Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sturmey-Archer Work Finally Underway

I will need to do a post on how intimidating I am finding the cold this year (getting old?!). Thus my lack of input for my beloved BLOG.
Nevertheless, I hope for inspiration from my new weather-proof hub (weather-proof means coming home and being able to more-or-less quick-wipe my bike and come inside instead of staying in a freezing garage, soaked in sweat and cleaning the drivetrain everyday).
Once around the horn. 3x to go. My Discraft BUZZZ also getting in on some action.

Um. There shouldn't be extra nipples should there?

Laced but not yet trued-up.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sturmey-Archer S2 Duomatic

I have been coveting the Sturmey-Archer S2 Duomatic hub for two years. I love a streamlined look, and I have a less-is-more attitude for most things.

An internally geared hub seems to meet the criteria. 
While I will not be able to use this Sturmey-Archer set-up for races like the Paris-to-Ancaster, or the Hilly Billy Roubaix, it should serve me very well for my flat, rural-urban commute.
I hesitated to make the purchase sooner because I was scared off by spending more on a bicycle that is already perfectly functional. However, my hesitation did cost me in the end as the price increased from $100 to $150 over that period. I suppose the consolation is that the hub was also improved over the same time.
I ordered from Downtown Bike Hounds and it arrived a week later. I went with black. So far I enjoy holding it and staring, but before long I will muster up the energy to build it up.
With the winter on our doorstep, I am feeling like this will be a slick, efficient purchase with minimal wet-weather maintenance required. It would be ideal to add a Gates Carbon Drive but there is no split in the frame to allow the option.
My older aluminum Diamondback frame makes sense for a winter commute because it's aluminum, but I must use my nice, steel, Paké because of the drops.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Ride for Refuge 2013

It's the same route every year, but a nice one.  The skies were a bit dull and it didn't rain, so that's a bonus, but I think it dulled some of the colour on the trees.

My work is one of the partners of the Ride and that means people can choose to raise money on our behalf.  In fact, we managed over 15k for the shelter where I work.

My daughter and wife turned right where I turned left - and they did a 25km route.  I did the 50km.  Considering I haven't been leisure riding much of late, this was a good distance. I kind of pushed it so I'd get a bit of a work out.

I'll have some better photo's later but for now I defer to the GoPro.

A midway rest area.  Lots of sugar available!

I always admire folks on the tandems and cargo's who do these things.  I don't like them to finish ahead of me (I know, its not technically a race), but they have my utmost respect. Also, noshing on a Sweet n' Salty I got at the rest stop.

Colour's? Meh. Give it a week.
It's me with some of the guests who use the shelter.  They were easily the best rest stop on the length of the Ride.
Back at the start/finish. Now for some homemade chilli!
Perfect weather! Enjoy your ride!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Leisure Ride with Friends - Back on the Bicycle

I simply have not been riding.
Between having a brutal head-cold, lack of motivation on cold mornings and needing a car at work to shuttle myself through a day of meetings I have found plenty of excuses.
As I was slowly watching my waistline grow, my wife suggested we call some friends to get out and ride on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Great suggestion.

We rallied at their house on the mountain, and JD took us on a nice loop nearby.  First we skulked along the mountain brow (a well trod path on a day like today). Then we circled back north toward his place and Valley Park. Finally into a local conservation area I had always wanted to explore but never taken the chance to do so.

JD is fresh off finishing the Great Divide race. His frame failed with a few hundred miles to go (and he still finished!) and this was his first time out on the new replacement. Pretty sharp setup.
You never know when the GoPro is aimed at you! Here my wife takes a break to enjoy the view.
We left hills out of the equation, our total mileage might have been about 10 (miles), and there was no perspiration of any kind involved. You know, its just what the doctor ordered! Sometimes whatever it takes to get back in the saddle is enough.

No roots, no slippery stones ... this path is just my speed!

Cave entrance.  I didn't go inside but its clear that lots of others had.
I'm away for the next few days but when I get back to the normal routine I plan on my bicycle being a part of that.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Morning at the Cannon

A friend flew in from Edmonton and wanted to meet up so I recommended the Cannon.  He's quite a coffee connoisseur and gave their pour-over-style the thumbs up.  I wish I had taken a shot of our breakfast sandwiches - they were pretty decadent as well.

I got the GoPro rolling for the ride home and went a bit out of my way to have some fun.  Not too many days like this left.

If I was trying to make time I would have headed south right away, instead I headed east to the Red Hill expressway and it's parallel gravel path.

At times, the highway isn't very far away (immediately to my left in the photo below).

