Babyshoe Pass Size Update

Have a bit more than 200k on the tires now. Still undersized but expanded about 1mm from previous measurement. I don’t expect they’ll get any bigger now. I think I’m going back to Hetres or the WTB Horizon after this, no reason the run undersized tires.

In the same vein, I heard the new Snoqualmie Pass 700×44 are actually 38 as well. This shit again, businesses thinking their customers are idiots. I expect the same hand-waving mysticism we always see. Whatever, at least they ride well.

Babyshoe Pass 650bx42 on Stans Crest rim.

Grand Bois Hetre 650bx42 on Stans Crest rim

Cycling is expensive?

I was looking through my email for some of the prices and stuff and it reminded me that my first pair of cycling shoes were a birthday gift from my mother. A 28th birthday gift, to be exact. I find this deeply embarrassing, perhaps some unexplored psyche issues there? Have to come back to this later.

Anyway I recently wore through my awesome DHB Pro ASV shorts and was thinking about how much they cost per use.

I got the shorts on May 4th, 2015 along with a matching jersey. Quite a nice kit, lightweight with those borderline useless features that are fun to gush about to your cat but don’t really do much overall.

So the shorts are worn out, which always happens before the jersey is done. Vincent Antonelli explained this pretty clearly in My Blue Heaven:


“What happens in the pants are going to have to go to the dry cleaners more often than the jacket and pretty soon you end up with a suit that doesn’t match…”

In this case, the pants do all the stretching, rubbing and moving and the jersey just sits there. Soon enough the pants are ready for the trash but the jersey has another year or two before it gets too thin. Since I only bought one pair of shorts the jersey is binned as well, can’t be caught dead in mismatched kit.

I HAVE A FULL TIME JOB and discretionary income!

So the kit cost to my house was $66.49 for shorts and 56.99 for the jersey, $123.48 total. I wore this kit about once a week for a little less than a year and a half. Figure 70 weeks total. Got a lot of use out of it, did some races, did some very long rides and really liked the look and fit.

Total cost per ride is $1.76

Damn that seems like a lot. Figure my average ride is about 2 hours and that includes 1-2 powerbars or other sports candy and that adds another $1.50

$3.26 a ride now

Tires last 6400 miles for a pair, which is really an exaggeration as a prudent person would replace much earlier. Lets knock it back 10%. Tires last 5800 miles. Cost for 2 x Grand Bois Hetres is $131.65 to my house (!) so average ride is 30 miles, I would get 193 rides out of them. $0.68 per ride. Dang that looks pretty good now.

$3.95 now

My helmet was $30 almost five years ago so it’s essentially $0 but lets say $0.05 a ride.

$4.00 now is nice and round.


As I mentioned earlier my shoes (SHAME AT MY MOM BUYING ME RECREATIONAL ITEMS AT AGE 28) were a gift but they actually cost $67.99 and $9.99 shipping and (fuck) tax $4.68 so total would be $82.66

I’ve worn them at least 700 times. For a while I tried to rock some Giro shoes but they were so small and cold that it didn’t last. Looked good when I was racing at the track though.

Anyway, my shoes per ride cost would be $0.12 per ride. NICE!

So $4.12 per ride.

Figure water, power for other stuff, phone for strava are all free because they’re not bike items. You know when I started this I thought it was really expensive per ride but looking at it now $4.12 for two hours of entertainment is a really good deal. This will obviously help assuage my $3000+ bike expenditure for this year. Also memories of a $6000 year in 2013. Jesus Christ now I wish I hadn’t written this stupid thing. How embarrassing (again!)

Oh wait, I forgot THE FUCKING BIKE!

So Diamondback is owned by Accell Group and Accell Group has a very liberal corporate discount policy. So for now and the foreseeable future I can get some very handsome deals on Diamondback bikes. Which is great for me cause I’m not a snobby dipshit.

So my bike cost $775 WITH FREE SHIPPING! For an aluminum 21 pound 105 (well not the cranks) gravel themed bike. Now, considering my longest lived bike has lasted for 400 rides before the frame broke I am going to be generous and assume the same for this bike. So per ride cost would be $1.94

Ok now we’re at $6.06, still a really good deal!


I guess next I’m going to look at VeloViewer and Mapmyride to add up all my rides, then at my expenditure spreadsheets to total all my bike related expenses and then my eyes will pop out of my head as it’s exploding under the crushing forces of overwhelming feelings of wasted time and money on a hobby that provides little lasting skills or relationships.



