Showing posts from August, 2007

Could I buy you a scotch and soda

Steve in Winnipeg has just posted some definitive advice about buying department store bikes. That really is a cool project he's got going on over there, well done sir, I wish I had the mechanical ability (and patience!) to do something similar.

Along with the flat I mentioned yesterday on the Jamis, I noticed a few days ago that the fairly cheap front tire I have on my Kona had bulged, and a lot of seam was showing through the panels of rubber on the tire. So much so that I gave the bike up as unrideable until I replaced the tire. I already had a Specialized 26 x 1.5 slick Armadillo tire on the back, and I shelled out the $56.00 (Canadian) for another one yesterday, and put it on the front wheel of the Kona.
It's kind of weird - with my Kona set up as a singlespeed, my tires on this bike are now worth more than my drivetrain, more than the fork, and since the Kona is six years old, maybe even worth more than the entire frame.

Oh yeah, and the deal with Specialized Armadillo'…

First flat on the Jamis

It took 1200 km for the Jamis to get it's first flat, and it was such a convenient flat that it might as well have called me up beforehand and said "what's a good time for you?"

I was on my way back to the Whitby Go Station in the afternoon, and the flat happened about 800 metres from the station, so I had lots of time to just walk the bike to the station and still catch my train into Toronto, without having to pull a fast and furious tube change on the side of the road.
On the train platform I turned the bike upside down while I was waiting for the train to check the tire (it was the rear wheel by the way, I can't remember the last time I had a front wheel go flat) for glass etc, but I couldn't find anything.
When my train came in I set the bike upside down in the car, did the tube change, and then went to the little bathroom on the train to wipe the grease/dirt off my hands. (Some people, like my buddy Oliver, have the knack of the quick and dirt free tube cha…

Have wrench will pedal

I just found three blogs dedicated to chronicling life on a Supercycle.
Kind of neat - three guys who have taken on the challenge of performing all the repairs needed to keep their Supercycle bikes running, and seeing how many miles they can get on the bikes.

The blogs are:
Bike of Doom out in Winnipeg.
In this post the writer ponders the question of how long it is worth it to keep repairing his bike, and when you officially declare (after installing replacement parts) that the bike you are riding is no longer the bike you bought.

Urban Xavier in Montreal.

Maple Leaf Test Rides in Toronto.
He doesn't say where he got this stuff, but in this post he pastes a long rant from a Supercycle owner about bike shops, and then a rebuttal from a bike shop employee.

Anyway, just thought these were interesting cycling blogs. And it is an interesting question - when is the bike you ride no longer the bike you bought? After the first drive-train replacement? Bottom bracket? Wheelset?

And a Monday update:

Even St. Christopher needs some company sometimes

Herb from I Bike T.O. and I met up recently at the Urban Herbivore. He took a photo and I handed over my interview answers and I'm now written up in one of I Bike T.O.'s cyclist profiles.

I was careful with my words in the profile. I could have been a lot more disparaging about cycling in Durham, but I held back. There is simply no cycling infrastructure in Durham, and the single occupancy vehicle rate out there is staggering. It is so frustrating to ride your bike knowing that you're doing the right thing, but have to fight tooth and nail for your precious few feet of the road against motorists that you can't help feel aren't trying hard enough to find alternatives to their car.

I have been thinking about getting a sign that read "Honk if you love clean air - get out of your car if you want to do something about it" made to go onto my backpack.

Additionally - I'd be so much happier if I EVER saw another bike commuter on the road in Durham. I see roadies…

Long lost art of placing foot in mouth

I'd actually forgotten that I'd corresponded with Momentum Magazine out in B.C., and that they would have an article on the petition coming out soon. Thanks to Herb over at I Bike T.O. for reminding me about it.
The (now finished) cycling petition generated a few news stories, and I've read them all with a lot of trepidation, because I tend to shoot my mouth off more than I would usually like when I talk about cycling. I think I did that again in this interview, but hopefully any harsh comments will be forgiven.

Sounding like a moron in public got me thinking about former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle. There are actually Dan Quayle quote books because he was such a rich source of weird statements, like We don't want to go back to tomorrow, we want to go forward.

