Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Have a better idea?

I've written much on the state of the horrible railroad crossings on my new commute route. This is my usual approach to crossing them:
RRX

When I see a break in traffic, I creep out toward the center line to make it abundantly clear that I absolutely need the whole width of the lane. As I approach the crossing, I pull a zig-zag maneuver that lets me cross the rails more or less perpendicular. If I don't do the first step, I get cars that give me barely enough room to cross them in the direction of the road, much less the ability to cross the rails safely.

Have any better ideas? This trick earned my my first angry honk this morning. I suppose it's not bad for having to do this twelve times per day, five days per week for the past 2 and a half months.

13 comments:

Darius said...

Go really fast and jump them.... MTB skills.

Apertome said...

Nope, I don't think there's a safer way. I'm lucky that I don't have to do this during my commute, but there are some tracks like those in a few places, and I always have to pull that same maneuver.

I.R. Baboon said...

I found that I can take a much more shallow approach safely on fat slicks just because they're less likely to fall in the slot. Of course the trade off is the increase in overall drag all of the time. I'm not sure it's really worth it.

Noah said...

If I was on my mountain bike, or even Hybridzilla (damn, I miss that bike!) it wouldn't be a problem. I'm still flogging that Wabi Special, and it's got these itty bitty 23mm road tires on it. Definitely not conducive to flogging on RRX like I've been doing. I'm surprised I haven't gotten a... you know what... yet.

Ron said...

The Santa Fe Trail RRX are especially bad. One rider in the group I ride in just about bought it when he had to do nearly the same thing on the same tracks with a car coming fast from behind. Frankly, I don't think there's any safer way (other than pulling a slighter angle, which usually won't work on those particular tracks). Hoping for friendlier-and-more-bike-aware motorists may be the only alternative!

Eddie Licitra said...

Even though it was probably a joke, if you bring up the front wheel of the bike a little bit you're more likely to float over the tracks than get stuck in them.

In mountain biking, if you're going too fast over a log or some obstacle at an angle, you try and pull your front wheel over onto traction, your rear will float over.

rorowe said...

I don't know that I would've thought to prepare the following cars like you do, but it's a great idea.
Unfortunately, I think you're doing it as right as one can.
As silly as it sounds, it's probably a perfect place for a "Share the Road" sign just to give drivers an extra ounce of warning.

GhostRider said...

I'm with Darius...bunnyhop those rails. Easy to do on a roadbike; I once bunnyhopped over a crashing fellow racer and his bike way back when.

A Midnight Rider said...

Well, we know the guys horn works. Have him try his brake lights next time.

James Oiler said...

I used to get onto some tracks like this in and around Fort Lauderdale FL (Dixie Hwy). Full on bunny-hop was usually more than my road bike could endure. It was pretty easy to negotiate with a little front wheel lift and pushing my weight back. A little rain on the road and tracks eliminates all the margin for error.

commuterDude said...

Short of the high-speed bunny hop, yeah -- I think you're doing it right. If folks can't extend their brains beyond the effort it takes to depress the horn button, shame on them. You've got the right approach, the right vest - etc.
What I've done in the past on similar tracks on K-32, just east of K-7 near Bonner Springs, is raise my hand directly into the air, as a signal... it adds enough following driver confusion and helps keep the traffic gap a little wider.... in that case, the tracks are at such an angle, you have to use both lanes to cross semi-perpendicular. But, so far, so good ----

Noah said...

I actually signal a "stop" as I approach the crossing, usually while looking over my shoulder, to do the "eye contact" thing (even though I can see them in my dorkmirror)

The photographer caught a photo of me doing this very thing. When he asked why, I said "It's the closest approximation to brake lights that cyclists have."

Noah said...

Also, when you take the clipless pedals off of the road bike, ride it wearing sandals, and put panniers on the rack, you lose any and all hopes of ever performing a bunny hop.

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