Monday, January 30, 2012

Fixing the Fixed

Sometimes you have to show a bike a little bit of love, and winter is generally the best time to show your affection to your steeds.  With good weather a distant memory, there's no temptation to just let the work slide another day and go for a ride.  Locked away together in the garage or basement, one has both the time and the inclination to do a little work repairing or upgrading the damage of a season awheel.  This weekend seemed like a good time to give a little attention to my fixed gear, perhaps my least-rewarded bike.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Recyclists Extraordinaire

At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I want to give a hearty shout out to my friends Cindy and Brock Garvin who run RecycledAccessories, a web-based recycled bicycle accessory business in BC’s Okanagan. The Garvins have been making and selling high-end recycled bike trinkets since 2007—chains, spokes, and other high-end components transformed into stylish bracelets, necklaces, belt buckles, tie pins, and cufflinks. 
Hidden Link Bracelet

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bicycle Be-spectacle

A cold morning last week, I decided to ride my rarely-used winterized bicycle to Val’s Monday spin session in his garage—a distance of about 3 kilometers.  I took the necessary precaution of extra layers of clothing: a base layer, including a balaclava; a secondary level of wool, including a hoody; and a tertiary level of heavy winter coat, boots and mitts.    I was physically tired and hot before I left.  The bike worked well, and I was warm in the minus 40.  However, I did not think through the problem of wearing my glasses. Without my glasses, I can see no definition, no distance—hell, not much of anything. Of course, after a few blocks of riding, pushing out the warm air from my lungs, my glasses were covered in frost.   But I made the commitment to ride in the frigid conditions, so I forged on with limited vision and a love of riding my bike nonetheless.  Thankfully, I encountered no traffic, and the sidewalks were obvious to a man frost-blind.  I made it to Val’s garage, and I made it home. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Parts Bin Utility Bike

I've set myself up with the project of putting together a useful, load-carrying, get-around-town type bike.  The project preciptated when a few relics from my ancestral home made there way up here this fall, one of which was the first real mountain bike, hell, the first real bike, I'd ever bought.  Well, what made it up here was the frame of that bike--but that's alright.  That's where the heart of beast beats. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cycle Naked

I have never cycled naked. Not because I’m opposed to the idea. It’s just never really occurred to me. Until recently anyway.  With two appearances on this very blog of what I’m now calling Val’s “signature photo” of the naked-ass woman straddling a bicycle (from a series of provocative Brooks saddle ads), I’ve found myself thinking about naked bike riding. I’m sure the recent weather here helps explain this. It’s been so cold that even bundled up like a polar mummy you can only stand to be outside for a few minutes. I stare out the window at the frozen streets and try to imagine the heat of high summer, when clothing is a social courtesy, not a necessity for survival.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up"

The hoary, hard days of winter are firmly entrenched, and we have taken riding refuge in Val’s hospitable heated garage, guided by the steady encouragement of coach Troy who gently barks out orders: “Ok, put in the big ring on the front and 15 at the back… sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.”   We have watched his training videos many times; we can predicate the twitches of the riders in the videos, and we jeer at them as we sweat with them.  These training videos are paced effectively and I feel I am maintaining the cycling legs developed over last summer—all good. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Edmonton Snow Ride

Cold out today, legitimately cold.  -8 degrees Fahrenheit when I roll out of my garage, 22 below Zero if I want to talk Celsius and sound impressive.  Got wool on my feet, wool on my torso; Old Man Shaw would be proud.  Neoprene tights and a softshell jacket keep me in the space age, though.  Feeling a little daring, I go with my regular summer gloves inside my pogies.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Vélivre: Journey to the Centre of the Earth

No, not the Jules Verne tale—you won’t find giant mushrooms or subterranean dinosaurs here. But this adventure-cycling Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by British cousins Richard and Nicholas Crane, published in 1987, documents a trip that is so fantastical that you might be forgiven for thinking it the stuff of science fiction. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Inspiration #2

Some of you will have seen this before, and others will have heard of it.  That's ok.  It's absolutely worth watching again.  When it comes to the question of motivation and inspiration and all-out epic awesomeness, it's hard to do better than this little bit of film.  Watch it full screen.  Make time to watch it where you can concentrate on it.  It's worth the effort.  Then maybe watch it again. 

If it doesn't make you want to run out and buy some bear spray and an airplane ticket, I don't really understand how your soul works.

Bikerafting Alaska's Lost Coast: Yakutat to Glacier Bay. from lacemine29 on Vimeo.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why Penn Loves His Brooks Part 2

All My Posts Now Open With This

When I last talked about Penn’s adoration of his new Brooks B-17, I spoke about the advantages of the thin saddle.  At the end of that piece, I promised to return to the subject and talk about another reason he and his Brooks get along so well: saddle width.  Paying attention to saddle width is another way a rider can custom-tune their equipment to their anatomy. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Code of the Semi-Serious Cyclist: Part 3 (Speed)

The Semi-Serious Cyclist likes to go fast. But only sometimes. Being semi-serious doesn’t necessarily mean riding half the speed of a serious cyclist. Instead, the SSC just prefers to go fast about half the time. 

The SSC totally gets the appeal of speed. Even the most casual, Wal-Mart-bike-riding cyclist would be hard pressed to deny this fact:  It’s fun to go fast on a bicycle. Anyone who’s ever gone for a spin on pretty much any bike knows there’s nothing quite like that exhilaration that comes from grooving along, flying down the road, spinning, driving, hammering—whatever you want to call it. Especially when there’s a wicked tailwind, or the legs feel unusually strong, or there’s stress to burn, or only one hour will have to do instead of three, or when the whole damn ride feels slightly downhill, or, simply, when the spirit moves.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Inspiration #1

I was going to write a little something about how sometimes the depths of winter lead to a desire for some external motivation

But, really, what we all need is a little more inspiration.  There are guys out there doing cool things.  Big things.  Things that make your indecision about commuting to work on two wheels tomorrow seem petty and paltry. 

Take a look.  Get inspired.  Go big.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Racking a Pugsley

Winter is the season for bike projects.  Spring is when an old man's thoughts turn towards cycling, but warm weather is for pedaling.  Winter is the time to dream up next year's plans, and when you can, make them manifest.  My list this winter includes racking up my Pugsley in case it happens to take me far afield this summer.  The Pugsley, though, has gotten itself a bit of a reputation as being difficult to fit for a rack, so I wasn't sure what was ahead of me.  But I thought I might have found a secret weapon.