Today’s ride to work with slow tires

I rode my Giant Yukon mountain bike to work this morning.  I had originally thought that I would ride the road bike in, but I’m pretty anal about it getting scratched up on the steel bike racks in front of the library.  Not to bash our students any, but they tend to throw their bikes around like somebody else bought them, and in doing so their wrecklessness can often rub your ride the wrong way.

Giant Yukon in front of the Park Place Fountain

Giant Yukon in front of the Park Place Fountain

In preparation for riding the Yukon this moring, I swapped the Serfas Gator tires for the Forte VersTracs.  The Fortes have a ridge down the center of the tire, thereby making the rolling resistance a little less.  I’ve left the Gators on for a while, figuring that as a mountain bike, it would need the knobbies for the singletrack. I’ve been on the singletrack once this year, and I probably road off-road a total of five times last year.  The VersTracs do roll a lot faster than the Gators, but I’m very much used to rolling fast with my road bike.  I felt very sluggish on the mountain bike, even though it only took me 27.5 minutes to make the 6 mile trip.  I was also a little disappointed that I had to dip into the granny gear on the bike to get me up a few of the hills, as the smallest chainring on my road bike is a 39.  I do have a 32 in the rear on my road bike, but I usually can tackle these particular hills with a 39×28 gear.  Dipping into the granny on the mountain bike was kind of puzzling, but I guess the rolling resistance is significant enough to make pedaling harder.

As soon as I can, I’m going to swap out the VersTracs for the set of Serfas Drifters (26×1.5) that are hanging on the garage wall.  While not quite as fast as my road tires (I run 27×1 1/4 on my road bike), they should be a bit faster than the VersaTracs.  I imagine the VersaTracs are fast for some folks, particularly when compared to full knobbies, but for someone who rides a road bike more often than a mountain bike, the resistance can be pretty frustrating.  I wanted to hammer on the way to work, but the tires just left me flat.

Here’s the route to work: