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  1. #1
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    Road Hazard: Point? Call it? Both?

    Solving the big issues here ;-)

    You're first in a line of five riders. There's an 8" round, 1" deep pothole very close to the white line - but not in line with or requiring you to stray from your line. Do you:
    A. Point with your right hand
    B. Yell "Hole" but keep both hands on the bar
    C. Point and yell "Hole"

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    Solving the big issues here ;-)

    You're first in a line of five riders. There's an 8" round, 1" deep pothole very close to the white line - but not in line with or requiring you to stray from your line. Do you:
    A. Point with your right hand
    B. Yell "Hole" but keep both hands on the bar
    C. Point and yell "Hole"
    If you are in the front move right or left to move the paceline out of the line with the hole. I would call out hole too.

  3. #3
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    I think calling it out has issues. For one, hearing what is said. For another, forcing the back riders to hear, understand, then seek the issue to avoid. At speed, those issues are a lot worse (wind noise is higher, reaction time before obstacle is lower).

    Pointing communicates an issue to avoid. Does it matter if it is a hole or a chunk of metal? Not really, so long as it is avoided. Shifting the line for a bit more clearance for trailing riders helps as well, in case someone is spacing off and just sucking wheel. Such a person might not be quite in line and hit the hole, but if the line moves that is less likely.
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  4. #4
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    Solving the big issues here ;-)

    You're first in a line of five riders. There's an 8" round, 1" deep pothole very close to the white line - but not in line with or requiring you to stray from your line. Do you:
    A. Point with your right hand
    B. Yell "Hole" but keep both hands on the bar
    C. Point and yell "Hole"
    D) Yell hole right. And move the paceline left.
    Even though the hole may not be in your line, if the group is echeloned at all, it could be in the line of others.

    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    I think calling it out has issues. For one, hearing what is said. For another, forcing the back riders to hear, understand, then seek the issue to avoid.
    It does. But pointing does as well. Typically only rider #2 and maybe #3 can see the point.
    A paceline is only as good as the riders in it. Everyone needs to relay it back.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post

    A paceline is only as good as the riders in it. Everyone needs to relay it back.
    This. Do everything you can to protect the riders behind you.

  6. #6
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    I agree. I tried to leave the options sorta vague - so as not to bias the "research" ;-)

    We have a few riders in the club who just yell "HOLE!" and don't move or point. I often respond "What the &$@& are we supposed to do with that information - start bunnyhopping? Scatter like roaches? Point out the $*#&ing holes!"

    I always move left or right to guide the line (also makes the hazard visible to those back) and point out the hazard. Note: it has to actually be a hazard though - not every 1/2" crack in the road warrants a callout. Don't want to be the boy who cried pothole

  7. #7
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    I only yell 'hole' when I feel I didn't notice it in time to very obviously move my path away from it and point enough in advance to have confidence that the message will trickle to the back by the time they get there.

  8. #8
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    If your moving fast, yell and move paceline.
    If casual pace, I'll point and move paceline. I don't like all that yelling, it gets old.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post

    It does. But pointing does as well. Typically only rider #2 and maybe #3 can see the point.
    A paceline is only as good as the riders in it. Everyone needs to relay it back.
    Yes, relay it back. Though the question in the OP was about the first rider in line, everyone should be in cooperation mode in a pace line.

    Generally speaking, visual information is faster to process and act upon than verbal information.
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  10. #10
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    We have a few riders in the club who just yell "HOLE!" and don't move or point. I often respond "What the &$@& are we supposed to do with that information - start bunnyhopping? Scatter like roaches? Point out the $*#&ing holes!"
    Ugh. That annoys the crap out of me. Simply yelling "hole" tells me "Brace for impact, no time to move".
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  11. #11
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    don't ride the levi gran fondo.

  12. #12
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    I yell "hole" sometimes, but it always has an "A" in front of it.

    I point out road obstructions without yelling.

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    if the paceline is moving fast above 22-23 mph, then pointing it out will only help the 2nd and 3rd riders, and these riders rarely have the time to relay it back. Yelling out also can only be heard by the 2nd thru 4th-5th riders, beyond that nobody can hear anything.

