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Scary occurrence and the dangers of fresh asphalt

Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Scary occurrence and the dangers of fresh asphalt

Old 05-24-19, 08:25 AM
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Wheever 
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Scary occurrence and the dangers of fresh asphalt

Yesterday, as I was coming home from a ride, a very dangerous and surprising thing happened to me:

At the end of my road there is a hairpin turn that drops at probably something close to a 20% grade. I love dropping into this turn at high speed, braking hard, then accelerating hard out of it, trying to see how fast I can go. (I often end up tailgating cars, lol.) I've done this turn like this hundreds of times now, but yesterday everything went wrong.

As I was dropping into the turn, my rear brake locked up, and the tire broke loose! I let go, and try again, and it happened again! Repeat, and there was just no slowing down without the rear tire losing traction, risking me doing an endo, or spinning out into oncoming traffic (there was actually no one in the other lane). So I bailed into a nearby driveway which luckily happens to be right at that corner.

I got off the bike and looked at the rear tire, and it was covered in bits of gravel and other crap and looked oily, and I suddenly remembered having crossed a patch of fresh (I mean put down in the last couple hours) asphalt about a mile or so back. Some oil or other crap had gotten on my tires, drastically reducing their grip, thus the rear breaking loose as it was unloaded on the downgrade!

Home was about a half mile away, and when I got there, and rolled the bike across the grass, grass clippings stuck to my tires! I had to clean them off with OMS because whatever had gotten on them was still sticky and greasy, and probably still dangerous.

The lesson: WATCH OUT FOR FRESH ASPHALT! Even a couple miles later, the residue can still mess with your tires and traction!
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Old 05-24-19, 08:35 AM
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I learned this lesson the hard way 28 years ago. Went down hard doing 18 - 20 on a curve... Broken collarbone and lots of road rash.
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Old 05-24-19, 08:39 AM
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It is seldom the obvious thing that causes problems. The obvious can be allowed for. It seems to be a contradiction but we need to expect the unexpected. Glad you lived.
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Old 05-24-19, 08:40 AM
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I've had a similar wreck, turning left off of fresh pavement, where the front wheel slid out and sent me sliding across the oily old pavement. That left some nasty road rash on my calf + hip, and tore up the palm of my left glove.

This is why I always wear gloves,.
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Old 05-24-19, 08:41 AM
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Not a problem here in SoCal, they don't repave the roads anymore! Fresh pavement you say? WUZZAT? <laughs quietly, sadly>
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Old 05-24-19, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Igotdibs View Post
I learned this lesson the hard way 28 years ago. Went down hard doing 18 - 20 on a curve... Broken collarbone and lots of road rash.
Mine was 9 years ago, to the day.
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Old 05-24-19, 09:36 AM
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Get your braking done before you turn in. No trail braking on a down hill turn, it un-weights the rear. The fastest way to stop is all front brake. You cannot skid the front tire in a straight line on pavement, it's over the bars.
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Old 05-24-19, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
Get your braking done before you turn in. No trail braking on a down hill turn, it un-weights the rear. The fastest way to stop is all front brake. You cannot skid the front tire in a straight line on pavement, it's over the bars.
This is good advice, but in my case there was no braking involved.
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Old 05-24-19, 09:50 AM
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Bits of gravel and oil, sounds like chip seal, not asphalt. That is the worst to ride over after it's been freshly laid, because all they do is put down a layer of oil then spread gravel chips over it. It can be loose and squirrelly if it's not been swept, or an oily mess if there's not enough chip. I never ride over that stuff (if I can help it) until it's been swept several times, and has had traffic drive over it for a while to pack it down.
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Old 05-24-19, 09:54 AM
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Accelerating at high speed out of hairpin turn down a 20% grade.

Do you slam dance, bro?
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Old 05-24-19, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
Get your braking done before you turn in. No trail braking on a down hill turn, it un-weights the rear. The fastest way to stop is all front brake. You cannot skid the front tire in a straight line on pavement, it's over the bars.
Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
This is good advice, but in my case there was no braking involved.
I agree it's good advice, no braking involved with me either. Fresh asphalt is oily on the surface. In my case it was like going into a turn and hitting black ice... in July.
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Old 05-24-19, 10:34 AM
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I often end up tailgating cars
I try not to do this, but if it's close, best to follow in wheel tracks, as you never know what surprises that cage has straddled in front of you
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Old 05-24-19, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
Get your braking done before you turn in. No trail braking on a down hill turn, it un-weights the rear. The fastest way to stop is all front brake. You cannot skid the front tire in a straight line on pavement, it's over the bars.
Put all your wieght back and hardly any chance of going over the bars for newbies it simply means putting your ass as far back as it will go past the seat and hold the bars tight very effective for stopping with little back brake at all
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Old 05-24-19, 01:13 PM
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Thanks for sharing, it's logical.......but I wouldn't have thought of that until too late either!
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Old 05-24-19, 07:47 PM
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I donít push it on down hills. Mistakes are too costly for the bike and the body.
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Old 05-24-19, 08:58 PM
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I had something similar happen years ago but it involved walking across a freshly paved road in flip flops.
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Old 05-24-19, 09:05 PM
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That reminds me of Joseba Beloki's crash on hot tarmac in the 2003 TdF.


