Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mountain Bike Versus Road Racing Bike.

Zacke82, Zaskar Pro.

Louis Shalako

I may be hurting tomorrow, but right now I feel pretty good.

After a long six or seven months of winter, I took my mountain bike for a ride. It’s a Trek 3700.

The tires were very soft, and I rode it carefully to the nearest gas station. It costs a dollar these days to put air in the tires. I got the front up to about 65 psi and the rear a bit less, 62 psi. Those gauges aren’t too accurate, but the max listed on the tire is 70 psi. I like the front tire harder than the back. It gives precise control on the front end and a bit of cushioning on the back end. This bike has front suspension but not rear. I prefer this for putting power to the ground, although I love having front suspension. It saves the wrists and elbows from a lot of jarring shocks, shocks which are transmitted up to shoulders, neck and upper back.

The short ride to the gas station wasn’t bad at first. I took it slow. There were some twinges in the knees. Riding on soft tires is like riding in a couple of inches of glue or molasses. Having enough air in the tires was a revelation. In spite of that, by the time I came home approximately twelve or fourteen kilometres later, it felt like riding in glue again. After being cooped up for months on end with nothing to do but write and smoke, that was far enough for the first trip.


When I was about fifteen, my dad bought my brother and I some English racing bikes. They were 1973 Raleigh bikes, gold with chrome fenders and white trim. The first thing we did was to take off the fenders and of course the old man could have shot us. At the age of fifteen, a non-smoker, I could get from central Sarnia to Canatara Park in ten or twelve minutes. We would be zigzagging across the city grid and knowing all the shortcuts.

The farthest we ever got was the Lambton Generating Station, where we cooked steak and beans, had a swim and then turned around and went home.


When an older bike of mine wore out and I was looking for a new one, I went to the bike shop on Front St. and wandered the store.

They had a beauty of a road racing bike, (not the one pictured). It was about $850.00. I wanted that bike. After looking at the half-inch rims, five-eighths tires, wheels with about eleven skinny little spokes, it occurred to me that a two-hundred pound guy on city streets is going to be bending a wheel about twice a day on that thing—once coming and once going in other words.

Scott Speedster, Jesus Rodriguez.
The Trek has a 2.5” oversize frame. It’s got big, fat, knobby balloon tires. For the first time in my life, I had a bike big enough for me. At first it was like swimming on the bike. I was no longer cramped and thus compensating for the geometry. Now I could use that six-foot-five and three-quarters frame of mine to its greatest potential. Lance Armstrong and other riders are tall and skinny, I get that. With compression-fractures in three vertebra, I’m not racing. I’m fifty-five years old. I’m just enjoying the riding—on a machine that fits my body. It’s probably the best choice for the terrain and conditions encountered locally. The odds are it will never see a real hill, let alone a mountain—but then neither will I.
Like the reviewer in the linked article above, I fell in love with my bike quickly enough.

This is my fourth or fifth year with it. I’ve bent the rear axle shaft two or three times, and bent a wheel at least once. It was good value for the money, about $400.00 CDN at that time.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment on the blog posts, art or editing.