Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Ride of 2011

With the temperature hovering near zero, there was nothing so pressing in my life that I couldn't go for a long bike ride.  The recent freezing rain left a glossy coating of ice on every surface but was no match for my studded tires.  Although I must confess that I almost lost it near the Antique Mall when I cut my front wheel too tightly to make way for a determined and focused shopper.
Shopper induced skid mark

The view of the emerald green water flowing underneath the High Level was a sight for sore eyes since the river is often the colour of a double double.  The fact that a subway train was stopped on the LRT bridge was just icing on the cake.
The view from up top

The bear bells were still attached to the pedals of my winter bike from the Jingle Ride and their sound seemed to upset every dog that I passed - especially the three I  in a scat and snow covered lawn.  I pass these dogs twice a day normally and they never let out a peep.
Excited by bear bells?

I take encouragement wherever I find it and when I passed an old dude whose lighted cigarette only deepened the nicotine stains on his already coloured moustache, his declaration of "YEAH - HAW!" helped send me on my way and seemed to portend that 2012 is going to be a year to remember.

Have a great New Years!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Did It My Way

It was gratifying to open up the national weekend paper and find an article about cycle training in a very prominent place in the Sports section. Surely this means that cycling is becoming a much more recognized activity than it has been given in the past.
Having a swell time

The article in the paper described the training set-up and training routine of our national team in preparation for the Tour De France.  The team captain, a yellow jersey wearer himself and the rest of the team look like they are having a terrific time sitting on their stationary bikes and with loads of electrodes and wires and cables snaking from their fantastically fit bodies to sophisticated electronic monitors.
My way

As you can see from the photo, my set-up is somewhat less elaborate.  It still does the job of monitoring my heartrate, keeping me cool, timing me and the DVD player keeps me amused while exercising in the basement.  The other thing in the basement that keeps me amused is the trainer that I ride on.  It is simply made up of two rails that support three nylon rollers that the wheels of the bike fit snugly onto.  It takes numerous tries to determine the correct speed to begin pedaling.  Press too hard on the pedals and the bike flings itself off the rollers.  Don't press hard enough and you have no forward momentum to keep you upright.
One set of rollers

A fellow at United Cycle told me about how some bicycle trainers he knows can hop from one set of rollers to another, pedal for a while and then hop back to the first.  It is all I can do to stay upright and on the rollers.  When I lose concentration and my bike inevitably careens off the trainer, the entertainment unit that appeared so far away comes charging at me very quickly at 10 miles per hour!

Someone from up above will shout down the basement stairwell "We heard a lot of crashing and breaking sounds - are you alright?"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas and Thank You!

Photo courtesy of

To all my faithful bicycle friends I want to extend my warmest wishes not only for this particular season but for the whole year.

I've appreciated you following my blogs and hopefully some of them have interested, informed or amused you throughout the year.

If you would care to send me your email address - I'll make arrangements to send you a little something to show my appreciation.

I can be contacted at:

Oh - and a Happy New Year to you as well!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Proctor Townsend

The new addition
A PT.  A Proctor Townsend.  Made in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  By a Mr. Proctor and a Mr. Townsend (oddly enough).  I said goodbye to Mississippi 'Red this morning and took possession of this fine hand made bike.  It's not a lot different than Mississippi 'Red but it is a jazzed up version and has Proctor/Townsend logos all over it.  Call me neurotic, but if I'm going to be a proud owner/rider of a Proctor Townsend, then I want it plastered all over my bike.

Alex at Bikeworks did point out that the handle bars will need replacing since these ones are steel.  I'll want to take off the rat trap pedals and replace them with my SPD's.  The pink polka-dotted seat will have to go - I'll be putting on the Spiderflex when this baby hits the road in spring-time.  As well, I stripped the mid-line brakes levers off of Mississippi 'Red and will be putting them on what I think I'm going to call Mississippi Too.

My brother asked me if owning this bike makes me a Proctologist?*&^%$#@!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jingle All the Way (Part Two)

Candy Ass Ride
Wow!  Look at that bike!  Incredibly decorated! 

I'd like to say that a number of brave souls showed up but with the weather being so mild, it didn't take bravery to join the "Jingle Ride".  Coreen who organized the ride expected some winter cycling newbies to join us, but all of us were winter riders.  So without much ado, we filed out of BikeWorks under the glare of CITY TV's television lights.  They planned to broadcast a story about the ride on today's Breakfast Television.

Our first stop was not far away in a residential area on the southside.  The display of lights surrounding the whole house was so over-the-top that we felt sorry for all the neighbours whose fine displays would have garnered accolades under normal circumstances, but paled in comparison to this one house.  Neon palm trees, Santa's doffing hats, reindeer twirling above the garage, arches made from candy canes and too many other colourful radiance's to mention.

