I started this event back in ’07 with the idea that it would be nice to wind up the summer with a ride to the Ukrainian Heritage Village when they held their annual Harvest Festival.
It is nice to look back on those past rides and see how we have changed over the years…
Such little girls…
We were a small group that first year…
I was away in Portland in 2012 and 2013 but despite that, the ride still went on in my absence… will have to track down pictures from other folks for those rides.
And here we come to 2014 when there were only three of us riding on what was a cold and overcast day where most of our time was spent riding in the rain… the skies cleared while we were at the village which was very nice.
I am pretty sure Brian has been on every ride with his Catrike…
We dedicated this ride to our friend Ian who passed away several years ago, we know that if he was with us he would have ridden regardless of the weather and the ride he was on in 2010 was pretty similar except that we also had some evil wind to contend with.
Brian and I raised a bottle of iced tea in his honour as this was his favourite drink, something that we despise btw.
And that little girl has grown up (she is now 14)… and back in 2007 I had not yet met the beautiful woman who is now my wife.
Time to start looking at 2015… maybe it won’t rain.
She was our friend and we loved her dearly… and she was taken from us at far too young an age.
We will be celebrating her life this weekend as a group of us ride out to Pigeon Lake on the anniversary of the epic bicycle tour she started a year ago, one that took her all the way to California, solo, and unsupported.
I think she would have enjoyed this greatly.
I think that the motorists should be able to see me…
Decided to go on a late ride and swung down to the south side on my usual little loop that takes me across the High Level Bridge and tonight was a little different as the bridge is closed for paving and this made things really quiet… and the new lighting on the bridge could trip acid flashbacks for some people.
Out of that silence a new sound emerged… with the bridge shut down and the crews absent there were a good number of people hanging out on the deck talking, taking pictures, and there were more than a few cyclist whooping it up on the new surface.
Amazing what happens when you take all the cars away…
Gasoline is running at $1.10 / litre or $5.00 / gallon right now but when you need to fill up the bike a good place to get some high octane fuel is our local Budapest Delicatessen, they are well known for their excellent sausages, smoked meats, and have the best bacon in the city.
But this takes bacon to a whole new level…
Comparatively, the bicycle gets much better mileage than our car as it will go farther on $5.00 worth of deep fried bacon than the car will on a gallon of fuel and contrary to popular belief, this will also keep you trim and fit (you should see my bacon belly) and there is less chance of developing road rage.
The ride of choice here is my “new” 2002 bike E semi – recumbent which I picked up in order to see if the laid back position would help with my back and hip issues and so far it has been very good.
I can’t run anymore (I hate falling down) but riding the ‘bent feels similar in that it is using more of those muscles without putting stress on my lower back and hip.
The Dawes Kingpin was introduced in 1965 as a folding and non folding model and preceded the introduction of the Raleigh Twenty by 4 years and most would agree that it is a superior design as it is built on a much lighter tube set and was handbuilt by skilled craftsmen.
This bicycle came to me in the saddest of ways as it was given to me by the family of my friend Ian, who passed away suddenly at at a very young age… he said I had inspired him to build up a small wheeled bicycle that he could use for touring and we had plans to do just that with me riding my P20 “Forrest”.
It hung in my shop for several years as I did not know what to do with it until a young lady came to my shop with her mother and test rode my daughter’s Raleigh 20 and they were enamoured. I told her that the Dawes was an even better bicycle and that we could build it up for her.
One of the quirks the Dawes has is that it was fitted with an obscure wheel and tyre that is impossible to source on this side of the pond so we decided to build it up on a set of 24 inch wheels with an AWC hub which is a three speed with a coaster brake.
This required that the frame be widened in the rear to allow for better tyre clearance and the seat and chainstay bridges had to be moved for what was a taller tyre and new fork had to be built as well.
I seem to have misfiled my shots of the frame after I started cutting and brazing… but the after shots look so much better.
The rear section had the kickstand plate removed, stays were widened (pressed) and new bridges were brazed in with threaded bosses for the fenders… the colour we chose is called Allusion Violet and this work was done by our partners at Cyclone Coatings.
The front section…
Putting it all together… the tyres are Specialized 1.5 cross, the stem and handlebar came from a Raleigh 20, and the front brake is a Weinmann centre pull.
You just have to have wingnuts…
I had a set of Wald chrome fenders which are fine in themselves but the mounts left much to be desired, I changed those to a modern style mount to allow for more precise adjustment and fit.
Another teaser… that colour really is amazing.
And as they say… the full Monty.
I think Ian would have been pleased and the bicycle’s new owner just turned 11… one would expect that she will be able to ride this bicycle into adulthood and beyond and the look on her face when we rolled it out of the shop was simply priceless.
I partner with Dynamic Composites, a local company that has been designing and building all manner of carbon fibre components for well over 20 years and they are a part of mountain biking history in that they developed components for Rocky Mountain Bicycle and Race Face, just to name a few.
