Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lunch Anyone? Shenandoah Sounds Good.

My brother, Jason, the author of his blog, Laughing Right Out Loud, is coming out for a visit next week, and I want to show him a good time.

The plan is to ride Sunday, October 24, from Midtown Crossing to Shenandoah, Iowa for lunch and Coronas at El Portal, and then ride back in time for dinner, possibly with more Coronas.

The pace would be relaxed, trying to keep an average of 15 MPH on the Wabash Trace. We'd likely leave around 6am and plan to be back in Omaha by 5pm-6pm. Estimated round trip distance: 120 miles.

Any and all are welcome.

Please see the route below:

Click here to view the map at

Monday, October 4, 2010

Skinny Rims, Fat Tires

If Fat Tire is a beer, then perhaps Skinny Rim could be an energy drink.

Actually, this post is about trying to winterize my new Trek Earl. My plan is to put Nokian Hakkapeliitta 700c x 35mm studded tires underneath full fenders and a low gearing ratio on its single speed drivetrain so I can pedal out of snow drifts and slowly up steep hills.

When I bought the bike, the shop mechanic assured me that I could fit the 35mm tires on the rims that were sold with 28mm tires. Yesterday, I tried mounting the tire, just to see how it would fit.

The rims are stamped at 14mm. Upon researching tire fit online, I found (you guessed it) that Sheldon had a great chart that shows tire/rim compatibility. This chart delivered a bit of bad news, in that my 14mm rims are not depicted holding a tire much larger than 28mm; a difference of 7mm. However, there's a note that says the dimensions depicted may be conservative.

It took a bit of persuasion with a plastic tire lever to get the snow tire on my rim. As I tried to pump it up with air, I heard an odd creaky noise, followed by a loud pop as the tube herniated through an improperly set bead.


I searched my closet and found, thankfully, another tube with a Schrader valve. I made extra special sure that the bead was set as I remounted the tire, as well as spot checked it as I pumped. Finally I mounted the wheel back on the bike to check for clearance.

It looks good!

My question to any readers: do you have experience in mounting wide tires on narrow rims. Is the 35mm on a 14mm pushing it too far? I won't know how the bike feels until I can get the tires remounted and go for a test spin, though I'd feel silly riding a studded tire around in October while it's still 75 degrees outside.

I may consider a brake upgrade, as the check stock brake has no quick release to facilitate tire changes. I put Tektro brakes on my Schwinn Le Tour II, and I like them, so I may consider a similar brake for the Earl.

My next step is to put on a bigger freewheel. I've got a 22 tooth freewheel on the way.

I'm not in a hurry to see the snow, but I'll be eager to give the Earl a whirl.