Terii’s Cycling Babble

February 10, 2015, 9:24 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Saturday, February 7th, I started getting ready for a ride. The sky was a dull gray, but the snow brightens everything and it was almost on the warm side, barely below freezing. Loke got a bit excited after Jens put him in his harness. I was looking forward to the ride, the first since Loke was freed from his torture of boredom from the Veterinarian Hospital. We piled into the car for the short jaunt to the storage.

As I started checking the air in the tires, Jens shoveled a path through the 10 or so inches of snow on the ramp to make getting the trike out less of an obstacle.

Glad it didn't pop on the ride to Storvreta!

Glad it didn’t pop on the ride to Storvreta!

Connecting the pump to the valve of the rear tire, I found something annoying. The sidewall of the tire was tearing away from the metal bead. I thought the ride felt a little off on the way to Storvreta, but had passed it off as being lumpy snow. I don’t think it was so glaringly noticeable when I’d aired up for that ride. Or maybe I’d done it from the other side. Either way, I didn’t want to end up with a blow out in the middle of the River Loop. It would have been… you guessed it, annoying!

I put down the pump and told Jens I couldn’t ride. He was irritated (synonym for annoyed 😉 ) at the announcement and asked if I had a spare tire. He was a bit more peeved when I told him just the summer tire which wouldn’t work in these conditions.

Other than not being able to give him a respite from taking Loke for a long walk, what upset him most was he thought I’d barely used the tire, guessing 5 rides. It settled him a bit when I assured him the tire had over 50 rides for hundreds of kilometers on it. Not nearly enough for this kind of damage, admittedly, but it had been used for an entire snowy winter. I bought the tire less than a week after the Sprint was delivered to my door. While last winter had been practically snow free except maybe for 4 days, the 2012-2013 had been very snowy and very fun with lots of beautiful miles.

We settled for going to the city forest with Loke and walked about a mile and a half through the snow-blanketed woods for as long as I could manage. After that, we zipped off to one of the larger cycle shops to get a new 26 inch studded tire. I looked for a more ‘aggressively’ studded tire than the old one, since it had trouble getting traction at times. Sadly, they only had heavier studded tires in 27 and 28 inch.

After the walk in the woods, I didn’t have the reserves to deal with a rear tire swap. I decided to wait until the next day (Sunday) even if it meant I might not ride until Monday.

Sunday was stunning. Clear blue skies leaving the sun unhindered, though it was chill enough that very little melting took place. It was probably the prettiest winter day we’ve had since the 2012-2013 winter. When Jens took Loke for a long walk (1.5 hours), I headed out to tend to the trike.

It didn’t go nearly as badly as I expected. Even better than when I did it the first time this winter. A bit frustrating, but no so bad that I felt like cursing and throwing things. There have been times when it’s given me that much trouble. All told, I was there for about 45 minutes. Handling the back wheel itself (getting it off the trike, tire swap, and back on) was less than 30 minutes. Might be a record. The rest of the time was removing the seat, unhooking the parking brake, putting those back once the wheel was back on followed by a little cleaning.

A quick test seemed to indicate the gears hadn’t been knocked askew, though that’s only proven for certain after a ride.

It really seems I’ve nailed down the gear problems I used to have. Since coming to the hesitant conclusion it was sloppy shifting into big ring-big cog and avoiding that, the gears have been perfect. The bike mechanic was puzzled when I mentioned that what seemed to mess them up. He admitted, it’s ‘bad shifting’, but it should have affected it that way. Clearly it does since the gears have worked flawlessly after the last adjustment and that’s all that changed. To think I could have saved myself years of frustration if I’d made the connection sooner. It might have been the root of my gearing problems on the Trice, except for those times the rear idler was smacked on rocks or dragged through gravel, mud or ice.

I had quite a few body aches after the tire swap though. In spite of the breathtakingly beautiful day, I didn’t have the stamina left to pull on multiple layers of clothes and foot wear for a ride. Monday it was to be! That night, it clouded over and we had a wonderfully dense snowfall.

