If you ride often, be it for leisure or just commuting, the urge to ride on an open road can be tempting. We all know that riding on footpaths and pavements are limited to slower speeds with other people moving about in narrow spaces. Cycling on the road is the solution. But take it slow if you are new.
So once you mastered the confidence to get on the road, here are 5 things you should look out for if you’re new to the road.
1. The slippery things
On the open road, there is not a rare occasion where you don’t see either white lines or yellow lines at the side or the middle of the lanes.
They serve as an important guide on the road for all users but don’t underestimate the potential problems you can have with it. Even in dry weather, you can easily lose traction of your tyres; slip and then fall because of them. Obviously, it gets worse when it’s raining. Its the same problem with sewage covers, which also can slippery. So whenever, you on the road, be wary of the sudden loss of grip when riding over these.
2. Metal Grilles
These grilles are essential to the infrastructure of the roads and pathways. You cannot avoid them so you must be prepared for it. The danger comes when the grilles are aligned parallel to the direction of where your wheels are rolling over.
Basically, the spaces between the grilles can be wider than the width of your tyres. This causes your wheels to sink in between the hole and get stuck. The aftermath? You flying over your bar. How do you tackle them then? Be alert and be prepared. Avoid them or cross over the grilles diagonally so your tyres can’t go in. You should be fine.
3. Pot Holes a.k.a death traps
Q: Why do potholes even exist??
Potholes form when water seeps through tiny pores on the road surface into the asphalt pavement. During rainy seasons when the top layer of the pavement is soaked in water as a result of prolonged rainfall, the composition of the top layer is weakened and clusters of aggregates may be loosened and subsequently removed by traffic running over it. That is why you tend to spot new potholes forming after continuous days of rain.
Be extremely careful when riding in the rain as the rainwater will mask the pothole. Mastering how to bunny hop is a crucial skill to have if you do not have enough time to avoid one.
To report a pothole in Singapore, you can contact Land Transport Authority (LTA) at 1800-CALL LTA (1800-2255582) or send your message through their online feedback form. They will aim to fix the pothole within 24 hours of notification.
4. Bad Road Sections
The roads in Singapore are not just for vehicles to travel on. Power cables, sewage lines and other essential infrastructure are all built under our roads. This is why our roads are often being dug up and then covered back up.
While I can’t comment much on the quality of the repair and refurbishment works of some contractors, these roadworks can lead to uneven lanes levels and humps. For example, the picture above may look harmless, but your tyres can get swiped when trying to move across from the ‘lower’ to the ‘higher’ road level. This will cause you to fall to one side. Their unpredictability will send your bike everywhere except where you want it!
5. Leftover Road Hazards
Sometimes when you are on the road, random items are littered in the middle of the road. They may have fallen from vehicles or just happen to be there due to increment weather. Don’t underestimate items such as rocks, small planks of wood, metal rods, branches and even cardboard.
You may think its safe to just roll over it and be done with it. Don’t gamble. They can easily wreck havoc. Not only can they cause a sudden puncture, but when the conditions are just right, these items can cause a sudden steering ‘jerk’ or even worse, get stuck into your wheel and lock up. Nothing good comes after your front wheel locks up.
Try your best to avoid all these hazards or the very least, tackle with utmost caution. Having said that, ride safe!
Author: Irsyad Marican
Sports has always been close to his heart but racing bicycles is the extra special one. It’s been 3 years since his first race and there’s more in his tank. He enjoys time-trialling and loves bicycles that speaks to him.