Me Me Me

As a test of how sensitively Google Analytics tracks declining site visits, I offer you a post that’s all about me.

That sweet ride in the picture above is mine. If you look closely you’ll see that the tire is studded. Those studs got me safely back and forth from my house in the Central District to my job downtown for the past three work days. Any of you readers among those who saw me out there and were no doubt thinking “what a fucking idiot!”?

I handmade a pair of studded mountain bike tires about 20 years ago when I lived in Massachusetts and liked to race around on frozen ponds. They work marvelously on roads that are “snow packed by design,” though it’s still plenty dicey in loose snow and slush. When my bus route was suspended last week, I decided to dig those gnarly beasts out of storage — never mind that they hadn’t been on a bike in 20 years.

Thanks to my deranged unwillingness to throw the tires away over those two decades, which included a cross-country move, two cities, and five different residences, I have been able to keep my unbroken stretch of bike commuting going since the snowstorm last winter. No more excuses not to ride, EVER!

For the bike geeks: I got that bike for $25 a couple of years ago at the Lake City Value Village. It’s a 1993 Alpinestars Al-Mega E900. New, the frame alone retailed for $750. Like most outdoor recreational gear, mountain bikes have evolved such a rapid pace that it might as well be planned obsolescence. But that also makes for some sick bargains if you happen to have a hankering for the old stuff.

Want to know more? Google “Daniel C. Bertolet” and “GaAs”.

10 Responses to “Me Me Me”

  1. Dave

    Nice…I keep thinking i should build a nice winter fix gear with studded tires and a nice easy gear ratio, maybe even some disc brakes for good stopping power (no skid stopping on ice).

  2. Sabina Pade

    Well done, DB!

  3. Matt the Engineer

    I saw someone in Uptown with what looked like skinny tires in half a foot of snow and thought he was mildly insane, but I don’t think it was you.

    Hey, whatever works. I had a few odd looks when I was snowshoeing down Queen Anne to get to work, but I made it down safely.

  4. Dan Staley

    I saw someone in Uptown with what looked like skinny tires in half a foot of snow and thought he was mildly insane, but I don’t think it was you.

    When I lived there, that woulda been me.

    SE Michigan, rode 24/7/365 on skinny tires. Not as hard to stay upright as you think.

    Go, Dan’l!

  5. John of Humdinger

    That Google search phrase brings us right back here!

    As well it might. This is one of the best written and illustrated blogs in webland. Thanks for a great read.

    Have a good new year, Digger Dan.

  6. Dan Staley

    City Fix blog has a good post on winterizing your bike. I’ll look into pogies, but no studded tires for Dan, esp as its going to be over 40ºF here for another week or so (good for the veggies in my cold frame)

  7. David Saxen

    So…how exactly did you make the studded tires?

  8. dan bertolet

    David, get a pair of fat tires with big square knobs, the bigger and fewer the better. Drill a hole through the center of each knob. Insert a machine screw that’s just the right length through each hole from the inside so it sticks through to the outside about an 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Or use roofing nails and cut them to the right length once they’re pushed through (the big flat heads give a lot of surface area for the air pressure to hold the stud in place). Wrap your inner tube in an old skinny road tire and put it all inside the fat tire (the road tire protects the tube from the screw/nail heads). Done. Among other silly stuff you do when you’re in college…

  9. Spencer

    Growing up in MI we used to have our best mountain bike rides in the snow. It made the trails more technical and during the thaw more muddy! Although a few buddies of mine made tires like dan is talkign about, we also used to buy winter tires with studs already in them. Aren’t studded tires available any more?

    Spencer.

  10. Kids Pools 

    who does not love mountain biking, this is the best leisure sport ever,.’

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