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Well, looks like I took the plunge and finally bought myself a roadbike. I have a fairly solid mountain biking background but I have no idea when it comes to road bikes. Before I go out on a long ride, I have a few basic questions that will probably seem pretty ridiculous to you guys (because they are so basic) but that I have not yet been able to find the answers to (the top 10 tips thread is awesome, and I recieved a lot of valuable information for there). Anyway:

When riding in the road, just what type of things should I avoid? Obviously the smoothest path is the best, but sometimes there are railroad tracks, little bumps, the bump that allows you to get onto a curb, etc. etc. Do you roll over these objects very slowly?

are there any other dangerous objects that I (or other beginners) may tend to overlook? I know being a mtn biker, im used to jumping up and off curbs etc. etc. obviously I know to be careful on a roadbike.


about taking the rear wheel off. I open the quick release lever fully and even then, the tire is too fat to slide out between the caliper/shoes. Is this normal? I have adjusted the rear brakes to shimano's recommended specs of 1-2mm spacing between the shoes and rims on both sides. I tend to have to loosen the cable for the calipers to open wide enough for the tires to fit through.


and finally, how far from the curb do you usually ride when there is no bike lane? I heard some people mention that you should ride somewhat far to avoid having motorists try to "squeeze" by.

thanks for the help guys, I really appreciate it. I look forward to a great biking experience!
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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Welcome to road riding. You'll already have a leg up (so to speak) because of the bike handling skills you will have acquired over the years.

What to avoid. Well, be aware that both metal and painted surfaces can be slicker than snot when even remotely damp. So, manhole covers, railroad ties, painted stripes, etc. should get a little extra attention. Things to truly "avoid" are in part a function of speed. On a 40 mph downhill, a small hole can really cause some abuse on spokes, etc. but I've hit some bad stuff at high speeds and been no worse for where.

Removing your rear wheel. I'm confused. You mention opening the quick release skewer but not opening the brake (though I think you implied it by mentioning loosening the cable). It can be very snug but generally your cable should be able to be loose enough to allow your wheel to squeeze through the brake calipers when open.

With no bike lane, I probably ride about 1.5 to 2 feet to the left of the edge of the lane.
 

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ok, lets see here...

basic things, stuff to bring are similar. You'll get less flats but a spare tube/patch kit lever and pump are a must. Allen wrench and chain tool are nice too. I like using a frame pump because of the reliablity vs. CO2.

What to avoid, cracks running your direction of travel. Your front wheel can get in there and get pinched sending you flying. Any change of surface going your direction, Just 1cm jump up might cause your tire to track along it.

Train tracks, allways take as close to perpendictular as possible. 45 deg. can spell disaster, 60 deg can if its wet

Most wheels can take a beating. Many of us will use the same rims for cyclecross. But i'd be cautious jumping curbs.

Line of travel... Around parked cars, give them 2' on your right. Look for heads of drivers and wheels turning toward the street. You look for the head of the driver because an opening door isn't any fun. 2' should give you enough time to dart another 1' into traffic and still be clear of both. You determine what is safe here. often the first 2' next to the curb is filled with glass. Glass is not your friend. But if/when you hit some use an open palm (wearing a glove) and wipe off your tires. For the front tire, put your hand on it in front of the break caliper and whipe away glass/gravel. Most punctures can be prevented like this. Glass takes a few turns to work through the tire and into the tube. On the rear, wipe the tire just behind the seat tube. You never want to wipe on the near side of the front caliper and the back side of the rear caliper. The wheel will pull your hand into the break and send you flying (i've seen it)
Stay consistant. Don't keep moving to the curb and into the lane when parked cars come about. This confuses drivers behind you. Find your space and hold it. Use hand signals and stop at lights/signs. We are all stewards of our sport.

as for removing the rear wheel...
shift into the smallest cog (or close to it)
for shimano, flip up the tab on the brake caliper (it opens it up a bit more) On campy this is done at the brifter by pushing the little cylinder pin at the top of the lever.

You'll have to unscrew the quick release a few turns to get over the lawyer tabs just like your MTB has.

enjoy!
 

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I started out riding MTB and now split my pedal time between road and trail. I ride XC and run my MTB tires at higher pressure (47psi for my 175# weight) so pinch flats are rare for me. On road I run around 105-110psi for my 700x23's. FWIW- I flat ALOT more on road than off, although some of that may be the thin-sidewall Conti tires I was using. Unless you race, consider getting Kevlar belted (not just Kevlar bead) road tires.
 

