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baiskeli
08-04-2011, 08:02 AM
I fell this morning on the boardwalk on the Mt. V where you have to dodge to the left at the ramp to the Roosevelt Bridge. The wood is really wet and slippery. I just have some scrapes and bruises and the bike is fine. Falling on wood beats falling on pavement.

As I was getting up, two more cyclists fell the exact same way behind me!

Be careful out there.

Tim Kelley
08-04-2011, 08:14 AM
I'll pass along this information to the NPS.

baiskeli
08-04-2011, 09:08 AM
I'll pass along this information to the NPS.

Good idea Tim, thanks.

americancyclo
08-04-2011, 09:30 AM
I try to avoid that section whenever it rains. Last year a guy sped by me on the trail portion, only to wipe out in front of me. I always have to remind myself to slow down and to scrub the water off my rims on wet days.

OneEighth
08-04-2011, 10:52 AM
Glad it wasn't worse, baiskeli.
I was thinking about that section of boardwalk this morning as I rode across it. The pilings appear to be steel and I'm wondering if they (and the footings) could support a paved surface rather than the pressure treated wooden boards currently in place. There may be environmental concerns about having an impermeable surface instead of the wooden boards, but I wonder if any benefit gained from the more porous nature of the wooden boards is cancelled by the effects of the chemicals in the pressure treated wood leaching out through constant exposure.
Seen simply as a safety issue, the wood surface is lousy.

RESTONTODC
08-04-2011, 11:26 AM
baiskeli, it could be worse and thank you for the warning.

My friend crashed on the wet boardwalk near old town with some broken bones last year. I would treat this boardwalk with the same respect as the downhill S curve of the Custis trail when it wets.

Tim Kelley
08-04-2011, 12:08 PM
FYI--I received a simple Thank You response from the GW Park Superintendent, so we know that NPS has been made aware of the issue.

DaveK
08-04-2011, 01:15 PM
That section starts to become really bad in winter, I go out of my way to avoid it if I even think there might be moisture on the surface.

baiskeli
08-04-2011, 02:03 PM
Glad it wasn't worse, baiskeli.
I was thinking about that section of boardwalk this morning as I rode across it. The pilings appear to be steel and I'm wondering if they (and the footings) could support a paved surface rather than the pressure treated wooden boards currently in place. There may be environmental concerns about having an impermeable surface instead of the wooden boards, but I wonder if any benefit gained from the more porous nature of the wooden boards is cancelled by the effects of the chemicals in the pressure treated wood leaching out through constant exposure.
Seen simply as a safety issue, the wood surface is lousy.

Hmmm. Probably a cost issue rather than a weight issue.

Timbevins
08-04-2011, 02:17 PM
Hi-

My Name is Tim Bevins- I'm one of the people at the GWMP working on the Mount Vernon Trail- Tim Brought this thread to my attention- below you will find my response to him, which he suggested I post to the forum.


Riding home in the rain yesterday I too felt a bit uneasy on the boardwalk though luckily I didn't take a spill. Prior to my arrival, I know that the Park Service experimented with a non-skid application to some of the bridges, including this one (you can see a faint trace of them still- it looks like white paint). I don't know how successful that treatment was, but I do know that it was very expensive. To be fair, there is a stop sign for cyclists at the exact point where
the original poster to the thread fell...

Either way, the slippery nature of these boardwalks is definitely on my radar, and I hope to develop a permanent solution to this issue.

consularrider
08-04-2011, 02:59 PM
Thanks Tim. I actually have more issues taking the turn when I am heading south, but have only gone down once (ice under snow). I do slow way down and try to take a line where I don't have much of a turn and that seems to help. I have seen several people go down at the intersection near Roosevelt Island and a few at other wooden walkways where there is a turn in the walkway. The worst was someone who also went over the chain railing near Ft. Hunt, landing in the creek below.

DismalScientist
08-04-2011, 07:35 PM
While we are on the subject of the intersection of the Mount Vernon trail and Roosevelt bridge, has anyone investigated putting in directional signs? Just last week I had to give directions to some confused cyclist trying to stay on the MV trail.

OneEighth
08-04-2011, 08:42 PM
Thanks for joining the discussion, Tim.
Two quick corrections---
1) The stop sign is only for northbound trail users and is, honestly, not relevant to this discussion. The wooden decking is slippery everywhere it is in use along the trails.
2) Several years ago, there was a move to paint the wooden decking and it was definitely not non-slip. More like glossy finish exterior grade paint. Made things considerably worse wherever it was applied. I suspect I was not the only one who wrote to NPS and told them to quit while they were ahead.
That out of the way, I appreciate that you have made yourself available through the forum.
Cheers.

5555624
08-05-2011, 07:38 AM
Out of curiosity, what sort of bikes are having these problems?

Up until a year ago, heading north, this was part of my daily p.m. commute. Now, I only ride it once or twice a week. The last time was Wednesday, in the rain. Unless it's been completely covered in ice, I've never had a problem. Wood gets slick when wet (or covered in snow or slush), so I slow down.

