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Asphalt roads reverting to gravel

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Asphalt roads reverting to gravel

Old 12-19-09, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Agreed. Seems like most of the people I see who have gotten into trouble on winter roads were driving 4WD vehicles. With 2WD you have a reminder of slippery conditions every time you feel the wheels slip a little when accelerating and it encourages more careful driving. 4WD lets you accelerate a lot faster and removes some of that feedback - but provides no advantage when it's time to stop.
Yeah, your driving along a snow covered highway, guess what you see in the ditch, it isn't the old rear drive battle cruiser, it isn't the little front drive, it's the SUV..... I had one car with ABS, it got activated exactly twice in 12 years, first time was intentional to see if it actually worked. When that car was retired, it's replacement didn't have ABS.

Here is the real issue, for drivers, number one rule when driving in less then ideal conditions, this from a guy who had one at fault accident in over 30 years. Don't do anything quickly, don't brake quickly, don't accelerate quickly, don't steer quickly. Guess what, that applies equally to cycling on less then ideal surfaces too.

Second rule, always assume the other driver is going to do something stupid, your often not disappointed. This also equally applies in cycling.
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Old 12-19-09, 07:18 PM
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Been there done that. Living in poor Kansas I ride on on originally rutted dirt, then smoothly paved, then converted / degraded to gravel roads a lot. Makes for a lot of chuck-holes. MTB time. I can do them on my road bike, but it would be too abusive on it, and me.
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Old 12-19-09, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Eclectus View Post
Been there done that. Living in poor Kansas I ride on on originally rutted dirt, then smoothly paved, then converted / degraded to gravel roads a lot. Makes for a lot of chuck-holes. MTB time. I can do them on my road bike, but it would be too abusive on it, and me.
Why has this thread become more about the implications for driving, rather than cycling? Gravel and have significantly worse implications for the practicality of cycling than they do for motor vehicles.

Anyone want to constantly ride in a cloud of dust? You'd have trouble seeing (and people seeing you) and you'd certainly be traveling more slowly, unable to take any turns at any speed on poorly-maintained gravel. There are plenty of morons who drive too fast on paved roads; they do the same on gravel (when there's seemingly no one around) and the consequences are worse. You'd likely see more cyclists being hit from behind. I've lived in an area where the rural roads are dirt/gravel. They suck, and are a deathtrap for cyclists.

In reality, people just drive fast when they feel it's safe, such as on straightaways, and brake harder when they have to, such as when going into turns. Obviously, this is not the best way to do it, but 90% of people do not belong behind the wheel in the first place. You're expecting way too much from drivers who don't actually have to demonstrate any true competence before being granted a license. All of this accelerating and braking would also lead to decreased fuel economy. The argument that it's ok for rural roads is misleading. Once it's ok for those roads to be worthless, it's ok for all roads to be. Farewell, infrastructure.

All this dirt road worship is luddite nonsense. There are reasons, which also benefit cyclists, they are paved. Wasn't it cyclists who pushed for paved roads in the first place?

Hell, I'll gladly pay a good amount out of my pocket each year for good paved-road maintenance. I would hate to be paying any amount for nigh-intraversible washboard gravel bs. Tragedy of the Commons, indeed.

Last edited by tadawdy; 12-19-09 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 12-19-09, 09:58 PM
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I suspect the roads devolving will be very low traffic roads serving primarily poor people without expensive bicycles.

Rich people with expensive bicycles will generally whine enough to get paving. People on my dead end street at the far reaches of the county (I'm 25' from the county line as I type) are rich and powerful enough to not only have our road paved nicely but to have bright white lines painted along it.

Other areas with prefab houses and without Saabs have rough worn asphalt without lines. And gravel roads off the paved ones.

Personally, I love fresh pavement. I can tolerate junk, but I'd rather not!
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Old 12-24-09, 08:28 AM
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I travel 4 miles each way out of 11 miles total on gravel road, on my way to/from work. I agree that they require a lot of maintenance; they need to be re-graded about 4 or 5 times a year. The road is miserable to ride a bike on after it's graded, because it leaves a lot of loose gravel (pebbles perhaps 2-3cm diameter) on top.

It gets horribly washboarded at times. Stopping distance for a car is FAR longer than pavement, due to the washboarding - you can't just compare coefficient of friction on the two surfaces - you have to take into account that if you're traveling more than about 15 MPH, your tires are flying through the air part of the time, so at those times your friction is ZERO.

It gets bad enough that sometimes even at speeds of 30 MPH or so, a car's tires are in the air so much that the car starts to rotate and dogtrack down the road, as if it were on a sheet of ice. These areas of washboarding can come up on you in a car without realizing it; they're not always visible.

On a bike you can often avoid the washboards and usually the potholes, but not always. They're the reason I made sure to get 36H, double wall rim wheels when I bought new wheels a couple of years ago; back when my bike was stock ($300 bike with cheap wheels) I broke about 20 spokes in the first year.
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