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On certain back-country gravel roads, a combination of erosion and tire-tread seems to create these 4-inch ripples that can repeat for long stretches of the road. Riding over them at any speed at all creates a horrible vibration that is, to say the least, extremely uncomfortable.

However, not only is it extremely uncomfortable for me as a rider to be jostled around in that manner, it also can't be good for the safety of my bike.

Is there a proper way to go over these annoying ripples without damaging either me or my bike?

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The ripples are commonly refereed to as "Corrugations". –  mattnz Jun 14 '13 at 0:20
    
Can you skim the edge of the road? Usually washboard tapers out at the end... or heck, can you just ride off the road a few inches? I know everywhere is different, but... –  Matt Jun 14 '13 at 3:01
    
@Matt Drainage ditches, fences, and tall grass are most inconvenient things, sometimes. –  Gwenn Jun 14 '13 at 3:05
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted
  • stand on pedals
  • knees bent (not straight) keeping your butt 10-20cm from the seat
  • your hands should be very relaxed on the handlebars (your body should be supported 95% with feet and just 5% with hands)
  • keep your back straight (do not hunchback)
  • look ahead
  • enjoy

This works on all bicycles.

enter image description here

sketch from http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Mountain-Bike-Skills-Edition/dp/0736083715

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+100 :) Those are exactly the things that I do, with one exception. On longer stretches of uneven terrain (e.g. 20 minutes) I get tired standing up. Then I move my knees inwards, "grabbing" the saddle with the thighs. This provides an excellent compromise between being supported by the saddle and being suspended above it. –  Vorac Jun 19 '13 at 12:46
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I find it helps if I stand on the pedals and stop pedaling for a bit. I can use my body to absorb the shock and keep the bike light on the ground. Sometimes riding on the sketchy gravel shoulder is even an option.

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Larger tires and lower pressure will help a bit, staying out of the sake is good for your bum.

Other than that, your going to have to grin and bear it.

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Lowering pressure too much has some bad sideeffects and in this particular scenario may cause snake bites (pinch flats). Also, grinning and bearing it is not an appropriate solution. –  cherouvim Jun 19 '13 at 5:39
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