Short Ride in a Fast Machine

A few weeks ago I bought my Illini 4000 bike: a Trek 1.2 from Champaign Cycle. It was cold in January, though, so after I brought it home it’s just been sitting in a corner staring at me, waiting for me to actually ride it.

Last Friday I finally got to go out. A couple of us took advantage of the 60-degree weather and went on our first team ride. We had a bit of a rough start: most of us were still getting used to how our shiny new bikes handle and learning how to work with clipless pedals. However, by the time we made it out of Champaign we were pretty much in good shape.

Against the insane headwind, we only made it as far as Bondville before we started running out of sunlight. We were betting on the return trip taking a lot less time since we could catch a tailwind, and we were right: all of a sudden we were no longer grinding out a few blocks at a time at 10mph. Instead we cruised in to town at almost double that speed, which felt AMAZING.

Similar to cars, each bike has its individual sound. I’ve been riding my original bike to class for a few years, and by now I can pick up how well-inflated the tires are, or if there are any alignment issues in the drivetrain. I assumed that a new bike would sound different, but I didn’t think that there would be too much of a difference. This turned out to not be the case. Interestingly, this new bike’s rolling noise has a whistling quality to it. There’s something cool going on when wind blows through the wheel spokes that’s creating a pure tone, and it reminded me of the sound of an operating bullet train.

All summer, as we slowly make our way across the country, I’ll be pretending that I’m riding a bullet train. I can’t wait.

Comments (1)
  • gdeetjen Grace Deetjen says:

    I love it! I named my bike Phoenix so I pretended that I was flying most of the time (you’ll love going down mountains). Pretty bold to conquer that wind last Friday; glad you could all go out together. Keep up the blogging!!
    – Grace, a 2014 rider

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