Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day Surprise

When I was working at Petries I was working on a dream bike with Farzam. More dreaming than working really. We were searching for a frame that would accommodate the 14 speed Rohloff Speedhub. As reality returned and I went back to fulltime work elsewhere, the dream fizzled. Along came the Surly Troll frame in late 2010. It was Rohloff compatable but I saw just a great all round cromoly steel frame that almost any combination of drivetrain and brakes could be mounted, plus it fit with my remaining credit and was available in only one colour, Agent Orange. The Speedhub was no longer in the plans though I had thought of a Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub (like Mike's Felt X-City 'Rachel' has) which is much more inexpensive but nowhere near the rugged 14 speed German made unit from Rohloff, sorry Mike.

After supper on Sunday I was given a heavy box to unwrap in front of a few cameras, strange? I knew something was up but never imagined I'd be getting my father's day, birthday and Christmas presents (for a few years) all in one box. I ripped off the wrapping paper and must have looked pretty damn surprised as I revealed the Rohloff logo. Getting it on Lisbeth will take some time as a wheel needs to be built around it but as much as I'm anxious to get it rolling and try it out, this is a project that calls for expertise. Farzam expertise. I'll stick to taking pictures and trying to figure out what to do if something ever goes wrong. According to the website they simply don't break. Cyclists that have more than 70,000km of world wide travel swear by them so I don't think I can break it.

Here's a video of the assembly.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Epic Thoughts, Unlikely Reality

I've been reading a few books on adventure cycling. Jill Homers account of her first Iditarod, the 350 mile race in Alaska in February is one I was familiar with from her blog. Now I'm on to the story of an Englishman who had never ridden a mountain bike that enters the Tour Divide, a 2700 mile ride from Banff to New Mexico. Jill holds the womans record in that one and her book on the trip will follow. They make me want to do something epic. Then today I received email from conquer cancer. It was easy to forget about sore legs, numb hands and all the old reasons why I haven't entered for a few years. It was my epic but somehow it never felt that big. They do have a 200 mile option now, hmmmm.

I rode over to watch Ginkos soccer game and any thought of 100 mile rides was soon washed away, for now anyway. I did accomplish one thing on the ride. I proved that it is possible to trip the sensor in the road and get a green light. Just lower your steel frame to the top of the diamond and instant action. I used it at my least favorite corner that has no way for a cyclist to get a green. No pedestrian button, no timing. If a car doesn't come along you just have to run the red or wait. Not anymore.

The back and leg were better this morning, not prefect but better for the first time in quite a while.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Aleve, No Thanks I'll Walk It Off

I woke up Sunday morning and my right leg from cheek to calf was on fire as soon as I moved to get up. I limped downstairs for ibuprofin and ice. The ice took the edge off but I had to stand to put the pain at bay. As it was 6:30 I really just wanted to sleep a bit longer. The rest of the beautiful day was spent in various uncomfortable positions either standing or lying on the couch, sitting is not an option. I thought a day of just relaxing would repay my leg for the ride Saturday.

That thought was proven wrong at 3:15 this morning as I woke to more of the same. Down I went for ice and this time and definitely the last time for an Aleve. I lay on the couch just hoping for a bit more sleep. I woke again at 4:30, the ice no longer cold enough to be effective and the Aleve only having effect on my stomach. I walked up and down the hallway for a bit and slowly trudged the pain away. Then my stomach started acting up and I was forced to take a seat.

Three more trips to the bathroom, an hour standing through Soprano repeats and it was time to go to work. I grunted as I put on socks but never bothered tempting the fates by trying to tie my boots. Walking might be the least painful mode but it was too late for that so Lisbeth was pushed up the stairs and I rode gingerly, standing about half the time until my leg got loose. Other than being tired I was fine. The day went ok until about 10:30 when I looked over at Lisbeth and saw the rear tire was totally flat. At lunch I borrowed a car and zipped home for a quick bite, a tube and my pump. I had the tire off and the new tube in and inflated in about 10 minutes, my bike shop training coming in handy. I made it through the rest of the day and rode home, Ginko was here and I watched him play Angry Birds on the Xoom until the game came on. Nice try Canucks but it's better to win at home anyway.

I can't judge another's pain but I can't believe Mom has been enduring that kind of pain for so long.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Surprise, Free Saturday

To my great surprise I was the only one that showed up for an x-ray at 8:00am this morning. Sal decided to drive me and then go for a few groceries. I was in and out before she got back to the store. They took shots of my hips so I'm guessing that there is a possibility of problems there and maybe not just sciatica. I've had a pain in my hip maybe twice after 100km rides but nothing I can recall lately and definitely nothing lasting. I guess we'll see.

So with our new found free morning we got some errands done and made a run to Creekside for flowers and then some breakfast. We picked up a movie and stopped in at Petries. I'm going to help man the tent at the Bike Rodeo Sunday morning. Just quick tune-ups and advice, some of the bikes kids showed up with last year were new but in pretty sad shape. Bad enough to buy a bike off the floor at a department store but they really spend no time assembling them and problems start in a few weeks. It should be against the law to sell a bike to a kid with loose handlebars.

