Bicycles Teach You Something New Every Day

BikeHelmet

Today’s lesson: Keep bicycle tires inflated.

So basically, my bicycle has been sitting for weeks. The minute that Florida summer heat hit, it just looked less than appealing. Today though, I got it in my head that I was going to ride.

When I got the bike outside, I noticed the front tire was under-inflated. So much so, that when I sat on the bike, the rim was almost on the ground. My bike is made to hold a person of my size, so this was unexpected. I was annoyed, but figured I’d ride my bike anyway.

NEVER AGAIN. I could barely control the bike, it seemed like the harder I pedaled, the slower it moved and no matter how much I downshifted the gears, It didn’t get easier to pedal. Now, I’m far from fit, but even I was shocked at how bad things were going. It didn’t even hurt that much to ride the bike the first time I got on it!

So finally, I just gave up and pedaled home. It was slow going and I barely got it up the small incline to my parking lot. I can’t recall a time recently when I was more grateful to be home than I was today. I couldn’t wait to get off that bike! And let me tell you, I was panting, heaving and sweating like I’d attempted to run a marathon. As I’ve already said, I am far from fit. However, the shock of that 10 minute ride was overwhelming. Was I really that incapable of riding my bike?!

To make matters worse? I pulled out my phone to check the time. No lie, I’d only been on that bike for 10 damn minutes! So why did it feel like I’d done 40 minutes? I promptly visited Google to investigate!

See, I’d had a feeling all along that I shouldn’t ride the bike with the tires being so under-inflated. It’s just that, I’d finally found it in me to take it out during the summer. I didn’t want to give up so easily. Unfortunately, I’d mostly ended up wasting the energy. Here’s why:

  • Apparently, all bicycle tires gradually lose air pressure and should be checked weekly. My bike, on the other hand, had been sitting for weeks.
  • When tires are properly inflated, there’s less resistance. Soft, under-inflated tires will always make you work much harder to move the bike.
  • Riding on under-inflated tires will wear your bike (and you) out faster and make it easier for you to get a flat tire.
  • So basically, I’m an idiot.

But I’m happy to say that while I was embarrassed to be back home so soon, it was mostly a bike issue and not me. I’m never going to be Lance Armstrong or anything, but dammit, I can get that sucker down the street! However, if your tires aren’t properly inflated, you’ll find you can’t do much at all. I walked into my house after 10 minutes on that bike sweating like a slave. Usually I have 20 minutes before I can’t breathe. Lesson learned.

Take care of your bike people, otherwise it will not take care of you. And now I’ve gotta go put some air in this sucker!

BikeRidingTampa

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