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SIGNS OF THE TIME
Evolution and the Bicycle

18Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov 16:)

I am a bicycle rider.

"We know that," you say, "tell us something new."

Ok, I will.

For the past three hours today, and for the last few weeks, I've been searching the web and bike shops looking for a tire for my bicycle. A no-brainer you say. And indeed it should be a no-brainer. You just go to the local store and pick up a tire, just like I've done for over 50 years.

But sometimes the obvious isn't all it appears to be.

First I must tell you that for the past ten or so years I've been riding a heavy department store mountain bike, you know the kind, the one that weighs half a ton and is designed to take you over hill and dale and anything else that gets in your way. The tires on these monstrosities match the durability of the bicycle they are to go on. They also weigh a ton, and the knobby tread on them is so thick that a railroad spike is unlikely to make a dent in them.

Things change, and me being a thing, I change as well. I decided I wanted to go back to riding like the wind (albeit I ride more winded these days than riding like the wind). So I bought me a, what is called, "hybrid" bicycle. If you're familiar with bicycles at all you already know that a hybrid bike is a bike like, yet unlike a mountain bike, and ditto a road bike, ditto a comfort bike, ditto, ditto ditto. Now, I want you to know that I love this bike. Except for one thing, the tires (but not the wheels) are like, unlike those on my mountain bike. They're large and full and fully packed, sans the knobs. (Sans, for those of you who aren't show-offs like I am means "without.")

Tires for these larger wheels, called 700c ("C" standing for "confusing") are very easy to find because they're so popular. I like that. There's just one problem with getting the smaller tire for this bike, the one I want that will allow me to ride like the winded: They get lots of flats.

I hate flats.

There's only two things I like flat: A road, and my pancakes. And even those, when I make them, are far from flat, but nice and burnt and lumpy. (The pancakes, not the road.)

To deal with the flats on my nice light bicycle, I purchased a set of tire liners that are guaranteed to resist any road obstacle I might encounter. This, added to the guarantee on my bike tire to not go flat from punctures gave me much confidence.

Until the first nail I found along the road. Guess what? Remember I said the tires are guaranteed to resist flats? Well, along with the flat tire I also discovered that the guarantee held as much substance as did the tire to resist flats. ("Of course it's flat," the bicycle man says, "There's a nail in it.")

I hate walking. I especially hate walking while carrying the conveyance that is supposed to be carrying me.

That's my ride-like-the-wind bike.


Now, back to my iron horse (which, by the way, is what is written on the down tube of this bicycle, and for good reason. I hate carrying horses, especially iron ones).

This is the bicycle I am trying to find a tire for. Why, you might ask, am I now looking for a tire for a bike I've been riding for years. Good question (Please note that I give you credit for the question I ask. This is a freebee. It may never happen again, so be on your toes. I do ask questions). Because I have decided to take a camping tour like in the good old days when I used to live on the bike is why.


In the good old days, 50 years ago, there was one bicycle style. There was no mountain bike, comfort bike, hybrid bike, etc, etc, etc. There was the ten speed. For those of you too young to have grey hair (I feel sorry for you, grey is beautiful if you haven't heard) the ten speed bicycle had, you guessed it, ten speeds. No, there was no 24 speed, or 57 speed, not even a 503 speed. These came much later. And there was no straight handle bars, no moustache bar, no etc, etc bars. There was the turned down racing bars. If you wanted handle bars that let you set up higher, you turned those bars upside-down and looked like a geek (which by the way, there were no geeks back then either. There was no one smart enough to be geeks in those early years I suppose).

Being that there was only one style bicycle, it followed that there was only one size tire one might purchase, even if one might want one of another kind. You could buy different treads (sorry, no bullet-proof knobbies), and tires made by different manufactures (not the thousand manufactures like there are now, but a couple or three). Buying a tire was a simple matter. Here's what we did in the old days. The procedure went exactly like this:

"Mister Bicycle-man, I would like to buy a tire."

"Ok, bud, here."

Zip-boom-bam! You had your tire. (Zip-boom-bam, for you with color in your hair that isn't from a bottle, is the vernacular for "quick'.)