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Oldteen said:
I started out riding MTB and now split my pedal time between road and trail. I ride XC and run my MTB tires at higher pressure (47psi for my 175# weight) so pinch flats are rare for me. On road I run around 105-110psi for my 700x23's. FWIW- I flat ALOT more on road than off, although some of that may be the thin-sidewall Conti tires I was using. Unless you race, consider getting Kevlar belted (not just Kevlar bead) road tires.
the tires have a lot to do with it IMO. I use heavy speediums and in the last 1500kms, i've been flat free. People talk about the tubes being stronger, Whatever! if something pierces the tire, it will pierce the tube that is pressed all along the interior of the tire.. hate to break it to some people, but the pressure of 100-110psi is provided by the tire, not the tube.. Try pumping a road tube outside of a wheel to just a few psi and see how big it gets...Riding paper-thin lightweight race slicks makes complaints about flats void.. not attacking anyone in particular or even suggesting a ban on race tires unless racing, but just saying.. pet hate here... sorry. :eek:
just to add to the comments quoted above which i totally agree with, i must however say my experience has been the opposite.. My MTB, even on the road, (same route) flats more often... Now two things probably contribute to this. 1) everyhting on my MTB commuter is ultra crap quality, 2) the pressure on my MTB is far more likely to be low. I think almost always being at 100/110psi f/r on my roadie really helps with preventing self-inflicted flatting..

that brings me to another point... i too asssumed the wheels on a roadie would be fragile... not true... i really hammered my campy ventos when i got them, and no issues at all. They are very well made.. that said, when up to pressure, the tires really are rock-hard, so they do add a lot more strain to the spokes and such... but again, everything is sweet on my roadie..i s'pose if the wheels are strong to begin with, you shouldnt have any issues down the track unless you are doing something really dumb... For the most part you simply cant avoid a pothole or other obstacle when your going 30+km/h, unless you ride the same damn road everyday. None have bothered me in the past, that said it's not like i go down stairs or mount kerbs on my roadie like i do on my MTB.. :D

being sensible on a roadie is the key ! You can be forgiven for tooling it up on a mtb ! ;)
 

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Congratulations on getting into road riding. Avoid any obstacle that will cause either a pinch flat or damage to a rim. This means holes and sharp edges. Your MTB experience will help you absorb a lot of what you might encounter on the road if you allow the bike to move and are using your body as a shock absorber and not a rigid, tense, over-reactive countering force. Tire pressure is crucial and bigger tires 23mm or 25mm help. Stay away from 20mm's.

As far as the brake clearance goes, there should be a small lever on the brake caliper that opens the brakes a little to allow for wheel changes.

I urge you to look into reading your state's vehicle laws to see what it says about lane use by bicycles. Generally, the standard concept is riding as close as possible to the right hand side of the roadway as practical. The shoulder is defined as something other than the roadway and can be used by bicycles or the bicyclist may use that part of the roadway which is to the left of the shoulder but still as far to the right as is considered practical while avoiding obstacles, parked cars, or debris. Also, bike lanes are specially designated and usually require that a bicyclist stay within them unless there are obstacles, or debris, or the bicyclist signals and passes other bike lane traffic safely and returns to a position inside the bike lane.

Lastly, it is possible to ride within a lane and maintain your position in traffic if the lane is sub-standard in width and too narrow for a car and bike to occupy the lane with a safe distance for passing.

Don't expect motorists to know as much as you do about your rights and responsibilities as a bicyclist in traffic once you have read and understood the traffic and vehicle code. Police will often interpret the law with a car-centric perspective, so be careful and don't be an arrogant a-hole. Just be safe.
 

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Lots of good advice above.

Small rocks that you ignore on an MTB will pinch flat a road tube. As will glass. You learn to watch the road ahead for tire hazards.

Be friendly to other road riders. "racing" them or drafting without saying hello first is rude.

Don't spit, another rider may be passing you. I hate riders who spit all the time.
 

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I'm cornfuzed. You don't mention opening up the quick-release on the brakes. Are you aware that they are there? If they're Shimano, which I'll assume they are since you mentioned the space suggested by them, there will be a lever on the brake calipers right where the cable attatches to the brakes that when flipped open should allow almost any tire to come thru fairly easily.
 

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dslfoolish said:
about taking the rear wheel off. I open the quick release lever fully and even then, the tire is too fat to slide out between the caliper/shoes. Is this normal? I have adjusted the rear brakes to shimano's recommended specs of 1-2mm spacing between the shoes and rims on both sides. I tend to have to loosen the cable for the calipers to open wide enough for the tires to fit through.


and finally, how far from the curb do you usually ride when there is no bike lane? I heard some people mention that you should ride somewhat far to avoid having motorists try to "squeeze" by.

thanks for the help guys, I really appreciate it. I look forward to a great biking experience!
On the left side of the brake their is a lever, just flip it up, and your tire will sild right out. (alot of people, even experinced road bikers have this problem, not trying to offened anyone, but i wrenched for a pro team, with 2 guys who never figured it out.). For the distance from the curb, you should check with local authorites. Most states are 3 feet, if no bike lane is around, but if you hear a car stick as close as you can. Not everyone is as nice to bikers as a bikers. Have fun, and enoy the ride!:thumbsup:
 
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