Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 HTFB wrap up

Well I figured I should wrap up the year with a post that would both cover this past season and give you a glimpse of what may and might happen for 2012.

2011 was a wonderful year for me as I rediscovered the joys of riding my City. The heart attack 2 years ago had put a damper on things and I realize now that it took me a while to be comfortable in the saddle again. Not that it was physically hard, but the soul just wasn't in it for whatever reason.

This is where old and new friends come into play to get you motivated even if they don't know they're actually doing it. One ride in the spring with some old friends got me going again and hooked me up with new dynamic people living the bike dream every day. It's great to be young and if you're not, hang out just a bit with them and you will be again.

The biggest thrill for me was riding and hanging out with the Red Dress and Starley Rover Society bike clubs. These emerging Montreal bike clubs have brought the fun back into biking in groups. Riding for the sake of riding is what it is and what it should be. Sure advocacy is good but at some point you should stop and smell the roses because that's what you're advocating. These guys and gals do smell those roses...hard! They are also responsible for helping me out in the ultimate event of my life 2011(Second to becoming a Grandfather), the Beat the Main race. They were supportive before and during that crazy ride. I'm still debating about doing it again in 2012... I probably will.

As for 2012, I have a few things lined up. My friend Vlad is planning a trip to Africa by bike and I hope to help him out with the blog and keep you entertained in the process. I have a bike build planned to have a decent ride this summer in order to help me in my new found passion, photography. So keep posted.

Lastly I want to thank all of you for supporting this blog the way you do. We passed the 2 million views mark this year and for me that's pretty impressive. I hope to bring you even more in the coming years, inspiring more people to ride and get their hands dirty.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Happy New Year, all the best to you and your family.

Gerry :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to all of you.

To all of you and your families I wish you a peaceful and merry Christmas. Many thanks for supporting this blog and I hope that like me, you will have a wonderful Holiday Season.

Ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What to give to a cyclist for Christmas

With the coming Holidays many of you are asking themselves what to give a cyclist for Christmas. Well here is my suggestion: TOOLS!

Here's a good selection of bike specific tools.

You can be very well intentioned and get him or her a seat, tires, bags or a myriad of bike accessories available out there. Unless that significant other has spelled out word for word exactly what they want, if you go out and get something only armed with good intentions, your setting yourself up for disappointment.

Nothing sucks more than getting a doodad for your bike that you don't need or really don't like and then get stuck using it in order not to displease the person who gave it to you. Let's face it, you have to be quite the douche to tell someone that got you something, they think, is nice, that you don't like it or can't for the life of you figure out how you can possibly find something useful to do with that pink thingamajig.

One easy way to avoid the trappings of misguided cycling gift giving is to get them bike specific tools. Any semi-avid cyclist will appreciate receiving a tool that will save them money and worry. This could also propel said person to develop new skills. Should this happen, your gift would be exponentially bigger for no extra cash.

So which tool to get? First of all aim for quality, not quantity. A good tool will last a lifetime and that person will think of you every time they use it. The best place to shop for them is at your local bike shop. Forget the box stores, they sell crap and the chances of you getting somebody who knows what they are talking about to help you out, are slim.

If the person in question has no tools, the first one to get is a good chaintool. After that I would go for quality tire levers, the quikstick comes to mind, a crank puller is next to remove cranks from the bottom bracket, a set of hex keys, spoke wrench, etc.

On the left, a quality Park chaintool. On the right, a crappy cheap one.

Keep in mind size, if your target doesn't do regular bike fixing at the house but does worry about failures while riding, buy a tool that will be small enough to carry. Talk with the rep at the bike shop, most of them ride as well. If you don't feel like they are interested to help you, go to another shop or see if someone else in the store is actually passionate about what they do (I feel that this quality is getting so rare, it should be labeled as a superpower.).

If you are unsure about what to get as far as tools go, my only recommendation is to get a good quality multi-tool. They are great for emergencies and at least you have something to fix almost everything. Don't forget, something is better than nothing.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Calling out to all readers

Hello everybody, I feel a bit odd asking for this but I'm in need of some equipment and cash is hard to come by these days. My trustee Nikon is on its last leg after taking over 6 000 pictures, being dropped a few times, getting dust in the lens and sprayed with water (Happened while waiting for my first Grandson to join this world in the hospital...don't ask.).

This faithful camera has brought you the great pictures I've been taking throughout the summer of 2011 and I need to replace it. I'm looking at a rugged built Canon G12 since it does just about everything but launch a rocket to Mars and doesn't require to lug around a bunch of gear like a DSLR would. As bike riders I'm sure you can appreciate that.

