There are moments in life that we never forget. For example, I will never forget the first day after I got my braces. The appointment to get my braces put on took place in the morning and I ate a meal or two with my new mouth jewelry before I went to bed. Other than getting food caught in them and having to brush my teeth for an extra long time I thought having them on was a piece of cake.
I woke up the next morning, prepared myself a piece of toast and when I bit into it I felt like hot nails had been jammed into my gums. Piercing pain shot through my entire head and my mouth began to throb. Overnight the braces had begun to do their job of shifting teeth around and I will never forget that first bite of toast that morning oh so long ago.
At the time I was probably wearing stone washed jeans and wishing my mom would front me the money for a Guess jean jacket like the one worn by Michael J. Fox, or should I say Marty McFly, in the first Back to the Future movie.
You are likely asking what the heck all of this has to do with bikes. Well, as I type this entry I am actually suffering a bit due to a bike related endeavor that reminded me of the pain I felt in my mouth so many years ago. The bike endeavor? Putting on a brand new tire.
In an entry not long ago I noted that one of my tires was tearing. I had a gift certificate for an online retailer and I decided to order up a new tire. Since I commute in NYC I wanted a tire with good durability and after searching around I chose the Pilot City model by MICHELIN. When I removed my Specialized Nimbus tire I noticed an immediate difference between the two tires.
The MICHELIN tire is heavy and firm. It definitely has mad technology built in to try to defend against sharp objects. The MICHELIN web site states the following:
The urban standout Pilot City tire boasts triple protection thatmakes it practically impervious to everyday road hazards. This Protek Max technology incorporates reinforcements under the tread and in the sidewalls as well.
The Nimbus tire in comparison felt like a wet noodle. I am hoping the MICHELIN tire proves to be as durable as it feels.
As joyous as I was to have a new tire, I knew a challenge awaited me. Stretching a new tire onto a rim has always proven to be a painful and difficult experience for me. I don't know, maybe I am just a wimp, but it takes a great deal of pulling, pushing, and creative massaging with my fingers to get a new tire on a rim. This endurance test my fingers go through is not something that is typical and the morning after I put on the tire (I put it on at night) my fingers and finger nails were killing me.
All the little things I do like buttoning my shirt, grabbing objects out of my pockets, and most of all typing reminded me of the difficulty in putting on the tire. The worst part is that the act of putting on the tire ended up separating the some of my fingernails from the skin that attaches them to my fingers. It's hard to describe, but I Googled and found this -
Picture Courtesy of IowaHand.com
Based on this picture, I separated my Hyponychium from Sterile Matrix . . . I guess. I do know that when I type, it feels like hot nails are being pushed into the tips of some of my fingers. I got the tire on, but it was not easy. I am happy that this tire came with a reflective strip around it - something that was lacking from my Nimbus. I think this add-on is a no brainer and I don't know why every tire does not come with the strip. Any extra defense from the weapons that are cars is good in my book. Heck, I would love to have a tire that had reflective material woven into it so it was 100% reflective - that would be dope.
So I have a few questions for the reading audience. First, advice on how to stretch a new tire on a rim without Sterile Matrix mutilation would be appeciated! Anyone have tips or hacks on this topic?
Second, what should I do with my old tire? It's torn so it is no longer good for its intended purpose, but I feel guilty throwing it away. Each year I seem to become more and more aware of all of the stuff I throw away and I feel guilty when I just toss stuff into the trash. At a minimum I want to recycle it and maybe I will ask my local bike shop if they do such a thing, but I am skeptical. Any ideas and advice for my old tire are welcome.
After I put a couple of hundred miles on this tire I'll do a review post. Readers are also welcome to comment on tires they recommend or do not recommend.