Friday, December 20, 2013


Well not really. After four years I have finally posted something I've written. A short story that has been in the works forever. Now that that's out of the way I can get on to a novel. Stay tuned...say around 2040.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Feeling So Canadian

As I walked to work this morning it wasn't the coldest day I've faced this winter, only -15 plus a 40kmph wind but I felt so Canadian.

The slight snowfall we had yesterday was sculpted by the wind so that every bank or nugget had a comet's tail of drifted snow. Like some artist had been let loose on the city with an airbrush. Once I hit the bike path, yes I still call it the bike path even when I'm walking, only the full moon provided a trickle of light.

The wind was testing my defcon 3 level winter gear, finding every weak point that it could to try and chill me. Gord Downie and the Hip were playing over the headphones and as they always do, put my thinking in "I am Canadian" mode. Rush might be Canada's most successful band but their lyrics never reveal their homeland. The Hip's words often speak of life north of the 49th.

Sal offers to drive me to work most days while she is still huddled in the warmth of our bed. On days like today I wish I lived farther from work, the walk is just too short.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter Blues

It hasn't been this long between posts in quite a while. I just haven't had much to share or didn't want to share some of what has been churning between my ears. Back in early October I felt my days as a hockey president were numbered. Today I let the parents know I'm looking for help and if I don't get it I'm done. I just don't have my heart in it anymore.

I've been looking for something....and I still don't know what it is. I want to create something, maybe write a book, or do freelance writing. There's a feeling of incompleteness that I just can't put on the back burner anymore.

I caught a few minutes of a concert on tv last week and then recorded it when it showed again. Canadian guitarist Jesse Cook has me listening to everything he has on cd, thanks Thunder Bay public library. His instrumental flamenco style sound is great to walk to. He does traditional flamenco as well as jazz inspired fusion and adds in instruments from the middle East and Africa. Instrumental music is so easy to listen to. No big messages in lyrics, my own thoughts go with the music. What is a sad song for one listener can be the soundtrack to viewing a beautiful landscape for another. It's like looking at a painting that is just shapes and colours without any recognizable subject. There to be interpreted by the viewer or listener in the case of music.

Biking is on hold at least outside thanks to the recent snow. I spent a whole weekend getting Eyowen outfitted with snow tires and brakes only to snap off the seat post while riding home at lunch on the second day in service. I was very lucky I didn't end up landing crotch-first on the studded back tire as it rolled along. The frame is definitely done this time.

I just signed up to Netflix and will be riding the trainer in the basement while watching whatever it has to offer. It works great with the google chromecast too. I can watch anything from netflix or youtube right on the tv and control it with my phone or tablet.

Monday, November 11, 2013

5000 km

I took two rides yesterday. A very short one on the Surly Moonlander pictured in my last post and a little longer one. The Moonlander would be a riot to ride the trails at Sleeping Giant where you have to pick a line between tree roots and boulders. No line required with those tires, just barrel right over them. I bounced over a few curbs both up and down and it barely registers in the seat as the tires absorb everything. They have it geared right so you can get it moving quickly and it's no where near as heavy as it looks. A fun bike if you were spending lots of time offroad on less than perfect trails.

The second ride was on Bonnie on the trainer with a book on my tablet in front of me. This seems to pass the time much better than listening to tunes and setting up is faster. My 30 minute ride took me over 5000km for the year. It's been a few years since I tracked all my miles but it does prove to be a good motivator. I only wish our weather allowed every month to be a 1000km month like August was.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Just Landed at Petries

The Surly Moonlander, snow bike, fat bike. 4" tires are massive. It uses a modified version of the frame that Lisbeth is. They have two built and sold and a couple more on order.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Long Way Home

Last Sunday I rode the 52km home from my parents place on Bonnie. Normally I ride out and most often stop at the beginning of the 'bumpy' road as the kids used to call it. With a fresh layer of oil now covering the entire 16.5 km I wanted to try it with skinny tires. I had rolled around the intersection while waiting for Sal earlier in the summer and it seemed smooth enough. Driving out it felt ride-able. Five minutes into the ride home I knew that I had been wrong, the new section had not been traveled over enough to flatten it and there was lots of loose gravel on the edges. Dad had mentioned that it was still rough on the edges. If I got forced too far right I was going to be in trouble. I couldn't just roll freely down the hills so it would be slow going. And there are a lot more hills on the way out, or so it seemed. Once I got to the section oiled last year it was much safer as there was no gravel to worry about and much smoother.

I took nearly an hour to cover the distance to the highway. I had to walk 100 yards up one hill as my right calve was teetering on a cramp. Better to avoid those with 40 km to go. I stretched it out and never had any further problems. The wind which had been helping the hills slow me down was now a crosswind on the highway. Once I made the turn to the east it was a tailwind and I hit 50 kmph a few times on the flat sections. There's nothing more exhilarating for me than getting Bonnie through the gears, putting my hands in the drops and pushing hard. It just feels so fast. It took just over two hours to make it home so I made great time once on the highway.

The Northwood season opens up on Sunday and as usual I will have to endure the first round of games while we see how the teams match up. Not my favourite time of year. I'm seriously thinking about ending my full time involvement.

Sal is off to Calgary then Vancouver for 9 days on Sunday so I hope to get caught up on a few things around the house.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In Search of the Perfect Cup of Coffee

In ten years I've probably had as many coffee makers. Black & Decker makes hot water. Keurig made a luke warm brew that had great aroma and was on the expensive side. A second higher scale model was better but still not what I was looking for, there's no control of the flavor beyond what you select in the k cup.

