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Discussion Starter #1
I recently scored a job on an island nearby, and one of the two ways to get there is a draw bridge, which is pretty much all steel grated roadway. Crossing it in a car you can feel the car "wiggle" a bit, so I'm guessing a bike will do the too, I just don't know how much, for example, as little as a car, or oh damn it! I'm going down!

Any of you fellow riders who've rode across a road top like this have any tips or suggestions for the "sanest" way to get through it?

I plan on riding it early on a Sunday morning for some practice while traffic is light. It's only a two lane bridge, so there is no lane to ride in that's out of the way of traffic. It is a low speed limit, and the cars/trucks all follow that speed. (mostly because its so darn narrow I think)

Anyway, is it best to try to relax the grip on the bars and let the wiggle happen, or hold on tight and try to keep it still? Or is it one of those things you just can't prepare for, and you find out once you get there?

If you've been there and done that, feel free to chime in.

(BTW, the other choice is standard cement high rise bridge, but it's a rather expensive toll bridge, and the very industrial area proceeding the bridge, with very heavy truck traffic, and very bad roads)
 

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In my experience with steel grated bridges, a lot depends on the tires. Tires with a straight groove down the middle of the tire will have a more noticible wiggle than tires without this groove. It may be a little uncomfortable but I doubt you will go down if you dont do anything sudden. Enjoy the ride.
 

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Just let the wiggle happen don't make any sudden adjustments. It takes some getting use to no big deal.

Good luck
 

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From my experience I agree with above comments. Relax your grip - let it wiggle.

Treat it like a slippery surface (manhole covers, construction plates, railroad tracks). Here is some advice from "Proficient Motorcycling" by David Hough.

* Think far ahead, reduce traction demands
* Put your tires over the best surface
* Reduce speed before you get there
* Hold a steady throttle


Allow extra space from the car in front of you (this minimizes the need for braking or swerving).

Also be aware that increasing air temperatures can cause condensation on the steel surface making it more slippery. This is especially true in the morning.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies, those are helpful, and will be more-so when I get there.



Sunpa;


Allow extra space from the car in front of you (this minimizes the need for braking or swerving).

Also be aware that increasing air temperatures can cause condensation on the steel surface making it more slippery. This is especially true in the morning.
Thanks for posting this. I hadn't even considered extra braking space on that type of surface, or that I maybe riding on wet metal.

I'm glad I asked, and definitely going to ride it for practice a couple times. I was kind of thinking a slow, steady speed might be best, but then I wondered if too slow might exaggerate the effects, not too mention spending more time actually on the surface.

Anyway, thanks again. :)
 

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I cross one every day I ride. No problems at all so far. Speed limit is 30 and that's about what I do so traffic doesn't run over me. Try to allow enough room that I don't have to stop on the grated section, but know that day is coming. Don't think I'd do less than 15 mph. Very slow speed might actually accentuate the wiggle.
 

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I ride tires without the logitudinal grooves and that makes a big difference.

You can also take the grated section on a diagonal. Start from left (or right) side of grate and set course to finish on the right (or left) end of the grate. This helps to negate the effect of the longitudinal grooves.

Jon
 

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On His Lady Vulcan
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^ What he said!!!:smiley_th

I travel a section of freeway near my place that they decided to repave and have yet to complete. So its all chewed up and grated and yet the speed limit is still 60mph. So when I do go that route I do as 93vn750 does and do a very slight weave from left to right and I get through that section just fine at hwy speeds.

Peace:beerchug:
 

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Rider on the Storm
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On a related topic...

Just yesterday I rode to a clergy conference about 75 miles up the interstate. It was a bit cool but smooth sailing all the way... until the parking lot. I waved at a fellow priest (who had just bought a Vulcan 900, by the way), then turned sharply right into a parking space. Unfortunately, there was a storm sewer grate there (which I hadn't noticed) and by back tire kicked out and before I could even think I was on the ground with the bike on my right leg. Unfortunately, there were witnesses! On the other hand, they helped lift the bike off my leg! No injuries (thanks to layers of clothing and a Fox Creek leather jacket) except for a bruised elbow and severely bruised ego. But the bracket under my right (Knifemaker-made) floorboard had snapped off. So I had to ride home on a very windy day with my left foot on the floorboard and my right heel hooked on the passenger foot peg!
 

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A previously mentioned moisture can make for a killer ride. Relax as much a possible and let the bike wander a little. If the surface is wet it is almost as bad as ice think way ahead and slow down.
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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I agree with just letting the bike wiggle..... yet stay ready for the unexpected!
It probably wont be as bad as it feels like it is if you're not used to it.
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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My first ride in the rain was on the highway and I had 60 miles to go to get home. Changing lanes over the painted yellow lines at 65-70 mph was a bit un-nerving the first time or two as I could feel the bike slide a bit. I suspect that if you just take it easy and don`t change direction too quickly or brake too hard, you will be OK. Congrats on the new job, and keep the shiny side up.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the useful advice, and opening me up to the stuff I didn't even think of. I'll post something after me first run across the thing. (which won't be this weekend due to pouring rain :( )
 

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I've never done it before, but I'd think that steel grate would be very slick with dew on it or after a rain. Be *very* careful.

Rector - sorry to hear about the dump, but glad that you're OK.

--FA
 

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There was a portion about this in PAs MSF. They say to let the "wandering" feeling occur and minimize abrupt control inputs. That includes big throttle twists, sharp turns, and hard braking. I ride over 2 of these bridges every time I go to see a buddy and I got kinda used to them. I just stay steady the whole time, even when it feels like the back tire kicks out a bit and everythings fine. Try not to get in the habit of correcting a left wandering feeling with a lean or steer to the right. Steady throttle, steady braking if needed, and no big left or right inputs and you'll be just fine. You might want to take the other bridge or the cage if its raining...
 

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if i cross a slick surface like grating i usually try to line the bike up ahead of time in the direction i want to cross. i try to aviod heavy braking and leaning, like others i loosen up on the bars a bit. i also use this technique on gravel, road debris and rough roads.
 

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let us know how it goes! i definitely think doing it on an early sunday morning when maybe you can slow down even more and make several passes for practice would be good. on my ride home on 85 the other daw i got into a big groove (bigger than it looked) and it scared the crap out of me! not that i was in danger of going down but it still scared me
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I will. We had a 60 degree day last week and all the riders came out, then the weather tanked again and its all cars again. :(
 

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Simple Solutions
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The only advice i have is hit it strait, theres this grated road up this wonderful curvy road up hiway 20 in washington one way it comes off of a strait away and the other comes off a curve, i just get vertical and RELAX without sudden movements you are gonna be just fine,
 
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