Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 71
  1. #1
    acg
    acg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    218

    Riding under Powerlines

    I have a gravel bike. One of my favorite gravel routes involves riding under a high voltage powerline. I keep getting pretty painful static electric shocks on the hands and the butt.

    Any ideas if I could prevent the shocks from happening if I switched to a carbon frame, carbon handlebar, shifters and seat post?

    Thanks
    Last edited by acg; 05-18-2018 at 10:59 AM.
    Merlin Extralight Campy
    Airborne Lancaster XTR
    Planet X Uncle John Campy

  2. #2
    .je
    .je is online now
    Lizard Person
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    894
    Carbon can still conduct a little electricity, and you're talking a lot of electricity.

    Maybe try a bamboo bike.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    2,561
    They must be running pretty high voltage on the wires.

    Your present bike has rubber tires I assume, so changing the frame isn't going to affect the effect in the least, IMO.

    If one of the lines breaks, you are toast. If your getting static charges, I would avoid that route, sorry.

    You could put a grounding strap on your bike or butt and have it drag along the ground behind you to discharge the static charge. A simple metal fine wire or braided wire or copper strap would work.... but, you are grounding yourself, causing current to flow through your body. That is not good, it is very sensitive to low amperages.

    The elec charges are jumping through the air about 20-40 feet I assume, so changing the material for 3' (your frame) should be the least of your concerns.

    & I'm a elect eng, so take heed.
    BANNED

  4. #4
    Darling of The Lounge
    Reputation: Retro Grouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    4,062
    Drag a metal wire from the back of your bike to act as a ground.

    Frankly, static is the least of your worries. RF radiation is the real hazard.
    Last edited by Retro Grouch; 05-17-2018 at 12:44 AM.

  5. #5
    gazing from the shadows
    Reputation: QuiQuaeQuod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    25,438
    I would likely avoid that route myself. But I know that is not always easy to do given a priority for a certain type of ride that day.

    Touch metal as you approach (brake lever, stem, etc), and that should stop the build up of charge on your body.

    One specific way this can happen is by riding a bicycle underneath a high-voltage power line. If you are in electrical contact with a metal part of the bicycle all the times, then no charge can build up between you and the bicycle, and you should not experience any microshocks. But if you are electrically isolated from the bicycle - e.g. you are holding rubber handlebar grips, or are wearing insulating gloves - then a charge can build up. This can then discharge as a microshock. The commonest place for this to happen is either on the fingers if they brush against the brake lever, or in the inside of the upper thigh, as it comes close to the top of the seat pillar just below the saddle or to the saddle rails once each pedal revolution.

    These microshocks do not cause any harm to the body or have any lasting effects that we know of. But in the highest fields - that is, under spans of 400 kV power lines with the lowest clearance - they can be mildly painful, and they are certainly disconcerting because they are usually unexpected. (more on electric field levels under high-voltage power lines and on the sizes of the voltages and charges involved in microshocks)

    They are, however, completely avoidable, by the very simple measure of keeping a finger touching the brake lever (or the bare handlebar inboard of the handlebar grips, or a metal bar end, or any other metal part of the bicycle) for as long as you are under the power line. You don't need to grip it tightly, as long as there is a firm contact (if you only lightly brush your finger against the brake lever, you run the risk of getting microshocks at that point, which is the very thing you are trying to avoid).
    Microshocks from bicycles | EMFs.info
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    4,918
    Quote Originally Posted by .je View Post
    Carbon can still conduct a little electricity, and you're talking a lot of electricity.

    Maybe try a bamboo bike.
    Or a bolt on Faraday cage

  7. #7
    tlg
    tlg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    12,045
    Carbon fiber is a good conductor. The epoxy around it, not so much.

    High tension power lines can carry up to 700,000V. The safe air gap at that voltage to prevent arcing is about 17 feet. The minuscule amount of carbon, aluminum, or rubber tires on your bike is irrelevant. It'll pass through it all. Just like cars can get struck by lightning.

    While grounding yourself may work, dragging a copper strap on the ground probably isn't too safe.
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    534
    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    While grounding yourself may work, dragging a copper strap on the ground probably isn't too safe.
    Grounding your body to the ground will cause the current to pass through your body unless you can enclose yourself in an effective faraday cage. Not good. Depending on the ground you are riding over, there's no guarantee dragging a copper strap on the ground is going to serve as a sufficient ground, which would then add to your problems.