I read a lot of the online gurus featured in the 'this is how i work" series on Lifehacker used an Aero-Press to make great coffee so I focused my search there. In Calgary I found one small coffee shop that carried them and then Mike ordered me one so I have one at home and one at work. My search is over.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

This Might Be It

I know there's a point in every hockey season when I feel like what I'm doing and have been doing for nearly 20 years is time wasted. I don't remember that feeling ever creeping in this early. People just don't seem to care about anything, commitment is not in their vocabulary. I'm tired of it already. Maybe I'm just too far removed from what makes the modern family tick but what I need from them, and what I'm getting are miles apart.

A month from now when teams are all over the place in the standings because we have no full set of evaluations to base a draft on, they will care. They will email, complain and talk about how bad things are in the league. But right now they are just expecting everything to fall in to place.

AJ's Dodgers are one win from another championship. In a battle of the top pitchers they came out on top 3-1 last night. It was actually a great night for baseball, not even cold.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cullen...the Big Brother

Mel's post about Cullen being a great big brother had me thinking.
"Ollie want a cookie? No? Gordon want a cookie? No? Little brother (or sister) want a cookie? Sure you do."
"It's ok little brother (or sister), just take another plateful. I've got your back"
"Hey little brother (or sister) are you going to eat that? "
"Hey little brother (or sister) what does a lion say? "
Stay tuned...this is going to be a wild ride.

Monday, September 30, 2013

September Wrap

I surprised myself with 750km in a busy month. Lisbeth is off the road as of this morning. I moved the lights to the GT and have decided to use it for commuting until the snow falls. I am really looking for a road bike as that is the type of riding that is my interest now and my weight allows me to ride a skinnier bike. Lisbeth may have to be sold to get a top end bike, not sure how that will go over around here. She was supposed to be my dream bike but I was a lot heavier then. The evil Farzam showed me the BMC gran fondo gf 02, a new smooth riding road bike that would fill my needs, comfy but fast. He always knows how to throw temptation my way in the form of a beautiful bike. Evil, evil man.
I did a 50km ride Saturday and despite a strong wind I had a great two hours on Bonnie. She rolls so smoothly and I have finally learned how to climb. I am zipping up hills that used to leave me winded and barely moving. It was tough to be at the rink and in the college Sunday when I really would rather have been out on a bike, any bike.
I spent two hours on a coaches meeting for the 64 teams in LMHL Sunday afternoon. Before we were even off the stage I got email from a team that was not present asking questions that had just been answered. Frustrating to say the least. Meanwhile back at the Gardens 7 kids out of a group of 20 showed for the hour of free power skating instruction. Free to them but at $135 for the ice and $150 for the instructors it's not free to the league. More frustration. It would have taken 100 km to cool me off.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We're Going to the 'Ship

Championship that is. The Dodgers pummeled the A's 15-3 to move on to the finals on a foggy night. At times we could barely see the outfielders. After about 3 innings it rolled out and the Dodgers rolled up the score. AJ pulled off his second hidden ball trick of the series. The guy hits a double and the relay comes to AJ as the cutoff. Instead of tossing it to the pitcher he just walked back to his short stop position. As long as the pitcher does not step in the rubber it's game on. The guy takes a lead and AJ pounces. Tags the surprised guy and he's out. Very embarrassing. I saw it coming both times. When he came to bat in the next inning the pitcher the one behind him, a clear sign that they weren't very happy. Too bad guys, got to stay awake out there.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I missed it when I passed 4000 km for the year but noticed this morning after recording my mileage for the day. On to 5000.
I found a trainer on kijiji and have done two rides. The first I ignored everything I had read. Ride in front of a fan, with a towel and water . I don't know why but 30 minutes on the trainer leaves me soaking wet and is a real workout. With the fan, towel and water the second ride went much better. It's not my favorite way to ride but better than not pedalling at all. Once winter closes in it will keep the legs strong I hope.
Heard on a tv news broadcast, "you almost always never know what happens". Really?

Monday, September 23, 2013

End of an Era

I just finished a book in three days, a rarity especially at this time of year. Khalid Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner' was one of the most moving books I've ever read. I woke up at 5:30 on Sunday morning and planned to read just long enough to fall back to sleep. I got no more sleep. I read and read, and only closed my eyes after the book was done. Even then what I had read kept me awake. I won't spoil it for anyone who wants a great read but it takes place in the turmoil of Afghanistan from the time of the Russian invasion through 9-11 but is not about terrorists.
We've been going to the Dodgers playoff games, even the last two when AJ was in Calgary. It looks like he may be moving out west and sadly this might be the last we see of his baseball career. He has played since he was 5, so for more than 20 years we have enjoyed his love of the game. Hopefully the Dodgers can defend their title so he can put one more championship in his pocket.
Hockey is a mess right now. I have 5 1/2 teams registered. I need to settle on whether to keep going for our normal sixth team. Kids register and then another quits. One step forward and then two back, it's very frustrating to say the least. It will work out eventually I hope. I'd much rather be out riding than dealing with it all.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

And They Wonder Why?

