Tag Archives: kona

charliebucketcycles.com is where it’s at

The time has come, the walrus said…..in this case the walrus has indicated that it makes sense to focus my energy on the team blog, Charlie Bucket Cycles.  You can click on our logo above to get to the sight and I hope that if you’ve subscribed to ridefixies you will take the time to follow us at Charlie Bucket.

Why would you want to?  Well, there are plenty of reasons, but surely the most exciting one, is that not only are you dazzled by my writing genius there, but you will also be able to share in the lives of two of my closest friends, Paul and Andy.  We al love to ride our bikes, and it doesn’t really matter what kind of bike it is.  The important thing is that you’re getting out there and riding.

So don’t be shy. Come over to www.charliebucketcycles.com and follow us (the link is in the top left column).  It’s completely free and we won’t pester you with offers and advertising.  You only need to read what’s interesting to you, and frankly the only reason you would want to follow us is if you’re into riding bikes.

ridefixies will remain here for a while but all new content is going to be published at Charlie Bucket.  Thank you for following me up ’til now, and I sincerely hope you’ll come over to Charlie Bucket with me.

James.

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Filed under Misc.

Grippy

Now them’s some grippy tyres!  First ride out on the new tyres and I have to say I am very pleased.  They are seriously solid.  I am certain that I could ride right over shattered glass or a bed of nails and still keep going, such is the robustness of these Continental Contact 28C shoes.  It’s a good feeling to know that you’re not going to be getting a puncture (there we go, I’ve gone and jinxed it surely).

Some tyres them Continental Contacts.

Despite the sturdiness and confidence that the new tyres gave me, the ride to and from work was anything but normal and comforting.  Some days odd things happen, and some of those things are good, and some not so good.  I hate being honked at.  In fact, any kind of harassment from a car is both irritating and frankly unnecessary.  This is of course the cyclists point of view and therefore very one-sided.  I heard the horn, and the fact that it was 7.00 a.m. and there were not many cars around I immediately assumed that it was directed at me.  The fact, however, that I had just left the road and joined the bike path left me wondering whether perhaps I was being paranoid.  Perhaps I should calm down and realize that it’s not always about me.

But then there it was again, and this time it was accompanied by some shouting.  This time there was no doubt as to whom the shouting was directed at, because they were addressing me by name.  I didn’t stop to wonder how a complete stranger would actually know my name and use it against me, I just turned and got ready to give my best glare, the kind that even the most hardened veteran of war would shrivel under.  And there he was.  My friend John, driving on the Lakeshore, shouting my name out of the rolled down window of his car, his two children in the back waving at me on their way to school.  Bloody brilliant!

Andy's awesome shot of me riding to work.

My scowl quickly transformed into a smile and I waved back, all thoughts of animosity having evaporated as quickly as they built up.  I managed to keep up with them for a good few kilometres.  John had to obey all the stop signs, but being on the bike path I could continue freely, so it was only when he arrived at the turn off for the kid’s school that we parted ways.  Andy, his son, had been quite bust snapping a couple of pictures through the back window of me, and as you can see above, he captured the moment!

It's a crazy world out there and some people don't know when to calm down.

I didn’t have to wait all that long for the next drama to unfold.  Pedalling along, minding my own business as I always do, I heard some serious creaking coming up behind me.  We were crawling along with some traffic, stopping every 30 yards for s stop sign, and this bloke on a clunky looking hybrid with the driest chain I have ever had the misfortune to hear, decided that he was going to pull a Lemond and show me his metal.  I didn’t even have time to think “What a dork” to myself when he realized, too late, that the cars were all stopping in front, which was precisely why I was going to slowly, and after a lame last minute attempt to go round the left of the car he instead slammed right into it.  His rear wheel lifted off the ground as inertia took over, and he clumsily got one foot on the ground and narrowly avoided having his jewels removed by the seat as it came flying up.  The bloke driving the car jumped right out, a look of genuine concern on his face, and asked the by now adrenalin-filled idiot “Are you alright?“, to which the response was “Of course I am” as he mounted his trusty steed and pedalled away furiously.  Embarrassment and humiliation bring out the worst in us, and so I don’t hold it against the fellow, but a word of advice should he find himself reading this while nursing his ego: if the traffic is slowing down right in front of you, it is not the right time to speed up and show off.

That was about all the drama I could take for one trip.  The journey back did provide a little colour of its own though.  I was riding into a headwind.  That’s not the colour, that’s just to set the scene that I was going slowly, at least a little slower than usual, which is what allowed me, unfortunately, to see what I saw.

He didn’t look unusual from a distance.  Just a regular guy waiting for the bus, standing on the sidewalk.  As I approached I could see that he was a little shabby looking, but once again, I don’t hold that against anyone.  You don’t know what their story is and so you shouldn’t judge.  It was then, just as I was almost alongside the fellow, that I noticed his tackle hanging out for all the world to see.  Yup, there it was.  Just hanging there.  Judging from the puddle on the ground the gent had just finished urinating but had evidently decided that there was no rush to pack away the equipment.  Oh well.

On a brighter note, the UCI WordTour is in my neck of the woods.  Gilbert just pulled out a stunning victory on the streets of Québec City and I’ll be on Mont-Royal this Sunday to watch the 180 riders battle it out for 17 laps live!  You won’t want to miss this.

Ride safe.

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Storm damage

I am a little late in getting to this post, but I wanted to share a couple of pictures I took the other morning when I rolled around my neighbourhood on the Paddywagon to survey the damage left by Irene as she passed through.  I have to say, we got off very light indeed, and for that I am grateful.  We had plenty of rain, plenty of wind, and a large tree that came down on Andy’s street, but outside of that it was largely branches, twigs and general debris.  Certainly I did not hear of anyone getting hurt in our area, so thank goodness for that.