    Simply put, if it were me and I was getting static zaps from the high voltage power lines, I would ride elsewhere.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    2,561
    Quote Originally Posted by RHankey View Post
    Simply put, if it were me and I was getting static zaps from the high voltage power lines, I would ride elsewhere.
    This!!!!!
    BANNED

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    1,048
    There's one particular road in a well populated suburban area near my home that passes under some power-lines, and on warmer summer days (presumably more air-conditioning causing higher voltage thru lines) I will often feel a bit of tingling light shocks on my hands coming from my shifters (i.e. riding on the hoods) when riding underneath these power-lines. Never thought it was hazardous though.

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    1,686
    Maybe a lead helmet and skin suit.

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    1,740
    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Carbon fiber is a good conductor. The epoxy around it, not so much.

    High tension power lines can carry up to 700,000V. The safe air gap at that voltage to prevent arcing is about 17 feet. The minuscule amount of carbon, aluminum, or rubber tires on your bike is irrelevant. It'll pass through it all. Just like cars can get struck by lightning.

    While grounding yourself may work, dragging a copper strap on the ground probably isn't too safe.
    Yeah, pretty much this. They are also about 100f in the air. More than likely it is something that the OP is wearing generating static a static charge, or something dragging or creating a friction charge on your bike (like we used to do as a kid with plastic soles and carpet.. drag feet.. touch finger to unsuspecting friends ear.... run like hell)

    For there to be a significant charge, you would need an induction type coil to pass through the magnetic field of the high voltage lines. Your bike.. typically not a suitable material to generate an inductive charge that you would feel the static shocks.

  13. #13
    Proud luddite
    Reputation: azpeterb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    6,732
    This thread is shocking.

  14. #14
    acg
    acg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    218
    Thanks for the advice. The shocks are pretty painful. It looks like I had better avoid this route. Quite sad as it is a beautiful trail on a dyke along a river.
    Merlin Extralight Campy
    Airborne Lancaster XTR
    Planet X Uncle John Campy

  15. #15
    xxl
    xxl is offline
    Moderator
    Reputation: xxl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    32,278
    Quote Originally Posted by azpeterb View Post
    This thread is shocking.
    But the replies are illuminating.

    (TBH, when I read the OP, I thought dude was trolling; I had no idea that EMF microshocks were even a thing).
    More Americans wanted Hillary Clinton to be President than wanted Donald Trump.

    Donald Trump has never had a wife he didn't cheat on.

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    1,740
    Quote Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    But the replies are illuminating.

    (TBH, when I read the OP, I thought dude was trolling; I had no idea that EMF microshocks were even a thing).
    It's the principal behind wireless charging and induction cooktops.

  17. #17
    gazing from the shadows
    Reputation: QuiQuaeQuod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    25,438
    Quote Originally Posted by acg View Post
    Thanks for the advice. The shocks are pretty painful. It looks like I had better avoid this route. Quite sad as it is a beautiful trail on a dyke along a river.
    My HS physics teacher used to tell us that while tesla coils can be fun to play with, a van de graaff generator will kill you. Some electricity is deadly, some less so, some not at all.

    If you don't let the charge build up, you won't feel any shocks. If it were just a ride, I would avoid it. If it were a favorite ride, I would try touching metal while going under the lines before I made my final call to avoid that ride forevermore.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: BCSaltchucker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,847
    Quote Originally Posted by acg View Post
    Thanks for the advice. The shocks are pretty painful. It looks like I had better avoid this route. Quite sad as it is a beautiful trail on a dyke along a river.
    is this a very dry climate? a section of our mountain bike trails travel under high tower powerlines. no shocks at all, but we have a very temperate climate with fair amount of moisture in the air all the time

    as for health risks from experiencing EMF - no, there is no established evidence of health risks. power lines are safe, as is getting a few little shocks. however I hate getting shocks crossing a carpeted floor in dry climate!
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevens.../#72cbf20a6497

    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Frankly, static is the least of your worries. RF radiation is the real hazard.
    there is insufficient evidence of health effects from RF radiation. It is not established as a 'real hazard'

    https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer...radiation.html

    what is actually risky is exposure to ionizing radiation - ie being outside on a sunny day or flying at high altittude exposes you to infinitely more risk from radiation than riding under high tension power lines or yakking on a cell phone 4 hours a day.
    Last edited by BCSaltchucker; 05-17-2018 at 08:55 AM.
    Faith is pretending to know things you don't know

