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Riders Writing Cycle #4 Tire choices

I’m so late answering Fat Lad on this one I don’t suppose anyone even recalls that the topic was my suggestion in the first place. No matter, it’s finally ready for posting so here it is in three parts.
Road tires

When I got my road bike, I ran the tires it came with and didn’t think too much about them. I was returning to cycling after too long a hiatus and just relishing being back on two wheels kept my mind occupied. It had seemed like I was flatting more than most but so often the flats were discovered when I went to get the bike for a ride so a quick change and I was on my way without the embarrassment of continually holding up the group. Well one day I figured out I had purchased more than twenty tubes that spring and I started thinking about new tires…

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Fat Lad Keeps it Real

Riders Writing Cycle:

ghettoisation of riders:

for the mtb’ers trail centres, the perfect answer to all weather all year riding or the macdonalds of off roading?

for our road/commuters:

dedicated bike lanes protecting you from cagers or traeting cyclist as 2nd class road users?

The mass trespass of Kinder Scout was a notable act of willful trespass by ramblers. It was undertaken at Kinder Scout, in the Peak District of England, on 24 April 1932, to highlight weaknesses in English law of the time. This denied walkers in England or Wales access to areas of open country, and to public footpaths which, in previous ages (and today), formed public rights of way.

The peculiarities of rights of way and land access across the world is whole post in it’s own right. But here in blighty we have enshrined in law the rights of way system. Any bridleway, green lane or permissive bridleway you and your push iron are legally allowed to crank on. Footpaths (otherwise know as “cheeky” or night time bridleways) are out of bounds. Again this is a subject for a whole other post. All this waffling…

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Rider’s Writing Circle #5 - Best ride/How I Learned to Drink Coffee

This post is offered as a response to FatLad’s Riders Writing Cycle # 5; What was your best ride?

As a kid I thought few things were as wonderful as the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the air but it represented a huge mystery to me as well. How could something that smelled that great, have such an utterly repulsive taste? I tried it every few years and recall thinking each time that it tasted even worse than the time before but its’ aroma continued to be one of my favorites.

I did a lot of self-supported bike touring in my teens and early twenties, mostly trips from the Twin Cities up to the North Shore of Lake Superior. My first trip was when I was 15 and had a ten-speed, a hand-me-down I’m sure, and my buddy had a five-speed sting-ray. That trip set the foundation for some pretty serious rides over the coming years and, eventually, a change in my perspective on coffee.

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RWC #4 Tyre Choice

(Note: Yes I know I posted #5 Yesterday and 5 comes after 4 but this one wasn’t ready yet.)

Balloon tires or standard commuter tires for utility cycling?

Light and skinny or hearty bullet-proof tires for road riding?

Whatever your choice, what did you try before arriving at your perfect solution or are you still on the quest?
What makes your selection better than the other options?

Interesting and always relevant for the commuter and regular cyclist, nice topic.

Right down to it then.

I currently use the light & skinny tyres on the commuting road bike and tough grippy XC tyres on the MTB. I have been through 4 sets of tyres in the 2 years I’ve had my Kona and have found that the best tyres for my riding style are the Panaracer Fire XC Pro. Plus they are blue walled so they match my bike…… Yes I’m a tart I know……….

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Chicago: the best place to roll in 120 words (exactly!)

Chicago is the best place to roll.


I must confess that I found it a bit overwhelming when I first got here. But I soon learned that for a big city it’s neither impersonal nor alienating. As a city that works it attracts people who don’t quite fit in back home.


Miles and miles of small, distinct neighborhoods, 100s of coffee shops and bars, museums, music venues, as well as lots and lots of public space in the form of parks and beaches provide enough refuge for even the most peculiar personalities.


It also attracts and keeps them because of a hell of a lot of cheap bikes, the strong bicycle culture, our tolerant mayor, and the usually accommodating cops.

More on Chicago rolling from da’ Square Wheelman here, here, and here!

More on Winston’s Tweed Ride here!

