Its November. It’s dark, it’s drab. I can be impulsive sometimes. I fancied a bit of colour. So I did.
I rode to Sutton Coldfield last week and picked up a slow puncture. Standard setup. Check the tyre, change the tube, get back on my way except this was one of those rare fuck ups. I’d pumped it up and back down it went. I had no time to see if I’d pinched my tube in a rush. I was already late and out of spares so back in went the slowy resigned to pumping it up as often as I needed to, to get to work. I messaged ahead and off I went. I had about 4km left. The first km done I pumped it up again. Once more again at 2km and then it weirdly stayed up. No idea.
At work I got changed and left it until PM to sort it. There was some air still in it. After a closer inspection of the tyre I found a small shard of glass cut into the carcass just peaking through to the inside. Enough to just nick the tube. Still no idea why the new tube went down then stayed up though. The tyre cut was probably ok but I like my tyres cut-free which prompted the question…what about tubeless? Tubeless would have sorted this one. Hmmmm……never really considered it on this bike. My Ribble gravel bike has tubeless now but that makes sense. I sat down and researched Schwalbe tubeless tyres in a 28mm size. Not much choice but I found the Schwalbe One TLE…and it came in a tan sidewall option. Sold! Straight in the basket. I definitely don’t need tubeless for commuting but given its hedge cutting season and spending money on your bike is good for morale, if anything else it was a nice experiment just to try it and see what difference it made.
At the same time, I let my impulsive frame of mind run away with me whereby I decided day-glo orange would be an acceptable colour to ‘accessorise’ my grey bike with. So into the basket went an orange cage, bottle and (£35 RRP) posh bar tape. WTF was I doing?
TLE – Schwalbe’s tag for their tubeless ready tyres. TubeLess Easy
Fast forward a few days and the tyres had landed. We have plenty of Stan’s tape, sealant and valves at work so it was a pretty straight forward swap. Two layers of tape, valve fitted, tyre on and about 60ml of sealant per wheel. A compressor made seating them a breeze. A quick swish and spin of the wheel to make sure the bead and valve sealed and they were done. Look good too.
I fitted the cage and bottle and took the bar tape home which I finally got around to fitting today. I think it looks decent.
Apart from just being a bit of a ponce I’ve convinced myself a bit of hi-viz while riding in the dark is no bad thing. And spending a bit of dollar to make your bike look good is an ok antidote to a miserable time of the year. So it was no surprise I then ordered myself a new winter jacket from Galibier. FFS. This is what I do.
The weird thing though was I ordered it in Grey and Orange without any reason other than I liked the combo. Only when I received it I realised it matched my bike!….meant to be obviously
And back to the tubeless tyres and how do they ride? I’ve done a few rides and I think they do roll slightly better. Nothing earth-shatteringly different about them though so far to be honest. I won’t be lighting up Strava but they offer me piece of mind for punctures. Only time will tell if they were worth the investment.
And why the rack? At my last job I worked in a fixed location, I had a locker and no need to carry a laptop. My new job means I work at two locations, I don’t have a locker and I need my laptop. I’d begun driving more and more to the point I’d gone a couple of weeks without riding to work. I couldn’t carry everything in my rucksack so I took the car instead. Tut tut. I considered a bigger one but my back just wouldn’t have took it. Then last weekend I just gave myself a talking too. Stop using the car and get practical. A rack and pannier bag were the answer but rack’s aren’t cool are they? I gave my head a wobble and decided it was what I had to do if I was to ride to work, carrying everything I needed so on it went. To be honest, the first ride was a revelation. Weight on the bike is so much easier than on your back. Just use your gears. It’s not a race or a fashion parade. So the rack is here to stay.
And that’s it. Upgrades and a bit of colour helps when it’s miserable out there. For me anyway.