Sunday, March 22, 2020

Mountain bike personalization '20

The whole civilized world is dealing with a virus outbreak right now.  The smart people are limiting unnecessary contact with other people, washing their hands, avoiding crowds, etc.  Then there are some who are apparently using their spare bedroom as a toilet paper repository.  (It's truly weird!  Toilet paper consumption is 1000x what it normally is!  If I'd known, I'd a-told my finance guy, "Put all my money in Charmin!")

One VERY nice thing... so far at least, bicycling is a good way to maintain that recommended social distance, while also maintaining a healthy outdoor lifestyle.  March has been a good month for me.  (Yesterday was a little dicey - I think everybody was on the Greenbelt!  Probably due to the nice weather.  It was jammed with walkers, dog walkers, cyclists, E-cyclists (you know, bike riding without the exercise), skaters.  And obviously lots of 'em got a little rusty over the winter.)

I've also recently applied some upgrades to my Cannondale mountain bike... equipping it for the kind of riding I do.

For one thing... I added a DROPPER SEATPOST.

Traditionally, a person installs a dropper if they need to lower their seat to negotiate particularly difficult or technical stretches of singletrack.  I did it to ease getting started!  My bike is so tall that the saddle hits me at about the waist, when I'm straddling it!  The dropper post (which is controlled by an onboard lever - like your office chair) can be lowered when I'm "parking."  Then when I'm taking off, I get to moving and raise the saddle back up to normal level.  (At some point it might also come in handy if I'm on some technical singletrack - time will tell.)

I also replaced the tires.

The bike came with some "almost fat" knobby tires - perfect for slow riding in loose dirt, etc.  But the fact is, I expect my riding (on that bike) will be a mix of brisk pavement riding, dirt-and-gravel road riding, and the occasional offroad "traditional mountain bike riding."

(But what, truly, is traditional mountain bike riding?  I'm guessing most mountain bikes are ridden more like what I'm anticipating - lots of pavement, some dirt.  I always smile to myself when I see guys lumbering along on FAT BIKES on the Greenbelt!  ALWAYS guys!  That's the opposite of an E-bike - "bike riding with TWICE the exercise!")

Another factor - I wasn't able to hook up my BOB trailer to the mountain bike - not enough clearance for those semi-fat tires.

So... I replaced the 2.35 inch tires with some 40mm tires.  That about 1.6 inches.  They are "knobby" tires, but with a fairly wide solid center ridge, which will allow for brisk pavement riding... or at least that's my line of thought.  Recommended pressure is 50-85PSI.  They should roll pretty nice at 85... and if I get to some gnarly trails, I can bleed some air, and they should be fairly adequate.  And - the trailer can be attached!  (They are Schwalbe "Land Cruiser Plus" tires, with a puncture-resistant belt.)  I hope to provide a review, after some miles and experience.  In the meantime, I'll try to survive the virus with my family, and accumulate those miles and experience.

Stay well, friends!

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