Ithaca, N.Y. — Bicyclists in Ithaca should take extra care coming down the city’s steep hills this week after rains Sunday did damage to some roads, one city official said.

More than 2.5 inches of rain fell on Ithaca Sunday night. Enough water was carried down the hills to turn smoothly paved sections of road into potentially dangerous dips and bumps, said Ray Benjamin, assistant superintendent of streets and facilities for Ithaca.

“It’s a good thing to warn people, especially cyclists, to be careful coming over the hills,” Benjamin said.

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Gravel and sand that get torn up from the road can end up throwing a bicyclist for a loop, especially through washout along the gutter system.

“That sand and stuff acts like ball bearings underneath the tires,” Benjamin said. “It gets slippery — the little bit of sand will just roll underneath the tires, and it’s a dangerous system for them.”

Benjamin said his crews would do their best to fix as many of the holes as possible. But spreading word about the danger to cyclists could be an important stopgap to help prevent accidents.

“We can’t get to all of them all at once,” Benjamin said.

“We can make a quill patch in the short term to hold them to get rid of the hazard, but there’s a lot of them out there … Everybody should pay attention.”

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.