Friday, March 31, 2017

Summer Tires

March always feels like a little game of "Chicken" with Mother Nature. Snow melts... and then there's a  blizzard... and then that melts... and then...? And with ever melt and stretch of warmer days I begin to wonder: Is it time to switch tires?

It is irritating listening to the constant clatter of spikes rolling over pavement or bricks. It is the sound of slowing down. It is the sound of expensive tires being worn down to nothing. Should I change them? Is this the last we've seen of the snow?

Ice starts breaking up on the river.


I mean there is going to be those weird piles of snow that last a bit longer.

And the occasional shaded pathway that remains treacherously icy after it seems like all the other snow is gone.

But when everything else is just wet...? Do I change them yet? Are we going to see more snow again? will I need to change them back again for another week...?

Buskers start showing up on Broadway... That's got to be a sure sign that spring is here?!

Amanda and Finnegan now have dedicated winter bikes (fat tire bikes) and The Girl doesn't ride in the winter - so the question for all of them is a bit different: Which bike do I ride today? Is there sufficient snow and ice remaining to warrant another soaking? (Fat tire bikes throw a LOT of water up on your backside when riding through puddles!)

Amanda and both the kids have been riding summer bikes for a couple weeks now, and I've been riding... other bikes (with smoother tires)... but I left the winter tires on the Yuba until yesterday morning - just in case. As I'm not hauling The Girl anymore I only really need to use a cargo bike once or twice a week (to get to violin lessons and groceries). But this last week has been so warm I just couldn't stand another day of metal studs clattering on pavement.

New Summer Tires.

I picked up some new Fat Franks at Bike Universe last fall during a big sale - they were 50% off! I thought it was time to treat myself to some new summer tires for the beast. I had been riding mis-matched tires. One of the original (black) Fat Franks that were on the bike had a sidewall failure some time ago. So I'd replaced them with some tires I'd had on my 1FG briefly - Arrow Racing Launch - before deciding they made it feel like driving a tank (compared to previous tires I'd used...). but after a summer or two of riding those - one of them had a sidewall failure and I put the remaining Fat Frank back on.

The new ones are cream coloured - as soon as I tried putting them on I started regretting having bought them - I'm too much of a slob to have light coloured tires. They were instantly covered in black stains - brake gunge spread from the dirty, dirty rims... I tried my best to clean them up, but as I said, I'm a slob - they'll probably always look dirty... So stupid. What was I thinking?! Gah!?

Then I got out and rode on them.

Putting one summer tires after riding on a pair of super knobby, studded tires all winter is like riding a whole new bike. So fun to ride. Coasting more than five metres before having to pedal again to keep going and remain upright. Using more than the lowest gear. I fell alive again. I actually LIKE going places again and want to get outside again.

I'm warming up to these new cream-coloured tires...


Bob Barnetson said...

I switched to my summer bike this week and braved the icy patches in the ravines this morning to get to a breakfast meeting. Only one code brown moment (although I walked twice through the water-on-ice patches). Such a lovely change from grinding it out on studs with a front deraileur rusted in place. Coasting! Quiet! Lower gears for climbing!

Thinking abut retiring my old winter bike: 8 years old, maybe 10k kms, and the mechanical parts are wearing out from the winter riding on top of age. Not sure if I should get a another beater from kijiji and move the tires over (they seem fine) or invest in a nicer bike. Fat guy on a fat bike looks like a lot of rolling resistance and I quite like the studs as I mostly ride on hard pack and ice.

yay summer!

tim said...

I had similar reservations about fat tire bikes - looks like a lot of rolling resistance - can they really be that much better for winter riding...? then I tried one this winter. The experience was eye-opening. So I have to admit, I've taken the plunge and ordered a Surly Big Fat Dummy... which won't be here until the end of April... and I probably won't use it much until the snow flies next winter... we shall see...

For now I am enjoying the smooth rolling on (more or less) dry pavement and not-so-chunky/spikey tires.