Road surface quality

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by dodgy, 13 May 2010.

  1. dodgy

    dodgy Guru

    Location:
    Wirral
    Wasn't sure where to post this, so here goes.

    We probably all notice the massive differences in road surface quality when we ride our bikes. I'm specifically not talking about potholes and other damaged surfaces, though.

    Is there anyone here who knows why a particular surface type is chosen for a given stretch of road? Obviously motorways get a slightly different treatment but I've noticed on the same stretch of road you'll get the small stone (chips) dressed surfaces (me no likey), some smooth black tarmac, then the more grey harder stuff. When a new road is put down around here, it's pot luck what type of surface they will choose, often it's the stone chips but occasionally on a piece of road a beautiful surface is laid and I can't see why (but glad it is) that would be.

    I don't know the actual names for these road surfaces and wouldn't be surprised if someone here does!

    Anyone cast their expertise here? I wish all roads were the smooth type!
     
  2. marinyork

    marinyork Resting in suspended Animation

    Location:
    Logopolis
    Ask psmiffy if he doesn't turn up.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    dodgy

    dodgy Guru

    Location:
    Wirral
    I'm guessing the answer will be cost, can't help dreaming of smooth roads though ;)
     
  4. ChrisKH

    ChrisKH Veteran

    Location:
    Essex
    Not an expert, but the best road surface I have experienced for any great distance was the A12 after a Manningtree ride last year. Not a desirable road to cycle on for traffic reasons but it must be motorway comparable. Would make a terrific TT route - but for the traffic.
     
  5. marinyork

    marinyork Resting in suspended Animation

    Location:
    Logopolis
    I think some of it is cost but also when it is put down (amounts to the same thing). Here road resurfacing is put down on a ward by ward basis and is not necessarily done on a need-by-need or equivalence basis. Because of this certain wards are cheated out of roads that really need doing for 5 or 10 years later than they might be if borders were different etc.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    dodgy

    dodgy Guru

    Location:
    Wirral
    Ah yes, that would correlate quite well with this area, I ride in Wirral, Cheshire and N.Wales and within those areas are multiple wards.
     
  7. ;) :hugs:


    One of the best strips in London central is the perimeter of Regents Park, heading into Baker Street. The section that is called Park Road,/Ivor Place etc...
     
  8. Fnaar

    Fnaar Smutmaster General

    Location:
    Thumberland
    Edward Enfield (Harry Enfield's dad) wrote a book "Freewheeling Through Ireland" (I have it somewhere... can't find it right now) which has a light-hearted section about how different qualities of road surface affect your cycling. ;)
     
  9. toekneep

    toekneep Senior Member

    Location:
    Lancashire
    Isn't a balance of cost versus durability? Different levels of traffic and types of traffic will cause different degrees of wear and I suspect it might be a case of the cheapest solution that will stand up to the job. That and the fact that some roads are maintained by local authority and others by highways dept? OK, I'm guessing now.
     
  10. redddraggon

    redddraggon Blondie

    Location:
    North Wales
    I don't know whether you have noticed this too, but I find that the Cheshire/Manchester roads are generally dead smooth until you reach a massive crater (I can think of some entire stretches that are craters though), whereas back home in North Wales, the roads are far rougher but the potholes are rather small and not much of an issue.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    dodgy

    dodgy Guru

    Location:
    Wirral
    I can tell you that the road that runs past Llandegla MTB centre is one of the roughest I know! It's horrible to ride on a road bike with decent pressure in the tyres!
     
  12. OP
    OP
    dodgy

    dodgy Guru

    Location:
    Wirral
    I see what you mean, but I know of roads around here that are one surface type one minute then a different type the next - all carrying the same type and volume of traffic. I'm starting to think that the surface is constructing using whatever is available at the time!
     
  13. redddraggon

    redddraggon Blondie

    Location:
    North Wales
    I can only say I've ever ridden that road 4 times ever, and along with the bumpiness, it was always really windy and raining. Bit too much of a main road for me so I tend to avoid it.
     
  14. Hacienda71

    Hacienda71 Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire

    Location:
    Wilmslow, Cheshire
    Budgets for the LA do come into it. I once came across the local council brushing on some kind of tar slurry on some roads and pavements around us. When asked why they were doing it the guy told me they had to get rid of unspent funds before the end of the financial year. I was a bit annoyed as they would have been better off adding it to next years pot and doing a really good job on proper resurfacing where it is needed that they couldn't afford this year, rather than wasting it on a comestic tart up.
     
  15. betty swollocks

    betty swollocks large member

    Last autumn I went touring in Spain from north to south along the backroads. Wherever I went there was smooth smooth pristine tarmac. The empty roads looked they had been completed the day before.
    Cycling paradise!

    Here's me on one such road:-

    iegh1l.jpg
     
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