Monday, June 28, 2010

Dean and Isaac

Our riding buddies Dean and Isaac...

On their way home from a brief (and soggy) trip to the zoo.

It Can Only Get Better...

I went for a solo ride out valley road this morning. First solo morning ride in a while. I've been riding two or three times a week with Matt or Susan. got going a little late so I only got to the Tuff Turf sign (which is about 15Km from my place).

As I was about to turn around I thought I saw a cyclist way down the road coming towards me. My assumption was that, at that hour, that far out of town it would be some other nutcase like me out for a early morning road spin. So I kept riding thinking I could ride past and see if it was anyone I knew, smile, wave, ride on for another Km, and THEN turn around. My second assumption is that anyone out for a morning road spin is going to be faster than me and so I wouldn't catch up. I'm okay with that. In fact I prefer that... I don't know what it is - maybe it's a guy thing. but a lot of guys that get passed suddenly think they're in a race and speed up, then they pass you... then they get tired... and then do you slow down so you don't have to bother with that silliness.. whatever...

Wasn't a roadie out for a spin. It was some scruffy looking dude on a mountain bike with big bags - going along at a pretty good clip with the wind at his back - headphones on (like big noticeable ones) and staring into the ditch.

I don't think he even knew I was there...

So I carried on for a bit, turned around after a kilometer and started to head back.

Then I saw the snake...

Poor little guy...

Caught up to the bottle collector.

Seriously, it there THAT many bottles being chucked out of cars...!? There's a guy out doing the same thing EVERY morning on our regular route when I meet up with the others!

There was a LOT of traffic as I was getting into town. I'm thinking 11th street must be cut off now as they begin to get ready to build all the new exchanges and approaches to the new bridge.

AS I was contemplating all this, just past the municipal landfill I thought I hit a bump and heard a click-click-click-clicking noise - obviously something on a wheel hitting fork or stays or something. My immediate thought was that the magnet or sensor for my computer had been jarred and were hitting each other. Upon examination of my front wheel I discovered this was not the case. When I had a look at my rear wheel...


It was totally holding air, though. For a brief moment I actually considered riding it to see how far I could get (very brief... I'm not THAT stupid!). It wasn't until I pulled it out that any air came out.

Luckily I was in a pretty exposed area and there was a good bit of wind so the mosquitoes (which have been horrendous here lately after all the damn rain!) didn't eat me alive (unlike last friday when Matt flatted by Early's...).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Schwalbe Marathon Racer

This spring I’ve had the opportunity to try out a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires (thanks to Ryan from Bicycle Smile and Schwalbe) and I LOVE them. This is the first set of Schwalbes I’ve owned. I tend to be a creature of habit – finding something that works and using the same product relentlessly until they stop making them or the product fails me. My usual tire of choice failed me last summer so I was willing to try something new. Sooooo wishing I’d tired these earlier!

The ones I have are of the folding bead, 700x30 variety. I do like folding tires. I’m not sure why. I’m generally not a weight weenie, but I do like tires that don’t make me feel like I’m driving a tank. I do notice that I can get going easier with lighter tires. These do not make me feel like I’m driving a tank at all.

The nearly complete lack of tread (I’m sure the grooves of the tire “tread” are just there for show to convince people who only know car tires, and are therefore afraid of slicks, that they will not slip out in the rain) also helps with the completely non-tank-like feeling by providing some really low rolling resistance.

If installing the first one had been as troublesome as the second I may have given up right then and there! Luckily the first one went on like a dream – seriously I’ve never had a folding tire straight out of the box go onto a wheel with so little effort! The second one… well... I’ll chalk that up to a cold early spring out in my chilly (unheated) garage – by the time I got to the second one both my hands and the tire were getting pretty cold and putting it one was… well… a bit more challenging.

I’ve been riding these since early spring and it’s been an odd spring here in Saskatoon. We’ve had a lot of late snowfalls (a few after I took off the winter tire and installed these). Not enough for there to be a buil up of snow or great sheets of ice like we have in the middle of the winter – but slippery enough for a few extra fender benders around the city for a day or two. We’ve also had a whole lot of rain! I have had no issues with tires slipping out or anything.

I have these on my get-a-round city bike, which I regularly haul a bike train made up of a trailer bike and a trailer with a kid on/in each – plus all the gear we need for wherever we’re going and/or picking up groceries on the way home. That’s a lot of weight to get going and a lot of momentum pushing when trying to slow down, but I have never had anything but solid contact with the road on these tires.

There’s also been an unusually large amount of gravel, rubbish and glass on the roads this spring – especially the glass. I’ve flatted tires on all my other bikes (at least once) – even both the trailer bike and trailer I tow behind my get-a-round bike! No problems with the Schwalbes so far.

Another nice little touch that I really dig – considering it’s my get-a-round city bike that I tow the kids around on – are the reflective strips that run all the way around the sidewalls. They REALLY light up – even when they’re as dirty as mine!! Not so awesome if you’re robbing convenience stores at night and using you’re bike as a getaway vehicle, but pretty sweet if you WANT to be SEEN at night!