Monday morning and I'm pedaling down Walsh St. at 7:15am, it's -1 and still dark. Not in a real hurry but moving along in cruise with Lisbeth and her big heavy tires. I come to a red light at Edward St., stop and catch another bike behind me in my peripheral vision. The light changes and I stand for about 5 strokes and carry on. I get to the 4-way stop at Brown and slow. The guy behind me on a Giant road bike goes around the far side of the road into the oncoming lane and circles around the hydro tower island, runs the stop sign. (I guess technically there is no stop sign ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD). I make my stop while shaking my head but I gotta ask.

I jump on the pedals and catch up to what should be a much faster bike but the guys knees are literally flailing all over the place and he's spinning a high gear, no way he can get away even on a road bike. I slide in behind his rear wheel and comment: "that was a real slick move". The old guy turns back and smiles at me. "And we wonder why they all think we are all a**holes", I continue. "They think that anyway", he says as he slows and tries to ride side by side. He asks, "so you stop for all the reds?" I answer "yes especially at this time of day".

I slow and let him go, letting him know "if you want to pass just 'on your left' and go". I stay with him to James street where he flies through the yellow light while making a left onto James. And they wonder why we can't get any respect.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Nothing Better

With meetings, drafts, on ice hockey starting and a wet start to the week my mileage is down. Monday and Tuesday saw a meager 10km but I've managed to add 70km in the last two days and it looks good today. After the AA draft on Monday I picked up a Minoura trainer from a Kijiji posting. Brand new other than about ten minutes use it will make the winter go by as I can attach it to most of the bikes and ride in front of a book or tv. Walking just isn't going to cut it and I don't want to give up my legs.

I have fallen in love with road bikes. Riding Bonnie is just about as much fun as I can have. She flies, even up hills. There's nothing better than putting my hands 'in the drops' and descending a hill or taking a corner. With the worst of my excess weight gone I can actually get low and pedal. I think next year I am going to join the cycling club and try some racing to see if I'm as fast as I feel. Yes they do have an old guys bracket.

Northwood registration is down for the first time in years. We're still looking for a dozen kids to fill the teams. Not sure where this came from. I advertised this year but maybe word is out we fill up fast and people are not even trying.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mr. Hitchcock Would be Inspired

gathering of extras for the Birds remake on Squier St.
I don't know what the attraction was to this random spot, but there was an amazing number of small birds waiting for something last night. Sorry but that movie has already been made.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Too Good to Pass Up

after adding a few parts from stock
Early in August I was talking with long time friend Terry about what kind of bike he might get. I suggested a steel frame with bigger tires for a comfy ride that would be dependable. My daily perusing of kijiji brought me to an 80's GT mountain bike that I sent to him as an example of what is out there. It was listed at $75 and I decided to take a look.
I brought her home after seeing the near perfect, super clean shape she was in. She sat in the basement for a bit and I thought of making a few updates with parts I have and selling her.
This weekend I moved her brakes over to Eyowen who is back in service after being welded by nephew Chris. They suit the fenders much better. The v-brakes from Eyowen ended up on the as yet unnamed GT. I straightened the front wheel and she was ready to try out. A shorter stem and shortening of the bars, upgraded saddle and tires and she's ready for tomorrow's commute without spending an extra dime. Just have to think of a name and no, teal is not my color.
as she was

Sunday, September 1, 2013


After a lazy July I was determined to up the miles in August. I set a goal of 900km or about 30 a day with one days grace. Half way through I was averaging only 24 and had to pick up the pace. Sal and I took a slow ride over to the house that Jen and Curtis are looking at, wrapping up my effort with 1015 km for the month or just over 32 per day, with one day off. For the year I'm just over 3500 km. Feels good.

Hockey is in full swing. A slow registration for Northwood so far, 70 of 96 kids and I ran an ad in the key. I'm sure we will fill up soon. On the lakehead minor front online registration has been good but not without challenges. The new website has features we were not even aware of. Parents were emailed a reminder and allowed back in to the system, some paid with credit cards after initially selecting the cash option so they saved $10. Another signed his kid twice and paid three times, not really sure how he managed that feat. I have a steady stream of meetings coming and we hit the ice next weekend. Where did summer go?
posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

900km, Done

With my lunchtime ride today I passed my goal of 900km for the month with three days left in the bag to go for 1000. More than half has been on Molly, she only got one speed but it's fast. If I look a little tired it's only because I'm working on about three hours sleep thanks to our idiot neighbours and the police.
Molly from where I sit
at the Parkdale trailhead just after passing 900km,
time for a nap.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

One Hat Says It All

SURLY, sometimes it's the bike I ride, sometimes it's the mood I'm in

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Highlights of #56

My 56th started with a project I had been reading about, lubricating chains with paraffin wax. It takes a little longer than simply dribbling some more lube on but is supposed to keep things nice and clean and it doesn't attract dirt. We'll see.

Sal made me some eggs with cheese and spicy salami and gave me a bottle of Effen cucumber vodka. I love this stuff in a caesar.

Next I took a 90 minute, 34 km ride on Lisbeth who has seen limited action this month. I've been on a road bike kick lately but she still provides a very comfy ride and is rock solid.

After a shower we headed out on a few errands. Petries was our first stop as I needed a master link for Bonnie to complete her chain service. The road was 'closed' in front of the shop but we snuck through. Parked next to the shop in the lane was Cindy Loohoo's food truck. These are popping up around town and I guess it's about time. We shared some fries and then finished up our errands. Not a great day for the road to be closed.

At supper we went to Mama Alfa's for her amazing Caesar salad and pizza. If you haven't tried this place put it on your to do list. We've never had anything but great food at this little place.