On the other hand, since I commute on a MTB, so my 26x1.95 tires are a lot wider than road bike tires, hence my question. (I'll have to keep the Surly at home in the rain.)

consularrider
08-05-2011, 08:20 AM
I usually see road bikes go down. I have more problems with my 700x25 and 27X1 1/4 than I have with my 700x32/35 or 26X1.75. The one time I went down, I was on 26X1.75 Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires.

baiskeli
08-05-2011, 10:21 AM
Out of curiosity, what sort of bikes are having these problems?

Road bike, 28 cm tires, not very knobby.

I think it was abnormally slick out there. It had been lightly raining for a while and it was really humid.

JimF22003
08-16-2011, 08:44 AM
Even on clear summer days with completely dry planking I'm always extremely leery of that section. I hate the thought of falling down and taking a 6" splinter in the thigh...

baiskeli
08-16-2011, 10:35 AM
Wood gets slick when wet (or covered in snow or slush), so I slow down.

Now you tell me.

LilBit
08-19-2011, 06:18 AM
Hi. I am always weary of the wooden bridges. I actually slow down and ride with caution. I see others who just fly over them and it worries me that they will crash, causing further harm to others on the trail. Thanks for your post.

baiskeli
08-19-2011, 07:49 AM
Hi. I am always weary of the wooden bridges.

Now I am too.

txgoonie
08-19-2011, 08:21 AM
Mornings like this one are always a little squirrelly. Clear but humid and still super slick surfaces from last night's rain. I didn't actually see it, but I came upon someone who went down this morning on the MVT in Old Town at the corner of the boardwalk. Didn't look like the kinda of rider who would normally fall, judging by both his gear and the peeved expression. Be careful out there, folks!

pfunkallstar
08-22-2011, 09:45 AM
I've eaten it there on two occasions, once was my fault (ice) and the other time was due to a jogger who turned the corner tagged the railing and then turned around suddenly. After the crash she was incredibly apologetic and I told her that maybe she should make Roosevelt Island her "turnaround point." I think she was a Georgetown student who was training for a 10k or something, increasing her distance each day. Anyways, I slow down to a crawl on that part. A while back there were also some planks coming up but they seem to have that under control.

GreyBear
08-22-2011, 10:13 AM
While we are on the subject of the intersection of the Mount Vernon trail and Roosevelt bridge, has anyone investigated putting in directional signs? Just last week I had to give directions to some confused cyclist trying to stay on the MV trail.

One time I had just crossed Roosevelt Bridge into Virginia when I encountered a Park Police car driving up the bike/ped ramp. I have no idea where the officer thought she was going, clearly a car cannot fit in the bike/ped lane over that bridge.

Regarding the wooden boardwalks, they are slippery. It seems to be a constant thing with people going down at the turns. Most of us learn pretty quickly to slow down so that you don't have to be leaning into your turn when its wet or frosty, but I guess new people are always coming along. Also, in colder weather the boardwalks frost over long before the roads do. Its seems the Park Service has tried to address the situation, they painted the boardwalk near Washington Marina with some sort of gray/white paint. I think it did make it a little less slippery.

JorgeGortex
09-06-2011, 03:57 PM
Well, I am late to this comment thread, but it is more than just the wooden planks getting wet. In those shaded areas the problem is also the mildew/green goo that grows on the wooden planks. With no sun to dry the boards out it just grows and creates the slime that helps make the boards slick. I doubt there is an easy solution to this problem, especially once the anti-rot chemicals contained in the pressure treated lumber fades away. Pressure washing the boards and then sealing with something like Thomson's Water Seal will help lessen the growth of the algae like stuff. You might need to use a bleach on the boards as well, but NPS will never go for that.

Any use of paints will only make things slicker. It is doubtful that grip tape like that used on skateboards and boats will adhere to these old and already messy boards. Were they clean it might last for awhile.

My $.02 worth.

Dirt
09-07-2011, 06:13 AM
I posted up last week about the paint on the path to help give traction. At first it appeared to be the stuff that was slippery as heck, but I found that they added texture to the paint to help make it sticky. It also will help peel your skin off if you still get it strong.

I've crashed there in the past. Having runners behave unpredictably can really cause problems. I've witnessed dozens of people crash there. Being extremely cautious is the only real way to stay upright there. You can be in a hurry some places on the trail. That's not one that I suggest.

Happy humpday y'all. :D

Pete

KLizotte
09-07-2011, 02:03 PM
I'm certainly not a civil engineer but it does make one wonder if NPS couldn't replace the boards with those new plastic (fiberglass?) boards that they use to make benches, picnic tables, etc that are guaranteed for life (see LL Bean). They could be manufacturered with striations built right into the boards (to provide texture) and/or have grip tape applied (like those strips applied to public stairways).

The walkways on fiberglass boats have coatings to make them less slippery and keeping a boat "sticky" seems a lot harder than the kind of bridges we are talking about.

baiskeli
09-07-2011, 02:39 PM
I'm certainly not a civil engineer but it does make one wonder if NPS couldn't replace the boards with those new plastic (fiberglass?) boards that they use to make benches, picnic tables, etc that are guaranteed for life (see LL Bean). They could be manufacturered with striations built right into the boards (to provide texture) and/or have grip tape applied (like those strips applied to public stairways).

