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I’ve Been Slimed!

The folks from Slime recently sent some products for us to try — a “care package”, if you will, of goodies to keep us safe on the road.

I got a selection of pre-filled tubes to try out, a bottle of Slime Sealant and a nifty digital tire gauge.

Tubes

The tubes went in without a hitch — and they’re pre-filled with that lovely green goop, so there is no mess to speak of. I installed these tubes on my dedicated commuter bike which runs 26″ x 1.25″ slicks. Although I haven’t intentionally ridden over anything to test the puncture resistance (and subsequent sealing) properties of the tubes, I do go through some rough areas where there is a lot of broken glass and bits of metal in the road, and I haven’t gotten a flat yet!

I also got a bottle of Slime tube sealant — enough to fill two fat 26″ MTB tubes. I treated my “Bike Snob Disapproved” Patriot MTB to this treatment, since I depend on this bike to get my son to school on time.

Sealant

Getting the Slime sealant into the tubes was fairly easy — the sealant packaging even comes with a valve core remover! I did have a problem once I got the valve cores back in, though. I discovered that the cores “goop up” and prevent the tire from reinflating unless they are cleaned. To prevent this from happening, clean the inside of the rubber valve with a cotton swab before you reinsert the valve core. Luckily, I have a drawer at home full of punctured tubes waiting to be patched, so I just salvaged clean cores from a couple of them and was on my way in no time.

Again, I haven’t intentionally tried to pop one of these self-treated tubes either…but I just might one of the these days to see how the Slime works! I have noticed, though, that on these and the pre-filled tubes that I don’t have to add air to my tires as often, and I have also noticed that there is no difference in “feel” as the tires roll along the ground. I was expecting some wobbling or something, but apparently the Slime coats the tube evenly with no puddling. It pays to ride around the block a couple times just after you fill your tubes to help distribute the goop around the inside of the tubes.

Finally, I have used the digital tire gauge a few times — the tip and digital display light up for nighttime pressure checks! The gauge appears fairly accurate…the readings match both my tire pump gauge and a traditional “sliding stick” tire gauge. The Slime gauge fits nicely in my hand and has a rubbery gripping surface. Best of all, it has an auto shutoff feature so I don’t burn through the batteries!

gauge

These products are certainly worth a try, even for added peace of mind. I’ll report back in a few weeks after I devise some terrifying ways of really testing the puncture-sealing abilities of these products! Back to the Bikecommuters.com Secret Laboratory — surely there’s a box of thumbtacks in there that I could sprinkle on the street?

secret lab

Bike Shops that DON’T suck.

Last week I posted about Bike Shops that suck. Unfortunately, most of us had concurred that there are a lot of shops out there that suck. However, there are also shops out there that don’t suck, so here’s my top three of what I expect from a bike shop:

1. Knowledgeable and friendly stuff. – I expect for the person who’s helping me to know their stuff and answer all questions in a non-condescending manner.

2. Competent Mechanics -If I’m taking my bike to a ‘pro’ mechanic, I want my bike back promptly and the work to be done right. Nothing sucks more than to go back to the shop because the bike was not fixed correctly.

3. Bike Fit- It doesn’t matter if I’m shelling a couple of grand or a couple of hundred for a bike, the bike should be adjusted to my body geometry so riding the bike would be comfortable.

Feel free to share what is it that you expect from a shop, who knows, maybe a shop manager is reading this.

A New Excuse to Ride My Bike

Today I discovered a new and altogether great excuse to put some more miles on my bike. My son started his first day of school today! He’s in the Florida voluntary pre-Kindergarten program…they got a late start this year, but today’s events are his first steps down a long road — education ROCKS!

I figured I’d bring him in style today — riding my singlespeed “Patriot”, adorned with Sweetskinz “Nightwing” tires. Grey rides in a Nashbar trailer — he’s getting a little too big for it, but until he’s got the skills to navigate his new trail-a-bike, this is what he’s stuck with.

The school chariot

The ride to school is only a hair over a mile and a half…silly to fire up the car for such a short drive, and there is a nice, quiet residential street to take him there and back. I do have a short stretch on the sidewalk, which sucks, but otherwise I’d have to dodge the crazies in their cars on one of the worst traffic streets in Tampa (Nebraska Avenue, home of the transvestite hookers).

Alright, let’s make sure all the gear is there: got your helmet? Check. Got your lunchbag? Check. Got some clean underpants? Check! Let’s DO THIS!!

Let's do this thing!

Of course, everyone else brought their kids via giant, gas-sucking SUV. Dammit! I talked to a couple parents, and many of them live even closer than I do!! That’s a bummer.

Finally, here is a picture of some of the other kids in his class…and his teacher, Ms. Perez. Let’s pray that our boy is well-behaved — he can be a wild one!

School time!  Education ROCKS!

Just Ask Jack — Still a Commuter?

One of our readers posted the following questions the other day:

“If you commute to work but bring all your work clothes on the Monday that you drive to work are you still considered a commuter? Lets say that you live oh…36 miles from you job and it takes about two hours to get there (one way) and you park your truck half way — is that still commuting to work?”

The way I see it, you are a bicycle commuter if you do even a portion of your commute via bicycle. I don’t care if you live 10 blocks or 20 miles from your job…as long as you bike, you qualify!!!

Bringing a load of work clothes on Monday (with the car) is a time-honored method many commuters use. It’s not cheating…merely a great way to make sure you look presentable at work. The other four days are on the bike, so don’t even feel guilty if you’re driving that one day…

Multi-modal commuting is quickly becoming a viable way for folks to reduce their impact on the environment, get some exercise and enjoy nature. Quite a few people bicycle to their nearest bus or train station, load themselves and their bikes onto said bus or train and get off at a station close to their jobs. Still others drive their cars partway and ride the remainder. I have a friend and coworker who takes the cross-Bay bus from St. Petersburg to Tampa (Hi David!) and rides his bike to work from the bus depot. He’s getting some fresh air, he’s reducing his impact on the environment and he is saving significant wear and tear (and expense) on his vehicle.

The bottom line is that there is no “one right way” to commute via bicycle. You’ve got to stick with what works for you and discard other methods. Now get out there and ride!

Have a cycling-related question? Just Ask Jack! Click on the link in the right-hand column to send me your questions.