If you've been thinking about contributing to this blog, now is your chance. Making a donation, of any amount, will permit me to mesmerize you even more in the coming summers to come. Your eyes will be riveted by tools doing their thing on a bike, blinded by shiny chrome brought back from the death grip of rust, water at the sight of lusty lugged framed beauty and gawking at grease oozing from freshly cleaned bearings...

Sorry I had to go change! Many thanks to those of you who have already donated, you guys and gals are troopers. If you, yeah you, have been thinking about it before? Dude now is the time and you would help me out like you wouldn't believe.

Thanks again and I'll let you guys know as soon as I get my hands on it.

Ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Bike Song

An awesome feel good song and a very well shot video. It's got that late 60's innocence feel to it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Best Bicycle Video ever, Danny MacAskill

Every now and then I need to escape, dream, be in awe of all the amazing things that surround us. This video brings me to that magic place every time and I can't believe that I've never shared it here before.

I've watched it so many times and I still can't believe how it comes and gets me right in my soul. I get goose bumps and my heart pounds every single time I watch it.

Danny MacAskill is an amazing rider and the film maker who made this of him shot a Masterpiece. 27 million views and counting can't be wrong. Watch it, be in awe, enjoy, shed a tear of joy, cheer and celebrate life.

Gerry :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Old School Bicycle Multi-Tool

One thing that I love to find when going around flea markets and garage sales are old flat bicycle multi tools.

They are often overlooked by the seller because they don't know what they are and they can be had on the cheap. In general between $0.25 and $1 each.

I love these old tools because they look real cool, their quality is in general superior to whatever is being made now and most of the time they can still be used.

Most of them are flat so storage is not an issue and if you ride an old bike, chances are they can actually fit most nuts and bolts and more on your bike.

The examples pictured in this post can handle bottom bracket assemblies, pedals and most nuts on older bikes. They can not only be used on the road but in the shop as well.

So keep your eyes open, you just never know what you might find. I like nothing better than collecting old things that can still be used. I figure I get more value for my money than just getting a pretty looking paper weight.

Until next time ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Of Bikes and Photography

Kinax Alsace Camera

As a graphic artist since my younger days I've always tried to bring interesting images to this blog beyond the mere fact of just showing something.

With the advent of digital photography things have been a lot more affordable and experimenting as become practical to the point of helping me become better at it.

A recent interest into film photography has spurred my thirst for knowledge even more and now I've decided to do the same with that quest as I have with the cycling one, blog about it.

In the same spirit as bicycle repair, I'm a frugal guy who doesn't believe in throwing money I don't have at a problem. In many cases the person behind the camera makes the biggest difference, not the camera. I'll be sharing my tips and tricks on how to make better pictures.

This should be interesting since I am not even the shadow of an expert in the field of picture taking but I still invite you to share my new quest for knowledge and maybe learn something with me along the way.

The best I can guaranty you is educated guesswork but it should be fun. There are already a few posts and more to come so drop by at takingpictures101.blogspot.com when you have a chance.

Until next time ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Monday, October 03, 2011

The Quick Stik tire lever

The Quik Stik

I have a few favorite tools that I've been hauling and working with throughout the years and this one is the junior of the bunch, the Quik Stik tire lever.

I've used all kinds of things to get tires off from steel levers, plastic ones and yes even a flat head screwdriver. The plastic levers break all the time, the steel ones pinch the tube and the screwdriver well...I was all out of levers, let's leave it at that.

While looking at tools at my local MEC I came upon this little wonder 2 years ago. The Quik Stik is just that, a stick. It's made of plastic so you can't pinch or puncture the tube. It is very beefy so it won't break and trust me I've tried. The other great feature is that you only need one to do the job.

Shove it in with the notch on the tire bead and pull the tire off.
You simply shoved the thing between tire and rim with the notch facing up, pop the tire off the rim, twist the stick so the notch now sits on the rim and push. The tire comes right off just like that. It is also very sturdy when prying tires back on when necessary.

Turn the stick so that the notch sits on the rim.

An inexpensive piece of kit that will save you time, tubes and money from the swear jar.

Push it along the rim and the tire will come right off.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ride Out Technologies long term saddle review, an update

I received a saddle from Ride Out Technologies back in July for review and installed it on my Raleigh Sports for a test ride that turned out to be a test Summer.

