Friday, November 28, 2008

Northwood and Thunderwolves

Saturday was a busy day as we took almost all of the Northwood players to the Thunderwolves game. 225 people all together. They got a good game to watch as LU won 6-3 over Guelph and included a charity teddy bear toss. 28 huge leaf bags of stuffed toys were collected for various charities.
I made 4 trips on foot to the Gardens on Saturday and another couple for the games today. Not sure why but the distance just didn't seem worth dragging Eyowen out of the basement. I came closeer to falling on foot, about 6 times, than I have on a bike. There's plenty of salt and sand on the streets but nothing on the sidewalks yet. Might be safer to ride than walk to work. My year to date mileage won't get to 5000 but I'm still satisfied. It seems almost impossible to think just how far that is. I've learned one thing from riding and that is things add up, just keep at it and the numbers will be there.
2008 4393 miles
November 304 miles
Ethel:3 miles
80 sit-ups
80 push-ups
Eyowen:4 miles
Ethel:3 miles
80 push-ups
80 sit-ups

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nine Months and Counting

Snow. Yech. One day of work left in November. One day of commuting by bike left to complete 9 months for the year. We'll see what December brings. I just checked back in the blog to March when I started full time commuting and had days then 0f -34 with the wind so its no where near that cold yet. Haven't even gone the short way other than today in the falling snow.

 I'm feeling more and more confidence in Eyowen. I'm always a bit leery of my own mechanical skills, and since I assembled her from a bare frame even more so, but today I was up out of the saddle a bit and riding no hands in the usual spots so I guess I'm over that part of getting to know her. The frame is smaller than any of the others so she's perfect for riding now, not as far to fall. Just kidding.
November 294 miles
Eyowen:10 miles
Ethel:3 miles
80 push-ups
80 sit-ups
Eyowen:12 miles
Ethel:3 miles
80 push-ups
80 sit-ups

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh To Be 22 Again

Not much new in the past few days. I've added another 2 -ups to each rep so I'm up to 80 of each daily. The weather is definitely nicer for getting back and forth. Eyowen is behaving well after a few issues with the crank getting loose. I just never got the drive side tight enough but it seems good now. Better than in Toronto where a cyclist and a cabbie got into an arguement and the cabbie rammed the biker and his $5000 into a pole. He lived but lost a leg, the cabbie is going to see some jail time but I don't think that will help the cyclist much.

Hockey went well on Sunday, 3 games and a total 4 goal spread. Things are getting closer as the season goes on. All of the kids and coaches along with some parents (225 altogether) are heading to an LU game next Saturday. I sent a players profile form with the weekly emails and quite a few have responded already so it should be good for some smiles in the yearbook.  

AJ just got back from Minneapolis where he and his buddies took in the ACDC concert and saw Alex Ovechkin play the Wild. Not a bad couple of days. 

November 266 miles
Eyowen:11 miles
Ethel:3 miles
80 push-ups
80 sit-ups
Eyowen:13 miles
Ethel:3 miles
80 push-ups
80 sit-ups
Eyowen:2 miles

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eyowen Lives

I was up at 7, had a quick breakfast and did my push-ups. I wanted to give myself enough time to walk to work in case I had any problems on the first ride. No big problems and she felt pretty good. Very quiet due to the lack of gears and extras. The bottom bracket bearing came slightly loose so I retightened it once I got to the shop. Sal and I went for dim sum and a few errands, she went off to work and I headed to Petrie's for inspection. Everything passed Farzam's lookover except the bearing again. I picked up a couple of the new style sealed units and borrowed a tool. After checking things at the Gardens I headed home to tear her apart and install the new bearings. The installation went well and the difference was very noticeable in the smoothness of the new bearings. I returned the unused bearing and the tool, slipped in to the Gardens and then came home.

I found a fun website last night, pedalmafia. It's a Japanese company that sells parts to make scale models of bikes. The fun part is designing them in the flash program they have running. My Japanese is not quite what it used to be so I'm not positive but I think they make the parts you design in and kit it for your assembly.  Similar to the lego factory design website where you can download a small program, design something in the thousands of available blocks and then have them ship you the parts to re-create your design. The pic below is as close as I could get to Eyowen since I don't have a real picture yet. Can you tell I'm having fun with this site?

