“Come to Canada you said, it’s nice in the spring… ” – The Girl

Despite the ups and and downs we have started to have some short worthy days where a man and his bike could get out and feel the wind rushing past one’s legs while you blind motorists and pedestrians alike with these lily white legs… I should really be handing out sunglasses here.

Best thing is that I have been able to bring bikes down from the rafters where they have been hanging like bats since November and get in a few decent rides which can only do good things for my back and legs.

Forrest got another re-fit this year; I picked up a rear cassette wheel and am running a 7 speed block with the Suntour barcons which just don;t have enough pull for an 8 speed and maybe I will upgrade those at some point, I also swapped the 40/48/53 triple for a 450/53 Shimano 600 road double which I could also triple-ize if I felt that was needed. With a small 20 inch wheel the 53 is the primary driver and the 40 is there for more extreme climbing and modern folders like the Bike Friday use a similar 39/53 set up.

Last summer I did not ride as much here because I spent so much time in Portland and also got5 a chance to get the Moulden out for a nice 20km spin which has to be the best ride of the year as things only started to burn at the end of what was a pretty spirited ride, instead of hurting from the get go.

Stopped by the new EBC South shop which should be opening in a few weeks, we are just waiting for some red tape to be handled and then it will be time to put the pedal down.

This bike was built a few blocks away from here…

Moulden EBC

One sure sign of spring here was seeing my buddy Ben, he likes to go for coffee at the Second Cup on Whyte Avenue and is 167 pounds of mush, I have never seen a more laid back and friendly dog and he is 4 years old. It is a good thing that he is so mellow as he is about as powerful a dog there is as he could snap your bones like they were twigs.

I have been exceptionally busy in my shop with numerous projects and as such have not been out and about as much as I would like, and The Girl has not been feeling 100% so I have been staying close to home.

The Girl is starting to get back to normal and I might see some light at the end of the tunnel in a few weeks… :)

Keep the shiny side up.

This week’s work seems to have been devoted to little brown bicycles with small wheels and internal gear hubs; this 1975 Raleigh Twenty was just the first and today I re-fitted another brown Raleigh 20 and got very close to completing  the retrofit of a Dawes Kingpin folder, which also happens to be brown and also has a three speed hub.

I will write on the Dawes once it is completed… they are a rather wonderful bicycle.

It is like some guy has been running around telling people how awesome these bicycles are and how much fun you can have on them and the last Twenty that came through my shop was also brown and went to my brother from another mother. It is seen here with my P20 “Forrest”… who does not have a three speed hub.

I suppose that when you own so many of these bicycles and seem to be the three speed guy it is inevitable that these little beasties will find their way to your shop for some loving attention, and I do love these bikes.

They were Raleigh’s best selling bicycle of all time, there does not seem to be any risk of them becoming endangered.

Tomorrow’s first patient is black and does not have small wheels… but it does have a three speed.


The Commodore

The Commodore restaurant was started as a family business in 1942 and continues to be family owned and run to this day… walking in the door you are greeted to the sound of classic jazz and along the walls there are animation cels on display (and for sale).

The decor is simple and the prices might make you think you were time travelling back to a day when a good meal did not cost a small fortune, and as another writer once said it will make you wonder why you ever spent twice as much at some posh restaurant for food that wasn’t nearly half as good.

If you like bacon and eggs they serve breakfast all day… and it’s a good one.

I start a lot of Sunday rides from here and having had my breakfast earlier thought that a little apple pie was in order and the coffee is just like the rest of it, good and unpretentious… you won’t find any skinny mocha frappa lattes here.

Our little riding group is called the DOGs which stands for Decrepit Old Geezers and you don’t have to be decrepit or a geezer to join in. The nature of the rides varies from leisurely pootling to more vigorous road rides and trips into the river valley on mountain bikes.

After some pie and coffee I pootled on over to Mountain Equipment Co-op to pick up a 7 speed cassette for Forrest, he got a new back wheel and the old Suntour bar end shifters were never made to shift 8 speeds and with a little modification to the shifter pod, it shifts seven wonderfully.

For the record, Forrest “pootles” along pretty nicely at around 30kmh as he thinks he’s a racing bike.

I stopped By Bikeworks North to visit and swap the cassettes and found that my friend had brought the Raleigh Twenty I found for him today, this is what Forrest looked like when he was first minted.

