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  1. #1
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    Giant Cheese Grater

    Drawbridges are like giant cheese graters. They are no fun, and when wet, are spooky. How do YOU get across these things without feeding the fish shreads of carbon fiber and meat?

  2. #2
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    Most bridges I have been around here have sidewalks for that part and I stay there. I have ridden over them (dry) a few times and found them to be less hazardous (IMO) than I expected. Of course if you freak out while riding across, that's a whole different ballgame. I wouldn't want to fall one one though, that's a different story.
    I just take it cautious, try to stay with the flow of traffic and don't make any sudden turns. if the bike want to wander a bit, I let it. I guess I'm a little loose on the handlebars crossing them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbeerthepirate View Post
    Drawbridges are like giant cheese graters. They are no fun, and when wet, are spooky. How do YOU get across these things without feeding the fish shreads of carbon fiber and meat?

  3. #3
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    On a group ride last fall, it was drizzling as we crossed a "cheese grater" bridge. The third rider in our group went down. The rider suffered a bruised knee and a mild concussion. The helmet did its job, cracking in at least three places.

    The tires have so little traction, especially when wet on these bridges. If you don't hold your line perfectly straight, you're just asking for trouble. The bridge on my route is maybe 30 yards long, so it isn't unreasonable to walk it, especially if it's wet.
    "This thread gives me hope that the human race will render itself extinct in my lifetime...." PlatyPius
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by superjesus View Post
    On a group ride last fall, it was drizzling as we crossed a "cheese grater" bridge. The third rider in our group went down. The rider suffered a bruised knee and a mild concussion. The helmet did its job, cracking in at least three places.

    The tires have so little traction, especially when wet on these bridges. If you don't hold your line perfectly straight, you're just asking for trouble. The bridge on my route is maybe 30 yards long, so it isn't unreasonable to walk it, especially if it's wet.
    I find that trying to stay perfectly straight on the draw span is almost impossible. Like martin, I kind of let the bike wander a little. Do you try to keep your speed up? The slower I go, the more the bike wants to track on it's own.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbeerthepirate View Post
    I find that trying to stay perfectly straight on the draw span is almost impossible. Like martin, I kind of let the bike wander a little. Do you try to keep your speed up? The slower I go, the more the bike wants to track on it's own.

    I don't know what surface you're riding on, but my surface looks like this, with each square being about 2" wide:



    In my situation, the span is relatively short. The most important thing I do is that I pick my line across before I've even come to the bridge. Once on the bridge, I try to keep my weight as balanced and centered as possible, I try to keep my speed constant. I do not accelerate and I do not jerk the bike for any reason. I want my pedal stroke smooth and my cadence even. I stay seated the whole time.

    Quite frankly, I try not to think about crossing the bridge. I try to be as effortless as possible. Before I saw the rider go down, I never thought twice about crossing it. Now that I've seen a wreck, I'm fully conscious of the inherent danger. I'm trying to get back the mentality I had before the accident.
    "This thread gives me hope that the human race will render itself extinct in my lifetime...." PlatyPius
    "You're not a real cyclist unless you spend money needlessly....." ZoSoSwiM
    "Power is power and it has to be paid for." Alex_Simmons/RST

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by superjesus View Post
    I don't know what surface you're riding on, but my surface looks like this, with each square being about 2" wide:

    There is some serious potential to mess up an elbow or knee if you fall on that at speed.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrunner68 View Post
    There is some serious potential to mess up an elbow or knee if you fall on that at speed.
    I use caution when crossing these bridges on a motorcycle. I never crossed one on a road bike. The small surface area of the contact patch looks like it will cause flats on our thin and narrow tires.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by superjesus View Post
    I don't know what surface you're riding on, but my surface looks like this, with each square being about 2" wide:



    In my situation, the span is relatively short. The most important thing I do is that I pick my line across before I've even come to the bridge. Once on the bridge, I try to keep my weight as balanced and centered as possible, I try to keep my speed constant. I do not accelerate and I do not jerk the bike for any reason. I want my pedal stroke smooth and my cadence even. I stay seated the whole time.

