Mountain biking saved my arse today.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Mountain biking saved my arse today.

    So there I was, riding my bike home from work. I've got the easiest commute in the world - it's less than a mile from my campus to my house, and though I'm at one of the Big Ten schools, my town's pretty small and chill.

    I come over this big hill and start to pick up speed as I pedal down through a green light. As soon as I'm through the green light, this dipsh!t going in the opposite direction in the opposite lane decides to make a u-turn (and not the rockshox kind) in front of me. Only he is driving this long boat of a car, and he has to stop in the middle of the road, blocking both lanes of traffic. As I slam on my brakes and get ready to plow into the side of his car, I see this one foot wide crack between his front bumper and the car parked on the opposite side. The single coherent thought that goes through my mind:

    "There's my line."

    I swerve into the crack and manage to come to a stop with just enough room to spare. Long story short: I yell at the driver and point at my green light; he yells back at me, and we both go on our way undamaged.

    Moral of the story: I think my habit of looking for rideable lines saved me from denting my head and this moron's passenger door today.

    Anyone have similar experiences and live to tell the tale?

  2. #2
    Pimpmobile
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    Nice!


    Did the phrase "Maybe I can bunny-hop that" cross your mind even for a nanosecond?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by HamfisT
    Nice!


    Did the phrase "Maybe I can bunny-hop that" cross your mind even for a nanosecond?

    Naw - I was on my fixie, and my fixie bunny-hop is weak sauce for sure.

  4. #4
    weirdo
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    Whoohooo! Git some!
    Recalculating....

  5. #5
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    Riding to work in January, on my cyclocross commuter heading down a four-lane road that has a low/skinny curb dividing the road down the middle.

    Following a large maybe 30 long foot truck in the right lane, he puts on his right turn signal and starts to slow down. Thinking he was going to turn right, into a building driveway, I check over my shoulder, see that the left lane is clear and I swing into the left lane to pass. Turns out what he really decides to do is swing left across *both* lanes and then back his truck into the driveway...suddenly I have this truck coming left on top of me!

    I apply full brakes, but it's a wet morning and it's clear that I am not going to stop before I go underneath the truck, so, seeing that there were no cars coming the other direction, I pull up my front wheel and hop over the small curb in the center of the road, pass the truck and then hop back to the other side.

    I don't think that the average road biker even thinks about hopping that curb while clipped in at full speed. For me, it was the natural thing to do and all my mountain biking experience riding over logs, down drops, up step-ups, allowed me to pop over the curb without even thinking about it. Every road biker should try mountain biking - it makes a better rider out of you !

  6. #6
    ol'guy who says hi &waves
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    If some one pulled out, I fantasize about going up and over a car hood with the big chain ring ripping a nice trail. I doubt I could do intentionally, but maybe with an adrenaline rush....

    I did do a high speed double bunny hop on my road bike, the other day, over some sizable dumped concrete with no way around. A car load of young guys gave this grey bearded ol' guy a cheer and thumbs up. Made my day.
    .

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  7. #7
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    Sounds like bunny hopping is a skill that would be good to have just in case. If one gray-haired guy on a bike can, another can. My old 27" road rims have had their last truing. Not quite perfectly flat and parallel braking surfaces all the way round anymore and a couple of 'not quite' round spots in the front one. I don't think they'd take kindly to a bunny hop with 200 pounds, 36 spokes, or no. But better than having them run over. Now the Velocity Deep Vees 700C I have ordered also with 36 spokes might take a hit like that in stride especially with softer 35 mm tires.

    I have used my 'last split second pothole dodge with body English' to clear the front bumper of a 'last split second non-signalling left-turning car' that stopped just before completely blocking my path. Misjudged my speed or saw me too late. Threaded through without violating the crosswalk with a few inches to spare. Too happy to escape unscathed for any comments to the driver. He knew. So road surface obstacle avoidance training helps, too.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway
    I don't think that the average road biker even thinks about hopping that curb while clipped in at full speed. For me, it was the natural thing to do and all my mountain biking experience riding over logs, down drops, up step-ups, allowed me to pop over the curb without even thinking about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by fred-da-trog
    I did do a high speed double bunny hop on my road bike, the other day, over some sizable dumped concrete with no way around. A car load of young guys gave this grey bearded ol' guy a cheer and thumbs up. Made my day.
    Agreed: bunny hopping is a hugely helpful skill to have on the road. In defense of roadies, though, I have to say that I did once see a roadie in a full Team Discovery kit and a matching Madone bunny hop a respectable curb (about 8 inches or so) without banging his wheels at all. Just popped on up, light as a feather.

    I guess those Madones must be pretty "flickable" bikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by woodway
    Every road biker should try mountain biking - it makes a better rider out of you !
    Yeah - especially because mountain biking makes you look at curbs, potholes, steps, etc. not as problems but as potentially fun technical features, a pretty liberating perspective.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    I have used my 'last split second pothole dodge with body English' to clear the front bumper of a 'last split second non-signalling left-turning car' that stopped just before completely blocking my path. Misjudged my speed or saw me too late. Threaded through without violating the crosswalk with a few inches to spare. Too happy to escape unscathed for any comments to the driver. He knew. So road surface obstacle avoidance training helps, too.
    Sound your close call was pretty close to mine - glad you made it out alright.

