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Do you like your local road conditions?

Road Cycling “It 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.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Do you like your local road conditions?

Old 05-29-19, 10:40 AM
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Folsom, CA. I mostly ride on dedicated bike trails 2 minutes from my house that take me within a block of work. I can get most places I want to without even being on the same pavement as cars, and the trails are butter smooth.

When I do ride on the roads they mostly have bike lanes, and the pavement is typically just fine.
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Old 05-29-19, 12:02 PM
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The road conditions here suck because too many drivers and too many of them not paying attention. Case in point: last January, 1 of the guys in my club was KIA by a distracted driver. Last Saturday, another one of our club members was struck and severely injured by, yep, you guessed it, a distracted driver.
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Old 05-29-19, 12:08 PM
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Roads in Central NC are pretty good, but the weather is a factor (compared with Pittsburgh or Boston, where the winters tear up the road surfaces and render almost any road repair a temporary fix). Furthermore, I don't know how road resurfacing tech has evolved over the years, but there are several 2-4 mile stretches here that were resurfaced to glassy smoothness in a week or two. I saw the odd construction vehicle, and then a week later - new surface. That being said, a late call in a pace line last week resulted in me pinch-flatting and dinging the rim of an up-to-now unblemished rear wheel in a cavernous pot hole - they're rare, but what they lack in numbers, they make up for with depth.
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Old 05-29-19, 12:20 PM
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The SF Bay Area is a mixed bag. Some are great, some are borderline gravel. Where I live in the East Bay, the roads are generally in good condition. I live near some wealthy enclaves, and those roads are constantly serviced, repaired, sealed, etc. It seems the county makes sure all the rich people have good roads, whereas in the poor parts of county, the roads can be downright terrifying to ride. Oakland and Berkeley roads are really terrible (except up in the hills where I generally ride). So, I guess it's kind of typical, the downtown areas of bigger cities are pretty bad, whereas most of the burbs and less traveled roads are better.
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Old 05-29-19, 12:36 PM
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In the CA. central valley, Merced to be accurate, the roads like most everyone else, are not maintained so they're mostly rough around town. Once you get out in the country they're better, but in the Summer, full of goat heads. Both in and out of town, the bike lanes are used for glass disposal.
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Old 05-29-19, 12:40 PM
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Our roads here in N.E. Tennessee are great. Some are a bit rough but that's because they're like 20 years old.

A couple of years ago, I took my road bike back to Illinois to ride. I had not ridden there on a road bike in decades. EGAD the roads were worse than our local USFS access roads. Horrid.
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Old 05-29-19, 12:44 PM
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I live in Central/Northern Alabama. Some roads are great, some are not.
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Old 05-29-19, 03:38 PM
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Road conditions are a matter of luck.

I've lived in rural areas my entire life until 2012. In those areas, riding was generally excellent, though there was also a lot of debris (and therefore flats)

Now I live in Portland, a supposedly bike friendly city. Actual surfaces are fine, but I personally think riding conditions suck -- basic problem is that you're constantly crossing paths with others in crowded areas so you can never get into that meditative state. The best day out here will never hold a candle to what would have been a well below average ride anywhere else. I still ride virtually every day.
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Old 05-29-19, 03:56 PM
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I ride in northeast MA and southern NH (US). Like many places, the road quality is somewhat variable, but overall it's an excellent location for cycling. An abundance of quiet back roads, nice variety, including the NH seacoast. No roads are perfect, so you still need to watch for the occasional pothole, but overall, no complaints.
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Old 05-29-19, 05:07 PM
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NJ Roads

Our roads are rough but not terrible.

I live in a highly populated area so they are fairly well maintained. One unfortunate fact to seeing all four seasons is that you can’t prepare for one or two types of weather which takes a toll on roads especially when the plows come out!
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Old 05-30-19, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Hi Brad. Guess you've seen the lovely new pavement over Alpacastan.
I went over there yesterday afternoon for the first time in a few weeks and you are right -- fresh tarmac. See...you proved my point!
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Old 05-30-19, 05:39 PM
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Deteriorating infrastructure is a common complaint throughout the U.S. There are various reasons for it, mostly whether taxpayers are willing to pay the freight. I've seen it in my own area, where some of my friends gripe on Facebook about road conditions one week, then the next week complain about paying property taxes, etc. Hardly anyone complains about sales taxes, which actually fund most of Texas, because it's a little at a time. We don't have state income tax so we just defer the pain to other areas.

The most common solution to expedient and cost effective road maintenance in Texas and surrounding states is chipseal. Basically, gravel glued down. It's durable and rough. If we're lucky. Sometimes the older, poorer neighborhoods suffer semi-roads that are milled down to the concrete substrate, which is like the world's worst cobbles, and left that way for weeks or months before road crews finish the job. Almost makes chipseal seem civilized again.

No point complaining about it. While I enjoy my old school road bikes I won't buy another bike that can't take tires larger than 700x28. There are plenty of good, fatter, comfortable tires that also aren't sluggish -- not enough to make any difference in my rides. If all my bikes could take 700x42 Continental Speed Rides I'd be a happy camper.

