Black-Eyed Susan along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

Black-Eyed Susan along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bad roads

On a recent 65 mile bike ride through southern Elkhart County and northern Kosciusko County, I was reminded again to the deplorable condition of our country roads. I'm not the first to say it, but I think it's true:  their condition is a disgrace. As I rode, I mentally graded the roads and calculate how much of the ride was on each surface:
  • Excellent -- Smooth surface with few if any patches or cracks -- 10%
  • Good -- Smooth surface with a few patches and cracks -- 20%
  • Poor -- Rough surface from patches, cracks, crumbling edge -- 40% 
  • Terrible -- Very rough surface from patches, cracks, general disrepair -- 30 %
My calculations are very unscientific, but I feel certain that over half the roads I rode on were poor or terrible. 

At the same time, I wonder to what degree the poor county roads encourages cyclists to ride the trails where they do not encounter the constant bumps, patches, cracked pavement and the dreaded chip-sealed surfaces so common on our county roads. I know that when I planned my birthday ride last year, I decided to do the entire ride on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail and MapleHeart just so that I could avoid the rough roads. My birthday ride is supposed to be a celebration and a thing to enjoy, so why spoil it by spending the day of a 70-mile ride dodging patches and cracks. Why not instead enjoy the smoother ride of these trails, while not without occasional bumps, is infinitely smoother than most county roads.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sept. 2 is Air Quality Action Day

The Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management has declared Sept. 2, 2015 an Air Quality Action Day for St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties. Meteorologists forecast that weather conditions will be conducive to high levels of ozone pollution. Actions you can take to help lower emissions that contribute to the formation of ozone include: Bike, walk, carpool or take the bus; perform regular vehicle maintenance; conserve fuel by combining trips; refuel your car in the evening; reduce engine idling time.

if you have questions or would like more information actions you can take to clean the air, contact MACOG at: 574-287-1829 or 574-674-8894.