Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Strip One Build One

There's still lots of summer left and there are three big cycling events that are yet to come. On Thursday night, the MS Mountain Tour training begins in Terwilligar Park in preparation for the tour in Hinton in September, on Friday I leave with Roy for our "Tour De Couer D'Alene" in Idaho and last but not least there is the Kettle Valley Railway trip that begins right after Hinton.

A good part of the  weekend was spent in my basement where the temperature was ten degrees cooler than the upstairs part of the house.  That was after Friday's Critical Mass ride where a bunch of us rode the downtown streets, crossed the High Level Bridge and cruised down Whyte Ave.

My "bike shop" is downstairs and it was a busy time stripping down Furry Lewis to get him ready for a training ride that my daughter Jackie and I had planned for Sunday afternoon.  Most of the parts that came off Furry Lewis went onto the MOAB - the device to raise up the handlebars, the handlebar extensions, the hand-grips and the Spiderflex seat.

The MS Mountain Tour
My plan was to have the MOAB kitted out as it would be for the Idaho trip and make any adjustments during the week as I ride it to and from work.  Also, as a training aid, I wanted to fill the handle bar bag and the panniers with as much weight as possible so that I have several days to get used to a heavily - laden bike.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, there is nothing worse than loading up the bike with all the camping gear and discovering with the first pedal strokes that "HOLY S**T THIS BIKE WEIGHS A TON!!".

Mountain Tour training

Friday, July 27, 2012

Holy Shigoaly!

It has only dawned on me this morning that in just one week my intrepid cycling friend Roy and I will be leaving for Idaho and our bikepacking trip will begin.  The plan is to cycle the "Trail of the Coeur D' Alenes" although we don't have very much information to go on.  A friend of mine found a Northwest Rails to Trails guidebook but it will take too long to arrive here in the mail so we're winging it for now.
Except for being paved, it looks pretty good

Another friend wants me to find him some Old Joe pipe tobacco and it seems now when I travel,  I'm looking for specific items to bring back from my trips.  A couple of months ago I came back from Israel with two rosaries, a religious icon, some Holy water, a baseball cap, a Tora written in Hebrew, small gifts for two nun friends and a piece of the Western Wall for my daughter.

Last week I had the foresight to start pulling out my bicycle camping gear and I was surprised to find that I had neatly stowed all the equipment in one place.  Except for the Thermarest which is stored uninflated under a bed in the basement.  I still need to go to MEC to buy some freeze-dried foods like spaghetti and meatballs and go to Starbucks and buy a few packets of their Via instant coffee.

I'll be riding my Schwinn MOAB bike on the trip since it is the lightest MTB that I have.  Last night I pulled it down from its hanger in the garage and when I put it up on the repair stand and gave it an initial inspection, I discovered that it needs quite a lot of work to get it ready for the trail.
There is just enough time before next Friday to: 1. Fix the brakes  2. Swap out the tires  3. Install handlebar bag  4. Put on double sided clipless pedals  5. Attach handle bar extensions  6. Raise up the handlebars  7.  Fasten the Spiderflex seat  8. Install cyclometer  9. Clean the chain/rear cassette 10. Lubricate the chain

The end result of all those preparations!  (photo by K.Roy)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Foldey Hawn Down

Foldey Hawn

It all started with a flat rear tire on one of my favourite bikes - the foldey.  To take the rear tire off involves disengaging the drum brake, stowing away the fender brackets and using a wrench to loosen the nuts on the axle.

Once I had the tube out I found a cut the size of a finger knuckle wrinkle gracing the top of the tube.  After inspecting the inside of the tire, I could find no reason for the small tear and it was a simple matter to replace the tube with the 20" one I had bought at MEC.

It was when I began to install the wheel back onto the bike that the trouble began.  The way the derailleur was seated just did not seem right and when I shifted, the chain kept flying into the frame even though it had worked properly up to being dismantled.