When a carbon fibre frame needs repairing I only have to take a short walk and talk to Al who founded and operates the company and when he opens up his tickle trunk he pulls out things like this… if you watched the video this very bike checks in at the 10 minute mark.
The Race Face SL100 composite crank… stronger and lighter than the forged version and I roll a production version on my Rocky Mountain Blizzard and should be getting another for my daughter.
Earlier this spring I fitted a new 7 speed rear wheel and a Shimano 600 road double to my little buddy Forrest and would have run an 8 speed if the old Suntour Barcon shifters and SRAM derailleur could have managed that… it was a case of incompatibility between the nearly 40 year old shifters and the modern rear derailleur. The SRAM X5 will shift an 8 speed and the Suntours can also shift an 8 speed but not when they are put together.
I started pondering doing a 9 speed conversion and with the arrival of some Shimano 9 speed indexed bar ends I decided to go over to the dark side.
I gathered up a new SRAM PG970 cassette and cleaned up an XT derailleur I had picked up from the gear swap for $5.00 and the conversion went flawlessly.
The SRAM 9 speed has some nicely spaced steps from 11-34 which will give me a lower climbing / towing gear…
The Shimano 9 speed bar ends and XT shift flawlessly and Forrest was overdue for some new bar tape… Fizik Microtek if you are wondering.
I think we can handle the dark side…
… I build bicycles.
After staying up until 5am on Saturday night I got up early and went and scratched an itch I have had for some time… maybe I was missing the Pugsley with it’s rigid frame and fat tyres and winter has been over for a while so the fixed winter bike and it’s fatties are stored until the snow flies.
I had picked up this Diamondback Apex frame that nobody wanted quite a few months back and it had been collecting dust and last evening I picked up a bunch of bits at the co-op so that I could turn that frame into a bicycle and settled on the rigid, fat tyred, six speed set up you see up there.
It was ready to roll before lunchtime rolled around and I also installed a new suspension fork on my Blizzard.
The Apex is a very nice frame made of True Temper TT tubing and is very light and with some moderately nice parts it built up to weighing a few hairs less than 25 pounds; the wheels are ancient RM 25’s laced to a Shimano UG hub and a Suzue high flange up front, the crank is a Race Face with a 34 tooth single and bash guard, brakes are Avid and Shimano (with Kool Stops), levers are Deore, and the shifting of the 13-26 six speed is handled by the Deore thumbie and a short cage XT derailleur.
On my way back to the co-op this afternoon I rode through Millcreek ravine on the gravel paths to test the handling and tyres and could not have been more pleased and the bike is actually pretty civilized on the street too.
Aside from finding a slow leak in the front tyre (the tubes were used) the riding was without incident and even the slow leak did not cause me any issues as there is a lot of volume in those 2.2 / 2.3 inch wide tyres.
The ride and handling of this bike is exceptional and on par with any Kona or Rocky Mountain from that era… it will keep the Blizzard and the Moulden company as it’s a keeper… at least until I build up the Kona Explosif I have waiting and then we will see.
The one by six was nice but yesterday I looked around this shop full of parts and grabbed a set of XT 8 speed wheels, an XT long cage, and an XT trigger to change the bike from the one by six to a one by eight which expands the range to give it a stump pulling low and a little more top end.
The Araya RM20 rims match up really well with the frame and makes most of the parts period correct XT, the shifting and performance could not be much better.
I do have some XTR 8 speed parts but am saving those for another build.
Yesterday I spent an enjoyable afternoon talking with my friend about my experiences on a bicycle as part of her master’s thesis on human ecology…
When I was a wee little fiend my first ride was my tricycle and I remember how my friends and I would terrorize the neighbourhood on them, dreaming of the day we could move up to riding on two wheels.
When that time came I inherited my older brother’s CCM Mustang which was too big for me and he took it upon himself to teach me how to ride, this was accomplished by putting me on the bike, pushing me down a grassy hill, and laughing every time I fell off.
After the umpteenth time of rolling down the hill and getting a mouthful of dirt and some more grass stains on my clothes I made it to the bottom and just kept pedaling and have been pedalling ever since.
We did not have a lot of money and I don’t recall having as many toys as kids do today but my bicycle was my most cherished possession as with that I could be anything and go anywhere in my small hometown… it was my transmogrifier.
On Monday my bicycle may have become my horse as I rode the range and fought with cowboys when playing cowboys and indians was not so politically incorrect… I was always the Indian.
On Tuesday my bicycle might have been transformed into a motorcyle with the addition of some clothes pins and a few of my brother’s hockey cards… revenge is a dish served cold.
The next day I might have been flying in my spaceship… I grew up when the cowboys were being replaced with science fiction heroes as Star Trek was in it’s first run.
We took our bicycles off road, built trails through the bush, and destroyed more than a few by taking bigger and bigger jumps like Evel Knievel.
So here I am heading toward 48 and am still pedalling, have been riding more of late, and have been finding that seven year old I think lives inside all of us that thinks cycling is the best thing in the entire world.
Because it is.
Just watch out for little old ladies in Dodge Diplomats.