All in all it was a good day for a decrepit old geezer and his bike.

In 2006 I walked into my friend’s shop and there before my wondering eyes was a bicycle I had been looking for for some time, my 1987 Kuwahara Cascade looked like it had never been ridden. My friend said that he’d sell me the bike for what he had paid for it and after forking out the princely sum of $25.00 I took the bike home and after 8 years and 40,000 + km I think I have addressed the not being ridden issue.

Very few things besides the frame, fork, and crank are original, as parts wore out they were replaced and the flat bars gave way to drop bars early on and it became a dedicated touring bike in 2010.

Last year I built new wheels on a set of Arvon touring hubs laced to CR18 rims… the boots are some Marathon Racers and the freewheel is a Suntour Ultra 7.

The Biopace rings are new and a Suntour Cyclone GT does all the heavy lifting, it is such a gem of a derailleur and dates to the mid seventies.

The racks are vintage Blackburns and if they ever fail me I will build new ones…

The saddle is a Brooks Imperial that I received as a pre-production prototype, it has been nothing but perfect since day one.

The frame is built with Ishiwata quad butted tubes which was designated as an mtb tubeset, it makes for a remarkably stiff frame that transfers power extremely well and also has great ride qualities. It is a bicycle that is as nice to ride unloaded as it is when it is carrying the kitchen sink and all it needs there is a little pressure adjustment in the tyres to really dial it in for the conditions.

It has been such a great bike… and we have lots of adventures yet to come.

You Can Ride 2 is a non profit organization that provides adaptive bicycles for children with special needs  / disabilities that prevent them from riding a two wheeled bicycle and also provides instruction for children to learn how to ride.

You Can Ride 2 is a partnership between pediatric physiotherapists and occupational therapists and the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society (EBC).  The collaboration of therapists with a background working with children with special needs and individuals passionate about cycling has made this program the success it is today.

I will start working with this organization tomorrow as a mechanic and bicycle builder, I don’t know how putting kids on bicycles can even be considered work.

I will be asking the people I know in the cycling community of they can contribute other things like parts and perhaps some specialized expertise, especially if they have experience in fabrication. :)

Please visit the website and if you are able, please think about contributing to this wonderful organization.

You Can Ride 2

Ba Dum Ba Dum…

I hear tubas…

We stopped by A&W this evening to grab a little take out for my friend’s daughter… American friends will be unfamiliar with some of the menu lineup as A&W in Canada is a separate entity from it’s U.S. counterpart just as KFC was when the Colonel had sold off his American portion of the business but stayed active in Canada.

I still miss the old drive in and waitresses on roller skates… and the root beer tasted better as it wasn’t a product of the Coca Cola Company. I also remember the big glass bottles and mix you could buy so you could make your own.

But what really bugs me is that menu as it is just wrong… the burgers are actually quite good here compared to pretty much everyone else but it is how they serve them.

In Canada we have a Baby Burger, Mama Burger, Papa Burger, Teen Burger, and Grandpa burger and a Sirloin burger for your favourite Uncle Dork… we also have a Mozza burger.

Babies can’t chew beef (toss that in a blender), I don’t know why Papa gets twice the burger that Mama gets, the Teenburger is a measly single patty with bacon and should be 4 patties with extra cheese, extra bacon, with M&M’s sprinkled on top. What is most disturbing is why Grandpa needs a triple burger and does not get the top sirloin instead of your uncle… and where the hell is Grandma in all of this ?

What about the expecting mom burger ? This bad girl needs at least 3 patties, extra cheese, extra pickles, and whatever else that mom is craving. If she wants anchovies you better have those too…

How about the I have stopped eating bread and just want the beef burger with extra bacon and cheese wrapped in a lettuce leaf with some fresh tomatoes on the side ?

On a serious note… they will serve you a burger without the bun but they might look at you like you’d gone a little mad.

We skipped the fast food and I have souvlakis roasting in the oven… meat on a stick needs no buns.



The black armband is my  Seirus face mask… with the deep freeze returning to the prairies the daytime temperature was  -20 C  / -3 F, this is a temperature where gears can freeze up and to that end, I have been riding my newly minted Raleigh Safari.

