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Showing posts from April, 2007

the kona and the khs go daytripping

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Although I live right in downtown Toronto, I rarely feel like I live in Toronto anymore. First thing every morning I haul ass (via bike & Go Train) out to my job in Oshawa. I get back into the city around 6:30pm and generally head straight home and flake out fairly quickly.

Annalise and I both took the day off today, and luckily we got beautiful weather for it. We rode our bikes around town, and coming along Bloor we passed by the Royal Ontario Museum at Bloor Street & University Avenue. The museum has been undergoing a major transformation recently, with the addition of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal on the north end.

Here are a couple shots from the east, and don't forget that you can click on any of these to enlarge them.:

In this one I even got lucky and fit in a bike courier.


And here are a couple from the west:


The museum was designed by Daniel Libeskind incidentally.

So it is funny how a city grows when you're not paying attention. Before today, if I'd been asked to…

Smut's Bike Shop

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As mentioned a few times before, the name of one of my best friends is Duncan, but I still refer to him by his university nickname of Smut.
When I was at Smut's house turning my Kona into a singlespeed (see below) I took some pictures of his bikes. Going to Smut's place is kind of like going to a bike shop - you can browse bikes there, see how many new parts have been added to one frame, how many taken away from another. It's kind of like the circle of life of bike building.

Smut is actually selling this fuji track pro singlespeed. It's a 49cm frame and he's looking for $1000.00 - the aero bars included. P.S. click on any of these photos to enlarge.

It should be this one actually, though I know he bought the frame etc and then built up the other parts. If you're interested leave a note on the blog and I'll get you in touch. Not that I've ever owned one, but I love Fuji bikes. Look at their cyclocross bikes, just gorgeous.

This is his "good" bike -…

the great Kona makeover

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We had some amazingly summer like weather here in the Greater Toronto Area this weekend, and though I was stuck working on Saturday, on Sunday the great makeover of my old Kona Hahanna mountain bike happened at my friend Duncan's (who I still call by his university nickname of "Smut") house.

I've had the Hahanna since 2001, and have replaced the drivetrain once already. The cassette and derailleurs etc being worn out again, I decided it'd be nice to change it into a single speed (freewheel, not fixed). Smut has built up at least three singlespeeds, plus he has all the various tools, so I took the bike up to his house a few weeks ago, spent some time buying various parts, and we spent yesterday in the sunshine in his driveway doing the rebuild.

Smut didn't have "all" the tools needed though. He'd lost his chainbreaker someplace. This picture below is us trying to convince ourselves we didn't need to run to the bikeshop to buy a new chainbreaker…

Seabiscuit attacks the peloton

I was reading Minus Car's blog and he has a great link to a video on a site called Glumberg where a horse jumps a fence and joins a passing cycling race.

The french commentators that you hear in the video make me think of
this Monty Python classic.

A recent Newsweek article mentioned a website I'd never heard of called Grist. It is meant to be an environmental blog but with a bit of a lighter tone than most of the "we're all gonna die" stuff that is out there.
A year or two ago Chevrolet made it possible for people to design their own tv ads for the new Chevy Tahoe. Grist heard about this and directed lots of their readers to the Chevrolet "build an ad" site, and some awesome commercials got put together. If you go to You Tube and just search chevy tahoe about 1/3 of the hits will be these Chevy spoof ads.
I personally like this one with it's Ali G tone, and this "the earth is your bitch" one, but there are lots to choose from.

Anyone heard of

Living more locally

Peak oil is back on my mind - largely because Darren sent me a couple peak oil youtube links recently, and because of a shopping trip I made yesterday.

My girlfriend (who was interviewed on CBC's Fresh Air this morning about June Callwood's death) and I, and our friend who has a membership card, went to a Costco yesterday. It was my first time, and I swear to God, I walked through the place (pushing the cart - which was my assigned job) in a state of shock. If you've never been, visualize the biggest warehouse in the entire world crammed full of gazillions of consumer products, and tons of food in SUPERSIZE quantities (for example, we bought about 30 roles of toilet paper yesterday).

