The City of Midland's ACTSSC Program (Annual Campaign To Stop Safe Cycling) is well underway, as it seeks to identify the smoothest, most comfortable sections of pavement in the least-traveled neighborhoods. Those bucolic byways are then targeted for tar and gravel in mass quantities scientifically calculated to wreak the most havoc on bicyclists and their machines.
It's a wonderfully effective program, taking all but the most foolhardy cyclists off the roads during the warm and dry months of the summer and early fall, and putting them back into cars where they belong.
The genius of the approach is in its multi-faceted implementation of impediments to bicycling. The seal coating obscures all striping on the roads, affirming the rights of SUV drivers to cruise any dang place on the road they desire. The tar melts and remelts throughout the summer, gumming up bicycle drivetrains and spotting carbon-fiber frames. The sharp-edged gravel works better than broken glass to carve up expensive tires. And the way the gravel inevitably organizes and collects itself in an almost sentient behavior, settling near the roadway gutter and at all intersections, assures that the cyclist will continue to encounter hazards for months after the seasonal end of ACTSSC.
I'm sure there's an award category for which I can nominate the City for its efforts on behalf of citizen cyclists...perhaps something under the auspices of the Marquis de Sade Society?