Salty Triathlete: It’s Called Progress

There can be a few pain points on the road to innovation.


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This year, I got two fancy new bikes—a road bike and a TT bike. And because they are fancy and new, and because of all the exciting innovative innovation in cycling the last few years, nothing on the two new bikes is compatible with anything on any of my old bikes. It’s called progress, people.

But that’s OK (I tell myself). It just means I’ve got to buy even more new stuff, and who doesn’t want an expensive new purchase to necessitate more expensive new purchases? Really, disc brakes and thru-axles are just a chance to also upgrade your wheels, trainers, trainer adapters, and tires.

Because also, these new bikes—since they are fancy and new, and we are very on trend here—came with tubeless tires. Tubeless tires are an amazing invention where if you ever actually succeed in getting them on with the sealant inside the tire (instead of all over you), you possibly won’t have to deal with a flat for years. And if you do completely flat a tubeless tire, then you’ll have the joy of meeting new people when you are forced to hitchhike home. I had no strong opinions about tubeless tires before, but the bike shop mechanic started to cry when I asked him to put a new one on, and I always trust the professionals.

Since I didn’t want to make more grown men cry by having to change out tubeless tires before a race, I figured I’d keep one pair of the fancy new carbon wheels unused and race-ready. Surely, I thought: Two brand new 12-speed, disc brake wheels with the same component groupset can be swapped between bikes?

There is a long story here about why that is not the case. The short story is: progress, innovation!

And then there’s an even longer story about thru-axle adapters for on-wheel versus off-wheel trainers. But you don’t want to hear that story either; I don’t even want to hear that story, and I’m the one who actually got a ruler out to measure the variations in thread count on the different thru axles, after I learned that “thread count” doesn’t apply just to bedsheets.

Now you’ve learned that too. You’re welcome.

I could share more lessons with you from my year of fancy new bike stuff, but I’m very busy admiring my sick new TT bike and thinking about how fast and cool I’m going to look whenever we get back to racing. And isn’t that the most important thing?