This morning gave up an hour and a half, so I wedged 25 miles into it. The 25 miles were peppered with Low Traction Events. The Weapon of Choice, the cross bike, has two of the worst tires on it. The front tire is a Michelin Lithion, which is a French mis-spelling of Lithium, which is what you'll need to take if you choose to rock a Lithion as your front tire.
Two or three times today, I was riding on the still-wet roads, and the front end started to slither out from under me. The worst was navigating up the 4 Mile Run trail spur up toward the W&OD. There are gaps in the cement path that run north/south, with the direction of the path. Ordinary sidewalk gaps. Several times, I had to cross these to avoid litter on the path or joggers. Each time, the front end slid a bit, with the worst slide comprising a lurid 12 inch slip to the left. I saved it each time but it was a bit scary, judging from the looks on the joggers' faces.
The rear tire is no better. It's the three year old remnants of a Conti Gatorskin that has been kicked around from bike to bike. Whereas the nice carbon Giant gets new tires in pairs, this tire gets swapped over to whichever bike needs a road tire *NOW*. This means it's been skid stopped many times on a fixie, it's been stuck onto the Giant once or twice when I've ripped the sidewall in a tire, and it's spent a lot of suboptimal time on the Weapon of Choice, riding in the rain, during winter, on gravelly surfaces, and generally in places that a tire isn't supposed to go. It's also been age with that special aging gas, Eau du ManCave, comprised of spilled and evaporated scotch, the off-gassing of bicycle clothes left in the hamper, and a special stink that can only come from a bike helmet locked in a closet. The Gatorskin usually grips well on dry land and passably on the damp, but this tire is not functioning at peak performance levels. The tire has had a tougher life than a veterinary dentist whose specialty is root canals for sharks. The tire is squared off at the edges like a brick, harder than a bag of hammers, and more slippery than a politician.
That's a long walk for a short trip I guess, but the upshot of the worn out tire is that every time I was pedaling hard and hit a bump, the thing spun a little, and on a couple potholed hills it spun out a lot. Like, "pedaling but no longer moving forward, think I'm going to quit before I tip over" a lot.
There's no special significance to this except for the fact I damn near crashed a half dozen times which makes it kind of interesting, and it was really disconcerting to finish the ride with it. Do any of you ever have weird nightmare tire / slippage problems?
At my office, they've just replaced the toilets. Smug little signs extolling the environmental friendliness of the toilets are posted everywhere inside of the stalls and at the urinals.
For one thing, they've done the impossible - making a U.S. bathroom smell like Oktoberfest. They did this by installing 16 ounce flush urinals. After you pee, I think they spray around 16 ounces of water into the air to keep it properly humidified. As for the pee? It kind of sits there and eventually goes down the drain. And here I was thinking there was no way to duplicate that miasma of beer, used and discarded beer, 93 oxen cooking, and fish-on-a-stick. Leave it to American technology...
In terms of dealing with the Universe's vast store of dark matter, the new toilets are kind of shitty, in a number of meanings of the term. The old toilets were okay, ish. They used 2.3 gallons per flush, and they were reasonably strong. As long as you only had one serving of bran flakes with breakfast, it *probably* took only one flush to remove the evidence into the sewage system. The new toilets, with their smug stainless steel plaques bragging about saving the earth, use only 1.6 gallons, or in the case of the wheelchair accessible one, 1.8 gallons. You know what that means?
It means it takes at least three flushes per turd to make the damn things work.
So instead of using 2.3 gallons one time, it takes 1.8 gallons three times, or 5.4 gallons, nearly double what the old, only somewhat environmentally friendly toilets required.
Isn't saving the Earth fun?
This is a good example of the kind of cargo cult environmentalism I ****ing hate. The building manager didn't stop to figure out what the most efficient system was - y'know, that'd take an open mind and an empirical approach. Instead, he went for the system that came with the most gratifying labels, maxing out his sense of superiority but nearly doubling the building's use of water in the big toilets. Nicely done!