Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tires, wheels, and rims, oh my!

So a friend of mine pointed out that I have started slacking on my bloggage- which is due in part to the fact that my life is totally bananas right now. I also broke my camera- so I've kinda been waiting to write until I get a new one. All of that being said... I will try and stay on top of things so that all 4 people that read my blog will not be left wanting. :-)

My latest exciting bike news is that I finally got hybrid tires! What the hell does that mean, you say? Well, since I have a mountain bike, I've just been riding on standard trail tires. This means that they have good traction with lots of nobby things that help grip the dirt when you are off road. Tires like these are great for when I am on the greenway or biking on un-even surfaces. For me they have kinda been like training wheels because I am not used to biking on a variety of surfaces and they help keep you stable. The downside to this type of tire is that you go really SLOW on the road. Since I am commuting about 10-15 miles a day, this can get pretty annoying, so I went to the Bicycle Shoppe and asked what my options were. They suggested a hybrid tire that is designed for mixed use- which means it is smooth in the middle, but has ridges on the outer edge. Since they were $20 a piece I decided to wait on it and look around online.

So, yeah. This is when I realized that I know nothing about my bike. I like to think of myself as a do-it-yourself kinda gal, but good lord, I was lost when the websites staring asking me questions about hub and rim width, hub axle size, and wheel diameter. While this information is in no way super complicated, my brain is so jam packed with LEED rating systems, green entrepreneurial theories, and sustainable development concepts that I opted to leave these choices to the professionals.

I called up the bike shop again and they told me to head on in. So I biked on over, excited about how fast I was going to be biking home. They put my bike up on a stand and started teaching me what all the specs were that I had been asked online (everyone there is super helpful). But then we realize they didn't have my tire in stock, so we had to order it. My consolation prize: "Well at least its a good work-out with your mountain bike tires." Because thats what I really need right now. A work-out. Then one of the guys invited me to bike the Cooper River Bridge. This always makes me laugh because people really think I am an athlete, but they have NO idea how pathetic I am. (For those of you not familiar with the bridge... it is huge and in my eyes, akin to a small mountain... needless to say my CAR used to have trouble coming back over it from Mt. Pleasant). I would be the girl WALKING my bike over the bridge. Nothing but love for those of you that are able to bike over that bad boy AND enjoy it... just don't expect me up there anytime soon.

When my tires finally came in, they put them on for me, filled them up, fixed my crusty break-line (due to the fact that I am horrible bike owner), and sent me off for a test drive. Maybe I had built it up too much in my head, but I didn't immediately notice a difference....until I looked down at my speedometer and noticed that I was going 25 mph without really trying too hard. Sweet!! I wish I could tell you how fast I could go coming down the back side of the 61 bridge on my way home, but my speedometer was so overwhelmed with my speediness that it kicked the bucket. All I know is that the ride is a lot smoother and definitely much faster.

Take home lessons: hybrid tires rule and so does the Bicycle Shoppe!


Joel Schooling said...

Many times I've added a little lube to my chain, or adjusted a cable, and my bike feels like new again!

Ah, the bridge. (my commute)I love the bridge. Seriously, you should go up the Charleston side, it's not so bad!

jhota said...

all that, and nothing to tell us gear wonks what brand and model of tyre you ended up with? for shame!

i am glad you "finally" switched to a more efficient tyre - cycling is much more fun when you're not punishing yourself to do it.

happy riding!

Bobby D. said...

It looks like you are heading down the path that I took when I started riding.
First, come the tire switch, and then comes the bike upgrade.
Keep up the riding.
BTW how are you going to adjust to the winter ride?
Keep up the good blogs.
Speaking for the other 3 people:-), we really enjoy your blog.

Mitch said...

hey there!
Keep your mountain tires! they could come in handy in the winter.....or any other time that there is mud or slush....say hurricane? but good call on the switch!
what kind of saddle are you using?

prolix said...

i feel that the tires should be More expensive, less practical, fewer tire choices, and more chances for catastrophic failure.Wheels And Tires