November 234 miles
Eyowen:7 miles
Ethel:3 miles
70 push-ups
70 sit-ups

Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't Give Up Just Yet

An hour after posting last night I was back in the basement pulling the front fork and fixing an obvious error in my assembly of Eyowen. I pulled out my repair manual, two hours AFTER completing the job, and discovered the cause of the odd feeling in the fork. I had one of the bearing sets facing the wrong direction. If I left it loose the fork had play, if I tightened it up it got too stiff to steer properly. Off came the fork, pulled the bearing out and replaced in the correct direction. Everything feels much better now. I never did put any weight on the frame or test ride her so the bearings should be fine.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning thinking, I could ride Bridget one more day. Yes, no, yes, no. I flip-flopped like city council for an hour as I did my push-ups and had breakfast. At 7 I was in the basement again pulling the front wheel off Eyowen and putting it on Bridget for the ride to work. I wore just about every layer I have and was actually warm enough to stretch it into a 3 mile ride, I was sweating when I got in. The low was somewhere around -18 but the wind was up so it was a bunch colder. Only my watering eyes felt it. With Bridget I can shift up and keep the speed low while pedalling faster to stay warm. I love the feeling I get when I come in after being out in the cold long enough to have it sink in. I get that invigorated flush from head to toe as the warmth seeps back in.

I got off at 3pm for good behaviour and headed to Petries for a cable and some BS. One of the girls was putting through a sale and the customer's name on her credit card was exactly the same as her sister's. It is a long Finn last name, same first and middle names as well. Apparently they have almost exchanged surgeries a time or two. She called her sister to confirm she wasn't short a Visa card.

I got home, had some supper and then finished Eyowen. It was a bit late for a test ride and I didn't feel like suiting up again. We'll see how everything turns out in the morning as I'm on Saturday duty.

November 224 miles
Bridget: 6 miles
Ethel:3 miles
70 push-ups
70 sit-ups

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Eyowen Takes Shape

I spent a couple of hours working on Eyowen tonight and had to call it quits as I was short a rear brake cable. Everything is ready to go but I'm still going to bring her in for a quick look over. 

I walked the 1.75 miles to and from work and although I enjoyed it mainly because I can listen to my ipod, I missed riding already. I only saw a few brave souls riding, both without any lights, but I envied them. Walking over bike tracks in the snow made me wince especially when I knew some of them were mine.

November 215 miles
Ethel:3 miles
70 push-ups
70 sit-ups

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last Ride for Me?

This morning Bridget and I were out early crunching through the fresh snow. I took the long route as everything was perfect. What was dark was now lit up by the blanket of snow. Lately all I have seen of the bike path in the early morning is the spot 12 feet ahead of me and maybe the eastern horizon. Today was like riding at noon in comparison. It was cool but refreshing, I wanted to keep pedaling.

Then I decided to go for a spin at lunch to pick up some mail, big mistake. The snow was melting, the roads were narrower and I had no front fender. I either went 8 mph or got splashed by my own front wheel.

By 5 o'clock the temp had dropped and the wind was up. It was much colder than this morning and everything was frozen. I was good to the bike path but coming off there and onto the side streets was treacherous. It looked like soft snow but lights shining on the roads revealed ice everywhere. I slowed down and got my butt home safely but am really considering walking to work in the morning.

Bridget got totally covered in slop so I started piecing Eyowen together. She is long overdue and this is not how I wanted to get her on the road but Ceclia's frame is a mess and the other girls are too expensive to abuse. I got the hardest parts installed, the bottom bracket bearings and shaft, front fork and bearings. I'll get Farzam to look them over before I go too far, never assembled those parts before and have only a book to refer to. I took them all apart last fall so at least I had some idea. It all feels tight but free, just not sure about the amount of grease to pack in. 

November 212 miles
Bridget:11 miles
Ethel:3 miles
70 push-ups
70 sit-ups

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Last Ride for Cecelia?

Cecelia started to show her age (20+ years) more than just cosmetically this afternoon. The bearings in the bottom bracket are loose and for now Bridget will be commuting. The bearings made some creaking noises last week but I couldn't pinpoint the source until now. The lights and fender along with her own front wheel were swapped after getting home. It will be a rush to get another less expensive option into service before the snow and salt hit the road.

It was somewhat colder this morning but I'm still not fully into all my layers or options for staying warm. If the temp is the same or lower tomorrow I'll add another layer to the bottom half, the top half was just fine. I picked up some winter cycling gloves and they are much warmer than the mitts I had been using. Nice long cuffs with velcro closures, palms with grip, soft thumbs for drying your eyes and a couple of loose fingers for braking make them really handy.
November 198 miles
Cecelia:11 miles
Ethel:3 miles
70 push-ups
70 sit-ups

Monday, November 17, 2008

Everybody Has A Win

The last place Northwood team got their first win yesterday and I couldn't have been happier. They are a hard working bunch but just could not get that first W. I had one parent from the opposing team tell me she was pulling for them because they were the only one without a win and she was on the team that struggled early last year. The got the winner with only 20 seconds left so it was a great way to do it. After 7 games they are only 7 points out of first so they still have a chance to have a good season. The other 5 teams are very close and no one knows who will win when they get to the rink. Sunday's 3 games were all decided by a sinlge goal (2 in the last 30 seconds) and other than 3 ties it doesn't get any better. 

