I knew that I would have to replace the rear tire on my 2002 Wide Glide when I bought it about a couple of months ago. While not quite bald, there was very little tread remaining, at least in the middle of the tire. I've ridden it a few times since I bought it, but I never felt too confident riding my bike with a tire that worn, even on dry pavement.
So today, I rode the Wide Glide to Bob's Motorcycle Sales in Ashaway, R.I., an independent sales and repair shop that specializes in Harley-Davidsons, to get the rear tire replaced. (The front tire has good tread, otherwise, the title of this blog entry would read, "Baby's Got a New Pair of Shoes.") Although Metzlers and Avon Venoms are highly-rated motorcycle tires, I decided to stick with the stock Dunlop tire, since I am keeping the front tire and it's not recommended to mix tire brands on a motorcycle. When the front tire wears out, it will probably be time to replace both tires, since the rears wear twice as fast as the fronts, I've heard. Then, I will probably try a different brand. But for now, I just want a tire with plenty of tread.
It had rained the past three days, so I thought my chances of dry roads for the ride to my 8 a.m. service appointment were slim. But I awoke to mostly dry roads. The temperature was another story - it was a very raw 38 degrees - so cold I wanted to wear my full-face helmet. But I didn't. My hands are my weak link in the cold, though. I activated some Hot Hands chemical heat packs and put them inside some mittens for the ride on Route 1 south, but by the time I reached the town of Westerly, my fingers were numb from cold, so I had to pull over and rub my hands on my jeans to restore some circulation. I was the first customer to arrive at Bob's just after 8 a.m. and I was promptly ushered into the garage. I decided to walk to a coffee shop on Route 3 while I waited for them to replace the tire. About two hours later, I was back on my bike, feeling more confident with some new rear tread on my ride.