  19. #19
    acg
    acg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    218
    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    is this a very dry climate? a section of our mountain bike trails travel under high tower powerlines. no shocks at all, but we have a very temperate climate with fair amount of moisture in the air all the time

    as for health risks from experiencing EMF - no, there is no established evidence of health risks. power lines are safe, as is getting a few little shocks. however I hate getting shocks crossing a carpeted floor in dry climate!
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevens.../#72cbf20a6497
    BCSaltchucker, I live in BC in Fraser Valley. The shocks are pretty painful. The powerlines must be pretty high voltage. The gravel path on the dyke is elevated above ground level and therefore, it sits relatively higher and closer to the power lines. Looks like you are also in BC from your profile name.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Merlin Extralight Campy
    Airborne Lancaster XTR
    Planet X Uncle John Campy

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: mtrac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    1,159
    OP, might try asking the line operator if there is a way to mitigate this. If this happens at one location, maybe there's something it can do on its side?

  21. #21
    Schuylkill Trail Bum
    Reputation: SPlKE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,983
    Quote Originally Posted by acg View Post
    I keep getting pretty painful static electric shocks on the hands and the butt.
    I'm curious about how electricity is passing through your bike shorts and saddle cover to create a shock. I'd think that would be a well insulated interface. Gloves on a bar with rubber bar ends or taped bars seem like another fairly well insulated interface.

    Is any of your skin touching any metal on the bike? Or even close to metal with a small air gap between skin and metal?

  22. #22
    tlg
    tlg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    12,045
    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    I'm curious about how electricity is passing through your bike shorts and saddle cover to create a shock. I'd think that would be a well insulated interface. Gloves on a bar with rubber bar ends or taped bars seem like another fairly well insulated interface.

    Is any of your skin touching any metal on the bike? Or even close to metal with a small air gap between skin and metal?
    Static charges can build up to 20,000 to 25,000 volts in the body. It'll jump to seemingly unlikely places.
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  23. #23
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    239
    Quote Originally Posted by acg View Post
    Thanks for the advice. The shocks are pretty painful. It looks like I had better avoid this route. Quite sad as it is a beautiful trail on a dyke along a river.
    Can you take a picture of the line/pole and post it here?

  24. #24
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    765
    Question:

    Is any of this stuff related to where, on when I do my solo rides during the week, that a two certain sections of neighborhood I pass by my Cateye (basic) wireless goes completely out for about 200-300 meters and then restarts back up again. I've looked at everything, and can't figure it out. No extra powerlines other than what's normal is there....no shortwave radios on the houses, or anything I can see.
    It is like someone in one of the houses of that 300m section is running some sort of nuclear-powered monk-beer-making machine?

  25. #25
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: BCSaltchucker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,847
    Quote Originally Posted by acg View Post
    BCSaltchucker, I live in BC in Fraser Valley. The shocks are pretty painful. The powerlines must be pretty high voltage. The gravel path on the dyke is elevated above ground level and therefore, it sits relatively higher and closer to the power lines. Looks like you are also in BC from your profile name.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    wow fraser valley is not especially dry. It's fascinating to hear about this happening. I hate shocks of any kind too

    do other riders experience these shocks riding in that location too?

    I'm on Van Isle. I imagine our high tension power lines are carrying a lot less power than in the fraser valley, given that all the fraser valley power comes from hydro dams in the mountains through your area

    Curiously though, the MTB trail we have which travels a couple km under high power lines is named 'Shock Treatment'. But no actual shocks experienced. (It's our only flowing XC trail. the rest are shockingly slow technical trails lol)
    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/shock-treatment/
    Last edited by BCSaltchucker; 05-17-2018 at 09:57 AM.
    Faith is pretending to know things you don't know

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. high gas prices under Bush = bad, under Obama = good
    By Andy69 in forum Politics Only
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 06-26-2012, 10:49 AM
  2. Nothing is better than riding under a big beoch
    By bigrider in forum The Lounge
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 11-05-2007, 05:41 PM
  3. Do Aztec Powerlines scuff frame paint?
    By 10kman in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-11-2006, 09:52 AM
  4. Nokons, Aztec Powerlines, Dry Cables...
    By Moosedryvr in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-16-2006, 01:58 PM
  5. Aztec Powerlines.
    By Juanmoretime in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-07-2005, 12:34 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT ROADBIKEREVIEW

VISIT US AT

roadbikereview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.