Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's Time

Enough overeating, enough lazing about, enough excuses. It's time to get back to feeling good. Sciatica seems to be on it's way out, hands are no better but no worse either. I need to get more active and lose a bunch of weight, I was much happier and felt so much better before I let it all slide and then conned myself into thinking it was all because of physical ailments. Physical ailments didn't force me to up my intake when I couldn't do some of the things I enjoy to burn calories. Stay tuned, it's going to be an ugly start but drastic measures are in order.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Calgary Kids Hit the Bay

Mike and Mel got home after a long wet drive on Wednesday. Mike brought his bike over for a look at the brakes. Brake trouble was just the result of a few other ailments. A quick look and I figured it out and got Rachel back on the road. I rode her to work to check out any further problems and then met Mike at Petrie's to pick up a lock bolt that was missing.

After work I went back to Petrie's to build a front wheel for Lisbeth. Hanging out with Farzam is always entertaining. A kid brought in a bike for a tuneup. Farzam recognized it as stolen 2 years ago, checked the serial and told the kid he needed to know where he got the bike. The kid said his friend and little else. He was determined he wasn't leaving without the bike and was getting ripped off. Farz tried to explain that he would not call the police but needed the name of the seller. The kid left crying. The kids is about 20 so should be able to understand that the rip off happened when he bought the bike. The original owner had the bike less than 24 hours.

One more day of work and then five days off with a few at Mink Mountain. Hopefully the weather cools off a bit.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lisbeth x14, Trolloff Lives

After 4 months of exclusively riding singlespeeds I took my first short ride on Lisbeth with the Rohloff Speedhub this afternoon. I took the frame and a front wheel in to Petrie's at 9 Sunday morning for the build. I arrived to see Farzam with his glasses on and his head buried in the manual. We dove in and finished the basics in just under 3 hours. German translations in the manual are a bit dodgy at times and unlike any other systems there are 2 cables running from the shifter to the rear wheel. One to upshift and one to downshift. Along with that is the ability to (somewhat) easily remove the wheel to fix flats etc. That ability requires quick disconnects for the cables and adds complexity to the installation.

The cables were on and off the bike at least 5 times, first the shifting was reversed, then a few cuts that proved too short. We finally got a third pair of hands holding the shifter in position and got the length right and shortly after the basics were done. I left to take Sal for dimsum (have to keep the person behind this all happy) and Farzam installed a tire and set up the rear brakes. We brought him some of the Canton's delicacies and I went out for a quick lap around the block. I stopped to tighten a few things, thanked Farzam and told Sal I'd meet her at home.

I rode over through Chapples to check out the Little League All-Star games but it was too hot to stand and watch so I just kept going. I rolled up a few short hills to try the lower gears and wound her up around the golf course. The range is amazing. 14 speeds with an even 13% spread between every gear. The shifting is so smooth, you barely feel the change other than the spedometer climbing. A 27 speed setup with derailleurs has more gears but many of them are just 5% apart and shifting can be tricky and anything but smooth, going up and down with the front shifter. The Rohloff requires just a twist of the wrist and no chain moving. It's not a light setup but there are no races in my near.

A huge thanks to Sal and my kids for making this happen. You've given me something I only dreamed of and would never have done on my own. Lisbeth is one of a kind. I took the long way to work and back four times today racking up 20 km on a ride that is just 2 km if I go the short route. Riding wasn't just transportation today, it was a blast.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Buble in Duluth

Our weekend in Duluth began Saturday morning with a search for passports. They weren't where I believed them to be. Sal had an idea but couldn't locate the overnight bag where she hoped they were. The bag was found complete with passports. A long uncomfortable drive followed as sitting in bucket seats is probably as painful as it gets for me right now. We got through the border without the long wait that we heard others faced later in the day. We stopped in Grand Marais for breakfast at the Blue Water Cafe. We arrived in Duluth during the lunch hour and drove through Canal Park without seeing any open parking spots so we took a chance and headed to our downtown hotel in hopes of the room being ready early. We got lucky and I was able to stretch out and give my aches a chance to cool.

We headed back to the waterfront at about four and strolled around a few shops before deciding on Famous Dave's BBQ for supper. After supper some more wandering and then over to the DECC as anxiety over finding our way to our seats took over. Sal found a park bench and I tried to locate the car so we wouldn't get lost after the concert. Along the way I found the main door where Buble goodies were being sold and brought Sal back so she could pick up a t-shirt. We waited near the front of the line for the doors to the Amsoil Arena to open.

At about 7:15 we were headed to our seats which turned out to be great, just 4 rows off the boards and even with about the 10th row on the floor. The stage stretched all the way to the boards so we had a great unobstructed view. We knew we were in for a good show when Naturally 7, the opening act, got the crowd on their feet and into it. They are 7 guys who use only their voices for all instruments and had done some back up work on the Crazy Love cd.

After a short break the lights went out again and the silhouette of Mr. Buble and his 14 piece band projected onto the curtains and they jumped into my favourite track from the Crazy Love cd, Cry Me A River.
I have to say this was one of the best concerts I've been to. He really connects to the crowd with humour and humility. He mentioned more than once that the crowd had spent big money to be there, even joking to the those at the front as he sang from the sound and camera platform at the back of the arena. The band was very talented and his introduction of each member was hilarious. He's one lucky Canuck as he draws a crowd made up of every age group from screaming teenage girls to older couples who enjoy his rendition of music standards.

A short walk back to the car and amazingly we were back in the full hotel parking lot in 15 minutes. I had to use the overflow lot up the hill behind the hotel and then go down and around and back up to the room. By this time my body was saying enough already.

Sunday we had breakfast at Perkins and then hit the mall, Target and Kohl's. We spent some time searching for Twin City Cyclery and I was disappointed that they had no Surly gear in sight. We drove into Canal Park and over the lift bridge out to Park Point. A mass of traffic in the distance had me turning around and then as we waited for the bridge Sal saw a small bear up in a tree about 50 yards away. How a bear would get to this highly populated narrow strip of beach I cannot imagine.

We returned to the hotel and got our tablets out to check for a restaurant for supper. We decided on Va Benne, a small Italian cafe on Superior Street. We shared an artichoke dip and Nicoise salad. Sal had pasta primavera and I had arrabiata al padre ricardo which can be ordered with heat from 1-10. I choose 6 and that was plenty warm enough. The meal was excellent. We returned to the hotel and solved the parking light mystery on the Impreza without removing any fuses. I had tripped a switch on the steering column and it left lights on while we were eating and I was sure I would have to remove a fuse to prevent draining the battery but a search of the manual pointed to the simple solution.

Monday morning we packed up and headed for breakfast at one of Diners Drive-Ins and Dives feature spots, At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe. We both had the meal that was shown on the show, french toast with wild rice and cranberry bread. Speed was not important and that was a good thing as service was slow but well worth the wait. I was in no hurry to make the long uncomfortable drive home anyway.