HighwayMunky: RWC #5 Evangelism

Where I live is the best place to ride because out of my front door there are roads at the end of the roads there are trails, stony, sandy, muddy trails. Even my commute to work finest bridleways and singletrack known to man!


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Da’Square Wheelman’s best ride ever!

warm thoughts

They have to… So it’s damn timely that the 5th Riders Writing Cycle asks What was your best ride? This has been the coldest spring I’ve ever experienced in my 10 years living here in The Windy City.  We’ve yet to have normal temperatures.  And if that isn’t enough, we had snow at the beginning of April! So I’ll try to maintain my sanity by remembering what it’s like to bike when your biggest worry is heat stroke.

I took a wonderful series of sweaty bike tours in northeastern Ohio two summers ago. I stayed with Uffda Dave & his family on their small farm outside Aurora. It was a working trip to meet with my adult volunteers. I would meet with them in the evenings, since most of them had jobs. That left my days free for touring.

Uffda Dave’s youngest son, Nate, is a newly minted Boy Scout. Given his father’s and my bikeluv‘, he wanted to get working on the Cycling Merit Badge. It requires a number of progressively longer tours. So our first was a short 10 mile round-trip over to Solon. Being a small bedroom community near the highway to Cleveland, there isn’t a hell of a lot to see there.

But it was an easy first ride and we wanted to stop at Solon’s only bike shop to pick up some tubes, accessories, and tools. There’s also a thrift shop on the way that sometimes has beaterbikes.

The second day we headed over to Hudson. It’s an old farm town about 15 miles southwest of Aurora. I would describe it as a town that time forgot if it weren’t for the fact that several years ago community leaders created an entirely new downtown shopping area.

It’s as if Jim Carey had filmed The Truman Show there. Although I have to admit that Hudson does have some great restaurants. We ate at Cafe Tandor, a fairly upscale South Asia outfit. We found a pleasantly shaded table on its outdoor patio. Then we compared sunburns:

There are several great advantages of touring around northeastern Ohio. There’s plenty of country roads with low cager traffic. The scenery is beautiful alternating between rolling farmlands and wood lots. There are lots of small towns easy to reach from one another. And except for Hudson, most of them are charming, organic copies of the New England villages from which their original settlers came.

Bike Tunes

Rider’s Writing Cycle challenge from Highwaymunky; Tune selection


I am a very passionate music fan & former musician with tastes more diverse than the faces on a New York subway. I can get totally lost in a piece of music, nearly to the point of losing track of my surroundings. It’s great to have such a powerful connection to music but it can also take more of my concentration away from keeping the rubber side down. So there are times when I skip the externally produced tunes and stick with the internal sound track. I always have music playing in my head so I have a great selection available, it just may or may not be coming from an electronic source.

Given the power music holds over me, I generally only listen with one ear piece though since I want to be aware of the truck that is about to roll over me before I feel it. Perhaps that way I can avoid becoming an extra large street pizza.

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New Topic! Riding Tunes!

Some do and some don’t and even if you don’t you probably have something in your head. So whats your prefered riding tunes?

MTB Tunes Vs Road Tunes

A bit revelation for you, I love music and depending on my mood it can be any kind of music, I go through seasons really for the past 6 months  - Year it has been rock & metal I am now transitioning into dance/trance/house music and I suspect it has something to do with the bike!

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utilitarian & vélotarian

Whenever folks ask me why I roll, my usual response is that I’m not all that into the environmental or health benefits of alternative transportation. Instead, I say, I’m cheap … and impatient. I don’t know how I’d get by in the current global recession if I had car payments plus the costs of insurance, gas, and parking.

But even before the economy went south, I realized that I could get around The Windy City as fast or faster by bike. Any trip under 3 miles is certainly faster than by car. Between 3 and 5 is just as fast. What helps, especially with the latter, is that without a car I don’t need to trawl for a legal parking spot. All I need is a bike rack. If that’s not available, a handy street sign or parking meter will do. I can’t overstate the convenience of bike parking. Nothing is more nerve-wracking than spending more time in a car hopelessly searching for parking that I do getting to my destination. And if I need to go further than 5 miles I can always do a combination of biking and mass transit.

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