Thursday, August 1, 2013

In Which 85 PSI and RAGBRAI Legs Speed The Journey

The Sky this morning as I rode my bike to the gym. Sumbeans shining down on my faster, slow bike.

I’ve commuted to campus a few days this week, and weather willing will again tomorrow. It feels like I’ve been flying on Francis when I go—my RAGBRAI legs have not worn off yet, and I’m worried I might pop a spoke or break a chain.

I’m sure by most bikers’ standards, I’m still slow, but for me I am traveling fast.

RAGBRAI legs—the strong muscles leftover from the ride across Iowa last week—aren’t the only factor. Cate noted one day during RAGBRAI that my back tire looked a bit low. It felt fine to me, but feeling isn’t enough. I didn’t know what the recommended inflation was—mud on the tire—but Eldon found it—85 PSI.

And his pump pressure gauge said I was at 50. “Getting close to snakebite territory,” Eldon said, and he is probably right.

Snakebite is jargon for the double puncture you get if your under-inflated tube allows the tire to pop out of the wheel frame—you get two small punctures were the wheel rim presses on the tube, hence, snakebite.

Well, I pumped up to 85 PSI and flew that day, and on the last day pumped up again (the tires had lost about 5 PSI in two days).

If you have properly inflated tires, the ride is a bit rougher, but it is also much more efficient—soft tires cost a lot of extra mushy friction, and on hard ones you fly. Or so it seems.

The mighty Francis has been riding again. Grandkids are over tonight, and maybe I’ll put the toddler bar and seat back on and give Amelia a morning ride before they have to go home. We’ll see. But I’ve been enjoying riding at the speed of RAGBRAI legs on my newly inflated tires.

The mighty Francis in my driveway after the ride home from the gym--it has gotten sunnier.

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