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I am about to give up on cycle commuting due to the number of flats that I keep getting. I don't believe my flats are due to anything that I am doing wrong as I have tried different tyres and different pressures, I believe it is simply due to the amount of crap that sits on the shoulders.
I travel the New England Highway and for my entire trip my eyes are focused on the road just in front of my wheel. I spend the entire trip dodging rocks of varying sizes, tie down straps, strips of metal, chain link, bolts and anything else that can come off a car or truck. I have gotten 5 flats in the last 3 days, the week before I received 4, so obviously the last 3 days I have not been that successful in my endeavours.
I am wondering who is actually responsible for the shoulders/roads. My travel is through two different councils and neither is one I actually live in. Is it the actual councils or the RTA who owns the roads or shoulders.
I am asking as I am thinking of writing, waste of time I am sure, the council or RTA to request that they put a sweeper along the shoulders once a week or once every two weeks to try and reduce the crap that is littered along the shoulders. I am sort of resigned to thinking that this would be a waste of my time as either party will blame the other I am sure and or I will get lip service but due to costs nothing will ever happen.
Might even send them a bill for the time spent fixing my flats and for the tubes and CO2 canisters used.
Gretaboy - I believe that the RTA is the body in charge of the New England highway (IMHO) - I think sending a letter would be good but I have found if you can find out who is in charge of road maintenance and give them a call you are more likely to get action. Note that is more likely not certain. I have found that letters bring an offical responce and action once where the phone call (and a thank you if action happens) will get you regular action for a little longer.
Hope you stop getting flats and get the shoulder cleaned.
Not fast, no style, but still get there.
RMS (was RTA) are generally responsible for major roads, I would start with them.
If you are going down the letter writing route, I wouldn't mention the words "flat tyre" at all, as these are just another one of those cyclist things that don't get much attention. I would talk about "repeatedly having to repair damage to your bike caused by the condition of the road". Also, if you can find some youtube videos showing cyclists losing control on similar surfaces you could add the URLs with a caption something along the lines of "This exact situation has resulted in numerous accidents and injuries as can be seen on these videos". I seem to remember from another recent post on this board that someone mentioned councils having liability for damages if they don't maintain the roads after being notified (I would assume that this would apply to RMS as well)
Also, in the letter mention that you are a commuter, that this is your daily trip to work, and re-iterate that it is not a choice as to where or when you ride as it is purely around getting to work and back. (this can go some way to quash responses that will try to push you into finding a solution, such as "can't you ride on the dedicated cycling facilities").
Other options should that fail are to start sending them repair bills, or to start riding on the road and get a friend to call the cops (and then give the cops a copy of the council's response).
The New England Highway is a major route so the debris load would be pretty high even if they swept the shoulders once a week. Between surface abrasion, nuts/bolts, accident debris and lost dunnage there's tonnes of stuff landing on the shoulder of that road every day.
Not that I don't have faith in the RMS , but if I were commuting on the New England Highway from Greta ( east or west), I'd be riding a 650b wheel with 32mm tyres and an aggressive tread pattern. Might be a little slower (and that's moot - fastest finisher on the Cascade 1200km this week was riding a steel framed 650b wheeled bike with 32 mm tyres - completed the distance in about 56 hours), but you'll save time fixing flats for sure and the ride will be a lot comfier.
I'd also consider writing to the local state member of parliament. In my experience getting him/her to follow up with the RMS will go alone way to getting the resolution you want (managers of government departments hate getting calls from State members)
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Sounds like RMS (RTA). I'd suggest you highlight the safety risk of a cyclist hitting some debris and potentially losing control and ending up on the roadway in front of traffic, that'll get their attention much more than flat tyres will. And ditto to contacting your local state member too
My mate emails the council every couple of weeks to get the road we ride to work on swept.
Seems to work as they come and do it. Its no major hwy though.
Having worked with RMS and councils I suspect there is very little chance of getting the New England Hwy, or any state route highway shoulders swept on anything approaching a regular basis. Suction sweepers aren't cheap and it'd be fairly dangerous to send one out without some sort of escort (massive increase in cost) due to high volume high speed traffic, have you seen the four vehicle procession when they mow the freeway median/shoulders? . They are unlikely to sweep anything that isnt in an urban setting.
Not that it isn't worth trying.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.
I would also be looking into puncture resistant tires and options as well.
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I am looking at increasing tyre size and liners to try and overcome the issues I am having. I realise that my hopes are just that when it comes to getting the shoulders swept, especially on such a busy road. The local councils are lucky to have the road(s) in any sort of decent shape, see Cessnock council and the main Hunter Valley winery roads, to even think that they might spend money on sweeping the shoulders.
Maybe just maybe, when the cost of fuel goes through the roof, over $2 or such and more people may move around via bicycle mode, the councils may then think about looking after cyclists needs as well.
I have got new tyres on order and am just waiting for them to arrive.
PS. I tried to ride to work yesterday morning, got about 15 k's into my ride and bam, another flat. Found a nice curved bit of metal and a rock embedded into the tyre, havent checked yet to see which one may have caused the flat. Got the recovery vehicle to get me.
I would be happy just to have a shoulder to ride on.
None of my rural roads have any sort of shoulder, and the part of the new England highway I use sometimes has a small shoulder, but then every few kms they have those annoying noise making lines and there not much fun to ride over.
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