Sorry Cam, They Fit. {2}

Yesterday I inherited an old set of Speedplay Frogs and a pair of Shimano clipless shoes / cleats – tonight, while waiting for Obama to take the stage, I took my first ride in about 8 years in clipless pedals. I think the last ones I rode (and very few times, at that) were SPDs and I wasn’t immediately used to the free float of the Frogs. It took me a few spins around the block to figure out how far my feet could ‘float’ before becoming disengaged but I think I’ve got the hang of it and have high hopes for my commute (if you wanna call it that) tomorrow morning.

Speedplay Frogs

If I have one complaint, right off the bat, it’s that there is no discernible ‘click’ when your feet are secured to the pedals (not especially comforting given the bike I’m riding) but I can tell already that the power transfer is far superior to that of clips and straps and I’m looking forward to riding more with them. I’m sure that in the end I’ll be riding clips and straps 90% of the time but it’s nice to have another option for the days when I want to just on my bike and make ‘er go.*

Shimano Clipless

*See what I did, there?

Obama Mumbaye! {0}

Gonna Vote Black President

Get Aero, Brah. {14}

Few things in life give me the kind of thrill that finding and swooping in on a good deal does – even when it’s not for me. When Sparky the Dragon told me some time ago that he was looking to help find a good city bike for our good friend Ben who recently moved here from Montreal via California I hit up all the usual suspects but nothing spectacular came up. When Ben’s beach cruiser began to shit the bed the search intensified and yesterday morning we struck gold, Jerry, gold.

Miele

Now, these bicycles (Miele, Bianchi, etc.) routinely show up on Craigslist for between $300-$500 (I don’t know what they sell for, though) but what did the owner want for this beauty? $50. Let’s also keep in mind that they normally come with Exage components and this came with a full 105 group, they normally come with ‘ok’ saddles and this came with a Turbo and most importantly, they are usually in ‘ok’ shape at best and this one was in incredible condition – the wheels rolling perfectly true, the gears shifting smoothly and the brakes stopping the bike on a dime. God, I love a good deal.

Speedplay Frog

Now, I’m always happy to help a friend and don’t expect much of anything in return but it is always nice when the satisfaction of helping a brother or sister in need isn’t the only reward. Ben doesn’t have any use for the Speedplay Frog pedals (possibly even Ti spindled), the sweet Shimano clipless shoes (a size too small but whatever), or the Profile Design Tri Bars (does anyone have a use for these?) so my parts cupboard grows stronger still. God, I really love a good deal.

Shimano Clipless

Note to self: When you tell yourself every morning that your shoelaces are too long and one day they’re going to get stuck in your drive train… get new shoelaces.

Fortunately they were so long that I was able to turn one into two. I’m so punk.

You Got Served! {1}

To my American friends – as if you didn’t need another reason to vote Obama.

No excuses, go out today and vote and kick t-rex to the curb.

In The Club {1}

I brought the old Rocky Mountain out of retirement for my first and last dirtride of the season with the fine fellas from Bikes On Wheels.

Don Valley Trails

Don Valley Trails

Don Valley Trails

Don Valley Trails

Don Valley Trails

Don Valley Trails

Don Valley Trails

Don Valley Trails

Don Valley Trails

Don Valley Trails

I must admit; I’m at least a little bit jealous of Ben‘s new Dekerf which a few weeks ago looked like this…

Dekerf

…but with the aid of some good connections and an owner with good taste, it now been transformed from some old fella’s grocery getter to the fine trail machine it was intended to be.

Dekerf

Ok, very jealous.

Update: Cam is the man!

Basically… {4}

My lady has good ideas and I have the good sense to go along with them.

Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Ghoul’s Night Out 2008 {0}

Bike Polo TO

I ran into Shane on the street yesterday who is trying to get the word out about Bike Polo TO’s Halloween Smackdown Polo Tourney going on this weekend at Trinity Bellwoods. I think I’m going to miss the fund raiser / party at Navid’s tomorrow night but I’m definitely going to make it out for some of the action on the weekend – I doubt I’ll be playing but it’s always fun to watch…

Halloween Alleycat Toronto

I also got a message from the Toby Wan Kenobi letting me know about the Halloween Alleycat tomorrow evening… I don’t have many details and apparently the main organizer is stuck across the pond for the time being so I don’t know how much more info I’ll get but if you feel like dressing up and ripping across the city at great speeds meet up at Jetfuel at 6, bring $6.66 and dress like someone or something other than yourself! Get home safely, Tofu.

That’s An Empire Waist Line. I Know Things. {3}

I really can’t say anything here that Ben didn’t already say better but I’d like to add that although I haven’t talked to John in a long while, I’m an avid reader of ‘Prolly Is Not Probably‘ and I’m happy to see him take his site, like he seems to have done with most things he sets his mind to, to the next level. Cheers, my NYC Brethren.

Banned In DC {4}

See Y'All Next Week

I flew in to Dulles airport on Wednesday and made my way to Arlington, VA around 5:20 just in time to pound out a bunch last minute changes for a client meeting at 6:00. This would set the tone for the next couple of days which I would spend in the nicest (certainly the most expensive) hotel I’ve ever stayed at in my life; working from sunrise to well beyond sunset. Oi vey!

Steph flew into DC on Friday and I met her at what is probably the worst (and not even the cheapest) hostels I’ve ever stayed at in my life and let me tell you, I’ve stayed in some seriously sucky places in my day; I’m talkin’ poo stained towels pubes on the bed linens sucky… Come to think of it, maybe this one wasn’t so bad.

At least I was with my girl, who is a total babe, the work was done and all was well. We got settled, pushed the two tiny, plastic pee sheet draped beds together, had a little nap and then made out for Soul Veg. but before we’d reached the half way point of what would have been a killer long walk Steph had the good sense to get me to call to see if they were open; “sorry bro, we closed 10 minutes ago.” Well, sheeeeeit.

Steph is a babe

So, we headed into Washintgon’s China Town (If you wanna call it that; it’s all just regular North American shit with Chinese characters on the signs in addition to the regular ones) and found a great Tapas joint called La Tosca with live music and sangria a plenty.

The next day, I woke up with the beginnings of what would later develop into a pretty brutal cold but we weren’t gonna let that, or the rain, ruin our good times so we moved over to our new hotel (much better, and not much more expensive), ate breakfast in the stairwell and then hit up the Smithsonian and The Mall to check out some of the monuments. The last time I was in DC I pretty much only saw the convention center, my hotel and Georgetown – the last time before that I was 8 so it was nice to see some of what the city actually has to offer.

An homage to the boys back home…

Would hanging out at the Lincoln Memorial in a Lincoln jacket be considered the tourist’s equivalent of “wearing the shirt to the show”?

All class, all the time.

We went to Georgetown to check out Anthropologie then back to the hotel to mellow out before making our way over to the historic Black Broadway for a late night bite at Ben’s Chili Bowl (est. 1958); seeing as some of the boys and I are planning on entering the 2nd annual Left Foot vegan chilli cookoff I’m sampling chillies from all over – dedication to R&D is what makes us #1.

Steph was impressed. Very impressed.

Almost as impressed as she was when she found out that I messed up my memory card and lost a bunch of photos.

We had originally intended to spend Sunday in Baltimore with our buds Omar and Bubbles but longer than expected drives and unfortunate sicknesses kept us in DC. Fortunately for us, it was 20 and sunny so we went to the Zoo and then on the recommendation of some of the fine folks on DCfixed.com we checked out Asylum – a vegan leaning rock ‘n roll / biker bar in Adam’s Morgan (think Queen Street West) before getting in a cab to the airport thus ending a pretty great trip in the US of A’s capitol.

On an unrelated note; Shepard Fairey must have recently gone bananas on this town.

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey

Speaking of Shepard; I wonder if he’s getting residuals off all of the Obama merch with his image on it, or the McCain “Hero” ripoff (which I forgot to take a photo of) or the numerous obvious references that are already popping up due to the popularity of the piece?

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey

As I was writing this, I was about half way through the short flight home to Toronto with the pod on shuffle – one serious jam after another! Propagandhi – Mate ka Moris Ukun Rasik an; Jesse – Smarm; Concrete Blonde – Everybody Knows; The Draft – Impossible; The Slackers – Feed My Girl; Sigur Ros – Untitled 5; Bat For Lashes – Sarah; Iron Maiden – The Trooper… But the shuffle and the writing were both cut short when we flew into a storm and hit some major turbulence; I’m talkin’ swearing out loud, laptop almost falling into the floor turbulence… I’ve been fairly lucky in the past and only had one really bad landing flying into Newfoundland a few years back but this one surpassed that bad flight by a wide margin – I don’t remember ever thinking that I was going down like I did tonight. Gnarly.

All I want is your extra time and your… {4}

I’d like to wish my good friends Sean & Aidan a heartfelt congratulations on the official beginning of their lives together. The wedding was an absolute blast and I, like all those in attendance, am honored to have been a part of it.

I’ve got a ton of photos from the night but I haven’t the time to sort them right now so for the time being I’ll pass a DVD off to the groom and let him post what he likes – look for them in coming days.

I’d also like to congratulate Rob. Congratulations, buddy. Way to go.

Cheesecake

Strongly Worded Letter Department – Volume 05 The Early Years {4}

Prime Minister Mulrony

Premier

Premier

What I wouldn’t give to read the letters that 11 year old me wrote to receive these responses – if they were anywhere as cool as the letters I wrote to Powell Peralta and Airwalk around the same time I’d wager that they were pure comedic gold to the poor soul in Ottawa that has to sift through and respond to these sorts of things.

B17 Bomber {1}

Seeing as Robbie is taking his Rolls back…

Selle San Marco Rolls

…and Wes is taking his Swift back…

Brooks Titanium Swift

…I figured it was about time I sucked it up and picked up a new saddle – my pal Ben hooked me up with this here Brooks B17 for a song.

Brooks B17 Standard

I debated getting a swift of my own but let’s face it; I don’t need a $400 saddle, can’t afford a $400 saddle and don’t want to worry about a $400 saddle when my bike is locked up for longer than 10 minutes.

The thing about Brooks saddles is, they’re really uncomfortable… for the first little bit, anyway. Once you’ve broken one in and the saddle has molded itself perfectly to the contours of your toosh, though, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more comfortable saddle. The unfortunate part of breaking in a Brooks is putting in some serious hours on the ‘taint shredder’ before it becomes really tolerable.

There are things you can do to speed it up, though, all you gotta do is ask Sheldon (RIP).

Wrap the saddle in tinfoil – with an opening along the rails.
Brooks B17

Get yourself some baseball glove oil. Assuming you’re not going the Profide route, of course.
Brooks B17

Pour the whole bottle in through the opening in the bottom and let it soak for 1/2 an hour to an hour.
Brooks B17

Take the saddle out and let the oil drip back into the foil.
Brooks B17

Let the oil drip back into the bottle – it’s still totally usable, just used.
Brooks B17

Wipe ‘er down but good while your friends do Karaoke in the background.
Brooks B17

Mount ‘er, put on some black shorts and go for a ride.
Brooks B17

I’m generally a proponent of level saddles but Brooks saddles are meant to be angled up ever so slightly, especially during the break-in period so I’ve got mine set with an 8 degree rise – thank you Thomson.

Born To Thrash. {2}

Thrashin'

Born To Run {4}

Ladies, gentlemen and children of all ages; I’d like to bid a fond farewell to Robbie’s trusty steed Black Angus and formally introduce to you all the Red Rider aka ‘Noni Pony.

Marinoni Pista

Tonight when Robbie and I left the gym there was a little warning ticket tacked to our bikes from the security guard telling us “This is no place for bike.” They were locked a lampost, far out of anyone’s way in an apartment / gym / restaurant / retail courtyard that has places for exactly 6 bikes – planning at it’s finest here, folks.

Bike Ticket

Also when we left the gym, I noticed that Toronto now has a West Elm and it’s in my neighborhood which is great because whenever Apartment Therapy mentions some crazy sale on some pretty swanky stuff at West Elm, I’ll actually be able to go in and check it out… and then not buy it because I have no money and no space.

West Elm

Killer Killen’s wedding is this coming up fast (what have you gotten yourself into, Aidan?) so he popped by tonight to show off his wedding ring and check out a little surprise we’ve got for the guests. Rest assured, this wedding is going to be a banger!

Killer Killen

Killer Killen

Patch Dem, Patch Dem & Hang Dem Up High! {5}

In a recent post about the rebuilding of my old Mark V as a bad weather bike, Rowdy Duggin made mention of the copious amounts of tubing I have in the old parts cupboard and there is a reason for it – I’m a pack rat. I don’t like to throw things away if I think they might have even a single iota worth of usefulness left in them. Will I ever make them useful? Probably not in most cases, but at least with tubes I know that I can give them a second life.

After spending a couple of hours the other morning hanging out up at Bikes On Wheels and seeing person after person come in and ask to have their flats fixed (Paying $20 a pop! New tube included, of course) I realized that there are an awful lot of people that don’t know how to fix a flat. The fact is, if you’re riding in this city you’re going to get flat tires so you might as well learn how to fix them. When I’m on the road; I usually have a spare, brand new tube to throw in when I blow out but I usually hold onto the tubes and try to patch ‘em up later to keep as extras.

What does a patch kit cost? $3? A $3 patch kit from Mec will allow you to keep several tubes on the road a while longer. Get a set of tire levers for $2.25 to take the tire off and you’ll never be stuck at the side of the road like a sucker again.

Pop it.
Patch 'Em Up!

Mark it.
Patch 'Em Up!

Sand it.
Patch 'Em Up!

Glue it.
Patch 'Em Up!

Press it.
Patch 'Em Up!

Blow it.
Patch 'Em Up!

Label it.
Patch 'Em Up!

Store it.
Patch 'Em Up!

It takes 5 minutes, saves a little bit of rubber from the landfill and ensures that you’ll always have something to put some air into to keep you on the road until you hit the nail, piece of glass or gaping pothole.

Dorks On Wheels {2}

Saturday morning, while out on the road I ran into my boy Ben who was on his way up to Bikes On Wheels in the market – figuring that it was about time I replaced that gashed tire I tagged along for the ride.

I didn’t have much to do until later in the day so I spent a couple of hours hanging out with friends, drinking coffee and fiddling with my bike. It’s nice, for a bike nerd like me, to have a place where everybody knows my name, so to speak.

Bikes On Wheels - Bareknuckle

The shop is full of sweet bikes, a bunch of them in the back room like Robbie‘s new shiny red ‘noni but the real belle of the ball is Liam’s badgeless ‘noni featuring one of the last steel track forks to come out of that factory. She’s a beaut! Why they decided to stop producing them is way beyond me.

Bikes On Wheels - Marinoni

Bikes On Wheels - Marinoni

They just got these little Blackburn Fleas in which utilize a pretty neat concept to keep them lit up. They’ve got a tiny Lithium Ion battery inside and a small, external unit that uses magnets to connect to a standard AA battery for recharging – with an apparent 3 hour run time (6 hours flashing) and a 1/2 hour charge time, they seem like a pretty efficient little light.

Bikes On Wheels - Blackburn

I didn’t end up picking one up because I’m the type of fella that will definitely forget to keep them charged but I thought the idea was worth noting.

Bikes On Wheels - Blackburn

King Tobra, in fine form as always.

Bikes On Wheels - Norco Track

It was an unusually beautiful October day and the leaves are starting to change so I met up with my friend Erin who moved here a year or so ago from New Mexico for a little ride up the Humber River trail. Erin’s got grown man bid’ness to tend to a good amount of the time so we don’t get to see him out as much as we’d all like but he’s a welcome addition to any city and we’re glad to have him.

Humber River Trail

Humber River Trail