Why I Shop at My Local Bike Shop

I needed new tires for my commuter bike. After five months of commuting through downtown Seattle, my old tires had in a glass and debris collection displayed in a rubber matrix. Now, I’ve really liked my old tires:

  • They were 32s, wider and comfier and better at handling the extra weight of commuting than 25s or 23s.
  • They had reflective sidewalls, which I liked for winter riding.
  • They resisted punctures magnificently, including one time I ran over a huge chunk of glass, saw it sticking out of my tire, stopped and pulled it out, and kept riding–and never got a flat.

Because I wanted my tires on Sunday, to ride on Monday, I went to my local bike shop, where I know all the guys well already. They were moderately busy, but made time to slap some new tires on my bike.

At first I said I wanted the same tires I already had, for the reasons previously mentioned. We chatted a bit more, and I mentioned my desire to lighten my commuter bike up a bit (without compromising its inherent commuter-y-ness). When I mentioned this, they said, “Are you sure you want the same old tires? We have these other tires you should consider.” They suggested a 32 tire that had a Kevlar bead rather than a steel one, and thinner sidewalls, which make the tires lighter. I decided, what the heck, why not try the new ones? As long as I don’t get more flats, it won’t hurt. Continue Reading >>