The road bike dilemma and Tempe’s Western Canal

Every now and then I get the idea that I might like a road bike. My problem however, is that I love the “ride anywhere” possibilities of a mountain bike. I mainly ride my ’06 Marin Northside Trail which rolls on 2.4″ fatty Maxxis Holy Rollers, but after putting 31.x miles in pulling the pedicab for the PF Chang’s Marathon on Sunday, I was pretty much done with the mtn bike for the day. I have a 1970′s Azuki 10 speed womens cruiser that I had originally purchased for my girlfriend but turned out to be too big for her. It’s in amazing condition and I paid a pittance for it, so I couldn’t bring myself to re-sell it. Talk about a completely different ride, the gearing is awesome, huge double rings up front with friction shifters on the stem. The 27″ 100 psi tires also make a big difference, when I mash the pedals on this bike, it moves. It’s experiences like this that make me think to pick up a road bike, but I have a feeling I wouldn’t ride it very much. Most of the routes I ride usually involve some sort of curb jumping, trailblazing or other activity that wouldn’t be well suited to a road bike. I’ve thought perhaps a well built cyclocross bike which I could still ride on multiple terrains, but I don’t have that sort of money right now.

I put in about 16.8 miles on the Azuki on Sunday night, about half of that on the Western Canal alongside which Tempe has recently added concrete paths. The Western Canal is a great place to ride if you’re looking to get away from cars, and after dark it’s deserted. I only came across two folks walking last night, and one bike ninja*. It’s easily accessible from the west side of Kiwanis Park and after heading south of Guadalupe Road turns eastbound and continues for many miles. I haven’t explored it past Hardy on the west, or past Arizona Ave on the east, but I do know the concrete paths continue in both directions. At Tempe Municipal Golf Course you can also pick up an unnamed canal path that runs southwest and is paved until it exits onto Kyrene Road south of Warner. Additionally there is a paved path that heads west 1/2 mile south of Elliot that turns into Carver Road from which you can access the Tempe Sports Complex. Check it out if you’re looking for a change of scenery.

2 Comments to “The road bike dilemma and Tempe’s Western Canal”

  1. By Scott Walters, January 19, 2010 @ 17:02

    I can relate. I got the blue GT after my first road bike, a Schwinn Sprint, crumpled when I got ran off the road, hopped a curb, and ploughed into a sign. Before that, minor incidents destroyed the rims. I went through quite a few rims on the blue GT too, but I was treating it a bit like a BMX bike. That’s a bit of a tangent though. I was tired at having to baby the road bike and having failed at it despite my efforts. Mechanical problems slowed me down more than the weight did, I decided. The blue GT has survived some heinous stuff.

    I finally decided to go for the road bike after the 200 mile Tucson-and-back-in-a-day ride was announced. I asked Ryan if he thought that myself on the GT would handle the 20mph sustained pace they were after, fishing for an invitation if one was to be had. He said “probably not”. I did the PHTTTPH ride without problem on the GT prevoiusly. That and the GT was (and is) looking pretty dogged after all of these years and I was feeling the itch to get something pretty anyway. While I was primarily using the GT, I experimented with higher pressure slicks.

    I’m not sure what to suggest. A road bike requires a very different style of riding. Going back and forth between them takes getting used to. It’s hard to hop curbs sometimes but not other times, until you get used to it. Differences between the bikes don’t matter much unless you’re going fast, a long distance, or especially both. It’s sort of fun to own multiple bikes though. I hadn’t really tried that before. I didn’t feel like I could justify it. It still makes me kind of sad to think that the Bianchi is going to the junk yard the first time it gets into a minor altercation. Oh, by the way, I used to make something of a game of sideswipping cars that cut me off on the GT. I’ve left a few dents in my day…

    -scott

  • A Bike filled Day | 802-BIKEGUY — February 20, 2010 @ 16:37

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