I’m no road racer. That is a simple fact. I have neither the riding stamina nor the commitment necessary to be even a low-grade local roadie. I’m fine with that lot. There are few people who really have what it takes to follow the insane training regimens and utter obsession that is required to make it in the road racing world. So, given the fact that I will never, ever, EVER, be a competitive road cyclist, why would I ride the same gear as a pro?
For years I’ve ridden 23mm wide tires on the road. For no particular reason than that’s what I thought appropriate for road riding. I mean, the PROS do it, right?
Earlier this year, while preparing for the mixed-terrain, Super Sweetwater Grasshopper, I asked Gabe (Box Dog) if he had any 28mm tires I could borrow for my road bike. He graciously handed me a set of Clement Strada LGG 700x28c tires, still in the packaging. I was happy to find that they just BARELY fit my road bike.
The day of the ride, I immediately noticed how smooth the bike felt under me. It was still quick and responsive, and with the tires pumped up to their max pressure (105 PSI), I didn’t feel like i was wasting any energy rolling on the extra rubber. In fact, I felt like I was flying over the road as opposed to rolling on it. Cracks and bumps passed beneath the tires without transferring directly up into my hands and shoulders. Dropping the PSI for the dirt sections, the 28mm width offered enough cushion to avoid pinch flats over roots and sharp stones, and they held traction even on steep, loose sections. Even after the ride, I felt far less fatigued and sore. I was hooked.
So, if you’re anything like me, if you like going fast, but love a comfortable ride, if your “road rides” often end up on local fire trails, if you make up for your lack of speed by a grand sense of adventure, GO BIG!