Running Smoothly

Further to last Thursday’s post, the next day I took some more “time off the bike” by visiting the popular local cycling route known as “River Road:”

Where the fall foliage was “flambullient” enough to make you wanna barf:

It was a delightful ride, but this being a bike blog, I’ll take the opportunity to update you on how I’m getting on with those fancy-schmancy Naches Pass tires from Rene Herse:

Last time I write about them I noted they have sort of a “Vicodin” effect, which may or may not be a good thing depending on what you want out of your bike. Well, today I added some pressure to them, which did cut the Vicodin effect somewhat, and I was quite pleased with the result, though I think I may now be developing a substance abuse problem.

Anyway, it turns out higher pressure yields a firmer ride, and on no other cycling blog will you find this kind of mind-blowing information:

As for how I arrived at the tire pressure I’m currently running, I first consulted this chart from Jan Heine:

Just kidding:

I have no idea what any of that means, so I did the old pump-and-squeeze until my precision tire pressure caliper indicated I should stop–you know, the same tool I use to ascertain ripeness when I’m buying produce:

Now that’s what you call a multitool.

Additionally, I spent some time this weekend on a bike that can in no way be classified as an opioid:

I should warn you that at some point I intend to subject you to a comprehensive Vintage Titanium Shootout in which I pit this bicycle against my Litespeed, because if there’s anything the cycling world needs it’s a comparison between two bikes that have not been produced for at least 20 years. Jan Heine may make lots of scientific charts and stuff, but I know that the most important part of evaluating a bicycle is proper and accurate “scranus calibration,” and to that end I’ve been sidelining the Litespeed and acclimating my perineum to the Colnago’s nuances. (If Paul from Classic Cycles is reading this he’s not going to want this bike back now.) That way, when I do put the Litespeed back in the game, the differences between it and the Colnago will be immediately apparent–though of course there are other qualities one must consider besides ride quality, such as parts compatibility, and coffee shop appeal, and so forth, all of which I plan to address in the most irrelevant bike review of all time.

Speaking of vintage bikes, some riders like the old stuff, whereas others prefer the new. Certainly there’s no right or wrong in that regard, and you can even mix the two, though I do think there’s a strong case to be made that the wheels on the Colnago represent the pinnacle of road bike wheel technology:

Are today’s crabon aero wheels faster and lighter? Sure. But with their cartridge bearings and their plasticky appearance they’re about as appealing as office furniture when compared to the elegance of a classic wheel built with quality components:

Just look at that champagne-hued extrusion…and how often do you get to gawk openly at nipples?

It’s like jewelry and a suspension bridge in one exquisite object, and modern wheels are mere bird food in comparison:

CyclingTips has the full story on this one, and as funny as I found the photo, I now just feel bad for the bird, who should be flying around the Solomon Islands or wherever instead of locked in a cage and so bored it has to destroy French aero wheelsets in order to stay sane.

Granted, if I owned a bird it wouldn’t have any crabon (or foam or whatever the fairing on these things is made of) wheels to gnaw on, but it would probably drink chain lube out of sheer desperation:

Yes, the chain on the Colnago was chirping like, well, a bird, so I silenced it via judicious application of some Dumonde Tech Classic Lite. This came in the care package Dumonde sent me recently, along with a bunch of other formulations, and I chose this one because I liked the way “Classic Lite” sounded. I’m not sure what to say after just one ride, except that the chain is now nice and quiet, and the cassette remains almost disconcertingly clean:

I’ve used all sorts of lubes over the years, and eventually my cassette and derailleur pulley wheels get all gunked up no matter what I use, especially since I seldom subject my bicycles to a deep cleaning. But the Colnago’s a clean slate, so we’ll see what happens to its drivetrain on a steady diet of Dumonde and neglect.

Still, while I may ride a fancy bike and use boutiques, when presented with a choice of heads…

…I’ll always go for the “econo” option:

Though cheaping out on head is like buying the no-name bar tape in that the premium is usually worth it.

I should also note that what I’m really cheaping out on here is the humor, but this is a free blog, so if anyone’s cheaping out it’s you. Cheapskates.

Bargain basement jokes aside, it goes without saying that you can’t leave a Colnago unattended in New York City even for a second, so I made sure to use the facilities with the door open:

There’s no way he’s gonna want this bike back.

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