Saturday, November 29, 2014

New Tires, a Wheel, and Tootling Through a Frozen Landscape

I'm pleased to have gumwall tires back on this bicycle.
Deciding to cherish the Ross Mount Saint Helens has made upgrading decisions an easier process. The bike needed new tires. Instead of worrying about needlessly spending money on a bicycle I wasn't sure I'd keep, I can now rest assured that quality components will enhance my joy on the Ross for years to come. I replaced two year old Kenda whitewalls with wide Panaracer Pasellas. I loved the cushiony comfort these supple tires provided on the skinny wheeled Peugeot and recently discovered there is a 26"x 1.75" width version.* This tire choice also allows for higher tire pressure.

Motivation equals doing what you can to save
and fine tune a much-loved bicycle.

At the same time I wanted to resurrect the original rear wheel. Unable to deal with additional maintenance when the axle had broken—gosh has it really been two years?—I used an extra wheel I'd stashed for just such an occasion. The plus side: it was quick release. The downside: it lacked a lower geared freewheel. However, it got the Ross immediately running—important then. This time around I found the courage and patience to rethread axle components (kept in a labeled plastic bag) onto another axle (also found in a box).

With snow in the mountains, a dusting in the valley can't be too far behind.
Of course, I tested my handiwork, exploring a new dirt road. Despite hunters prowling this time of year, the views were spectacular.

Later, I kept to "posted" trails behind Colchester high school, meeting only walkers with dogs.

On another outing, I was drawn again to the Intervale. Icy puddles and frosted grass was a sign of colder weather to come.

I topped out on Ethan Allen Park for pristine views of Lake Champlain and beyond to the snowy Adirondacks. The air is especially clear in November.

Delightful marble slabs are perfect for picnicking—during the warmer months, of course.
And yet, one more jaunt onto the Causeway. Ice had formed along the shoreline, nearly stretching to an island.

The sculpture fairies have been at it again.
The "new" wheel and tire performed well. But the chain complained, grumbling and grinding. Sure enough, when I consulted the maintenance log and measured for chain stretch, it had been—egad!—five years since I replaced the chain.

I found an easy remedy. Because labor was inexpensive, I made a wise decision to let my local shop swap the chain. Some things are definitely worth paying for, especially since I was already en route, riding, racing against an impending snowstorm.

A new chain made all the difference. I squeezed in a 10 mile ride, which ended with fat snowflakes falling, accumulating later into eventually 6" of snow. You can bet I skedaddled homeward after completing my last errand.

*I am waiting for additional tire to arrive so I can swap out the front tire.


  1. The falling snow looks so pretty with the bike and the city back drop. I'm sure this has something to do with the fact we don't get much here, so it's a bit of a novelty. Anyway, thanks for sharing this scene!

  2. Nice you got your ride in before the snow.

  3. Those tyres... oops, TIRES... look great. As for the weather... the snow is sure pretty and "they" (whoever "they" are) say we're going to get some in the UK this winter. I have studded tires all ready!

    1. Thanks Rebecca. I swapped the front tire today so I'm all set for more chilly riding weather.

  4. Annie,
    My wife and I got married in that little Unitarian church (in your video) at the head of Church street way back in 1980. We now live in north western Virginia and we also got 6 inches of snow on the day before Thanksgiving. We are both cyclists and I found your blog because I follow MGs Chasing Mailboxes. We thought we would move back to Burlington but just never did partly due to not really being very fond of long, cold winters. Take Care.

    1. Thank you for finding my blog. It's a beautiful thing that MG does at Chasing Mailboxes, holding this sweet coffee challenge. It makes the world of cycling and coffee drinkers a little bit smaller. I'm glad to have given you a glimpse and fond memories of the church you chose to be married in. And yes, it gets a bit cold in winter here, especially last winter. Hope you and yours are enjoying cycling in Virginia...and probably year round, I imagine.

  5. Panaracer Pasela's, Ergon grips the St. Helens is getting classy.

    1. Thank you, Ryan. I'm loving the look and feel of this bicycle. It took years to dial in the fit, but in the end it was worth it.


Due to increased Spam, I am moderating comments. Thank you for your patience.