Grand Bois Hetre Long Term Review

6400 miles on the pair. Rear went 4500 or so before a I retired due to thinness of the tread. Rotated the front to the rear and got another 2000 or so miles before a manufacturing wobble gave out. This section of the tire was always out of round so it’s no surprising that’s where it finally failed. Really impressed with the longevity of these tires. Running 700c the most I ever got was about 2500 miles on a pair of tires.

They work and work well, measured true to size at specified psi on my Stans Crest rims. I never felt like they lacked anything in on road performance. They’re kinda shitty in the rain and I think this is a combination of the vertical tread and the rubber compound. The vertical tread seems to allow water to fill the areas between tread bars and the surface tension keeps it in place and reduces the tires contact with the road since a large portion is now filled with water whereas before it was air and rubber. The rubber is just old-tech Panaracer compound, they’re a conservative Japanese company so I wouldn’t expect this to change any time soon. Now to clarify the tires are ok in the rain just don’t expect to be railing any descents with these.

I read a lot about puncture resistance before I started using the tires and my experience for the first 4500 miles was very different than what I read. I had a high number of flats over that mileage span, four due to embedded glass working through the tread over time, one puncture from a nail, one from a razor and one from a radial tire wire. So 8 over 4500 miles, very high for me.

When I rotated my front Hetre to the rear and discarded the old rear I had 0 flats in the 2000 miles I used the tire. What I’ve been thinking is this is a combo of just having a softer tire in the rear that was picking up glass and the front aging into slightly harder rubber and being more resistant. I used to use a headlamp to inspect the rear and remove glass before it worked through to the tube. That never happened when I rotated the front to the rear. That 4500 miles it was on the front gave it some age and hardened it to be slightly more resistant I think. Tire pressure was consistent the whole time. I would pump the rear to around 40 psi, front to slightly above 30 psi and run them until the rear felt unstable in cornering, about 30 psi. Bike and rider weight between 190-210 pounds.

One thing I didn’t like that I haven’t seen addressed was the propensity for the tire to grab onto straight surface artifacts like raised paint lines. This is an issue with any tire with vertical tread features but it was especially pronounced with the Hetres. I almost crashed riding no hands when I drifted onto a thick paint line and the bike wobbled hard as the front tire grabbed the paint and was pushed into a different line. The effect seemed more pronounced with lower pressures and colder weather.

So anyway, good tires. Really happy with them.


Fucking Compass Tires

“42mm” Babyshoe Pass tire mounted on Stans Crest rim with a tube at 35 PSI.


And even the difference between a 38 mm tire and a 41 mm tire still is 16%. No wonder the Grand Bois Hetres feel so much more comfortable than the Lierre and Pari-Moto tires, even though they use the same casing.


A long way from here

If you want to start cycling long distances there are a multitude of educational resources. What to eat, how to plan your route, how to build endurance, how to rest, hundreds of webpages and thousands of articles help answer any question you might have as you prepare to ride for 100+ miles.

If you enjoy yourself on such adventures you may find yourself doing them with regularity. Maybe you’ll start a randonneuring series or a decide to do a 200k every weekend or if you’re really having fun you’ll devote your weekends to as much riding as you can physically stand. 9 hours on the bike both days with the wind in your hair and a smile on your face.

You might even knock out a 100+ mile ride every weekend for months on end. It just becomes part of your routine. The work week flows by and as Thursday and Friday roll around you’re spending hours on ridewithgps planning a good route maybe try for 150 miles this weekend? You’ve been at this since June, 4-5 hours during the week just to keep from getting bored and then blow out on Saturday all day on the bike. The summer flys by and you have dozens of adventures in far off places you’ve cycled to. You’ll be out on the road, burnt to a crisp from the summer sun, far from home and someone will ask where you came from. Your answer will leave them confused, they’ll smile a little confused smile and mumble something with a slight nod before walking off.

“Son you didn’t just say you rode here from Dunwoody, that’s gotta be damn near 70 miles away”

They won’t understand but that’s ok, the road is there and you’re on an adventure. At some point your work life, your relationships or even just burnout will slow you down. You’ll miss a weekend, maybe go out for a token 1-2 hours Saturday before laying around all day not doing much. Just enjoying a rest you tell yourself as you pop another truffle and fire up your favorite streaming service. There will be a nagging feeling in the back of your mind but you can ignore it. You got from 15 hours a week to 5 and that 5 is a hard, boring 5 as you stick to safe flat routes around your house. Just riding enough so you can eat junk food when you get home. Never seeing much and just feeling aggravated all the time. You get slow and heavy, your legs swell and you’re constantly sweating. Eventually you just stop riding for a few days. You’re exhausted all the time, work sucks and you can just imagine getting on the bike and the feeling of heavy legs and it takes so long to get anywhere and it’s so boring sometimes.