    The issue here is speed. Going at a high speed means that riders are too focused on riding and not enough brain left to replay information. And furthermore, even if they do relay the information, they relay would still be too late at a speed.

    I closest the solution I think is for the leader to actually spot the obstacle far enough ahead and move the paceline away from the obstacle. The faster the speed of the paceline, the farther ahead the obstacle must be spotted. Otherwise, reduce the speed of the paceline. Problem here is that the guy pulling up front sometimes is also on his limits and his ability to spot obstacles is compromised, and not just obstacle, it also effect his judgement at gauging lights at intersection (ie, run reds is often).

    ultimately, prepare to bunnyhop. If you can't bunnyhop or your bike handling is weak, don't ride in a high speed paceline.

    on a related note, the "fist behind the back" signal for stopping is so LAME because the only rider to see you signal is the 2nd rider, and 9 out 10 this 2nd rider is not gonna relay your signal because he's busy braking with both hands! I always get a giggle when some dude put his fist behind his back.

  14. #14
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    I point out hazards.

    if there's adequate time, I'll even differentiate between a hole (circling motion with index finger) or glass (sweeping gesture with hand).

    don't know if that helps anything, but glass tends to not be as localized as a pothole, so the debris field can be much larger and require a more abrupt change of line.

    verbal warnings get drowned out by traffic and wind noises...and they get obnoxious after several hours of hearing them.
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  15. #15
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    Verbal has issues. Point and those behind should pass it on. (trust those you ride with and ride with only those you trust)
    Sure, there can be some times where taking your hands off the bars is BAD. (35mph downhill with a cross wind and see a line of turkeys crossing the road, maybe)

    My neighbors rarely ride with the group in town. They can't stand the robot behavior. They were mocking the "point out every little pebble" habits. About half a mile later, I got on the front and pointed out a 1" rock. Guy behind me thought I was joking and did not move. I just heard the donk-donk as he hit it! Joke was on him, but he laughed at himself (no flat luckily) Yes, it was hard to ride a straight line as I was laughing also.

  16. #16
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    Guys,

    Don't take this the wrong way, but do they not show 3-4 hours of the major (excluding the TDF) one day European races in the States? If it does happen there, and you are able to watch at least one of those races for the full 3-4 hrs it is televised, you will watch what the peloton does when it comes to both holes and obstacles and everything else. Yes, they are pampered in the sense they have the whole road and leading & trailing vehicles. But they do go through many of the same things local clubs/packs go through when it comes to stuff like this.

    Yesterday, in the Gent-Wevelgem race (Belgium), there were many perfect examples of what's being discussed here.

    1) Any paceline slow moving, and over here, that is anything below 40kmph (both club and professional), there are both verbal and pointing going on. It is expected, whether you want to participate or not. If you're in the front 10-12 or even 4-6 riders, gesticulations and an yell are expected. This is for everything, holes, tarmac changes, obstacles, vehicles, animals, bottles coming loose, etc, etc.

    2) At paceline at speeds above 40 up to the gut-wrenching 50+kmph, there is never any verbal, ever. It is not wanted, nor expected. Why? At those speeds, a yell is only ever used because of one thing: a verbal primal caveman-I'm-gonna-die yell that is reserved because an oncoming car and/or motor vehicle is turning into and/or plowing into the moving pack. Then, when that sort of screams start to go out through the pack, we all know something nasty (related to a vehicle) is going to happen.

    Otherwise, at that high speed, it is only finger pointing and moving the paceline back & forth. And everyone behind a rapidly moving pack has to pay attention to the snaking of the paceline---means head up & eyes forward 100% of the time, not 99.9% of the time. Witness the neo-pro d#mbass at one point in yesterday's Gent-Wevelgem race yacking it up with his buddy near the rear, actually looking at him while talking, and bamm, he slammed into riders who had to slow down (major hole divet at turn of road) & next thing you know 15-25 pro riders were involved in a pile up because of this goof. Every rider who fell screamed at that idiot as they got back on their bike and went on, a few spitballs even flew too (sort of common here when you are a "pack jerk"). All of this is the same thing that happens all the way down to club rides, which are mostly competitive here every week.