Sal made me a carrot cake and Aj, Jess, Jen, Curtis and Brandyn came by for a slice. While they were there Cullen dropped in via facetime. Man that kid can pack away the food. 

Finally we decided to take in an outdoor movie, Evergreen the local volunteer group was screening 'Despicable Me' at Widnall Park so we grabbed our folding chairs, sweaters and some snacks and watched it on the side of the building. The city was running the same movie down at Marina Park but with Ribfest going on it was going to be pretty busy there. The kids running the movie were a bit disorganized and the crowd was thin but it's a great movie for adults and the few kids who actually sat and watched.

All in all a nice relaxing day.

Waxing Molly's chain
Effen Cucumber vodka, best caesar ingredient
Food truck outside Petrie's, great fries
Beer, caesar salad and...
pizza at Mama Alfa's
outdoor showing of Despicable Me

Friday, August 23, 2013


They come and they go. When you're a kid they take forever to come, anticipation of the big day stretching time. At my age they rush at you so fast that you don't seem to have accomplished much since the last.

This has been a good year so far. As of this morning I'm hitting the scale 69 pounds lighter than January 1. My legs feel great and 56 feels like just a number instead of something that defines how I feel. If anything I feel younger and definitely healthier than I have in a long time. After slacking off in July I'm on pace for more than 900km on the bikes this month and most of those on a single speed. Now if I could just shake the feeling that there's something I need to do.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Blog.

I've started a new blog, don't get too excited it's just a place to put all the bike related things I come across while surfing instead of boring you with it here. Check it out if you are interested at ispirato da bicicletta.
Molly in the morning light.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Old Bike and New Shorts

While walking at Marina Park on Friday night I came across this Iverson bike. Back in high school I saved somewhere around $125 to buy one. Later it was borrowed to one of the cooks at the curling club to ride to English classes and was stolen. Seeing it brought back some memories.

It's a real shame that there is such a lack of vendors at the Marina. You can't get a simple cup of coffee or an ice cream. It's a beautiful place to walk but people want to spend money and there just isn't much of an opportunity to do that. Wasn't that the whole idea?

I got in two longish rides this weekend and that gave me a chance to try out the new Hincapie shorts I found at Winner's for $16. They were originally $109 and are super comfy. Sal had to convince me to try the only pair in the store on, and I'm grateful for her suggestion, best $16 ever spent.

As I came back into town on Arthur Street I came upon a dark lump on the shoulder. It was resting just on the edge of the thin strip of good pavement so I moved a bit right onto the rougher shoulder. When I was within 6 feet it started moving into my path. Thank God porcupines are slow moving creatures or I might have found a whole new way to get a flat.
posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I managed just 600 km in July, down a bit from June. On the positive side 400 of those km were singlespeed on Molly. I have come to love riding her. My legs feel great as a result. I hope to do at least one long ride this weekend so I pulled Bonnie out of the basement yesterday and again today to get reacquainted. It's hard to remember that I have gears, never mind shifting. After riding up and down Victoria Ave. on her unforgiving stiff frame and high pressure tires I have a new found respect for the riders that do the Paris-Roubaix. Riding a day on cobblestones has got to be murder.

For anyone interested in a simple explanation of the the tour or any stage race, see the video below. For a laugh check the link for the Norwegian share the road ad.
riding the cobblestones, just marginally rougher than Victoria Ave.

Tour de France video
Norwegian Share the Road ad

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Women and Men

I came across the website of a high end cycling clothing company (Rapha) that not only sells it very expensive line of shorts, jerseys and gloves but has many videos and cycling related writing. When I first saw the picture and the huge gear I thought it was just a mock up for the sake of a few laughs. When I read the story and watched the video all I could think!

I took my tablet into the kitchen to share with Sal. She looked at it briefly and then simply asked, "Why?"

And there lies a difference between women and men. Had I shown this to any guy whether or not they ever climb onto a bike, they would have at least shown a few moments of interest in the mechanics of the one off bike. I don't know why this young Englishman got this idea into his head and felt he had to try to build and ride a bike 100 mph, I only wish it had been me. I wish I could weld up a frame to satisfy a whim. As I guy I would just ask, "Why not?"

Long story short he managed to get to 80 mph behind his 50 year old car but ran out of runway and car. He rode on rollers and got to 100 mph. The story is not quite finished as he has a friend building a car for racing that will serve as his next lead out.

Check out the video here

Friday, July 26, 2013

Not So Bad

The date had been lurking on my calendar for three months, July 23rd.  Memory flashes of a Robin Williams bit flickering in my head whenever I thought about it. [check it out here , caution adult language].  Dates like this sneak up on you, they seem so far away and then the dreaded day is tomorrow. Colonoscopy Tuesday, oh boy. When my doctor said I was at the age when he thought I should have one I was less than enthusiastic.

The process started three days before with a restricted diet which of course makes the best things for you a no no. No fresh fruits or veggies, the staples of my weight loss. And on top of that all the kids were over for a barbeque Sunday. Sal made me a couple of salads without the illegal ingredients so it wan't a huge issue.

Then the day before it comes down to gatorade, jello and clear broth. I have to say I enjoyed the beef and chicken broth, but the taste of orange jello will never again pass over my tongue.

Along with a minimalist diet comes a few packages of stomach roto-rooter which didn't taste as horrible as I was told. For the longest time nothing happened and I was re-reading all of the instructions thinking I had missed a step. Hours later, in the wee hours of the night I was wearing a path between the couch and the bathroom, I'll leave further details to your imagination.

