We all know how much trouble a deep pothole can cause a car, but how bad is it for your bike? Many potholes are easy to avoid when you’re cycling, especially the ones that would cause problems for your car. It’s the smaller, harder-to-spot potholes that can be very dangerous.
During the day, it’s habitual to scan the road when you’re riding and avoid any upcoming holes or uneven surfaces. When the holes are small, though, this can be difficult, especially at high speeds.
The problem becomes even worse when cycling at night. You could easily not see a smaller pothole when rounding a corner or in an area with a lack of street lighting.
You also have to be very careful when rounding a pothole, especially if it’s a large one. Make sure that you look out for traffic and pedestrians well before maneuvering!
Why are these potholes here, though? Simply put, the UK has an enormous backlog of road repairs. The list spans 14 years and would take an estimated £12 billion to fix. It’s an unfortunate situation that is here to stay. As cyclists, we have to be aware at all times while we’re on the road to avoid any nasty falls.
Our advice to beginners is to practice dealing with potholes in a controllable environment. If you see a pothole, practice going around it at increasing speeds. You should also get used to going through larger potholes as you won’t always be able to avoid them. If you can’t avoid them, slow down, lift yourself out of the saddle and ease your way through the pothole.
For many of you, this advice will be second nature but remember to let beginners know about the dangers of potholes. This could be teaching your kids when they’re first cycling, or a 5-minute crash course with a mate who’s just starting out.
Remember to maintain your bike properly as well. There’s nothing worse than hitting a pothole with underinflated tyres, which can easily cause a puncture or worse. If you know you’re going along a route with a lot of potholes, it might be worth switching to winter tyres or even using a mountain bike.
Finally, remember to report any potholes you find to Cycling UK: http://www.fillthathole.org.uk/. This website will allow you to report the exact location of the hole. Once you’ve reported it, Cycling UK will pass it on to your relevant local authority. Reporting potholes will lead to a safer road for motorists and cyclists alike!