The saddle is claimed as being the most comfortable bike seat in the world. Some of you have commented on the contrary about that and some of you have agreed. I'll give you my honest opinion about the seat that stayed on my Raleigh bike for the entire Summer by answering a few obvious questions and share my riding experience.

First off, is it comfortable?

In my experience, yes with a few side notes. You have to adjust the seat in relation to your butt and riding style. It may take a few tries to find that sweet spot. I had to adjust at least 3 times before getting there. Also, I found that coasting on long rides would make my left butt cheek go numb. That's because my bike has a coaster hub and that somehow makes me coast with my left leg down all the time. Something that is also of great importance, and the seat outperforms anything else I've tried in that department, no numb genitals ever! That's a good thing. Make that a great thing.

Does it absorb road bumps?

Incredibly, yes it does and very well I might add. I must admit that I was very doubtful when I got my hands on this that it could even come close to absorbing the hits that my fat spring saddle takes, but it does.

Does it ride well?

One of the things that freaks me out about this seat is that as soon as you pedal, it vanishes. The more you pedal, the more "invisible " it gets. A recent all out 29 minutes time trial I did on bumpy City streets confirmed it even more. My brain was being fried by pain signals from my legs and lungs but my butt wasn't even a tiny blip on the radar. It usually is. The swivel effect when you pedal goes unnoticed until you get on another seat, this is just marvelous.

Is it durable?

No signs of wear on the seat whatsoever. I didn't bother being careful. I even dumped the bike like yesterday's laundry on concrete after crossing the line on that time trial run and there's not even a scuff on the Kevlar where it hit hard.

No marks from a hard fall on concrete

Is it worth the bucks?

No it's not a $20 seat from your regular chain store. The quality in the build and material is there. Just the fact that they took the trouble of putting Kevlar on the sides for protection and the decent 375 gram weight speaks well about the attention to detail. Volume is also a consideration, they don't make millions of these but the price might come down if they sell more. I've sat on a brand name $300 leather seat that was only good at trying very hard to go check my prostate! I say it's good value for the money.

Lastly, I have to mention something unique to this seat. After any long ride, my posterior would ache for a while from the ride. Not the case with this seat even when I get a numb butt cheek from coasting. 

It is impossible to please every one in the bike seat department but I think that Ride Out Technologies as come close to perfection. Would I buy one? Yes, they are coming out with an all black model that really looks good and there is no way I'll ever ride a road bike on anything else, unless someone comes out with something better.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Red Bull Minidrome Montreal 2011

Yesterday I went to Red Bull's local stop of the Minidrome World Tour here in Montreal. I was expecting madness on wheels and I got served well. This tiny velodrome made of plywood is so small that there is barely enough track on the straightaway to get momentum...let me correct that there is none! The straight is about the length of a bike.

Riders had three tries to manage to at least stay up on the track before even attempting a qualifying run. The run was 10 laps to show that you could actually do it and then 6 laps to establish a benchmark time. I saw very good riders not even able to get up and run 1 lap. Those that I did see pull it off were getting dizzy on the microscopic oval after their run.

All the fixie and other bike clubs of Montreal were well represented, SRS, Red Dress Bike League, IBike, among them. All the riders present, guys and gals wearing everything from spandex to flannel, had serious guts just trying out this thing. I saw one rider get is front wheel caught off the track and doing a serious face plant in the plywood. Thankfully Red Bull was well organized for sort this of thing with paramedics on stand by at the event.

Now you're not going to get results and who did what beyond the last paragraph. Not only was I getting dizzy from watching this fast mini go round but I was not looking forward to more of the mayhem. I know many of the riders and seriously I just couldn't watch any of them get hurt, even less taking pictures of it. So I left early. The event is Red Bull all the way as it goes to extreme in a big fashion and that's fine. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

To those who showed up on that track, you have my utmost respect and admiration even if all you did was stepped in to give it a go. To whoever won it, you are a biking demi-god!

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bike recalls for Walmart and Specialized

I don't think that people who read this blog are much into carbon fiber forks but The Next Hybrid Bike problems might be interesting to know.

Gerry :)

Biking Bis - Bicycle Touring and More :: Two bike recalls -- 14,200 from Specialized and 91,000 from Wal-Mart distributor

Monday, September 19, 2011

29 minutes and 57 seconds, Beat the Main.

Once and a while an event comes to your attention and fascinates you to the point of luring you in, you just have to do it. Beat the Main was such an event for me.

