Consider Q when bunny hopping that sagging chain

Bunny hopping — the ability to jump your bike over small barriers — can be a helpful urban cycling skill. Consider, however, the sagging chain barrier. These are commonly used to block motorists from using parking lots as shortcuts.

Hanging chain barrier

The curve formed from this chain hanging from supports at either end is called a catenary. I encountered such a chain this morning while cutting across a parking lot. It hung perhaps six inches from the ground at its lowest point — I didn’t even need to think about if I could clear this barrier, so I went for it.

It turns out the curve of the chain and the position of your pedals can spell the difference between landing on your wheels and landing on your face after the cranks tangle with the chain. Ask me how I know.


Quick bicycle news and other transportation headlines.

82 year old Nancy Blackman rides the same Raleigh bicycle she rode as a 15 year old girl.

Prototype SRAM electronic shifter spotted in Chicago.

From Bicycle Design: a funky transport commute bike. Check out the front wheel fairing that doubles as panniers.

The League of American Bicyclists on American vulnerable user laws.

Advanced Sports International (ASI), which owns several well known bike brands such as Fuji, Breezer, Terry, Kestrel and SE, licensed the “Roubaix” tradename to Specialized for USA use. Because Fuji sold Roubaix bicycles in Canada before Specialized registered the name for bicycles there, ASI says Specialized’s registration of the brand name was “inappropriate” and has told a tiny bike shop in Cochrane, Alberta that they’re okay with that shop’s use of the Roubaix name. You might recall that Specialized also forced name changes to Stumptown Bicycles and Epic Wheel Works, both of Portland, OR.

Sea Otter Classic seeks event promotion help.

Carnage: Google Streetview captures bus crash in Seattle.

Seattle bus Google streetview crash

Ice cold cyclocross last weekend in Bend OR.

Lady Fleur shows us how to dress and still look fashionable on a bike in spite of cold and rain.

SF Film Screening Poster 8.5x11

A Cycle Chic Film Festival to highlight what they say is the diversity, creativity, and humanity of two-wheeled transportation at Huckleberry Bicycles in San Francisco, CA. The film festival was produced by Vancouver Cycle Chic, a blog that seems mostly to show photos of young, well dressed white people on bikes, which is a declining demographic in Vancouver. There’s nothing wrong with that, but maybe the videos will show a little actual diversity. The population of Vancouver, BC is split about evenly between Europeans and those who are what Canadians call “visible minorities.” Boomers are the fastest growing age segment in Metro Vancouver. On the other hand: My wife says that Vancouver-based Momentum Magazine has probably done more to boost utility cycling for women than anything.

New green bike lanes where Alpine Road crosses I-280 in San Mateo County, CA.

More local transportation headlines over at Streetsblog SF.

Finally, remember this law of the universe when contemplating stupid bike stunts: You always have an audience when you fail. Keep the rubber side down.

6 Comments

  • ark
    December 10, 2013 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

    There’s a chain on the way to my daughter’s school that I’ve been eyeing up. thanks for the warning… I think I’ll stop looking at it now.

  • Anonymous
    December 10, 2013 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Broke my collarbone doing the exact same thing 4 years ago.

  • MikeOnBike
    December 10, 2013 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    In all my years of urban cycling, it has never occurred to me that I should try bunny hopping over *anything*, let alone something like that chain. Occasionally, I might have to look, yield, signal, and merge left to go around an obstruction. I suppose my most advanced skill is lifting my butt of the seat when I go over a speed bump.

  • December 10, 2013 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I saw my collarbone flashing before my eyes just as I hit the pavement but luckily all I got was a little bit of road rash on my face (of all places!)

  • December 10, 2013 - 9:43 pm | Permalink

    sorry about that dude.
    you must work on your vert.
    if you’d cleaned it, you’d still have all the skin on your face.
    better luck next time.
    glad about your collar bone.

  • December 11, 2013 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Not to mention that such dark chains can be virtually invisible in darkness and fog.

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