Yesterday I rode a carbon fiber bike with gears, drop bars, and skinny tires. And I liked it.
I met up with Aaron, Rob, and Ted in the morning for a ride around Pittsburgh and over to some of the Dirty Dozen hills. Aaron insisted that I ride his cross bike and leave the poo poo thunder in the bowels of the grumbler. And I did not argue.
We rode out of where ever Aaron lives, made a right to go along the river trail so that Rob and Ted could mow down an unsuspecting Steeler fan, then walked up some stairs and turned around. After that, I ceased to have any idea where we were. So I won't even bother trying to describe it.
After about 20 miles, we headed back into the city and hit Canton Ave. It's kinda steep:
Rob and Aaron made it up on the first try, but had to give it 3 attempts before I made it. Climbing on the hoods the first two times, I pulled the front wheel off the cobbles and lost traction. The third time I stayed in the drops and was able to keep the wheels planted and clear the hill.
Since I plan on doing the dirty dozen on my fixed gear, I wanted to climb the hill in the highest gear I could. The first time I made it in a 48x24, then I went back to the bottom and climbed it again in a 48x23. It was tricky, but definitely not impossible.
After stopping at a gas station for iced tea and candy, we rode over to Elanor st/ave./blvd/paved thoroughfare. Elanor was a lot longer and Canton, and close to as steep. It was much harder. My legs hurt and I was out of breath at the top of that one. I still was able to climb most of the hill in a 48x23, but I shifted down to the 48x26 a few times to rest.
We were going to ride one more hill, but when we sprinted across the hot metal bridge Aaron let out a wail that sounded like a car horn. BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Text does that sound no justice.
He cramped (if the noise was any indication of the severity of the cramp, he cramped real bad), and we all agreed that we had ridden enough any way. We parted ways and headed for home.
With flat bars and bar ends on the thunder, I should not have a problem keeping the front rubber planted on the road. I think my initial instinct to use a 39x20 gear was pretty close, and I might be ok with a 39x19. I'll have to think on it. But in any case, a fixed Dirty Dozen is a go.