Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Competitive Commuting

There's one series of four intersections on my regular route and so far I have never pulled off the quad.  They say its never been done.  They say it can't be done.  That may be so but...
But today I got my second triple - the first three lights all green. Light number four...missed it by that much.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Where's the love?

I was stunned today because 2 out of 3 cyclists I passed waved back at me.  Usually no one waves. There's a story behind the one who did not, today.  I refer to him as Mr. LHT because that's what he rides.  Nice bike, nice kit, always commuting, clearly knows his way around a bike.  So why will he not wave back to me?  It's gone from being a bit of a game and is now just starting to irk me.
It's not like this is Toronto or another really big city where the bike lanes are jammed and one needs to focus or be killed. No.
I suggest that there are four regular commuters on my route, myself and Mr. LHT included.  For two years I have been waving to him and what have I ever gotten back? Nada.
Isn't there supposed to be some kind of code? Some kind of brotherhood and kinship? 

Photo courtesy of George Marks.  I presume its copyrighted too.
Today I thought I'd pull over and take a random shot for the BLOG of someone heading the other way.  I could see that it was going to be Mr. LHT so instead, I thought, I am going to give this another try.  No traffic to speak of, so clearly he will see me.  I sat upright, looked him in the eye from across the road and waved with my hand above my head.  NO mistaking that gesture.  He had to have seen me that time but there was no reciprocation; no nod, no wave, nothing verbal, no lifting of the fingers from the brake hood, as I say, nothing.
Although I have taken on Mr. LHT as a personal challenge I would hasten to add that this kind of non-reaction is typical, in my experience.  Alas.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Plan B

I like(d) John Candy a lot.  His comedy always struck a chord in me, and it culminated in his character, Uncle Buck.
In the movie Buck announces to his sister-in-law that he is on a five-year plan to stop smoking.  His idea is to spend a final year with cigarettes, the next year with cigars, the next smoking a pipe, then chewing tobacco and finally onto nicotine gum.
Although I haven't really worked it out yet, a part of my plan to be "outside" more, drive a car less, and spend less on gas includes a 50cc scooter.  There are lots of days when I cannot get motivated enough for my bicycle commute and its good to have my 2006 Yamaha BWS scooter.

Altruistic as I would like to be, I need to be realistic.  Oftentimes I need a gas-powered vehicle to do what is required of me.  Now, that said, perhaps I should work out a five year plan and see if I can't just ween myself and my family further away from car-dependence.

The scooter is fun, too.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Downtown observations

There's a new "corner" that's beginning to get a bit trendy and it includes a neat little urban-art shop.  The shop itself has an eclectic combination of things to peruse and if I knew the name (that is, remembered) I'd give you the link.  Outside of the shop window there sat a bicycle.  I was not certain whether it had been abandoned or not because I thought I had seen it there before in the exact same spot.
Upon closer inspection it seemed well used in the very best sense, particularly the saddle.  So I took a couple of shots.

Then I went into said shop where the owner (?), a bright young fellow with a big smile, said "you like my bike?"  Turns out he commutes through the city every day with this beauty.

Makes me reflect a bit.  I like to think I am a minimalist, someone who likes things deconstructed, simple and understandable.  Yet, here I spend so much time and money in efforts to make my bicycle simpler?  There's an irony there.  There's no doubt that as a means of transport goes, this fellow is much 'simpler' than I (and I mean that as a compliment).
The only thing that helps me justify this attack on my self-imposed smugness is that my commute takes me 18 miles one way along a fairly major highway with no shoulders and then back again.
This 'corner-bike' would neither be functional nor safe for that.

I'm a good justifier. Heh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pake frame has arrived

Just out of the box...right away I knew I had the right colour.

The drop outs are beefier than I expected.

The welds are ok.  Maybe not as smooth as they could be but not bad.

I'd say the paint job is a strength as well.  However I have yet to see if the decals will come off.  I don't believe it has a clear-coat but we'll see.  

The headtube has a bit of extra length - something that drew me to this frame in the first place.  The headtube badge is just a sticker though.  Kind of cheap, but I guess its these little things that make the frame a bit more to the affordable side.  I've seen on other blogs that some folks have manufactured their own headtube badges from coins and such.  If anyone has any tips for me...

I'm pretty excited about the frame finally arriving (and to be fair, it actually didn't even take that long).
However, the building/swapping won't be quick.  I'm going to take my time with this and I don't want it to have its first ride in the winter months anyhow.

First I'll do some 'framesaver' on it.
Then I want to get a fork to accommodate a disc brake.  I think I'll go mohawk and just have the one brake, no rear brake.
I want to set it up with IGH - maybe the Alfine 8 or a Sturmey-A 5 speed.  It's a commuter for me so I don't need a full range.
I'd also like to have downtube shifting but don't know if that's an option with an IGH.  Guess I'll find out.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Ride - Documentary

The host from the "Amazing Race" Phil Keoghan, is a cycling fanatic.  In 2011 he released a nifty little documentary called The Ride.  Basically he traverses the States from West to East with a small crew, raising money and awareness for MS.  As you may know from his program he is an excellent narrator, add that to a well told story and high production value and you have one of the most entertaining documentary's you will see in a while.
It's a sleepy Saturday night so I thought I would just log on to offer that.  It's available at Amazon, I purchased it on iTunes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I could get used to this kind of work week

It's a nice work week when you get the chance to spend it in a place like this.  I considered bringing my bike, and perhaps I should have, but then I would not have had the chance for some quality time with my wife.
Since we don't really ski we decided to go spelunking.  These were real caves - the kind one might actually get stuck in!  In the end we all survived the tight squeezes and got some good memories to boot!

 This one is called the "Ice Cave."  It went down quite far.  Not for the claustrophobic I suggest.
 This is me emerging from the "Birthing Canal."  It's a three hour drive for us to get here, and the first of the snow was spotted about 40 minutes away.  This year you must go pretty far north to see the white stuff.

There was a bike rental place I was eager to check out.  I thought perhaps they would have some fatties! Alas, I really think snow bikes are yet scarce up in Canada.  Needless to say they did not have any.  For three days the only evidence of bikes I saw were these two nice ones outside Starbucks. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Frame Update - briefly...

Apparently the Pake frame crossed through customs two days ago. Unfortunately, I am out of town until Friday, so I won't get it until at least then. The good news is that I am at a conference at a ski resort (with snow and everything!) and look to do some cross country. They DO have mountain bike rentals that I shall check out.
I'll try to get some pics later.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Frame is on order

After about a year of thought I arrived at my frame of choice.
It's on order and I wanted to wait until it arrived before I announced it but frankly I just could not wait.
The company is called Pake (pronounced pah-kay) and the frame is a "c'mute."
You can have a look at it here.
I will post pics of mine when it arrives but I do expect it to be a few weeks yet.
I wanted steel.
I wanted a unique name brand (in these parts Surly, Soma, Civia and Salsa all qualified).
I wanted room for a slightly wider tire, but above 35c wasn't necessary.
I wanted the frame to be adaptable with lots of braze on choices.
I wanted the frame to fit.

In the end I went with the Pave Mint colour in the 60cm (largest) size.

It's certainly an affordable frame (I needed to consider that) that is also supposed to be modelled after the success of the Cross-Check.  I haven't yet learned if the "c" in "c'mute" is hard or soft so I don't know if its a "K'mute" or a "See'mute."  Something I'd like to find out.

I hope I won't be disappointed with it.  I am making this purchase after a lot of research but no actual experience with the frame.