Ronald Reagan had some good quotes, though to be fair, Reagan was usually a witty guy. Robin Williams has a story though about Reagan making a crack about how nuclear weapons were no more dangerous than trees. A …

Hiking and the Bicycle Film Fest

Next week (August 22-26) is the Toronto Bicycle Film Fest, at the Royal Theatre in Little Italy. That sounds like a pretty cool combination - I hope I can make a couple of the shows. Lucas Brunelle - the genius filmmaker behind this crazy video has a special screening on Saturday the 25th.

Anna and I had a mini vacation this weekend and did a couple of the Bruce Trail hikes. This one was near the (tiny) town of Mono Centre. It was quite nice and we had some veggie samosas that we ate while enjoying this view. We did another hike though just north of here, and in my opinion this book got us lost with faulty directions. It definitely wasn't my fault - had to be the map. Dumb thing. Getting lost did have its advantages though - we saw a deer, a turtle and some turkey vultures (which ran out of the bush in front of us quite suddenly) that we wouldn't have otherwise seen.

And near Shelburne Ontario, where we saw the Canadian Olde Time Fiddle Championship, we saw a pretty cool lookin…

Global Warming Deniers

The most recent issue of Newsweek has a good article titled Global Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine. If you hate big corporations and kleptocracy and really want to brew up some angry resentment, give this article a go. Basically we're talking about the coal and oil industry sponsoring groups with misleading titles like the Information Council on the Environment (ICE) to counter all the scientific evidence that was coming out regarding human driven climate change.

All these pictures below are also from the Newsweek site incidentally.

The Newsweek article also mentions Republicans like Joe Barton and James Inhofe who very suspiciously were the heads of Senate Energy and Environmental committees, and would both froth at the mouth with rage and rabies whenever human-driven climate change reports came out. Hell, Barton would even launch an IRS audit on you if you were a researcher who'd written a "Yes, humans are causing it" report on climate change.

Man I hate these …

Raleigh and Sturmey-Archer

The second to last long weekend has come and gone. I rode Geoffrey's bike several times, and though it often wasn't pretty, I made it up every one of the hills that my route takes me along. I was riding with no hands at one point adjusting my sunglasses and promptly sailed into the ditch and the bush, but both the bike and I survived.

I pulled my Dad's old Raleigh out from behind the furnace in the basement to take a picture of it. Dad thinks it is a classic but I'm not so sure he could get more than $150.00 or so for it. That's what most of the bikes from this era seem to go for on Craigslist.

Dad figures it is from about 1970. It's a three-speed with Sturmey-Archer gearing and hub. It still works great, but wow, it is so weird to ride a bike like that. Your posture is SO upright, and with the handlebars coming towards you, I kind of felt like I was steering a kitchen chair around.

My Dad incidentally is not a cyclist, despite what these pictures might imply. He …

oh to be in Cape Breton

I commuted to work on this bike today. If you add together the Toronto and Durham portions of my commute, my one way trip is about 23 km, and that is the furthest I've ridden this bike so far. The bike needs some upgrades, particularly the wheelset, since they're the wheels I put thousands of kilometres on last summer when I was riding the whole way to Oshawa, and they weren't even new at that time. Anyway, the front wheel in particular is creaking like hell, the brakes are a bit past their prime, and the gearing I ended up choosing (I forget now actually - about 40 up front and 15 at the back?) will probably be a bit tough for the country roads I plan to use the bike on up north, but oh well, it was still a good ride today.

The September issue of Bicycling magazine has a teaser on the front cover titled "The Best Ride in North America". When you open it up, what does the best ride turn out to be? The Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. On behalf of …

Tuco wants a bike lane

I was talking to my buddy Oliver recently about relaxed cycling versus wound-up, nervous, bitter cycling, and came to the conclusion that the majority of the miles I pedal through Durham fall into the latter category.

Here's kind of a definition of the terms I'm using - "relaxed" cycling is when you're on a true bike trail, and you're sitting up on the saddle, your shoulders loose and your arms just dropping down to the bar and you're looking around enjoying the scenery.
"Bitter" cycling is when you are hunched down on your bike, gripping the handlebar tightly, a nervous pissed off aggression in your shoulders as you pedal over crappy pavement that is threatening to throw you left or right suddenly, and you have single occupant vehicle after single occupant vehicle squeezing past you with centimeters to spare.

"Bitter" cycling basically epitomizes bike commuting in Durham region, and after a year of doing this, it has really worn me down.…