I was really getting to love my Fitbit Charge 4. It ticked all the boxes I needed:

All seemed great, until it wasn’t. I did a ride with a friend in April and it inexplicably dropped GPS signal after 5 miles.

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain Calories Burned
02:53:01
hours
00:29:05
hours
4.90
mi.
10.10
mph
21.03
mph
73.16
ft.
1,304
kcal
My Fitbit stopped recording for some reason (said it lost GPS signal πŸ˜–). Actually went 16 miles, see https://www.strava.com/activities/5186103344 We went down Chicago to 38th. Continued south on Chicago then east on 46th to Sift. Then took the creek trail back to the river, then back the way we came.
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This is a love letter to Schwalbe. I love their Big Apple bike tires. If you have a mountain bike that is going to serve most of its life pounding the pavement these are for you. My Redline 29er mountain bike does 95% of its miles on the pavement, and it does it on Big Apples.

They’re big and fat so you keep the same look and level of comfort, it just lowers the rolling resistance because you’ll sound less like a jeep driving down the highway.

Changing tires has an immediate and apparent affect on how your bike handles. The same thing goes for toy cars and full-sized ones. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2-wheels or 4, those little patches of rubber are the only thing connecting you to the road.

More Big Apples

I got my son a set to put on his Haro Flightline. We’re going on some longer rides this summer – mostly on Minnesota’s expansive network of paved bike trails. He doesn’t have the luxury (or allowance) of keeping a separate road & mountain bike like dad.

It’s a relatively quick change (~30 minutes) to go back to stock tires if we’re going to head out to the single track trails.

Big Apple equipped Haro Flightline
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Remember how your dad’s 10-speed from the 70s/80s had an extra set of brake levers by the “tops”? They were for the top part of a drop style handlebar, like this:

They are called extension levers, or sometimes colloquially suicide levers because some couldn’t actuate the brake fully.

Whatever the case is, I’m still fond of them and wish they were still a thing. Bike manufactures mostly solved this problem by putting ergonomic hoods on the brake levers so you can rest your hand on the top of the bar where it curves down.

Like driving with your hands at 9 & 3 the paddle shifters are easier to reach… but I can still press the brake when I’m cruising at 12 & crotch 😎 I want the same thing on my bike. I like keeping my hands on the tops when I’m relaxing, and I don’t want to do an emergency hand move if I need to stop quickly.

Enter cross levers

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Bicycle tire tubes are the most prolific piece of trash that is generated by the bicycling industry. Luckily it’s nowhere near the poundage of old car tire waste out there. Still because it’s the thing most often replaced on a bike, people have found several clever ways to use punctured tubes instead of putting them in the landfill.

I like to keep one in my bike trunk bag for carrying things. I use the tube as a shoulder belt to strap things to my back. I’ve used them to carry a shovel, a pole saw, and most recently: snowshoes.

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Full disclosure: I like Topeak’s bike rack products with their QuickTrack system. It started with the BabySeat, which both of my kids rode in, Then I bought the worlds most expensive milk crate for beer runs. But the most versatile attachment is the trunk bag.

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