    Most of this stuff is innate. I've not seen it different in any country and/or continent I've ridden and/or raced (from here, back to East Coast and/or Southwest/West Coast).

    Seems a bit weird reading a discussion about it here. This is one of those sets of skills that is best learnt as you progress up to becoming faster and better rider. Your instincts will be honed over time watching and participating in what the various speed packs do when travelling on roads.

    Just my 2 cents....
    Last edited by BelgianHammer; 03-26-2018 at 07:43 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    the solution I think is for the leader to actually spot the obstacle far enough ahead and move the paceline away from the obstacle. The faster the speed of the paceline, the farther ahead the obstacle must be spotted.
    ^^^This. 100% ^^^this. And if you do ^^^this -- including the implicit part about scanning far enough ahead up the road so that you're able to move the line incrementally, gradually, smoothly, and safely long before you wind up anywhere near the obstacle -- then the answer to OP's poll is D. None Of The Above. There's simply no need to point out or call out an obstacle that's 3 or 4 feet away from the line.

  18. #18
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    Bob Ross, I don't disagree. The front rider's job is to scout and route - moving the line as gradually as is possible. But... in lots of areas - like here in/near Atlanta, there's rarely the freedom to move 4' to the left or right of a hazard. If that hazard is 2' left of the white line, it's going to be safer to pass it by 1' as long as the line is aware - as opposed to swerving 6' into the lane.

    I think the punchline is: Pointing is more effective than yelling. Pointing is not just the front rider's role. And, the earlier the better.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    ^^^This. 100% ^^^this. And if you do ^^^this -- including the implicit part about scanning far enough ahead up the road so that you're able to move the line incrementally, gradually, smoothly, and safely long before you wind up anywhere near the obstacle -- then the answer to OP's poll is D. None Of The Above. There's simply no need to point out or call out an obstacle that's 3 or 4 feet away from the line.
    Idealism is one thing. The realities of riding is quiet another. Maybe where you live the roads are such that hazards/holes/whatever are visible well in advance and everyone has special vision so pot holes are clearly visible when mixed in with sun/shadow coming though tree cover but it's not the norm when I ride.

  20. #20
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    This is a big part of why my wife and I only road bike together or solo. The few experiences we've had riding with others were enough for us to say, "not again".

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    Solving the big issues here ;-)

    You're first in a line of five riders. There's an 8" round, 1" deep pothole very close to the white line - but not in line with or requiring you to stray from your line. Do you:
    A. Point with your right hand
    B. Yell "Hole" but keep both hands on the bar
    C. Point and yell "Hole"
    D. STFU

    one inch deep? are you serious? ignore it, it is trivial. was this a trick question? one inch folks
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    D. STFU

    one inch deep? are you serious? ignore it, it is trivial. was this a trick question? one inch folks
    Hitting a 1" deep hole with sharp 90-degree edges, a.k.a. pothole, at 20+mph will flat any tubed tire and possibly wreck a rim. So... STFU ;-)

  23. #23
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    I think the thing is, to be a leading a pack and spotting a danger, you need to convey this info.
    You need to do it so the others register it. It depends on the other riders and their position.
    If they are good and can see you, a point and shift is all that is required.
    If they are a straight line, it is better to yell & pt, then the riders further back know something is up.
    If they all are on your left in escleion, pointing with your right hand just isn't going to get it!
    If they have problems stopping, you need to yell, point, and then hammer it to get away!
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    slam on my disc brakes!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    Hitting a 1" deep hole with sharp 90-degree edges, a.k.a. pothole, at 20+mph will flat any tubed tire and possibly wreck a rim. So... STFU ;-)
    no it will not. one inch folks! Wreck a rim, lol, maybe on Jupiter where gravity is 3x higher.

    one inch . that is about the depth of the stone layer on the paved-but-rough roads in Tucson. You'd be yelling a warning every .00003 seconds. The cobbled roads in Flanders are at least an inch or two depth every 8 inchs you travel

    a typical shallow potholes is going to be 2" minimum. In Tucson the many deep ones are like 6 inches deep - warnings required. (I only mention Tucson cause I ride there in winter and the roads are pretty bad. where I live here in victoria, it is exceedingly rare to come upon even one pothole on a 100km ride)
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