Archive for August 8th, 2010

Maybe we should have let an engineer design it?

August 8, 2010

Instead of the work experience kid.

On the other hand not just everyone would give an 18 year old engineer a budget of $21.95 and responsibility for an entire bike path.. and even fewer would give him a case of booze before turning him loose with a drafting table. And the results have given us all so many giggles.

So on Saturday I was woken up by Kathy.. server had fallen over at a clients work place. Eventually I drove in and checked it out.. Server had fallen over because the UPS had gone flat. Because it was getting no power. Because the floor had no power. Hmmm. No immediate solution but I do now have a cunning plan. (to quote Blackadder) Next post may elaborate. Or not. Guess you will just have to read it to find out.

So back home. Young Jenny turned up and we decided to go for a ride. I have long meant to comment on the superb design qualities of the mightly Eastlink bike path and so I took my new camera and we set off. And just a couple of klicks from home is the first interesting bit of er ‘innovative’ design. Entertaining design anyway.
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Just a tunnel you say. Nothing bad about that. No at that point 15 feet or so from the end it looks fine.. just a blind left turn.. keep left and you will be fine… Except for this Photobucket A steel grate hidden just around the bend exactly square in the middle of the left side of the path. If you do not know its there then its potentially lethal and why would anyone expect it to be there? But if you do know its there then the safe way to pass it and avoid any chance of a head on with an oncoming cyclist or jogger is to pass the grate on the left. Which means your helmet clears the corner of the tunnel entrance, which is hard edged concrete, by a few inches. If it were wet or icy and there was traffic going the other way it could end in tears. Total genius. Someone who owned a funeral parlor contributed to that design.

See what gets me most about this sort of stupidity is that no one would ever do it on a road. They would expect to get their ass sued off when inevitably some less than bright person stuffed up and got hurt. But its a bike path so who cares? Its a foreseeable hazard so take care and if not, too bad. But really.. no one expects freeways for bikes.. but surely we can do better than this.

This bit is cute. Its not actually dangerous.. and in fact its fun. But really…. either this is a path for saturday pootles or one for commuting.. This is a bit experts only.. Oh the path is just barely visible in the top of the pic to the right. Well maybe only cos I know its there. Thats right.. they could have done it all in a straight line

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Wooden bridges and especially curved downhill wooden bridges with camber are sort of dangerous to bicycles, I have already written about one recent death on one. There have been others. Really a stupid thing to put on a bike path therefore… a wooden bridge. Like this.
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Slippery when wet

And when dry. When covered in leaf litter. When frosty. When cold. In fact slippery all the time except for at noon on a hot day in summer. All of em are curved. Mostly downhill or uphill. One of them leads straight onto another one turning the other way. The one below has wire netting into the braking zone.. to improve traction. Its the only one. I guess someone got badly hurt their and the Parks people decided to do something. Hmmm. Something is wrong with that plan I think
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How about this? Jenny propped in the middle of the path?
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Or not.
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Amusing huh? The road actually goes no where. Its a dead end. And the car traffic faces a give way sign for the bike path. So I guess bothering cyclists by telling them of the road would just bother them unnecessarily. I mean the cars are going to stop. Right?

To keep us amused the path has a couple of little road sections. This is one.
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Yes.. Thats all of it. Cute huh?

Lots of the path is really really pretty. Lots of the corners have little streams running across the path after our recent rains. To be fair Easlink undoubtedly spent more on drainage for the tollway than they did on the whole path. The other amusement is the rises and falls in the path. While cars have to manage with pesky engines and so need a near flat surface bicycles suffer no such issues. Here our lead climber tackles a steep pitch without even a rope to save her from certain death.
Photobucket The slow sign is totally redundant. Personally I think it a sick joke on the part of the designer, The path goes around that bend then kicks up steeper for a couple more hundred metres with (of course) another ‘slow’ sign. No problem for grandad on the K mart roady and the 5 year old on the tricycle. Not much.

The path is more than twice the distance of the on road route. At a guess it has more than 4 times the amount of climbing. Its probably 3 times the distance of the onroad route if bicycles could use the tollway. So as a commuting route its rubbish. As a jogging path its fine…as a sunday ride path for families its rubbish.. As a skills session for the reasonably quick who are decent climbers and not totally adverse to sharing the path with the odd rabid out of control dog and its rabid out of control owner its wonderful… just not sure that thats the target market for this sort of infrastructure.

Let me know if you want to see more?