Friday, April 20, 2012

Tire Swap -- Recumbent Ride

When I first got my HP Velotechnik recumbent bike I changed out the stock tires for narrower Schwalbe Stelvios. I chose the Schwalbe rubber because they measured 1.10" wide opposed to the stock Primo Comets at a fat 1.50". The Comets are a touring tire and with a fully loaded rig I suspect they would perform nicely but they feel slow on the bike. While I'm not a racer or a tourer for that matter I do like performance and I like to push myself on the bike. The best yardstick for measuring is of course how far how fast and tires can make quite a difference.

The Schwalbe tires have about 2,160 miles on them and still have plenty of usable tread but during my routine inspection I noticed the sidewalls starting to get some good sized cracks running along the circumference of the tire. I'm sure they would be fine but the cracks make me nervous with 100psi of pressure behind the casing. I've been looking at new tires trying to decide which new models to try and decided in the meantime to put the original Comets back on.

I've been getting over a cold for the past couple weeks and although I have been riding the short commute to work and back I haven't felt up to hitting the open road.  Finally tired of sitting around I swapped the tires and set out for an easy cruise yesterday after work.  I inflated the Comets to 80psi a little short of their rated 100psi.  What I noticed right away was the comfy smooth ride.  The wider tire on the front 20" wheel completely removed the twitchy nature that was always present with the skinny 1.1" Schwalbe up front.  I've always felt the bike's handling was impeccable, smooth and precise but the wider tires seem to hold the road even better and I found myself taking turns faster with more lean.  Carving turns on a recumbent is great fun, an experience unlike that on a standard upright.

The Primo Comets have a reflective silver stripe on the sidewall. I'm not sure if I like the look of them or not.

For the time being I'm going to ride the Comets and give them a chance.  I need to change my mindset about this bicycle and quit worrying about my average speed and look at it more from an enjoy the ride- touring point of view.  I think I've said it before but some fredly habits are hard to break.  I've tried to deny it for a while now but what I really need is a super light titanium recumbent.  A bent without the added weight of suspension equipment pared down to deliver the basics -speed, light weight and comfortable recumbent riding position.

I live in the bottom corner of my county so it's not hard at all to travel through three different counties in a 20 mile loop.  I struck off in a South West direction and randomly chose my route as I went figuring I would use the Southerly winds to help blow me back towards home at the end of my loop.  Arriving at a crossroads in Tully Township, Marion County I found this cool old schoolhouse.  This one's been retrofitted with a sliding steel door.  It doesn't go with the architectural style very well but I'm sure that's the last thing on the current owner's mind.  At least he's made an effort to take care of the structure.

Tully Township near Martel, Ohio

It's interesting to me to see how the owners of the old school houses have gone about the minimal upkeep required of these sturdy little buildings.

The traditional standing seam metal roof which I've seen on several schoolhouses now has got to be the  hands down winner in the categories of durability and longevity as a roofing material.  The original slate roof I photographed for an earlier post this year has proven an amazing service life of over a century but that type of roof is unpractical and obviously way to expensive for what is basically considered a storage shed by the owners of these old schoolhouses.

This school has a peculiar window treatment I've not seen yet.  It looks like quite a while ago the windows openings were covered with corrugated fiberglass sheeting and steel mesh.  Discoloration from the rusting metal over the years can be seen on the sill stone, bricks and all the way down to the sandstone foundation blocks.

Crawford-Morrow-Marion 3 County Loop
Ride Time:  1:31:59
Distance:  18.19 miles
Average Speed:  11.8 mph
Max Speed:  24.4 mph


  1. As you know, I enjoy the school house photos. Thanks! What do you suppose the circular opening originally held, an attic vent, a window, a plaque, or some other contrivance?

  2. Thanks Nate. The schoolhouse project motivates me to get out and ride. And still finding new ones. Good question, some of the buildings have no openings, some round and others have a rectangular opening. The latter pictured in a recent post shows what looks to me like remnants of the original wooden window frame so I'm inclined to guess these were little windows.

    This got me thinking about the attic spaces. A few of my pictures show that the structures did have lathe and plaster ceilings. My question is did they use the space for storage? Provide an access point or just block the space off? If the attic was sealed off why bother with a window?