Monday, July 30, 2007

Sunday Morning Breakfast Club Ride

Ryan from the M.O.B. (Maniacs on Bicycles) organized a Sunday morning “Breakfast Club” ride this past Sunday (same guy that organized the Midnight Ride).

(on a side note: I went on another midnight ride last weekend. While they’re good fun…. There’s still a few annoying gits on the roads in automobiles, and it’s waaaaaaaaay past my bed time, AND I was thinking I should start doing some long distance rides on Sunday mornings… so I’m not sure if I’ll be going out on those again… we shall see…)

This ride I decided to drag the family out. Ryan and his partner Emily were the only others that showed. We kicked off at City Hall at 9AM and tooled our way across the traffic (Victoria) bridge, along lower Sask cresent then up along 7th to Jerry’s Gourmet Food Emporium (Gourmet… heh… yeah…. Sems to me like it ought to be "Jerry's Glorified Fast Food Emporium"... but what do I know..?). I think we got there before ten, and a good 10 minutes of the ride was everyone waiting around for me to change a flat.

We had breakfast, which was okay. The kids liked it. Then we went our separate ways; Ryan and Emily to go grocery shopping, me and the family made our way home.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Everyone eating their breakfast.

Ryan and his sweet, old Supercycle folder. I had a similar one ages ago but it was grey and not nearly in as good of shape as Ryan’s. I think it’s currently in The Pile

Emily on her pink bike. I’m not entirely sure what make it is.

Amanda. The kids. Amanda took her commuter.

Good fun! Thanks again, Ryan!

Yo! Is anybody reading these? Does it rock or does it SUCK? Feel free to leave comments below….

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Parking on Broadway

Bike parking was at a premium on Broadway when I went for groceries this afternoon. (Click on the picture above for a bigger version).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Skate Park Sunday Morning Part 2

As promised here are some pics of Amanda actually riding her BMX at the Skate Park!

It was HOT!!! At 9AM when we headed out there this morning it was already rapidly approaching 30C.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

G and Dialtone from the Bike Doctor were already there…

Amanda and G doing their thing.

She just rode down those steps over there… honest she did…

Amanda picking her line….

Actually Amanda’s mostly been rolling around the park trying to get comfortable on the bike.

Rolling around corners…


Hey she’s smiling so she must be having fun… which is the whole point after all, isn’t it?!

G and the “move” or “trick” or whatever that he was practicing all the while I was there. Help me out here, someone, is this a “grind”…? I thought you had to be sliding along something for it to be a grind…? A “stall”?

Dialtone practicing the same maneuver in a different locale.

G showing Amanda some skillz she can practice – hard to tell here but he's rolling backwards….

Amanda giving it a go.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Skate Park Sunday Morning

Who IS that hot looking BMX chick going out to ride the skate park…?

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Oh wait… that’s AMANDA!

Amanda bought a Fit Bike Co. Team bike last year.. or was it the year before… anyway she wanted to get a BMX to go ride in the new skate park (well I guess it’s not all that new now…) because she thought it looked like fun. I could probably count the number of times she’s been out there on my fingers (and could probably safely lose one or two in a table saw and still be able to count them…) but I tried to encourage her to make a ritual of it – pick some time and make a pact with yourself to go there regularly whether it’s every night or once a week.

So for the last three Sundays she’s gone over there for about 20 minutes early in the morning (before anyone else shows up…. so… y’know… before NOON...).

I’ll get some pics of her actually riding the skate park someday. I went with her the first time but the mosquitoes were out of control and were eating the kids alive so we had to abandon her there without taking any pics…

Friday, July 13, 2007

Amanda’s Birthday Surprise

On Amanda’s birthday in 2003 I rode over to campus and swapped her tires and saddle while she was at work. I had forever been telling her that if the Rocky was going to be her commuter bike now that she had a fancy Cannondale for trail riding she should swap her tires over to slicks. She refused to believe that it would make that much of a difference. I also put on a Brooks saddle. The commute is half an hour each way. I thought it would be nice to ride on it for two half-hour stretches each day to break it in for when she wanted to do some touring. I have a brooks saddle, two actually, and LOVE them.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

She of course noticed the saddle right away – it being a completely different colour from her old one and wrapped in a bow and all… She said she didn’t even notice the tires had been swapped until she got to the University Bridge and notice she was picking up speed a little quicker as she coasted down!

She hasn’t switched the tires back. The Brooks saddle is now on our tandem. I think it’s there because we rarely use it and I’ve never really been able to convince Amanda that once they’re broken in they’re so sweet to ride on… It also matches my saddle on the tandem (which is one of my Brooks).

My First Bike

This was my first two-wheeled bike. Well.. okay… four - if you count the training wheels – which were eventually taken off. I have no idea what the make or model was or where my parents even got it. Probably from the Sears catalogue.

It was a single speed! Coaster brake, training wheels, steel frame, and I can’t even remember if they were pneumatic or solid plastic tires… They look like pneumatics… Check it out it even had a rack… not that I ever used it…

1975. High River, Alberta. I got the bike for my birthday – which is in February – so I probably didn’t even get to ride it for a couple months.

Before this I had a tricycle of some sort. I seem to recall it was red and metal. I can find no pictures of it. In fact as I’ve been looking back through the piles of pictures taken in my youth there are no pictures of any of the bikes I’ve owned. I find this surprising considering how large a part they played in my life….

This bike was replaced by a blue bike with a banana seat…. More on that later.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Going to the Zoo

Thursday morning we packed up and went to the zoo. I took the Circle Drive Pedway to see if the MVA trail north of the bridge was open. It was. So I took it. It was a much nicer route than having to pick my way through campus and over to Preston avenue and nip behind the BIG BOX SUPERMALL…

I stopped and had a closer look at the Pedway and it’s proximity to the vehicular sections of the bridge…

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Those truck are awful close… anyone who takes the Senator Buckwold Bridge in the winter will know how far snow and slush can be flung by cars and trucks… let alone the high-speed snow-plow trucks! Luckily I can’t think of any reason to ever come up this way in the winter…

It certainly isn’t safe from the tossed beer bottle glass…

One little problem with the route to the zoo is where the mixed use path that runs along side Attridge Drive crosses Rever Road (the south entrance to Silverspring). There are no curb cuts on the two islands that separate traffic flow necessitating anyone on wheels (whether bike or wheelchair or wagon or whatever) to have to make some sharp turns and wander across a rather wide road a bit north of the islands and intersection – where they might not be quite as visible to traffic turning onto Rever Road.

As I passed through this intersection today on the way to the zoo a car coming from the east was making a right turn onto Rever Road and was going too fast or didn’t see me and so didn’t stop for me until he was directly beside the curb cut at the far side of the intersection. This meant I had an even tighter turn to make to get back on the trail and I didn’t quite make it – the left wheel of the chariot caught the full curb while the right took the ramp and t funny angle and the whole thing pitched over on it’s side…! No one was hurt - a little shook up and freaked out – but fine. Still… if there were curb cuts on the islands a) I would be passing through them at right angles to the curb (less likely to hit curb and less likely for the chariot to pitch over if I did), b) the car would have had to stop before them to let me go by (or just carried on and not stopped – which would have been okay as I would be on an island instead of out in the middle of a big wide road…) and c) being on the island I might have been more visible to the driver and therefore he COULD have stopped in time to let me pass…

I realize I probably should have been walking my bike – which I do about half the time I go through that intersection. Sometimes I just don’t feel like getting off. No one would ever expect a car driver to get out of his car and push it across an intersection… I walked through it on the way home.

At the zoo I finally remembered to go check out the butterfly garden.

Here is Finnegan in the Butterfly Garden. We could only find one Butterfly. There were pile of cocoons hanging from sticks in the corner… so maybe next time.

Here is the Butterfly we found.

I got a couple good pics of some critters:

One of the Burrow Owls.

The Ferringous Hawk having lunch (he took the side salad option with his rodent).

This was the first time I saw Wapiti at the zoo this year. Every time I’ve been there previously the enclosure has been empty (or they were hiding at the far, far end of it – which you can’t get to). Today there was a whoel freakin’ herd! Including this big fella

.. and this wee one.

At the duck pond we were swarmed by some very greedy geese, which freaked the kids out a bit. They were so greedy they were biting at my hand as I tried to get some seeds from the dispenser!

The other problem with zoo trips is the utter lack of decent bicycle parking. Off to the bottom left you can see the terrible concrete block tire holders they expect you to park your bike in… useless. More than useless – potentially damaging! Does anyone even make these anymore? I always have to lock up to the sign which is tough because it’s on some very big timbers – I can barely get my big bad chain around it – anyoe with a U-lock would be S.O.L….

Fun trip. We had been going weekly for w bit but have slacked off the last week or two. It was a lot less crowded (if you could ever call it “crowded”…) now that school is out and there aren’t any class trips going on. The return trip was uneventful.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wednesday Morning Ride

I went out for a bit of a ride... well, I guess it's yesterday now... with the kids in tow. We ran the 20th Street gauntlet and went straight through to the river. Turned left on Spadina and just kept going until it turned into Whiteswan and followed that to where it ends at Silverwood road. If I thought the Mac's store there sold anything remotely healthy I would have stopped for a snack. I turned around and headed back the way I came.

