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Thread: Watch out for Virginia back roads

  1. #1
    Frieden mit uns allen drummer's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    Watch out for Virginia back roads

    So four weeks ago I took a day off and a friend of mine I went for a day trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. It took us two hours riding to get to the area and gas up before we went up the mountain to get to the parkway. The ride and weather were perfect up to this point, everything was great. Less than thirty minutes later everything turned south. The Virginia DOT decided not pave, but rather use gravel and tar on some of the most twisted roads that traverse the side of the mountains. They also decided not to post signs stating this.
    I entered an S corner and noticed the loose gravel on the surface and slowed down to around fifteen miles an hour. As I scoped out the surface of the road (which seemed to be okay) I focused on the exit point and started to do the push steering and lean to get out. At that point the gravel allowed my front wheel to completely reverse due to my push steering, I slowed and pulled back on the bars to correct the new direction. When I did this, the rear tire had all ready started to go in the new direction so now the bike dropped in the direction of my left foot. At that time my ankle was under the bike and subsequently broke in six places. The bike has a couple of very small scratches and had to have the valve cover replaced but that is all.
    I have been on my back now for four weeks and tomorrow I get the cast off and hopefully into a walking boot. I offer this saga not for consolation but to say, be careful in Virginia, they have no respect for riders by using this method of paving and not posting signs to the same.
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  2. #2
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your unfortunate accident, hope the recovery continues well.

    NY state has been using that method for years, in fact a few years back on some local roads they just did it IN the corners, the rest of the road was untouched.

    It has caused more than a few accidents here. The latest is the tar snakes, pure slippery un-aggregated rubber, up to 20" wide!!! Toss in a little rain and they made the road ways as deadly as if they poured oil on the surface. Got to love the DOT

  3. #3
    Registered User LENRT1200ST's Avatar
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    Tar & Chip! I hate that stuff!

    We call that method tar & chip, and it is a very dangerous riding surface. Why would anyone not understand the danger in using this stuff on roads where motorcycles travel? Although, it probably cheap.

    After the loose gravel is worn away and/or ground into the tar base, these tar & chip surfaces are not that bad. But until that time, look out! BTW - PA loves this stuff.

    Len

  4. #4
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
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    I rode on some fairly fresh tar & chip once in TexSux...and it was a hot summer day so the tar under the chip was pretty soft...damn scary! I also remember when Arkansas re-paved their end of the Talimena Scenic Drive a few years ago, and put a lot of pea-gravel into the mix...I think they did it intentionally to scare the living crap out of the motorcyclists who ride the TSD.
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

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  5. #5
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    Hey all; Here in Michigan, tar and chip is fairly common. MDOT loves to put the stuff down REALLY thick, and just let the motorist pack it down. No big deal in a car, MAJOR problem on a bike.!! They seem to wait until the peak of the tourist season to do this, so the local roads are very busy with visiting bikers... Great combination!! The county has a few tricks of their own that they like to use. Like filling in the low apex's of a turn with gravel, knowing that the next car that drops a wheel off the pavement will scatter this gravel over the apex of the corner. I have called the road commission several times about this, but they just don't care!! Let's all be careful out there!! No one cares about us but US!! Vaya con Dios, Dutch

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