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  1. #1
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Favorite riding surface

    Here in the norther hemisphere today is the longest day of the year. To celebrate I went out for an early morning 60 mile ride. I ended up riding about 28 miles of it on a concrete road with expansion joints. I now offically hate concrete roads with expansion joints. It seems as if every 0.05 seconds you get a jolt from the expansion joint. Not especially harsh, but rhythm of it is never ending and very, very annoying! This experience got me to thinking about my favorite riding surface. I'll take new (less than five years old) blacktop any day of the year. Not enough O's in smooooooth to describe good blacktop. What about the rest of you? What's your choice when it comes to the surface on which your two wheels make contact?
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  2. #2
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    I agree, new blacktop is probably my favorite too. Of course new blacktop on a hot day sometimes isn't so great when it gets sticky and seems to increase rolling resistance, not to mention the mess it makes on the bike. I think it takes a week or so for blacktop "age" before it becomes perfect.

  3. #3
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    New blacktop less than five months old. It only takes about a year or so before the new blacktop becomes cracked and or broken here.
    Born Again Bicyclist! I found my Faith.

    Giant Cypress, GF Wahoo, Trek 7.3FX, Schwinn Sprint

  4. #4
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    Packed, decomposed-granite singletrack. Second is gnarly rock-strewn downhills .

  5. #5
    Desert Rat
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    My favorite is any smooth surface that has a downhill slant.
    Have I mentioned that I love riding my bikes?
    GT Timberline (1989), Home build (2012), Giant OCR3 (2007)

    Jack aka:makeitso

  6. #6
    Desert tortise lsits's Avatar
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    Fresh blacktop. Smells good too.
    Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then. - Bob Seger

  7. #7
    Senior Member joeprim's Avatar
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    I don't know. It's black, but oh so different, so smooth it feels like it's pulling the bike. Most of the black where I ride is chip and pour, even when new has a lot of friction. There was a section on the Richmond/Williamsburg MS150 that was this super smooth stuff. Several commented on how nice that section was. It came right after about 2 miles of road that had been scraped in prepration for repaving. What a difference!

    Joe

  8. #8
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    I'll take smooth blacktop, too--but it's pretty rare around here. If your bike has room for bigger tires, don't neglect that option. I have two very similar frames, Rivendell Atlantis and Rambouillet, and when I built them up I put 700x37 tires on the Atlantis, 700x27s on the Rambo (I weigh 240, so I don't go skinnier than that). I figured I'd use the Rambouillet for most of my riding, just bring the other bike out for fire trails and stuff, but it's become my first choice for nearly all conditions. I run the fatties at 75-80 psi, and it makes a big difference in comfort for a very small tradeoff in speed.

  9. #9
    Pinstriper SemperFi's Avatar
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    Definitely blacktop...smoothe as a newborn baby's butt.
    Specialized Sequoia Elite
    Ride On!

  10. #10
    Perpetually lost
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    Blacktop with 2 downs. Downhill and downwind!
    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
    George Bernard Shaw

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lsits
    Fresh blacktop. Smells good too.
    Fresh blacktop after a quick rain...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Blacktop over an old cement road. I once heard the reason the Indy Speedway is so smooth is because they have laid blacktop over the old bricks. That base of bricks or cement makes for a real stable footing. It's surprising how a slury or chip sealed road can slow you down. Love that blacktop.

  13. #13
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    I'm pretty lucky the community where I live was built in 1996 and all of the roads are smooth blacktop with bike lanes. They street sweep all of the roads at least twice a week. My daily 20mi ride is really a dream. On weekends I get outside the community and the roads are older and down here they mix coral in with the blacktop so as the road wears down you get a pretty rough surface that eats tires.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

    2013 Noah RS

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Just started on the darkside and unless the tarmac is perfectly smooth- then I might as well get my Mountain bike out and go up the hills on the dry chalk trails. Best riding surface by far. Smooth enough with erosion to take out the bumps. Dry enough to get grip and Highlights the trail in the dark- even without lights.

