Yesterday I found myself with the opportunity to ride my bike up to Marcy's parent's new house. The question was, do I ride the bike I've been riding almost exclusively for the last month or so, the El Mariachi, or drag the road bike out of the basement and it's trainer servitude and let it breath fresh air for the first time in weeks. For the road bike's sake, I'm sorry to say that I chose the single speed Salsa. The reasons for the choice were many. First, the Mariachi was already in the garage, ready to go. Two, I have the fat, slick Schwalbe Big Apples mounted up for road duty such as this. Three, there is a two mile section of dirt road that I have to hit if I want to take the most direct route. Four, with the race in Vermont next month, it makes sense to spend as much time on the race bike as possible.
I was a little concerned about riding a single speed mountain bike on the road for 30-ish miles. Before this year two miles on the road with a fat tire rig was WAAAAAAYYYYY too much. Somehow, though, the El Mariachi seems pretty good on the road. Maybe its the geometry, maybe its the rigid fork, maybe its the sexy blue. Who the frick knows, all I know is that I like it on the road. I knew from my commute that I had roughly the right gearing on the bike for a road ride, kinda low gear for the flats and kinda high for climbs so a pretty good middle ground.
Two hours and thirty miles later I'm happy to say that I made the right choice. I probably could have gotten away with a slightly higher gear (I can already feel myself getting stronger since the beginning of the year) but overall things went well and I'm definitely glad I had the fat tires for the dirt road section. With the temps hovering at 38-40 degrees the gravel was very soft so the fatties helped me stay at least somewhat on top. The road bike's 23's would have dug in like a pizza cutter. Even with the fat tires, though, I was really wishing I had fenders for the El because of all the mud and water being sprayed in my face and on my back (and spiffy pack by the way). Thankfully, I ordered a set just this past week so by next weekend, I'll be sporting a set of Planet Bike Cascadia 29'er fenders and smiling on my dorky way.
I have a super exciting video from the gravel section to upload but my wanker dial-up connection from home isn't haveing it.
Also, I have a review on Ergon grips up on Bikeman.com's home page right now. In it, I offer up a set of grips to try out and wouldn't you know it, I already have a bite...