Mountain Musings


On The Road Again


Seems the county’s Department of Public Works has been busy recently chip sealing our local roadways, using gravel and then tar (they call it slurry) to repair many of our weather-worn, beat-up mountain roads to make them safer for motorists and to improve and soften our ride.


In the past, this process resulted in chipped paint and cracked windshields for many motorists, me included, not to mention all the dirt and dust flying through the air as the cars drove over the gravel for days and days in order to pound it into the old, decrepit pavement before overlaying it with tar.


This process, before the tar was added, resulted in a bumpy ride for local motorists, not to mention bent rims on my French-made racing bicycle.


The process has been refined by peeling off the top layer of pavement and dumping gravel where the pavement had been before covering it with tar/slurry and then laying down new asphalt. In previous years, the county had worked with biking groups to improve the smoothness of the pavement by applying what they call a “fog seal” fringe over the slurry. I guess you could call it a sort of “slurry with the fringe on top.” (Sorry, I couldn’t help it – apologies to Oscar Hammerstein)


Now that the roadwork is completed, the pavement is much smoother than in the past and I can’t wait to hop on my Peugeot 12-speed bicycle and take an extended tour of some of the new and improved roads through the many tree-shaded roads around these parts.


“I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like… Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle…” (“Bicycle Race” – Queen – 1978)


Back in the 80s, I owned and operated bike shops (Inland Bicycle Center) in San Bernardino and Riverside, so I still have lots of bicycle parts in my garage, including some French-made Mavic 700C by 20C alloy rims. What’s neat about these rims, which of course are attached to wheels, is that the 20-centimeter-wide tires affixed to them make pedaling much easier because they have less road resistance, which makes pedaling uphill much less a chore.


Yes, roadwork and the flagging of traffic around it is an inconvenience but, as the county aptly pointed out in the past, the inconvenience is outweighed by the roadway improvements to the community. Now that the latest project is completed, I can’t wait to hop in the Mottmobile with the assurance that I will get a smoother ride and no more chipped paint and cracked windshields.


“On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again. The life I love is making music with my friends, and I can’t wait to get on the road again.” (“On The Road Again” – Willie Nelson – 1980)


Keep it flyin’, Uncle Mott