Skinny Tires

After last Saturday’s ride I noticed oil leaking from the forks of my mountain bike.  I took it in to the shop to have it fixed, and while there asked them to put a pair of skinnier tires on it … the fat knobbies were worn down to nothing and needed replacing, but since I almost never ride it off-road it struck me that skinny tires would not only make more sense but also last longer.

Trying to pass as a non-Fred

I picked up the bike yesterday and rode this morning.  It looks odd with the skinny tires, but boy howdy does it ride nice … smooth and quiet, and with so much less surface contacting the road, noticeably easier to pedal.  We rode into downtown Tucson and stopped for coffee near the University of Arizona, where Donna took this photo.  I look a right Fred, don’t I?  Or do I?

There are two contradictory definitions of “Fred.”  Locally, that’s what the spandex-clad poseurs call non-competitive doofuses who throw on regular clothes to go riding.  But according to Bikesnob NYC, a Fred is a spandex-clad bike-racer wannabe poseur.  I’d like to be what the locals call a Fred, but I’ve found that padded bike shorts (spandex or otherwise) are a necessity, and because my feet hurt after ten miles without them, I wear bicycle shoes.  Oh, and a helmet and gloves.  I have a couple of bicycling jerseys but mostly wear hash T-shirts, and I always wear a motorcycle doo-rag under my helmet.  So whichever definition you choose, I fall short of total Fred-dom.  Donna, on the other hand, Freds out with spandex and a jersey … but she looks good in them.

I suspect most mountain bike riders my age never, or only rarely, get in the dirt.  Maybe I can start a fat bike/skinny tire trend here, which is anti-Fred no matter which definition you choose.  I like it!

© 2012, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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