Pot-holes, hills and momentum


New Member
Morning guys and gals.

Think this just about scrapes into the commute section....

Quick question reference the title: Are there any special techniques you guys use to navigate pot-holes/surface cracks (if thats the right name) while going up hill to keep the momentum up?

Im finding that even in Hertfordshire, not mega hilly by any stretch of the imagination, that when im going up hills im so into trying to preserve my wheels from buckling down the holes/cracks/sunken man hole covers that i lose all my speed and it takes so much effort to get the speed back up its demoralising!:biggrin:

Soooo, any hints and tips or should i just grin and bear it and take this as extra hill training?:sad:


New Member
I have one point on my route that is uphill with a rough bit of road - it used to be a pothole but now they've "fixed" it. All I can think of to do at this point is get prepared well in advance, check the traffic behind me and if I can, pull out to avoid it - if it's not clear I have no alternative but to go through it and suffer the speed loss.

I do notice other cyclists often take that hill on the path. I wouldn't do it myself as the only time I go on the path is to avoid gridlocked traffic and I take it real slow.


New Member
Yeah i do the same thing when i can, pull out as far as i can to avoid them but the cracks must be about 2m wide so im basically near the centre line and i feel guilty holding up the cars for their precious 20secs - the road is a 50 too which adds to the fun!:S

Ah well i guess it is quite nice in a perverse way to feel your quads and thighs burning for a few mins! :biggrin:

...just hope the wheels survive a decent amount of time!


Cycling in the sun
If I know where they are ... then I plan my line in advance, whereas if I suddenly see one then if I have the time and space swerve around them to the right normally - if not to the left.


Yeah, It is a bit of resistance training I suppose. I just take the best line I can see, and take a little weight off the saddle :tongue:
One steep hill on my commute has its fair share of potholes. It also has an unusually large number of drain covers, positioned strategically, so that in the wet, you get plenty of back wheel slip trying to honk up the hill! :tongue::blush:


The abominable Bikeman
Ashford, Kent
magnatom said:
One steep hill on my commute has its fair share of potholes. It also has an unusually large number of drain covers, positioned strategically, so that in the wet, you get plenty of back wheel slip trying to honk up the hill! :tongue::blush:
i have the belief when planning a road on a hill they choose drain covers which cause maximum slip, and place them further out in a vein attempt to kill off as many cyclists as possible,

They have also resorted to sinking the blodey things, so if you dont slip on them, you will come off when you hit the other side.

Its what they seem to do in SW london anyways!


Active Member
also riding in herts, and whether it be cracks and potholes or cars parked so far in on an uphill im getting the feeling that I need to move away from curb side dangers and get up the hill the fastest i can (hopefully get fitter while at it - counting on the clipless to help me out some).
having said that i had my first experience with a young car driver cursing at the top of the hill today; some impatient kid that didnt like that I indicated a turn and slowed his saxo driving behind a tad bit.

does road rage apply to cyclists? if so itd be hard to conseal a baseball bat ;)


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
We did a 'lumpy' Cycle Chat Fixed ride a month or so back ......... and two of our folk from Lincolnshire came up....and commented how bad the roads were...flippin terrible..... you just have to plan through it........

One of my favourite climbs, Cat and Fiddle, is a mess in Macclesfield, and has been for a few years - not been up it since this winter...:biggrin:. the drag out of the town of Macclesfield is horrible, as the road is in bits, especially as you exit the town edge and hit the climb ... shocking surface..... Nothing you can do other than pick a good line.

I've bent a rim braking surface this winter due to road conditions on the commuter bike - tis life......... ;)...still cheaper than driving a car...


Nr Cambridge
Decent wheels; It's no accident my main commuting bike runs on 29er rims with the narrowest tyres I can get away with on them (700x28c)

Confidence in your bike balance; If you believe you will be able to let the bike kick from under you as you hit that surface imperfection you don't need to slow down.

Knowing when to get out of the saddle; some times the only way to balance or keep the vibrations down is to get out of the saddle & let the bike wobble underneath you this requires points 1 & 2 to be in-situe.


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
28C....you chicken.........

Commute on 23c 700'c weighing 220g and use 200g 23c tyres for weekend bikes..... - no change in attitude....just avoid the big holes.............;)


Bongman said:
and take a little weight off the saddle ;)
This is a key part of dealing with potholes, whether on the flat or on hills, although the use of weight-distribution techniques needs to go a bit further than this.

Firstly, make sure your tyre pressures aren't a ludicrous 120psi or whatever. Fine in France or Italy or Japan or the USA, or when racing, but Britain's lane network just does not support higher pressures if you want tolerable comfort and optimised handling on rough surfaces that are often little better than pave.

The next thing to master is unweighting the bars and saddle in a coordinated way to smooth out the bumps and potholes. Also learn to do tiny jumps at the front end with the hands/bars and at the back with the feet/pedals; this helps you get over the bigger ridges and ruts and prevents them inducing unfavourable weight distribution of your body. i.e. take a dynamic approach to riding to handle poor surfaces, but keep movements as small as possible to maintain smoothness. Watch Paris Roubaix to see how it's done by experts like Boonen, Cancellara et al. Hands in the centre of the bars helps here, and use gel-type handlebar tape.

I hate poor road surfaces, but you wouldn't know from looking at my riding style, which is ultra-smooth due in part to the techniques mentioned above.
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