Commuting - Wheel hungry asphalt
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09-08-06, 11:43 AM
So my commute this morning was close to perfect - the outside temperature was just right, traffic wasn't too bad, and I timed the last series of stoplights just right so that I didn't have to stop at all. And then at the very end as I was rounding the last corner and watching out for anything coming around from the other side, I heard a disastrous whirring sound coming from my front wheel and my beloved Miyata came to a complete halt. Fortunately I had just enough time to react by pulling my feet out of the clipless pedals so I didn't hurtle over my bars to do a face plant. When I looked down to see what had happened, I noticed my wheel wedged tightly in a crack in the asphalt where two slabs almost met each other. I couldn't believe it - my subconscious mind that was observing the road directly in front of my bike (I hope) must have thought such a crack would be covered by tar or something. Usually anything like a rock or pothole jumps out at me. Anyway, after pulling my wheel free it proved to be completely warped and hopeless. I guess it's time to find a new wheel, or at least a new rim, because now the sides are completely scraped up and would probably chew through my brake pads even if I could bend it back (I'm not known for my wheel building skills). I had to make the extremely sad call to my fiancÚ to ask her to pick me up from work. :(
Cracks, rails, sewer grate openings and stuff like that parallel to your direction of travel are just awful things! Even the road snakes (cracks filled with tar) make me nervous if I have to ride right on them for longer than a couple of metres.
Glad you are ok!
(I wonder if you could get compensation from the city for damage to your machine... Probably not, which is a shame.)
09-08-06, 08:44 PM
It turns out I was able to find a decent replacement wheel at the local Yellow Bike Project for $15. Although it would be great to get that back from the city, I'm not holding my breath! Not too bad though. I also have been meaning to replace the wire rim tires I have, so this will give me a good excuse. The sad thing is that this was relatively close to the convention center, and it gets even more foot traffic than normal in this area downtown. I wonder if any wheel chairs have gotten stuck there as well. Anyway, I know about that spot now (and to look for others) so I count it a cheap leason learned.
09-08-06, 10:09 PM
There are some wheel-munching cracks, dare I say crevasses? (huge!) on my route to Central Park. I reported this to the City many moons ago and nothing has been done. I don't expect your municipality to do much better, but at least look into reporting it.
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