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If I come back from a ride That Way I have to go along That Road. I'm on it for less than a quarter mile but the surface is crappy. Really crappy. Rough pocked blacktop, pothole scabs, a white concrete base with layer upon layer of tarmac botched over the top leaving furrows every 15 feet or so where the original seams in the concrete were.

Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, kerthunk, thunk, thunk, thunk. Thunk.

Which after 4 hours in the saddle is rather weary.

But somewhere between the last time and the now that stretch of road has all been mended. Beautiful smooth brand new fast deep thick black tarmac. No more thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, kerthunk, thunk, but shoosh.

Just shoooosh.

Two girls standing by the side of the road waiting to cross are a little bemused to see a man on a bicycle come round the corner, audibly gasp, sit up in the saddle and raise his arms in a victory of joy.

Shooooooooooooooooooooooosh. 

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

11 comments

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WolfieSmith [1244 posts] 5 years ago
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I'm loving the new ' Micro Tarmac' that Sefton Council is using at present. It's basically a half cm (no really) thin tarmac layer held in place with extra bonding (glue to you and I ). This means that some of the disintegrating roads in the area have been skimmed to look new but retain all the bumps and dips as before with, post snow, the extra pleasure of drifts of dislodged grit.

Not seen it yet? With all the Council cuts you soon will. Coming to a road near you.

I also enjoy the way (since the drains were relayed in 2008) the cycle path at Formby roundabout peters out into mud and broken glass where there used to be a tarmac cycle path.

I'm sorry. Was I ranting on a national website again about local issues? There's my new year's resolution gone after 17 days.

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 5 years ago
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They've used something that sounds suspciously like that on one of the roads on my commute in - did such a quick job they left lumps of it on the surface that weren't rolled in they gradually been flattened a bit by traffic but there's one right on my riding line which every now and again I forget about… it's like hitting a tarmac tennis ball. In Bath, which they also use something which sounds suspiciously like this to patch potholes - Bath recently topped the CTC's pothole mending league table - as far as I can see they only did that because there are an awful lot of potholes in Bath and the mend them pretty badly… so that there is a never-ending supply. I've ranted on about this before, but they put a very neat looking patch of super-smooth tarmac over the pothole with tar seams all around the sides, they are usually rectangular or square patches and it all looks very neat and professional. Except that nearly always they are just a tiny bit smaller than the hole they are patching so that somewhere on one seam the pothole is still slightly exposed which means that water and frost will inevitably get in and break up the patch up - a process helped by trucks and the like. A cycnic might think that nobody could be so incompetent as to do this so often and the reason it's done is to make sure whoever has the pothole fixing contract another year's work to look forward too… luckily I'm not the cynical type.

Don't worry about ranting about local matters on here MercuryOne - it's only by sharing local news that we can get the national story.

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dave atkinson [6142 posts] 5 years ago
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Even when they do them properly they don't do them properly. There's a road just outside Bath that was completely relaid in the summer, and the first freeze has put a hole the size of a dustbin lid in it. They've patched it of course. see if you can guess if they made a good job of that...

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winprint [126 posts] 5 years ago
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NEED TO RELAY EPPING NEW ROAD.
BEING THE MAIN ROUTE OUT OF EAST LONDON IT'S A HORROR.
THUNK, THUNK, THUNK, ZRRRRRRRRR.
TERRIBLE BIKE LANE SURFACE.
COME ON ESSEX COUNCIL. RELAY ASAP.
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Barry Fry-up [187 posts] 5 years ago
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is the surface so bad it's jammed the caps lock key on your laptop?

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 5 years ago
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Ian is having to shout over the road noise - went to school in Woodford so know the Epping New Road well rough as old boots.

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Morgan [58 posts] 5 years ago
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There is something about 'new ' roads... they just make you want to go faster and pretend you're racing!

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Marky Legs [122 posts] 5 years ago
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My council, Birmingham, decided a while ago to remove the white lines using a water blaster. This left deep ridges where the lines used to be. Now we've had a bit of a winter, these are much larger longer troughs. Nasty to ride across or alongside

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therevokid [911 posts] 5 years ago
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have a pot hole locally that hasn't even been filled yet
so bodged repairs await - trouble is it's on the apex of
a downhill right hander with crossing traffic !!!

You REALLY don't want to have a "moment" here .....

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slow-cyclo [72 posts] 5 years ago
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At the risk of bringing down wrath on myself  39 (particularly as a new member). I recently downloaded an iPhone app from CTC (dare I mention them - I'm not a member there) which allows you to take a picture and geotag potholes and add some basic info. Then you upload it, they work out which council needs to know and hopefully something happens. I;m unsure if it will take off but I spent a lot of last year travelling in the USA and many cities had a similar app for graffiti etc and it seems the one in Boston has become essentially the basis for tasking their street cleaners. So I guess I'm hoping that the principle works here too

Though to be fair I'm not holding my breath  4

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 5 years ago
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Yes, we've reported on that CTC app, they've just launched an uprated version of it and it's available in an android version too - an extension of their fillthathole.org campaign, great idea and they do seem to be having some success with it. Although I suppose the problem is the never ending supply of potholes due to a generation of under investiment in maintaining the fabric of the roads, coupled to three hard winters, and now cuts to council budgets. Sadly despite the best efforts of the CTC the magnitude of the task would seem to make not holding your breath the most sensible option.