Category Archives: posts

‘Twas the Night before Wintermas

‘Twas the night before Wintermas and all thru the house,all the xc ski creatures were busy, except for the mouse. 

The addicts had prep’d all their skate-ski’s with great care 

in hopes that St Glide-a-claus soon would be there.

The skiers were huddled all snug in the shed. 

with fumes from sweet Fluorocarbons dancing in their heads. 

with weather apps and snow thermometers used with great care

We all hoped the glide would be awesome, when we got there.

With Nesspresso’s consumed and last nights scotch therefore banished

We jumped in the car, ………..despite headaches ‘n being famished

We live in Quebec which means winters really…. suck

But with a fresh 30cm’s, heading north was just for luck

There was a debate, Oka or Ptit train, to be specific

But it was unanimous that conditions anywhere were sure to be terrific

So with a snub to our Western friends who had being skiing since November

We hit the trail hard knowing that St Strava would remember

On Fixie, On Bubba, and last of all Timber 

Skate skiers of skill, sizes and shapes that will.. linger(?)

Down the flats with V1, up with hills with V1-stagger

Will be done in 2 hours and the legs will knackered. .
Guest post by Ulfy ‘JubJub’ Waxmeister

Songs of My Innoncence

Songs of Innocence – U2

Disclaimer: I am a huge U2 fan… I always have been and will probably be for a very long time to come.

So the new U2 album is out and it’s free on iTunes and everyone seems to hate it. At least that is what we are being led to believe by some Hipsters and Blogs. Top be honest, it’s true that this is no Unfortgettable Fire either. Then again, I’m not a 12 year old discovering an edgy rock band from Ireland either.

So how about all of us experts on music and all things cool just shut up, give it a few more listens and see which song eventually shows up in that “must see” Indie movie this Christmas… Yup there I said it. The holiday season is upon us… get over it.

I accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge #Video

I accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from Stephane @Mononque Denault and nominate my fellow Railroaders: Pierre Kelly & Haig Kanar, Team Kat member Greg El Capitaine Desmarais & Alister Polkaroo Moore, And fellow Rotters: Jim Woody Larocque & Mike the Dragon Carlyle.

I am so donating to the ALS foundation and encourage you all to do the same.

Via #YouTube

The Brokie Lives To Ride Another Day

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About three years ago, I set about to build the lightsaber of bicycles more commonly known as a fixie conversion. A good friend had an old 1973 Peugeot UO-8 lying around in his shed unused and collecting dust. So I set about restoring it, only to be convinced by Fixie Jedi Master Zuke to turn into a fixie for my commute into town along the Lachine canal. Since there were no hills or stop along the way a “track bike” made a lot of sense. Some considerable man hours of research on Sheldon Brown’s most awsome site and some great advice from Zuke, Fab and the good folks at Bikurious. The original Peugeot Fixie was done.

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Speed ahead some 12,000 KM and many many innertubes, tires, chains, one saddle and three bottom brackets later, I thought the old Brokie (thanks Alister for the new name) was finally beyond repair. The original headset/stem and just about the only original part left on the frame finally snapped under some repairs and need to be replace with something a little more modern. I ended up picking up a quill stem replacement at the LBS in Lachine on a ride home and unknowingly attempted to ram a 22.2mm stem into a 22._0_ headtube before realizing my mistake. I struggle with some heavy twisted and greasing and to be honest nothing was working until a neighbour suggested heating the headtube up with paint removing gun. This just about worked and with the help of a 12 inch nail pressing up against the quill and some light to moderate to heavy hammering, the stem same loose and proceed to shoot across the garage floor. So after sanding 0.2mm off of it and gently trying it again and again, I was finally able to fit it properly, replace the handlebars, install new brake cables* and apply some fresh tape to the bars. She is done and I am quite happy to put aside my thoughts of buying a Surly Long Haul Trucker or MEC National off again for another season.

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All kidding aside about its new nickname, the tires and chains and other parts I have to replace are still cheaper than 6 months of buss passes and petrol for that Jetta that hasn’t moved in 9 months. When I do decide to get a serious tourer to compliment the Red Rocket in the stable, it will be because of a long trip like: Land’s End to John O’Groats or Vancouver to LA, or even Montreal to the Rock. For now more training and time spent along Mother Natures longest natural wind tunnel: The Lachine Canal.

*Yes, I installed brakes on a Fixie, 1) I value my life 2) the hoods are comfortable 3) I value my life 4) Hills Suck 5) I value my life.

Saddle-less commute on the brokie

So I was already having a bad with a noisy bottom bracket and a gear ratio I can no longer sustain for 25KM twice a day when half way home this happens:

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So the rest of the ride home felt pretty much like this:

In the end I changed my gear ratio back to 48×16 from the insane 48×14 I had been grinding away in since last spring (2013). To be honest, the added speed on the non windy days, never made up for the trouble on every other day that I had head wind along the canal. And if I don’t get my spinning back up to 90RPM with this, I’m changing the front crank to a 46T. More spinning, less grinding.

