Author Topic: Rough Lanes  (Read 711 times)

Rough Lanes
« on: August 07, 2017, 11:04:51 am »
Where I live, in Norfolk, we have a lot of single-track rough lanes. Typically they have rough edges and grass or gravel in the middle, leaving a space of 14-18" wide to ride in. This space is often potholed and, at certain times of the year, can be muddy. These type of lanes are often used on audax events because of their isolation. I'm still trying to find my feet on a recumbent and I find these kind of lanes slow and difficult because I don't have the degree of close control I have on an upright. Does anybody have any tips for me.

Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 01:08:16 pm »
Welcome to the Dark Side CoCo.  Depends a bit on what recumbent you have - some are twitchier than others.  I started out on a 20/26" rear-sus Performer, with a relatively low seat height and a seat that's not too reclined.  I also have a 700c (no suspension) Performer, and that's much twitchier as the seat height is higher - but quite a bit faster.

I tend to use the 20/26 in the winter when the roads in my part of rural Cheshire/Shropshire are really filthy and bumpy as it's less fidgety than the 700c.

It's really a matter of practice, practice, practice, and choosing your routes. You'd be well advised to get some elbow protectors for the inevitable.  Gravel in the elbow is not funny - DAMHIKT.  I have an expensive pair as used by the MTB community, and a cheapo pair used by boxers off fleabay - these are not so hot in the summer.  Try to avoid the really busy roads, but there's also something to be said for avoiding really narrow roads, as meeting other vehicles on these will inevitably encourage you into the verge to try to let them past, and then you'll be into the rough stuff, with the increased potential for a fall.  I had just such a tumble, at 1mph, going uphill and meeting a horse box going downhill.  I helpfully pulled well over, only to realise that I needed to stop, and put my left foot down only to find that there was a deep hole in the verge, and over I went into the mud and nettles.  The HB drove off.....  No harm done, other than dented pride, but it could have been avoided if I'd been more assertive in taking my lane. 

A problem I find on a 'bent, compared to a DF, is that your field of view extends further out in front of you, so potholes and gravel right in front (and holes in the verge) tend not to be so visible and I have to be more careful of what's immediately in front of me. 

Really, there's no substitute for miles, and some aforethought about routes and what will happen when you do fall off. Long sleeves, longs (or trousers) may come into the equation.  It will get easier, but planning your routes may help you to gain experience quickly with less potential for adverse events.

Kim will no doubt be along soon - she has a lot of recumbent experience. 



Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 07:00:21 pm »



As above, its is just learning a new style of riding, and in most cases it gets easier.

I found that the Street Machine with a small front wheel, the lack of immediate visibility and the fact that recumbents can be less efficient at low speeds remained an issue, but the suspension did help

You soon learn to manage most tracks and paths, but sometimes.....


Kim

  • An appetite for the epic, but no real stamina
Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 08:52:30 pm »
Kim will no doubt be along soon - she has a lot of recumbent experience.

I think it's mostly about practice and really getting to know the bike, but they do have limits.  I find my Streetmachine is very forgiving of crap surfaces - it's certainly more tolerant of potholes than my rigid hybrid, and it remains the only bike that I've successfully recovered from a front wheel skid on.  It's rubbish for audaxing though, as the weight gets to you eventually if you want to maintain a decent pace.

In comparison, I find the Baron is positively scary in those kind of laney conditions.  It's low and twitchy with narrower tyres so there's no margin for error with ruts and gravel, potholes *hurt* and the higher bottom bracket means the view of what's in front is even more compromised[1].  You have to slow right down at times, but on the other hand, it's better at making up the speed when the road is decent...

Trikes are another matter - the problem with single-track lanes on those is that you have to choose which wheel gets to suffer.  Putting the offside wheel in the central gravel is usually the best option.  On the other hand, the worst that's likely to happen without warning is a really nasty thump and a puncture to repair.

Passing cars on narrow lanes can be awkward on any kind of 'bent.  Obviously trikes have a certain amount of width, but you can can stick a wheel in the mud and proceed safely at low speed if necessary.  With bikes you have to make a judgement about whether you can safely squeeze past without needing to stop, because it's hard to do suddenly without a wobble.  Drivers don't generally understand that mud, gravel and tramlining on the edge of the tarmac can cause a bicycle to lose control.


If all else fails, there's always the Larrington Manoeuvre...


