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Every day I ride off a kerb from the pavement onto the road (about a 4" drop) on a pretty standard commuter bike with 26" tires. (I could get off, or ride around, but it's a pain…)

  1. Is this a good idea? Is it going to damage the tire or wheel?
  2. If I am going to do this, is there a way of doing it to minimise any problems it might cause? (e.g. riding faster/slower, applying brakes/not applying brakes.)

I'm hoping the details won't make much difference, but just in case, I'm 85kg/185lb, the tires are 1.15" wide, and going by the price of the bike (~$800), the wheels are average commuter quality.

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    Wheels are not created equal, nor are cyclists. What's your weight? What's the make of the wheel? How wide is your tire? – Christian Lindig Feb 21 '18 at 14:05
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    In terms of 2, you certainly want to take your weight off the saddle and use your arms and legs as suspension. Though you were probably doing that anyway to avoid hurting your ass. – David Richerby Feb 21 '18 at 15:08
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    Also put your weight over the wheel that's not dropping. I.e. weight well back to start with, then, because you're standing on the pedals, you'll move forwards against the bike before the back drops. All my bikes can handle this at least occasionally, but I choose tough-ish bikes. I avoid doing this except on the BSO and MTB (which doesn't usually commute) – Chris H Feb 21 '18 at 15:20
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    Related, but for stairs: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/44671/… tldr: the physics behind it are complicated enough because so many different factors exist, that the only real way to know will be to try it. Which by all means is not a recommendation for you. – stijn Feb 21 '18 at 18:50
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    If the rear wheel is a freewheel (instead of a freehub), you stand a good chance of bending the rear axle. This happened to me when a no-longer-welcome house guest began amusing himself this way on my bike. – EvilSnack Feb 22 '18 at 4:41
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Riding off a curb is not necessarily going to damage the wheel or tire. I do this pretty frequently on my road bike with narrow 23mm tires with no issues.

However, if you are a heavy rider, have cheap wheels, have under inflated tires or use poor technique you could run into problems. If you can feel the rim hitting the ground then definitely don't do it.

Good technique is to approach reasonably slowly, stand up on the pedals and bend knees and elbows, shift you weight back onto the rear wheel as the front wheel goes over, the shift weight forward onto the front wheel as the rear wheel goes over. you can probably find some instructional YouTube videos easily.

If you have been doing this for a while and there are no obvious problems with your wheels, chances are they are fine. Check that the rims are true by spinning the wheel and watching the passage of the rim near a fixed point near the rim - brake pads for instance. Check the spoke tension by pinching pairs of spokes. If the rim is untrue or you have loose spokes get a local bike shop to true them up.

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In a word "slower" will help limit overall landing forces. Simply let the front wheel roll slowly over the lip while your weight is back, then lean forward while the rear wheel rolls softly down the lip.

Another option is to simply put one foot on the higher part of the kerb and place the bike on the ground. Its not fully getting off, but you are stopped while doing so.

Your much longer-term fix is to request a pedestrian access ramp in the kerb, Put the request to the local council or whoever does roads in your location.

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