Although it had been my goal today to check out my bike, install my new fairing, and go for a ride, reality kept interrupting. The first reality check was when the wife and I slept late. I guess we needed it.

Then there was the reality of the malfunctioning sprinkler that was threatening to wash about one-third of our grass seed away. It had to be dealt with. Then there was draining the gas and oil out of the old lawn mower. And cleaning and putting away the vaporizer that we use in the winter. And doing a load of dishes so I could make a pitcher of ice tea. I’m sure you get the idea how the day just sort of ran away from me.

At any rate aside from installing my fairing, I wanted to follow up on something I had noticed when riding my bike home last Thursday. As I coasted into my neighborhood, the stage of the commute where I can take a deep breath and relax, I could feel a vibration in the bike. It was subtle, but it was in time with the wheel speed. It felt like one of my wheels was out of true. I definitely wanted to check that out before I took another ride.

I discovered happily that I could put a milk crate under the bike and rest my new underseat rack on the crate. This not only stabilized the bike, but it lifted the entire back end off the ground. I checked the back wheel carefully. It was perfectly true.

I then installed the fairing, which involved putting a couple of brackets on the front brake mounts, installed the ‘mustache’ bracket on the handlebar, and mounted the fairing in place.

On the plus side, it looks wicked cool. On the negative side, despite promises to the contrary, it definitely compromises the ability to pivot the handlebars up and out of the way. Oh well.

As the light was failing, I hurriedly put on some riding shorts and my SPD shoes and snapped my helmet on: I wanted to see how the bike rode with the fairing on it. But as I started pedalling out of my driveway, I could hear something rubbing near the front wheel, now much louder due to the curve of the fairing. I squeezed the brakes - no change. I reached down with a toe and nudged the fender - no change. Hmmm. What could it be?

So I turned around and rode back up the driveway and put the bike back on the milk crate. Then I carefully spun the front wheel. It seemed to be rubbing at just one spot, so I got my spoke wrench and started carefully and gradually truing the wheel.

I was making definite progress at reducing the rubbing, but something still didn’t seem right. That’s when I noticed the obvious.

Oh. Crap.

What was rubbing was a large bulge in the tire. Christ Almighty, my front tire was failing. These tires are not skinny little racers, but they make up for their large diameter by running at high pressure - 100 psi. I suddenly had a vision of a front tire blowout while I was trying to see how much faster my fairing made me. *Shudder*

So, tomorrow afternoon I will hie myself over to my local recumbent shop and get some new tubes and tires. Maybe I’ll just get the same ones I have now (Kenda Kwests), maybe they’ll recommend something else. Either way, I thank my lucky stars I found out about that front tire in my driveway, and not on the highway.