We reported to the day surgery department promptly at 9:30 only to sit for an hour and a quarter before being called in to get started. It all got real in a hurry when the nurse started explaining about polyps, clipping, biopsies and other less pleasant things. I hadn't thought much about results, dreading the process seemed enough. When I heard I would probably fall asleep and the worst part was the previous night I wasn't convinced. 

Sal left after being told it would be a few hours. As other patients returned there was the continuous expulsion of gas and nurses telling the groggy source that it was good to get that out. I really didn't want to be lying there in the middle of who knows how many people sounding like a three cylinder motorboat with two spark plugs. After re-reading an old issue of Macleans I was finally on the way. I remember answering a few questions and asking one, then waking up back in my parking spot feeling ready to go. I had a few cookies and a drink. Sal showed up a few minutes later and I dressed. 

The doctor is supposed to come by and go over things. I had a vague memory of a nurse telling me all was good, no polyps and then zzzzzzz. I was still in dreamland when that happened. After sitting for an hour plus I went to the nurse's station. I had been up and around for nearly two hours. I was told there were four more procedures to go and then ignored. I just stood there until another nurse came along. She offered me the chart and showed me everything was clear. She wouldn't say go but said I had nothing to worry about and I have a follow up with my own gp anyway. Off we went. All in all nothing like I had feared but I'm glad it's off my calendar.

Monday, July 15, 2013

People Can't Be This Stupid

I rode over to the Westfort diamonds on Saturday to drop a cheque and take in a couple innings of the All-Star tournament. Our guys won with a grand slam in the top of the 6th, nice.

On the way back down Walsh I came across 6 cars parked all over the bike lane for what looked like a birthday party, 'no parking' signs all over them. Across the street there was parking available for almost all of them, which you can see in the picture below.

I don't think is stupidity, I think they all just said "bike lanes, who cares". I sent a picture to the guy at the city and he said to call the police next time and they would come and ticket them all, somehow I doubt that.

With the room left for parking on one side the lane on the left was not wide enough for a car and a bike to share. It is just after one of the hydro towers so a car coming around there would not see me in the middle of the lane until he was right on me.

parking is ok on the right side against the curb 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Back to the Grind

After two weeks of eating pretty much whatever I wanted, it was back to the 'Lose It' diet plan Monday. I managed to gain only 3 lbs. in Calgary and have shed that and another 3 already with lots of riding and not much eating. I turned down the crazy this morning and had a big breakfast. It sure was good to go below 230lbs. for the first time in probably 20 years. If you're planning to start a diet here's a suggestion. Make your initial weight something like 255lbs.. When you lose that first 5lbs. it becomes 249lbs.. Then you are halfway to the first 10. You get two bits of motivation very quickly. Helped me immensely. Those middle numbers changing really spur me on to keep going. I hope to see that first number go down sometime in October. A party will follow.

Mike managed to get to Ikea and bring us the correct pieces for the bathroom cabinets. It turns out they messed up the order, not us. Does anyone need stainless steel legs for a double wide tall Lillangen cabinet? Didn't think so. And of course the cabinets are on sale this week.

Another series of flats has plagued Molly this week. Mike has Lisbeth while he's here so I had to get something back on the road. Bonnie's front wheel is at Petrie's and Eyowen is being welded. I finally got a good patch on Molly's front wheel at 10 last night and rode this morning with no issues. It's a good thing I have 4 bikes to choose from.

June saw another 711km on the bikes and I passed 2000km earlier this week. My legs feel very strong, I might just have to sign up for the Caribou Ride in September.

bike art at Cibo
the wall behind is made from various historical buildings

another shot from my turn
on Cullen watch at Cibo

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Homeward Bound

I had teased Sal about an early start to the drive home all day Friday and she surprised me by being awake at 6:00 am. I downed a quick black coffee, we had goodbye hugs and we were ready to go. Everybody was up to see us off which made leaving a little easier. That and the fact that we would see them all again in less than a week.

We were on the road by 6:50 Calgary time under cloudy skies that would rain lightly most of the morning. The now familiar towns breezed by, Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Maple Creek, Regina. A perfect day for driving as it stayed cool until we got to Manitoba. The sun appeared as we approached the border and after the adventure with the lady in the tin foil hat I got to see the wind farm at Moosomin in daylight. It was much less eerie but there's still something about the size and the slow rotation of the arms that chills me.

We arrived in Brandon at about 5:30 local time after almost 11 hours on the road and just under 1100 kilometres. We went to Montana's after showering and shared a burger, a few appetizers and a dessert that was less than spectacular. Sleep came easy.

Sunday morning saw us up and gone by 7:00 again. We stopped for coffee, gas and breakfast sandwiches in Winnipeg but not for long. Timmy's might not be the best food but at least it is consistent across the country, except for Dryden. Traffic both days was very light. Even in Ontario we had very few tie ups that passing lanes didn't solve quickly. I have to say I would rather drive across Saskatchewan than Ontario any day.

