Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sure it's pretty, but...

A lot of the streets in our part of Champaign look something like this:

It's lovely, really. You don't imagine this part of the midwest being quite this tree lined. And paved with bricks no less!

Another quite popular thing in the city is bicycling- you see a lot of students and townies biking from one place to the other (which makes perfect sense- from one end of Champaign to the other end of Urbana is only a couple of miles). And after finally getting my front tube replaced on my bike and taking it out for its first ride today, I can say one thing for sure:

I'm glad I'm not trying to ride a road bike around here!

The bricks, while lovely, are uneven, to be kind. There aren't many that stick up, but there are quite a few small gaps, and some areas where the bricks have started to sink, and even more areas on the side of the road where grass is poking through. You definitely don't want a skinny tire and no suspension in the brick parts of town, this is for sure.

On a similar biking note, I've been looking at the idea of converting my 24 speed down to a single speed . There are some good tutorials on the subject, and it seems to make pretty good sense for an urban area like this- no hills to climb, more nimble for avoiding 18 year old idiot drivers, that sort of thing... And weirdly, single speed bikes are just as expensive if not more so than their billion geared cousins. Definitely calls for some DIY investigation...

1 comment:

Cycho Librarian said...

C'mon, the pros race 23c's over the Pave in the Paris-Roubaix! Surely you can ride a roadie over a few cobblestones!

On the single gear idea, there are a lot of gearheads in C'bus who ride single gears. Most of them are shaved-leg hammers who can blow me away on my 27-speed aluminum alloy. I think the single gear is probably a better trainer as well as being simpler.

Typically though they get absolute beaters of old steel frames and convert them themselves. Instead of paying big bucks for a new one I'd look at used shops for nice old steel frames and give that a shot.