Riding on wood

Can someone please explain why pedaling on wood (i.e. wooden bridge or boardwalk) is so much more difficult (more like riding on grass) than riding on pavement. I'm sure it's a friction/physics thing, but why such a difference?


  • It shouldn't be, unless it is extremely rough or soggy soft.

    See here......bigger numbers are harder.

    Rolling Resistance Coefficient
    c cl (mm)
    0.001 - 0.002 0.5 railroad steel wheels on steel rails
    0.001 bicycle tire on wooden track
    0.002 - 0.005 low resistance tubeless tires
    0.002 bicycle tire on concrete
    0.004 bicycle tire on asphalt road
    0.005 dirty tram rails
    0.006 - 0.01 truck tire on asphalt
    0.008 bicycle tire on rough paved road
    0.01 - 0.015 ordinary car tires on concrete, new asphalt, cobbles small new
    0.02 car tires on tar or asphalt
    0.02 car tires on gravel - rolled new
    0.03 car tires on cobbles - large worn
    0.04 - 0.08 car tire on solid sand, gravel loose worn, soil medium hard
    0.2 - 0.4 car tire on loose sand
  • Thank goodness someone else feels that way. I have trouble on wooden bridges also. A long boardwalk is out of the question. Can't wait to see other answers.
  • The only thing this retired ME can think of is that a boardwalk or a wooden bridge is formed with....well, boards. Each board is separated by a small gap and none are the same exact height. As you roll from one board to another, you lose traction as you pass over the gap between boards, and then, many times, you are climbing a tiny hill to rise up onto the next board. Add to that the thought that the wood is often wet and slippery and your pedal stroke effort is compromised a little.
  • Boardwalks on a trike also make your voice sound funny :)
  • LOLOL! Good one Ed. You started my day with a good laugh.
  • Only bad fall I have ever taken on a bike in over 6 decades, was on a damp wooden bridge that had dew on it in the morning. Front wheel of my Rans Tailwind went out from under me at about 14 mph. Result, crack in helmet when it hit a bridge support. Ordered my Rover than week, and sold the Tailwind.
  • Mold/mildew are a constant problem and create slick wood surfaces. We've been working on this for a number of years and yet to find a good fix for extended surfaces in remote areas.
  • Retractable spikes. :* in da tires. Not the decking...hmmm
  • I had strap-on cleats for my shoes when I lived in Virginia. Do they have anything for bicycle tires?
  • Yes. Studded tires for winter fanatics. $$$$$$ mucho grande.
  • Ride over wood-covered rail trestles on the Weiser River Trail no problem. Was in fact easier, although did sound different.
    Wooden planks on this trail was at or near 45° angles.

    ¬ ITL
  • edited September 2017
    This trestle had more horizontal planks. Was a pleasure riding over it, though the river was further down than it appeared. When I go back and going to take better photos.
    (Video is supposed to start at 7:13)

    ¬ ITL
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