But I must give a huge shout out to Marissa and the crew at Bikurious that have been single handedly keeping by Peugeot “Brokie” on the road for the past 9217KM. Sure this is my third bottom bracket in as many years, but that is pretty much my fault for being 200+ lbs and trying to thrash my way up Peel everyday. Seriously though if you need any solid advice on getting your fixie built or want a real nice custom bike, nice gear or retro parts, just stop by on Amherst and Robin and ask away.

Montreal Commuting Season is Now Open

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Despite the somewhat cooler than expected start (-1C @ 0600EST) the one thing that was the same as last year was the familiar sounds of the geese coming home. As I did up the velcro on my shoe covers and pulled the balaclava over my head, I noticed a large V dashing across the morning sky and headed down the road towards the Lakeshore and the Lachine Canal. The only difference this year is that I’m kicking it off on the MTB rather than the Fixie, even with 25mm tires, I just don’t trust the roads and besides my rear hub is still stuck on flop with single speed option only. I must take care of this this weekend. I put in a respectable time of 1h11 as I dodged a few ice patches and stop for the above photo half way to work. I have already beed asked on Twitter what the conditions were like so have a look below at path report. I’m positive that it will have changed enough by this afternoon but I wanted to make this available so I don;t keep sending out the same text all day. I will try and update it this afternoon after a few hours at 14C take its toll on the Path-Bergs still plaguing a few parts.

• Dorval to Locks Clear
• Locks to Dollard Bridge – Impassible – take St Patrick
• Dollard Bridge to Atwater aka bridge to bridge 99% Should be clear by this PM
• Atwater market to Wellington & Locks – Ice and Snow Patches but traversable on MTB or hybrid. Should be clear by this afternoon
• Wellington Locks to Peel Basin North is Clear except for a mud patch by the Volley Ball pitches

Generally speaking if you are commuting, this is entirely passible with short road stints in quiet neighbourhoods.

Hope this helps a few of you eager beavers out there.

The Affleck-Damon Batman Angle

NewBatmanSo this is making the rounds on the Interwebs today…

Now after some post Five Guys though with Burgy the only way this could work is if the following cast was also involved:

Matt Damon as Robin as seen above

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Alanis Morissette to play Harley Quinn opposite Alan Rickman’s Joker

Jay and Silent Bob as their Henchman

Scott Mosier as Commissioner Gordon

And of course Ryan Reynolds making and cameo as the Green Lantern

Running of the Coq and Balls

A slightly bizarre game has taken over my group of weekend riders, some of which also like to run and sometimes swim and not particularly in that order. So among these Dads, several of us use either the Garmin Forerunner 410 or our iPhones to track our rides and runs. And as of late, we have been drawing some pretty bizarre stuff with the tracks. Like the time Christopher decided that a lizard should be eating my house:

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And then at seem point later thing quick went straight into the gutter as John decided to dedicated a portion of a lazy run towards marking out a todger into the side of a nearby hill.

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To which Christopher replied with his own dealing sabre.

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I this point I could not let these feeble attempts at obscenely geo-tagging our hood go unanswered I replied with my own pecker in the park.

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However it them dawned on me that no one would ever see our masterpieces unless they were to zoom into one of our cock runs. So the only way to make sure our meta-hooliganisms got he appropriate attention of unsuspecting Strava browsers was to make the entire run a giant knob to which I proudly present:

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Of course there are always be those who take it that one step too far! Jim of course wins the Internet with this magnificent Coq & Balls.

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And I’m sure that some will say that none of this is anything new, as mad Englishmen were doing this kind of silliness back in the 17 century across the chalk hill of Dorchester. May I present to you: the almighty Cerne Abbas Giant

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Today’s Riding Lesson: Commit to the Cattle Grid

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This morning I set out for ride through the New Forest which straddles the Hampshire and Dorset county line. I left Bournemouth just before 6AM and headed up towards Cranborne for some lovely climbs past Gaunts Common, Holt and our old cottage near Horton. After an brilliant descent into Cranborne, I spent the next 25KM climbing towards Fordingbridge and then up aptly named Godshill before another awesome descent into Cadnam, hitting 66kph before tucking in and hoping to stick the roundabout. It was on this descent that I learned a vital riding lesson:

Commit to the cattle grids!

