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annual rant

Old 07-28-16, 12:46 PM
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rck
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annual rant

I hate fresh tar and pea gravel! T'is the season and the work has started.

After having taken a couple of weeks off of the bike, I decided to go out for a bit of a ride today. I caught up with another local rider and we chatted as we moved along. I was talking about my vaguely planned route which changed as he started telling me about all of the roads with fresh gravel in that direction. After we parted, I decided to go N and then back E planning on going down a really sweet hill. It is a hill that I've hit 55mph on although not of late. Still, it's a thrill. Did I mention that I hate pea gravel? The ride down was a thrill, just not the one I anticipated. My brakes got a very careful workout as I tried to find a seam down which to ride. After a couple of more miles, I was back on the regular road, albeit, I changed my route to avoid continuing on the gravel.

Around here pea gravel is inevitable with its appearance every july/august. On the up side, it makes for a few weeks of constantly changing plans when out on the bike. Adventure riding.
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Old 07-28-16, 12:51 PM
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Is that what others call "chip seal"?

If so, I'd like to join your club of hate.
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Old 07-28-16, 12:54 PM
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I'd like to know what idiot decided to chip seal the roads in my town. I hope they get a rash in their private area.
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Old 07-28-16, 01:05 PM
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I am not a fan of fresh oil/chip roads on my ride but those same roads a month later offer great wet road ridability for both car and cycle, so in the long run, it is a small price to pay to wait to ride that road as I go explore others.
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Old 07-28-16, 01:07 PM
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I remember the first time I encountered chip seal being put on a road. I was riding to my parents' home from the college town I lived in, about 100 miles. The last twenty miles is a glorious ride in a protected water basin. About a third of the way in, I encountered the work. One of the workers told me that when they were done I'd really like what they had done. Well, not only did I not like enjoy the loose pea gravel, after they finished the road had a noticeable increase in rolling resistance.

I'm sure the motorists liked the outcome, but chip seal is always horrid for bikes. In Oregon, the state paving standards call for not putting chip seal on shoulders that are appropriate for cycling. I sure wish more jurisdictions would follow the state standards.
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Old 07-28-16, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Is that what others call "chip seal"?

If so, I'd like to join your club of hate.
me three.

Around here there was a gorgeous stretch of quite new asphalt around a local lake- a joy to ride - that they just ripped up and put down chip seal. I don't know if there was some utility work that had to be done that caused them to destroy a perfectly good road surface or what, but I am grieving - it was one of my favorites.
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Old 07-28-16, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
I am not a fan of fresh oil/chip roads on my ride but those same roads a month later offer great wet road ridability for both car and cycle, so in the long run, it is a small price to pay to wait to ride that road as I go explore others.
Yeah, I see that they are good for traction on wet roads, but god I hate chip seal.

Even worse was when I was in Australia, where they use coarser gravel in their chip seal - more like almonds than peas. The road buzz was just miserable.
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Old 07-28-16, 02:01 PM
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Old 07-28-16, 02:08 PM
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Oil/chip also great for crazy abrasion should you fall off your bike and onto the road surface! Our club ride had 3 guys go down after colliding into each other about 2 weeks ago and their scabs are still not healed enough to ride.

Cost per mile and freeze/thaw cycle tolerant is why many northern hwy dept's use this method. I would think it would work in the southern heat which could get hot enough to loosen the tar's grip on the stone.

Biker395, that stone is just crazy. I wouldn't want to ride my bike over that unless it was my Mtb.

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Old 07-28-16, 02:11 PM
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Biker395 where was that pic taken?
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Old 07-28-16, 02:20 PM
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Lots of chip seal in Central Indiana but most of it not too coarse and I haven't encountered much gravel in recent years related to it. Whenever I ride over chip seal, am thankful my tires range from 28-41 mm wide. (3 bikes)
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Old 07-28-16, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Kroil View Post
Biker395 where was that pic taken?
That was taken on Angeles Crest Highway back when they chip sealed it in 2012 (near Cloudburst Summit, I think). Those "pebbles" were effin huge! Even the motorcyclists were unhappy. The worst part is that the road surface was great before the added the chip seal.

They've since added a slurry over the top and the road surface is back to being pretty good.
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Old 07-28-16, 03:08 PM
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Chip seal is popular in some rural areas here in Texas, presumably because it's more durable. It does ride rough and slow, but I've ridden worse. I noticed recently some of the chip seal is being coated with what the construction company is calling "fog seal". Basically it just restores the feel of smoother asphalt.

Loose pea gravel and sand are often used on the local MUP to fill holes. It can really be dangerous if you don't see it coming in time to adjust. The tire tends to plow and jerk. Interesting challenge for gravel riding, but not fun when it catches you off guard.
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Old 07-29-16, 04:22 AM
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Chip seal is cheaper than paving. It also is not as effective overall and lasts far shorter. If chip seal was such a good thing wouldn't it be used on interstates? Basically, it's cheaper and doesn't do the job properly. I'll join the "Chip Seal Haters of America" club.
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Old 07-29-16, 05:49 AM
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Different locations use different materials. I've seen small pea-stone, I've seen actual chipped granite. Sometimes I swear they brush it after application to bring up the nap. My home county used to spray the oil and then just dump stone everywhere and let the cars work it in. That was a nightmare for road bikes. Now that stone is getting more expensive, they've taken to doing it right: spray, spread, roll, then spray a top-coat. I've never crashed on chip-seal and I hope I never do -- it would cause deep lacerations instead of just a little rug burn. I can't believe any cyclist likes it, compared to smooth asphalt it costs around 2 mph in either speed or effort.
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Old 07-29-16, 02:43 PM
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I've ridden on it while up north for various reasons, but never see the stuff in Florida. I worked a lot of summer breaks in my early years of teaching in the asphalt paving world as a surveyor, really don't remember us ever using that method to "pave" a road. This may be due to not having any native gravel/stone down here. Sand, lots and lots of sand . . .
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Old 07-29-16, 03:05 PM
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Pretty much like BlazingPedals, around here they dump a load of tar and then add the pea-sized gravel. It's up to traffic to work it into the road. It can actually make for some pretty dangerous riding if you are not expecting it. A few years ago I had an acquaintance who went down and suffered some very serious injuries when finding some in an unexpected place.
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Old 07-29-16, 03:22 PM
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The cheap technique of letting the cars do the work has mostly fallen by the wayside here. They press it in and come through a few days later and sweep up the excess gravel. But if you ride the road before they clean it up, those rafts of excess gravel on the roadway margins are awful cycling hazards. I've hit a few, and somehow never gone down, but they are scary.

And around here, they are getting better at using smaller stones so that the resulting surface is not too terrible. Still, I agree with Blazing Pedals - the difference between silky smooth new asphalt and new chip seal could be as much as 2 MPH.

Also, it could be that chip seal has good freeze-thaw properties compared to asphalt, but there is no shortage of cracks and pot holes on chip sealed road in Minnesota....
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Old 07-29-16, 04:57 PM
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I don't measure roads in MPH so much as comfort. Chip seal vibration hurts my neck almost as much as brick. I wouldn't ride it at all without my bike's suspension fork and running the tire pressure a bit low. My neck and shoulder are still aching from riding the rural chip seal route twice this week. For some reason it feels more unpleasant than gravel. Gravel feels good, like a vibrating massage chair. Not chip seal.
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Old 07-29-16, 06:56 PM
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Add my name to the list of chip seal haters.
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Old 07-29-16, 06:58 PM
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how inconsiderate of them to maintain the roads
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