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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bike miscellany

A vignette: Riding my bike home in the dark this evening, I saw something in the intersection ahead that I thought might be a flare from an earlier car accident. As I approached, the regular red flashing revealed it to be a bike taillight that had fallen off, now merely pleading not to be run over. I paused to scoop it up, and rode on while trying to figure out how to turn it off (there weren't many cars around, so my divided attention was not a huge problem). I went on examining it for a few blocks, and I could not figure out for the life of me how to turn the darn thing off -- it sort of felt like I had picked up stray baby bird, fallen from a nest, and it was still chirping for its mother despite my attempts to muffle it. When I came to U Street, I stopped to find the switch and put it in my bag. I was thinking about the futile craigslist lost-and-found posting I would make, as well as potential uses for my newfound light, when I noticed there was a guy without a taillight waiting at the stoplight. "Hey, you didn't just lose your blinkie, did you?," I asked. His head snapped back and forth from his seatpost to the flashing light in my hand. "Oh, yeah! Thanks, I really appreciate that." And that was that.

An upgrade: I put the puncture-resistant tire on my front wheel this morning, joining the month-old one on the back wheel. Hopefully I won't be needing to fix more flats anytime soon. In the spirit of Consumer Reports, I will report back here the first time I get one.

An estimation: I've had my Cross-Check for a bit more than a year now, and it didn't seem like I should have already worn out both tires. I've not kept track of my mileage in any way, but a rough estimation might be as follows. I've been in town for about 48 work weeks, and probably ride an average of 10 miles each work day. I've been in town for about 42 weekends, and probably ride an average of 15 miles per weekend day. That comes out to (48*5*10)+(42*2*15) = 3660 for a one year period. I guess a few thousand miles is okay for bike tires, which can't be as chunky as car tires.

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