Coreen's handlebars
Kim's pannier
Candy Candy Candy
It was terrific fun to ride across the High Level Bridge, along Jasper Ave.,  ride to the top of a downtown parkade (and zoom down as well), and race through the library's underground parking lot where a disgruntled security guard shouted for us to stop (which we roundly ignored) as we ripped through the warm underground structure.

Most of the group had packed skates along with their gear and it was with welcome relief that we all warmed up in the skating shack at the Legislature and munched on Christmas candy and power bars while Alex and Brett marvelled at the heated outhouses that had been installed around the rink.  With heated seats no less!

The Legislature rink

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jingle All the Way

Anticipation for jumping on our bikes and doing the "Jingle Ride" is mounting (no pun intended).  It is a long wait until spring when the next "Tweed Ride" is scheduled so when another special ride is announced, the excitement builds quickly.

I heard from a contact of mine that Coreen of the fine bicycle blog "Breaking Chains and Taking Lanes" has organized a winter ride to enjoy some of the more spectacular Christmas lights strung up in our fair city.  She even plans a half hour seminar on winter cycling to give fair weather riders a chance to experience winter pedaling.

While at "BikeWorks" yesterday, I tried to come up with a practical method of lighting my bike with Xmas lights.  I asked Brett who is always in the shop if he had any ideas and he suggested that I contact Chris Chan who for sure will have his bike decked out in holiday lighting.  Chris is the wizard of bike lighting and gives a course at "BikeWorks" on two wheel chariot illumination.

I did manage to come up with the "Jingle" part of the ride.  I remembered riding my Trek mountain bike within the bowels of the Bulldog Tunnel on the Kettle Valley Railway and coming across a cyclist who had strapped bear bells to his pedals so that they made a constant ringing/jingling sound as he laboured uphill to the summit at the "Paulson" .  I figured I could take the two bear bells off of Furry Lewis and attach them to my winter bike pedals and at least make some sort of effort to celebrate Xmas cycling.

I went to the dollar store to find those illumination sticks, bracelets or necklaces.  You know - the ones that glow in the dark.  I couldn't find any - they must be out of season.  Why they would only be for sale in the summer when the days here are longest is beyond moi.  But I did discover an idea for decorating my bike - turning it into a candy cane by wrapping white paper or cloth around the frame and then running a long red ribbon around that.  I'll let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I've got a Crush

It never seems to fail that when you're on the bicycle trail that the thought of one particular food or drink takes hold.  On this year's trip it was pie (see Sept.7th blog) from the Copper Eagle Cafe in Greenwood B.C.  On this same trip when we met Butch Cassidy and he described a beer, burger and fries for 10 bucks (see August 12th blog) we couldn't wait to get to Christina Lake and chow down on that delicious sounding food.
Special Edition Crushmobile

I had to laugh when I found an abandoned orange bike in my neighbourhood and upon closer inspection discovered that it was a Hires Root Beer bike and Orange Crush labelled bike.  Now this is an older Raleigh mountain bike and it weighs a ton.  While it is in good shape, I discounted it as a winter bike since the 19" frame is too big for my stubby inseam.
Found abandoned

What made me laugh was the Orange Crush decal (as some people say dee-cal) which reminded me of one of our Kettle Valley Railway bike tours where my friend Roy and I got the image of an orange crush stuck in our heads.  It was undoubtably hot as Roy loves to cycle in hot weather.  The idea of an ice cold, sweet carbonated drink burning the back of our throats took hold of our imaginations and with each pedal stroke that took us closer to Chute Lake where we anticipated rewarding ourselves with such a fine concoction the notion lodged more firmly in our minds.

The dee-cal
And sure enough, when we arrived in Chute Lake they had ice cold cans of Orange Crush just waiting for us to quaff.  You see when we're on one of our extended bike tours, it doesn't really matter what we eat and drink.  Just climbing Anarchist Mountain required 5,000 calories so eating Rock Creek Cheese buns and drinking Orange Crush pop seemed a reasonable and delicious way to replace that burned up energy.

We didn't have to stop and think about buying a case of Orange Crush when we were grocery shopping for the return trip.  Stuffing the cans into a large cooler full of ice and glugging them down on the way back home gave us a constant reminder of our recent trip and a little walk down memory lane since both Roy and I drank this pop when we were kids growing up.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Sore A**

On the MS bike tour there is a team called "So and So and the Sore Arses" and after winter cycling on the crappy seat that came with my winter bike, I feel I could join that particular team. Within minutes of riding, I could feel pressure not on my man bits but a piece of anatomy my daughter tells me is the coccyx.


Trusty Spiderflex

Another view of a great seat

 I vowed that before my commute this morning, I would install my trusty Spiderflex seat that has easily 10,000 miles of comfortable riding under its belt (so to speak).

Crappy seat
And before you go - make a selection from the newly installed buttons down below:  FUNNY  INTERESTING   INFORMATIVE   MEH   ?