I took the two dogs out with me on Sunday on a short bicycle ride: only did about 1.5 miles. It didn’t take them long to get tired. Neither are used to be doing this much exercise. But, let me set the scene before I get into the story with the dogs and our adventure.
I am still working on my bicycle touring, trying to increase my distance and endurance, and working out what works for me. I had decided I wanted to be able to do some dirt/gravel road travel in addition to touring on the asphalt. While I had my bike in for a repair (a bent rear derailer) and upgrade for the back gear cassette, I consultated with my favorite bicycle repair person, Ben, at R.E.I., about the dual touring I wanted to do. He talked about ‘off-road’ tires for the bike. My bike is not a mountain bike. It is a big touring bike. They are heavier than mountain bikes or even my road bike, but still I had read some people who do touring also include dirt/gravel road riding. If you are in a third world country, often there are very few paved roads.
Ben said he wanted to do a little research first to see if he could find ones that would not require me to take off my fenders, especially the back one where there was little clearance. During the week, he ordered me some that should work both on the asphalt and dirt–dual purpose tires. My current ones, which are essentially brand new, are great road tires, but not for dirt/gravel roads. When they came in a week or so later, I took the bike in to get them changed out. (Yes, I could have done it myself but there were some other factors we had to make a decisions about.) Off-road, dual purpose tires are wider and have special treads on the sides to help stabilize you during turns on the dirt/gravel.
I was delighted when I got to R.E.I, The tires had brown sidewalls which went nicely with my new Brooks leather saddle (seat)–and not so bad with my handlebar bag. Then, Ben had the audacity to tell me I could also get brown leather handlebar padding when I got ready to replace them. Vanity, vanity, vanity. I know where part of my R.E.I. rebate is going next year. Okay, back to my story.
Got the bicycle with its new tires back home, but the rear tires was leaking a little air. The tires can be run tubeless. You just add a sealant inside the tire so that if it gets a puncture and it self seals. Now, I know several tricks for remedying air leaks, but it was still leaking. After trying all my tricks, and getting a few more from R.E.I. bike shop people, I still had a slow leak. I decided to put the tire up to pressure and take it for a couple of mile ride to see if that would seal it. So I did, and it helped. But, alas, still a tiny leak. So, another ride. This time it seemed to seal. When I got up the next morning, it was still reading 60 lbs! Bingo, problem solved.(more…)