Going townie: Good for me, good for Earth
November 7, 2007
With winter coming, I’ve already swapped kayak gear for the ski stuff that’s sat dormant in the back of my closet. But instead of retiring my mountain bike for the year, I decided to put it to work.I bought some studded snow tires, put a touring rack on the back and installed a jury-rigged ski carrier.
The result: The ultimate townie rideI hope will take me from my Park Circle apartment to Aspen Mountain and around the snowy streets of town in style.But finding affordable studded tires wasn’t easy.I checked area bike shops as far as Glenwood Springs, and the best studded tires were as much as $100 per tire. Too much.One shop owner suggested I convert standard mountain-bike tires by drilling hundreds of stainless steel screws into them. But even if you line the tube with an extra tube to protect it from puncture, you end up with lots of flat tires, the guy said.
So I was happy when a co-worker offered a slightly used pair for cheap.The tires work great on dry pavement. They make a cool whirring sound on pavement and I can’t wait to try them out on snow.The bike rack, on the other hand, is a work-in-progress.I bought a 4-inch, 2.5-foot-long PVC pipe at ACE hardware in Aspen – the biggest they had. But I should have checked to see if my skis fit.
I ride twin-tips that are too wide for the carrier. But an old pair of Telemark skis I plan to rock this year fit just fine. And before the snow flies, I hope to find a big tube that will accommodate my fat skis.The bike rides a little rickety with all the extra weight, but I enjoy the looks I get riding down the street (I think Nick Devore popularized the ski-bum-townie bike in last year’s Aspen documentary “Ski Town.”).And not only is this new ride true “geek chic,” I feel like I’m making an important – however inconsequential – righteous statement about environmental stewardship. I’ll be the one saying “I hardly ever drive” haughtily for the next few years.A friend told me I’m doing my part for something called the Canary Initiative. I just like riding bikes, but I think it’s great people are helping out in saving the poor canaries around here. Seems like kind of a cold climate for Tweety, though, no?