Thursday, March 20, 2008

Running to stand still

Before I start, anyone who is not familiar with Scott Cutshall, or the Large Fella on a Bike should read the excellent article by the Star Tribune Here Take the time to go through the photo slideshow with audio. If it doesn't choke you up or touch you, I'm sorry... You're not human. Wow, just wow!

21 degrees, nearly a full moon, clear roads, even signs that street sweepers have been out in areas this morning.

Sometime around 6:30 this morning on the Plymouth Ave Bridge in NE Minneapolis, someone else riding his bike passed me silently. I gave a friendly hello, but my greeting was not returned with much more than a slight turn of the head toward my direction.

Obviously, this guy was the strong silent type. Dressed the part of the stylish hipster with pants rolled up, messenger-style bag, riding Jedi with no lights, no rear brake. Yup, too cool to muster out any response for what would probably be the only other cyclist he might encounter on such a beautiful morning.

This small event while being passed so effortlessly when I felt like I was moving along okay is a pretty good analogy of just how well I feel like I am getting along in life. Running to stand still?

Oh well, it wasn’t but a few minutes and the feeling passed as this stranger disappeared. It wasn’t that he was riding that fast, it was that it was dark and I couldn’t see him any more. Sad fact was that I knew he was maybe a ½ a block in front of me and I could not see him in the darkness. Guess that is cool though if you are the trendy type.

I picked up a replacement rim (Velocity Dyad) at one of my local bike shops in Roseville on Monday evening. I managed to get my wheel built before going to bed, but while watching the news the forecast called for clear weather. I opted to go to bed and go one more day with the wheel that I was riding.

Woke up on Tuesday to about 3 inches of fresh sticky snow. After shoveling the driveway, I climbed aboard my bike and off I went. I made it almost a full block while weaving all over the road trying to keep the bike upright before hitting a tire-rut veering sharply right, bouncing off the curb and launching myself over the handlebars into the snow.

I laughed, stood up to make sure nobody saw my tomfoolery and headed back to the house. It was clear to me that my big wide puffy smooth tires were not going to get me to work. Running late, I grabbed my newly built wheel and the wheel off my wife’s bike with another Shimano Dynamo hub. Quickly mounted my Nokian studded tires and off I went. Much better, but still not an easy ride into work.

Twin Cities residents can thank me; I am not giving in to the sunny skies and warmer temperatures. Nope, I am sticking with my studded tires for a while. I have learned my lesson and more snow is forecasted for tonight. You just know it's not going to snow because I have committed to riding the studded tires. So, if it remains clear, you can thank me.


Anonymous said...

I am also keeping my studded tires on till the end of March. There are still icy spots for my commute in the mornings. I'm with ya!

Me said...

People mock and laugh that my Nokians are still on...

but I smite thee!


Doug said...

The average low temp is still well below freezing here in Duluth. The sutds stay on until that average low starts leveling out above the freeze mark.

I used to maintain two winter commuting bikes, one with studs and a fixed gear without studs. That was nice, but it took a lot of work to keep two bikes running in all this springtime sloppiness. So now I have just one winter commuting bike and keep the studs on it.

Jim Thill said...

You should really get another bike so you can have one without studded tires on it.

-d said...

you should get 5 bikes with different tires. THAT makes more sense.

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