When President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka the huge stimulus package, into law I figured he was probably doing his job and putting some peeps to work. Merckx knows this country needed some help and I voted for the guy so I thought ‘what could possibly go wrong?’
That was until this huge contraption chiseled out three-quarter inch deep by three inch wide by eight inch long crevasses in the road I ride 80% of the time. The rumble strips are supposedly designed to keep drunks and other crappy motorists from falling asleep and putting their car in the ditch. I suppose that might work. But fuck-all if they’re not a pain in the ass for cycling.
At first I thought they’d be a handy little audible signal that would broadcast an approaching car from the rear that had veered onto the shoulder. This warning would alert me to grab hold of the bars tightly and hit the ditch myself. Upon reflection, it seems the only signal they would broadcast would be that of my impending doom as I still would not have time to get out of the way and the last sound I’d hear would be that of a twelve decibel rubber fart. These sizeable divots also hold water for most of the day after a rain. It’s not that I mind riding wet surfaces but damn if I have to clean my steed twice as often.
I suppose they’re not all that bad for solo rides. Occasionally when I glance back I might get a little surprised by drifting over and riding over the strip which I’d prefer not to do. But riding with a partner or in a group has become a pain. As it stands, the shoulder is barely wide enough for two riding abreast. Switching off pulls at the front now requires crossing back and forth over the rumble strips. This leads to images of fatiguing and cracking carbon fiber, loosening teeth fillings, and choadal jackhammering. Not fun.
Sure I need revisit Rule #5 and keep riding my local road. I have and I will. But damnit, as a voter and a taxpayer aren’t I entitled to giving a little feedback? I realize, Mr. President, that you’ve got two wars to “win”, a global financial crisis to solve, and a bit of a leak in the Gulf to plug, but did you have to jack up my road too?