The last time I drove in a fancy car was with my friend Joe, a very established upper-management-something-or-other in BioTech, and he picked me up in his swank-ass Infinity something-or-other, and when I complimented it, he said he loved it, and that it had a faster engine than some other fancy kind of expensive car.

(Clearly, I don’t know shit about cars.)

He asked what I drove, and I said, happily, a ’12 Honda Civic. I love that car; I even essentially lived in that car for a minute there. I mentioned, though, that it was starting to get old, that it was starting to get a bit of a wobble around 65-70mph. A bummer, but livable. And since I commute by bike or train most of the time, I don’t even drive the thing very often, so it doesn’t bother me. He just told me to check the tires.

And so I checked the tires.

Before the aforementioned trip where I lived in my car, I’d taken it in for service, and the guy showed me the “penny trick” to check the tread (I’d needed, badly, to replace my tires then, too). But this time, it seemed like the tread was OK — probably wouldn’t go after the winter, but definitely OK. The problem was the cracking.

Now, the shop I work at is in Boston’s North End, and we serve the commuter community as well as some downtowners with fancy bikes, but we also see a lot of clunkers and “well loved” bikes: bikes that are either used every day and beaten to death, or bikes that aren’t, for one reason or another, able to have good care taken of them. Most of the service we perform on these bikes is stuff like brake pad replacement and, of course, flat fixes, which then, of course, lead to… tire replacements!*

*(not all the time, obviously. But not not-often for these kinds of bikes.)

One big signal (aside from a gigantic slash in the sidewall) that a tire needs to be replaced is cracking. This isn’t the only way to tell that you need to replace your tire (e.g., the time I ran a gatorskin down to the threading… and it still never went flat), but it’s a good sign.

And when I checked the tires of my dearly beloved Honda Civic, boy, were they cracking!

Apparently this is something that happens to cars that live outside (check) in habitual adverse weather conditions (North Wisconsin? Check. New England? Check). And so it was time. The guy on the phone I talked to said so.

While it’s a bummer to keep sinking money into this car, I do dearly love it. It’s a good car. It gets us where we need to go. It’s got a few scratches and dents and it’s been places and has got some stories.

So this morning, I took it in for new tires. But also, obviously, I put my bike on the back of it to pedal home, and I’m pleased to report that the tires on my bike are still fucking great, although I do need to add new sealant to the rear…