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I've been going to a local high school to practice on their astroturf.  I figured it made sense.  It's smooth, but also soft for all the times I'm jumping off my wheel.  No pedal-scrapes.  After about 40 minutes of this, I could kind of ride straight for 50 yards if I was lucky.  The next day I was practicing on a nearby grass field -- baseball / soccer.  I found it much easier there, even though it was a very bumpy lawn.  I could ride pretty straight, control curves, reach 12mph no problem.  I thought my mind had just learned overnight.  It felt like a breakthrough.

Next day, I go back to the astroturf to practice again thinking i could really open it up there, but it was much harder again.  It seems like the turning is less forgiving; I have less control.  The little bits I have ridden on pavement were easier.  A grass lawn I find much easier.

Can anybody explain this to me?  This is pretty counter-intuitive to me.  I'd like to understand better.

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The mushier and softer a surface, the harder it is to ride there and precisely control the wheel (like doing precise and controlled turns). For the extreme case, imagine trying to learn on sand like on a (dry) beach.

I suspect the astroturf is more dense and soft and carpet-like, while both asphalt and grass are actually harder - the asphalt anyways, and the dirt is hard and the grass actually doesn't change anything as you just roll over it, you might as well just be on compacted dirt which is not a soft surface (which is good!).

That's why I'm against learning on grass - soft surfaces just make everything artificially harder.

Edited by meepmeepmayer
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Thanks!  I see what you mean.  I've been favoring softer surfaces because my knee protection is still in the mail, and I'm trying not to scratch up my pedals when I crash.  But I did try some pavement today.  Wow.  That was much easier.  Suddenly it all works on day 4.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Ha.  That's good to hear.  I thought it might just be me.  I just started a week ago and began in a tennis court.  On day two I moved to a parking lot of a local highschool which was great.  I was able to stay up for 10-20 minutes at a time and turning was ok.  There was a big patch of astroturf next to the parking lot which I thought would be great for my first "off-road" experience.  Wrong!  I could barely get 10 feet before falling.  Riding on the astroTurf was like trying to ride on a giant squishy mattress.  It was terrible.  Tried again in day 3 and 4 and had the same experience.  I'm on day 6 now and feeling great.  I have done actual off road and it is infinitely easier than the astroTurf.  I rode though a think blanket of giant mulch chips (must have been 6/7 inches deep), and even THAT was easier.  Long story short...I would steer clear of the astroTurf... At least if you are learning to ride.  Buy yourself a cover (and safety gear) and learn on pavement.

Edited by longjohnsally
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On 4/16/2020 at 1:57 AM, b00k3 said:

I'm trying not to scratch up my pedals when I crash.

Impossible. Resign yourself to having scratched pedals.  I don't know why manufacturers bother to put a finish on the pedals. 

Bruce 

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  • 3 months later...

Astroturf sucks.  I started on it and just chalked it up to me being a noob.  Once I learned to ride ok on a hard surface I thought I'll go back and do the astroturf.  It feels like all the support on the side of the tire is gone so the tire gets very squiggly.  I will return one day when I can grab the stone from the master's hand.

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