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Old 05-25-19, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
I donít push it on down hills. Mistakes are too costly for the bike and the body.
+1

Once you get out of the flat lands, controlling speed, is more important than achieving high speed.
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Old 05-25-19, 06:37 AM
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Scary occurrence and the dangers of fresh asphalt
Originally Posted by Wheever View Post
Yesterday, as I was coming home from a ride, a very dangerous and surprising thing happened to me:...

As I was dropping into the turn, my rear brake locked up, and the tire broke loose! I let go, and try again, and it happened again! Repeat, and there was just no slowing down without the rear tire losing traction, risking me doing an endo, or spinning out into oncoming traffic (there was actually no one in the other lane). So I bailed into a nearby driveway which luckily happens to be right at that corner.

I got off the bike and looked at the rear tire, and it was covered in bits of gravel and other crap and looked oily, and I suddenly remembered having crossed a patch of fresh (I mean put down in the last couple hours) asphalt about a mile or so back. Some oil or other crap had gotten on my tires, drastically reducing their grip, thus the rear breaking loose as it was unloaded on the downgrade!...

The lesson: WATCH OUT FOR FRESH ASPHALT! Even a couple miles later, the residue can still mess with your tires and traction!
I also had a serious encounter with warm, though not fresh tar:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I arrived back at the start with 90 miles so I decided to complete the century. I went down a busy treeless road for a couple miles, but turned back and rode into Chelsea to take a picture of their landmark clocktower. Soon afterwards I had my crash at 94 miles.

I was immediately assisted by some bystanders who claimed I was KO’ed for a bit, and the ambulance and police soon arrived...

Wha’ happened? I was riding about 5 mph on the main street, and on that road surface were these strips of tar, the policeman called “tar seams,” apparently a cheap fix for cracks. In the 90 degree heat they became soft and sticky and grabbed my tire, and since I was going slowly, one pulled me down.

The officer said that they had also received complaints from motorcyclists about these tar seams...

I didn’t take many photos, and none on the road, but here’s a sample; note the tar seams on the street in the picture of the clocktower:


Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...As the ER nurse said to me, It couldn't happen in a better place than this small town with helpful bystanders, capable paramedics and police,and a hospital with emergency room.

I never thought of tar seams as a road hazard, and I intend to post about this, probably to the commuter forum, as a PSA, though they were hazardous to me because I was going slow...
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Old 05-25-19, 06:55 AM
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Motorcyclists refer to the tar seams as "tar snakes".
I had my first scary encounter with one on the motorbike when I was negotiating a hairpin turn in Estes Park, using the hilly road past the medical center in order to avoid the middle of town which is always clogged with tourists. I'd taken it numerous times before, but on this particular day, it was warm enough to soften the tar. The rear tire abruptly slide out, and I was able to maintain control, but my underwear suffered minor damage.

Last edited by Shimagnolo; 05-25-19 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 05-25-19, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
Accelerating at high speed out of hairpin turn down a 20% grade.

Do you slam dance, bro?

Lol. No, you misunderstand: the turn itself is steep as snot, and the hunk of road dropping into it, but once you get out of the turn, it's basically a pretty straight 5% or so before it levels out and starts twisting again. After scrubbing speed to get around the turn, *that's* when I accelerate, on the last part of the steepness. Usually goes fine. Just not this time.

It's always my favorite part of my ride, and I burn up all I can sprinting because it's the last half mile before home.
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Old 05-25-19, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
Get your braking done before you turn in. No trail braking on a down hill turn, it un-weights the rear. The fastest way to stop is all front brake. You cannot skid the front tire in a straight line on pavement, it's over the bars.
That's what I was doing, on the drop in, just like I always do. Never had any problems before.
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Old 05-25-19, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by RedBullFiXX View Post
I try not to do this, but if it's close, best to follow in wheel tracks, as you never know what surprises that cage has straddled in front of you
Good point.
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Old 05-25-19, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
Bits of gravel and oil, sounds like chip seal, not asphalt. That is the worst to ride over after it's been freshly laid, because all they do is put down a layer of oil then spread gravel chips over it. It can be loose and squirrelly if it's not been swept, or an oily mess if there's not enough chip. I never ride over that stuff (if I can help it) until it's been swept several times, and has had traffic drive over it for a while to pack it down.
No, it was asphalt. It had just gotten my tires so oily and sticky, crap on the road--and the gravel driveway I bailed out into--was stuck to them. Even the grass clippings were sticking to them. It was unreal. I had to clean my tires with OMS to get them looking clean and not oily again.
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