Monday dawned nearly as pretty though with a sudden jump in the temperature. It was hovering around 38 F when I got up. It must have been that warm sometime around midnight because the snow we’d been getting earlier was gone and quite a bit more with it. Water gurgled down the gutters and storm drains like mad.

Jens worked from home, deciding he wanted the car incase he wanted something for lunch. So, he dropped us off and sped away.

I decided to see if winter studs I bought could stretch over my cycle shoes with the covers on. I bought them in a much larger size in the hopes they would. They did! No more sitting in snow and slush to do the cycle shoes. I can prep my feet in the relative comfort of the storage room and walk up without busting my knees or worse. Yay!

I was settling the last few things at the top of the tiny parking lot when an older man stopped to look at us. He called out a greeting and walked over to say hi to Loke. We had a nice little chat about the furball and where I was from. He wished me a good ride and wandered on.

It was after 10 am when I clipped in and we rolled out. With it over 40 F and the warm sun, the street was surprisingly clear of the worst snow and slush. I took pity on Loke and let him stretch his legs a bit into a 10 mph lope. He kept giving me nervous little glances perhaps expecting me to squeeze the brakes and say, ‘Easy’.

Mushy, wet snow = Hard work!

Mushy, wet snow = Hard work!

The cycle paths weren’t nearly as clear as the road had been, except for a few stretches, totalling less than a mile of the 5.23 we did.

I had planned to do 12+ miles of the Läby loop, but given the chunky tires, difficult conditions of melting snow, and my reduced fitness level, such a plan was over ambitious. I settled for chewing my way through the River Loop, adding an extra mile. Thin clouds came in and reduced the sun’s intensity a little, but the day was still beautiful. Monday it might have been, but the cycle path was packed with people, walking mostly.

I felt every bit of the distance when I arrived back at the parking lot. It had felt a lot harder for that 5+ miles than the 8+ mile ride from Uppsala to Storvreta. Just goes to show how much having well packed, frozen snow is better than mush. That and the 15-20 mph tail wind.

But I felt pretty good after the ride. Keeping an average cadence of 69 RPM (up from 67!) left me a little wobbly in the knees, but ‘workout’ ache in my muscles was in reasonable bounds. It’s starting to look like whatever was going on with the extreme muscle burn and fatigue the first month or more on hypertension medication has lightened up. Still notice it quite a bit when walking, but still not nearly as bad. That’s a bit of stress off the mind!

Now, I’m going to get ready to go for another ride on another stunningly pretty day!


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Is that a Schwalbe tyre? I’ve had 5 flats IIRC. 3 of them have been cause by the wire coming out. One of the guys at Cykel Victor told me this is very comon with Schwalbe!

This time I went for Maxxis. Foldable. No wire. We’ll see.

Comment by scorp

I’ve been using Marathon tires for the past 6 years or more with no problems. If this is an issue though, I’ll have to keep it in mind.

Comment by Terii

I haven’t heard it before so I can’t vouch for it.

I guess you like the Marathons then. I would have bought those, but thought I would buy locally for once and they got only get a limited set of Schwalbe and Maxxis. I choose a Maxxis tyre because I could get it with Presta valves and I liked the tread. Torch, it’s called. Foldable, so I can take a spare.

I later realized it’s a special racing tyre for BMX… Racing tyres weren’t what I was looking for, but I guess BMX races are different so maybe the tyres are sturdy after all. I don’t want to buy another set already.

Like the look anyway.

Comment by scorp

That is a nice looking tread, I’ll admit.

My Trice first came with Kenda Kwests. I hated those with an absolute passion. If I made it a week without a flat it was cause for celebration.

I’ve used various Marathon since. I think it was the Plus I had the most problem with because it was just so heavy. Swapped to a different sort of Marathon and it was like riding on the wind. The only time I’ve had problems with the Marathons was after a few thousand miles when the inner core was exposed which meant even pointy little pieces of gravel could give me flats. 😛

The winter tire that split was a Schwalbe, but not Marathon. So… who knows. I might just be lucky. What an odd concept after the past few months. Hehe

Comment by Terii

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