    Quite frankly, I try not to think about crossing the bridge. I try to be as effortless as possible. Before I saw the rider go down, I never thought twice about crossing it. Now that I've seen a wreck, I'm fully conscious of the inherent danger. I'm trying to get back the mentality I had before the accident.
    I'm going across the same thing, and I think my approach to the crossing is about the same as yours.

    On one of my favorite rides I will cross two bridges, each with about 60 feet of the metal. I too never really worried about getting over those things until I slipped a little on a dry span. I managed to haul it back in without falling, but now when ever I cross, it's on my mind. I'm just trying to find a way to lessen the pucker factor. Thank you.

    Oh, believe me, I am not to proud to walk my bike across when raining.
    Last edited by Blackbeerthepirate; 04-08-2012 at 05:02 AM.

  9. #9
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    Steel bridge decks suck. Plain and simple. I usually get off and walk it across on the sidewalk.

    The worst of them have a wide sidewalk on one side, and about a 6" wide strip on the other. Going the "wrong" way, it's either cross to the other side and walk it, or suck it up and ride across it, hoping that one little raised edge of worn steel isn't going to go through the tire(s).

  10. #10
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    If it's dry, I'll slow down, unclip, and ride across. Some of the groups will take them at speed, but I don't feel comfortable doing that. Never had a problem with tire damage, and I ride them all the time.

    If it's wet or if there is a chance of morning dew or condensation, I'll walk. Wet grids aren't too much different from ice. Every year we have a few injuries on the bridges (some rather serious), usually when it's wet.

    I'm in the minority, though. About 75% of the cyclists will walk. One of the bridges has the grids with the rectangles going the long direction, so it gets pretty squirrelly riding across. I'll ride on my hybrid, but not the road bike.
    Last edited by seacoaster; 04-08-2012 at 07:23 AM. Reason: added info

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    That's the standard on drawbridges around here in SETx. Even though they are decomissioned, they still have that exact pattern.

    I have found that this surface to be evil for traction, falls, and flats.

  12. #12
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    I have a family member who went down on a cheese-grater bridge.
    It was drizzling and he had a helmet but he fell ON HIS FACE. His nose was gone and he had reconstructive surgery. It was horrifying.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlandry View Post
    I have a family member who went down on a cheese-grater bridge.
    It was drizzling and he had a helmet but he fell ON HIS FACE. His nose was gone and he had reconstructive surgery. It was horrifying.
    OK. That settles it. I'm walking. I don't care how long the bridge is.
    "This thread gives me hope that the human race will render itself extinct in my lifetime...." PlatyPius
    "You're not a real cyclist unless you spend money needlessly....." ZoSoSwiM
    "Power is power and it has to be paid for." Alex_Simmons/RST

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlandry View Post
    I have a family member who went down on a cheese-grater bridge.
    It was drizzling and he had a helmet but he fell ON HIS FACE. His nose was gone and he had reconstructive surgery. It was horrifying.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by superjesus View Post
    That looks more like a meat grinder.

  16. #16
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    Those grates are definitely not designed for anything except car and truck tires. We have plenty such bridges in Chicago, and they're the bane of all-weather cyclists here. A few bridges have rough metal plates on the edges, and those plates make traversing the bridge no problem for cyclists, but still, only a few bridges have those plates. They're such a simple and cheap solution, I can't imagine why CDOT hasn't installed them on all the bridges here. Crazy.

  17. #17
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    as stated, keep pedaling!

    Quote Originally Posted by superjesus View Post
    I don't know what surface you're riding on, but my surface looks like this, with each square being about 2" wide:



    In my situation, the span is relatively short. The most important thing I do is that I pick my line across before I've even come to the bridge. Once on the bridge, I try to keep my weight as balanced and centered as possible, I try to keep my speed constant. I do not accelerate and I do not jerk the bike for any reason. I want my pedal stroke smooth and my cadence even. I stay seated the whole time.

    Quite frankly, I try not to think about crossing the bridge. I try to be as effortless as possible. Before I saw the rider go down, I never thought twice about crossing it. Now that I've seen a wreck, I'm fully conscious of the inherent danger. I'm trying to get back the mentality I had before the accident.

  18. #18
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    Simple, if wet, I walk them.

  19. #19
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    If I had to cross on a bridge like that I would take my cyclocross bike with 35mm tires.

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