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I was riding down the road and saw the "Loose gravel" sign. Rode through fresh gravel over an inch deep in spots for about a mile. Yesterday I came to a "Flagman Ahead" sign and there they were, riding back and forth on a roller compressing the stuff. Had to turn around and take an entirely different ride, where I saw more signs on some of the side roads I often take. These are back roads and it takes months for all the gravel to clear to the shoulder. And the roads will be rougher for years.
 

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It's the new reality for road cycling. Tarmac, chip seal, whatever you wish to call it is cheaper to use and so will be what we see on most of our favorite quiet roads. So sorry...
 

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yep been noticing it more the last few weeks. this is the time of year. very annoying and dangerous. someone died last year making a turn from popular 9w onto rockland road near piermont in rockland county ny and crashing after plowing onto the loose gravel.
 

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That stuff is really annoying... they screwed up some "OK" roads here which are marked as "Bicycle Boulevards". I had to ride for several weeks some "twisted" routes to avoid those until they are at least somehow usable.
and at the same time other roads get a really nice smooth surface...
 

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I think NY state must have gotten some kind of funding/grant explicitly for this type of work because this is the third season now they have been doing it widespread covering the same roads they covered last season and the season before. In my area they even did this to roads that were freshly paved the season before. As a cyclist and motorcyclist it is maddening.

It sucks to climb up on to a ridgeline just to find out the route I planned to descend on has just had this done. Yay.
 

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Well, fresh chip and seal is a fact of life every summer. Fortunately, traffic is high enough around here (near location that Trek_5200 talks about above) that the roads get packed down pretty quickly, and after they sweep up the loose gravel in a couple of weeks the roads are no worse than they ever were.

I learned the hard way (3 stitches in elbow) on a ride in the dark that you need to be alert for this hazard. The Hwy departments are aware of the danger, and put up signs warning road users of loose gravel. Of course, being humans, mistakes will be made (cyclists not being aware, Hwy dept's neglecting to put up the proper signage, motorists knocking the signs down, etc.), and people will get hurt.

Just last weekend I was on our tandem with my wife, we were going down a steep hill ending in a T intersection, and the road that formed the cross-stroke of the T was freshly chip sealed. Fortunately, the signs were up and I saw them, so we slowed to a slow walking pace to make the turn.

If one wants to ride, it is up to the rider to do what they can to mitigate the existing risks, and then enjoy the ride. There's no point in letting something that you can't control "ruin" your ride - you might as well find something else to do if that's what's happening.


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Chip seal and loose gravel are two very different things. I have ridden thousands of miles on chip seal. New chip seal wears down relatively quickly.

OTOH, thick loose gravel would definitely ruin a road. I don't like thick loose gravel on my mtb, much less a road bike.
 

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I was riding down the road and saw the "Loose gravel" sign. Rode through fresh gravel over an inch deep in spots for about a mile. Yesterday I came to a "Flagman Ahead" sign and there they were, riding back and forth on a roller compressing the stuff.
Well, your area is at least a little more sensitive than the ones I've seen. They do not post any signs about loose gravel, and they don't roll it. They lay this crap and then leave. I've seen several good roads ruined with this mess.
 

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I would rather ride old gravel roads rather than rough chip seal. It's a much more comfortable ride. Freshly grated gravel roads are a different story.
 

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Chip seal and loose gravel are two very different things. I have ridden thousands of miles on chip seal. New chip seal wears down relatively quickly.

OTOH, thick loose gravel would definitely ruin a road. I don't like thick loose gravel on my mtb, much less a road bike.
When they chip seal a road, for the first week or two there is still a good bit of loose gravel on the road surface, even if they have rolled it.

Around here they first pour the tar and then the gravel and send the roller over it once. They then wait two weeks and then spray a thinner tar sealcoat over the road surface. A week after that they send in the street sweepers to clear the remaining loose gravel off the driving surface (usually onto the shoulders and bike lanes!).
 

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Be thankful that they run a roller to compress the gravel into the tar. In my area (NW-NJ) they usually don't, and just leave it to the car traffic to pack the gravel down and disperse the loose stuff to the shoulder (where cyclists are expected to ride). On some roads where a lot of tar has worked its way to the surface, they just spread some really fine gravel by itself to soak in to the tar, which actually results in a pretty good road surface.

But what really churns my butter is when they lay down new, smooth asphalt, and then come back and put down tar and loose gravel on top of it. To "seal" the road, they tell me.
 

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We have switched to gravel bikes and now ride gravel as much or more than pavement, less cars, more adventure. Win Win
 

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How 'bout when they chipseal over old chipseal, and the top layer pocks off in big circles, leaving a swiss cheese road surface? On an off-camber blind corner? That you're going a little too fast through? (Thank gawd no cars were coming uphill at the time.)

That's SOP around here. And also why pictures of nice black buttery asphalt are nearly pornograhpic to me.
 

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Well you will have to get a gravel bike..

On a more serious note likely half of the roads I ride are a combo of chip seal, blacktop, tar, packed sprayed gravel. I ride my road bike on 25mm tires on all of the above with no issue.

I try to avoid painted center lines, shoulder lines on my routes and the result is more courteous drivers, fewer vehicles, and potholes!

Road bikes handle this all no problem, look at Paris-Roubaix!
 

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Is this what I think of as cold patch? They dump it, pretend to flatten it with hand tools and leave. The result is sticky loose gravel that wants to get into your drivetrain permanently and clings to your down tube for dear life? Sometimes they will put up a cone or two but mostly it's rider beware. I'm in Jersey. They use the stuff all the time. I've laid down a bunch of it myself on Saturdays "volunteering" with Public Works when I was young. After they put it down its treacherous for a few days then it hardens into a nasty speed bump. Twsp did water line work two years ago on one of my favorite stretches of road, now I have a cold patch line to ride either right of or take the lane... With patches cutting across the road into every house you pass. It's Jersey. That's a lot of houses. Bums me out.

Is is this chip-seal?
 

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Is this what I think of as cold patch? They dump it, pretend to flatten it with hand tools and leave. The result is sticky loose gravel that wants to get into your drivetrain permanently and clings to your down tube for dear life? Sometimes they will put up a cone or two but mostly it's rider beware. I'm in Jersey. They use the stuff all the time. I've laid down a bunch of it myself on Saturdays "volunteering" with Public Works when I was young. After they put it down its treacherous for a few days then it hardens into a nasty speed bump. Twsp did water line work two years ago on one of my favorite stretches of road, now I have a cold patch line to ride either right of or take the lane... With patches cutting across the road into every house you pass. It's Jersey. That's a lot of houses. Bums me out.

Is is this chip-seal?
No what you describe is what I call black-top. Chip seal is when they apply tar to an existing paved road and then apply 1-3mm rock chips over it and then roll it. Once chip seal is used a bit its as smooth as the tarmac under it.
 

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Is this what I think of as cold patch? They dump it, pretend to flatten it with hand tools and leave. The result is sticky loose gravel that wants to get into your drivetrain permanently and clings to your down tube for dear life? Sometimes they will put up a cone or two but mostly it's rider beware. I'm in Jersey. They use the stuff all the time. I've laid down a bunch of it myself on Saturdays "volunteering" with Public Works when I was young. After they put it down its treacherous for a few days then it hardens into a nasty speed bump. Twsp did water line work two years ago on one of my favorite stretches of road, now I have a cold patch line to ride either right of or take the lane... With patches cutting across the road into every house you pass. It's Jersey. That's a lot of houses. Bums me out.

Is is this chip-seal?

Never heard it called cold patch. Basically a thin layer of tar/asphalt with gravel dumped on top of it.


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