None The Worse For Wear

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you’ve probably been asking yourself, “What’s in it for me?” Well, those seconds a day you spend scrolling on the terlet will soon pay off for one lucky reader, as in the coming days I will be giving away a whole entire bicycle!*

*[Bicycle pictured is not the one I’ll be giving away. Not even close.]

As for the nature of the giveaway, here’s an FAQ that will only leave you more confused:

So what bike are you giving away?

I’ll tell you when the time comes. You’ve seen it on this blog.

When will this happen?

I dunno, maybe next week sometime? I have to get the bike ready first. Let’s go with “soon-ish.”

Is it a gravel bike? I hear gravel bikes are the big thing now.

Sure, it’s a gravel bike, why not? Any bike can be a gravel bike. Gravel is a state of mind.

How will you decide who gets it?

I have devised a scheme by which competitors will need to employ their cunning, thereby ensuring the bicycle goes to the craftiest among you.

Is this a new bike? A vintage bike? Come on, gimme something here!

The bike is timeless. It defies categorization and transcends such mundane concerns. It is simultaneously classic and cutting edge. You’re not worthy of it; arguably no human is worthy of it. In a way it sickens me that someone must own it at all, but if you really think about it isn’t this the fundamental problem of materialism? That as soon as we take a beautiful idea or thought or feeling and make it real it becomes compromised by the mere fact that it exists in the physical plane as something temporal that can now be misused and tarnished and broken? By simply creating something and manifesting it in the here and now are we not, in that very moment, also consigning it to death?

Wait, what were we talking about?

I ask the questions, not you.

Well look at that, the tables have turned, haven’t they?

No they haven’t!

Yes, they have! The questioned has become the questioner! Now I get to be in bold!

No you don’t! And that’s not even a question! You only get to be in bold if you ask a question!

Okay, here’s a question, how does it feel to be such a loser?

Fine, you win.

So yeah, keep your eyes peeled for that.

Meanwhile, yesterday I once again traversed the hot and humid city, though abandoned Citi Bikes…

…and capacious urine jugs:

It was a sordid state of affairs, but I floated above it all, holding my nose high in the rarefied air astride my A. Homer Hilsen, and I’m pleased to announce my most recent tweaks to it proved quite successful:

In particular, the bars are now exactly where they need to be, and the bike feels much better for it:

It also felt noticeably faster (my arrival time would appear to support this), and while this could be due to the improved position, it might also just be that I finally got around to topping off the tires. I was quite reckless in doing soo, too, and I didn’t even use Jan Heine’s tire pressure calculator:

I also didn’t use his tires. Instead I’ve been using Schwalbe Marathon Supremes on this bike since the fall of 2020. While different tires have different uses and it’s kind of silly to compare them all, overall I think that the Schwalbe Marathon Supremes may be the best tires I’ve ever used. They’re relatively light, they ride nicely, they went on easy, I’ve ridden them on everything from glass-strewn streets to gravel roads, and through all that they haven’t given me a bit of trouble. In fact they’re so durable the rear tire is still showing the little wear indicator thingies:

Of course this is the bike industry we’re talking about, so Schwalbe did what any sensible company does when they’ve got a product this good: they discontinued it. Yes, if you ride a bike and you really like a part, you periodically wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, go online, and make sure it’s still available, and it was during one such fit that I discovered the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme is, alas, no more. As I understand it, they’ve replaced this tire with the Marathon Efficiency:

Conveniently, the 27.5 doesn’t come in anything narrower than a 2.15, which totally screws up my whole fender situation:

I’m old enough to remember when we lamented the lack of wider tires. Now if you want something narrower than your upper thigh people think you’re a crazy person. I blame disc brakes, gravel, and Jan Heine pushing the notion that bicycle tires should feel like walking around in ballet slippers after washing down a Vicodin with a glass of red wine. At this rate in five years we’ll be using tires made of waxed canvas and inflating them orally.

I still have some Rene Herse tires, by the way. Maybe I’ll put them on the giveaway bike…

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