The walkways on fiberglass boats have coatings to make them less slippery and keeping a boat "sticky" seems a lot harder than the kind of bridges we are talking about.

Those are composite boards made of plastic and sawdust. They tend to be slippery and the striations tend to wear down to a smooth surface. They're low-maintenance, don't grow much slime on them, and don't buckle or split or splinter, but they'd probably be slippery without grip tape or paint. I think the ultimate solution is paint with grit in it - lots and lots of grit.

Dirt
09-07-2011, 02:40 PM
Yup. The plastic boards are seriously slippery... especially when mold and mildew set in.

KLizotte
09-07-2011, 08:34 PM
A friend of mine painted the hallway and spare bedroom in his home with paint mixed with copious amounts of common sand. He did it because the original walls were in very rough shape and this was an easy cosmetic fix (though I warned him that future homeowners may not appreciate having to scrape it off should they decide to change the color or wallpaper).

Yup, they are very sandpapery walls. Perhaps NPS should mix the paint they are using with good old fashioned sand?

5555624
09-08-2011, 07:48 AM
Perhaps NPS should mix the paint they are using with good old fashioned sand?

Or just buy non-skid paint. Much of it is designed for maraine environments, so water is not a problem.

jpaulwhite
09-27-2011, 12:23 PM
Or just buy non-skid paint. Much of it is designed for maraine environments, so water is not a problem.

Buy that stuff they sell to paint garage floors. It has little specks in it to help make the surface rough. It can be applied to almost anything and I bet it would work here. They should just paint a sample area and see how that works.

ponchera
09-27-2011, 03:50 PM
Can someone linky to google maps satelitte where this spot is for those of us who don't ride this often. thanks!

DismalScientist
09-27-2011, 04:49 PM
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=38.894542,-77.066008&hl=en&ll=38.894634,-77.065936&spn=0.001001,0.002064&sll=38.894519,-77.06609&sspn=0.001992,0.004128&vpsrc=6&t=h&z=20

MCL1981
09-28-2011, 09:22 AM
I think the realistic solution right now is to just slow down regardless of perceived conditions. The problem is not going to go away anytime soon. Also, I agree the slime that grows in shaded areas is just as bad if not worse. And that effects pavement too. I was coming down a long steep hill in the woods on a path from Aspen Hill into Rock Creek. It is a paved but very old trail. I really thought it was all over. I essentially could not brake at all. Any amount of brake application was locking them up, even the front! My only choice was roll with it picking up speed the whole way down like a run away train or dump the bike. There was a tree down across part of the trail (of course...) that left me just a sliver of trail to get around. I don't know how I didn't wipe out and break every bone in my body. I know better now and recognize that hazard.

bgfeldm
04-07-2012, 06:06 PM
Sometimes on roadways bridges there are "Bridge May Be Icy" or "Bridge Ices Before Road" signs so what about "Slippery when Wet" signs.

MCL1981
04-07-2012, 09:31 PM
Fat chance. That would be the NPS putting up a sign admitting there is a problem that they aren't doing anything about.

Rootchopper
04-08-2012, 07:14 AM
Has the Park Service considered taking the right angle out of this intersection? If the MVT was straight here then 2/3rds of the problem would be eliminated.

mstone
04-08-2012, 11:07 AM
Sometimes on roadways bridges there are "Bridge May Be Icy" or "Bridge Ices Before Road" signs so what about "Slippery when Wet" signs.

signs spoil the natural beauty of the NPS lands

Terpfan
04-09-2012, 08:02 AM
Speaking of the MVT, is it just my imagination or is one of the planks really loose toward the start of the wood planked bridge over the swamp right by where GW starts (hair north of Slaters Lane)? It seems like going north just the first little turn in the bridge has a very loose plank. Or my imagination has run wild.

pfunkallstar
04-09-2012, 09:16 AM
Speaking of the MVT, is it just my imagination or is one of the planks really loose toward the start of the wood planked bridge over the swamp right by where GW starts (hair north of Slaters Lane)? It seems like going north just the first little turn in the bridge has a very loose plank. Or my imagination has run wild.

Yeah, the normal "thu-thunk" has developed into a pronounced "thu-THUCHUNK" at the beginning and along the mid-point of the spur, they just replaced a bunch of boards there about a year and a half ago. As for the signage, what they really need is some sort of warning about merging pedestrians/cyclists. People flying off the bridge tend to blow past Evil Knievel-style, which has led to at least two crashes I know about. About a month ago there was a three-bike mash up at that intersection. A Bikeshare rider had t-boned a single speeder, then the newly-formed clump took out a leisure rider - not pretty.

MCL1981
04-09-2012, 02:32 PM
I realize this is probably an exercise in futility, but a three-way stop sign at that boardwalk intersection might help a little.

pfunkallstar
04-10-2012, 10:00 AM
No, North Korean traffic police, it is the only solution.

MCL1981
04-10-2012, 01:12 PM
"Speed Enforced By Spike Strips"