Friday, April 10, 2009

It's No Secret I Love The Cobbles - Cincinnati Cobblestone Streets

Sectors 14 and 15 could be right out your door in your hometown. While we all romanticize about the pave of the Paris-Roubaix race this Easter Sunday, the cobblestones pictured left are not part of any of the race's sectors.  They are on Cincinnati’s Riverfront.  They may look new, but in fact they are historic and harsh to ride on.  I rumble over them every now and then.  However,  I don't have to go as far as downtown to ride cobblestones.  You probably don't either.  Just a few blocks from my house is a parking lot for the Precinct Restaurant that used to be, judging from the old tracks imbedded in the blacktop, some sort of train or trolley stop.  The murals have faded on the trestle walls, but if you look closely at the concrete buttress.  You’ll see images of a trolley car and a historic Ohio River scene.  Below your feet, big long hand cut weather rounded cobbles.  Sure Paris-Roubaix has France, baguettes, the best bike riders and sometimes mud; but cobbles, cobbles are everywhere.  There's history and tradition in your own town if you veer off your normal route, drag your brakes and look around on your next ride.

Last night I did my typical recovery ride, but this time I took a few cobblestone detours through downtown Cincinnati Ohio and across the bridge to Newport and Covington in Kentucky.  The sector pictured above is in Covington.  I owe it to my buddy Tony for showing me the stretches of pave in Covington.  Whenever we ride through one he says in a forced thick Tomeke Boonen-esque accent, “Is no secret I lahv da cah-bulls.”  I’m certain he would say this if he were riding alone too. 

This sector is one of my favorites.  It’s a beautiful little hill leading from the Riverside Drive park up to 3rd street in the historic district of Covington east of the Roebling Suspension bridge.  I looked for a street sign, but there was none.  It may be an alley.  Like the photo shows, they go for a few blocks and it’s a climb no less.  Coming down, if you dare to lift your eyes away from the rumbling pave, you get a beautiful view of downtown Cincinnati with the Ohio River as a door mat.  For cyclists however, the more romantic view is upwards of cobbles pinched between historic homes with flowering window boxes and wrought iron fences.

1 comment:

James Billiter said...

The one Covington section of pavé goes uphill. It will teach you to stay in the saddle — if you dance on the peddles it could spin your back wheel like a newbie in front of construction workers. And those guys are eating ketchup on their frites.