Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Well it's that time of the year again for the annual big event over at ratrodbikes.com, the Main Bike Build-Off. Rules are simple, you start with a stock mass produced frame and you build from it. The frame cannot be modified by cutting parts or stretching it. This is to have a level playing field for those of us who don't or are not equipped to weld.

The results are amazing despite what some would think considering we are using only stock frames. I will be entering this year with the intent of ending up with a cool yet very practical bike. Only 3 days left before the mayhem starts.

Keep posted.

Gerry :)

Monday, April 26, 2010


This is a video, I assume, of a bike thief caught in the act. I can't say that I have all the information on this event, actually I have none. So suffice it to say that it would be dumb for me to comment on it at length.

However, if it is a fact that this guy was trying to jack someone's bike, too bad for him. I'm not one to support vigilantism in our society, (Would you trust your next door neighbor with your life? I wouldn't.) but I also understand the frustration about bike theft not being taken seriously by the justice system. So I will gladly admit that I wouldn't shed any tears for a bike thief scum getting smacked around after being caught red handed.

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)

Monday, April 19, 2010


So I was all Father figure yesterday bitchin about people not lighting up their ride at night. Well it happens that I was reminded today that having a light handy can be a lifesaver or at the very least very practical aside from death prevention.

I was fixing my bike this evening (that will be for another post). It's too big to bring inside the house so I have to work outdoors. Sure enough I ran out of light before I had a chance to finish. It figures, always plan for twice the time you think it's going to take.

Then I remembered that I had some light on board with my little turtle LED light. I had previously used it in the same fashion, to brighten up my "work space", when my bike crapped out on me twice at the worst possible time in the dark. So I was able to fine tune my repairs and right after slapped it back on the handlebar with it's twin, yes I have two, for a test ride.

Who said safety equipment can't be practical. To quote the great Red Green : "If women don't find you handsome, at least they can find you handy.".

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


2 weeks ago I almost did the unthinkable, hit a cyclist while driving a car! It was dark, in a badly lit neighborhood, I was turning right after a mandatory stop and out of nowhere a guy on a single speed passed me on my right. Thankfully I hit the brakes pretty fast and the rider was in no danger.

The one vital element that was missing on that bike was any kind of lighting device. One tiny blinking white $3 LED would have avoided this brush with disaster and any other future mishap in the making for that youthful, yet foolish, rider. That little blinky is also a great way to prevent another bad ailment, death.

In this day and age I am just fraking amazed that people are still riding at night with no lights at all. I mean gone are the days of the 2 day battery life light or energy robbing dynamo. We do have 21st Century solutions for seeing or being seen in the dark and some are cheap too! I hear some of you saying, "yeah but I have reflectors on my bike". Reflectors only work when light is directly aimed at them, "reflecting" said light, and won't do anything for you to tell the driving kind that you are on the road from multiple angles.

You have to determine what you need. You want to be seen or you want to see is one factor to consider when you start shopping. If you live in the city and most streets are well lit, you want to be seen. In this case you can get yourself a white LED blinker for the front and a red LED blinker for the back of your bike. Blinking lights grab attention and that's what you want in an urban setting full of distractions. These range anywhere between $3 to $25. Over $10 I think you are paying too much. You can also think outside the box and go shop elsewhere for blinking LED's. The bike pictured in this post had it's vintage headlight refit with a $1 book reading LED light from the dollar store.

Now if you want to see, this will be a bit more expensive but if you are handy this too could be a lot cheaper. I've bought light "pucks" with a dozen white LED's powered by 3 AAA cells for less than $5. That unit would be easily adapted to a set of handlebars. If not, your local bike shop carries a full range of options. I would stick with LED's since their power consumption is very low. Remember to change your batteries once a season. Don't wait for your lights to dim, spend a few bucks each Spring.

On a final note, for riding at night more lights is always better than not enough. So if you want to put more than the basic, go right ahead. Money spent on basic safety is an investment in yourself.

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)

Monday, April 12, 2010


As crazy as it might sound, wood bicycle fenders are not a new trendy thing. Wooden bike fenders have been around since the late 19th Century during what was called the Golden Age of the bicycle.

Nothing can look as good as a nicely laminated wood fender if you want a real vintage look. Modern varnishes can keep them looking good for a long time.

A local artisan here in Montreal named Nicholas Knowles has started making them and he's offering them for sale. It would seem that Nick was tired of getting his butt and nice Brooks saddle all dirty. I've asked him about a set of full lenght touring fenders and he's working on it with no release date for now.

Check out his stuff here at Red Tail Fenders: http://www.etsy.com/shop/redtailfenders

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Not a very brilliant post but I have been wanting to do an original demotivational poster of my own for a while. I came up with this. I've received so many comments about King Kong the wrench on my Youtube videos, I figured it warranted to be immortalized.

Why not do so and plug my blog as well. This huge wrench was given to me by my Father. He had bought it while working on the Olympic pool back in 1976. It was used once on that job and then became dead weight in his tool box for the next 20 years. He gave it to me when he retired and it saw more work in one week than the entire time it was with him.

King Kong the wrench, also known as Kowalski, has never surrendered to anything. Jammed freewheels and rusted nuts are no match for it's awesome brute force. Sometimes all I need to do to loosen a nut is to drop it. The shear weight takes care of things. It has also been used as an anvil, big fraking hammer and frustration outlet.

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)

Monday, April 05, 2010

My first real spring bike ride of 2010

April 3rd of this year was amazingly warm and sunny for Montreal. We usually still have snow waiting to melt away and a snow fall waiting to hit us one last time before Summer. That day was also a holiday for me and my big cruiser was just begging to be taken out for a ride.

This was also my first serious ride since being hit by a car while crossing the street on a green light as a pedestrian. Blind luck and a Ninja move kept broken bones and death at bay. I was in pain for 3 months with my body aching all over.

With a hint of edgy nerves, I strapped on my helmet and pedaled into traffic. Turns out I haven't become paranoid but I am a lot more aware of my surroundings. I wasn't scared either, I felt right at home in Montreal traffic and didn't jump every time a car passed by a bit close.

That was a very good thing since this turned out to be an epic ride on a blissful Spring day. In typical Montreal fashion, all the people come out of their Winter hiding and plunged themselves into the beautiful weather by just hanging out, lye in the Sun or blow bubbles at passing cyclist from their apartment window accompanied by a fantastic smile(no joke, this happened for real). Everyone was happy and it showed. I just kept on riding and ended up doing 30 km. I also stopped in the Mile End district for my favorite Portuguese chicken sandwich, hmmmm good!

On the mechanical side of things I realized that I didn't follow my own advice before leaving. First off I had left the bike in storage without taking the tension out of the derailleur cable. It took at least 15 minutes to up-shift on the next available gear and now the spring has been stretched for so long that I'll have to replace the derailleur. It just won't shift into the last gear anymore.

I also left without checking for proper inflation of my tires. I did the stupid side squeeze (I should know better) of the sidewalls and resistance told me that "Oh yeah that looks like at least 30 pounds, I should be good." Wrong, ended up being lower than 20 pounds. Thankfully the good people of Cyclo Nord-Sud were on my route and helped me out with a killer foot pump to get pressure up to standard.

All and all it was a glorious ride, I came out of it refreshed and energized. If cars and heart ailments don't try to kill me this year, it should be an awesome riding season!

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)