Between the weather and work, I’ve not been on the bike since Father’s Day. ?It’s getting a little frustrating. ?I did read several blogs today of people my age doing this sort of thing. ?Almost all of them said kind of the same thing: ?“We just had to ride ourselves into shape.” ?I was hoping not to have to do that.
There’s still something in that tire. ?I’ve run my hands all around it and I can’t find a thing. ?The tire was going flat again.
After reading more reviews online, I came across a German manufacturer of bicycle tires, Schwalbe.
They were universally loved in every biking post / online review as being just about the best at being flat-proof. ?(Yeah, I know. ?There’s no flat-proof tires.) ?Several reviews of the different makes talk about biking in very rugged conditions for 3, 4, and 5 thousand miles without a single flat. ?Well, sign me up!
Which is what I tried to do today. ?The closest distributor of Schwalbe tires was an hour away. ?Loaded the bike into the car and off I went to spend about $120 mounting these flat-
I’ve never had so much trouble getting someone to take my money.
Me: “Take my money for these flat-resistant tires, please.”
Bicycle shop owner: “Flats are a fact of life in bicycling. You don’t need new tires. You just need to accept that you’re going to have flats.”
Me: “Whathafuk . . . ?”
I’ve also never had more trouble in communicating with someone as I did this lady. ?She’d ask me questions and I’d have to shake my head and say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” ?This wasn’t a one-time response, either. ?I walked out of there feeling . . .?stupid. ?That’s?never?a good feeling to impart to a customer.
I?think?what she was trying to say, in a really awkward way, was that I have fine tires to be doing this. ?(We looked ’em up. ?They are fine tires.) ?Except I don’t want to accept?fine. ?I want to, as much as possible,?reduce the?chance?of having flats. ?She didn’t seem to grasp that concept.
Right in the same vein of the?“flats are a fact of life,” conversation, she attempted to sell me clipless pedals / toe cages. ?Both of those items scare the bejeezus out of me. ?I used clipless pedals for about two years and nearly got myself killed with the things. ?(No hyperbole there. ?Literally almost got killed because I couldn’t get my feet off those pedals in an emergency stopping situation.)
I told her about my first experience in them where I fell and almost broke a rib. ?Honest to God, she said, “Well, everyone needs to learn how to fall.” ?No they don’t, lady. ?Falling?hurts.
I then explained the situation where I almost got killed wearing the things. ?In return, I got a paternalistic shrug and an, “Well, everyone has their own opinions.” ?Fucking A I’ve got my own opinion. ?Especially when it comes to my ass being on the line.
Scoreboard: ?Purchased what I drove 120 miles to purchase: ?Naw. ?Tried to be sold something that I wanted as much as syphilis: ?Ya.
I’ll buy the damned tires off of Amazon and put them on myself.
Watched an interesting documentary on Netflix the other night. ?Laura Dekker sailed around the world . . . at age 14.
Took her two years. ?Hell, she spent as much time crossing just?the Indian Ocean as I’m going to take to cross the United States.
Think about it: ?At some points she was 3000 miles from?any?land. ?Out there by herself. ?There’s no one to call. ?No one to come help if she sprung a major leak, was caught in a monster storm, etc. ?She was also on her own, 24/7, to watch out for other things that could run into her. ?Ships. ?Whales. ?Debris.
Folks I’ve told about this trip are, hmmm,?concerned that I’m doing this?without any support. ?That I’m relying solely on my wits. ?(And since I’ve only got half as many as everyone else, I can understand their concern.)
Yet, come on. ?I’m pedaling across?the?First World Country. ?I’m going to be carrying more computer and navigation power than Apollo 11.
At no time will I ever be more than a few miles from someone else. ?With the notable exception of some time around the Mojave Desert, odds are I’ll never not be able to reach someone if I?really?get into stupid trouble.
If Laura Dekker can sail around the entire world,?I?can pedal a bicycle across a single country.
At least, I hope I can.