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Can you ride your road bike over cattle guards?(21 posts)

Can you ride your road bike over cattle guards?MXL02
Jul 2, 2003 6:55 AM
I always assumed this was a big no-no, but I have been researching rides out in the country for this weekend and one includes a cattle guard crossing. So at the risk of being ridiculed on the board, I just have to ask, does anybody do this, and if so, how do you do it without killing yourself?
yes, just jump over it if you don't want to ride it. nmclimbo
Jul 2, 2003 6:57 AM
yes, just jump over it if you don't want to ride it. nmMXL02
Jul 2, 2003 7:01 AM
Again I apologize for my ignorance, but I assume you mean bunny hop over the rails? That was my plan, but I just wanna make sure.
that's it, the bunny hop ! get plenty of speed up (nm)climbo
Jul 2, 2003 7:28 AM
thanks! (nm)MXL02
Jul 2, 2003 7:47 AM
What is a cattle guard?Ian
Jul 2, 2003 7:16 AM
I have seen people mention this before, and have no idea what they are talking about.

Stormwater Drain x10ninelittlepiggies
Jul 2, 2003 7:26 AM
Cattle gaurds are used in the country (mainly on free range land). When a cattle fence intersects a road, they put a cattle gaurd down. It consists of about 10 vertical rails that run perpendicular to the roadway, and the rails are spaced one cow hoof apart. They will eat a bike wheel in seconds flat, and you'll probably get your foot caught in it as you're doing your oral soil sample. You can hop them @ high speed, or just go slowly over them perpendicular to the rails, like riding over a bunch of train tracks.
Cattle guardStraightblock
Jul 2, 2003 7:32 AM
Another good reason not to ride Stupid Light.

When I was in college, I'd sometimes ride my ItalVega, my cat 4 race bike, down short flights of steps. I don't think I'd try that on today's equipment.
fake cattle guardsmohair_chair
Jul 2, 2003 7:35 AM
There are lots of fake ones, which shows how stupid cattle are. All they do is paint lines on the road in the same pattern as metal cattle guards, and apparently the cows are fooled. Dumb cows.
fake cattle guardsDrone 5200
Jul 2, 2003 7:41 AM
The fake ones are great. You find them at the freeway on and off ramps round these parts.

There's the reason why we eat cow and not vice versa.
Learn something new every day :)loki_1
Jul 2, 2003 8:49 AM
Dumb cows and dumb bikers!TWD
Jul 2, 2003 10:04 AM
Yep, I've had encounters with the fake and real cattle guards.

Last year I did the Race Across Oregon as part of a team (it's a 530 mile RAAM qualifier with ~43,000 ft of climbing). We had run into a few cattle guards out in the hinterlands of central Oregon, so we were aware of the threat. I got to one of my pulls and came up on a super fast twisty descent. I'm screaming downhill at 40+ mph when I round a bend, and guess what's there.....CATTLE GUARD.....OH CRAP!!!!! So I bunny hop this thing, and let me tell you, bunny hoppping at high speed is an interesting endeavor. Of course, it turned out to be one of the fake cattle guards painted on the road. I just about had to clean out my shorts after that one.

I can tell the diffence between the real ones and fake ones at slower speeds when I'm not suffereing from sleep depravation.
I thought I was going to be the only one to admit ignorance (nm)Frith
Jul 2, 2003 7:26 AM
I have, many timesmohair_chair
Jul 2, 2003 7:32 AM
It's no big deal. It's a lot like a bad railroad crossing. Just slow down, hit them perpendicular and don't freak out. I've seen people crash before, but mostly it's because they think they are going to fall into a boiling pit of brimstone, get super tensed, and over react. Smack. Unless you have cloven hooves (hoofs?), there is no reason why you should fear cattle guards.
What works for me...mdehner
Jul 2, 2003 7:36 AM
Out here in Oregon we have lots of open range, and I frequently encounter cattle guards. What has worked for me is greater rather than lesser speed, a perfect 90 degree angle between my wheels and the guard, and NOT pedaling while crossing. Bunny-hopping would seem to invite disaster, but I am especially risk-aversive out in the boonies.
Four times a day, every day I ride to workcory
Jul 2, 2003 7:54 AM
I cross two of 'em each way every day, and I weigh 230. No problems (w/36 spokes and 700x35 tires, anyway). Most of the ones around here have flat strips running across the grate, so you can ride on those if you don't want the bumps. But it's way slippery in wet weather.
It's no problemDropped
Jul 2, 2003 8:55 AM
It's not even an issue. I've crossed a lot of cattle guards in my day and never thought anything of it. There is nothing to it. Just ride across it.
one addition...4bykn
Jul 2, 2003 9:03 AM
If the cattleguard is wet, and you can't bunny-hop the whole thing, consider walking over it. Wet steel is really slick.
Do it all the time.theBreeze
Jul 2, 2003 10:20 AM
In fact you could probably rate rides around here by how many cattleguards you have to cross. "This one's a four, this one's a six..."

In my experience faster is better than slow, keep your line perpendicular to the rails, keep your upper body relaxed and don't pedal. I lift up off the saddle a little too. Some have 3 inch wide metal strips that run straight across the rails and if you aim right you can ride across on those. Most guards are made of square shaped steel rods and are easy to cross. Occsionally I have seen some made of large diameter (like 3-4 inch) metal pipe laid horizontal to the road. These are a little scarier and I have been known to walk these. I usually see them at the entrances to driveways and parking lots.

But be careful of walking across them too! I know of someone who tried walking one, slipped, her foot/leg went between the pipes and she got cut up pretty bad.

Be very careful to watch for separations between sections of the grating. These usually occur towards the outside quarters of the cattle guard. The year before last a pro caught a wheel in one of these during the Tour of the Gila and crashed resulting in quite serious injuries.
re: Can you ride your road bike over cattle guards?farmerfrank
Jul 2, 2003 10:21 AM
In Northern California we run into cattle guards and you must just use your good judgement. Wet conditions are dangerous along with debris and stray strips of barbed wire.
I wouldn't bunny hop the guards. It is a long way to the other side. Unless you're blasting down the road I can't see making it safely. In Moab at the entrance to the slickrock trail you must cross a small cattle guard. I have seen people fall first thing in the morning. They usually aren't going fast and it is a more embarrasing situation. Metal drawbridges are the same. For the short distance you risk it may be better to walk across it if unsure. You don't need to leave any skin behind.
Jul 2, 2003 7:57 PM
Uphill, yes
Downhill, yes

You are only going to kill yourself reading all the responses.

Take 2 advil before crossing.