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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's the best way to cross rail road tracks?

They seem pretty easy, but since a bikes wheel base is about the width of the tracks it's trickier than it looks. It's tough to lift the front tire over the second rail just as the back tire is coming down over the first rail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sounds simple but I think it's tougher than it seems. Have you tried it?
It's tough to lift the front wheel because your bike is slowing down from your back tire hitting the first rail. It's like trying to lift your front wheel while you're braking -- tougher than it seems, or maybe my technique is just off?
 

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Maybe ride at them at an angle istead of straight on. Lift the front over and hop the back over by pivoting on the front end. Then repeat for the other side. Just watch out for trains- they have the right of way.

Practice this manuver in your yard with a fence post or landscape timber first. It isn't hard, but falling on grass is better than falling on railroad tracks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
spec4life said:
that was ment to be a sarcatic "simple right" its never as easy to do as it is to say
yeah I actually thought it would be simple as it sounds but the first time I tried it I flipped the handlebars :)
 

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" uhh, I'm not sure what kind of trains you have, but I just ride straight over them easily.."

That was my first thought, but I think he's talking about crossing somewhere other than a road crossing, where the pavement is level with the track.

I don't cross them that often, but the tracks are pretty active around these parts, so I don't even screw around. I just jump off, carry the bike over, and hop back on.
 

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I understand what you mean and can be very awkward, and some rails can be pretty high with steep angles on the ties to get over as well. Either the rear wheel is higher than the front when you need to pull up or even worse the rear wheel is still coming up. This one of those thing you can't build up to or do with a half-effort. You either have to do it all-out or not at all.

One thing I'd watch out for is smashing your chainring on the steel RR track. That can't be a good thing.
 

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MrMook said:
" uhh, I'm not sure what kind of trains you have, but I just ride straight over them easily.."

That was my first thought, but I think he's talking about crossing somewhere other than a road crossing, where the pavement is level with the track.

I don't cross them that often, but the tracks are pretty active around these parts, so I don't even screw around. I just jump off, carry the bike over, and hop back on.
:thumbsup: definitely. i'll take some sketch lines in the woods before i try a railroad track. i cross one on my way to work depending which way I go. might be able to roll it on a 29er, but i don't have one yet. but where they're at, getting enough speed to bunny hop is nigh impossible, not to mention there is another track immediately following. quite an active track too - falling and getting something wedged could ruin your riding day, week, etc.

going at an angle may work, but you def. want a bashguard.

to me, its easier to just unmount, hoist the bike and cross so i can watch for anything coming rather than where i'm riding.
 

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The easiest way to do it would be to cross diagonally. Straight over them either will get you stuck, or if you roll over, pop your tire. Diagonally causes some rear tire slippage if you don't hop the rear tire over enough, but nothing you shouldn't be able to handle. Basically hop the front tire over first and then follow by hopping the rear tire over. Make sure your feet are light on the pedals and your center of gravity is centered on the bike to allow the bike to move over the tracks more easily. This will help prevent a tire blow out or endo crash. Do that twice and you are golden. Hope that helped and good luck with the tracks next time.
 

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thebigred67 said:
Very carefully.

Really diagonally? I can't disagree more. Perpendicular.
Normally I would be with your side, but I went out and tried it today. The thing about perpendicular is that the train tracks are slightly farther apart than the wheelbase of the bike (I have an older trek medium frame bike currently), so that when the front tire has cleared the first rail and the rear tire is coming down over the first rail the front tire hit the second rail rather hard and since it's a rather "sharp" (for lack of better work) bump the front tire could blow out. Also, If you aren't going fast enough your tires will slip and not clear it, or simply stop the bike and you could easily flip over the front. Another thing I noticed is that if the bottom bracket is low, the front sprockets (sorry if thats a bmx term) will scrape across the top of the rail. I would normally hit objects (such as fallen trees, large roots, etc...) perpendicularly, but with the awkward spacing on the rails diagonal is really the easiest way. It doesn't have to be an extreme angle though. What I am talking about is being as close to perpendicular as possible, but allowing the bikes wheelbase to fit between the rails for a smoother transition from rail to rail.
 
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