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TDN: Bike Upgrade

Written By CJ

June 20, 2021

A disclaimer about this Tour de Nowhere rant.  I know that there are way more important things going on the world than this nonsense but I hope it will give you a laugh and a break from the news cycle.

First.. exciting news!  I will be riding cross country in 2023 from San Diego, CA. to St Augustine, FL!! It will be the 20th anniversary of me doing it the first time.  I am super excited about it.  

Those of you who know me know that I have ridden a lot of miles across the US in a lot of different weather and road conditions. Although the Jackson mentality is that it doesn’t count because I was not self-contained and didn’t schlep all my gear, I have still ridden a lot of miles in a lot of conditions. On the Northern I rode almost 100 miles into Minneapolis in road construction… mud, gravel, general yuck. On another trip I rode so much in the rain that my frame (carbon and doesn’t have a drain hole) was full of water. We called it the heavy water. I ride the with the tires I do because if I ride wider tires and I am in that much yuck the mud cakes up and there is not enough space between the tire and my front fork to let my wheel spin. I ride the gears I do because at the end of weeks of long days in the saddle, climbing hills is hard.   I wanted to rebuild this bike instead of buying a new one because although the frame is old it was made custom for me by Craig Calfee and it fits perfectly.  Also in my opinion it is a work of art.

So this week the parts finally came in to rebuild the drive train on my bicycle. (it has taken since March to get the parts. Yay pandemic) There was a snafu with my old frame and the new front derailleur to be worked out (more parts to order and more time waiting) but that aside, the bike shop decided that I really didn’t want the size tires I had and put wider ones on my bike.  They also didn’t put the ones they said they were going to but instead some that I have in the past found impossible to change.   Yes I do change my own flat tires.  Instead of asking me if there is a reason why I ride that width tire they just decided that they would change what I ride because they clearly know better. When I asked about it they said the new tires would be faster and a better ride,  Maybe that is true but still they should have asked me if that’s what I wanted.   I just feel like they don’t really get the kind of riding that I do and I feel like this was a form of mansplaining.   If they had put these tires on the quote they gave me I would have told them no.  They did offer to change them out but I really wanted to ride and another trip to town after 10am when it’s already windy was not something I wanted to do.   So for now I’ll ride these tires and around the valley here. There is no problem with mud and that sort of thing so maybe I will enjoy them.  

I am just pretty annoyed by the experience.

On a positive note.  I rode my bike today and it clearly needed the upgrade.  Having a new bottom bracket is pretty darn amazing.  I cannot safely use all the gears yet because I still have my old front derailleur but the rest of the upgrade is pretty awesome. And the answer is no.. I did not get electronic shifting.

Keep the shiny side up! I hope everyone is healthy and safe!!