Then back into traffic once I hit Queenston, and from there, Highway #8 and home.  This fellow came close and his mirror even closer!

Whereas this bus driver left his rightful lane in order to give me space.  Thanks HSR!

The new bike lanes on Highway #8 are nice. Let's see if they keep them plowed in the winter.

Overall observations. It's now officially cold on the hands in the morning and not much better by noon.  The Kenda Small-Block 8's needed a bit more pressure today but should (as always) prove excellent once the weather really turns.  My brake hoods are beginning to feel like they stretch me out a bit too far so I might need to look for an alternative, shallow, handlebar that can get them in a bit closer.

I'm also beginning to think that I should look into a 58" frame. Wondering if the 60" is too much for me. Perhaps that's part of the issue.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Music in My Head

A quick errand is fun and simple but regardless of whether its a long ride or minutes there's often a tune recycling through my head.

The launch bay as amateurishly recorded via GoPro.

Last of the lovely days? We'll see.

Destination achieved.
Here are two clues.  See if you can guess the tune and/or the artist without doing a web search.

#1 - I'm a 60's, 70's and 80's sort of guy. Not too much use for 90's music.
#2 - "Woke up in my clothes again this morning. Don't know exactly where I am."

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Before the Rain Comes

Riding south to Smithville again today.

This is a nice stretch along Church Road.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Serendipity to the South

I woke up early enough to beat the usual Saturday morning garage-sale-crowd to the roads. I was pretty certain I wanted to bicycle into Smithville but was somewhat less certain about how I would get there.
My memory did not serve me as my best recollection was an endless series of minor highways littered with heavy truck traffic. Not anyone's ideal riding condition.

I took ridge road east through Grimsby mountain. It's a route I know well enough but knew that I would eventually have to turn south.

To my surprise I found a lovely series of quiet roads and a touch of gravel as well! In fact, they led me all the way to Smithville without so much as a single truck passing.

I couldn't get over the number of airplane exhaust trails. Kind of pretty though.

Once in Smithville I passed up the ubiquitous Tim Horton's Donuts in search of something with a bit more of a local flavour.  Whereas Timmy's dominated the coffee crowd on the east side of the town I found Jackie's Bakery & Cafe on the west side.  Tremendous! Just what I had hoped for: a quiet, local spot, with a large hot tea and a fresh raspberry donut. It was difficult to choose which delicious confection from her large selection so I'll just have to go back again!

Jackie even had a map that I could take. Very helpful because I didn't want to take the same route home but hadn't planned far enough ahead to ensure I'd not get lost using another route.

I have a real aversion to large homes. It's  a long story. But to be fair, I do find some from time to time that are thoughtfully designed and beautifully constructed. Actually, it's not all that rare of a thing. And so I decided I should be sharing more photos of such places (And churches as well. I see a lot of really great churches).

Nice new Tudor. Hard to see from here but it's a beautiful spot.
I'm deeply interested in things like simplicity and sustainable living and don't show that enough on my blog. Here is a photo-worthy house I passed on the way home.

Today's ride held many wonderful surprises. I'll be heading south again. Soon.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sharbot Lake Triathlon: circa 1985

1985 is the only year these mugs identify but I'm pretty sure they run 1984-1986.
My parents are downsizing and moving. When I packed up my old bedroom I found these relics: three mugs that I received from participating in the Sharbot Lake triathlon.

I used to count the people I passed on the bike portion and it usually went over 100. I used to run a 38 minute 10k, even after the swim and bike. BUT I could literally only swim to save my life.  Many was the time in triathlon competition I thought I might drown. I'm surprised they even let me compete. I was a floating liability!

Ah! The good 'ol days.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Backroad Bliss

Mornings in the country are always nice on a day like this; clear, cool, dry, breezy but not windy. I cannot imagine conditions being much better.

Action shot: here I come.


I didn't leave the cottage especially early this morning but no one else was up when I left and that makes it all the more serene.
It feels too long since I have saddled up for a leisure ride but soon as I am on the gravel I wonder why I've left it so long.
These roads are normally very quiet so it was a first for me to pass a road cyclist (looked like he was training) on a paved section and someone out for a run.  The city "lifestyle" is clearly making its way into this farming community.

Trans Canada Trail runs through here. Might have to properly check that out someday.

Ah, yes. This is what I was looking for!

Small Methodist church outside Balderson. I think it's defunct though.

Bridge near Fallbrook. I thought it crossed the Fall River but I'll need to double-check.