    2nd best is the brown stuff in the winter when its under 2" of rain. May not be enjoyable to ride in but my superior Skills overcome the others superior fitness.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  15. #15
    Senior Member va_cyclist's Avatar
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    Tennis court.

  16. #16
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Agree on the blacktop, though my city is too cheap to use it much and hires incompetent chip sealers. County chip sealed roads are OK, inside the city though, they suck.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  17. #17
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    With studs, my favorite riding surface is smooth glare ice. It is a wonderful, dreamlike experience when the noise of the studs stops and you are gliding along as if riding on air. During the summer, new backtop is best, but it is still not as smooth as ice.

    Paul

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Blacktop is my favorite, too.

    Graded gravel is the worst.

    Quote Originally Posted by webist
    County chip sealed roads are OK, inside the city though, they suck.
    After graded gravel, I have the most trouble on lightly traveled chip seal and unmaitained limestone screenings

    The chip seal on country roads around here is fine. It seems to get compacted to where it's almost like asphalt. But the canal tow paths that my wife and I have been riding lately don't have enough traffic to compact the stone. In many places, the chip seal is more like riding on light gravel.

    Same holds true of limestone screenings. On well traveled and maintained routes, it's fine. But on lightly traveled routes, it drifts and erodes to where it's almost like sand in spots. Loose limestone screenings cuts our typical crusing speed by about 1/3 ... cuts it by more if I'm carrying a load.

  19. #19
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dminor
    Packed, decomposed-granite singletrack. Second is gnarly rock-strewn downhills .
    Pervert....

    Blacktop for me too!
    Carpe who?

  20. #20
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampy™
    Pervert....
    . . . and a Bohemian too ! You guys weren't guarding the door and let this downhiller onto the Forum

  21. #21
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Almost any paved surface with a 5% to 20% slope and a good runout. Velodromes have been kind to me.
    This space open

  22. #22
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    The best surface is wood planks, as on a board track. On a really well-designed track (e.g., Manchester) it is extremely smooth and fast, and the corners are comfortable because they are so resilient. I remember just cruising along during warmup at 46 kmh (28+ mph) on 135 gram tires pumped to 180 lbs, almost effortlessly.

    Of course, you wouldn't want to ride on wood in the rain...

    I concur about concrete slabs. In Washington state, the most direct route by bike from Bellingham (actually Ferndale, just north of Bellingham) to the Canadian border is Old Hiway 99. It's just a coninuous stretch of bumping over the concrete slabs for over 30 kilometers, so nobody takes it.

    Back in 1990, I did some races in Ukraine, in a town called Biela Cherkov ("White Church"). The town had a rubber factory at one end, and they obviously mixed lots of rubber into their blacktop, because the closer you got to the factory, the deeper your tires would sink into the road.

    I remember one race I did way back wen I was an "elite" rider, in the interior of British Columbia. It was a really hot day, and near the end of the race we had to ride up a long hill. It had been recently repaved. Because of the heat, my tires started to sink into the blacktop, leaving grooves and really making the climbing difficult. I think it would have been worse trying to run up the hill; I could see my cleats sinking into the roadway.

    - L.

  23. #23
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
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    Week old asphaltic concrete. (Couldn't resist being the first to use it's correct name. )

  24. #24
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbait
    Week old asphaltic concrete. (Couldn't resist being the first to use it's correct name. )
    Make up yur mind.......
    Carpe who?

  25. #25
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampy™
    Make up yur mind.......

    concrete, n.
    2. A mass formed by the coalescence of particles.

    Asphaltic concrete, chipseal, slurry seal and oil and gravel, four very different paving materials, are commonly lumped together and called by the misnomer "blacktop". Of these, asphaltic concrete provides the best pavement for bicycling. It is also the most expensive.

    Dogbait

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