Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Says it all
While quaffing green beer at Sherlock's on St. Patrick's Day, my friend the Raving Bike Fiend let it slip that he was going to be picking up a Raleigh 20" folding bike.  A lady had called him and said she'd had one in the garage for 40 years and wanted to make a donation of said bike.
Not China
My bar mate described the colour as "Root Beer" and that the bike was in excellent shape.  Would I be interested?  Do chickens have lips?  I was interested not because I was tired of Foldey Hawn but because I had seen Keith's 20" bike at a number of events and thought it had features I would like.  Foldy Hawn doesn't have a pannier rack for example.  So whenever I ride her, I have to stow everything in a packsack on my back.
The rootbeered folder
While replacing the rubber in my friend's shop, he recommended modern brakes that are more efficient.  The ones that are installed on the bike are rather mushy and you can see the brake calipers move when engaged.  As well, a Brooks leather saddle would round out the look of the bike and it is time that I broke down and spent the bucks on one of those fine seats.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bob Bob Bobbing Along

With the money from the sale of my old car, I bought not one but two B.O.B. trailers - you've seen them I'm sure.  The long, aerodynamic trailers that amost double the length of your bike.  B.O.B. stands for Beast of Burden.


Some people certainly take the burden part seriously.  A couple of years ago in Taipei I saw several examples of bicycles absolutely covered in crap.
No sudden stops please!  I might end up a basket case!

So much crap that you had to wonder if the cyclist could see where they were going.  Forget about a sudden stop where baskets and bricks and chickens would be flung across the road and pandemonium ensues.
Don't sneeze!

The particular model of B.O.B. trailers I bought are called the YAK.  Not because they are made in B.C. but because in a lot of countries, the Yak is the beast of burden.
Yahk, B.C.
The trailers came equipped with two bent wires that secure the trailer to the axle.  It was suggested to me that I could make my own from two spokes.  So why did I order some from Mountain Equipment Co-op?  The trailers also came with BOB nuts.  WTF?
Nuts to this
My first outing with the trailer securely attached with the supplied bent wires, was a success.  As someone told me - if a space is wide enough for your handlebars, then it is wide enough for the trailer.  The traction on my rear tire was improved and I was organized enough to have thought to bring a second U-lock for the trailer.

Unlike the cyclists I saw in Taipei, my trailer can only hold up to seventy pounds and it is best to keep that weight close to the ground.  You won't see me pulling a mountain of gack behind me.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Swapping Good Times

With ten bikes scattered in and around my property, perhaps it is time to let some of them go.  I can only ride them one at a time - so what is the point of having so many?  Sure, I can argue that I need specific bikes for specific purposes.  My winter bike is configured differently than the one I use for bikepacking.  The folding bike called "Foldy Hawn"  is so much fun to ride and I enjoy passersby yelling out "Nice Circus Bike!".
Nice circus bike
My wife is convinced that if I only fixed the gears and the brakes on the tandem that then she would be happy to ride along...and how many three speed bikes do I need?  The Triumph that the Raving Bike Fiend gave me is one of my faves, so why not sell the one under a tarp leaning against the woodshed?

The tandem
And then there is "Furry Lewis" named after a bluesman who time had forgotten that cost me $500.00 seven years ago but has been constantly upgraded so that now another $1,000.00 worth of parts have been lovingly installed...
Furry Lewis

My favourite bike is the MOAB which matches my cycling buddy from Calgary's bike.  It fits me perfectly and I still get a charge out of Roy and I riding the same bikes.
The matched pair decked out for bikepacking
The whole idea is to sell the bikes at the Alberta Bike Swap and use the money to buy a BOB (Beast of Burden) trailer which I can use in place of driving an automobile.  I'm confident that my daughter will have me pick up her heavy groceries from the organic food store across town and compared to the last time she asked, it will be a pleasure!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

This Post Could Save Your Life

As a cameraman, thirty years ago I was assigned to cover a news story about a plane crash in the wilds of Alberta that took the life of the Leader of the Opposition but through strange luck, the Minister of Housing's life was saved by the survival skills of a convicted felon.

All through a bitterly cold Alberta winter night, the convict kept all the other survivors warm and awake until help arrived.  After covering that story, I put together a survival kit just in case I ever needed it.  This was all pre - 911 so air transportation security was pretty slack and taking a knife or matches on board the plane did not present any problems.

My son, Ragnar the Trader, has gotten me interested in preparing a survival kit once again and since I'm a cyclist, I thought that carrying one on my bike would be a prudent thing to do.

Simple soap container
For $1.25 I bought a simple backpacking soap container and placed a number of pieces inside (with room to spare for more)!  Most of the survival items are miniatures of their car-camping brothers and sisters but will do the job.  They are:

Water purification tablets
A magnesium fire starter
Bandaids and butterfly sutures
A whistle
One tea light
A flashlight with red beam
Storm-proof matches
A compass with fluorescent markings
Safety pins
A wire saw
Needles and thick thread
Wooden tongue depressor (the wood can help start a fire)
One zip tie
Brass wire (to make a snare)
Fishing hooks and line
The kit is just 200 grams which is what a cheap derailleur weighs and fits perfectly into my front handlebar bag.

While I may never be in the desperate situation that the plane crash victims mentioned above were in, I'll know that I have at least prepared for a small emergency that could arise at any time.