Before we tell you how to obtain that free bike rental, in the interest of full disclosure, the title of this post was going to be “How to Ruin a Good Road”. More disclosure . . . I was a victim of the dreaded “tumble strips” last summer, while biking across America. You can read about it in previous posts. Anyway, the reason for the high blood pressure this time is much closer to home than the mountains of Oregon, along Interstate 84. The latest injury is to Old Hwy 471, here in rural Mississippi.
For about fourteen years, we have made Round th Rez our favorite Saturday morning Bread Ride here at RideSouth. It is a 36 mile scenic ride, that has a hill to enjoy, just south of Goshen Campground. It has been especially nice the last few weeks, since Old 471 has been paved with smooth asphalt, after being closed for around six months. In fact, we noticed a couple of weeks ago that the road was widened a bit. Great, we thought! More room for us all to share the road! But alas! The rumble strip monster has been active again! The extra two feet of pavement has been contorted and grooved to make riding OR DRIVING on this part of the road impossible! Why?! This is a two lane rural road! Why destroy part of this freshly paved, new road?? Why?? Who??
When Spillway road was damaged by the “tumble strips”, we were told it was mandated by the federal government. Is there some kind of decree that says ALL roads must be ruined for cyclists? Was some politician’s daughter, or son killed by a distracted driver running off the road? Is there some lame study that deduces all roads need rumble strips, because sleeping truckers need them to stay awake on interstates? Maybe there should also be rumble strips in walmart parking lots, alongside each white parking place stripe! Then you can steer that big Buick right in there, without even looking! What’s next? Rumble strips in your bedroom to guide you to the bathroom safely in the middle of the night! Just think how many bumps and bruises could be avoided!
Perhaps the real reason is to alert texting drivers to steer left a bit, without even looking up!! Last week, riding across the spillway on the low road bike lane, we saw the same motorist driving on the strips three times, at least! If not for the rumble strips, he would actually have had to look up and pay attention to driving to stay in his lane! Maybe that’s it!
OK, I don’t know if this is a government takeover or not. Maybe it’s really NOT a way to keep cyclists from riding on “THEIR” roads. But someone, somewhere, is making a poor choice that is making America, and more specifically, Rankin County, MORE hazardous and stressful for road cyclists riding on “OUR” roads. There are many better alternatives such as slightly raised striping or reflectors . . . and we have to GET THEIR ATTENTION! Short of taking the dragon machine and tracking up their local streets and driveways with bike-eating tumble strips, we have a course of action.
Any politicians, law makers or persons responsible for the decision to ruin our roads with rumble strips, can get a week’s rental of a high pressure, skinny-tired road bike, FREE from RideSouth! The only requirement is that they ride with us on Old 471, and across Spillway road, just once. We hope they can safely ride over THEIR rumble strips without wrecking OUR bike!