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Road construction and uneven pavement levels


KCSheila

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I ride a Honda Shadow VT700 and when on the interstate, I avoid a lane change when my lane is 3 inches lower than the other lane they have just added during the road improvement. Have always felt that I couldn't get the right angle to hop up and over to the other lane. Last week, I had no choice. I was on the entrance ramp and it had not been restored yet, but in order to get on the interstate, I had to make a QUICK decision how to get on safely. Checked in front of me, rear mirrors, and a quick glance over my shoulder to see how much "play room" I might have if my entrance did not go well. I just tried a quick swerve to the right to change my entrance path and the best I could manage was a near 45 degree angle. My small bike made the conversion, but I really had to do some quick moves to try to make sure I could get back on the straight path and align my front and rear wheels. Anyone know of a more graceful way to switch lanes with a 3 inch difference in level on a small bike. I have seen the heavier ones just slip right up over the lip with no issue. Any advise would be appreciated.

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Anyone know of a more graceful way to switch lanes with a 3 inch difference in level on a small bike. I have seen the heavier ones just slip right up over the lip with no issue. Any advise would be appreciated.

Sure it's 3 inches? That's a pretty substantial height, and even on a large bike I'd be a little leery of trying to climb that lip.

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David Hough's "More Proficient Motorcycling - Mastering the Ride" has a lot of advice about what he calls "edge traps." I'd quote some here, but I think I'd do you a better service if I pushed you to get the book and read about it and many other subjects he covers for yourself. It is a great book that all riders, regardless of experience should read.

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Sure it's 3 inches? That's a pretty substantial height, and even on a large bike I'd be a little leery of trying to climb that lip.

3 inches is practically a small curb!

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I wasn't in a position to hop off and measure. We have all come across these areas under construction when new pavement is being layed over existing roads. I suppose if the EXACT height is the issue, I could contact DOT to find out how thick they are. My original point was partly that it was substantial, compared to most irregularties I come across when riding. My post was to try to gather contructive advise from more experienced riders, should that occasion pop up again.

 

Any real advise that might be helpful other than was it 2 or 3 inches?

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Joe Frickin' Friday
I wasn't in a position to hop off and measure. We have all come across these areas under construction when new pavement is being layed over existing roads. I suppose if the EXACT height is the issue, I could contact DOT to find out how thick they are. My original point was partly that it was substantial, compared to most irregularties I come across when riding. My post was to try to gather contructive advise from more experienced riders, should that occasion pop up again.

 

Any real advise that might be helpful other than was it 2 or 3 inches?

 

I'll admit to not having read through the Street Strategies book I bought some time ago; there's probably some good tips in there. That said, when I've encountered similar situations -that is, when you don't have maneuvering room to get a good angle of approach - I've used an aggressive swerve maneuver to move the contact patches quickly over the ledge:

 

Scenario: bike in right lane, want to move to left lane. Pavement in left lane is substantially higher than in right lane.

 

1. In right lane, ride parallel to ledge, a few feet away from it.

 

2. Push HARD on left bar. bike quickly leans left, and begins to actually steer to the left.

 

3. Just before contacting ledge, push HARD on right bar. Bike stands up vertical, though it is now tracking to the left. If you've done it right, the bike is vertical or leaning slightly to the right as the wheels contact the ledge and go over it.

 

4. release that right countersteer when you're back to travelling straight down the left lane.

 

Because of #2, your center of mass has some leftward momentum to carry it over that ledge. But the really important thing is #3: the bike itself has a lot of rotational momentum because of that hard right push; that's what really helps ensure that the wheels aren't too upset when they go over the ledge.

 

I'd be more inclined to pull this off at high speed, where the gyro stabilization of the wheels ensures that it'll be hard for the ledge to knock your wheels out from under you; at low speeds, I'd go farther away from the ledge and take a more direct angle of approach.

 

Now I'll go read how Hough says to do it. crazy.gif

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Any real advise that might be helpful other than was it 2 or 3 inches?

 

I believe Gel had recommended David Hough's book, and mentioned it contains a section specifically about edge traps. I guess that wasn't real advice??? confused.gif

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ShovelStrokeEd

I used to worry about that kinda stuff. Don't any more.

 

I just make a normal lane change from say the left tire track and kinda aim for the middle of the new lane. The bike climbs up just fine. It might give a bit of a twitch on the bars and another as the rear wheel passes over the interface but it is no big deal. The only time I worry at all about this is if the new pavement is very, very fresh. There can still be a few marbles at the interface but, to date, I have never had a problem going over so

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ShovelStrokeEd

I used to worry about that kinda stuff. Don't any more.

 

I just make a normal lane change from say the left tire track and kinda aim for the middle of the new lane. The bike climbs up just fine. It might give a bit of a twitch on the bars and another as the rear wheel passes over the interface but it is no big deal. The only time I worry at all about this is if the new pavement is very, very fresh. There can still be a few marbles at the interface but, to date, I have never had a problem going over some substantial paving transitions.

 

What you DON'T want to do is be timid about this. I usually make lane changes a pretty agressive move, almost like a swerve to avoid an obstacle. Keeps my hand in for the time when I'll need to do just that. The biggest danger will come from easing up close to the transition and then trying to mount the obstacle. That could lead you into a real edge trap.

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Actually, I did take note of the recommended books and feel all will be very informative. I am kind of glad I didn't have much time to think about the transfer, because I may have been too timid and had a different result. I did feel that twitch in the handlebars and that is when I was hoping I wouldn't wiggle on over to the far lane. This is just a short entrance ramp, not much view ahead and on a tight curve. Lots of variables and I hadn't encountered it before. Well................another "first" behind me. I haven't been riding very long and have lots to learn. That is why I spend more time than I should crusing this site to learn through the experiences of others. Thanks for the help!!

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What you DON'T want to do is be timid about this.

That was my antedote...

I, like the original poster, opted for avoiding the lane change to a higher lane... Until I had no option... just a few days ago... checked around me for other traffic then hung on and committed... after it was all said and done... It really was not that bad... I tried to make the change as quickly as possible and gave it some throttle ( for good measure) not sure how high it was but I am now much less intimidated...

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Like tar snakes, uneven pavement transitions are something that should be practiced on whenever the opportunity arises. If you practice when conditions are good, you'll be prepared when something like this happens suddenly.

 

The technique of swerving away, then towards the transition is correct, and even if it was quite high, you'd still pop right up on it. Even if you gently wander up on the transition, you'll most likely climb right up without any problem (except as Ed says you might experience a little wiggle).

 

Keep in mind, your tire has a round profile and these pavement transitions are somewhat sloped. They look much scarier then they are. smile.gif

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