Monday, June 25, 2012

"the richest cyclist is the best cyclist" syndrome

This cycling jacket is parfaite, and if you buy it then so are you.

One of the big lies of cycling is that you have to have the most expensive stuff to be the best rider. The leader of the pack. A god on two wheels. Numero uno. 

Ha! Don't be a sucker.

Sunny ride becomes stormy ride!

Our easy ride from Ormstown to Franklin Centre turned into a battle against the wind and rain. Sometimes that is the price we pay with our 4:00 pm ride start. Aside from the wind, it was a pretty decent little 50 km ride.

Bike ride starts. Weather arrives. Doh.

big pine behind Ormstown United church wonders why the Bert is its new friend?

Once upon a time this was a one-room country school house

Smallest covered bridge in Quebec?

War of 1812 monument near Allan's Corners

Clouds arrive but weather is still sweet summertime

Battle of the Chateauguay wasn't much of a battle because the yanks ran away from a fight

Crossing the Chateauguay river, we now ride south to Covey hill over "the rock"

Old legs were still tired from Charlevoix raid!

That is a classic Cockshutt tractor

Cows of Covey Hill

Sun left and much wind has arrived

Montée Covey Hill bridge still barré

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ridiculously scenic Riviere Rouge road ride

Our lifelong mission:  get out of town and ride a scenic ride in the Quebec countryside.

If this is also a dream of yours, we offer one of our all-time favorite rides in the laurentians near the village of St-Jovite. (Tremblant). Don't worry, it is not too hilly, the ride follows the very scenic riviere rouge and is intermediate in both distance and difficulty. 

This tour has llamas and a covered bridge. Actually, two covered bridges.

There is an excellent park near the water in Huberdeau that is a great place to take a break at the 2/3 point in the ride. 

The map for this ride is here on bikely.

75 km isn't too long a ride on a hot day

leave the urban wasteland behind, and enjoy some laurentian scenery

look closely at the passenger in the middle. yes, it's the 1%!

Scenery, scenery, and more scenery

Beach in Brebeuf, hot days need beaches, so bring some beach shorts for a refreshing dip

Pont Prudhomme

A llama wonders why it isn't home in Peru?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Repurposing applied to the bike thing

Here are a few custom modifications to bikes that we have noticed lately.

Elastic band kickstand holder. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best solutions. This is a great example of an office supply product repurposed into as a custom fix for an annoying bike accessory problem.

Extra-wide rear rack with highly artisinal mounting system using a half-broken front mount and the other front mount attached mainly with a tight wrapping of repurposed. electrical wire, but if that sounds unsecure, then be assured that the additional rubber bungee tension keeping the rack held in a frontwardly direction, topped off with a custom rear strut to hold the much larger than usual-for-a-bike rear deck surface. It also appears the seat tube on the bike frame has been in a fire.  What a bike!

This rack/s new deck also extends rearward the typical bike rack size. Note the plaque-shaped board used for the deck surface has been recycled from a previous life. Repurposed, we mean.

The PA brand bike seat-cover is seen all over Mile-End.

4-way stop indicator artisinally repurposed by some unhappy freedom seeking member of our society

Why repurposing this doorway into a bike parking area is not a good idea...

Smash... Crash...

And here's the answer to why this doorway isn't a good place to park the boat anchor bike.

Movie merch repurposed into a Mrs Shrek's wind speed indicator.  We noticed this gem n the ride to work and conclude... good work Shrekkies!

Runner repurposing the barrier between the bike path and the road for a running track.

Bird Attack!

The last few days have been more nature oriented than usual and this is because Nature has been fighting back! 

The past few mornings Nature has been sending a little bird (we may call it little, but we note its unrivaled ferocity) to attack us as we cross the Rockland overpass to TMR. This particular bird doesn't like us at all.

The bird attacks us with physical contact with our helmet. The attack makes a sound like the helmet hitting a couple of light tree branches. This confused us at first, as there are no tree branches nearby.

This is a situation where wearing our helmet has protected us from an unseen and unexpected danger.  Birds, like leaves, are not always your friends.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Falling off the sidewalk?

My coworker fell off his bike on the weekend. He was riding on the sidewalk, and he fell off the sidewalk when he wasn't paying attention.  The results were gruesome, but happily not life threatening.

This is one more reason why you should NOT ride your bike on the sidewalk.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Raid de Charlevoix pix

Traduction en français : cliquez ici

the start for the 75 km race. It was the last time we saw any of these riders all day!

Saturday was a perfect day for a marathon bike Raid. A Raid is a mountain bike marathon, typically a long distance back country point-to-point ride and not a race of several laps of a technical course.  

We did not achieve our goal of coming in last place, since pretty sure we tied for last - damn that dude and his flat tire slowing him down!

