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LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along

Confessions of a crackhead

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In a perfect world, we’d all cycle — and drive and scooter and longboard and rollerblade — on beautiful, pristine patches of velvety-smooth pavement.

In reality, we’re forced to wheel along on bumpy, pot-holey, rutted slabs of various surfaces that, in Lawrence, at least, seem absolutely covered with a spiderweb of crack-fill.

You know, that gummy stop-gap stuff street crews use to seal cracks and fissures and, in some cases, seem to make up more of the contact surface than the pavement it’s covering? In theory, at least, it’s good stuff.

It’s cheaper than repaving and is supposed to prevent small cracks from becoming bigger problems. And it does tend to take a bit of the sting out of some of the biggest cracks.

But as a cyclist, I’m not all enamored of the stuff.

First off, the process by which it’s applied is a pain. Crews blow all the gunk out of the crack to be sealed, and the gunk ends up all over. You do not want to be cycling by when the crud is flying, believe me.

Once the dirt is gone, the sealant goes down.

Again, not a good time to be pedaling by. There’s the fear of the flamethrower the crew wields to contend with, and the sealant, when freshly applied, is stickier than just about any substance you’ll ever encounter. I rolled through a bit of the stuff awhile back and continued on my way. I reached my destination and found my tires looked a bit like an ice cream cone’s crunch coat, with the sealant picking up every bit of loose dirt and rock I rolled over. Glad I didn’t roll through any glass.

After application day, the sealant doesn’t get much better.

On rainy days, it gets slick — much slicker than the surrounding pavement, making turns on the stuff dicey at best.

And then there are the dog days, as are upon us now. The heat makes the sealant loosen up, and though it’s not sticky, it gets squirrelly to ride on. Roll over the stuff on a ton-plus, four-wheeled vehicle and the resultant shift isn’t noticeable. Hit a patch of the stuff on a bike at 20-plus MPH and just try to keep your heart in your chest when your bike shifts an inch or so to one side —inevitably the one where a large car sits.

Oh, well. I guess it beats the alternative. Picture all the crack-fill on all the streets in this town, then envision grabbing one end of it and peeling it all away, like the strings on a banana or an unraveling thread. Now try to imagine driving on the cracked, rutted, bumpy mess underneath.

Yeah, I suppose I’ll stick with the crack-fill, sticky, slippery, shifty warts and all.


Now, to update everyone on the bike-rack project for the Health Care Access Clinic.

In my last blog, I solicited donations from readers to help purchase a bike rack for HCA staff and clients. The result was impressive: Less than 24 hours after the blog went live, I had pledges and, in some cases, cash in hand totaling well over 200 bucks.

Then I received an e-mail from a representative of Ride Lawrence, which is part of Lawrence’s Central Rotary. Ride Lawrence volunteered to build one of its racks — like the one at the downtown farmer’s market — for HCA.

So, assuming everything happens with that, it looks like the clinic will get its rack, and all you fine folks who donated or pledged money are off the hook.

So, I’m returning the cash, but I’m holding onto the pledges. If something falls through with Ride Lawrence, I’ll crank it back up and hope folks still are willing to donate.

Otherwise, I hope the HCA folks like their Ride Lawrence rack.

Thanks to one and all, and thanks to Ride Lawrence.

Comments

LocalYocal 4 years, 4 months ago

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pizzapete 4 years, 4 months ago

Talk about someone who just likes to have something to complain about.

meggers 4 years, 4 months ago

It appears that someone didn't have their Wheaties this morning.

I think I missed the whole pooling our money together, because we decided we wanted nice roads to drive on thing. When exactly did that occur and why wasn't I invited?

And just FYI, most cyclists also drive automobiles, and therefore they pay tags and taxes. I have to wonder why anyone would be so hostile about other people enjoying a sporting activity and method of transportation that is so innately benign.

In the broader scope of things, it certainly seems as though there are far more pressing matters in the world than your self-described "inconvenience". Given your rabid reply to this blog, I can't help but wonder if your spouse ran off with a cyclist at some point. Short of that, your hatred seems completely irrational.

BorderRuffian 4 years, 4 months ago

"I have to wonder why anyone would be so hostile about other people enjoying a sporting activity and method of transportation that is so innately benign."

You mean like the nice cyclist who was riding right down the middle of the right hand lane on Clinton Parkway the other day? The one behind whom was a long line of motor vehicles all trailing along at about 25 MPH? And you wonder why people get irate.......

kernal 4 years, 4 months ago

Are you going through caffeine withdrawal or did your a/c breakdown? Silly rant and directed to a responsible cyclist at that.

NewbieGardener 4 years, 4 months ago

Hmm...is "LocalYocal" really representative of the Lawrence population? Seems like a poor lad/lass who needs intensive anger management counseling. Also, do a little research about taxes before you start ranting. Road taxes aren't paid directly by motorists...in fact most of the funding comes from state and federal sources. March down to your local library and start reading...for all of us.

NewbieGardener 4 years, 4 months ago

Should have read, "not all road taxes are paid directly by motorists." Title & registration make up a small portion of the total funding for our roads.

BorderRuffian 4 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps you would be better able to appreciate life if the road crew came and blew the "stuff" out of YOUR cracks and fissures, then plastered it over with road sealant - for your protection, of course...

YouPeopleAreCrazy 4 years, 4 months ago

I don't know why they keep publishing this guy's rants about bicycling. I'm not sure he's ever said anything positive, whether it's grass on the sidewalk or cracks in the street. This is why people hate bicyclists. Everything is about them.

YouPeopleAreCrazy 4 years, 4 months ago

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boltzmann 4 years, 4 months ago

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unrents 4 years, 4 months ago

I seriously doubt that anyone is forcing you to read "this guy's rants about bicycling." If you find them so offensive, why do You choose to read them. Perhaps you think that you could do a better job? Let those of us who enjoy reading this guy's comments have the opportunity to critique your writing.

YouPeopleAreCrazy 4 years, 4 months ago

You like reading this guy's comments? I sure hope they are better than his articles. Nobody forced you to read my comment. If you find them so offensive why do You choose to read them? How do you like those apples? Perhaps you think you could do a better job. But obviously you can't because I just ran logic circles around you in a simple comment.

YouPeopleAreCrazy 4 years, 4 months ago

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Andrew Hartsock 4 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, Donnuts. Didn't mean to come across as, um, negative or that other word. Honestly, I'd rather ride over crack-filled roads than cracked, deteriorating roads. But the squirm still freaks me out a little. And, I've put a few miles on the trafficway myself. I recommend it highly, but watch out for where it crosses streets and driveways. Truthfully, I can't complain too much about Lawrence roads/cycling, even if it appears to some that's all I do. And I didn't mean that as a complaint.

YouPeopleAreCrazy 4 years, 4 months ago

I think the word you were looking for was bitchy. Grass clippings and cracks in the roads are bitchy. It's a real word. You and your readers would do well to stop acting like it isn't.

parrothead8 4 years, 4 months ago

Not to mention, the sealant is coming loose and somehow finding its way out of the cracks all over town. Sometimes I cruise around a corner and my heart leaps into my throat because it looks like a big black snake in the road right in front of me.

Andrew Hartsock 4 years, 4 months ago

Ha! I've had the "SNAKE AHEAD!" fear, too.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 4 months ago

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YouPeopleAreCrazy 4 years, 4 months ago

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