Silver Wheels Cycling Club, Inc. 

Bicycling For Recreation, Fitness, Fun, Learning and Advocacy


Avoiding Obstacles

Common techniques for avoiding obstacles on the road include:

    1. Frequently scanning the road ahead of you out about 15-20 yards

    2. Anticipating potential problems based on your surroundings and 


    3. Notifying riders behind you about hazards. 

Please review Section I.A. of the Safe Cycling Practices document for additional information about Calling Out Road Hazards. Please remember to not over announce hazards that are not a true concern like a small amount of gravel or a hole on the other side of the road. 

The two videos below from the Global Cycling Network describe techniques on how to deal with bad roads and potholes and demonstrate the common cycling hand signals. Oi, the videos were filmed in England so don’t be a bloody tosser and try to ride on the left hand side of the street in Ohio, alright mate?

A few tips to remember:

  • By scanning the road ahead, you will be able to steer your bike around most hazards when there is room available for you to do so safely. It is always better to avoid an obstacle when possible. If safety reasons dictate otherwise, like the proximity of other cyclists or cars, you may need to slow down and just ride straight through the hazard and take your lumps.


  • It is a good idea to unclip if you feel like you may need to get a foot on the ground.


  • You can practice dodging rocks and small holes in an empty parking lot. Try to make your wheels weave around the obstacle by steering quickly to one side and then to the other side to correct your balance and straighten out the wheel. If you correct your balance quickly, your body won’t follow the bike’s weave.


  • If you have to ride through chip and seal or heavy gravel, you should pedal through it and avoid coasting as your bike will be more stable if you continue moving forward. If you start to slide, stay in the saddle, stop pedaling and try not to brake until you have re-established control of your bike. 

  •  For more information on learning how to bunny hop, watch this video.

This next video shows us what we are trying to avoid - what can happen when you hit an obstacle at a high speed. The trailing cyclist may not have been notified about the debris from his friends up front and he definitely does not “stick the landing”.

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