walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In Which Swift Gets a Job

I work for a bike courier service. Until recently, I've been working dispatch; yesterday was the first day I actually did the couriering end of things. Suffice it to say that I was extremely grateful to my parents for having the foresight to live in New England ... I'm pretty cold-hardy, and yesterday was pretty cold.

I always assumed that if I ever got around to running envelopes around the city and so forth, I would ride Quicksilver, because speed is kind of the point. However, I am loathe to take QS out on salted roads. I haven't yet built up my winter frame, so I took Swift instead ... and that actually worked out pretty well.

I was concerned about Swift's more-upright riding position, given that the wind was absolutely terrible, but that was only an issue on the way back from one run, when I was riding a long stretch directly into a 20-MPH headwind. The rest of the day, my little green hybrid's forgiving handling and awesome 'cross tires made up for any possible shortcomings.

In fact, the tires really deserve a shout-out. I run a pair of Panaracer Cross Blasters (700x31) on Swift, and while they were pricey at around $36 per tire, they have been worth the investment. I bought them, of course, for 'cross season -- but it turns out that they also make excellent winter tires. Essentially, the Cross Blasters are light and strong, and they stick to the pavement like gum sticks to the bottom of a third-grader's desk.

I didn't expect the Cross Blasters to handle as well on the road as they do. I'm quite used to higher-pressure road tires, at this point, and I have really come to enjoy the way they ride at speed — but there is no doubt in my mind that the Swift's Cross Blasters would outperform Quicksilver's road tires in the slushy conditions we're facing right now. Between my smooth 700x28 'daily drivers' and the square-knobbed 700x31 Cross Blasters, there is definitely a difference in rolling resistance, but not enough of one to render the Cross Blasters' slush-handling advantages moot.

I'm going to go in for the afternoon today, and I plan to take Swift with me again. I am, of course, looking forward to riding Quicksilver again — but for now it's Swift's turn ... at least until I get my Winter Bike built up.


  1. Heh heh. I was just thinking, reading this, that 31s seem narrow for winter duty. To each his own! I like Panaracers, though. Bike couriering sounds like fun!

  2. I ran 26 x ... um ... really fat? Is that a valid tire measurement? ... most of the winter last year, and I was surprised as well how effectively the 31s manage. They're actually better in the conditions we've got right now than the 38s I had on my black hybrid, but those had squishy shoulders which made their handling a bit squirrely around corners sometimes.

    I do think that if there were real snow on the ground, something in the chunky MTB-width range might offer more float.

    Also, couriering has been a blast so far :)