Along Spadina I noticed pile of these yellow flowers along the side of th road and throughout the park. I wondered if all the people driving by thought they were just dandelions and cursed the city for not spraying more chemicals on the parks… I don't care about dandelions, myself. I certainly don't think my tax dollars need to go to poisoning our parks to get rid of them. But I do know a lot of people get all bent out of shape by things like dandelions...

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Anyway... they are not dandelions. I’m not sure what they are…

At the Circle Drive Bridge I took the new “pedway” across the river and rode along the Meewasin Trail to the University.

Leaving the University I discovered the old Perki’s (photocopy place) is now a Starbucks. I would have thought there’d be one ON campus by now… of course maybe there is… I don’t hang out on campus all that much – let alone pay attention to what coffee is sold here…

After campus I made my way over to Broadway and did a little shopping at Steep Hill. We all shared some sort of organic iced soy fudge bar type thing.

Finnegan finished it off for us.

Tomorrow we shall go to the zoo! I want to try going for longer rides every day….

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Picnic in the park

Today we went for our second, (hopefully) weekly picnic in the park.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Everybody playing in the sand before our friends arrived.


Midnight Ride.

Saturday night I went on a Midnight Ride organized by Ryan from Bicycle Smile. Now midnight isn’t exactly past my bedtime, per se… I’m quite often up at that time painting (If you’re wondering what I’m painting see the other blog ) or reading or emailing or posting stuff on my blogs… Rare is the occasion that I actually leave the house and stay out (let alone SET OUT) that late at night. But I made an exception for this Saturday, and I’ll probably be making more exceptions in the future as it was quite fun!

Ryan organized this just for fun. “To ride through the streets of Saskatoon after dark… enjoying the fresh night air and less traffic” is what the e-invitation said. I guess there’s been a few. Maybe once a month? Or every other week…?

I set out at around quarter and ran the gauntlet of 20th Street – which still had quite a few cars on it… - and met Ryan around 11:30 at City Hall. He seemed to think that we might be the only ones showing up. While I was gassing up my tires that felt a little soft on the way there another fellow (who’s name I have forgotten already…) showed up wondering if his brother had showed up – which he hadn’t – so we waited a bit and sure enough brother showed up. We were all on fixed gears. Brother was on a Japanese Keirin Racing bike, with no brakes!

So we set out… down to the river and then headed north on Spadina. There’s still a lot of traffic out there at midnight in ‘toon-town. We swung up Pinehouse Drive and made our way over to over to 51st. At this point the brothers ditched us. Neither had any lights, reflectors, or helmets, only one brake between the two bikes, and I think they were feeling a bit sketchy on their new rides. So Ryan and I bid them adieu and headed west along 51st.

We didn’t get far when we had to stop and wait for a train.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Ryan stopped at the stop light. You can see a better picture of Ryan’s street machine here.

A really, really long train…

When the train finally passed we made our way down 51st to …. Uh… just before Idylwyld. The street that Value village is on… Miner? Millar? I can never remember which is which. We went down that street. Even out here in the industrial deadlands a few cars passed us, one way or the other... We then deeked over to Quebec and rode that all the way down to 33rd.

We took 33rd all the way back to the river and turned North again as we wanted to check out the new pedestrian/bicycle way under the Circle Drive Bridge.

Ryan on the new walk/bikeway.

It kind of looks pretty but it’s just suspended between the two roadways with nothing over top of it.=. I could SEE trucks driving by up above, they’re that close to the guard railing. I imagine that it’s going to SUCK in the winter or during the rain and will soon be covered in brown glass like every other walkway beside every other bridge in town…

After crossing the bridge we headed south along the Meewassin trail which was dark. Really dark! There are no light along there at all until you get close to campus. The batteries in my light were going, luckily Ryan’s light was pretty bright and so we made our way along the trail to the top of the University bridge. There we called it a night and went our separate ways. I crossed the bridge and took Spadina south to 20th – ran the gauntlet and was home by about quarter after one…. About five hours before kids started waking up…

Good fun. I think I’ll have to go out again.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My Road Racing Career

Here’s a picture of me and the Pink Bianchi at a road race in the spring of 2003 at Blackstrap. Next to me is Dean, who I talked into coming with me and was likewise about to ride in his first and last road race (as far as I know)…. Though I think Dean’s done a few Time Trials.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

I think I also went out and rode one of Cycledelia’s Tuesday Nighters. I can’t remember if that was before or after the Blackstrap race… I think it was before…

After this I took up Cyclocross. More on that later…

I’m just not down with the road racing. I’m a) not nearly fit enough – not even back then - and b) just not into riding in a group on the road – especially at high speed in and ever shifting peloton! Fun to watch, no to ride in…