After Sal left for work I headed out with Lisbeth for an hour and a half and did 27km holding 20kmph again. I stopped about half way out to talk to one of our hockey coaches for 5 minutes and when I hit the road again my leg was not feeling like pedaling. I kept things slow for a bit, loosened up and carried on, not too many choices out Rosslyn Road. Calling that a road is an exaggeration by the way.

When I got home I watched the Swedish version of 'the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' and even with subtitles it was pretty good. Lisbeth is quite the character.

I read through the comments regarding the new bike lanes on one of the local news websites. Apparently if you ride a bike you are a pinko that doesn't pay taxes. Comments from the cyclists weren't much better. I checked a similar story from Calgary and the online battle of words was just as bitter. Honestly what they are trying to do with bike lanes, or at least the reason they claim, getting more people out on bikes because they feel safer in the bike lanes is not going to happen. Novice cyclists are not going to ride on the street, with the lanes or without. It seems the more emphasis put on cyclists and bike lanes the more resentment there is from drivers. When the streets are in ruin it is understandable that people want to see them fixed before money is put into anything for a bike. What we really need is a north south way to get around. The bike lanes don't address it and without widening a major artery bike lanes won't be a solution. There is a way with one hurdle. You can get from Westfort to Port Arthur by going up Ford ane then connecting with the bike paths . The problem is getting across Arthur Street. A simple set of pedestrian/cyclist controlled lights at Ford and Arthur would fix it but the city is afraid. They work elsewhere I can't see why TBay is any different. Try getting from the south side of town to the north at 5pm on a bike, not easy or safe.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Suspension is the Biggest Hit

My visit to the doctor didn't really answer any questions yet. I have to get x-rays and another visit 2 weeks after the x-rays are done. No appointment just show up at the Regional and wait for a spot. Oh boy.

I may have finally dialed in a hand position on Lisbeth that is the least numbing. I rotated my Ergon grips about 20 degress this morning and my hands were almost perfect during the short ride to work. I decided to take a longer route home and even after a full 5km the right was 100% and the more problematic left was about 85%. A big improvement over Sunday when I spent lots of time with one hand on the bars while shaking out the other. I even mentioned the long ride Sunday to the doc and he just asked if I ride alone or in a group, commented that biking was great because you don't need anybody else to do it. No mention of not riding!

Aaron Rome of the Canucks being given 4 games for his hit last night seems like an injustice. Yes he hit Horton in the head but he merely stopped in his path and let Horton run into him. Yes it was a bit late but Horton is as responsible for admiring his pass. The fact that the Bruins are happy with it makes it a few too many games. Taking away any chance to return to the series has got to be devastating for Rome. There have been numerous hits in the playoffs that had more intent and have gone totally unpunished, Torres on Seabrook comes to mind. This is the most severe suspension ever handed out in the finals for something that was not the most severe incident of the playoffs. If the stiffness of suspensions handed out all season had been relative I'd be in total agreement but this seems to be setting a new standard at the wrong time. The hit on Crosby which saw him lose half a season and all of the playoffs (and who knows how much longer) went unpunished and the intent was obvious. The NHL needs to clean up its act but consistency has to part of the cleansing. Good luck next season Shanny.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I guess I had forgotten a bunch of things that make me want to do it. Since I finally got an appointment to see a doctor for my various ailments tomorrow I wanted to go for a longish ride before I'm told not to. Can't do much harm at this point. So hands and sciatica be damned, we're going for a ride. I switched a bottle carrier on to Lisbeth, boiled some water to clean out my long unused water bottle, donned my bike shorts for the first time this year and headed west.

Yes my hands go numb. Yes the right side of my oh so glutious maximus and the back of my thigh were a bit tight. But I finished what I started. A loop out Broadway across Twin City Crossroads and back in on Oliver. 38kmin just over 2 hours. Averaging almost 20kmph on a single speed means lots of pedaling.

I had forgotten what cresting even a slight hill and then rolling down the other side feels like, wind blowing over the smile on your face. Had forgotten getting into a rhythm when you don't touch the brakes for an hour or longer. The pedals going up and down and your legs just continuing to churn along like they have a mind of their own. Somehow the fact that a headwind going west does not always fulfill the promise of a tailwind when you turn back to the east slipped my mind. The taste of warm water and dandelion fuzz seemed new at first. The continual playing of a song deep in your grey matter that you just can't turn off, no matter how bad it may be. The snobs on road bikes that won't return even a simple nod. The jarring smell of a freshly dead skunk as you roll inches from it because the shoulder is that narrow. Being alone with your thoughts and free to go anywhere you want. Good and bad, things to smile about as they happen and many more that only bring a smile after they have time to ferment.

Can't wait to do it all again.