Another interesting thing about bicycle tires in those zip-boom-bam days. Those tires didn't go flat. I mean, they didn't often go flat. I have 60,000 miles on a bicycle. Except for the past few years of riding on new technology tires, I can't remember fixing but maybe 5 flats. I've had to replace a few tires because I could see air showing through the tube, but I haven't had to turn my bike upside-down except when I flipped over the handlebars. Yes, that even happened in the good ol' days.

I've led many groups of inexperienced riders on many long bicycle tours. On one occasion there were twenty of us riding over 900 miles, all loaded with everything except the kitchen sink. (Correction, one of the riders had a kitchen sink and a toilet in his bags, but I made him discard them along the way. Remind you of the Oregon trail?)

Guess how many flats we had on that trip? Awe, go ahead and guess. If you guessed zilch (Old Middle 70's English for "goose egg") then you were right.

Now, I'm wondering: Are they making nails sharper these days? Is the glass shards cuttier? Are the thorns stickier? Or is it perhaps that technology is producing tires less prone to staying inflated?


I hate flats. did I tell you that? Well if I didn't, I'm telling you now, I hate flats.

But I love to ride like the wind.

I also hate having to read a dozen forums and go through hundreds of web pages trying to find a bicycle tire for my 26 inch bicycle wheel that isquick, puncture proof, yet doesn't ride as if I'm traveling over cobblestone.

Forums are a great thing, I mean it, they really are. It's great to be able to read hundreds of opinions about something you know nothing about written by people who know nothing about the subject they're writing about. Forums allow the confused of this world to realize that they are not alone in their confusion. This is very important in this confusing world we live in today. It really is. And if you don't believe me, just ask me, one of the very confused of this modern world.

As I perused these confusing and conflicting forums searching for information on bicycle tires I noticed one thing: Nobody knows any more about bicycle tires than I do. Let me qualify my statement. Nobody who knows anything about bicycle tires is telling us what they know about bicycle tires. I'm sure they're out there, but they're too busy riding their flat-free bicycles to tell us flat-ridden people what they know about staying inflated. And you know what? I don't blame them. If I had a flat-free bicycle I'd be out riding instead of reading what other flat-ridden people are telling this flat-ridden world.

I did find some information about riding a flat-free bike (at least for a few miles, it appears that flats are a way of life any more). I found that if you want to ride flat-free (sorta), you have to spend lots of dough. I read "I bought so-an'so tire for $10,000 dollars and I almost never get a flat, except for maybe ten times on that flat-free guaranteed tire. But what can you expect for just a few thousand bucks?"

I hate to change flats. But I hate even more to pay more for my bike tires that last only a couple thousand miles (maybe) then I pay for my fancy truck tires that are guaranteed to go at least 70,000 miles, and never go flat.

Is there something wrong with this picture? Or is it just me?


Modern technology is an amazing and a wonderful thing. I mean, just think: If it weren't for technology we wouldn't have the media to corrupt our minds, nor the weapons of mass destruction to blow up the world, or the huge doctor bills we all have the privilege of having to pay. Yep. It's an amazing thing this technology. And I suspect if technology allows us to survive for more than a few generations without destroying our atmosphere, or polluting our water, or taking all the nutrients out of the food we eat, that we will have advanced to the stone age.

In the meantime, I just wish they could make a bicycle tire that was as good as the ones they made back in the 70's.


Tumbleweed



Quotes


"It would not be at all strange if history came to the conclusion that the perfection of the bicycle was the greatest incident of the nineteenth century." ~Author Unknown

"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart." ~Iris Murdoch

"The disastrous history of our species indicates the futility of all attempts at a diagnosis which do not take into account the possibility that homo sapiens is a victim of one of evolution's countless mistakes." ~Arthur Koestler

"The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant [is] alone enough to upset Darwin." ~Henry Adams, Education, 1907

"Evolution: that last step was a doozy!" ~Astrid Alauda

Quotes from the Bible


2Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? 4One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. 5The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. 6The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. 8All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. (Eccl 1:)

12Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are! 13And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud? 14Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven. (Job 22:)

21Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: 23That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. (Isaiah 40:)


God speaks of Evolution:


21Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: 23That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. (Gen 3:)

18Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov 16:)

11Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (1Cor 10:)

1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2Peter 2:)



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