I am from Mumbai, India. And as some of you might be knowing, it is a pretty crazy traffic on roads here. Many times, it so happens that trucks, cars etc. may force you to get off the road while you are riding (there might be other reasons like dogs, children playing, cows etc.) And that drops you to a level about 3-10 cm lower from the main road.

My question is, whenever one tries to get back on the road, climbing 3-10 cm road height, while being parallel to the road, almost surely makes the bike skid and makes rider fall (head in the traffic position).

The problem is worse when it is 'mumbai-rain' raining!

Getting off the bicycle - climbing back on road - riding, can't be a solution. Traffic is way too crazy to allow you doing that.

I ride Trek marlin 29er, But I have put slick (700c-35) tires on it, so it doesn't have good grip sideways. And many of my friends ride locally made cheap bikes, which certainly-certainly do not have good grip on the road whatsoever.

So what are the techniques one should use for this kind of problem?

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    Frankly, I'd call a cab. – Daniel R Hicks May 7 '13 at 14:28
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    Does the road smoothly drop down 3–10cm (e.g. a "ramp"), or is does it immediately drop that distance when the paved surface ends (e.g., a "ledge")? – Stephen Touset May 7 '13 at 18:57
  • If there's a break in traffic, you could side hop it. – jimchristie May 7 '13 at 20:14
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    I would definitely learn to confidently side-hop left or right. This will allow you to stay at whatever speed you are doing, does not require much of change of direction, and once you're good you will be able to hop vertical and horizontal distances of 10cm with no trouble. I used it almost daily on commutes in Bristol, UK and London to get up and down high curbs. – Mere Development May 8 '13 at 7:15
  • You're a brave lad to go cycling in that! – GordonM May 8 '13 at 12:33

The situation you describe is critical, but when conditions allow, I would suggest you a technique I developed exactely for that.

The secret is to "ride the wall" as you were in the tilted section of a velodrome, that is, making a curve with your bike.

Most falls I have seen or heard, or even almost had myself, are caused by making a curve to the left while trying to climb the ramp sloped towards the other side. That makes the front tire skid if the step is steep, or if the surface is somewhat slippery.

Then, the trick is:

  1. Go as far as you can from the main road, on the side lane;
  2. Turn left (assuming a right-sided traffic) and start getting closer to the road edge;
  3. About half-way, straighten the bike and START TO TURN RIGHT, in an "S" shaped trajectory;
  4. When you climb the road edge, you will be turning right, then you "ride the wall" and by the end of the turn you'll be already up the road shoulder, going parallel to it.

The "centrifugal force", and the leaning of the bike, will prevent your tire from slipping. Of course this depends on actual conditions (rain, traffic, road height) at the moment.

Hope this helps!

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    I've never tried this technique, but it seems that if your tire doesn't hit the side of the road just right and climb it, then it'll stop abruptly and flip your bike into the traffic lane. Instead, I'd steer toward the road, pull up on the handlebars at the road edge and hop the front wheel up onto the road, then lighten the back of the bike to help the rear wheel up (or bunny hop if you can). This seems to work well for a 5cm edge, but I don't think I can hop my road bike up a 10cm road edge. – Johnny May 7 '13 at 18:11
  • @Johnny I believe the disagreement here may be caused by a different understanding of the condition described by OP. heltonbiker appears to believe the edge of the road is a "ramp", while you appear to believe it is a "ledge". I've asked for clarification from OP. – Stephen Touset May 7 '13 at 18:59
  • Yeah, the roads I ride with these conditions have a ramp caused by new asphalt only on the main road, not the side lane. I'd say lightening the weight on each wheel going over the ramp is important, but I find a bunny hop is too critical if the traffic is that heavy as described. – heltonbiker May 7 '13 at 19:05
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    Ah...yes, I'm definitely thinking of a vertical ledge, if it's more of a ramp, that does seem to make it easier to roll back on the road. My commute used to take me along a road that had a steep 2" drop from the road to the shoulder, it's as if they planned on paving the shoulder but never got around to it. Getting around debris or other bikes in the shoulder meant hopping up onto the road, but it's not something I'd want to do with heavy traffic on the road. – Johnny May 7 '13 at 21:08

It's rather easy to lift the front wheel onto a higher surface, so the problem boils down to how do you lift the rear wheel.

The best solution seems to be a variant of a bunny-hop, but this might be too technical (I can't do it) or dangerous (if I could do it with 90% probability, I'd never try that in heavy traffic). What I do instead is putting a foot briefly on the road to unweigh the rear wheel. This only works at low speed, but it's still much better than stopping.

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