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.
Unfortunately, bikers don’t deal with these obstacles as they are supposed to. This leads to a lot of frailties.
So, here is a quick guide on how to navigate over or around obstacles on the road.
Pot holes are just too common in developing countries especially in Africa. It has caused a lot accidents and death on a daily basis. So it is something to pay a particular attention to.
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.
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.
A lot of riders tend to make the mistake of not checking traffic before moving to the right or left. So don’t make this mistakes because it can cause a severe accident if not a fatal one.
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.
Ride around roadkill if possible. It will make you cleaner. Moreover, it helps you ride smoothly and makes incoming vehicles avoid the route. Finally, it helps you reach your destination faster.
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.)
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.
If they are not, please do not make any move and stay right back where you are unless you are sure that no rail is coming towards you.
Why it is important to cross the railroad tracks at a triangle is because it affords you the opportunity of seeing if there are other bikers or people coming towards your direction so you won’t hit them unknowingly
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 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.