Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

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Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

Postby funtimes » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:41 am

Let's just say, I am not a big fan of cattle guards. Thanks to our illustrious map designer, we can see in advance that there are ten on Day 1, nine on Day 4, eleven on Day 6 and fourteen on Day 7. With a total for the week of around 50!

In fact, on Day 7, at the bottom of a long descent around mile 37 we have a tight cluster of 9 of them. For me, this is a horror.

What is the best way to ride over these? I have the white-knuckling part down pat. I feel like I am damaging my rims, my carbon bike, my rubber tires and my spine all in one fell swoop. Am I?

Last year there was a cattle guard, which had a large pot hole on it's rim. Anyone remember that hole? It was on the right side so if you were "keeping right" or staying right because you were being passed, you had little choice but to hit that first, then the cg. Ouch.

Help. Please.
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Re: Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

Postby dougnlis » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:14 am

We in Portland are getting lots of practice as we negotiate increasing numbers of light rail/street car tracks. Just take them head on at a good steady speed, unweight your saddle and let the bike bounce across. As with the rest of the roads, watch where you are going to detect potholes, big bumps and other hazards, then steer around them well in advance rather than at the last instant. And as with any route in rural areas, cushy tires (28c and above) at pressures no higher than 80psi take much of the sting out of chip seal, gravel, and cattle guards.
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Re: Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

Postby leisure1 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:41 pm

Faster is better. If you go 55 you will hardly feel them. OK seriously - 10 to 15 - MPH. I try to speed up to 20 - if you go too slow you risk twisting the wheel and dropping in - very bad.

Interesting thing is the cattle guard isn't so bad because all the rails are at exactly the same height.

I think there are two important things to watch out for. One is the approach - if the asphalt has dropped or there is a pothole the leading edge is way worse than the cattle guard.
Second - sometimes there will be strips of metal welded perpendicular to the guard rails. These can be 1/2 inch higher than the guard and be nasty.

CO is pretty good about marking the nasty parts that you should avoid.
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Re: Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

Postby funtimes » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:05 pm

Thanks Dougnlis- I got all that...am good with tracks,I do get light in my seat. Will consider different tires.
Thanks Leisure1- I do hit it straight on with some speed. I mean, I haven't crashed yet and have been on three Cycle Oregon rides. Unfortunately, while I am always looking ahead, sometimes the markings are not apparent until you are right on top of them.
Once when on a large ride in another state, the townspeople, knowing that a lot of cyclists would be coming through, laid carpet across tracks and cattle guards. Officially spoiled now!
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Re: Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

Postby Jackson » Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:08 pm

We used to do this, also tried plywood over the grates. Problem was, the tape would loosen and the carpet could slip causing more of an issue. The plywood left a lip that caused several pinch flats. Best to see whats coming and know what to expect.

With the amount of cattle guards, try and imagine the amount of space the carpet takes up in multiple vehicles as well as the time needed to safely attach them to the ground.
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Re: Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

Postby funtimes » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:32 pm

Jackson wrote:With the amount of cattle guards, try and imagine the amount of space the carpet takes up in multiple vehicles as well as the time needed to safely attach them to the ground.


I can easily imagine the hassle of laying carpet, almost as easily as I can imagine the potential for injury when 2,200 cyclists hit 10 cattle guards on a long descent. Guess I should change my username to "melodramatic".
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Re: Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

Postby mytrot » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:11 pm

I think dougnlis covered it well and agree that the 20 MPH range is a good spot. Fast enough to glide over with a good gyro effect, and slow enough to be stable.

But the approach and exit can make all that go away. Best to spread out if you are in a group (no sense everyone taking a tumble!), and check the crossing as you approach ready for a quick stop.

Last year not only had some really bad approaches but some bad rails (cuts, gouges, "spikes" of metal). Our group lost several tubes and a couple wheels last year.

Good news! Doesn't look like there are any railways!
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Re: Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

Postby Force 5 Robert » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:42 pm

I will be hitting these at full speed if at all possible. bambambambambam and over.

:)
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Re: Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

Postby funtimes » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:54 pm

Happy to say, these weren't as scary as I had imagined. The couple of guards which were in the worst shape were very well marked this year. Thank you, CO.
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Re: Let's discuss the scads of cattle guards!

Postby Jackson » Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:09 pm

The sign team does a fantastic job in the morning of marking most obstacles. Still, its always a good idea to pay attention as not everything is seen at 4 AM.
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