It is an old 1980′s all terrain bike that I fitted out with a set of fixed wheels I had built up some years ago, used a Nitto Bullmoose bar, a singulated Sugino XD crank, and some random spare bits… it is spare and simple and the Specialized team tyres are sticky enough for ice and great in the snow. For the gearheads the drive ratio is 54 gear inches which is enough to let me spin along at 20 kmh with little effort and the 2.0 tyres provide lots of suspension on roads that are akin to rock gardens.

I have not been riding much of late due to chronic pain issues so it only makes sense that I would be getting out when the mercury is bottoming out; it is good to get the legs moving and if the left one does not feel like working at 100% it gets to go for a ride and the lower gearing helps with that too.

So do painkillers.

Despite the temperatures I was not that cold… I can credit that to the relatively windproof 10 oz cotton duck pants and jacket that went over a polypro base layer and wool sweater, and those those Merrell moccasins I picked up second hand are really toasty winter shoes.

Only 3 more months until spring… :)

A Night At The Shop

The new north location of The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Bikeworks has been an incredible success that is due in no small part to the indescribable group of volunteers who show up every night to make sure that people’s repair needs are met and sometime the volunteers outnumber the members and guests by a wide margin.

Tonight was one of those nights and it was fun to shoot everyone’s winter steeds… Robert is usually the first person you will meet when you come to Bikeworks north and besides being a wonderful volunteer he plays a mean guitar and sometimes opts to play while people work.

This rather beautiful Kuwahara Eclipse was donated and sold a while back… it was one of those bikes that was purchased with what was probably good intent and probably sat unused for 25 years and now it is seeing regular winter duty.


Michelle does a great job of holding the fort down…

My BRC hybrid… those skinnier tyres have been very good in the snirt.

More bikes…


This place is much a social hub as it is a bicycle shop where new and old friends can come together and talk shop or catch up on what everyone else has been doing… it creates a wonderful sense of community and sometimes people just stop in to say hi and get a break from the cold.

The height of winter fashion in Canuckistan…

The Girl has come down with what seems to be the flu and is handling it rather well (from my point of view)… having suffered through the last H1N1 outbreak it would seem that we have better immunity despite not going for flu shots.

She is not running a fever and describes things as feeling like she has been hit by a truck which is actually much better than what a lot of people are going through right now.

If the Elderberry syrup and Nin Jiom herbal medicine don’t work there is always some Buckley’s Original in the medicine cabinet and I just heard that after a lengthy delay, this will be back on the shelves soon… we had almost run out of our reserve supply.

Dani has had to put up with me in the mornings but I seem to still have good hair braiding skills, make a mean bowl of oatmeal, and enjoy her morning music… she has been on a Frank Sinatra kick of late.

I went for my first ride of 2014 this morning as I had to go and pick up some fresh ginger… my hip and back has been bothering me so much of late that walking has been problematic but a short and easy ride in the lush and snow seemed to loosen that up a bit and stretched out the back.

The legs feel like I have been off the bike for months and I plan to work on getting in more regular riding to get those tuned up.

This is a lot of bike to carry a few ounces of ginger root but when the roads are covered in snirt and have icy ruts and bumps that feel like rock gardens, Stretch is the right tool for the job.

Our thoughts go out to our friends in the central and southeast U.S. who seem to have gotten our winter by mistake, our temperatures are supposed to get up over freezing in the next few days which should give us a chance to deal with some of the ice buildup we got from the freezing rain we have seen.

It is the strangest winter I have ever seen in my 48 years…

The Girl Cave…

Our house was built in the late 1940′s and originally had two bedrooms on the second floor, one of those has been split to form two smaller rooms and while our youngest shares hers with a Bearded Dragon named Pence, the other room has been designated as our craft and sewing room or, The Girl Cave.

What better way to spend a cold winter’s night than to have a place where you can create anything your imagination can dream up or where I can fire up my sewing machine… :)

Tonight I hung the new shelving where all the paper dies and a wealth of other craft supplies can be stored and when it comes to organizing spaces there isn’t anyone better than this than my wife.

When my wife was in Portland she just had a little corner to keep all of the crafting materials she has, she really likes paper crafts and has a wonderful collection of dies which warrant some heavy duty shelving as they weigh a ton.

Now that the shelving is up I understand that I might be able to get to my sewing machine (I want to make some pogies) and worry that I may never see my wife and youngest daughter again as they love spending time making beautiful things.


To be continued… 



Older Posts »