[1] I think you get used to not being able to see immediately in front of the bike and anticipate accordingly, but that doesn't always work when it's dark, or when riding in a group (you'd have to leave a big gap behind the bike in front in order to see a decent amount of road).
Watching the TV without subtitles is like riding up a hill without using the gears :)

Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2017, 09:17:28 am »
Thanks for that Guys. I have a Schlitter Encore with dual 700c and 25mm tyres. I guess whatever I do it won't be ideal on single track lanes, and that whatever I do I'll just have to bite my lip and watch my clubmates disappear over the horizon. I'm not to proud to get off and push if that looks the better option. What I must resist, though, is sitting up and leaning forward to improve balance and visibility. It hurts my back like crazy and it's back problems that got me on the Dark Side in the first place.
Other than lanes, everything's fine. On decent B-roads I can zip along at 18-19mph all day for a lot less effort (heart rate) than a DF. And climbing? It's me that climbs, not the bike, and only I can improve it. To that end it's coming to Scotland with me at the end of this month.
Once again, thank you.

Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2017, 10:33:44 am »
Thanks for that Guys. I have a Schlitter Encore with dual 700c and 25mm tyres. I guess whatever I do it won't be ideal on single track lanes, and that whatever I do I'll just have to bite my lip and watch my clubmates disappear over the horizon. I'm not to proud to get off and push if that looks the better option. What I must resist, though, is sitting up and leaning forward to improve balance and visibility. It hurts my back like crazy and it's back problems that got me on the Dark Side in the first place.
Other than lanes, everything's fine. On decent B-roads I can zip along at 18-19mph all day for a lot less effort (heart rate) than a DF. And climbing? It's me that climbs, not the bike, and only I can improve it. To that end it's coming to Scotland with me at the end of this month.
Once again, thank you.

You're welcome!  But you have rather started at the twitchy end of recumbents!  Very nice machine though.  Keep it up, practice, practice, practice, and maybe stay away from the farm tracks that we rural dwellers call local roads and you should be fine.  Not sure that John Schlitter designed that bike for our 'smaller' roads!

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2017, 11:52:21 am »
I'm new to the darkside too, only about 1100 miles in and not often enough. My main issue is getting the fitness to go further and faster. But the main thing to say as others has - ride more. I have upgrade from flat smooth tarmac to bridleways.









So single tracking is possible on a bent, though I need to get some more grippy tyres if I'm going to explore more lanes like this and when they are wet/muddy.

EDIT (totally side note: I can't see the photos I have embedded in this post, while logged into yacf. But in a incognito window I can ... Hope you lot can see them.)

Kim

  • An appetite for the epic, but no real stamina
Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2017, 01:18:46 pm »
What I must resist, though, is sitting up and leaning forward to improve balance and visibility. It hurts my back like crazy and it's back problems that got me on the Dark Side in the first place.

I have to do that to get a foot down properly on my Streetmachine, and I'm not averse to staying upright for extra control during low-speed manoeuvres (for crawling traffic, Silly Sustrans Gates™ and the like), or for peering round the corner at junctions.  I don't have back problems thobut.

One gotcha with sitting forward is that it unloads the back wheel, which can cause traction problems.  I occasionally struggle to get moving on skoggy hills that I could ride up if I didn't stop.  Ironically, it becomes easier to get moving with heavy panniers.
Watching the TV without subtitles is like riding up a hill without using the gears :)

Kim

  • An appetite for the epic, but no real stamina
Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 01:26:51 pm »
So single tracking is possible on a bent, though I need to get some more grippy tyres if I'm going to explore more lanes like this and when they are wet/muddy.

It's impressive what you can get away with on a sturdy touring machine.  The limits are ultimately the size of lumps that a 20" wheel can cope with, and the lack of ability to shift your bodyweight around on the bike (or bail out gracefully when the mud gets you).

IIRC Ben of Kinetics fame built up a spare Streetmachine frame as a single speed mountain bike and took it for a thrash on the trails, discovering that it was surprisingly good.

Schlitter Encore, not so much :)
Watching the TV without subtitles is like riding up a hill without using the gears :)

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 02:07:48 pm »
Yeah it has been mud that got me, had two drops. But sadly no scars to show for it.

It is great fun hitting a bump and it feels like you are really thrown into the air, because your legs are dangling in front of the small front wheel. I think I only got about 1-2" off the ground but it did feel like 2 feet :)

You are right Kim, I have been very surprised how stable it is and how rough the tracks I have been able to ride are.

Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2017, 04:04:09 pm »
There are a couple of videos on YouTube of an Azub doing some impressive stuff off road. No link I'm afraid as I despise having to operate the interweb from a mobile phone. >:(


Re: Rough Lanes
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2017, 12:50:42 pm »
Impressive! They make it look soooooo easy.