Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ready to Roll, not slide...

Just installed these bad boys.

The winters in Atlantic Canada can be messy, and I'd rather be a little overkill on my winter commuter than slip under some cars. For a little less rigorous tread check out the Marathon Winters from Schwalbe, I've heard good things.

Got a nice deal on them from Harold at Earle Industries, I'm going to miss that guy. He told that when I want a roof rack to call him up and he'll hook me up with some Thule stuff and ship it to me.

Oh yeah the rack is for this

My 2011 Honda Civic SE Sedan.

It also has winter/studded tires (but I have the nice aluminum 16" wheels for summer too).

I needed to buy a car for the new job. I'll be doing a fair mount of traveling, so I wanted something reliable, good gas mileage, and a nice drive. So I splurged a little and got the Civic. I'm hoping it's quality and reliability will pay off in the long run.

I'm planning on using it for travel purposes mainly, or if I want to take my bike out of town somewhere for a weekend. As I will work from home, I don't need to commute, and I will be close to amenities so I plan to use my bike for running errands.

The less I have to use this car the better!

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Beginnings- Thanks Ben

"Hey, I've recently begun following your blog, and I think it's great! Just bought a used '09 LHT (olive) via CL, and I couldn't be happier with it! It came with a diff set of drop bars (31.8 Bontrager race lite), stem (FSA 150), and brakes (Shimano BR-R550 cantis)... so far so good! I'm on the other side of Canada (Vancouver), and rain is everywhere. I just need some decent fenders, rain pants, and shoe covers, and I should be ready for the worst of it! I'll check beck often, and can't wait for the next great post on a certainly great bike!"


So I'm not a very good blogger when it comes to tardiness, sue me. But thanks to Ben's recent comment it made me feel like I should at least make a bit of a blog with some excuses, post some old content I've been meaning to publish for a while (see one post down), and talk about what is going on with me. So thanks for the kick in the butt Ben, I'm sure you will love you're new steel beast.

The Surly Long Haul Trucker has had a good first year. With 2262km under my belt of almost pure commuting I'm pretty happy with my first year of serious cycling. Last year as you know I bought my first decent bike and dipped my toes into the hobby, but this year was all about the commute. After moving back home with the parents in Paradise, I had an 18km commute, each way ahead of me in the mornings and evenings, with a headwind mostly everyday on the ride home. I didn't cycle as often as I could have, 2 or 3 days a week most of the time. I avoided the rain most of the time and either borrowed my parents car or got a ride with my lovely sister. There were a couple of times where I would bike for almost a full week, and one time when the car was broke down where I biked back and forth for 10days straight. It's not as much as most people do, but I think it is a good start. St. Johns is not bike friendly with no lanes, shoulder or signage for bikes, and the terrain is rigorous, and the wind feels like it is always a headwind, but I guess I shouldn't complain. In the coming years I hope to bike more and more and avoid using a car only when necessary (more about my commuting and car usage in a bit). The temperature has dropped and frost has started to appear, so the Surly is now tucked safely away from the road salt for the winter.

I've got a busy month or two ahead of me.

I'm still working on finishing up the experiments for my Masters thesis, it is going well, it is just taking time. Looks like I will not finish up for December, but will have to write my thesis in an extra semester...from away (more later I said!).

At the end of the month Alannas parents are heading to Florida for vacation. She lives in Cowan Heights, an area of St. Johns fairly close to campus, only about a 6 or 7km ride. I plan on staying with her while they are away and will attempt to commute by bike! Yep that's right the winter beater is back in the running for actually being ridden! For those of you who don't know, last year I built up a beater bike but never finished it, and because my commute was so long and the winters here are so awful, I never used it. Well now she is prepped and ready to go, all I need is my studded tires which I will be picking up this week.

Then as a christmas gift, her parents are flying us to Florida to spend the holidays with them for a few days! Awesome! I've never been to Florida and it will be a welcome break from winter.

Then when I get back I am moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Now let me might take a while.
In my research I do a lot of Microscopy, on Nikon microscopes. As I started feeling more and more weary about academia, I decided to keep my eye open for positions. On June 3rd a job was posted on Nikons website for a Technical Representative in southwest Ontario. the job description seemed to be written just for me. With at least 6 months left in my masters, I figured there was no way, so I did nothing. A month later the job was still posted. I figured "what the hell!" They can either reject my resume, or offer me something and I can tell them I'm still in school, it wouldn't hurt to apply. So I did. And then nothing.

THREE MONTHS LATER... bam. An email from Nikon HR asking me if I was still interested in the Technical Representative for the microscope and instrument division for EASTERN CANADA.
Long story short:
-I had a phone interview
-I did an online assessment
-They flew me to Toronto for an interview at Nikon HQ (how cool is that!)
-They offered me a Technical Representative position for eastern Canada based out of Halifax to start in January and I accepted!

So the plan is to start work in January and write my thesis part time, fly back as often as possible to visit Alanna who is still completing a Masters thesis in folklore, and try to do a good job. So like I said, I'm going to be busy. I have to find an apartment, and because I will be traveling around Atlantic Canada doing sales and tech service, I need to buy a car. ICK! But I will be working out of a home office so no commuting! And that lets me save up all my energy for fun rides around Halifax and surrounding area. I hope to use the car solely for business, travel, and when it is really nasty out, and bike the rest of the time. Halifax seems to be more bike friendly with a full network of lanes, shoulders, and signs, so we'll see how it goes.

So that's it.

That is what is happening in my life. I'm really hoping everything is going to go at least somewhat according to plan.

I will not be posting much still, as I do have a crap load of stuff to cram into the next month and a half. I will try to make a post once I try the Winter Beater, but other than that I probably won't be able to update much until I've situated myself in Halifax.