I love the city and all its variety but I also love the tranquility of the country.  It's interesting to me that the further I physically bicycle into the middle of nowhere the further my desire is for the city - but when I am back at home I love it too. Which would I choose if I had to? Not sure.
Rounded out my ride with a stop at Balderson Cheese for a coffee. Wonderful way to spend time here at the cottage.
This pic is actually outside Coutts Coffee in Perth. It was a better shot than the Balderson stop.
Photos all courtesy of my friends GoPro. Still don't quite have the knack of it but its a really fun tool to bring along.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Niagara River Parkway

Never in my adult life have I taken 2 weeks vacation back-to-back.  It's nice.

Day trips are the order of week-one.  Today we went to Queenston (across the bridge from Lewiston, NY) and took the Niagara Parkway bikepath into Niagara-on-the-Lake (Ontario) for a butter-tart (yum!).

It's always a nice ride and we do it often.  We were surprised that it was not very crowded on this beautiful day - but that meant we could ride side-by-side most of the time.

My wife doesn't commute but is really getting her chops on the bike.  She mowed down our 25km-ish route without issue. Hills and all. Maybe it was butter-tart motivation? I can't blame her.

I let her do the work.
Week two is back up at the cottage and we are all looking forward to that. I'm bringing the Paké
and the GoPro, with a solo trip to either Ottawa or Burnstown in mind. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Up the Mountain

The last three Monday night ultimate (frisbee) games have been at Redeemer College in Ancaster, but its a very enjoyable ride.
First I climb the escarpment. In local vernacular we refer to the escarpment as the mountain.
Once on top I cut through a wonderful community full of a variety of older and thoughtfully constructed homesI normally object to oversized houses and everything they represent but these are an exception. I should have taken some pics!
Next through the abandoned psychiatric complex.

I think you would agree that it's a bit eerie.  It conjures up images of several horror movies!

Then a stop at Olive & Kiwi's for a coffee. This place is kind of hidden away but worth a side-trip if you find yourself on the West Mountain.

Still trying to figure out the GoPro but this photo was a fun accident.

"Stand aside please. Professional photographer coming through!"
Coffee by My Dog Joe


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

For the Beauty of Winona*

In among the pear tree's today. Too often I won't take the time to stop, enjoy and perhaps snap a photo. Today I did.

Across the field is the original E.D. Smith jam factory.  These days they mostly make their Garden Cocktail in this facility. Always smells really good when I pass by.

I look angry (or something) in this one, but I'm not used to how the GoPro takes pictures yet.
*Winona is the name of the village where I live.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pranks make the routine more enjoyable

About half of the way into the office there is a fountain in Old Stoney Creek that I pass.

It doesn't run during the winter months, but is a lovely spot for a cold drink during the warmer days.  It's at that time when someone routinely puts soap suds in the thing, and I have been meaning to take a photo of it for months. As a big wad of foam drifted across my path today I decided to finally pull over. What's the rush, after all?

I chuckle almost every time I see this. By now I am a little surprised that they haven't hidden a camera and caught the perp - such is the frequency of this vandalism.

I also find it comical that the city dispatches entire work crews to deal with this. I have counted as many as six, but only one ever actually working to solve the situation.

I had to pause once I had added up the potential cost to taxpayers though.

3 city workers
$30 hour for 3 hours
1x week
8 weeks

= $2160.00

And that's being conservative. It might be as much as three times.

I don't know who's up to this mischief. I don't know whether to laugh or cry either.

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Commute Just Got a Lot Better (Highway #8 Improvements)

I have long said that Highway #8 is a treacherous piece of road for cars and bicycles alike.  And I have done my share of whining over the past 3 or 4 years but I  know how to give credit when it's due.  The city just completed resurfacing this stretch of my commute and I am very pleased with the result.

I still maintain that its the west end of the city (where all the $ is) that gets superior infrastructure but I guess they couldn't ignore us east-enders forever!

Ironically, I was just getting used to the unpaved shoulders (because of the gravel races I do) but I can always find more gravel.
You can see the single-lane for cars, the really wide shoulder and the
small gravel portion that are typical of this new stretch on Highway #8.

Another irony is that a cyclist fitting my description was hit by a car on this very spot about two days ago.  He was hurt badly and remains in the hospital.  I would have guessed that the new surface would somehow have equated to safer overall riding conditions but maybe there is no actual correlation.

Although I don't pretend to know anything about the road conditions or how the cyclist himself was behaving I will say that when I heard it was an 87 year-old person behind the wheel I kind of winced.  There has been a small epidemic of seniors-behind-the-wheel involved in accidents lately.

So, thumbs up to the City of Hamilton for attending to the worst road in Hamilton (sans bike lanes, but thats ok) and including a nice wide shoulder.  But thumbs down to inattentive driving by either auto drivers or cyclists.