Thursday, October 09, 2008


I have a lot of bicycle tires in my garage. We recently did some remodeling in said garage and the task fell to my wife to sort of organize the mess while I was at Interbike.

I'm horrible, I know... but this isn't about me, it's about Dirt. And for the record, I didn't ask her to, she just did it. Ok? I mean, it's not like I can find anything now...

Where was I? Oh yeah, tires. The truly wonderful thing about all of those tires, is that no pair is like another pair. Some are better than others at all around off roading--or, road riding, since I have those, too--but usually, there is a type of dirt--a mixture of rock and soil and decomposing plant matter--that a particular tire will like best. That's the beauty of having the variety I do. I can pick the right tire for the type of dirt I happen to be riding.

I change tires often.

However, sometimes, due to time, I leave whatever tires I happen to be running on the bike. Case in point, last night's night ride. There were 5 of us. 3 on 'cross bikes and 2 on mountain bikes. I was on a 'cross bike. It's been raining a bit and that's the bike with full fenders. I also commute on this bike. I did not swap out the tires. I left them on. They were the Continental TravelContacts. I have, literally, put thousands of miles on this particular model of tire. No kidding, thousands. I know this tire.

This tire was exactly wrong for the ride. Oh sure, it was fine on climb--gravel road--but when we hit the singletrack, I had not one iota of traction. The dirt... well the dirt was that special type. The top layer is fairly dry, but just underneath it's muddy. You'll notice, if you had clicked the link to the tire, that there is no center tread on the TravelContacts. Couple that with the dry dirt sliding on the mud underneath and it was a miracle that I stayed on the trail and upright.

And you know what? I had a blast. I went slower than normal, and with less control, but, boy, was it fun!

Sometimes you have ride what you've got. Hang on, it can be one heck of a ride, though next time I think I'll swap tires.

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