In between moving, juggling two mortgages, taking kids to the hospital and getting traffic tickets, I managed to upload a large set of confusingly organized photos.
Today my day started out a bit more chaotic than usual. I didn’t have my bags packed, slept in too late to walk the dog and didn’t decide what bicycle to ride to the train until 5 minutes before I left. Because it was dry out, and I had just finished building a new front wheel – I chose my LeMond. My morning commute would be the maiden voyage for the wheel I’d just finished late last night. I’d never even rode in a circle on the drive way. In fact it wasn’t until about 6:00 am (pre-dawn), while approaching 40mph descending Lea Hill that I realized the wheel was good.
To anyone who said a radially laced front wheel wasn’t the best option – pfft!
I made it to the train without incident and arrived at King St. in the usual way. My normal cycling buddies weren’t on the train for whatever reason, so I debated taking the Alaskan Way waterfront rather than 3rd Ave, since there was no one going up to Belltown. What the heck, I’ve got my nice bike, with pimped out wheels (Dura-ace hubs, DT Swiss DB spokes and Velocity Deep Vs) – I’m going to climb 3rd solo with speed and style.
Anyone who’s familiar with 3rd Ave in downtown Seattle knows it’s closed to cars. Only public transit and bicycles are permitted. For some reason the buses were particularly annoying today. They’d stop at red lights while occupying both lanes, changing lanes sporadically etc.
I was getting feed up with stupid slow buses piling up in the right lane, so I decided to ride in the left. As a Seahawk fan, I’ve incorporated some techniques from Shawn Alexander’s rushing into my riding. Basically I head for daylight. If there are no cars, I go there. If there are cars behind me I move.
While I was riding like this on 3rd Ave I was pulled over by a motorcycle cop. I was curious as to why I was stopped: maybe I didn’t use a hand signal, or my headlight wasn’t turned on. Turns out it’s illegal for me to ride in the left lane, if I’m unable to ride at the speed limit. Ironically I was going much faster than the buses in the right lane – which was the whole point of me choosing that lane in the first place.
I verbally confirmed with the officer that this was not a “driving” violation – meaning it wouldn’t be counted on my driving record. Interestingly the $94.00 ticket says that it is in fact a “driving violation”. Hooray for stupid I guess.
My only hope is that I’ve got some bad luck out of the way for a while…
edit: Here’s some interesting material from the Seattle bicycle code that I plan to use in my defense.
SMC 11.44.020 Rights and duties of rider. Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to a driver of a vehicle, except as to the special regulations of this chapter and except as to those provisions of this subtitle which by their nature can have no application. (RCW 46.61.755)
11.53.200 OVERTAKING A VEHICLE ON THE LEFT. The operator of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of such overtaken vehicle at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.
11.44.040 RIDING ON ROADWAYS. Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed slower than the normal and reasonable flow of motor vehicle traffic thereon shall ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe, except as may be appropriate while preparing to make or while making turning movements, or while overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction. A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway that carries traffic in one direction only and that has two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near to the left side of the left through lane as is safe. A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway may utilize the shoulder of the roadway or any specifically designated bicycle lane if such exists.
http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikecode.htm on 2007/09/17
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.61.755 on 2007/10/05
Ok, this isn’t a full review as I’ve got barely 10 miles on these tires, but I’ll write what I know and will update this later as I form a stronger opinion.
Before I begin there are some caveats that may completely invalidate my opinion.
- These are the first set of 700c/23mm tires I’ve used.
- These are the first set of folding road tires that I’ve used.
- Price Reasonably priced at $16.95 each from http://biketiresdirect.com
- Looks I got red tread thinking I’d use them on my commuter, but they ended up on my green LeMond. The red is actually a slight orange, which happens to match the red accent on Bontrager parts. My color scheme looks a bit cyclocross-ish, but I think I’m liking it for now.
- Installation - This is a tough tire to mount. I’m not sure if that’s due to it being a folding tire, or 23mm, or something particular to this model. After one bead is seated in the rim, it’s nearly impossible to rotate the tire on the rim. If you practice the fine art of aligning the tire label with your valve stem, you’ll have to plan ahead before you mount it. Early this morning I also learned that folding clincher tires are much more susceptible to pinch flats
- Ride quality - A much rougher ride than the 25mm Bontrager Race tires that came stock on my bike. I’ll blame the tire size for this though.
- Speed – I went down Lea Hill as normal this morning. The rolling resistance is much less than my previous tires, as my top speed was a few mph higher than normal. This isn’t scientific, but I do descend down this hill each day and am pretty consistent about my route.
- Handling - These tires are almost tacky, but I think I like it. I didn’t push the fast turns harder than normal as I didn’t want to risk being surprised, but they seemed to hold their line very tightly. With a little practice, these should let me dig into big corners a bit harder.
I primarily purchased these as a spare set of utility tires. The price was right, they’re made from a very reputable company and I wanted something faster. Eventually I may splurge and try out some Gran Prix 4000, or Pro 2 Race. Those would be a much better side by side comparison with the Ultra Sport.
Sorry for the two week delay on these. We made the trip over 2 days. Day 1 we rode 128 miles to Vader, WA. Day 2 we rode 76 miles ending in Portland, OR. My Garmin 305 cycling computer ran out of batteries 6 miles before the end of Day 1. If you notice the gap of the route, I didn’t cheat and call a taxi, my GPS just wasn’t recording.
The ride was good. Our total ride time was a little over than 12 hours, averaging just under 17mph. (16.9 for day one, and 16.7 for day 2).
Tomorrow morning, at an insanely early hour, I’ll be riding the “Seattle to Portland” ride.Â Saturday will be the biggest day, we’re riding 127 miles to Vader, WA.Â That’ll leave a mere 77 miles for Sunday.Â Sans any mechanical or medical issues among our group, we could be in Portland by 2:00pm on Sunday.
After all that, I’ll meet up with Lisa, the kids and Kara to spend some time in Central OR.
Things I’d like to accomplish during this ride:
- no injuries
- no crashes
- no catastrophic mechanical failures
- arrive in Portland with enough energy remaining to enjoy the nightlife there