The calm after the storm. It was a glorious morning.

The tree that came down on Andy’s street was a freak accident that could have had dire consequences but fortunately did not.  It is nothing short of a miracle that nobody was driving down that part of the street at the very moment the rotten-to-the-core tree decided that it had had enough of bracing itself against the wind and came crashing down.  It brought with it a complete pilon as well as a couple of transformers and all the associated cables that usually provide power to the neighbouring homes.  All of that coming down and landing on anything other than the tarmac would have spelled disaster.  Andy and the boys witnessed the whole thing, and were entertained through the night.

Tree on the ground...most of it already removed but the wires are still hanging down uselessly.

Hydro Quebec, the City of Dorval and numerous other crews were on site well into the night to remedy the situation.  Each has their own specific role and don’t even suggest that they do something that is not in their precisely documented job description, but that’s all OK as long as the teams work well together.  By the time they knocked off, the Hydro Quebec team that is, power was not yet restored, but not wanted to have to pay out overtime they called it a night.  One of the crew had the nerve (or stupidity) to confess to Andy the next morning that had they just continued for a few more hours they would have had the power back already.  But such is the way of the large monopoly-like conglomerate.  Customer second.

Andy and the boys were out of power for over 24 hours.  As we live only a few streets away we enjoyed their company for dinner and then for breakfast the next morning before school.  Toast, peanut butter and chocolate flavoured cereal.  You can’t go wrong with that.

We had lost power on the Sunday afternoon for about five hours.  Not long enough to be a real pain, but short enough that we could enjoy the experience somewhat.  Emma and her friend Christina set the living room up with candles and I got a fire going.  We played Scrabble to rules that certainly are not described on the instruction sheet and at this point I am not even sure I remember who won.  Wait, it must have been me.

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Filed under Cycling, Montreal

Bread and fixie

Paddywagon leaning up against the cheese

The park has some bizarre sculptures, none more so than this giant plate complete with cheese (I think it’s a Swiss judging by the holes) and a fine French baguette.  How brilliant though, don’t you think?  I just love it.  It’s quirky and that’s kind of what Montreal is all about in my opinion.  You never know what you’re going to find just around the corner.

Dead straight forks on the Kona

This morning was all about spinning.  Maintaining a good high cadence and working the legs.  I didn’t practice any of the tricks as I wanted to have a completely uninterrupted ride, and save for two minutes off the bike to snap a couple of pictures that’s exactly what I got.  We’re coming to the end of August but the mornings are still lovely and warm, around 16c now at 6.00 a.m., and we’ve got a couple more months of mild weather before the autumn picks up in earnest.

Once again I opted not to take the Edge 800.  Rides like this I don’t need to know how fast I am going or which direction I am heading in.  I know whether I feel good or not and it is pure fun to ride without those gizmos every now and then, especially on this bike.  In fact, purists would lambast me for even occasionally putting on the computer.  It’s just not cricket!

Beautiful simplicity

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Just made it

When I say I just made it, I literally mean it.  I was about 1 km from home when the tell tale spattering of tiny droplets started making little dark dots on my grey shorts.  It was so light that there was not even enough to stain the tarmac a darker hue, but I could see by checking my shorts every ten seconds or so that it was not stopping.When I turned the final corner for home, leaving only 750 metres between me and the dry indoors, the drops became a little more prominent and I could now see the colour change on the front tyre spinning in front of me.  I reckoned I had only minutes before the skies opened.

How right I was.  I had been inside not more than a couple of minutes when the rain came down hard and steady.  Some days you are meant to get wet, and others you are not.  Today, thankfully, was always meant to be a dry day.  I had successfully cheated the rain and got in a 25 km ride in the only ninety minute window of dryness in the whole day.  That felt good.

The Paddywagon at Parc Levesque. Time to get all artsy.

With the VR2 being out of commission for the next little while due to a spoke popping issue (you can read all about that on Charlie Bucket Cycles) I was left with no alternative but to take the Paddywagon out for a quick weekend ride.  Normally the weekends are all about the road bike, as I get plenty of fixie riding on the commute to and from the campus, but today I was actually really looking forward to riding the bike without the 28lb back pack that I shared with you all last week.

42T/16

So I packed my little shoulder pack with the Nikon D3100 and my spare tube, spanner and pump and off I went.  I just love riding this bike.  Today was no exception.  The only thing that bothered me was that I forgot to lube the chain after the ride to work the other day where there was a lot of spray coming off the road.  I then road home without lube as I don’t usually carry any with me, and now I was going out again without lubing it up.  The net result was a little bit of a squeak which I never hear on my bikes.

Mercier Bridge in the background

I took a few shots down at Parc Levesque and then looking up at the sky I determined that I’d better hightail it back home.  As I already described at the top of the page, I only just made it back in time.  I did not have the Edge 800 with me today (I mean, sometimes you just gotta ride without knowing every single little stat) but I am sure I was pulling a good 31 – 32 km/h on the return leg.  I didn’t let up the whole way back and fortunately the traffic played in my favour which allowed me to zoom through every stop sign without even slowing down.

As I write this it is pouring down outside.  I am relaxing listening to the thunder outside and seeing the occasional flash of lightening through the curtains.  We have a cool breeze coming in through the room and you just know it’s going to be a good night to sleep.  Commute tomorrow morning, if the rain lets up.  Ride safe.

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Filed under Cycling