The Best Things In Life Are Cheap

    Yesterday I made a significant change to this bicycle:


    No, of course you don’t. But what I did was change the “gravel” tires in the first photo to the Panaracer Paselas in the second photo:

    [Note tire has been finely aged. Only nerds ride new tires.]

    Or, more accurately, I removed the wheels in the first photo and changed them for an identical pair of wheels with Paselas on them. See, thanks to Ben’s Cycle I recently got two new pairs of wheels, and I’m now using them both for the Milwaukee. When you’re a serious cyclist like me you need two pairs of wheels with slightly different tires on them so you can switch back and forth when riding on slightly different terrain. This of course is in addition to all the other bicycles you have for other slightly different types of riding.

    I mean what do you do? Ride the same bike every day???

    Panaracer Paselas have been around a long time, but I started using them on a regular basis probably around 12 years ago, when I moved up here to the country, had easier access to unpaved trails, and discovered the 28s fit on my road bike:

    They even fit on my crabon bike, and I used them for one of those proto-gravel Rapha “Gentlemen’s Races:”

    I believe that was in 2014, when incredibly Bicycling asked me to to join them for the ride that year. Even more incredibly, only one person on the Bicycling team is riding a bicycle with disc brakes, which would be positively unthinkable today. And most incredibly, nobody is even riding a “gravel” bike, since they’d hardly even been invented yet. (I’m pretty sure the bike with the disc brakes is something we used to call a “cyclocross bike,” which also worked pretty well on gravel, go figure.)

    To this day, I will still use tires as narrow as 23mm on certain bikes. There’s no real reason to do so, and yet I still enjoy the feel of them on a traditional road bike. They’re sort of like ice skates–you wouldn’t want to use them all the time, and they require you to pay extra attention, but in exactly the right circumstances they can be exhilarating.

    Practically speaking however a 28mm tire is a better choice, even bikes with short reach brakes can often accommodate it, and while the “gravelistas” may scoff, it’s certainly ample enough to venture offroad. Moreover, given the preponderance of boutique tires out there (most of which are also Panaracers), the Pasela represents the very pinnacle of bangage-for-your-buckitude. It’s durable yet [gulp] “supple,” plus it comes in a whole range of sizes from 23mm to 38mm, and if you want to save even more money you can even opt for a wire bead. The only real problems with them are that they aren’t technically tubeless compatible if that’s what your after, they’re boringly called “urban/commuter” tires instead of “gravel” tires or “all-road” tires, and they’re completely devoid of irreverent branding and marketing copy like their boutique relatives…

    …which are also devoid of puncture protection:

    I’m old enough to remember when you wanted some puncture protection. You know, to help prevent punctures. “Duh, that’s what the sealant is for, gramps!,” the young people are yelling:

    Just kidding, no young people read this blog.

    Anyway, when I first got the Milwaukee the Pasela was the tire I used pretty much on it all the time:

    And having gone back to them for the first time in awhile I do think they’re exactly the right tire for it in their 28mm sizeway. They’ve got decent traction offroad and you don’t need to baby them too much, yet they’re also still narrow enough that when you use them on the road they don’t feel all squirmy or like you took a Vicodin.

    All of this is to say Panaracer should rebrand them as the Gravelisto Robustino EVO and charge triple the price for them immediately.

    Speaking of cheap stuff, I remain very pleased with these sub-$100 Pearl Izumi “all road” shoes:

    [“All road” is Newspeak for “recessed two-bolt cleat.”]

    As with the road shoes I’ve been wearing since 2022, I don’t have a single bad thing to say about these, and as I noted previously the grippy sole is one of their best attributes. In fact, they’re so grippy I can even run down several flights of polished stone stairs in them when I don’t feel like waiting for the elevator. However, I did not wear the Pearl Izumi gloves this time…

    …opting instead for something more natural:

    It may be time for a wool-vs.-synthetic shootout…though if we’re talking about bangage-for-buckitude wool shoots all comers dead before they can even get their guns out of the holster.

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