19 May 2010

Tire Pressure



Back to the bicycle for a moment. I am writing this full well knowing that those who have been riding trail bikes or mountain bikes for years will find my amazement humorous.



The Trek Under the Acacias.


This Trek 4300 is cool. I have learned that it is called a “hard tail” because there is no suspension in the back. The only suspension is in the front fork. Whatever the case, I feel as if I could ride straight up a wall with it. I know that is an illusion. Nevertheless, I am going to try riding up the Chorro hill a little later this morning, a hill so steep that it is a chore—no pun—to walk up it.

For years, having ridden only road bikes, my practice has been to keep the tires as hard as possible. If the recommended pressure was 90 to 110 pounds per square inch, I blew them up to 110 at least and sometimes more. Sometimes I just blew them up, period. The idea was to keep that line of the point of contact between the rubber and the road less than pencil thin. Because, of course, I wanted to go fast.

Now, I am in a different world. There is no way to go fast on cobblestone. And hard tires allow that cobblestone to beat the shit out of you. As a consequence, I am setting the tire pressure on the low side. The listed tire pressure on these fat Bontrager's is 40 to 65 pounds per square inch. Initially, I put them up to 65, which I soon found was a mistake. Now, I am putting them at 40, the minimum. Because, of course, I no longer care about going fast. I do not care when I get to where I am going. I do not really care if I get there at all. It is about the comfort of the ride now.

There is a huge overriding metaphor in there somewhere.

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