Replacing the tires was a no brainer - they've been on the bike since I got it, in about 1994, and the rubber was literally crumbling away. The tread was also very smooth, not just from wear but by design, and I wanted to get something that would work for riding gravel. Ben suggested a tire with a smoother tread in the center and a bit more tread - and therefore grip - on the outer edges.
New tires for the gravel roads - complete with dirt from my morning ride!
I decided to put on fenders because I want to seriously start riding the gravel roads near my home. Without fenders gravel, mud, and dust from the roads sprays up all over my back, my legs and on the bike. Ben suggested a nice inexpensive pair of fenders for my bike and I told him to go ahead and put them on.
I dropped off my bike on Saturday and Milltown had it back to me within a few days. Ben and Curtis do nice work. They are also very friendly and great in the customer service department. They know my name - I like it when I can walk in a shop or call and the people remember me. Oh, and they have a lot of cool bikes at Milltown and Ben keeps an awesome blog about bikes and biking. Be sure to check it out.
I couldn't wait to try out my "new" bike so went for a quick ride this morning. Today marked my first ride of 2011. My first ride with my new tires and fenders. My second ever ride on gravel. I only rode for two miles - that's all I had time and energy (I've been sick) for. But, even though it was windy and riding gravel is a challenge for me, it was two miles of pure heaven.
I'm happy to report that the tune up made my bike ride like new. All of the squeaks and groans it was making last year are gone. The tires gripped the gravel roads well and didn't slip around in the soft spots or on the wet patches. The fenders kept me and my bike almost completely free of dirt and grime.
My old Specialized newly tuned up and sporting with new tires and fenders.
I often worry about riding my road bike on roads with a lot of traffic and no shoulder. I'm surrounded by quiet gravel roads out here in the country and they've been begging me to ride them. And now that I have a bike that works well on gravel I'm set to ride even more than before!
Of course, I'd love a cool gravel bike, maybe a Surly Cross-Check, but my sturdy Specialized will do the trick for now.
Dream Bike - Surly Cross-Check Cyclocross bike - in my color!
photo from www.surleybikes.com