Saturday, August 10, 2013

Biz Quatrain

For road riding cyclists, not just grates, manhole covers, and standpipes stuck in it, pavement itself might be a drag. Appian way pave, bumps, cracks, exposed substrate, hard pack, roughness, ruts, tar blotches and washboard woefully impede progress. Edges of patches can be pathetically unnerving, and expanse within wavy. Refilled with too little or much leave unintentional potholes and speed bumps. Why are there so many?

A street isn’t just its visible surface at ground level but a sandwich layer between crust and sky. Underneath, a whole network of sewer and water supply pipes run dangerously close and inaccessibly deep but not without frequent dug interventions. Manholes at least allow access to buried electrical and phone cables, which arise at intervals, cross above, and drape alongside in unsightly tangles. Streets are rights of way for all sorts of purposes, many of which you’d rather know nothing about.
Sticking to smooth isn’t always possible in marginalizing traffic. Cities stink with bone jarring lumps of distorted asphalt at truck pounded intersections. Sometimes it takes every bit of cycling skill just to survive. A steel bike is pliant and strong; its pneumatic tires and spokes absorb some of the many shocks. You’ll have to stand at such times if you can’t stomach a kick in your crotch. The rougher the ride, the slower. None of this has deterred London residents; lately 25% of commuters there are riding bikes. How fast do you want to go? A 32/16 crank/cassette combination at 80 rpm can propel you at 18 to 20 mph on flat. If you spin for cadence you seldom need to shift. It can relieve and rival creeping automotive gridlock that plagues most cities.

Drivers are driven berserk by roads that don’t do what they are supposed to. You can’t earn a living without them. In African nations with few resources, villagers get together and pack earth by hand for the sole purpose of connecting to outside cash flow. Roads used to mean rails, but even trains were too limiting and linear, since farmers and merchants still had to move wares to stations. Did discuss rail trails and train renaissance in Bike&Chain rather prophetically. In a recent tragic rail fail, 80 pilgrims are dead after crash in Northwest Spain. That line had a perfect track record, but anything can be made life threatening by pushing it to the limit. Any attempt to speed things along claims victims. But, with sad refrain and typical lack of concern for fellow man, business rules and shows must go on.

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