Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bicycle Zen

This is just a quick post that really could resist.

I had an excellent bike commute this morning. It was just perfect. It had been raining all night but come 9am this morning it was sunny and 12 degrees with 88% humidity. The little bit of spray escaping the fenders, and the humid warmth, and the tail wind just maid for an absolutely glorious ride. My 18km commute only took 45 minutes, over a third of which is on a slight incline.

My Brooks B17 is still amazingly comfortable, It barely feels like I'm riding a bike.

The Arkel GT-54's are great. I use one for commuting, they just hold all stuff I need for the day so well and are so easy to mount and unmount.

My Surly Racks are living up to the challenges. I had my Pletscher 2-legged kickstand in a box strapped to the front rack.

The Surly Long Haul Trucker, with those Surly Racks, Arkel Panniers, and my trusty Brooks B17 are the best combination of purchases I've ever made.

I'm in bicycle heaven.
Now if I could only sustain this feeling for 8 hours or so to get me through the work day!

PS: I have a roll of film in to be developed from my Canon AL-1 film SLR, should get it back along with digital copies on Friday. Will post up some pretty (hopefully) pictures of my bike and commute then!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crappy weather update

So the weather here in St. Johns turned foul on Monday of last week and it's been raining ever since. Even had a bit of snow thrown in there for good measure. Today we had a bit of a break in the early evening with some sun peaking through and a pause in the rain. So I decided to take some pics of my new Arkel GT-54 panniers, and also take my beater around the yard for a quick spin to see how it fit with the new stem and seat post.

But first I should talk about what happened last week. I had that group ride to Outer Cove on Sunday, my first ride on the Brooks B17 saddle. I feared the worst upon mounting the saddle, but strangely it felt alright. The whole 20km group ride I was more comfortable than I have ever been on any other saddle. I had to adjust the tilt upwards a little more, but I never felt any discomfort what-so-ever until 10km-ish into my ride home. I was blown away. SO I guess I must have a "Brooks Arse" as they call it. Looking forward to molding my but print more when the sun is back out.

On to more recent matters.
I've started working in the bike shop part time. Last Saturday I found myself with nothing to do and Harold, my LBS, had no one to work for him on what he suspected was going to be a busy day. So I worked. And again this Saturday! I haven't been doing any major repairs or tune ups myself, but I've been doing some minor stuff and cleaning up the bikes too. It's a great way to learn bike repair and make a couple of extra bucks on Saturday mornings. The employee discounts don't hurt either!

Speaking of discounts, I got my new Arkel GT-54 Panniers!

Just seeing her with bags on front and back, looking like she's ready to take on the world is getting me all excited for my vacation this summer not to mention my trip from Vancouver to St. Johns next summer! I'll probably try to do a review of the GT-54's once I actually use them.

After I put my Brooks on my Surly LHT, I noticed I had a few parts lying around. So I took the stock saddle from the LHT and some platform pedals I had lying around and put them on my Orange Beater bike that I resurrected this winter. I hadn't ridden it since replacing the seat post and getting a longer quill stem for it. I took it for a spin around the yard, and with the longer stem and the decent amount of seat back that the post has, it's not a bad fit!

I was going to race this puppy in the Alley Cat Race hosted by Ordinary Spokes in downtown St. Johns tomorrow. It is not your typical race. It is like a treasure hunt through all the nooks and alleys of downtown. You get a list of clues to checkpoints and an hour to plan your route. The one who gets the checkpoints and to the end the fastest wins, be it through alleys, sidewalks, or down flights of stairs. I was going to take this as I wanted to get crazy and not beat up my Surly. But it is calling for rain and snow tomorrow evening, the race is still a go I just don't want to get pneumonia.

There was no group ride yesterday due to weather, but hopefully we catch a break this coming Sunday (doubt it). And I'll try to remember to bring a camera this week.

Speaking of cameras, here is a little something off topic for the camera junkies. My dad has an old 1982 Canon AL-1 film SLR sitting in his closet with a 50mm fast lens and a 300mm telephoto lens (I think that's what it's called).

I know nothing about cameras, and I don't have the urge to start learning. All I know is it would be nice to have something that takes decent photos. The little experience I've had with my friends DSLR and his fast lens showed me that I love how the pics come out, and even looking through the viewfinder I can tell this setup will give similar effect. The camera is supposedly not working. The story goes that it started making red streaks appear on the pictures, and then they just stopped coming out all together. It has sat in the closet untouched since then. I took it to a camera shop and after a thorough inspection by the owner it seems to be in perfect working condition. But just in case I shot a test roll on all the different shutter and aperture settings with the fast lens. I get the negatives tomorrow, so I guess we'll see how it turns out.

If they turn out good, I will probably use this camera for my day trips and for any nice pics I want to take. For any quick and dirty pics I want to take, I will just borrow my sisters Canon point and shoot. My old samsung digital camera sucks the big one and is almost unusable.

Anyway! That's it for now. Hopefully I'll get out and do some more riding soon on the Surly and maybe even the Beater! When I do I'll be sure to get some pics.

Oh, btw. The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking about selling my Giant FCR2. :o


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Brooks, Lezyne, and Group RIdes

I received my Black Brooks B.17 Champion Standard bike saddle as well as my Lezyne Pressure Drive mini pump (along with a pair of shorts for Alanna) from The shipping was $45 to Canada, and then I got charged $35 for customs. Needless to say while I never had a problem dealing with REI the shipping and customs charges are just way too much. They have a very large selection of bike products and I only purchased what MEC did not have, from them. is another place (also US based), I might try them if need be to see if their shipping is cheaper. But if I can I buy my stuff locally or from I wish there was another Canadian place with a large selection.

I applied Brooks Proofide to the saddle and let it sit overnight, then buffed it off the top surface this morning. I sat on it and it didn't feel like it would be that uncomfortable, but I will only be able to really tell once I've put some miles on it. Hopefully the break in period isn't too hard on my butt. Here is a few pics of the Brooks to drool over, or cringe over in pain. One or the other.

The Lezyne Pressure Drive mini pump is WAY smaller than I thought! However is it 100% made out of CNC'ed aluminum, is light, and uses a hose so there is no pressure on the valve. I have yet to try it out, but it seems very sturdy and reliable, and the hose storage is genius. My only concern is the number of strokes it will take to go from flat to 90psi, supposedly it is rated to 120psi. I had a little bit of a hard time understanding how the pump worked and how the hose was stored and how big it was etc. from pictures online, so I'll try and get some detailed pics in.

The last pic is of the inside of the piston tube. As you can see it is hollow. The hose screws in here and is covered with the dust cap when not in use. You take it out and screw it into the other end to pump. One end of the hose is presta, and the other end is schrader.

So the saddle seems moderately comfortable on first sit, will try first ride on it tomorrow. The pump seems well built and rugged, but we'll see how the pumping action performs when I get a flat.

So until I get my Arkel GT-54 panniers (hopefully Monday) here are a couple of pics to tide you over. I still have lots more camping/touring gear to get, but for the most part the bike is complete.

As I mentioned I will be going on a ride tomorrow. A guy I met via a group ride and myself have started up a facebook group in an attempt to get an organized group ride every Sunday.

Bike the Street - NL

Tomorrow we will be heading up to Middle cove beach via Marine Drive. Should be a really nice ride. Maybe I'll try and take some pics.

View Group Ride - Outer Cove 20km in a larger map