Showing posts from May, 2007

Confessions of a cycling shopaholic

So it’s Bike to Work Week here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’d like to say that I’m going to all the cool events, but given my commute to Oshawa and the wacky hours I keep (up at 4:00a.m. and in bed around 9:00pm) I probably won’t get to any. I should have an article in the summer edition of the BUGLE though, whenever that comes out.

A cyclist got on the Go Train yesterday, leaned his bike up against mine and we chatted for a little while. He was from Ottawa but now lives in Pickering and works in Courtice. A long time Ottawa cyclist, his plan, which he was trying for the first time yesterday, was to get off the train in Oshawa and then bike to Courtice (looking at gmaps later I figured this was about 9km).
I felt really bad for him. He was talking about how bike friendly Ottawa is – how many bike lanes there are, how you can take bike lanes from Carleton University to the University of Ottawa etc. Meanwhile I’m sitting there knowing that Whitby/Oshawa, and Durham in general, is potent…

derailleur hanger


I just took a few of the broken parts off the Cannondale, to discover that I cracked the derailleur hanger.


P.S. - to British readers, for whom the above curse will sound a bit more inappropriate, I apologize.

I guess I'm going to have to test ride one of these and one of these a lot sooner than expected.

things fall apart

I find the contrast between my last post and this one quite striking. The last one was about my pastoral little weekend up at my parents' place in Bancroft. This one is about the shredding of metal on my bicycle on the busy rush hour streets of Toronto.

I don't even really know how the dumb accident happened actually. It was my own fault, I can admit that at least. Every afternoon when I leave the Danforth Go Station, I have to cross over Main Street and then start heading south. Main Street is always busy with cars so it's a tough cross (this is a complete "jaywalking" style of cross incidentally - there's no crosswalk or streetlight) and as a bonus, Main Street isn't flat right here, it swoops up over a high peaked bridge so that when I'm looking to my left at the northbound traffic, cars can suddenly crest the bridge at 50km an hour only 100 metres away from me.
Oh yeah, and there are streetcar tracks along Main Street. That's the other fun bonus…

Walden, or, Life in the Woods

Here's the long weekend report from Bancroft - and all these pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them and going to the flickr site (and if you want a really big image, click on the little "All Sizes" icon that you'll see above the photo on the Flickr site).

I got in one bike ride with my sister. We did the old ride out to Bay Lake. When I'm home in the summer and have a bike with me I do a long ride well past Bay Lake, and then on the way back jump into the water here to splash around.

This is my brother Matthew keeping his eyes open for the deer that we startled not too far from the house. We heard the deer crash away through the bush, but never actually saw him.

This is our little version of Walden Pond. If you're on the main hiking trails back behind our house, this pond is a wee bit hidden so only a few locals know it is there. I always expect to come down to the pond and see a moose or deer standing there, but I never have.

There used to be a railroad li…

it's not the thing you fling, it's the fling itself

I've heard Ann Coulter's name before, but always in a vague way, and aside from thinking she was a commentator on U.S. politics, I didn't know anything about her. I came across this video on You Tube which is a splice of a Fox News segment where Coulter calls Canadians ungrateful for not supporting the Iraq war, and says that we're lucky that America hasn't crushed Canada yet. The second part of the video is Bob McKeown from CBC's Fifth Estate interviewing Coulter and setting her straight about how we hadn't gone into Vietnam with the U.S. either.
I was initially quite pissed with the viewpoint Coulter presented - i.e. Canadians are babies who are lucky that they have America's nuclear shield protecting them and we'd better be thankful. But as I researched Coulter a bit more I realized that she makes a living spouting the "uber-republican" crap that Steven Colbert pretends to spout in his Colbert Report. If she didn't throw about insult…

Love's labour lost

I'm on Craigslist all the time these days. A lot of things catch my eye, but what I'm really hunting for is an old cheap road bike that I can tear apart and build up into a single speed cyclocross bike to leave up north at my parents' place. I should have bought a steel 1989 Nishiki that I saw a week or so back, but I was too late.

