Saturday, 8 January 2011

Folding tyres.

Somehow the two tyres that came on my first ever mountain bike some decades ago have been breeding. Like rabbits. Or Triffids. Or some sort of insane single-celled rubber organism. So now there are piles of them intertwined in the kitchen cupboard.

Old ones crusted in mud from long-forgotten trails. Newer ones with faint traces of southern Spanish dust. And, thanks to the wonders of tubeless conversions, tyres lined with a second skin of dried-on, bubbling, stringy latex.

As the funny thing about tyres is that they expand exponentially when not folded. And they never seem to wear out.

So I'm folding them. Rolling them up into neat, compact rounds with the tread on the outside so I might at least recognise them from their knobbly signature. Then stacking them neatly. It's therapeutic and strangely narrative at the same time.

Tyres catalogue days and places and conditions. Narrow Schwalbes and Michelins left over from 24-hour races, odd Fat Alberts from the days when I thought they were great and screw the mass, fast but treacherous Geax Saguaros from the post-Schwalbe era and odd things - failed experiments like Panaracer Rampages - good on paper, roll like a hedge-hog on day-old custard - a solitary Maxxis Aspen, not much quicker than an Ardent but with about a hundredth of the grip and a pair of - stil-packaged and free - WTB Prowlers, that I can't imagine ever using.

And then there's the Ice Spikers, sat quietly in the corner with their sharp teeth, hissing quietly at the other tyres and waiting for their brief week of life to come around again.

But they take up too much room. And there are far too many of them. So here I sit, drinking hot chocolate and folding tyres.

[How come I already have a tag for tyres eh?]

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