Dry pavement

One of our first casual rides of the year, in which we leave without a destination and find our way home at our leisure, because it’s not that cold out any more.  On the heels of a snowfall record is a sunny 50F degree day.  Dry pavement abounds, bordered by snowbanks and dotted with isolated puddles reflecting evening light.  We’re back to riding normal tires again; Lael’s got 26 x 2.0 Schwalbe Big Apples and I’m on a worn out Schwalbe Marathon and and old Continental Top Touring tire.  Tires, like sleeping bags are highly personal and infinitely fascinating to me.  I’ve used many sleeping bags and many more tires.  It’s nice to wear normal shoes again, and to ride on dry pavement without the chatter of studs.  As the snow melts, dirt and gravel are left as ashes in it’s place.  Sidewalks and shoulders are uninspiring moist dirt paths for now.

We use this ride as a planning session for the near future and and are satisfied that making plans while riding bikes in the amber light of the falling sun is appropriate inspiration for we have in store.

Leave your Hetres home…

My beloved Schwalbe Marathon tires are showing signs of wear after about 8000 miles, each mounted on both front and rear. One tire bares a yellow stripe down the center, flat resistent rubber I suppose (or simply yellow rubber) . I managed to order a CST Selecta tire, my new favorite Marathon replacement. The CST tire offers a moderately thick, inverse tread; reflective sidewall, and a Kevlar “flat resistent” layer, and comes in the two most practical tires sizes ever (26 x 1.75, and 700c x 38). Chris seems to have put about 3000 miles on one (all on the rear?). For less than the price of a Marathon, I am pleased to give it a try, but not until I run this Marathon to the ground. Avec plaisir et energie.

I will share, in short, the quality of construction and ride performance of the Marathon tire. 8000 miles?…check. Fifty miles of forest service roads this morning. Twenty miles pavement plus twenty miles local club ride?…check. Nuff said. A loaded bike that crosses country needs real tires. Suppleness, along with sidewall and casing deformation become catchphrase when real world factors enter. A tough tire is needed. A voluminous tire of any kind allows pressure to be optimized to conditions. A reflective sidewall?… a perpetual plus. Don’t be fooled, you need a real tire.

Unfortunately, the new Marathon tire has been “upgraded” with a 3mm layer of green stuff, much like the 5mm blue stuff in the Marathon Plus. This makes a significantly heavier tire, at a slightly higher price (does it’s e-bike capability have anything to do with it?) The old Marathon was too good to be true for a company offering an assortment of technologically advanced, $50-$90 touring tires. They offered lighter, faster tires and more durable, puncture resistant ones, but this did both things well for two-thirds the price.

Photos show the worn tire and new tire. Forest service roads and club ride. All in a day. Finally, a glimpse of the boundry waters of MN. Oh yeah, me and my High Sierra planed the day away on some worn out Marathons. If that means anything to you stop reading, dust off your bike and ride it.

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