Friday, November 30, 2012

The MB 2000 Project

One way to help get through a long Alberta winter without (much) cycling is to have a bike project, some kind of substantial undertaking that can be stretched out over several snowy months. This winter, my 12-year-old son Gil and I have the MB 2000. That’s the code name for the bicycle we’re building.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Vélivre: Just Ride

Grant Petersen is on a mission. The author of Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike, and chief dude behind Rivendell Bike Works, explains in the introduction of his provocative book that he is out to draw attention to what he sees as “bike racing’s bad influence” on cycling and “undo it.” In 89 short bloggish chapters, Petersen makes the compelling argument that many “serious” cyclists are living a fantasy in which they uncritically adopt the training strategies, equipment, and accessories of professional bike racers for no good reason other than “it’s what the pros do.”  Petersen points out that such a line of thinking is not only illogical, but it also leaves most cyclists uncomfortable, pretentiously dressed, and with needlessly lighter wallets. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Garage Season

It's pretty fucking much here.

And that's all there is to say.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fatty in the Snow

An early November snow dump, a borrowed fat bike, and a day off work –all the ingredients for the ultimate Snow Day, fat-bike style.

Penn, my good friend, is so far under the weather I can barely see him, but he graciously offers me his Pugsley and points me toward Edmonton’s river valley. “Go forth, ride hard, have fun!” he exhorts in a scratchy voice. Val meets me under the Groat bridge. My hands are already cold, so I bust open my chemical warmers and begin massaging them inside my mitts. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Earned Rest Day System

"How many miles do you guys go in a day?"

When you're out on tour, that's a question you hear a lot. Almost every day, actually. In this small way, at least, the common man seems to recognize that it really is more about the journey than the destination.  And, really, figuring out that number is a key element of the ritual of trip planning.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pushing the Season

That’s what the marketing business calls it when retailers roll out their Christmas crapola the day after Halloween. It’s only the fledgling days of November and yet there’s festive egg nog on the Safeway shelf, “Christmas Blend” at Starbucks, “White Christmas” oozing out of the speakers at the mall, and even a big display of “gently used” Xmasy knick-knacks at Value Village. Marketing geniuses are stretching out Christmas like some cheap spandex shorts. “Christmas Creep” it’s sometimes called. (Though that might also be an apt description of the marketer who came up with the idea.) It’s more like “pushing the season” down our throats before we’ve even swallowed our Candy Kisses.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tasting Notes: Sharkies vs. Worms

For some reason, I find myself thinking about candy this week. While the kids have been chomping away on Rockets, mini-chocolate bars, and Tootsie Rolls, I have turned my attention to cyclists’ candy.  I’m talking about the latest energy snack sensation: chews, those semi-solid gummy-bear-like confections marketed to athletes who want easily digestible, portable carbs. These days, almost all the big players in the energy snack market produce some version of this product: Stinger’s Energy Chews, CliF’s Shot Bloks, Powerbar’s Gel Blasts, just to name some of the big boys.