November 184 miles
Cecelia:12 miles
Ethel:4 miles
70 push-ups
70 sit-ups
Cecelia:3 miles
Cecelia:5 miles
Ethel:5 miles
60 push-ups
60 sit-ups

Friday, November 14, 2008

My New Hero, Rick Mercer

Chek out his latest rant.


I could say tgif about any Friday but after 3 straight Saturdays at work this one is very welcome. I started the day with a visit to my family doctor and sat for nearly an hour for a 5 minute visit, got a flu shot, reviewed what we already knew and headed for work. I had a few shop jobs I was not looking forward to and chaos welcomed me at the door. Seems a few invoice went through without GST. An easy fix but a few tense moments. I reviewed all the customer files and corrected another tax error but nothing major. There must be a night shift or some other gremlin in our systems because I set things one way today and tomorrow they seem to change themselves. I stayed through lunch and headed home at four, tired and with a bit of a headache. The ride home felt great as the sun was shining for a bit and just to get out an hour early was nice. Cecelia has forgiven me for leaving her out Thursday night but she managed to bite me on the way into the basement, though technically it was Bridget's wheel skewer that grew teeth so maybe she's mad at me too.

Ginko is coming over early Saturday and we're heading for breakfast, something to look foreard to as we haven't seen him this week.

November 155 miles
Cecelia:8 miles
Ethel:3 miles
60 push-ups
60 sit-ups

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I did something yesterday I haven't done all year, left a bike outside over night and unlocked. I remembered as I was leaving to pick up Sal from work, the car was in for some service so AJ had driven her to work, but then forgot her again. Needless to say when I went out this morning Cecelia was not impressed with being left out in the cold and rain. To make it up I switched over Bridget's front wheel as the bearings in Cecelia's were about done. I've been wanting to get into Petrie's and take Farzum up on his offer to guide me through building a new wheel but weekends are pretty much taken up by hockey and with another $300 sunk into the car extra funds are slim til month end. All is forgiven for now. I was almost afraid to look out this morning expecting her to be gone.

November 144 miles
Cecelia:11 miles
Ethel:4 miles
60 push-ups, 60 sit-ups
Cecelia:4 miles
Ethel:3 miles
60 push-ups, 60 sit-ups
Cecelia:12 miles
Ethel:3 miles
60 push-ups, 60 sit-ups

Monday, November 10, 2008

He Does It His Way

Former Chicago Bears hall of fame middlelinebacker Mike Singletary was given the reins of the San Francsico 49'ers in late October. In his first game he told a player that got a stupid penalty to hit the showers, something simply not done in the pros. He went to the fans and apologized for the teams performance, ranted to the media about the teams lack of desire and apparently dropped his pants in the locker room during his post game 'talk' with the players. He was an intense player and looks to be an even more intense coach. The experts say they admire his style but don't think it will work with today's millionaire athletes. 

Tonight the player that he benched scored his first td of the season with a great effort and moments later they were laughing and hugging on the sideline. In his second game tonight the heavily favoured Cardinals are down 11 points at the half and Singletary looks pretty damn smart right now. They may not win the game but if they lose they'll do it his way, with pride and 110% effort.
His first press conference.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Snow & Ethel

Sounds like a movie title, snow & Ethel, the next super cops. But no, snow is what I woke up to on Saturday morning and headed into for the trip to work. I took the long (5 miles) way as it felt really good, probably because it wasn't rain. Ethel is the e-bike and I dragged her out last night for a quick spin to make sure she made it safely through a summer of neglect. 
I bumped up the work outs to 60 push-ups and sit-ups daily rather than ever other. The plan is to add 2 to every week. Have to cut back on the input now as I've been eating way too much since finishing the ride in June.
November 107 miles
11-10, Cecelia:15 miles, 60 push-ups
11-10, Ethel:3 miles, 60 sit-ups
11-09, Ethel:3 miles
11-08, Cecelia:12 miles, 50 sit-ups

Friday, November 7, 2008

Beavers Moving to Town

Lunch time today came and we had just worked through another mystery with the new software. I didn't really feel the need to eat so I jumped on Cecelia and went for a quick 40 minute ride down to the bike path and then up through the college to the university. The rivers were really swollen with all the rain we've had. It was nice to ride without the rain suit and with a bit of sunlight.

Along the river near the college I had noticed some trees brought down by beavers. There is no sign of a dam yet but I'm sure these trees were are going to show up somewhere along there soon. I never thought I'd see deer in this part of town so whose to say it can't be a beaver. 
November 74 miles
11-07, Cecelia: 17 miles, 50 push-ups

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Beware the Crocodile

AJ added another trophy to the crowded bookshelf in his room last weekend with the Thunder Bay Flag Football Championship. Seems whatever he plays he'll win the big one sooner or later.