Yes the prairies can be flat and boring. Around Winnipeg the complete lack of any hills is a bit tedious. But further west the rolling hills and big wide views are very calming especially on days like we witnessed. Saskatchewan calls it the 'living sky' and it truly is. With partial cloud and 180 degree views from the drivers seat, the landscape is dotted with sunny patches and shaded pastures, bright yellow of fields of canola shining in sunlight against a sky that is bruised with purple and blue. Look to the south and the sky is clear blue, to the east huge clouds with bright white candy floss tops and in the north clouds that are so close to the ground you could disappear into them dumping rain onto the hills that rise up to meet them. Herds of cattle dot the hills and there's always the question "what did that lone cow over there do to be shunned by the rest of the herd?" Small stands of trees protecting farms big and small. There's always something to look at even if its is 20 kilometers away on the horizon. As a bonus the highway is 100% divided from the Manitoba border to the Pacific. Ontario should have taken care of this long before it became a have not province.

It was good to get home but the trip was more than worth the driving time which I kind of look forward to. Getting to spend two weeks with Mike and his family will never be boring, riding in Banff was exhilarating and hugging Sal after 6 weeks apart was the best.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Last Day in Cowtown

Friday, Mike and Mel treated us to lunch at Cibo, a great modern Italian restaurant. It took nearly an hour to get there with the traffic on 17th Street. Once we were seated Cullen was looking around and behaving very well. After another half hour there he got restless and we took turns walking him around and letting him explore.

Mike and I went for a last bike ride to the Bow River Pathway to check on the level of the river. About 10 minutes from home I heard a 'pop' and stopped to check it out. It sounded like another flat but both tires were still hard. I spun the front wheel and the rim was hitting the brake pad on one side. Broken spoke, something I could fix if not for the timing. I released the brake and we started back but then decided that even with the rim wobbling a bit I could ride so we continued. The level of the water was down a bit more, but more heavy rain hit later in the weekend and closed some roads again. We did about 20 km and limped home. At least it didn't happen in Banff.

The rest of the day was spent packing and playing with Cullen. We're sure going to miss seeing him every day.

Cullen checking out the waitress
Nanny making Cullen laugh
or is it the other way around?

Cullen and me hamming it up
last ride with Bonnie, over the Bow River

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bizarre With a Capital B

So we're driving along the Trans Canada just minding our own business, cruise set for 10kmph over the limit as is my habit. We come up behind a small Honda Fit that is parked behind a tractor trailer and Sal asks why is that car staying behind the truck, it's not like it's hard to pass out here. The Trans Canada in every other province out west is twinned you see, hard to imagine for those of you from northern Ontario. So I move to the left lane and we slowly pass both the truck and the Honda. Seconds later here comes the Honda to pass me and then park behind the next rig in the line. This was repeated a few times. But, this is not the bizarre part!

As we pass the woman we see she has a silver babushka on her head. Like a scarf tied on but it looks like it's made of tin foil. On the second pass I snap three pictures with my phone. As she passes us we can see the foil extends all the way to the back hatch. It was one of those emergency blankets.

Please comment if you can explain. I had few ideas but none of them are right, at least I hope not.

Her head was cold and the sun hitting the back window warmed the blanket and then her head. It was 27 at the time.

Better reception from the mother ship.

She's a trucker groupie and wanted them to know she brought her own blanket.

Really had a good laugh but can't figure this one out at all.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, July 5, 2013

Back To Calgary

After showering we walked over to Lynx St. and Melissa's Missteak for breakfast. It may have been the 'pickle barrel' syndrome ( see but my huervos rancheros with chorizo was amazing. Some toast and lots of black coffee and I was ready to roll. We walked along Banff Avenue but didn't really feel much like shopping so we went back to the hotel, checked out and started back to Calgary.

The whole gang went to Costco for groceries later in the afternoon. Cullen had fun in the playhouses and at checkout time I took him back for another try to keep him occupied. After amazing steaks we played with Cullen and then some dominoes. I stayed up until about 1:00am writing the post about my ride in Banff.

On Thursday Sal and I went out to finish our shopping. First stop was the Farmer's Market for some pies from Simon's. We planned our supper and picked up veggies to go with some scallops to make kabobs. Off to downtown and Wai's Barbeque Shop in China town for pork and duck. Next stop the T and T Market, a mall but more like an indoor China town. The grocery store is stocked with an incredible array of food and ingredients, many I've never even heard of. Who knew a grocery store could be a tourist attraction. We could have spent a day here just looking but we wanted to beat the traffic. We had trouble getting tilapia that wasn't frozen at other stores, here they had about 100 of them swimming in a tank next to live crab and lobster. We did have time to try the dim sum and it was good but a bit hurried looking. It was a busy place and although it tasted great it wasn't as appealing to the eye as the restaurant in China town we visited earlier.

In the parking lot we came across a small Honda with its entire bumper sitting on the pavement in front of it. As I drove by I took a quick picture and you can see the broken amber of the turn signal and a note under the wiper.

We beat the traffic and were back across town in less than 30 minutes. The kabobs turned out really well. Another evening of playing with Cullen and more dominoes. Mike picked up some Black Amber beer that went down very nicely.

One more day before we hit the road back to Thunder Bay. I'm not sure where we're going to put everything in the Subaru. Speaking of the Subaru it sure smells good after transporting two barbeque ducks and barbeque pork around for the day.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, July 4, 2013

One Off the Bucket List

After having nothing but good luck all day Tuesday I almost expected thunder storms. I woke up at 5:30 but it was a bit dark. I could feel that it had cooled off over night. At 6:15 I couldn't wait any longer. I took another look out the window and dressed in my bib shorts and new Canada jersey. I decided against taking the camera and loaded my pockets with the bare essentials, phone, mini pump, glasses and change to buy a water. I had an extra tube but had forgot the tire irons, a flat today could mean a very long walk in cycling shoes. And then the pop machine was out of water. Had my luck changed over night too?