When you approach six horizontal bars anchored into the pavement at 40 to 50 kph, the worst thing you could ever do is slam on the breaks or try and change directions. I have no idea if any cycling club would ever recommend this, but here is what I did: stood up with feet at 3 and 9 O’clock, hands on the hoods with arms bent and two fingers gently covering the brakes; with my knees bent I squeezed the saddle with my thighs and lined myself up to cross the grid panel head on and right in the middle. You want to stay away from the edge that get butted together, those look far too inviting for 23mm wheels. I hesitated between a bunny hop and just lightly lifting the pressure off the wheels. To be honest I was concentrating so hard on NOT letting any poo come out that I can’t remember which technique I actually used. The first grid scared me silly, especially since there was no warning that I was approaching it until it was far too late. By the time I had crossed my third grid, I was actually welcoming them. Now granted it was a very dry day and my tires and rock hard at 120psi, I’m not all sure this technique would work in the wet or in a curve (if you’re the guy zoning a cattle grid in a curve then f&$@ you). Also if you’re riding a MTB you are probably well versed in stupid road hazards, so your thoughts on this are welcome in the comments.

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The Pack Mentality, Re-Learning to Ride Safely

In light of this weekend’s tragic accident during BC’s Ride to Conquer Cancer where a young cyclist aged 16 lost his lost after clipping another rider’s wheel and falling into oncoming traffic. I think it’s important that we all remember and in some cases learn some of the basic rules for riding in a pack.

We share the road with cars who despite our numbers, loud jerseys, reflectors and lights will always claim they did not see us. Therefore it’s always a good rule to assume that you ARE invisible to them and try to ride in a way that is akin to the way motorcyclist call defensive driving, anticipate the road and the others around you. If you don’t make eye contact with the driver, then assume they have no clue you are on the road.

I stumbled upon this piece from the MEC Ride don’t Hide blog and had to share it. Please click on through and the read the great tips from Jess Hainstock and Allan Prazsky.

“Fluidity and subtlety are key whenever you’re in a pack, because an element of risk comes with group riding. Etiquette within the pack is important for several reasons, most notably safety for you and those around you,” Allan responds, when I explained the code of conduct I’d observed on the group ride. “There is something called ‘the accordion effect,’ where the action of the front rider gets magnified as you travel to the back of the group. A sudden acceleration, deceleration, or swerve becomes exaggerated as it moves through the pack, ultimately leading to frustration, a crash, or worst case, a frustrated crash.”

As my buddy Alister mentioned this morning when he forwarded the CBC news clipping: Safe Riding People

via Ride Don’t Hide – The Pack Mentality | MEC Blog.

Century Uno: The RTCC Training Continues

SafariScreenSnapz006It’s Victoria Day Bank Holiday in The Great White North and after a weekend of staining the deck and pergola, I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to get out on the Red Rocket. What started off as a simple Ile Perrot loop turned into my first metric century of the year. The wind was pretty forgiving and the carbon fibre K-Factor made all of the West Island roads feel pretty decent. Although I will admit that Ile Bizzard and Ile Perrot roads are pretty bad.

It felt pretty good to finally get a real 100KM ride in under my belt this year, especially after last week’s pretty abysmal commuting schedule. For some reason May always seems to just kick my ass, last year the weather and travel schedule didn’t help and year it’s been high winds and illness.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer is just over a month a way and if things keep going at this pace, I should be fine. It’s never too late to make a donation, just use the link above.  And if you’re keen on joining me in my training rides, just send me a note. I always welcome the company.

 

Please Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer

 

JohnnyintoMordor

I have started training pretty regularly for the Ride to Conquer Cancer coming up in July, Basically I will be riding from Montreal to Quebec City (about 300KM) over the course of 2 days in support of my friend Katrina who is battling stage 4 lung cancer. I will be riding with her husband Alister, her brother Greg, another of our friends Annie, a buddy from soccer Massimo and about 2000 other cyclists. It’s a pretty awesome journey and all in the aid of the Segal Cancer Centre at the Jewish General Hospital.

Red Rocket with new boots

Research has come a long way since I lost my grandfather Ben to lung cancer in 1991. When my sister Julie was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s in 2002 after giving birth to my nephew Mathieu, she was greatly aided by advanced detection and immediate chemo and radiation therapy. In her case, the research and excellent facilities made her journey through the treatment to be a more humane one. She has been in remission since 2008 and her own feisty spirit has driven her to keep fighting for her life, running half marathons and giving birth to her daughter Sophie and her son Ben.  

For Katrina there are treatments available that can significantly extend her life for several years with only minor side effects. She is in the minority for stage 4 lung cancer. Most people have only a short time. Although there is no cure, cancer research has given her the possibility of prognosis of years rather than months.

So I ask to donate generously by using the link below, I am about halfway towards my goal but the ultimate goal of kicking Cancer’s Ass for good is far close. I’m no doctor or research scientist but I am doing my part in raising awareness and getting fighting fit while doing it, now please do you part too.

Please Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer

Cold Morning Commutes

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.

– Albert Einstein

A colleague sent this today and I thought it was pretty good quote for Geeks & Nerds on Valentines Day.