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Why Asphalt Is the Ideal Choice for Bicycle Paths

by | Apr 12, 2019

Bicycle paths are an amazing choice for communities interested in improving local value and giving residents a clean, efficient option for exercise and recreation in their own backyards. They are appreciated by a wide range of demographics, and if developed properly can provide all-season utility even up here in snowy Michigan.

But what should your trail be made of?

While dirt (or even worse, gravel) tracks are an option, they come with severe limitations. Dirt offers a rough ride and is prone to sudden and severe water damage, and the lack of a paved path can discourage a wide variety of users in many conditions. 

That leaves asphalt and concrete, widely used in roads and sidewalks respectively. Of the two, asphalt is the better (and far more common) choice for bicycle path paving for the following reasons:

1. Paving Speed

Asphalt can be set down far more quickly than concrete and cures in a matter of hours—rather than several days. Given the distance involved in a bicycle path, and the wide interest that they will attract, this quick turnaround is invaluable. 

2. Cost Efficiency

Asphalt has the best cost/lifespan ratio of all paving materials and is cheap to install and maintain. While concrete does tend to last longer and wear less, the increased costs that come from working with concrete diminish this long-term value. 

3. Ease of Repairs

Asphalt repairs are generally affordable and straightforward, which makes routine maintenance and repair of asphalt bicycle paths a simple matter that can be scheduled and budgeted for.

4. Asphalt is a Safer Trail Material Than Concrete

Asphalt is porous and darkly colored, which helps provide traction during wet periods while efficiently melting snow. Concrete is far more slick and prone to ice formation. Asphalt is also a more flexible material, which helps the paved surface flex and adjust to uneven bicycle trail elevation changes and tree root growth, resulting in fewer buckles and cracks.

5. Asphalt Shines in Trail Conditions

Vehicle weight and pressure (paired with moisture infiltration) are the ultimate cause of most damage you’ll find in asphalt roadways or parking lots. But because bicycle trails are subjected to less weight (bicycles vs. cars) they tend to perform better and develop far fewer problems.

Getting it Done Right

Considering a new bicycle trail for your property or community? Stripe A Lot is a leading West Michigan asphalt provider and comes armed with a wide variety of paving equipment and a highly experienced team of experts ready, willing, and able to use that experience to help you get the best possible result. 

To discuss your project, as well as any other asphalt needs you may have, just give us a call today at 616-772-2559.

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