Hints & Tips

How to Avoid and Take on Potholes on the Bike

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. They are to be avoided at all costs.

Don’t be driven potty by potholes

But as any seasoned rider knows that sometimes that is simply impossible. 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 potholes:

1. Take note of potholes on your regular training or commuter routes. If you know when to expect them, they can be easily avoided.

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 pothole 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. If you don’t 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 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. Level your pedals, crouch off the saddle, then spring up and lift with your feet and hands. Start by jumping over a line on the ground, then graduate to higher but forgiving objects such as a rolled-up towel or a shoebox. Best to practice this in a grassy field where a soft landing is guaranteed, just in case!

7. If potholes are becoming a major pain in the backside on your regular commute, then it is 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 any time soon but it will only take two seconds of your time.

Also worth a read: 

5 surprising things it’s legal to do while cycling

Why taking time off the bike now will make you faster next season

Eat like a pro: Lizzie Armitstead Shares her Diet Tips



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