Miles are a bit hard to come by this week as the rain won't let up. My ride home tonight was wet and windy and heading into the wind was stinging. The rain suit does its thing and once I get inside I'm still dry.

I got on the scale for the first time in a while and am still hovering at 235, X-90. Hard to believe after the snacking I got into since Halloween. Putting me in charge of the treats is like having the crocodile babysit the baby wildebeast, somethings going to get eaten. Push-ups and sit-ups are going well and I guess Ethel will get dusted off some time soon. Six seasons of the Sopranos are waiting for another look over the winter.

This link to this video was all over web news sites so I checked it out, sounds like a big step in cancer research and hopefully more effective treatment someday soon.

November 57 miles
11-06, Cecelia:8 miles, 50 sit-ups

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Surprise Surprise Surprise

In the who would've thought it possible category, a black man in the Whitehouse, gas goes under $1/litre and city council unanimously approoves improvements to infrastructure for cycling. I'm not sure I can take all these surprises at once. I hope Mr. Obama can take the Americans on more historic adventures as we all know we'll be following right on their tails through good or bad. Gas prices continue to tumble, somehow we're not quite as cheap as the provincial average of .87 but who would have thought it could drop this far this fast. Not that it makes much of a difference to me. And finally when I took on the survey project that was part of the presentation to city council I never dreamed we'd see any real action or that I might someday actually ride on the improved trails or bike lanes. I just hope that issue number two doesn't change the mind of our council. Low gas prices won't last long and they have been known to do a 180 on an issue or two in the past.

I have to say that daylight savings time really bites. So far the mornings have been only moderately brighter and even Tueday when the sun was shining it was down before I got home at 5:30. I had to run the lights on the way home tonight. I'm not real sure where the savings are, I was already good with dark mornings but now I get it at both ends. Just a matter of time I guess.

Days 1 and 2 on the new software were a nightmare as people who thought they were ready froze under the gun. Things that were supposed to be easy weren't. I spent hours running back and forth putting out fires and trying to keep my own work going. I got lots done today and found a few more features that we needed work arounds for. Tuesday balanced where Monday didn't, until we remembered that Saturdays sales were included. The one big advancement on the new software is I can trace any transaction back and find out who, what and where it all goes wrong.  

November 49 miles
11-05, Cecelia:6 miles 50 push-ups
11-04, Cecelia:15 miles 50 sit-ups
11-03, Cecelia:9 miles 50 push-ups

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quiet Sunday

Sal and I had brunch with the Wicklunds who are in town for another wedding. I got dropped at the Gardens with Cecelia for the last 2 games and of course everyone wanted to drive me home because it was raining. In the last game of the day a rare penalty was handed out, even more so because the penalized player was a 6 year old girl. She is without a doubt one of the best of the first line players and she was devastated by the call. Most often first time offenders are confused but don't break into tears until mom or dad show up in the penalty box to make sure they are ok. Then they break out because they assume they have done something really awful. She was in tears before she even stepped in. I sat with her and told her how she was a real hockey player now that she had a penalty but she wanted nothing to do with the game from that point on. I waved over her mom, who is one of the coaches and a former university player. I even told her mom used to get lots of penalties, no go. She refused to go out when her time was up and unfortunatley it was her last shift. Our referee-in-chief felt really bad, next time he gets to sit there with her. I called a couple of hours later and she has recovered but I don't think we'll see her back in the sin bin too soon.    

November 19 miles
11-02, Ceclelia:1 mile

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Are You Happy Deer?

Today's title is not a mis-spelled bit of sarcasm, though the 7 bags full of leaves in our front yard will certainly make a special someone who has been hinting happy. Jill and I rode over to Mission Marsh after raking the yard and met the happiest deer on the island, the only buck I've ever seen there. His family was everywhere and was only outnumbered by the deer watchers. They were stopping all over the road tossing apples, oblivious to traffic all around. I pulled over and politely waited but the island's residents and OPG workers late for a shift just barrel through, not that I blame them. 

After riding Cecelia almost exclusivley for October, Jill felt so smooth and light. I forgot all about shifting for the first bit and getting comfy with the bar setup took a few miles. The new bars on Cecelia have taught me one thing, my arms can be a strong part of pedaling if I pull as I push with my legs. Monday it will be back to the push-up and sit-up regimen as my back feels good to go again. Increased upper body strength and a decreased middle are the goal.

Inventory went pretty well and we are up and running for the new year on Simply Accounting. We still have lots to learn, some more than others but I think it will work out fine. Not having 2 systems to keep fed with information will be a relief.

AJ showed off his costume in an attempt to get Ginko to sing a song last night. It didn't work on him but apparently the patrons at Jacks thought it was great, he hauled in almost $200 in tips during his shift from 10 til closing last night. Nice going Mr. Chiquita.
November 18 miles
11-01, Cecelia:6 miles
11-01, Jill:12 miles