I went so far as to print off a picture of the bike that I had taken a couple of years ago amd using a magnifying glass, I quickly discovered that a small bolt and odd shaped nut were in the wrong hole and causing the derailleur to be misaligned.
Good old dectective work
In desperation, I had used my chainbreaker to remove the chain thinking that without a chain, the whole thing would be easier to reassemble.  My mistake was to be too enthusiastic with the chainbreaker and I managed to push one of the pins all the way through the chain.  I had been told that it was impossible to put the pin back in but by using pliers to hold the pin and a ballpeen hammer to deliver an accurate stroke, the pin slid nicely into its corresponding hole and all the parts fit back together - completing a job that had flummoxed me for two weeks.
Correctly assembled

With temperature outside this morning at a comfortable 11 degrees and the streets clear of water from last nights storm, it was a commute that felt more like fall than the middle of the summer.  Since I arrived at work before all my co-workers, I had the pleasure of riding down the block - long hall to my work space where the foldey fit very nicely under my desk.
Aren't all those wires and cables attractive?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bike Month Critical Mass

Just some of the souls on the ride

Crossing the High Level Bridge

What a perfect end to "Bike Month" here in our northern city.  The sun was shining and still very high in the sky and the riders who congregated at City Hall were dressed in their summer clothes.  In fact The Raving Bike Fiend and I were wearing the very same brown shorts.  When women discover they are wearing the same outfits it is cause for great concern but when men are dressed alike it is a time for admiring each others outfit and pointing out the fine features that made their purchase so necessary.

The leaders took us on a route that avoided Jasper Avenue and all its construction mess.  Taking over the bike/bus/taxi lane on 102 Avenue seemed a fitting thing to do on a Critical Mass ride.  When we turned down 109 Street toward the High Level Bridge, a message was passed down the line that we would only be taking over the right hand lane on the bridge instead of the two that are usually occupied on this monthly trek.

As we pulled into Gazebo Park after cruising down Old Strathcona's main drag, the acrid smell of marijauna smoke filled the air as a small group of individuals puffed the evening away.  None of us partook as we are high performance athletes and inhaling smoke would limit our abilities on our two wheel machines.  And if you believe that...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Steri Pen

One big problem with back country bike packing is having a supply of potable water.  A camping cyclist must always literally weigh the advantages and disadvantages of carrying lots of water.

Anyone who has suffered with water-borne parasites will never want to experience that malady again.  In the past, I've had Giardia twice and the cure is almost as bad as the infestation.  The prescription is to injest an evil - tasting insecticide and then follows a number of scat examinations.  Not fun!

Yes, you need water.  But at 2 1/2 pounds per liter.....

A great solution to this problem is a device called a Steri-Pen.  Mine is a battery operated, handheld ultraviolet light that in 90 seconds will turn spring fed water, lake or stream water into a safe and useable commodity.
In use at night

Last year on our annual bikepacking trip, my fine cycling companions Roy and Perry found a clear, sparkling spring just off the rail trail and since it was near our campsite at Lafferty, we not only had all the water we wanted for our camp that night but as we passed it in the morning on our way to Grand Forks, we were able to stock up on its crystal clear water.  90 seconds of Steri-Pen use per bottle and we were able to keep ourselves hydrated in fine fashion.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Live Streaming

In preparation for the Steam Punk bike ride two Sundays ago, I made up a quick pair of recycled streamers for my handlebars.  In just a few easy steps, you can make a pair of your own and wow all your friends!

It's a simple matter of taking two discarded inner tubes and once you've decided on the length that you want the streamers to be, cut the tube on either side of the valve stem.

Make one cut all the way around at right angles to the stem.

Using a pair of scissors, cut along the length of the tube and make as many 3 or 4 mm. strips as you can manage.

If you're lucky there will be a hole in the end of your handgrip and it's a simple matter of pushing the valve stem into the hole and voila - recycled streamers.

If the hole isn't big enough, use a drill to widen the hole, remembering to not make the orifice too big - you want some resistance to hold the streamers in place.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cross Seasons

Cycling to work this morning with the temperature sitting at 8 degrees Celsius (46 F), it felt more like the end of summer than the beginning of the summer season.  There was a heavy dew on the green lawns lining my commute route.  Parked cars had a thick sheen of condensation covering every window and I wished I had worn my long fingered cycling gloves.
The weather wasn't quite this bad
I feel your pain!
With my hands being a little bit cold, I got to thinking that I still needed to finish making the "Bar Mitts" that I had begun sewing last winter.  The pieces are still sitting in a heap in the basement and I'm reminded that they are finished every time I go downstairs.

The ride in this morning felt like fall riding and I chided myself with the thought that in the summer I need to plan for winter riding and winter is the best time to prepare for summer cycling.