Beat the Main is a yearly time trial held in Montreal that starts at the south end of St-Laurent Boulevard (The "Main") on de La Commune and stops at the very north end of the Island passed Gouin. This street is mostly a 2 lane one way commercial street that opens up in the North end and becomes both way traffic. The total distance is 11.5 km. This time trial is run on a Sunday afternoon...in traffic.

Yes you read it right, in traffic, with the potholes, traffic lights and the world famous insane drivers of Montreal. See this time trial isn't organized by a big racing body, it came to be when a few courriers decided to challenge each other at who would cross the island shore to shore the fastest. Since then it has been run 7 times. This year was the 8th and I got the chance to find out about it 6 days before the chosen date.

I had planned to run it in 2009 but got stricken by a heart attack and last year I found out about it after the fact. Even though my chances of beating the standing record of 16 minutes and 10 seconds are the same as getting a date with Angelina Jolie, I had to do it and find out what I was made of. My first goal was to take it easy and actually finish.

I chose the only bike in my fleet that could come close to completing such a task, my 1958 Raleigh Sports. It weighs in at 29 pounds, runs the original steel cotter pin cranks (I love those cranes on the chainring) and apart from some fresh grease, the original bottom bracket bearings, cones and cups. I had changed the wheels to new 26 inch rims with 26 X 1.5 slick tires. The gear ratio is 48 to 18 on a single speed coaster hub and the chain is slack. Nowhere near an ideal ride but the best I have at hand.

My preparation before showing up at the starting line was checking tire pressure that same morning, making sure that the wheels were turning freely and true (Heeding my own advice) and finally packed enough tools and parts to keep Murphy at bay. Since I'm a mechanic, I can guaranty you that I'll get a flat if I don't have everything I need to fix one. No I didn't bother to train, well yeah I took a long walk the day before.

At the starting line it was a gorgeous day with the wind blowing North, perfect. Everybody was in a great mood and it seems that we had a great run ahead of us. We were assigned starting positions for our timed start, one every minute. I was going to be the 32nd one off out of 50. While I was strapping my helmet and checking my bike one last time, I remembered the words from my friend Jeff: "Don't go all out on the first hill, you have a way to go, save your energy." Sarah behind me wished me luck and a safe ride. I wished her the same and started my stop watch 5 seconds before the start. I guess I could do it between 30 and 40 minutes.


Man there's a lot of people out today. How are you going to negotiate that?


Check for oncoming traffic, plan ahead for the start.


The first intersection is a no right turn, guess I'll hug the curb.




Great clear intersection.


I get up on the pedals and hit the first hill right off the start. I'm not exploding off the line, I'm getting a feel for my legs and the bike. Surprisingly the British High Tensile Steel beast climbs easily and my legs are quite responsive. At that moment I decide that I'm going for 30 minutes. Up the hill over the hump and down the bowl to go across Chinatown. A red light with lots of traffic at the very bottom of that hill kills my momentum.

Off the line and up Chinatown, my legs start to go and I'm concentrating so hard to keep going that I don't even see the surrounding beauty of the place(As of this writing I still can't remember the Chinatown leg!?!). I manage to get up to speed again and blast through Ste-Catherine heading for the worst hill of the course, Ontario to Sherbrooke.

My legs totally give out halfway up. I jump off the bike and start walking up at a fast pace, I don't want my heart rate to go down. Back on the bike at Sherbrooke I go for the long climb that stretches out to St-Viateur. You have to realize that Montreal is a hump and the top is at about St-Viateur, it's mostly all downhill from there. While climbing through the Plateau I realize that I'm getting very tight tunnel vision. I'm concentrating too much on the pain in my legs and not enough on what's coming ahead of me. I force myself to widen my field of view and watch for car doors like a hawk. Luckily, none will open during the trip. I clear all the lights in that stretch and now I'm over the hump.

I blast under the train tracks not even feeling the small climb back up on level ground, I'm entering little Italy. I look at my watch and I see that I'm 17 minutes in this thing. I decide right there that I can beat 30 minutes, the speed demon as a hold of me. The Café's, terraces and sports bars are all a blur to me. I slalom through cars at a high rate of speed. A car decides to turn into the left lane and an SUV wants to go into the right lane at the same place. I fly through this instant funnel bringing my arms in to clear the mirrors of both vehicles. I see the gates marking the end of the well known neighborhood and pray for a green light at the upcoming major intersection, Jean-Talon. I get my wish with a twist. It's green all right but I happen to blast right in front of a cop car coming out of a gas station and he's going North. Sure enough the next light is red and he's behind me, gotta stop. $?*&% !!!

