Rides We Like: A New Bridge
(2016) Until recently a favorite quick ride route was not possible due to a bridge refurbishment by the local municipality. What was once a plank span was being updated; I was eager to see the outcome of the efforts by the two men who could be observed working tirelessly at making the roads connect once again.
The bridge has held permanent sway between two odd characteristics. The first is a homeowner who regularly sets fire to his natural rain gutter along the road. It’s entirely expected for any cyclist, or motorist for that matter, to feel the urge to call the local fire department after noting the smoke rising from the roadside without a person nearby to wave one onward. I can’t indicate a certain numeric figure as to how many times his ditches have been smoldering, but it’s enough to make it into a pneumonic.
Crossing the bridge and the second interesting feature comes into view on the cyclist’s right side: a runway driveway. You read that right; it’s a surface that has equal chance of car traffic as well as of aircraft traffic. If only the frequency of the yard fires matched the aircraft landings, and vice versa.
But back to the bridge. It was once a wooden decked bridge at the bottom of a slight downhill with burley planks creating a jolting surface. The only real concern for a rider coming down the hill to the bridge was avoiding the seams looking to grab a wheel without notice. Strangely enough the municipality replaced the short span with a new, more concerning deck.
A few weeks back I crossed this bridge at the height of precipitation and prepared for a wild ride. The new span has been updated to the steel grated variety that causes concern for me each time I approach one of these bridges (which, coincidentally, seems to be at the bottom of a hill). For a brief moment flashes of being grated should the bike slide out pop into my head. It’s an experience I would not want to have first hand. Imagine my concern when, on that day, during heavy rain, the bike put itself into a yaw as the back wheel tried to pass the front. Luckily I regained purchase of asphalt and I was righted.
While I understand this bridge’s configuration could promote drainage or save weight or prove itself sturdy should the Perkiomen Creek jump its bank, I don’t see a helpful non-motorist consideration. Being a one-lane bridge, it has no pedestrian deck. Since the surface is steel grated, it’s not easily traversed with cycling shoes. And if it’s wet or frozen, trying my luck at crossing atop my bike could have dire consequences.
Today I crossed without any issues except for the immediate reminder of the last time I was transported over the creek. Perhaps I should consider an assuredly economical house right off the private landing strip. That way the rides wouldn’t have to worry about such a situation after all.