Monday, September 19, 2011

Cycling Milestones

   I've reached a couple of milestones on the road bike recently.  

Road Tube vs. Mountain Tube
   My first "rite of passage" was a flat tire.  As someone who has over twenty years of mountain biking experience I've had lots of flats, but this was the first time I had ever had a flat on a road bike.  I haven't ridden a road bike (think English Racer) since I was probably thirteen or so. While the concept of patching an innertube is the same there are some subtle differences.  First and foremost was the brake release.  I actually had to ask the Bike Noob how to release the tension on the brakes in order to remove the wheel.  It turns out that road bikes have a lever on the brake assembly, whereas my mountain bikes either have disc brakes or the cable unhooks from a slot.  The next difference was/is that the tubes are really skinny.  My patch was almost wider than the tube.  Once I got the tire patched and returned to the bike I realized that my mini-pump wasn't getting a good "bite" on the valve stem and it kept "popping off" the stem every couple of seconds.  Fortunately I had purchased a couple of CO2 cartridges and dispenser at the time I got the bike.  I had heard various comments about how hard it was to reach the necessary PSI for a road tire with a mini-pump.  Which led me to milestone #2, using CO2 for the first time.  I was really apprehensive about inflating tire with the CO2 cartridge since I wasn't sure how hard it was to puncture the seal, and whether the tire would explode or all of the gas would leak out before I could get the tire inflated.  Needless to say everything went smoothly and the tire inflated in less than a second. I really felt empowered and am now totally hooked on CO2, though I still carry the mini-pump just in case.

   Perhaps the next milestone I reached was a "real" road ride, and by real I don't mean noodling around the neighborhood.  Instead, I'm referring to the open highway.  I was amazed at how hard roadies have to concentrate while riding in traffic.  Naturally you have to pay attention to keep from getting ran over, I have to do that on the mountain bike as well.  But roadies also have to literally watch the pavement in front of them since they don't have the shock absorbers and 2 inch wide tires that mountain bikes have.  When I'm riding the road bike I have to be very alert for things such as drainage grates, cracks in the road, expansion joints and missing valve covers and such.  These things can dump you off your bike in a heart beat and when you are riding less than a couple of feet from a moving vehicle it can even be deadly.  And so we come to milestone #4, getting passed by car while in the same lane.  There is only a brief stretch of road on my route (about 500 feet) where the shoulder disappears and I'm forced to share the lane with 65 mph traffic whizzing by.  It's a white knuckle affair and I really don't like doing it, but it's really brief, and traffic is very light on Sunday mornings. I wouldn't be caught dead trying to navigate that section of SH 45 during peak hours.

So, what, if any, milestones have you met in the pursuit of your hobby/sport? I'd love to hear your experiences...

No comments:

Post a Comment