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Gear Prudence: I have a dilemma and my love life hangs in the balance. I’m a serious cyclist and my favorite picture of myself was taken during a ride when I was wearing a helmet and sunglasses. Can I use it as a profile pic on a dating app? Anyone I date needs to know I ride a lot, but at the same time, you can’t really see my face or hair that well. —Today: I Need Dates. Everyday: Rides
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Dear TINDER: In the fickle, lookist world of dating apps, your profile pic is probably your best/only chance to make a positive impression. While a helmeted shot conveys your love of bikes and cranial safety, it really does obscure your features. Even in bike mad D.C., many people don’t accept as given that all cyclists are amazing prospective partners and still insist on knowing tiny superficial details about them, like what their faces look like. You’ll need to use something different.
If your passion for cycling is at the core of your being, other parts of your profile will prove this while still allowing a sea of strangers to make snap judgments on your overall attractiveness and suitability for sex on the basis of one picture. Maybe put your favorite gear ratio or components gruppo in your bio. This will be alluring to diehards, but not disqualifying to everyone else.
In the meantime, diagnose why this one picture might be your favorite. If you can reasonably recapture a similar look sans accoutrement, your problem is solved. —GP
Gear Prudence: I know I’m supposed to keep air in my bike tires, but I never know how much. I pretty much just pump them up every few weeks. This seems very unscientific and I feel like I’m doing it wrong. What’s the right way of knowing how much air your tires need? —Pump Sometimes? Inevitably
Dear PSI: Squeeze them. There should be the slightest give, but if you’re able to decompress the tire more than a smallest amount, give them more air. This isn’t scientific, and there are better approaches that involve things like Boyle’s Law and other junk that you’ve struggled to forget since high school, but this’ll do.
Most tires have a PSI range printed on the sidewall and you’re urged by tire makers and Big Pressure to keep your tires inflated within those ranges. For this, you’d need access to a pump with a built-in pressure gauge. (Most floor pumps have one.) As a general rule, skinnier tires require higher pressure than fatter tires. Also, riding off-road, on bumpy or ruddy terrain, or in wet/snowy/slick conditions benefits from lower pressure than you’d typically want on regular roads.
Precision is less important than making sure your tires don’t get too deflated. This makes them more susceptible to flats, so remain regular and diligent with your pumping. —GP