No one really talks about the come down. Riding a bike for 6,7,8 hours and more does things to your body. It gets you high and it lasts. You can get through huge chunks of time just riding an endorphin wave from weekend to weekend. Truly I’ve spent years doing just that. It comes so easy and no one ever mentions the cost that when it hits, it hits hard.

There is the danger, the withdrawal comes slowly. Masked by the happiness that too much good food brings and the release from a few days of rest. Eventually your work evens out and everything seems fine and *SMACK* there it is sitting in the corner showing you it’s teeth. You sleep too much and argue with your girlfriend, jut say you’re sick and people will leave you alone. You’ll open Strava and look back at your last long ride. A solid 8 hours a month ago. There’s a longing but also the heavy weight of depression crushing your motivation.

A few days of restless nights and overfull stomachs and you decide you’ve had enough of this. You force yourself on the bike and get in a good two hours. You think you’re ok but this is just the false flat before the last climb. Everything will crash down once more before you’re ok. It’s hard to be ready but just try to roll with it. You’ll prep for a good long ride, maybe even a ride you drive 2 hours to, but you’ll get there and either turn around without even cracking the door for reasons you can’t understand. Or you’ll determinedly suit up and start pedaling until you convince yourself you’re injured or tired or sick or blessings of the gods you have a mechanical and have to head back. You learn nothing and feel embarrassed coming home so early.

This is it, this is rock bottom. You’re not riding, you’re just wasting time. Driving for no reason, endlessly refreshing bikesforums or instagram or watching tv all the time. All expectations are done, you can rebuild in comfort. It’s going to be hard but this is the easiest time to do it. You start slow, just getting in a routine of riding every day. Fighting the small voices that tell you it’s going to be boring or hard and just getting on the bike. Set no goals, just ride and remember how much you love it. Sometimes you’ll feel so strong, sometimes you’ll feel bad but as long as you keep going you’ll ride back into the light and everything will be fine. Eventually thursday or friday will roll around you’ll see the bookmark for ridewithgps just sitting there on your browser’s tool bar. Maybe just a click to look for that route you were thinking of the other day. Then the floodgates open and it just happens so naturally you’ll wonder what took so long. Knock out 7 hours like it was nothing and have an adventure!

Sometimes the veil crushes you in the endless sunshine of summer days and sometimes it blows in on the back of harsh winter nights. Whenever it happens it’s important to realize as long as you work and as long as you fight it’s temporary and you will be back stronger and faster.


Washing your bike

Washing a bike, like with water from a hose, is confounded in stupidity. Mention it to another rider and they’ll stare at you with their dead eyes.

“b-b-bearings…” will slowly stutter from their dry, cracked lips.

Mysticism at work, obviously. This reaction is usually from old cyclists who get their news from bicycling magazine and have yet to put more than a few thousand miles on any one bike before “upgrading” or new cyclists who don’t know anything but have read some shit on the internet.

Mention it to a younger, experienced rider and they’ll casually mention their power washer and team race stand. This is bike washing as a car. Lots of pressure, lots of soap, no intelligence.

I think part of this is that most people don’t get their bikes wet. Having never done an hour ride in the pounding rain they don’t understand the massive cleansing power of plain water, delivered at a reasonable velocity but never so high as to be mistaken for the exhaust from a fighter jet engine. A good rain ride will literally make your handlebar tape squeaky clean, it will wash away all your sweat. The undulating waves of grey will water your soul and remind you that life was once something other than the bullshit routines you’re forced to adopt to survive.

And the sound! Millions of individual drops of rain smashing into the earth as a dull roar. A monster around the corner, you know it’s there and the hackles are up. The world is muffled, everything becoming a indistinct white noise, creating a sharp focus. You know this sound, it’s the same sound you will hear when the blood is up. When you’re third in line coming on the bell lap, when you’re on the edge of death and hanging on for dear life as the group pounds up incline after incline. You’re sucking down fire with every breath, combusting into pedal stroke after pedal stroke. It will be over and you’ll be dead soon but for now, for now the sound is life and every second is an eternity, the value of which will never be understood by anyone else.

So no one gets their bikes wet anymore (ever?) so they don’t understand that all you need is a hose. Just spray your bike down from time to time. Don’t floss the cassette, that’s a waste of time. Don’t remove the chain, also a waste of time. Just spray everything with water until the obvious grime is gone. Do this before a ride. You can wash your bike, do a quick 5 mile loop back to home and everything will be dry. Then you can lubricate your chain and go for whatever regular ride you’re doing. Which will be rote and boring since it’s a sunny day with no racing.