I blast off the line and give it everything I got. The pain in my legs and my burning lungs are down the list of priorities of my senses. I gotta clear the next big intersection, 2 sets of lights that cross under the main highway. I'm far away and I see them green. I can't get caught there, if I do I lose too much time. I find energy I didn't know I had and push the Raleigh into another Universe, one that the people at Nottingham never planned for. The bike feels like it's shaking itself apart and I pedal so fast that the slack chain is pulled off the chainring teeth by the centrifugal force! I slack off the RPMs after I barely clear the second set of lights and it settles down.

Now I'm entering the commercial and residential sector of the Main. The streets are wider and clueless drivers abound. My brain is like  an AWACS aircraft and all the crew is working overtime. My eyes are everywhere to clear intersections and momentum is making me run out of bike. Yelling and screaming myself to a frenzy, I'm pedaling faster than the wheel can keep up with and the chain still wants to come off if I don't watch it, she has no more to give. I'm clearing the second to last intersection and the time sits at 27 minutes, I'm going to make it...

I've got this beast by the tail and all that stands between  me and the finish line is one last traffic light. It's 2 blocks away and it's red. After that it's a free run to the end. I calculate that by the time I get there, it will change. I calculated wrong. I'm coming in at full speed when I finally see what the other side of the light is, one and a half car length away from the stop line. It's not even yellow, it's green with a ton of oncoming traffic! For the first time during the entire run, I lock up both wheels and stop right at the line without going over the bars.

Sure enough, a second later it changes and I explode off into a sprint with every ounce left of energy that I got and some that I don't. The only thing that makes it to my brain is the cheers of my friends and family waiting for me to cross. I somehow found a way to show off at the end and lock up the rear wheel into a skid at the finish, dump the bike, walk off and fall on my ass. I made it.

Official time, 29 minutes and 57 seconds. 49th out of 50 and under 30 minutes for an untrained, 46 year old, better than average recreational cyclist, I consider that I did beat the Main.

I wish to extend my thanks to all my cycling friends who made this fantastic life experience even more enjoyable. You are all a great bunch of people and it's always a great pleasure to ride with you. Thanks as well to my friends and family who showed up to cheer me on despite some morale objection to my endeavor. Will I do this again? I'll be thinking about it for the next year but even if I do, it will never be as exhilarating as this one was.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pre-Ride bike check, why you should do it.

A few weeks ago I went on a critical mass ride that took me up and down some hills. Well more up than down or maybe I can only remember the pain of going up...whatever.

Anyhoo, I was riding along and compared to the week before I felt that I was sluggish. As much as the bike had felt very peppy the last time I took it out, this time I was under the impression that I was not getting as much out of it.

My first reaction was that my body had gone south after a week back to work riding a desk. I was just not getting everything I expected out of my legs. Then I got a revelation that my legs had nothing to do with it. I was heading down Berri hill, which is legendary around here because it is steep and long, and I could barely hit 45 km/h coasting down! The week before I had to hold back the bike because I was afraid to pass the 55 km/h mark on this freshly assembled Frankenstein bolt on monster and 55 km/h it did easily.

I was thinking that tire pressure could be the culprit but it couldn't be that bad after only one week of being parked. So I waited until I got back home, hours and many kilometers later, to check everything out.

Turns out I was right and then some. Tire pressure had gone down by 10 pounds over the course of one week. The problem was that I had filled them during a heat wave and the temperature had gone down steeply since, affecting tire pressure seriously. While I was at it I decided to check if the wheels were turning freely.

I spun the front wheel and it came to an abrupt halt at the end of its course. Not good. Did the same thing with the rear wheel and wouldn't you know it, it stopped dead as well. Turns out I was running on low pressure tires and rim rubbing brake pads. No wonder the ride felt like crap! I guess I did some work on the wheels and forgot to check brake pad clearance.

So the lesson here is check your tire pressure on a regular basis and make sure your wheels are turning freely. The few minutes you take doing this before a big ride will save you a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering down the road...or is it up.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Commemorating a tragedy the best way I can

9-11 touched me deeply. Not only do I find the taking of innocent lives for an idea totally sacrilege but the loss of those who went in to save them just floored me. See a lifetime ago, I was a firefighter.

It takes a special kind of human being to run into a place that everyone is trying to leave as fast as they can. This is not something that can be taught, you have it or you don't. It's not a super power, some people are just made that way. That crazy ability to run willingly into unknown danger makes us all Brothers and Sisters where ever we are.