    I have vast reserves of loathing for drivers who can't be bothered to use their turn signals.

  10. #10
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    My commuter is a wfo with slicks on....

    I don't even have to unweight, I can roll up a curb just hammering into it.
    The Formula the Ones on 203s help too.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred-da-trog
    If some one pulled out, I fantasize about going up and over a car hood with the big chain ring ripping a nice trail. I doubt I could do intentionally, but maybe with an adrenaline rush....

    I can tell you from experience that what really happens when someone pulls out in front of you (if you get lucky) is that you perform a high speed stoppie/front brake induced nose wheelie, trying to find a way to get your weight further back on the bike, but finding it impossible... and you nose up to the hood of the car with your rear wheel sky high, put your right hand on the fender as you come to a stop, and emerge unscathed. I pulled this dumb luck move in LA county in my fledgling commuting years. I don't think I could ever do it again....certainly not on purpose.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  12. #12
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    Nice saves, all, mad skills. Good to read about some happy endings.

  13. #13
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    As a certified cycling instructor for the League of American Bicyclists, I teach the League's various cycling courses, most of which have asubstantial amount of time out on the bikes practicing various handling and hazard avoidance drills as well as riding in traffic.

    The guys who have the least trouble with the drills? Mountain bikers, hands down. Roadies are used to going fast in a straight line, but the LAB drills get you into "dancing" with your bike in most cases.

    In personal testimony, though, I was rear-ended by a drunk driver the last Sunday in February when pulling out from a stop light in downtown Little Rock. The bike (steel Surly, with rear rack) took most of the lick, but I was knocked about 12-15 feet across the intersection. I ride my mountain bike a lot, and am enough of a klutz that I'm somewhat used to coming off the bike at unforeseen times, and was able to tuck and roll, landing pretty much unhurt. I learned how to fall and land on a mountain bike... so MTBing saved my hiney as well.
    Ride a mountain bike... you will not regret it if you live.
    (with apologies to Mark Twain & The Taming of the Bicycle)

  14. #14
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    ^^ Wow I bet that driver was relieved that you have some falling skills. Were you OK enough to punch his drunk face?

    I had a crash (I posted on here about it) where I hit an invisible brick (in the dark) in the bike lane and tuck-and-rolled my way out of any major injury...had some road rash and a broken helmet , but I was able to ride the rest of the way to work and go on with life... I didn't think about it at the time, but I definitely learned to fall mountain biking.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    ^^ Wow I bet that driver was relieved that you have some falling skills. Were you OK enough to punch his drunk face?
    I can see it. He gets up shakes/dusts himself off, hobbles/limps working out the kinks over to the drunks's window, which being drunk he rolls down. And Psclepath asks,"Are you OK?"

    Drunk driver replies, "Shuure!"

    A short hard jab to the drunk's jaw and Psclepath drawls, "How 'bout now?"

    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I had a crash (I posted on here about it) where I hit an invisible brick (in the dark) in the bike lane and tuck-and-rolled my way out of any major injury...had some road rash and a broken helmet , but I was able to ride the rest of the way to work and go on with life... I didn't think about it at the time, but I definitely learned to fall mountain biking.
    We rode our 35-40 pound coaster bikes everywhere. The mountain bike was yet to be invented (yes, I'm THAT old). So you learned the tuck and roll or had few front teeth. This skill came in handy one fine fall morning about 60 F, coloring leaves aglow in the rising sun, a few dotting the bike path. This was on the University of Illinois Campus, in Champaign, on the west side, north of the stadium. I had been cooking it at close to max rpms in 48/14 in exceedingly light traffic (6:45 am) and decided to coast and cool down. The freewheel was singing its high quality buzz and suddenly my front wheel stopped. Instinct had me tuck and roll though I extended an arm to help get tucked. Ruined my shoulder, but saved my neck and skull. I slid to rest sitting up after a 360 roll and found myself staring at a concrete topped tunnel vent that the path divides around at that point. It was about 8" from my face, my knees against the bottom vent part. Inspection revealed that the front brake of a bike I owned for less than a week had come off and into the wheel. The new straight guage stainless (they had just come out and they weren't making stainless double butted yet), all held. Amazing. What a sorry excuse for a brake test that morning! You know: new bike, new brakes, what can happen? Now, whether someone tried a five-finger discount, or the builder failed to put a locknut on, I'll never know. But I should have caught the loose caliper, at least that morning. Bought one of the old white Bell styrofoam lined helmets the next day and have not ridden without a helmet since. That story has sold several other helmets, too. Now the brakes are checked on the driveway every time I leave. No exceptions. Psyclepath should get a couple of training support comments out of that! At my speed and weight the force on the one arm was over 3/4 of a ton. Almost 30 years later and I still can't sleep on that side for long.

