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Bike on a wood slat bridge deck
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I'm looking at a bike route that would cross a narrow wood bridge, the kind where the deck is built of 2x8s that run the length of the bridge (Westham Island Bridge in Delta, BC if anyone knows it.) The slats look like they're right up against each other - ie, no gaps between them. It's about 400m long (1400 ft for you imperial people.) I'm using my tri bike, which has 700x28 tires.

That said, I'm not a good bike handler. Should I even try to bike this is or are wood slat decks a total no-go for cyclists?
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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hyr00 wrote:
I'm looking at a bike route that would cross a narrow wood bridge, the kind where the deck is built of 2x8s that run the length of the bridge (Westham Island Bridge in Delta, BC if anyone knows it.) The slats look like they're right up against each other - ie, no gaps between them. It's about 400m long (1400 ft for you imperial people.) I'm using my tri bike, which has 700x28 tires.

That said, I'm not a good bike handler. Should I even try to bike this is or are wood slat decks a total no-go for cyclists?

I don't think you'll have an issue with it, besides discomfort.
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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while it may not have gaps between the slats, be careful of the raised edges between the boards. that will get ya more than dropping into a hole.

also be careful if wet, with leaves, or moss growth if not in sunlight.

that said, go slow and be on base bar and not in aero.

whoever built that with longitudinal boards should be reprimanded!

Anne Barnes
ABBikefit, Ltd
FIST/SICI/FIST DOWN DEEP
X/Y Coordinator
abbikefit@gmail.com
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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hyr00 wrote:
I'm looking at a bike route that would cross a narrow wood bridge, the kind where the deck is built of 2x8s that run the length of the bridge (Westham Island Bridge in Delta, BC if anyone knows it.) The slats look like they're right up against each other - ie, no gaps between them. It's about 400m long (1400 ft for you imperial people.) I'm using my tri bike, which has 700x28 tires.

That said, I'm not a good bike handler. Should I even try to bike this is or are wood slat decks a total no-go for cyclists?

Get off and walk?
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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If it's wet, walk the bike. Otherwise, ride on. Wet wood is like an ice rink.
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [MrTri123] [ In reply to ]
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It's quite a long stretch and I'd be holding up traffic since it's a one-lane bridge with no sidewalk. Recreational cyclists with wider tires seem to cross it without a problem.
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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The bridge is plenty wide enough if you have walk... the riding on the other side is amazing!
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [kerikstri] [ In reply to ]
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Good to know - thank you! The views of the island on Google Street View are amazing.
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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Yeah, you'll just have to stick to one side if you have to walk. The bridge is fairly wide though, there's plenty of room for cars to go by (they have to go single file, so you won't have to worry about cars trying to pass each other either). Depending on when you go there won't be many drivers anyways (its basically just farms and a bird sanctuary on the other side).

Edit: and with 28s I wouldn't worry too much about the wood either. Just be careful if its wet, which at this time of year is likely
Last edited by: kerikstri: Nov 27, 19 13:47
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [MrTri123] [ In reply to ]
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MrTri123 wrote:
hyr00 wrote:
I'm looking at a bike route that would cross a narrow wood bridge, the kind where the deck is built of 2x8s that run the length of the bridge (Westham Island Bridge in Delta, BC if anyone knows it.) The slats look like they're right up against each other - ie, no gaps between them. It's about 400m long (1400 ft for you imperial people.) I'm using my tri bike, which has 700x28 tires.

That said, I'm not a good bike handler. Should I even try to bike this is or are wood slat decks a total no-go for cyclists?


Get off and walk?


Or play transition practice and run. I mean we're triathletes right? :)
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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jaretj wrote:
MrTri123 wrote:
hyr00 wrote:
I'm looking at a bike route that would cross a narrow wood bridge, the kind where the deck is built of 2x8s that run the length of the bridge (Westham Island Bridge in Delta, BC if anyone knows it.) The slats look like they're right up against each other - ie, no gaps between them. It's about 400m long (1400 ft for you imperial people.) I'm using my tri bike, which has 700x28 tires.

That said, I'm not a good bike handler. Should I even try to bike this is or are wood slat decks a total no-go for cyclists?


Get off and walk?


Or play transition practice and run. I mean we're triathletes right? :)


LOL! Hadn't even thought of that. I should be using that bridge for transition practice - the faster I run across, the less traffic I hold up!
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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Ha, run on a wet wooden bridge with bike shoes while pushing a bike. What could go wrong?
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
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All he would need is a bunch of other people running around in various levels of dress getting in his way :)
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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We have a couple of draw bridges that have a see through steel deck on the part that raises and lowers. Always fun to watch the boats go by underneath and almost unridable at any speed when wet. I nearly biffed it taking up the whole lane with about 20 cars behind me.

"Aquabike is a swim then sleep session on aerobars ...."
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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We have a number of similar bridges around here but the gap between the planks will easily swallow a 28mm tyre. They are locally known as pick-a-plank bridges (cause that's what you have to do) and have claimed many a collarbone.

It always amuses me that whilst I can easily ride a straight line within a 15cm envelope when there are no consequences for failure it becomes near impossible when I have skin (and bone) in the game.
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [CreepinTortoise] [ In reply to ]
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CreepinTortoise wrote:
We have a number of similar bridges around here but the gap between the planks will easily swallow a 28mm tyre. They are locally known as pick-a-plank bridges.

I use the term "bike eating bridge".
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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That bridge is fine as long as you’re not nervous about it. No sudden accelerations and keep your vision up towards the horizon. Don’t stare at the boards directly in front of your wheel. Instead pick a point a few hundred feet ahead of you and aim for that. I’ve been riding that bridge for 20 yrs without an issue but I know several riders who’ve slipped or had their wheel fall in a crack and gone down.

It’s good practice for riding in a straight line, pick a board and stay on it.
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [CreepinTortoise] [ In reply to ]
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That's exactly me. I can go for ages riding the very edge of the pavement's white line on aerobars without deviating more than inch. In fact, I enjoy the challenge and test it every opportunity I can. But the minute there's the possibility I could fall, I can't keep the bike within a 12 inch envelope!
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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I broke my shoulder riding on a wooden bridge. I didn't even know you could break your shoulder where I broke it. The darn bridge was at the end of the steep hill and I had no clue it was there and had zero time to stop. I figured I was a decent rider and could easily just pick a slat and pray that I could keep it together across the bridge. Um, nope. Within five seconds of being on that bridge my tire got caught in the spaces between the slats and I have never gone down harder. I swear I heard my shoulder breaking and up to this day it was the most painful broken bone/injury I've had. I wouldn't wish that injury on my worst enemy. To this day my shoulder is wrecked, hurts after every swim, and if one more person tells me in the pool to try and get a high elbow I will smack them.

Walk the bike across the bridge.
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Re: Bike on a wood slat bridge deck [SwimBikeRun35] [ In reply to ]
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SwimBikeRun35 wrote:
To this day my shoulder is wrecked, hurts after every swim, and if one more person tells me in the pool to try and get a high elbow I will smack them.

Except that that will probably strain your shoulder again.
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