Cycling through lightning?

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by Sara_H, 4 Aug 2012.

  1. Sara_H

    Sara_H Guru

    Me and Son aged 9 are off on our first camping tour tomorrow. Theres thunder storms forecast for tomorrow and frankly, I'm bobbing myself.

    What are the do's and don'ts when cycling out in the open when it's lightning?

    Got to the point where I'm considering cancelling the trip.
  2. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    You will be fine. Just stop somewhere safe to shelter as it passes.

    Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk 2
  3. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Atop a Ti
    +1 to what Fossy said.
    Any way there may not be any lightening.
  4. Boris Bajic

    Boris Bajic Guest

    My wife says a little lightening would do me no harm.

    She makes no comment about lightning, but I fear her views would be similar.

    I hope I have helped but fear I may not have.
    Maylian, Spiky Simon, MattHB and 6 others like this.
  5. Buy a carbon fibre bike, it won't conduct electricity, however it might melt in the rain :wacko:
    Seriously Sara, you'll be fine :thumbsup:
  6. OP

    Sara_H Guru

    Our route tomorrow is on the high peak trail, its a disused rail tack on a cutting above the surrounding country -
    We're going to be high up, there's no shelter and we're attatched to metal things. Surely this isn't good?
  7. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    You are just suffering a little pre-tour nerves Sara_H, many people do, it's quite normal.
    Don't give up, you will be fine.^_^
    Sara_H likes this.
  8. OP

    Sara_H Guru

    OH has suggested DRIVING streight to the campsite - he's either worried or jealous!
  9. compo

    compo Veteran

    Quite a number of fishermen killed when their carbon fibre rods touch overhead power lines might just disagree about the non conductivity of carbon fibre.
    HLaB and Norm like this.
  10. RhythMick

    RhythMick Über Member

    From the afterlife ... ?
    slowmotion likes this.
  11. MrJamie

    MrJamie Oaf on a Bike

    I read a while back not to shelter under trees, supposedly where theres not metal structures around they act like a big lightning rod attracting lightning and the lightning will arc from the tree through the person for a more conductive route to earth, id always thought it was just incase the tree fell on you! Im probably the worst person to offer advice only a few years ago having waited for storms for good winds to go power kiting :crazy:

    If youve got a smartphone is very useful for watching what the rains doing though :smile:
  12. Pauluk

    Pauluk Senior Member

    Lightning doesn't have to strike you directly to cause an injury or fatality. It can strike the ground (or a nearby tree/object) and still cause a fatal shock. It would depend on the strength and proximity of the strike and on where and how you are standing.

    When lightning hits the ground it dissipates very rapidly in a generally hemispherical shape and during this process sets up equipotential lines across the ground in the form of an electric field. If you happen to be standing in the 'wrong' position across these electric fields then you could conceivably be electrocuted.

    I believe there have been recorded incidents where this has happened, to farm animals and people on playing fields.

    Fortunately, I would think that the probability of such an occurrence is very very low indeed. You probably have more chance of winning the lottery jackpot.
  13. Dragonwight

    Dragonwight Guest

    I would have thought the tyres would act as insulators thus providing no way to earth. Having said that the voltages involved are huge.
  14. Pauluk

    Pauluk Senior Member

    Tyres wouldn't help very much from a direct strike and wet they would be even less help. I'm not sure but I think 20KV can arc across about 1cm of dry air so half a million volts should have no problem with bike tyres. Then again if you are near to a better conductor may be the tyres will help, who knows.
  15. Tim Hall

    Tim Hall Guest

    Your second sentence is they key. Air is also an insulator under normal conditions, but when faced with a zillion volts of thundercloud, it conducts as well as Simon Rattle. So 28mm of tyre won't make a jot of difference.
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