Potholes are the devil. At best they shoot a short sharp shock right up your body, at worst they result in a flat, damaged rims or even a spectacular fall from grace off the bike. Potholes, ruts and gullies are to be avoided at all costs.
But as any seasoned rider knows that sometimes it's just not possible. With so many scattered across the roads we ride, no matter how careful we are, we are always bound to jolt into one, usually when we least expect it.
Here are a few tips on how to avoid or take on those pesky rim-dingers...
1. Take note of potholes on your regular training or commuter routes. If you know when to expect them, they can be easily avoided by planning your line in advance.
2. After dark, use a really bright front light. This will help you to spot the potholes in advance.
3. Be alert. Cycle with your head up so you can spot the obstacle in advance and begin to gradually shift your position on the road in order to avoid it.
4. Don’t hug the kerb. Ignore the irate demands of drivers. Choose the safest most predictable line on the road and stand your ground. This will eliminate last minute swerves to avoid obstacles. If you are unsure of the highway code, check out our quick guide, you'll be surprised to learn what is actually legal to do on the road!
5. Keep your tyres pumped up to the correct pressure. If you do land in a pothole, soft tyres will almost certainly result in a flat and associated damage to your rims.
6. When you hit a pothole or an obstacle make sure your body is relaxed, lift yourself out of the saddle and allow the bike to bump its way over to the other side. If you have the skills you can bunny hop your bike over the hole.
7. If potholes are becoming a major pain in the backside on your regular commute, then it may be worth popping a set of winter tyres on your bike. These will be slightly fatter, more robust and a lot more sympathetic to potholes.
8. If riding in a group, be sure to alert others to the obstacle. If you are unsure of the standard hand signals used on group rides, then check out our complete guide to hand signals.
9. Report the hole. Log on to Fill That Hole to alert the relevant people to the location of the pothole. We know it is unlikely that it will be tended to anytime soon but it will only take two seconds of your time.
It's important to cycle safe and cycle aware. Take notice of any obstacles in your path and make your safe manoeuvre carefully around them. If you've got no choice but to take the hit, then relax your body and lift out of the saddle slightly.
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