Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Winter Beater Project + LHT update

Since I started serious cycling I've slowly come to terms with the fact that I am a utilitarian commuter rider, who wants to also tour. That's my bike personality.

I don't care about my heart rate.
I don't care about bringing my average speed up 1 km/hr.
I don't care about how light my bike is.

I like riding back and forth to work, taking a Saturday and running some errands, or going for a ride out to Cape Spear the most easterly (and I'm convinced, hilly) point in North America. So naturally when Harold, my LBS guy, originally brought up winter riding to me I thought no way, no how. Especially in St. Johns, Newfoundland. But as October drew closer and closer, and I got more and more acquainted with my bike personality, I realized I wanted to attempt being a 365 day rider. Upon telling Harold I was thinking about riding in the winter, he replied "Of course you are!"

Enter Crappy Tire Bike. (They call Canadian Tire "Crappy Tire" in other parts of Canada right?)
This was a bike I bought when I first moved out 4 years ago to get me around. It served its purpose but it was not a great ride, hence why I am only now getting into cycling. I had broke an axle on it last year and it was just collecting dust in the crawl space. I decided to take it up to Harold. He's great in the way that he is letting me leave it there and go up and work on it when he is not busy, not many LBS guys would let you use their shop and tools. I have been dealing with him Since April/May and we have built up quite a rapport so he treats me pretty good.

Anyways, back to the bike.

Of course the bike was only $170 when I bought it new so it is not worth putting any money into. I bought a cheap set of Sunrace thumb shifters online, as well as a standard set of Tektro mountain bike levers. I picked thumb shifters because they are simple, hard to break, and if they do break they are easy to fix. Many people use these or bar-end shifters (very similar) for touring 3rd world countries for these reasons. The levers I got simply because my old ones were stripped. I will also be putting a chromoly rigid fork on it rather than the POS spring suspension that resides. It is a pet peeve of mine to watch people commuting on suspension bikes, all that momentum they are wasting going up and down! Maybe its the physicist in me... Last but not least simply cause the frame is chipped up and it is ugly anyway I will be sandblasting it and painting it orange with a little black to make it fairly visible. First step to painting, strip her!
Scandalous. So all I have to do now is blast/paint the frame and fork, reassemble and throw some studded tires on. Look out winter here I come.

For safety I also have 3 cheap walmart Bell flashing red lights to go on the back, a MEC Shark 1 Watt front white light, and a Air Zound air horn which should suffice to making people GTFO of my way.

So that's it. I will update the project as it happens, and hopefully I'll have the guts to keep riding and stay warm doing it!

I will also soon be attempting to make Bucket Panniers for wet and winter riding!
Taken from Crazyguyonabike, these make excellent waterproof containers for carrying cargo!

ALSO Quick Long Haul Trucker update.
Harold, my LBS, called NRG, the Canadian distributor for Surly, to start moving the wheels on him ordering me in the bike. They said they would send him an email as well as a snail mail "Dealer Package" to him. This was 2.5 weeks ago. No email, no Dealer Package. WTF NRG I want my smooth sexy steel touring stallion!!! Anyway, Harold promised he re-contact them to try and get things in motion. Hopefully I will have an update that actually includes me ordering or receiving a bike in the future.

Part II of "Talk the talk" is coming, just been really busy this week with my grad courses and my TA's.

Thanks for reading


  1. I like to take partial credit for your new found love of cycling. You see had you not rode your crappy tire bike to meet me after my night class, and had I not gotten out a couple minutes late leaving just enough time for you to ride around the parking lot and pop your tire up (or down) over the curb resulting in the breaking of an axle, things could have been very different. You're welcome :)

  2. Jesus I love my car, haha. Keep it up Newman, I hope you can manage an all year route dude.

  3. If you're looking for the same buckets as you show in the "water-proof cargo" pic, find someone with a cat. I buy my kitty litter in the exact same buckets (only $10/bucket)... just in case you were looking for them