Monday, 11 October 2010

Does your bike feel like it's flagging? Time to give it some air.

My previous post was all about speed. I have a little update. I changed my front tyre last night as I happened to have a spare Schwalbe Marathon in my shed (long story). I finally checked what the make was of my existing tyres, and it turns out they're called Maxxis Detonators - or, as I now know them, pin cushions. They seem to absorb glass and nails as methodically and surely as a sponge soaks up water. The website does call them "training" tyres - does that mean they're not for actual racing or indeed road use of any kind? Anyway, off one of them came, and off the other one will come as soon as I can get another Schwalbe.

Pump it baby

But that's not what I want to talk about. Because at the same time I pumped up my tyres to very close to the limit recommended. I set off with a bit of trepidation this morning. It was definitely a "harder" ride and my rack and paniers were shaking and rattling like never before. But ... my whole ride was transformed! It was like moving from a scooter to a motorbike, or sludge to crisp snow. It felt like I was going about twice the speed with so much less difficulty. I realised that I'd spent the last two or three weeks with a nasty feeling of going through treacle.

Pumped up in the sun

So the moral - should you need it - is that it's worth investing in a really meaty pump and filling up those thar tyres!

With the sun shining, the canal looking lovely, and much more wind in my hair (well, helmet anyway) it was one of the most delightful rides of the year.


Natalie said...

I am so with you there KC. My sister recently gave me he pump which includes a pressure gauge. Turns out I've been massively under-pumping my tyres! Although my journey is less comfortable now I think the time I'm saving on my commute makes the pain worth it (although I do wish Lambeth would do something about their appalling road surfaces...).

KarmaCycle said...

Ah - good to hear your story too, Nat. Yes, you certainly do feel every bump, and it's already rattled a few nuts out of the mudguards - but generally you do seem to go with about half the effort. Don't know if you've spotted it, but there's an app called "Fill that hole" which allows you to take a photo of a pot-hole and send it straight to the right part of the council. May be useful for Lambeth!