Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Another minor personal milestone

Bike Nazi - 2000 bicycle miles for 2007.

(Strangely, in 2004 I arrived at that milestone on May 6, in 2005 on May 5, and last year on May 16. Is there some sort of cosmic synchronization that I don't understand?)

I've not missed a day in 2007, so far.

Most of the reasons I ride are difficult to quantify, although I explained 'em with a recently-completed "top ten list." (Click HERE to review.) But the economic factor is something even an accountant can understand! (That's just a joke, if any of my accountant-friends happen to see this.)

Here's my out-of-pocket so far in 2007:
- Replacement new tires front and rear on March 10 - $28.* (The old ones weren't tossed; they're my "fat" tires and are hanging up waiting for next winter.)
- 8 flat tires repaired. (3 in the last 2 days... that sucks! But not like a Ford Excursion!) That's about 1 1/2 flat kits, which have 6 patches and cost a couple bucks - $3.
- 2 tubes replaced - $3-4 each - $7.
- Chain lube - maybe 25 cents?*

So... around 38 bucks. Sweeet!

If you drove, what did your last 2000 miles cost?

* A note on bike-tire cost: I can't use the Wal-Mart/Target tires - wrong size. For a "700c" diameter rim, a wide variety of tires is available both locally (bike stores) and via mail/web order. You can spend $7, or $70 (ouch!), per tire. I watch for sales, and usually buy my tires in the $12-16 range, 3 or 4 at a time. They might not ride quite as smooth as the $70 tires, and may have more rolling resistance, and might not even last quite as long... but a road hazard can trash a $70 tire in the blink of an eye, just like my $12 tires. (Since it may be apparent I have a minor obsession about economy... you can understand that would break my heart!)

* A note on chain lube: You can buy fancy Teflon lube at the bike store for $8.95, but I mix my own with mineral spirits and motor oil. A lifetime supply can be made with a quart of 30-weight and a quart of mineral spirits. Directions - combine 2 parts oil to 1 part mineral spirits and mix. Apply to chain, ride a couple miles, wipe off the excess with a rag or paper towel. I do that every 7-10 days... a squeaky chain is a burden so easily avoided!


Smudgemo said...

Try to score a deal on a set of Specialized Armadillo Skins next time you need tires. They usually run around $25 or so, but they last forever and they avoid flats like no tire I've used before. They are a bit heavy, but if you aren't racing, it hardly matters. They also have decent grip for what must be a fairly hard rubber formula.

Bikeboy said...

Good tip, smudgemo! Indeed I bought a couple Armadillos, 2 or 3 years back. (I actually found 'em on the Specialized website, for $19.95 or some such - a rare thing. I've been back looking, but without finding.) They were some of the best "utility riding" tires I ever had.

I also have occasionally gotten a good deal on Conti "Top Touring" tires which were equally good. But I believe they've been discontinued now.

Lately I've been using "K" tires from Performance Bike. The "K" means they supposedly have a kevlar puncture-belt. They're clearly not as sturdy as the Armadillos, but at $12.97 or so each (on sale), I've been very satisfied. (I still get the occasional goathead, but way less than with non-belted tires.)

Apertome said...

Damn, well, I'm impressed. I just passed 700 miles so far this year recently. I feel pretty good about that given that I didn't ride for many years until last summer, when I started mountain biking. Got a road bike in late January and didn't ride it for a while, until the weather improved.

One thing to keep in mind when talking about saving money is that you really can't count recreational miles. I had to remind myself in some of my own calculations recently that I wouldn't drive to the water purification plant multiple times per week, although one of my cycling routes goes there.

I'm sitting here trying not to think about how I haven't had a flat for a while. I know that I will get one now.

db said...

This post definitely speaks to my heart.

When another cyclist asks me what I look for in a tire, I say, "It has to be on sale." I won't spend more than $20, because all it takes is a roofing nail to tear those suckers up.

I have seen some nice deals on Vittoria and Continental tires at
http://www.steepandcheap.com .

They update this thing many, many times per day, and a lot of the stuff they have is for skiing or snowboarding, but recently I've been seeing road bike tires, much to my glee. If you work on a computer for a living and don't live in fear of corporate web monitoring, it's worthwhile to check several times a day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to your tip on chain lubricant, I got creative with what I had. Autotrans fluid. works great and not to thick.