  16. #16
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    ^^ ouch.

    I have a big patch of road-rash scar on the top of my shoulder from my little incident. I was sure I had broken the collarbone, but when I picked the arm up, it worked. No separation, no breaks. Lucky me.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  17. #17
    weirdo
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    I don`t doubt that MTBers generally have much better obstacle avoidance skills than road riders, but I`m also guessing that most Xcrossers fall more into the "roadie" category than mtb. Those guys do some serious bunny hopping! I sure wish I could do it better- most potholes are within my flight range, but I really doubt I could hop sideways onto a curb.
    Recalculating....

  18. #18
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    In my BMX days I could 360 bunnyhop up onto a curb. I could tabletop over a shopping cart jumping off of the sidewalk apron of your average driveway. I was way cooler then. Glory days, baby.

    I would rank commuter obstacle avoidance/crashing skills thusly:

    1. MTBers with a BMX background
    2. XCrossers with a BMX background
    3. MTBers
    4, BMXers (ranked slightly below MTBers because most of them won't be wearing a helmet and might be riding on the sidewalk)
    5. Roadies
    6. Grandmas
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  19. #19
    mm9
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    Great thread! BTW - most roadies I know also do at least some mountain biking. I can't think of one without a mtb.

  20. #20
    mm9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9
    Great thread! BTW - most roadies I know also do at least some mountain biking. I can't think of one without a mtb.
    PS on the list above you could add to #1. Bike Trials Specialists. With an oncoming car, they could just bunny hop up onto the hood as the car was about to hit them, then wheelie off the back. Now, I'd like to see that.

  21. #21
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    Trials guys are beyond category. Including them wouldn't be fair to the rest of us. The laws of physics and gravity do not apply to them.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  22. #22
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Good saves all around people. There's absolutely no arguing that MTBing skills are critical to urban cycling. They've saved me numerous times. That's why I always ride MTBs, makes obstacle avoidance and picking your lines so much easier. You hear so many stories about people on road bikes with skinny tires going down at the slightest bit of debris on the road and wonder why they wouldn't want more traction and maneuverability on their city rides?
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    Trials guys are beyond category. Including them wouldn't be fair to the rest of us. The laws of physics and gravity do not apply to them.
    Truth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbJ1s...eature=related

  24. #24
    ol'guy who says hi &waves
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I can tell you from experience that what really happens when someone pulls out in front of you (if you get lucky) is that you perform a high speed stoppie/front brake induced nose wheelie, trying to find a way to get your weight further back on the bike, but finding it impossible... and you nose up to the hood of the car with your rear wheel sky high, put your right hand on the fender as you come to a stop, and emerge unscathed. I pulled this dumb luck move in LA county in my fledgling commuting years. I don't think I could ever do it again....certainly not on purpose.
    You speak the truth. I've went OTB on road skinnys onto a left turner's bumper. I never expected a 1" slick to have enough grip for that to happen. I ride MTB 95% of the time. NOW the butt goes behind the seat on panic stops.
    .

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  25. #25
    Pimpmobile
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    Quote Originally Posted by heartland

    God help us if Danny Macaskill ever decides to use his powers for evil!

  26. #26
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    More over the top bike handling:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=603731 I wouldn't want the forks to go at the edge of a canyon.

    Yeah, they are in their own class. There are SO many reasons I can't do that.

    Roadies brag on their rash. I entered one practice summer of 1972 and quit 5 miles in. They have no fear genes at all. I'm also not sure about their visualization skills, either. Sharp left turn with negative camber and strewn with loose gravel on blacktop and they hit it after a mile descent down the face of the escarpment at max cadence top gear on 20 mm silk tubs. Nope. Ain't happening. Off my insanometer!

    You guys are a bad influence on me. Or reminding me how much fun we had as kids with our bikes. A mountain bike is in my future. That will be three, if I make a SS out of the errand bike and get a cross for commutting, that will be four....

    I did not know about the butt behind/below the seat emergency stop until after I buried a bike 8" into a Chrysler.

    I am liking fat tires in the 650B mode, but in this case a 700 conversion of 27" frame. I ordered a pair of Kevlar belt and bead 28 mm for Centuries and 35 mm for everyday on the new 700C wheels to replace the 27". I saw the light! Much nicer on chipseal over bad patches and in cornering through the inevitable loose chips at intersections.

    I rolled the Duchess past some Armstrong wannabes 20 years my junior the last Century. Though a real racer 5 years my senior was impossible for me to stay with. But I see curbs I would like to hop to get away from these idiots, and is only in my options as a last ditch attempt hoping for better odds, at present. Soft 35 mm on deep vees might survive as I make almost two Danny's. Yeah, mountain bike!

  27. #27
    weirdo
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    Oh, yeah- BMXers. No wonder I can`t bunny hop worth beans. I never BMXed.

    Quote Originally Posted by HamfisT
    God help us if Danny Macaskill ever decides to use his powers for evil!
    Macaskill could eat Lance for breakfast and Tinker for desert. That guy`s awesome.
    Recalculating....

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