I can often tell from Strava heat maps where the smoother pavement is. So I'll check out those rides. But it's often boring stuff, usually mostly flat terrain in pricey neighborhoods.
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Old 05-30-19, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Seattle's roads are awful. I wish we had smooth pavement everywhere. I don't personally take it as a badge of honor. But overall, I could be running instead, so I'm pretty happy.
We joke about knowing where the Seattle city limits are by how bad the pavement is. Seattle pretty much sucks as a lace to ride.
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Old 06-02-19, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
I live in NE CT. Love this place and it's roads.
I agree with you Bruce, I live in south central CT (Essex) but I drive up to your area at least once a week for a long ride. I've ridden bikes in 26 states and the northeast corner of CT is my favorite by far. The only negative is the chip seal surfaces of most roads but I'll take that for the hours of traffic free country riding. Your town is a real gem by the way, especially for history buffs!
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Old 06-02-19, 07:31 PM
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Well, here in N. Utah my views are great and the roads are terrible. Pretty much all chipseal that is cracked, patched, pot holed, etc. Smooth pavement in no where to be found.
Steel is real...and comfy.
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Old 06-03-19, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by ct-vt-trekker View Post
Your town is a real gem by the way, especially for history buffs!
That's really true. I've lived here for 12 years and just love the place. Lebanon has a greater % of it's land in agriculture than any town in CT. Riding through it is beautiful. And, luckily for me, I am a history buff.
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Old 06-03-19, 06:04 AM
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My roads are so bad I need a suspension fork, suspension seat post and a gel saddle with springs.
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Old 06-03-19, 06:47 AM
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I find a mixed bag of conditions but mostly not so bad. State roads are mostly fine. Some local roads. as in Rumrun's post(#17) have edges crumbling away which forces a cyclist out toward the center of the road. This is bad if traffic in heavier and there is a need to pay close attention to the road and traffic from behind.

It seems to me that there is an ever increasing numbers of cars and trucks, well beyond what road ways were expected to accommodate. The result of greater traffic, as well as pressure on highway department budgets, means that upkeep of roadways is not keeping up and is likely to get worst before it gets better. Another complaint of mine is the number of heavy trucks making local deliveries, further damaging roadways.
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Old 06-03-19, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post

The actual roads in southern Tasmania aren't bad. They aren't riddled with too many potholes. They aren't excessively rough.

However ...
They do tend to be narrow with no shoulders.
They've often got a lot of curves with poor sight lines.
They're hilly.
They're surprisingly busy with drivers that just don't care.
And they have this tendency to turn to gravel.
The road conditions in Israel are similar to what you describe in Tasmania except there are stretches of road that do have good shoulders and there are big sign markers that cyclists may be present. We also don't experience the freeze/thaw cycles like we had in the NE US so the roads stay in good condition throughout the year. I also wonder if vehicle size plays a role. Most Israelis don't drive big SUVs, but small to medium sized sedans.

Cycling in the city proper of Jerusalem is very limited because there are no bike lanes or shoulders, the streets are narrow, and the drivers are very aggressive. The streets in the city are not well designed and I have only seen one very short stretch of road re-paved in the 18 months we've been here. Almost all the city streets here could use repaving but I have no idea how they would close any of them since you'd have to divert into some very small side streets. There is an effort to build a cycle route that rings the city, but it's still very disjointed. The streets in East Jerusalem and the West Bank (Bethlehem, Jericho) are even worse.

We were out of the country on vacation during Yom Kippur last year but I told my wife this year we are staying put. On Yom Kippur, everything in Israel shuts down--even the borders. Although it's not the law, people do not drive on the highways on Yom Kippur leaving them open for cyclists to use pretty much the whole highway. I'm trying to plan something epic before we move back.

The "country" roads that see a lot of cyclists have good signage to alert the drivers. The shoulders are usually pretty decent and drivers usually give you a wide berth if the road isn't busy. Some drivers give a short horn toot just to let you know they are there. In the city, though, forget it--cyclists beware! In the city, eBikes and motor scooters have despicable driving habits which does not engender good will with the motorists.

Tel Aviv has good cycling infrastructure and apparently they will ticket pedestrians if they are in the bike lane (and vice versa).

Bike lanes away from the road do exist until they don't.

And because we're in Israel...

...and the Middle East, we have our own set of special circumstances.
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Old 06-03-19, 12:11 PM
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Very noticeable as you enter the city limits. Seattle has a lot of old portland cement concrete that is cracked up -- still OK for cars but rough for bikes.
King County's roads are better. A lot of new beautiful smooth new blacktop this spring out in the Black Diamond, Ravensdale areas. It's a mystery how they decide what to repave but recently they have emphasized this area.
Regular sweeping of roads is mandated by state water quality laws, and they do sweep often, but they can't possibly sweep the roads enough to get every little screw or piece of glass. After this winter's snows there was a lot of grit on the roads and they are just now getting it all swept up.
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Seattle's roads are awful. I wish we had smooth pavement everywhere. I don't personally take it as a badge of honor. But overall, I could be running instead, so I'm pretty happy.
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Old 06-03-19, 05:44 PM
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I'm very grateful for the cycling I have easy access to in Connecticut. I live in the center of the state but I'll drive my bike to different corners of the state for my long ride. Eastern Ct, Northwest corner, both sides of the lower CT river. Some really great rides. Being a small state, I also have easy access to Western Massachusetts, eastern NY (Harlem Valley), Pioneer Valley MA, and into southern Vermont. All in all, I really love New England cycling although I could use a few less hills :-).
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Old 06-04-19, 05:37 AM
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I count myself lucky WRT road conditions here in Jax, Fl.

There are very few potholes or crumbling road borders; however, just the other day I hit a pothole so hard, I had to re-true my front tire (first time in a very long time), but that I blame myself more than anything, because I ride by that road virtually every day.

My family lives in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and those are some very, very bad roads. On the other hand they have many more "bike" trails, but even those are in relatively bad condition, compared to my roads here in Florida.

No road complaints here
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