Showing posts from June, 2007

loneliness of the long distance runner

I'm off to Bancroft for this Canadian long weekend. I'm taking the new 'cross bike up and planning to give it a workout on some dirt roads and then finally write a review of it next week.

Thinking of long weekends makes me think of the Work Less Party. If you haven't read this post yet, give it a go, and think to yourself "Wow, Conrad is out of his mind, but I wish he was Prime Minister."

I've been thinking about one of my favourite books recently, probably because I just got hooked on Shelfari (I'm on there as "Tuco" if you decide to register).

I thought I'd copy this passage for the hill climbers out there - for those of you who enjoy suffering, who know that you aren't truly alive unless you can feel your life draining away. The reason I think it's appropriate is that when we're climbing those hills, we're alone with whatever is driving us, and maybe, as the old Mexican man speaking to Billy says, that isn't a good th…

one speed fits all

If you have followed my blog very closely, you might remember that I once owned four bikes, none of them being singlespeeds, and I now own three and a half bikes, all but one of them being singlespeeds. (the half bike refers to a steel frame I was recently given which I'm currently building into another singlespeed).

I thought I'd try and explain why this is a good thing. First a disclaimer though, I have NOT gone fixed. My two singlespeeds, along with the one I'm building, are freewheel singlespeeds.

Part of the joy of singlespeeds is taking the simplicity of biking and making it even simpler. You look down and only see your brake cables jutting away from your bars, not the four cables you'd see if you had gear shifters as well.

On the road you notice that you have far less to worry about. Coming up to a yellow light you don't shift down in anticipation of starting again when the light turns green, and you don't shift up as you're leaving the intersection and…

"forward leaning" intelligence

I've stated before how boggled I am by the fact that George Bush hasn't been impeached. It seems to me to be a no-brainer, and watching a CBC Fifth Estate special recently got me thinking about this again.

The special is on Google Video and is titled the Lies that led to War. Basically Bob McKeown takes - point by point - every reason that the Bush administration gave for going to war in Iraq, and assesses how much truth actually lay behind each of the reasons.

And, if you care, here are some of back stories on George and his administration.

The Impeach Bush compendium.
and Peter Pace
on the Iraq War
White House editing climate change reports to make them appear less drastic.
Bush setting torture policies
George’s mideast legacy (below the Valentine’s Day stuff)

This image came from this video on You Tube.
I also really like Will Ferrell as Bush speaking about climate change.

And finally, just for interest's sake - a Newsweek poll about a week ago shows bush's approval …

I am a philosopher, and it would be improper for me to recant

Here's a weekend smorgasbord of lots of things I've been meaning to mention but never have:

Sci-fi author Orson Scott Card wrote an interesting article in May about one of my favourite topics - Peak Oil.
Card's article is on The Ornery American and covers a lot of interesting points:
That's why I said we have to change our social expectations. We have to make it a mark of shame to be stuck in a neighborhood where the lots are so huge that you can't walk in order to get anywhere.
It's already a huge inconvenience and expense. I daresay most readers of this column spend most of their gas money and transportation time on two things: Shopping and commuting. And how much of that is spent just getting out of your neighborhood?

[We need] Neighborhoods where everybody walks to school on sidewalks, and shops on foot or on bicycles (or has purchases delivered). You know, the neighborhoods in It's a Wonderful Life.
Those neighborhoods have disappeared, at first because ev…

Of bike revolutions and cycling petitions

A coworker, who thinks I'm a bit more of a bike rebel than I really am, saw this story in the Toronto Star yesterday, and when I arrived she said "let's see your hands" - jokingly expecting to find my hands covered in pink paint.

Nope, wasn't me.

To tell you the truth, I kind of feel that the bike war in Toronto has already been won, due to the simple fact that it is actually being waged. I mean, we already cycle in Toronto, more or less happily. We have bike lanes, we've been promised loads more bike lanes and actually have the money for them, and most importantly, there already exists a cycling culture in Toronto.

After I spend my working day in Whitby/Oshawa, and I get off the Go Train with my bike in Toronto, I breathe a big sigh of relief to be back on the Toronto streets, because I feel like I (as a cyclist) truly belong on these streets.

This "sense of belonging" is sure as hell not the case in Whitby/Oshawa. The "Bike Revolution" that …

when a single speed is really a three-speed

The biggest bike story in my life recently has been my destruction of the hardest working bike that I have, and my frustrated attempts to bring it back to life.

I think the rebirth has finally happened however. In this picture (below) you can see the hole I dug myself with this bike. When you are trying to straighten your non-replaceable derailleur hanger and it snaps off entirely - AND you obviously have a vertical dropout - you're pretty stuck for choices regarding what to do with your bike. You can no longer have gears for one thing (unless you want to buy some sort of fancy hub). So you have to set it up as a single-speed, and since you don't have a derailleur hanger and therefore can't use a chain tensioner (see my posts about my Kona singlespeed for tensioner pictures), and you have a vertical dropout, you are going to have a heck of a tough time getting the chain tension right.

I played around (a lot!) with different chainring and cog sizes, trying to get a match whic…

Testing your new cross bike at the golf course

The bicycle shopping is over. I just bought a 2006 Jamis Nova. And just in case that link gets archived soon here's the link to the 2007 model.
Pretty much as soon as I test rode the Nova I decided it was the bike for me. I never even bothered to try a Kona Jake the Snake because, despite the great price point ($1500.00 Canadian for Shimano 105, lightweight aluminum frame, carbon fork), I really didn't want to own a third Kona - especially a neon lime green one.

Having decided upon the Nova however I had to hunt around to find a good price, because the MSRP for the 2007 model is $1919.00 Canadian, which seems really out in left field, especially when it is about $420.00 more than the fairly similar Kona. I called a few shops that were listed as being Jamis dealers, but Jamis bikes really haven't hit the Canadian market at all, so nobody had one, and when I asked about ordering they just said they'd maybe bring one in at the $1919.00 price.

But Gino at the Cyclepath up in …

oh to be a zapatista

A post over at You Just Don’t Want to got me thinking about what it's like to be a cyclist, or a vegan/vegetarian, or a cycling vegan, here in North America. More accurately I've been wondering why we choose these lifestyles.

Cycling and vegetarianism go hand-in-hand very nicely. If you’re worried about your health you might choose one or the other, or both. If you’re worried about the environment you might choose one or the other, or both.

The other reason for you to choose these lifestyles is because they’re a great way for you to fight the power – to have a little rebel yell in your life.

Everyone who is on two wheels knows that every time you buy a tank of gas, you’re putting money into the pockets of companies which have to value profits over people and the planet, otherwise they’d go out of business. I’ll resist saying that this makes them evil, but they’re pretty darn close to evil, especially when oil execs sit in backrooms with Cheney in 2001 poring over maps of Iraq say…

And so it was I entered the broken world

I love the splash page of fearlessgearless. Before you click on the tank, make three guesses about where the link will send you.

I didn't do the Ride for the Heart this past weekend. I've done it several times now, but this year I wasn't all that bothered for some reason. Plus, as I was riding my Kona singlespeed to work last week, it struck me that I didn't actually possess a bike that could handle the hilly ride up the Don Valley Parkway. This due to the dumb crash I had on the Cannondale a few weeks ago.

But, annalise and I did walk over to a bridge and took some photos of the riders passing below us.

I had a frustrating weekend with the Cannondale. The crash warped my derailleur, but even worse it cracked and bent my aluminum and non-replaceable derailleur hanger. I was trying to bend the hanger out and away from the casette when it snapped off entirely. So in my grand plan of turning the bike into a singlespeed, I don't have the chain tensioner option.

I also don&…