at right angles to the road. Of course when I entered the crossing the bike went sideways and I went down in a heap. A two wheeled recumbent is no different when it comes to crossing them - slow down and move into the road so that you are crossing the tracks straight on. We have a few of them in the Las Vegas valley and so far I never went down on one of them riding a recumbent.
I know the tracks. Busy 4-lane road that makes it dangerous to take the lane for the tracks. The county (?) 'fixed' the problem by putting up a sign to walk bikes across the tracks. :/ I just avoid the road.
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Old 05-10-21, 08:27 PM
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RR tracks I cross as close to 90 degrees as possible on any kind of bike.

For uneven pavement, on my DF I don't bunny hop I just raise off the seat. On the 'bent I do the same.

I've hovered around 200 lbs for a long time, have ridden a 'bent tens of thousands of miles on 1 1/4" tires at 90psi, and have not had an issue with pinch flats. I'd say don't overthink it and just ride.
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Old 05-11-21, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Simply pay attention to where you are riding. And-------------------I agree about the mis match of road or trails on to a bridge. Some how road builders cant seem to make an approach that is smooth last. Apparently they dont pay enough attention to compacting the dirt and underlayment right where you go onto the bridge proper.
And these bridges aren't even on dirt. There are several both on asphalt and concrete. Well, Michigan isn't very good at pavement anyways...

I guess the front of the bike is lightly loaded so the 28mm tire I can cram up there may be enough? I can get a 40mm in the rear where the weight is (LWB model).
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Old 05-11-21, 09:25 PM
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One area that both bicyclists and motorcycle riders will agree... Don't mess around crossing rail road tracks!
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Old 05-13-21, 09:45 AM
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Besides crossing the railroads at perpendicular angle, there is a technique to "unweight" the front wheel by accelerating quickly from near stop, low speed and using the forward momentum to get the front wheel over first.
This takes good amount of practice and likely to damage the front wheel when it hits the mark.
Practice on the grass try to get front wheel over something soft like a plastic soda bottle for a few times first before attempting actual railroad or rounded curbs.

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Old 05-16-21, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cat0020 View Post
Besides crossing the railroads at perpendicular angle, there is a technique to "unweight" the front wheel by accelerating quickly from near stop, low speed and using the forward momentum to get the front wheel over first.
This takes good amount of practice and likely to damage the front wheel when it hits the mark.
Practice on the grass try to get front wheel over something soft like a plastic soda bottle for a few times first before attempting actual railroad or rounded curbs.
I've got a LWB Rans V2. With a 70" wheelbase, I'm not sure I can lift the front at all unless I stop and get off.
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Old 05-17-21, 09:10 AM
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That's probably the general limitation for LWB recumbents, but you don't have to lift the front end completely off the ground to allow front wheel to "unweight" and roll over minor obstacles.
As mentioned before, it takes practice, lots of it for some.
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Old 12-26-21, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cat0020 View Post
That's probably the general limitation for LWB recumbents, but you don't have to lift the front end completely off the ground to allow front wheel to "unweight" and roll over minor obstacles.
As mentioned before, it takes practice, lots of it for some.
I would be the one that needs practice, "lots of it". Although I have yet to damage my front wheel I've had a bit of practice low speed crashing my Haluzak Horizon. Never really thought about un-weighting my front wheel. With a 60% weight bias to the front it may be a challenge but I know some big speed bumps where I can give it a try. I run 40mm tires, 50psi front & 30psi rear and she rides smooth and rolls fast. We have really rough roads in our area and skinny HP tires don't work well. Actually I don't see why anyone likes skinny HP tires on a recumbent. The right tires and tire pressure is crucial for an efficient ride and that takes experimentation and lots of it. So far I've been able to bounce over most obstacles and retain a comfy ride.

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Old 12-27-21, 06:10 AM
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The wheelbase on my bent almost exactly measures the rail gage distance between the tracks and when they are wet, I walk. I don't need more damaged kit and bloody body parts. On wet metal bridge surfaces, I might also walk or at the very least, I unclip and sit up. On uprights I would accelate and jump tracks and never once went down on tracks on an upright. If the tracks are at an angle, I stop and walk 100% of the time. At night on unfamiliar roads, I stop and walk tracks. Once bitten, twice shy
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