Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another Sign Of Spring In Rural Ontario - Bump Ahead

The days are getting longer - that's not news, but I noticed it for the first time this morning when it actually dawned on me that I was arriving at work in daylight. And yes, you might think that more hours of sunlight is a sign of spring, and you might think that it has some relationship to the tilt of the earth but the real reason the days are getting longer is so Canadians can actually make it to work in the spring. You see, in my part of the country the real sign of spring is the inevitable "sinking" of the pavement. We need the daylight in order to maneuver through the constantly changing obstacle courses we call roads.

Spring means the roads in my neighbourhood are constantly changing with new sink holes occurring daily, sometimes even hourly. Where there was road in the morning doesn't guarantee there will be road at night. The township roads department is diligent. They're out there throwing down "bump" signs all over the place, but whether they just don't have enough signs to keep up with the number of muffler ripping cave ins or the roads collapse faster than they can mark them -only about 50% of the rough spots get marked.

The long time locals usually know the habitual trouble spots. These "dips" appear each spring and disappear, as if by magic, each summer - but new comers beware. I happened to follow one of these rural newbies home last night. The driver slammed on the brakes 100 feet ahead of the "bump" sign then confidently got back up to speed just in time for his Audi to take air on the next, unmarked road divot. I'm fairly certain I heard swearing. I don't know, it may just be some sort of cruel, rural roads department joke.

In a car it can be rough but riders need to take extra caution. These same rural, surface treated roads that manifest daily dips in different spots also tend to be the same roads that literally fall away in others. The edge of the road often, dangerously disappears in spring rains and run offs. Gaping holes simply appear in the middle of lanes without warning. Riders, especially as you start to plan and gear up for that first spring ride - be watchful!  As you get back out there, remember, you've got to be more aware of road conditions than you were in the car. Be scanning - at least 30 seconds ahead, be prepared, drive with a little more care 'til it becomes habit once again. A bump in the road might mean ten on the head - remember, always wear a helmet!

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