When I saw those towers collapse, I knew right there that many were making the ultimate sacrifice right before my eyes and it just broke my heart. Mind you all of us know this can happen, just not at that scale. Nothing can prepare you for that.

I wept that day and I still catch myself shedding a tear once and a while when there is mention of it. I vowed  I would honor all the victims of that tragedy by living my life as fully as I could and try my best to leave this world a little better before my time is done here.

Today is the 10th anniversary, just a number really but a chance to reflect. On such a beautiful day with the sunshine blazing I did the only thing that I thought could commemorate that tragedy, enjoy my freedom and the ultimate freedom for me is riding my bike.

Enjoying freedom is giving the finger to those who would kill me because they wouldn't want me to have it. Enjoying my freedom supports those who don't have it but wish they did by not wasting it. Enjoying freedom honors those who put their lives on the line every day so I can have it.

So if you have it, I urge you to enjoy your freedom however you feel is best for you, give thanks for it and think of those who don't have the privilege.

Never Forget.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Car Bait 2, the Chopper bicycle

I'm permitting myself to blow my own horn this week. I've taken the time over the last week to paint this last bicycle chopper project of mine,. Sanded, sprayed with a coat of primer black and finally sprayed it semi-gloss black. Touch ups are a breeze. I also added the stick shifter from Jenna Saykwa that graciously donated it for this project. The shifter rest on a tank plate that I cut from the backing plate of an old 1950's fridge. I kept the original finish on the plate. The bike now carries the name "Car Bait 2" in honor of a previous perfect ride that snapped a frame tube after being ridden too hard for over 5 500 km.

I also took the time to redo the face plate of the speedometer. A simple scan of the original that was used as a basis for the new one that I made using Gimp. I took the time to convert it to metric as well since everything is "faster" in metric.  :) I printed the new one on card stock and glued it behind the original plate before screwing it back into place. I like how it came out.

I added some cargo capacity by bolting on a pair of lunch boxes on the sides. I have my tools and spare parts in one box and the other is empty to carry different items.

The last dilemma that I had was the fenders. I need fenders because i just can't stand riding with my back sprayed wet. But, on this bike, they would have looked ugly. So I took an inspiration from British sports car builder Vanwall who went around the same problem by making fenders out of old tires, thus "camouflaging" their existence. I did the same thing using old rusted fenders and brackets that I cut down to shape using tin snips. I then put the scissors to a pair of old tires I had lying around, a large one in back and a skinny one up front. The tires are simply bolted on the supporting old fenders using the existing attachment points for the frame and brackets. I really like how it came out, a good compromise.

This bike is now my main ride. I've put over 110 km on it in the last week and I have had no problems to report. This bike is just a dream to ride. There will be more things happening to it in the future and I will keep you all posted on the results.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fix It Up Montreal event photos

Last Saturday on August 13th I was at the Fix it up event on Ste-Catherine street in downtown Montreal. The street was closed for some events like Under Pressure, a skateboarding competition and a presentation by the Bikurious bike shop, the Montreal Bicycle Film Festival of this event. I was present at the skidding competition which was well represented by the guys and gals from the Starley Rover Society. The winner, Christopher on the orange carbon bike, won the event by skidding beyond the marked course!

I had a great time hanging out with old friends and making new ones. So without any further delay, on with the images captured during the event.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Home Made Stretch Bike

I guess I love long bikes but this one is special. I've always wanted my cake and to eat it too. Comfort, performance and good looks. I think I pulled it off.

Back in June my buddy Vince showed me his custom made 26 inch lowrider he extended with the back of a mixte frame. It gave me an idea, going longer than Vince and making a kinda semi-recumbent cruiser. As it happened I had the cruiser frame and the mixte frame just lying around the house. Lucky me.

I hacked the frames and left some extra metal since I wasn't too sure on how I was going to pull this off. I don't have a welder or any idea on how to use one.

I bolted the pedal axle from the mixte frame to the cruiser frame at the chainstays. I then married and bolted the seat stays from both frames together using graded bolts. I have no flex in the frame but as soon as I find a good welder, I'm having all this welded proper.

I put on a set of 26X1.95 in the back with barely 2mm of clearance on both sides of the frame. In front I put 26X1.50 slicks. The shifter you see is a temporary set up but the foot rear  brake will remain.

So far the home made stretch bike rides like a dream. A 20 mile shake down cruise proved to be without any problems. The only thing I would have made differently would have been to use a jig. Doing it by eyeball is good but not perfect. It's a bit crooked but it doesn't show while riding.

Next on the list, paint job!

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)