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Roadcraft 2 slipping and sliding (1 Viewer)

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I repeat, I am writing about British roads, road markings etc. may vary elsewhere, be sure you know the local rules.

A C.B.T. instructor (That's control of bike technique, the one you have to do in England before they let you take a bike on the road) once showed me a trick he used to demonstrate how slippery steel gets when it is wet. He chucks a bucket of water on a manhole cover, puts the front wheel of the bike on it and pushes on the handlebars with the front brake on. You can push down for grip 'til the suspension bounces and the wheel still slides. Of course usually there is not enough steel in the road to affect more than one wheel, but it's still worth avoiding if it's wet.
Sometimes in summer when it hasn't rained for a bit there is a sudden shower, not enough to wash the rubber and oil off, just enough to make it wet and slippery as hell, and ten minutes later the sun comes out again and you forget it's wet.
People get over confident on smooth new roads, the stone of macadamed roads grips well, but tar is slippery stuff. On new roads where the tar has not worn off the top yet take care, as you would with tires where the silicon mould release has not worn off. Watch out for overbanding, that's where two strips of road join and the join is filled with tar, if it runs along the road it can catch two wheels one side, or both wheels on a bike. Tar is not all black, white lines, writing on the road (Stop, Slow) and zebra crossing stripes are all painted in white tar. Don't get caught out and slip up.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
Reading about steel in the road reminds me. As you come off the West Way, the elevated roadway round North London, at the Notting Hill end there is a steel expansion strip about two foot wide and stretching across the entire width of the road right on the bend, that is very scary on a bike, there is a fifty limit and you are well laid over for the bend when suddenly your wheels jump sideways one after the other and there is no way of avoiding it
 

Pete_C

WF Veterans
This true what he says about the white stuff. In my youth, I was travelling to work one frosty morning on my trusted Yamaha RD400 when I spotted a young damsel waiting to cross the road. I stopped at the zebra crossing, lifted my visor, and delivered a cunning wink as she passed by. Once crossed, she turned to smile as I pulled away. So happy was I that I switched off, and as the rear wheel hit the frosty white stripe of the zebra, myself and the RD parted company. A low speed spill with high speed consequences. I damaged my bike, and the girl never looked back again.

Mr Buckle, you understate the case.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
The oldest reason in the world for bad driving Mr C. and my experience is that it invariably fails to impress even when it comes off. Admiring their shoes and listening to what they say works far better.
 

Pete_C

WF Veterans
Ah, how true. Perhaps your take on Roadcraft should address such issues as wheelspin versus shoe admiration. Now, that's what I call an angle!
 

The Backward OX

WF Veterans
Your words on slipping and sliding would at first glance seem best directed to the two-wheeled brigade. However, they reminded me of a similar four-wheeled incident in my youth which may be apposite even today.

Perhaps a little background might not go astray. (God, anyone can see I’m not a writer, unashamedly using tired old clichés like that.)

In the early days of road-building out here in the colonies, we copied an 1840’s London practice of “woodblocking.”


“The method utilised Australian hardwoods which were exceptionally well suited to the task and very long lasting. From today’s perspective the use of so much hardwood for street making seems profligate, but in 1880 it seemed the Australian bush could yield up a cheap and durable source of urban improvement for the foreseeable future, and the roads, which were better than anything previously built, were enormously popular.


“Enormous interest was aroused by the question of how best to construct a woodblock road, both within the engineering fraternity and by those interested in sanitary affairs. The continuing problems with jointing, and ongoing public doubts as to what the gaps might harbour, resulted in experiments with ever decreasing size of openings, so that by 1900 the blocks, steeped in a tar solution, were hammered up as close as possible. This minimised rounding at the edges of the blocks. A top surface of tar was added and in many cases the woodblocked road outlasted the hard bluestone cubes which were often laid at busy intersections.”


Ok, where were we? Ah, yes, slip, slip, sliding away.

One problem with these woodblocked roads was their slipperiness during or shortly after rain. As you correctly stated, tar is slippery, but even with the wearing away of the tar mentioned above, the exposed timber was equally dicey in the wet.

These woodblocked roads were long-lasting. The following incident took place possibly sixty to seventy years after the road was first laid. It involved a tram track set in woodblocks and a Fiat 500 Topolino, possibly one of the earliest “mini” cars. The car weighed in at less than half a ton, and also had extremely narrow tyres, features which may have been significant in the context.

So, it had turned into a dark and stormy night as I paraphrased Thomas Gray and slowly homeward drove my weary way. I’d been with my lady love most of the evening; it had been a physically draining experience for a tyro such as me at these trysts, and in short I was stuffed.

I guess my mind was dwelling on the recent past, and consequently I failed to notice the indifferent road surface. I was driving on a wood-blocked section of one of Sydney’s main arteries when a front tyre of my Topolino caught in a tram track, or rail, and the other tyre lost most of its traction on the slippery wood. The end result was that my “Little Mouse” followed the tracks through a right-hand turn, whereupon I decided that wasn’t the way home and brought the car to a standstill. While stationary I turned the wheels (naughty, I know, puts strain on the steering box) to break the traction with the steel rail and proceeded on my uncertain way.


Doesn’t sound so spectacular now it’s reduced to words. I guess you had to be there.

Here’s some pictorial history:
http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/history/SydneyStreets/How_to_Build_a_Street/Woodblocking/default.html
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3d/Topolino.jpg/736px-Topolino.jpg
 
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