first 'off' man v nature

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first 'off' man v nature

Postby fobfob » Sat Apr 28, 2007 12:30 am

My first fall tonight (I've had my bike about 2 months, before that I haven't ridden for ~18 years).
Barreling along at 30kmh around 7pm, my local national park, which is closed to cars at night and sealed twisty road of about 5km in length. I notice plenty of wildlife usually. I have a HID light which really lights up the road. I usually have the HID pointed pretty high to see as far as possible, unless a runner or cyclist appears coming the other way. So I don't really see too well right in front of the bike. Suddenly, out pops a "thing", best guess a rabbit judging by colour and size (there are a few around here), but technically more likely a possum judging from location. Before I know it he's "under" my wheels or so it seems. I react somehow, I can't remember if I suddenly braked or swerved or both. I suppose it is also possible we collided which caused it. Dunno. I slid a bit but not too bad. Some rashes and some bad bruising but otherwise ok. The animal is nowhere to be seen and there's no evidence from the bike (BTW seat busted, had to mash it home).

So this raises some questions. Am I foolish to ride in this situation? Is my HID actually making things worse by dazzling the wildlife? If the same happened to you would you plough on ahead and hope for the best or would you also jump/swerve and fall (honestly)?
It's a shame if I have to stop taking that route as it's good for fitness and I don't have the opportunity to ride during the day. No traffic or pollution. Just me and the bike/road. And the possums...
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by BNA » Sat Apr 28, 2007 12:48 am

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Postby heavymetal » Sat Apr 28, 2007 12:48 am

Call me mad, but when there are no cars around I ride with the lights off. I use peripheral vision to see. It's a trick the military taught me. I tend to ride slower like this. I can actually see more in the dark, and on flat roads (WA) the stars light the way.

I hope you are alright after your fall. Check that you haven't broken any bones.

It might be an idea to get a smaller light to light the road in front of the bike. I've got three lights, and one is used for that patch of road in front of the bike. The other lights up the road when I need it. The big one is so cars can see me.

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Postby sogood » Sat Apr 28, 2007 4:44 am

If you visit some of the N American cycling forums, this kind of events are quite common. They have a lot of wild lifes within or near their urban areas and can sometimes play hovac on cyclists eg. Squirrels. Their typical recommendation is just to ride on rather than to take evasive action, unless it's humongous moose. The other risk is when these furry things get stuck within your spoke, then they can send you flying.

Anyway, it's like driving at night. Slow down!
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Postby tuco » Sat Apr 28, 2007 9:43 am

"Guess what Cecil, I got another one tonight, hehehehe!"

Go back to where you crashed and look at the tree trunks, low down of course, there's probably a row of notches cut into the trunk by the local possums.
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Postby europa » Sat Apr 28, 2007 1:08 pm

I can't do Kev's peripheral vision bit - my eyes are a bit too flamin' dodgy for that, but like him, I've got my 5LED light aimed to show me potholes, then me bigger light aimed up the road.

Animals - you can't avoid them, just be aware of them, and it doesn't matter what speed you're doing, if one does a kamikaze, there's not a lot you can do about it.

Enjoy your ride. Falling off is all part of the game, though it is a part that I don't mind missing out on :roll:

Try Kev's 'no lights' routine - it is surprising what we can ride in when we try, if it doesn't work, turn your light back on.

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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Apr 28, 2007 1:57 pm

No lights at night, thats a bit like bushwalking naked thru a leach infested swam.

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Postby Mulger bill » Sat Apr 28, 2007 9:41 pm

Except on a pitch black night, you'll actually see more of the world with lights off. Unfortunately, the local plods aren't very understanding.
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Postby LuckyPierre » Sun Apr 29, 2007 9:40 am

mikesbytes wrote: ... thats a bit like bushwalking naked thru a leach infested swamp ...

Surely you mean 'leech' infested, Mike?
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Postby europa » Sun Apr 29, 2007 9:42 am

LuckyPierre wrote:
mikesbytes wrote: ... thats a bit like bushwalking naked thru a leach infested swamp ...

Surely you mean 'leech' infested, Mike?
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No, I think Mike knew what he was talking about :twisted:

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Postby mikesbytes » Sun Apr 29, 2007 11:38 am

Sorry Peter, the spelling mistake was unintended. Rather funny but.

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Postby beauyboy » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:11 am

It all depends on where you are riding. If you riding on a narrow bikeway in trees no way would I turn my light off how ever on the open plans with plenty of moonlight it can be a good idea.
While yes with your lights off you will not be able to see small details you will see the entire picture much clearer. I used this when I ride thru areas with cane toads if I can, by not seeing then I try not to avoid them and run straight overthem. All i feel is pop of one small pest after another, and the occasion thump of a really big bugger :twisted:

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Postby Halfanewb » Mon Apr 30, 2007 9:24 am

Was riding two abreast through the botanical gardens here in bris last sat, we rounded a corner to see one of the resident Ibis scrounging for food on the path. Thing is these birds have gotten so used to humans they have no fear of us.

Anyhow the stupid thing dawdled along until it realized it had better get out of the way of my mates wheel and did a half hearted run, trouble was it didn't try to get off the path and ran right in front of my bike. Too late to avoid it I ran right over its neck!. I was lucky enough to have gotten a foot out and managed with a bit of one legged skipping to stay upright or it would have been a 4 rider pileup. After we stopped i had a look for the bird as i'm sure it would have been injured but no luck in spotting it. Silly Bird!
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Postby beauyboy » Mon Apr 30, 2007 9:39 am

I tend to agree these birds have got use to humans to much, Mind you I am yet to have a problem with them in the Botanic gardens yet. Those dame things just don't move to quick enought.

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