Out with the old, in with the new tire and saddle

Remember my tire woes from a few days ago? Well, they weren’t completely over. Yesterday, as I walked the bike through University Village with both boys on the deck, my rear tire exploded. Fortunately, it was during the annual sidewalk sale craziness and we were right by a 50% off shoe table so the shoppers were too busy to be spooked by the loud bang. I removed the boys from the deck before I walked it the rest of the way to rack and made some calls: first to Mr. Family Ride to ask if I could walk 0.3 miles with the toddler on the deck and not hurt the rim (he said it’d be fine) and to warn him I might call him back in a few hours to fetch the kids if I couldn’t get them home by 6:30 and then to Counterbalance Bicycles to make sure they could fix it while I waited and warn them I’d be in in a few hours. Perhaps I should have prioritized the repair, but we were meeting friends at Paint the Town to make some ceramic creations and then eat at Boom Noodle.

Everything went swimmingly. The five-year old happily walked up the big hill to the bike shop and we didn’t have to wait long for help. Both the tire and tube had holes in them so I opted for a strong Schwalbe innertube and Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tire. I had trouble deciding between the Marathon Supreme and Marathon Plus so I went with the “I’ll have what you’re having” approach and got the same tire as Counterbalance fit specialist Phillip, who was working on my bike and seemed like a good guy to copy. I think it’s a bit narrower than my Panaracer T-Serv and has higher air pressure (putting it here to remind myself: 85 psi on the rear, 60 in the front). It’s hard (and boring) to get a picture of the rear tire on my bike so here it is nicely supporting a big load for the beach today:

Today we went back to Counterbalance to buy a small pump, spare innertube, and pink tire levers. I don’t expect to get a flat again and I don’t know that I’d try to fix it out and about with two kids running wild, but at least I look the part.

I also decided it’s time to ditch the Brooks saddle. It’s perfectly comfortable lots of the time, but not when I’ve got a heavy load and I’m tired at the end of the day. And I just realized I have a B17S whereas my somewhat upright bike is probably better suited to a wider B68S. Oops. It looked too confusing to swap out myself and I wasn’t sure just any saddle could fit on the Big Dummy so I sneakily removed the enormous Schwinn seat from Mr. Family Ride’s beach cruiser and took my mountain bike’s whole seat post and seat in. Fortunately any saddle’ll do, so the squishy cruiser seat is on the mamabike and all my bikes are still intact (and Mr. Family Ride probably won’t even notice his cruiser is seatless). The new seat makes a nice pillow:

After the saddle swap we rode five miles to Magnuson Park and back and I realized the seat angle was off. I felt like I was sliding forward and my arms started aching. It’s amazing what the wrong fit can do. So I stopped back into Counterbalance, had them tilt the seat up, and all was good. One interesting thing: I left the seat post height the same, but this saddle has a much higher profile than the Brooks. This puts me at the saddle height I’d choose for myself on a regular bike, but makes it hard to reach the ground without [intentionally] sliding off the saddle. Both my feet cramped up from stretching my toes to the ground at stoplights, I’m going to give it a go for a while. I’m more worried about getting used to the squishy saddle than the seat height. I hope to upgrade to a Brooks B68S at some point, but this’ll do for now. I’ll miss the looks of approval the Brooks got, but I found my new crew at the beach when I parked next to another squishy saddle and its fuzzy sheepskin-covered mate.

Today’s miles: 27.1
June cumulative: 179.7 miles

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6 thoughts on “Out with the old, in with the new tire and saddle

  1. I really love my Marathon Supremes! They have great grip and have been puncture-free in 3 years of city riding. I’d also definitely look at the sprung Brooks saddles. I have the B67 and my wife has the women’s Flyer S and we both love ’em!

    • Good to hear about your Supremes, Adrian (and hi again!). I am going to test ride my friend’s city bike with B67S and see how I like the springs. I really don’t like the creak I hear now, but that’s probably just my squishy Schwinn. One other minor thing is that I like the lack of springs will allow me to lower my seat all the way (stoker handlebars in the way of springs) to let shorter people test ride my Big Dummy.

    • :) Davey, I think even after taking ABC my first question about any friend’s new bike will be “What color is it?” Let’s see if you can educate that out of me…

  2. I rode Brooks saddles for a long time. Last year (maybe two years ago now…) I picked up a used WTB saddle for $5 to put on my upright commuter and I absolutely love it. The best part is that the WTB saddles can be had on the cheap if you’re willing to dig through some used parts bins. And they’re synthetic, so no worries about getting them wet out here in the desert

    • Aw man, that’s what I have on my mountain bike–looks like I had the wrong saddle swapped in! Although it’s black with red so it totally wouldn’t have matched.

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