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Old 07-18-12, 08:05 PM   #1
PatrickGSR94
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Ever cycled on fresh asphalt?

Was out biking with my son in the trailer this evening, and happened to turn onto a street with freshly-laid asphalt pavement. Asphalt/tarmac/bitumen or whatever you like to call it. I immediately noticed my tires getting very sticky, so I moved over to an area that had not been paved yet. But since my tires were sticky, they picked every single little pebble and other debris. The tires actually sounded like they were flat as we rolled along, so I pulled over and checked. No problem, holding air just fine.

After we got past the fresh asphalt, the rest of the road was extremely rough from the old pavement being milled to accept new pavement. Very bumpy, very noisy (tires). I actually consider myself pretty lucky to have made it home without any flats.

When I got home I started going over the tires with a wire wheel in my drill to try to get the junk off that were stuck to them. Next time I will definitely avoid fresh asphalt if at all possible.
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Old 07-18-12, 08:12 PM   #2
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When I got home I started going over the tires with a wire wheel in my drill to try to get the junk off that were stuck to them. Next time I will definitely avoid fresh asphalt if at all possible.
What?? Just let it wear off. I enjoy freshly-repaved roads, even if they are a little sticky at first.
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Old 07-18-12, 08:17 PM   #3
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Well I just didn't want anything to stick on there that could potentially cause a flat.

The sticky sound was very disconcerting as it distinctly sounded like a flat. And being out in the evening heat with my son in the trailer, several miles from home, made me not want to take any chances.
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Old 07-18-12, 10:21 PM   #4
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As a 16yo kid I cycled home from school over wet tar in my sports shirt. My Nanna was ballistic and she had to get out a huge tin of lard to dissolve all the tar before laundering.
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Old 07-18-12, 10:36 PM   #5
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I love the smell...
Is that weird?
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Old 07-18-12, 11:23 PM   #6
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The asphalt residue you picked up from freshly rolled new pavement should wear off with a little time. You are probably right to watch that it doesn't pick up a shard of glass or something, other than that it shouldn't be an issue.

The really nasty stuff to stay away from is the liquid tack coat they spray on the base pavement right before they start spreading and rolling the asphalt (it gets covered by the new asphalt mat; its purpose is to get the new asphalt layer to "stick" to the old roadway). That stuff can be murder to get off clothing and nice finishes. You have to have perfectly bad timing to hit the tack coat though, as they normally cover it up right away with the fresh asphalt layer.

The milled surface of the old roadway is rough as hell to ride on with constant small bumps, but shouldn't pose a significantly increased flat risk - as bad as it rides, it's less severe than a big unseen pothole hit squarely at speed. They should have swept it with a sweeper - loose gravel would be my biggest concern on that surface.

Glad your ride was flat-free for the day....
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Old 07-18-12, 11:25 PM   #7
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I love the smell...
Is that weird?
I love that smell, too. It's not particularly healthy to breathe constantly, but every now and then won't hurt.
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Old 07-19-12, 06:02 AM   #8
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I love the smell...
Is that weird?
Try living in a college dorm while they're re-roofing it with that tar - the smell is many times stronger than the freshly paved roadway. I could hardly breathe with that going on. Made me glad I had my desk over in the architecture building where I could just chill all day haha.
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Old 07-19-12, 06:42 AM   #9
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I have never ridden over freshly put down asphalt but have ridden over it a few days later and I love the smooth surface of it, no bumps!!
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Old 07-19-12, 11:14 AM   #10
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I ride on a lot of gravel roads, and in some places people have some stuff sprayed on the road to keep the dust down. I don't know what it is. It smells like a fruity syrup (I'm thinking a byproduct of a local fruit dryer), but I can't imagine how that wouldn't attract all sorts of critters and bugs to lick it up. I rode through a bunch of that out fresh, on a downhill slope. That was scary. I went very slow. Once it dries out or soaks in it's nice to ride on. The stuff washed off my frame without much trouble so it's water-soluble.
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Old 07-19-12, 11:32 AM   #11
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I hate all the crap that sticks to your frame & rims.
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Old 07-19-12, 12:21 PM   #12
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When I was a child I rode my bike down a hill that had been sprayed with the liquid tar just before the dry gravel was spread over it. I believe the process is locally known as "chip and seal." What I didn't realize was how slick the fresh tar would be. My bike went out from under me and I slid down the hill and got covered with tar from head to foot.
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Old 07-19-12, 01:32 PM   #13
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When I was a child I rode my bike down a hill that had been sprayed with the liquid tar just before the dry gravel was spread over it. I believe the process is locally known as "chip and seal." What I didn't realize was how slick the fresh tar would be. My bike went out from under me and I slid down the hill and got covered with tar from head to foot.
Yes, that was a chip seal. They generally will spray a mixture of emulsified asphalt (asphalt that has been suspended in water with additives) on the road, then spread the chips (crushed stone of a particular size gradation). Within a short time, the emulsion "breaks" and the asphalt particles come out of suspension and the water evaporates off. This whole process allows them to get the chips to stick to the asphalt for a low-cost, somewhat durable low-traffic surface. I imagine that if you hit that before the emulsion broke, that would indeed be a helluva mess.
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Old 07-19-12, 01:40 PM   #14
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I once biked on very fresh asphalt and had about a 1/4 inch layer of gunk on my tires, new tires too. While I was a bit worried at first, it eventually just wore away and the tire was fine.
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