Riding Over Wet Leaves and Pine Needles

SergeantChuck

Commuter Extraordinaire
Elite Member
Site Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2013
Messages
3,805
Reaction score
1
Points
38
Location
Cabot, AR
I'm posting this because of my morning commute. I take the same route into work everyday. Thirteen miles of it is back roads. I am very familiar with the route and it is easy to become complacent.

We have a decent sized storm crossing the Little Rock area today. Some patches of heavy rains and high winds. Fall is upon us which means the leaves and pine straw are easily knocked out of the tress and onto the road by high winds. Add rain to the equation and you have a hazard. I experienced this first hand this morning.

It is probably common sense and the seasoned riders are all to familiar with riding in situations like this but I want to raise awareness for the newer riders on the forum.

Leaves can be very slick so you do need to be aware and ride accordingly. With experience you will learn how the bike handles in those conditions and will be more comfortable. They are a definite hazard though. Take it easy and remember to be smooth with your actions. Quick changes in direction or braking will cause problems.

If anyone else has some advice, comments, or a situation they found themselves in that could be helpful please post them.
 

gpd211

Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 27, 2012
Messages
517
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
Greensburg, IN
Just to compliment what sergeantchuck said the best practice when dealing with any slick surface is to keep the bike straight up and not be accelerating or braking. The bike being as "neutral" as possible will give the most traction in slippery situations
 

Chris

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
333
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
Switzerland
They can be a serious hazard - especially once they've been compressed down into a thick, slimy mat on the road surface. If possible I pick a line that avoids them - often the more central part of the road surface is cleared by traffic and they are more concentrated to the sides of the road but that's not always the case.
 

netizen

Active Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2012
Messages
1,468
Reaction score
1
Points
38
Location
Wake Forest, NC
The biggest culprit that will drop you is your front brake combined with wet leaves. So if you brake on this stuff use your rear brake....lightly

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4
 

Chris

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
333
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
Switzerland
The biggest culprit that will drop you is your front brake combined with wet leaves. So if you brake on this stuff use your rear brake....lightly

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4
Very, very lightly - something similar dumped me on my backside many years ago when I was younger, braver and more stupid
 

silverhound

New Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
764
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Eastern PA
Nicely stated Sgt. Chuck. Good to keep awareness up on all potential hazards that may not be obvious.
 

Old Can Ride

Active Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
6,854
Reaction score
17
Points
38
Location
Webster, Texas
Painted roadway strips and the glued down ceramic and glass markers have the same effect as the wet leaves in the rain. Touching any brake when the tires are on these roadway marking devices in the rain can make things real interesting real fast. Touching a front brake in the sand will also increase the interest factor.
 

deedub

New Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
198
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
MD
Wet manhole covers are a sneaky one as well. For some reason they always seem to be at intersections when I'm turning.
 

Hollow Road Rider

Site Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2013
Messages
80
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Chicago or Viola
Oh Yeah!
I know how expensive it is to replace a BMW's valve cover because of wet leaves. My pronlem was that I assumed that since the leaves I was approaching in a turn were dry and fluffy, that they would just scatter as I rode over them--- the dry leaves were on top of a sodden bunch of wet ones stuck to the brick street. No, they did not scatter, they took me down. That was many years ago, but I avoid all leaves now... and pine needle s too now, thank you.
 

Mike Cash

New Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
Messages
1,020
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
Japan
My commute takes me right by the monkey cage at the zoo and I have to watch out for banana peels.
 

Mike Cash

New Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
Messages
1,020
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
Japan
Serious about the Monkeys? LOL
When you consider what they could throw, banana peels don't seem so bad.

Nah, I'm joking, but we do have wild monkeys. Fortunately, we don't have banana trees.

You raise a good point about the leaves and pine needles. In my area there are lots of mountain roads to ride and except where car tires have ground them down and made a pair of semi-clear tracks, decaying pine needles cover the road surface and can be a real hazard for a bike. In our case, the stuff hits the roads and stays there for years since these roads never get cleaned.

We have another problem in the densely wooded and seldom traveled mountain roads. In some areas which don't get much direct sunlight , and especially on shaded northern slopes, in many places the road is covered with patches of extremely slippery mold or mildew or some such gunk. Gotta keep an eye out for places on the asphalt with a greenish tinge or you can find yourself on your butt and wondering why your feet keep slipping out from under you while you try to pick up your bike. Not all the life forms in the woods that can hurt you are vertebrates.
 

Heavy-H

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2012
Messages
654
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
Flagstaff, Az
I thought it was, hang a leg out and gas it..... No?.......................................................:rolleyes:
 

dduelin

Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
4,102
Reaction score
128
Points
63
Location
North FL USA
When dealing with any slippery surface smoothness is the key whether braking or accelerating. Keep lean angles to the minimum necessary. Learning to hang off a little bit to the inside helps save a few degrees of lean angle. Nothing crazy here, not knee dragging but just lowering your inside shoulder and keeping your torso a little to the inside of a vertical line drawn up bike centerline. Try and carry one gear higher than usual to lower force applied to the rear wheel when accelerating and closed throttle engine braking. All tools in the toolbox of better riding.
 

Mike Cash

New Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
Messages
1,020
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
Japan
In high school I was riding on the rear of a buddy's bike when we suddenly hit a patch of unmelted ice beneath an overpass. Totally unexpected as the rest of the road was clear and dry. We both instinctively put both feet down on the road and used our shoes as impromptu outrigger skis. Then we stopped and spent the rest of the afternoon removing chunks of seat cushion foam from our butt cheeks.
 

johnakay

Site Supporter
Premium Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
2,697
Reaction score
28
Points
48
Location
United Kingdom
we have plenty of monkeys here and they all in a cage but that doesn't mean we're safe ..
some bright spark gave them 4 wheels and a steering wheel and all this talk about planet of the apes ,WE'RE LIVING IN IT AS I TYPE;)

 
Last edited:

Mgajohnson

New Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Whitehorse
When dealing with any slippery surface smoothness is the key whether braking or accelerating. Keep lean angles to the minimum necessary. Learning to hang off a little bit to the inside helps save a few degrees of lean angle. Nothing crazy here, not knee dragging but just lowering your inside shoulder and keeping your torso a little to the inside of a vertical line drawn up bike centerline. Try and carry one gear higher than usual to lower force applied to the rear wheel when accelerating and closed throttle engine braking. All tools in the toolbox of better riding.

Great tip thanks
 

MichaelJohn

New Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Messages
208
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Walnut Creek, CA
This is an old thread but I had to tell my little story. it wasn't on my motorcycle, but on my bicycle that wet leaves got me. I was on a bike trail going fairly rapidly, probably about 20 miles an hour, when I noticed a truck waiting to cross the trail. We caught each other's eye and he motioned for me to pass in front of him. I decided that I had enough time to stop so I was going to be a nice guy and let him cross. Well, there were wet leaves everywhere, and I grabbed a little bit too much rear brake, the rear wheel kicked out and down I went, hard, on my left side. As I lay on the ground trying to unclip from my pedals and trying to assess how badly I was hurt, a woman approached me on the trail. My left hip was really hurting, not broken, but badly bruised (I carried a lump just below my left butt cheek for over a year). As I was lying there in pain trying to extricate myself from the bike she leaned over me AND SCOLDED ME FOR NOT RINGING MY BELL when I had passed her earlier. I was dumbfounded. Not a whiff of concern for my injuries. You better believe she got quite a few choice words from me once I got up. That's what I get for trying to be a nice guy. And yes, wet leaves suck.
 
Top