Road Demons

Pothole season is in full swing here.

Road Demons

Drivers are concerned about potholes because of potential damage to their cars. But I see potholes differently.

Road Demons

Gravel or road debris may not even register with drivers except for the outside chance of a cracked windshield. But all I see is:

Road Demons

Sometimes I report issues to the city.

Road Demons

And they are generally quick to close the case.

Road Demons

But sometimes I still hear the demons taunting me…

Road Demons

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17 Comments on "Road Demons"

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Opus the Poet

I commuted on a full-suspension MTB with road slicks for over a year because the potholes and broken pavement were so bad on my commute, so I really feel for you on this one

In Chicago, it takes them forever to clean the streets (I think they only do it once a month, not every week like where I live). Watch out for glass! No, really, there’s like tons of glass in the bike lanes next to the curb. And they took out the ‘protective bollards’ in the bike lane so they could more easily clear it of snow and debris during the winter. Yeah, someone with a brain FINALLY figured out their plows didn’t fit the bike lanes! (The bollards didn’t impede the cars at all, though. They drove around them, INTO the… Read more »

Meh, you just need fatter tires at lower air pressure.


Fatter tires at lower pressure won’t save you from the potholes. They’ll just make you work harder at pedaling. Suspension may help smooth things out, but then again, whenever I ride a suspended bike, I feel like I’m riding a marshmallow. It seems like most of my effort is lost rather than used to move the bike. Instead, I ride my normal, everyday bike (fitted with studded tires for winter), at normal pressure, but with bright lights so as to avoid the potholes. My legs become my suspension when I can’t avoid them.

@morlamweb – if you don’t measure, you don’t actually know, you just believe what you heard from someone else (and your belief may well influence your perception of pedaling effort. Or else you’ve only been trying crappy fat tires). For good tires and an equal diameter-pressure product (60mm x 60psi = 30mm x 120psi) I measured fat tires to have lower rolling resistance. I have never done the comparison at modestly lower pressures (e.g., 55psi, 50psi, 45psi), so I would not confidently assert that lower pressures guarantee higher rolling resistance. I was myself wrong about fat vs thin, perhaps I… Read more »
Cuter Commuter

Boo potholes and debris!! You are right, they are more of a hazard to us than motor vehicles and they don’t just affect air quality and insurance.

@dr2chase: I don’t know about thin vs fat tires and pedaling effort. I do know that fat tires usually means knobby, wide, mountain-bike-style tires, and the rough surface of the tires (vs. the smooth surface of my summer tires) DOES increase my pedaling effort. As far as underinflated tires: I wouldn’t recommend running tires like that at all, if only to reduce the risk of punctures. I HAVE pedaled on lower-pressure tires (same bike, same person, same tires, but at ~40 PSI vs. the tires’ claimed max 65 PSI) and there was a huge difference. That’s what I referred to… Read more »
You’re comparing crappy tires to good tires. Good tires (Schwalbe Big Apple) I measured to have lower rolling resistance at the same diameter-pressure product (that is the point of equal tire-wall tension as well). *I have heard* that other people measured fat tires (I think these were Grand Bois Hetres, at at less than rated pressure and found that the resistance was “the same” for modestly lower pressures (I would assume that “the same” means either not enough difference to care, or else actually lower because of something related to road surfaces being less than perfectly flat). Big tires… Read more »
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