Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chilly? Really!

Of course, my perception of chilly has been drastically skewed what with morning temperatures often in the 70s and evening heat indexes (indices?) in the 90s. It was a clammy 57°F out this morning. The cotton t-shirt and cut-off jeans didn't feel so great for the first minute or two of my ride. My sluggish tires made sure I warmed up pretty quickly, though. And this brings me to TWO quandaries.

The first one is about my cut-off jeans. Why is it that I hear EVERY SINGLE snobby cyclist use the phrase "he was wearing cut-off jeans" when dismissing someone they saw riding? Are cut-off jeans the difference between "guy on a bike" and "cyclist?" I actually ride with cutoff jeans over an innershort chamois. Why? Because my outershorts that came with the innershorts bit the dust and I'm too broke to buy more shorts so I just cut the legs off a pair of jeans that had the knees blown out of them. Okay, and I kind of do it so that people will cringe in pain at the things that those huge seams could possibly be causing. (link not for the faint of heart. AND cycledog mentions cut-off jeans, too!)

The next one is about these tires. Seriously. Something's gotta give. I'm honestly thinking about giving my apparently compromised Forte's a try. What the worst that could happen? A front blow-out at 25 MPH? That actually sounds pleasant compared to the death slog that has become my 30 mile round trip commute. I honestly think my mountain bike's 1.95" knobbies pumped up to 70 PSI (their max pressure) would roll better than these semi-slicks at their max pressure of 40 PSI. Too bad the knobbies won't fit under these fenders. Believe me, I tried.

What else?
Oh yeah, I found my camera. It was in the bag of miscellaneous cables and gadgetry that I always bring with me when I have my laptop around. Not only did I have my camera with me on my homeward commute last night, but I had it with me this morning as well, and never knew it. This saddens me even more, because there's some seriously fascinating demolition going on in Kansas City, Kansas right now. Last night, I noticed that one of the shops in the Rosedale district had been reduced to a pile of rubble upon which a steam shovel had been perched to complete the demo job.

Also, a grain elevator is either being torn down or it blew out. Regardless, there are a pair of hundred-foot-tall reinforced concrete cylinders that are sitting there on the end of a grain elevator, missing a bunch of material. In fact, last week on one of my bus rides of shame, I managed to get a photo of the carnage from the highway. I'd love to get up close, though. I love photographing blight, and I'm not sure why.

Would you NOT love to see that bad boy up close? I would. Tonight will be the night, I think. This morning, I could have walked almost right up to the facility. We'll see how barricaded it is this afternoon. I'll stay safe. Nothing stupid like going into the damaged silos or anything like that. I just want to stand at the foot of it, or get within a hundred yards or so.

I kept up an even better pace this morning, but my legs and glutes are simply on fire right now. I don't think I've felt this sore since March. Have I mentioned I have to do something about the tires on 'zilla yet?! Egad.

Random Tunage:
Cardigans - Lovefool
Way Out West - Melt


Anonymous said...

Dude, why don't you take the air pressure up 10 or 15 lbs. The tires can take it, had a bike shop pro tell me years ago that the psi on the side is half of what it takes to blow up a tire and the extra won't hurt them.

Noah said...

It's a good idea, and I did that very thing right from the start. They're actually at 45 and 50 (front and rear respectively) but they're still slow as hell. I don't feel like pushing my luck at 65 or 70 PSI, though, which is where I'd rather run them. At the pressure they're designed for, they're really comfortable around town. But they're wide, they're treaded, and they're weak -- a poor choice for a commuting tire. They were free, though.

James Oiler said...

Can you remind me what is wrong with your Fortes?

I may have a solution for you.

Warren T said...

I'd promised myself that I was going to start wearing more cycling gear this year. Hasn't happened yet; I'm actually going the other way. Yesterday I had on my typical old tee shirt, jean shorts and sandals (SANDALS for heaven's sake). All I needed was a beard and I would have looked like a recumbent rider...

Noah said...

The wire is showing, and I fear that the bead is compromised.

Tonight, I think I'll put them on and see if they will hold 120 PSI. They're designed for 85. If they don't blow off the rim at 120, I'm sure they'll hold fine at 85.

Why, what's your idea?

I can keep going like this all week if I was just commuting. It would suck, but I could do it. My main concern is having legs left on Friday night for the moon ride. I already put on a superfluous 20 miles on top of my regular commute week yesterday. Throw in 35-40 miles for the moon ride, plus another 12-13 miles to get to and from the ride. Friday's sizing up to be 75-80 miles wrapping up a week with 220 miles, give or take.

Basically, I'm not looking forward to this week's milefest on slow, hard-to-pedal tires. You'd think I was whining. And maybe I am. I'd rather get the flow to have a rear wheel built up for The Twelve than anything, but Hybridzilla's still a great bike when she's wearing nice shoes.

James Oiler said...

So, you're talking about the mounting bead wire? Right.
My road bike is real old school. 27 inch rims. I have a tough time finding replacement tires with kevlar. So, I have on occasion had to add some structure to weak parts of a tire that is compromised.
I've done this with some fiberglass packing tape. I layer it in with some long pieces and cross it with successive layers at 60 degree angles to the previous layer.
I successfully patched a cut in an aging tire that was right above the mounting bead (about 3 quarters of an inch long) this patch held for a good three months while I found my replacement tires. I'm always above 100psi with these tires.
Neatness counts. Get a fresh role of high quality 3M tape.
I hope this helps you.

jasoiffy said...

I put some cheap Kenda Street Slicks on my mountain bike ($15 each) for my ~30 mile round trip commute. They are 1.5" diameter - so the ride is a little rougher than running full knobbies or semi-treads, and I run them at 60psi. But, they do roll fast and provide considerably less wind and rolling resistance. I find myself running out of gearing on the flats, rather than running out of leg as I had in the past.

Noah said...

That's what I was shooting for with Hybridzilla, and these are the tires that got me there. 1.25", 85 PSI. Smooth, fast, and narrow (equivalent to 32mm) for a mountain bike.

To avoid spinning out, I upgraded to a rear cassette that's 28-11t versus the 32-14t that was on it before. In my highest gear, this inexpensive change gives me a 27% increase in speed at a given cadence, assuming I can overcome the wind resistance. On Hybridzilla and in my current condition, this means sprints to 35 MPH are possible on flat land with calm winds, and if I have a good tailwind or downhill, 40 MPH comes and goes without spinning out. Prior to this, I was spinning out on flat land at 30 MPH, or I could get about 35 out of it on the downhills if I really tried.

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