Anyway, I went to Costco and the thought that struck me almost immediately was "this is wrong! No one really needs this crap, and it's just going to end up in landfills anyway. We need to raise the gas tax, which will also end up raising the price of consumer crap like this, put some of…

Slightly unstuck in time

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Kurt Vonnegut has passed away. If you want to hear something strangely beautiful, this page has a link to Vonnegut reading from Slaughterhouse-Five. It's the part where Billy Pilgrim comes unstuck in time and watches a WW II movie backwards, so that the fighter planes suck their bullets OUT of the big slow moving bombers, and the anti-aircraft gunners on the ground do the same, and when the bombers fly backwards into the base, and the bombs are unloaded, they eventually get turned back into their raw materials and put back in the ground, where they'll never do anyone any harm.

For something kind of sad, read this excerpt from his memoirs.

Why are Vonnegut's comments in the above article sad? Well, he speaks a lot of truth about things that are wrong in the world.

I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end: "C-Students from Yale".

George W Bush has gathered around him u…

Berlin

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I just found an article called Making the Streets Safer for Cycling by Andrew Curry in the March 26, 2007 U.S. News & World Report.

There are quite a few good lines in it - I've bolded my favourites. I wonder if I'll ever make my millions and be able to move to Holland or one of the other meccas of cycling. It'd be so much different from biking in Scarborough and Whitby.

How They Do It: GERMANY/ NETHERLANDS

Every 10th trip in Berlin is made by bike. With more than 500 miles of bike lanes and paths, rush hour in this German city of 3.4 million can be a blur of two-wheeled commuters, from suited businessmen to mothers hauling toddlers in specially designed trailers. Schools of sightseers on guided bike tours are a common sight-as are tired tourists returning to their hotels in velotaxis (cabs in which the driver pedals). Even politicians ride to work, leaning their bikes against the marble walls of parliament buildings.


Heidi Wright of the German parliament's transporta…

Who, me?

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There is an article in the Toronto Star today titled Land yachts popular today despite gas prices. The point being that despite everything we know about the automobile and climate change, and despite slowly rising gas prices, people are still buying SUV's like crazy.

The following quote from the article makes it fairly clear what we all know, the enemy is not so much Ford and GM, as it is us, the people who keep buying their cars:
As noted here before, no meaningful change in buying habits or driving patterns will occur without a carbon tax that puts a price on personal contributions to global warming, and to the strife in Nigeria, Sudan, the Middle East and other regions where despotic regimes use fossil-fuel wealth to finance the suppression of domestic populations and to lure Western governments into ethnic quagmires.

It's too easy to heap scorn on auto makers for failing to embrace the 21st century. (And I've done my share of that.) Pogo was right: on this issue, the enem…

What we ride & who we are

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So I'm anticipating some changes occurring in my life this summer (the likelihood that I'll be moving out of Toronto for a new job is very high), and I guess the idea of "change" has made me very reflective lately.

What happens when a cyclist gets reflective?

I used to own a mess of bikes like this:

Two of those are my girlfriends', but still that was four for me (my Cannondale is almost completely hidden in the back left of this picture). This picture was true of our holdings up until basically two weeks ago.

But, although I once did duathlons fairly seriously and could claim to actually NEED my 2004 Cervelo Team Soloist, I don't quite feel that way anymore. The Soloist is the kind of bike you need to WIN bike races. I'm certainly not going to win any races from here on out, and therefore my Cannondale (see below) will serve me just fine for racing and long rides, so I just sold my Cervelo to a former student of mine from my Donning days at New College at U …

Natural consequences of being inept

When you subscribe to much of what Noam Chomsky preaches about mass media, then you basically believe that mainstream newspapers and news outlets will NEVER talk about really important stories because it will piss off their main advertisers and they'll lose money.
For example, how often have you seen peak oil, factory farming conditions, or (back in 2002/2003) the invasion of Iraq, really discussed and criticized in the mainstream media?

BUT - back to back yesterday and today I've seen two topics discussed in places where I never thought it would happen.

The Toronto Star today has a piece on the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals trying to get university food providers to offer free-range/organic eggs in their cafeterias as an option besides eggs from factory farms.

And - peak oil was seriously discussed on CNBC on the weekend.

Holy jumping. North America might actually be heading towards democracy.

Although I have some news about the bikes in the house (those which have left and a…