Today it was 33F and I saw Sun. I had to ride. When I rolled Billie, my 2010 Symba, out of the garage the alley looked like this:
Thursday night, just a couple of days ago, the alley looked much different:
I normally wouldn't choose to leave my garage when the alley looks like it did Thursday evening, but Billie's new tires were in. And, if I didn't get them put on Thursday night, I would have to wait until sometime in February. I had close to seven thousand miles on the original tires and really wanted them changed out. So, I decided to ride. The main roads were clear and at 25F the chemicals to melt the ice would be working just fine. No worry there. Of course, the alley and the side street might present a problem, but that was only the distance of a couple of hundred yards.
I eased out into the alley and stayed in the snow that hadn't been driven on. It provided decent traction. So far so good. When I got to the street it got more complicated, but I kept reminding myself to keep a steady throttle, to make no sudden movements, not to panic when my countersteering didn't produce immediate results, to trust the bike, to keep my hand off that front brake, and to keep my feet on the pegs. It all worked out, but I was glad to get to the main road, and even happier when I got to Maplewood Scooter Company.
Mike and Jake were waiting for me. They were even staying late, just so we could get these tires changed. Mike is closing his shop out in Kansas City and moving all his operations here. Since he has to be out of his Kansas City shop by the beginning of February, he was leaving the next day to finish up the job. Thus my sense of urgency.
|Here are the new tires. The original tires were both the same size. We decided to go with a larger and wider tire for the rear. Mike thought it would give me more stability. Sounded good to me.|
|This is the old front tire. I'm not sure how one can tell if this tire is worn out, but I've not liked the tread pattern since the day I rode Billie home for the first time and I've been eager to change it out. But, being frugal, 6700 miles seemed as if I had been patient enough.|
|This is the old rear tire. Looking at the picture I'm wondering if the camera adds tread to a tire, like it adds pounds to a person's figure. The tread didn't look as good as it does in this picture believe me.|
|And, here she is modeling her new Michelin Gazelles. We also replaced the headlamp. It looks brighter, but I've not been on streets without lighting to see how much of an improvement this makes. |
Everything went smoothly with the installation. I like boring and drama free experiences at the shop. After an hour or so, it was time to head home. And, it was a wonderful ride home. I was feeling fine and really enjoying the ride . . . and then I turned into my side street. Here is the scene:
I know it couldn't have changed it the couple of hours I'd been gone. I know it was still only two hundred yards or so to my alley, but in the darkness it looked much longer. Ah, but as is often the case, there was only one way through it, and that was through it.
The ride back in was definitely more interesting -- lots more slippin' and a slidin' going on. I suspect Chris at http://www.everydayriding.org/
would tell me I was finally having some fun, but I'm not sure that was what I was having. I will admit; however, that it was certainly satisfying to make it safely back to the garage without a spill.
|Billie with gazelles full of snow|
|On the right old tire print and on the left the new.|
Late this afternoon when I returned from my ride I stopped at the same place where I took the picture of my street last Thursday night:
What a difference a couple of days can make.
~Circle Blue & Billie