So, if anyone has a fifteen year old bike gathering dust in their basement that they want to get rid of, let me know. I ride about a 52 - 54 size road bike usually.

This ad really caught my eye today. A guy wants to trade an engagement ring for a bike. This adds a new wrinkle to that old "is it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all" riddle.

I.E. is it better to have loved and lost AND wrangled a $3500.00 bike out of it, than to have never loved at all?

This makes me sad. Everyone wants the earth to survive and wants their children to enjoy clean air and clean rivers, but not if it means they have to pay for it pers…

touring your own city

As far as biking news goes - I took a chain link out of the Kona's chain to remove some yucky skipping that was happening yesterday. It didn't skip once on the bike to work today, so I think maybe I'm set! Yay! Freakin' Finally!

Here's how you spend a weekend being a tourist in your own city - and all these photos can be enlarged by clicking on them:

You and your girlfriend ride your bikes down to the St. Lawrence Market at Front and Jarvis. Although the picture above shows the more famous building, you don't go in there, because it's basically all meat and you and your girlfriend have been vegans for a few months now.

Instead you go into the (mainly) fruit & veg building, where you buy veggie samosas and wolf down two of them while your girlfriend isn't looking.

If you're really lucky, your girlfriend has a "plan" and whatever you pick up this morning will very soon become apple/potato soup and various other yummy things.

And then on Sund…

more Kona tinkering

So the great Kona singlespeed conversion wasn't quite as finished as I'd hoped.

Annalise and I went for a ride yesterday, and parked our bikes outside the St. Lawrence Market while we loaded up on fruits and veg. About halfway through our ride, just after Annalise split off to go visit a friend, I started losing the chain every five seconds, and it just drove me batty. The chain had been loose from the get-go, and I think I'd put just enough kilometres on the new and improved Kona to stretch the chain a little bit more. People with lots of single speed experience probably could have guessed this, but chains that are loose to begin with don't stay happy campers for very long.

So, when the chain on your new singlespeed mountain bike set-up is slipping off the cog and ring all the time, here's what you do:
a) Go up to the bike shop and buy a chain tensioner. b) Call your buddy Smut, who is coming down to watch the hockey game anyway, and see if he still has the chunk of …

maidens bleach their summer smocks

Steve out in Halifax got hit on April 30. Best of luck with your recovery, Steve. Hope you're logging your miles again soon.

Monkey Martian has some neat things in his May 2 post on bike transportation developments. I especially like the Complete the Streets idea of designing roads to include car, bike and pedestrian traffic all at the same time, so that people will have a very real choice regarding which manner of transit they prefer to take.

A while back I posted some thoughts about the hidden moments of cycling. In a similar vein here are some cycling moments I’m rediscovering now that I’m a) riding again (as opposed to taking full-on public transit through the end of the winter) b) riding my road-bike commuter to work (rather than the Hybrid I used in the early winter) c) enjoying legitimately pleasant riding weather, with the sun breaking around 6:00a.m.

Moments and sensations I’m rediscovering

The bike shove. So let’s say that you’re at a red light. It turns green. You grip the …

how come arizona hasn't gone solar

Toronto has a new cycling website at I Bike T.O.. Very well done mes amis. Hopefully the Advocacy area under Forums will get lots of use and we'll be able to get some more petitions and letter writing campaigns started and get some of Toronto's bike money spent.

I came across Real Climate recently. In the words of Choice magazine, it is a respected scientist-contributed discussion forum that aims to objectively educate and inform other scientists, the public, and the media about climate change.... a resource for anyone who wishes to be scientifically aware of the most up-to-date research and the current state of our climate.

There was an article in the Globe yesterday called Gas Prices Hike Across Country. It's about the quiet surge in gas prices recently (I say "quiet", because Canadians pay 3 to 4 times LESS for gasoline than Europeans do). So far almost 200 people have left comments on the story, and they are LOSING THEIR MINDS over this topic.
There are the left…