In this case it was the 2ieme Raid de Charlevoix at (aka near) La Malbaie, and it was 75 km and 6 hours of fun. This six-hours-to-finish time put me solidly in last place! There was also a 50 km and a 25 km, but fool that I am I went for the big one. 
I didn't dawdle or anything, but the fact I am old, fat, and slow (which also describes my full suspension mtn bike), contributed to my resounding lack of success. 
Actually I tied for last place, which was better than arriving alone at the finish as they were disassembling it! The other guy had a flat and I passed him as he fixed it, then he passed me, then I caught him. And that is how a dramatic fight for last place takes place!  
Other dramatic fights during the race including making the cutoff at 1:50 with 30 seconds to spare (or they shunt you over to the 50 km course cuz you'd be too slow for the 75 km). and when I was doing the climb to the Col de Bossu I was being followed by the quad that follows the last place rider to pick up the bones after the wolves and bears have had their way with me when cardiac failure occurs.  I called him "the spectre of death" but it also meant that the 5 people behind me had dropped out of the race. I was in no risk of dropping out, just of being friggin' slow in the uphill.  

The climb up to Col du Bossu looks minor in this photo, but it lasted 9 km!

It was a great experience, the trails were mainly forest roads big (boring but generally fast) and small (more interesting, but generally uphill or or in bad shape) through some really nice terrain. The land where the race took place is in ZECs or Pourvoires which are generally used for either forestry or hunting/fishing or it seems recreational Quad driving - sometimes with one's wife and her tiny dog on the back!).  
The Raid adds another economic-generating tourism activity to these forests, hills and lakes, which the many and vast and distant Quebec regions need. And the Charlevoix is so very lovely, but is a bit far away.

Ravito food stop #2. un Gros merci to the many volunteers that make this and all races possible

in the Charlevoix backcountry the hills get big

This chemin forestier had great views, and then it is the 300m climb to Col du Bossu

The only asphalt of the day was about 3 km before the finish line.

The podium was empty by the time we got there.

Mont Grand Fonds at sunset friday night.

Early Saturday morning and the campers are getting ready, and notice the blue sky!

Starting in last place meant we passed a few (very few!) riders.

The descent after col de Bossu starts now!

Deep in the Charlevoisienne backcountry we passed this rider with mechanical problems

These quads were following the last riders on the course. Oh, that's us.

Lots of mud, and almost no blood =  a very good day for a mountain bike ride.

The last stop before leaving montreal is to pick up some Patisserie Villeray baklava, the best!

The paved road from la Malbaie to Mont Grand Fonds has great scenery and mostly great asphalt.

What is this thing on the front of the bike?

Lots of great scenery goes flying by

Biking through the bush gives me the greens

Thursday, June 07, 2012

think happy thoughts ride

Some readers are complaining that we complain too much.

Well, it's what we do, and if we want to stop complaining then we need to leave the Montreal island and go for a ride in the beautiful, peaceful, and perfect for cycling Quebec countryside.

If the urban stress is making you complain too much, we suggest going for a nice ride in the Quebec countryside. And the ride we suggest you do is one we recently enjoyed, which goes from the Chateauguay river south to Covey hill and rides along the US border (on the canadian side).  If you want the ride to be longer, start in Howick or Ste-Martine and ride the north side of the river to Allan's Corners where the ride heads south across "The Rock."  Here is the blog post about the ride. Here is the ride map on Bikely. Access is easy, cross the Pont mercier bridge and continue on Rt 138 to Ste-Martine, Howick, Allans's Corners or Ormstown. Then enjoy the ride.

We, on the other hand, are heading northeast to the Charlevoix for the Raid de Charlevoix, which is probably a bad idea for an old fart, but you're only middle age once and we don't want our old age filled with regrets for not doing things we were too much of a pathetic wuss to sign up for. This Raid should be fun right up to the point when the the bears catch and eat us. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Ripoff du jour

Craigslist is a useful place for getting a good deal on a used bike.

Unless the deal is no deal at all, and is a ripoff extraordinaire.

This week has seem some spectacularly bad deals such as:

Nakamura bike - $1000

What the ad doesn't say is that Nakamura is the house brand of Sports Experts store, and is unless the tubing is filled with diamonds, is worth about 25% of that price.  This seller needs to get a lot better grip on reality than he is now experiencing,

Vintage '88 Trek 560 Road Bike (55cm) - $450

What the ad doesn't say is this bike is 25 years old, was nothing special to begin with, and is worth about half that price if is going to be a good deal in the craigslist universe.

CCM corsa cream vintage men bike - late 70s -nice retro look - $250

What the ad doesn't say is that this bike cost $100 when it was new, was a crappy bike when it was new, has steel rims that don't work in the rain, and it would be a good deal at a price of $50.

Simplex SLJ 5500 Rear Derailleur - $45

The ad says "Considered by some to be the best derailleur ever made." But leaves out the "in 1975" part.


When you see the word "Vintage" in an ad, stop reading it and move on. Here are two five-speed cheap 1970s bikes, which cost about $100 each when new, and they sure didn't go up in price or value since then! 

Vintage style women cruiser bike - $160

Again with the "Vintage" which you should translate as "worth $50 tops."

Orange road bike - Peugeot - Vintage 1972 - $250

Ah, Peugeot, your super cheap 1970s bikes don't get better with age, but unfortunately don't ever die either. This bike was $100 in 1972, and is still worth 100 in 2012. 

Interesting how often we see the "image" word "vintage" and the reality "ripoff" go together.  There are lots of good deals on Craigslist, but none of these bikes is in that category.