I took the elevator down to the parking garage, unlocked Bonnie and put on the rest of my gear. I was as nervous as I was before the first Conquer Cancer. So many unknowns. The waiter at Grizzly House had said something about more uphill than down because the loop to the lake was only open one way. Would I be able to climb the hills or would I be walking? Would there be traffic? Would the road be wide enough at this early hour? Would I flat and spend the morning slogging along in cycling shoes? Would I meet a bear?

Finally I just said "hell Ron it's just a bike ride, in Banff, relax and enjoy it".

I left the parking garage and out Banff Ave. towards the Trans Canada. I tried one gas station for water but it wasn't open. Nevermind, I wasn't thirsty anyway. It was cool and breezy, the mountains looked crisp with some clouds hanging at the peaks. Cascade Mountain which overlooks the town, filled my view. The road to Lake Minnewonka goes around the base so it grew until I couldn't see anything else. I could smell elk but never did see anything larger than a woodchuck. I rode the shoulder of the deserted road with a surface that was smoother than just about anything in Thunder Bay. Just before I crossed the highway I came to the first Texas gate designed to keep the wildlife off the road. Not thinking I crossed it doing about 20kmph. This was the only time I would ride across as I nearly got shaken from the saddle and Bonnie was rattled. When I stopped at the gate on the far side I saw why. They are made of tubes about 5 inches in diameter with 4 inch spaces between them. Enough room for a hoof to fall between which deters the wildlife. Enough room for a wheel to easily slide between and become a taco shaped recyclable and throw a clueless rider's ass over his red handle bars. I stopped and walked across the rest of these obstacles.

The road climbed slowly although I really didn't feel I was climbing. My legs felt a bit sluggish but slowly warmed up. I stopped and took a few pictures as the cool air and early morning sun made for some amazing views across the valley. About half way to the lake the grade got steeper and I geared down. Normally standing to climb is not an option as I tend to suffer calf cramps if I push too hard. Not today. I bounced up the last half, a little winded but feeling strong. The lunch time workouts paid off.

The road dropped now and as I coasted along at 40kmph the mountain air cooled my sweat, another sweet pay off. At the bottom of the hill a reduced speed limit of 30 had me thinking I had arrived. Instead I came to sheets of water flowing across the road. Another ten minutes and I was in the parking lot. There were only a couple of cars to be seen. I went to the lake, took a few pictures and then started back. As I passed the water again I had a strange sensation. It felt like I was going downhill but the water on the side of the road was flowing in the opposite direction. Banff is a special place but even here the water flows downhill. Very odd.

As I continued back to town I realized why my legs had felt a bit heavy. I didn't have to pedal much at all. The ride in had been mostly uphill and I guess I spent so much time soaking in the views and Bonnie is so easy to move that I didn't realize I was climbing. I got back to town and then decided to take the ride on Tunnel Mountain which I had planned to do before talking to the waiter the night before. A long climb started right away. I was able to ride this one quickly and was soon treated to some wide views high over the valley. The ride down was steep and long with Bonnie touching 54kmph with the brakes on just enough to stay in control. I just don't trust her or the road enough to let her go. I had read someone say they reached 90 going down this hill and found that hard to believe. I'm a believer now.

I had about 20km behind me and time for more so I just meandered around Banff Ave. for a while and then decided to take the short ride to Bow Falls. As I took the left the road dropped quickly in a half km spiral. The falls were more of a rapids in my book even with the river being as high as it is. I took a picture and clipped in dreading the steep climb out. I guess my legs were just warming up as I easily pedaled up. Another 20 minutes exploring around town and my time was up. I entered the underground parking lot, put Bonnie in the rack and took the elevator back to the room.

Sal was reading by the open window and asked how it was, "good" I answered. She was surprised. "Just good?"

Yes, just good. Great would be to go for a whole day. Fantastic would be to live here and ride amidst this beauty every day. Good will have to do, this time.

From the GPS tracking:
Date: July 3, 2013 6:40am
Total distance: 31.69km
Time: 1:40
Average Speed: 18.98kmph
Max speed: 54kmph
Max elevation: 4834 ft.
Min elevation: 4249 ft.
Elevation gain: 1248 ft.
Max grade: 10%
Min grade: -8%

posted from Bloggeroid

Banff, the Details

We left at 8:30 and after a small snarl in traffic made great time. Not that we were in a hurry, but I guess I was just to get there. The highway was clear and four lanes clipping along at 110 except the area around Canmore. Debris and logs were piled up and some new pavement had been laid down. The damage was at a point where a ravine crossed the highway but seemed to be at the top of a hill.

We entered the town of Banff to try and get a supper reservation but Grizzly House was closed so we left headed for Lake Louise. Initially I planned to just have a quick lunch and then go to the Ice Fields Parkway but we decided to go to the lake for a quick look. I dropped Sal at the head of the path from the parking lot and went to park the car. The temperature was about 29. I found a parking spot close by. In the shadows of the tall pines with their amazing scent we strolled down the path. There it was, that creamy blue-green against the dark green of the surrounding pines and dark blue of the mountains. There were plenty of people but nothing like the last time we were there. We walked around the shoreline amidst a dozen languages. Sal dipped her toes and was surprised that the water was not that cold. There were families actually swimming, something that seemed almost sacrilegious to me.

We left and climbed the 14 km of 75% grade to Moraine Lake, by far my favorite place on earth. There were cars parked along the side of the road at least a kilometer from the parking lot but I was sure my luck would hold. After the four cars in front of us passed, a set of backup lights came on and we had a good spot just a short walk from the lake. To me the color of the water in Moraine is more amazing, a deep sapphire blue that looks almost unnatural.  We walked along the shoreline in shade and a cool breeze which was a welcome break from the 32 degree day. Sal dipped her toes and this time the glacier fed water was as cold as expected. We returned and I climbed the steps to the top of the rock pile. The sun was in a bad spot for pictures but I snapped away.

It was too late for the Ice Fields Parkway so we tried the Bow Valley Parkway but it was closed so we drove back to Banff. We checked in at 4pm and took the elevator to our room. On entering there were three bad signs, an open window with southern exposure, a ceiling fan and a wave of heat. The room had no a.c., surprise surprise. I guess they rarely need it but it was 33. We cranked the fan to high and closed the curtains on the sun. I looked back to the website and sure enough no mention of a.c., I just assumed I guess. There was a.c. in the hallway, no idea how that makes sense.

We watched the pictures on the memory card through the tv and I was disappointed in the shots I had taken with the new dlsr. At least I have some decent pictures of Cullen.

We walked a couple of blocks to Grizzly House and got the last of eight outside tables, luck still holding. Ahhh. Shade and a cool breeze. First course was French onion soup for me and a house salad for Sal. I tried a Big Rock Black Amber ale, brewed right here in Calgary, a great dark ale. Next up a fondue with wine, garlic, bruyere cheese and bread. Our waiter scraped the bottom of the cheese pot for a nugget of crispy cheese that ended the course. Next up a hot rock grill on the table with beef, shrimp and scallops in garlic butter. Finally fruit with a Toblerone chocolate fondue. I was wearing a livestrong shirt and our waiter asked if I was a Lance fan, not anymore I told him. He asked if I was riding and then checked on what was open. First choice would have been the Bow Valley Parkway which wasn't an option so he said to try Lake Minnewanka.

We walked back to the hotel in a light rain that felt very good after a long hot day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Great Day in Banff

Hot, but sunny and not too crowded.
Better pictures will follow when I get back to Calgary. We're a bit surprised that our hotel room has no a.c., probably don't need it often but it's 33 here today.

Live From Banff

The Bow and every little stream are still swollen. We're in Lake Louise heading for the Ice field Parkway.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Poolside with Cullen

On Saturday we went to the Saskatoon Farm just outside Okotoks, about 30 minutes south. The restaurant there was packed and the heat and lack of ac meant trying another spot in Okotoks. Cullen was fun throughout lunch and we kept him amused on the drive home.

When we got home Cullen took a nap and then Mike pumped up his pool and he went for a dip. He was shaking a bit after half an hour but didn't want to come inside. Check Sal's Facebook page for a video.

This morning I went on a long ride. Along the way I zipped by a couple of kids and three adults on the side of the road selling lemonade, cookies and some yard sale type goods in support of flood relief. I did a slow u-turn and gave the little boy the change I had. I talked to them a bit as I enjoyed some overly sweet $6 lemonade. They had collected $800 on Saturday and had three pickup trucks with of goods donated. Wow.

Sal and I went downtown this afternoon and both found cycling shirts. I found an aero press coffee maker and we had an amazing dim sum feast. The dumplings and other goodies were easily double the size of those we see at home and the price was slightly less. Much of China town is still closed but all of the roads are now open in Calgary.

Supper tonight was some very good chicken sausage. Cullen went for another swim and then we retired to the cool basement to relax. We decided to go to Banff on Tuesday and booked a room for a night. I hope to get to ride somewhere out there. Many of the trails are closed but the road rides should be good. For June I topped 700 km and now have to face the decision whether to leave Bonnie in Calgary as planned. I have enjoyed riding her quite a bit.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, June 29, 2013

End of Week One

Friday was the last day of work for Mike and Mel. They decided on a day home for Cullen in the fall, a place where they both had great first impressions and where Cullen seemed to feel at home right away. While they were at work, and in Mike's case I use the term work to describe where he was rather than what he was doing, we took Cullen to one of the nearby parks. He had fun climbing around the equipment, swinging and playing in the rocks.

I went for a ride as Cullen napped and wound up with a flat about 2 km from home. For some unknown reason I had brought my mini pump and was able to pump for 5 minutes in exchange for about 5 minutes of riding. The flat was on the front wheel so I sat way back and nursed Bonnie home, pulled the tube and found a straight puncture. I had it changed and ready to go in about 15 minutes and then did a bit of work on all the bikes. Mike and I did another ride after supper.

I have to say I could see myself living here. It's not just the cycling, the proximity of Banff, or the availability of so much more entertainment. It's the whole vibe of the city. It's a young city, a positive city. Civic ingenuity seems to have it's Canadian headquarters in Calgary. There are too many progressive ideas being employed here to write about. Rather than complain about the innovations the citizens take hold and get with the program. An example, every home has a city issued garbage bin and a recycling bin. Soon they will have a composting bin. And they use them.

Flood update. People affected here will have money from the province in hand by the end of next week. Alberta put aside one billion dollars last week. Those out of their homes have already receive prepaid debit cards with $1200/adult and $500/child. More significant funds can be applied for Tuesday and will be out by Friday. I'm not even going to comment on how Ontario handled the Thunder Bay flood. Wait, did they ever handle it?

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