Thursday, July 21, 2011

Off to New Brunswick!

Just to let you all know that I will be off for a little while starting on Sunday. I'm off to New Brunswick. Our trip should take us to Fredericton, St-Jean, St-Martins and St-Andrews. We plan to go through Northern Maine for our return trip to Montreal. No idea of the time table since we go as we please.

For those of you who have been folllowing my tear drop trailer build, yes we will be pulling it behind our Highlander for the trip. So if you see a small red and white trailer pulled by a silver Toyota, don't be shy and say Hi!

I will try to get some riding done down there as I will be bringing my green Raleigh Sports with me. Hopefully I might get lucky and land a future project or two as well. :)

Since I'll be pretty much off the grid, I will be turning off comments on the blog starting Sunday before I leave. This is an attempt to keep away the spammers. I also won't be able to comment back.

However, I might be able to return emails, if not just be patient, I won't be gone too long. See you guys soon and enjoy Summer.

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, July 14, 2011

The world's most comfortable bicycle seat

So is the claim of Ride Out Technologies who recently got a link on the sidebar of my blog. If someone makes the bold claim of having the world's most comfortable bicycle seat, I have to check it out. The folks at Ride Out sent me a sample to test for your benefit.

Nothing is more subjective and personal than the comfort of a bike seat. The search for the relief of constant pain to your butt and an end to numb genitals (This affects women too btw) is the single most elusive cycling quest in my book. For me, apart from recumbents, the answer was the Brooks B66 leather saddle, a time tested design since the 19th century.

So I received this piece of 21st century technology via snail mail, well packaged, at my door and my first reaction when pulling it out of the box was: "This looks weird." but if it does the job, I don't really care how it looks. The next thing that hit me was how light it felt. My scale indicates 375 grams, well within the claimed 390 on the website. The overall finish is very good and I really appreciate the more rugged material used on the side of the saddle. That is some forward thinking since the side of the saddle is abused on a regular basis be it on a wall or on the ground. I feel that it is well worth the 84.95 asking price. However, I would have done away with the 90's lime fluo color accent and I love the idea of reflective material on the back of the seat but white is the wrong color. I'm sure that red reflective material could have been found.

Apart from those small details, the rest of the seat is wide enough to accommodate the sitting bones of both men and women (This was confirmed by my daughter.). It has a channel in the middle to allow circulation to the more intimate and delicate parts of our anatomy.

Let's bring our attention underneath the seat where everything sits on a piece of infused carbon that looks like a piece of leaf spring and sitting on that is the seat support rails. That piece of carbon is what gives the flex to the seat.

I installed the seat on my one speed road bike and saw right away that I had to bring the seat down by 1/2 an inch as per the company's instructions. Then I sat down and pushed the pedals forward.

My very first reaction when sitting on a new seat is either "Wow!" or "Crap!" and a bunch of degrees in between. Not with this one. I have no words to describe it more than this: "!?!"

When cycling my attention is not grabbed by how much energy I put into pedaling or how hard I have to push to get up a hill. No, it is the constant feeling of my sitting bones on the seat and the degree of pain at which it is, may it be low or high. All of a sudden I couldn't feel my sitting bones and I was sitting down pedaling!

It's hard to explain but you are sitting on the seat yet you are not. The combination of the cushion design, the side by side flex of the saddle while pedaling and the total absence of feel of the saddle nose makes it as if you were merely leaning on the seat instead of sitting down on it. Weird but in a good way.

I rode on some nasty bumps and I was impressed on how good it took it. Better than a lot of spring saddles that I own. I've installed the seat on a bike that has a hunched over riding position for now. I will also try it out on a cruiser with a more upright riding position to see how well it does in that configuration. So far I've taken only short rides around the block, so I don't know yet how well it will do on long rides.

I will update this post as I test along with the results. I have a good ride planned this evening, so I'll have a better idea.


I took the saddle out for a one hour ride the evening of that first post. I spent the first half hour trying to find the proper position on the seat by shifting my butt all over it. It was kinda like trying to get a feel for it and looking for that usual seating position. When I got off at my destination however, my butt was just not hurting. On the return trip ,while still shifting position, I found the sweet spot and the saddle just vanished from under me!

I guess that I haven't found the proper setting yet and I will have to work on that. I will reposition the seat for the next ride. I think I have to bring the nose up a bit and the height as well. Keep posted.

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 :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

5 Years of bicycle blogging, a big thank you

I can't believe that 5 years have already gone by since I started this blog. It's been a blast and I have all of you to thank for that. This journey has been a lot of fun and it just keeps getting better.

I truly enjoy sharing with you my joy for cycling and messing around with bikes. From the feedback I get, I figure that a lot of you enjoy it as well.

Again, many thanks to all of you who read and support this blog.

Keep posted.

Gerry :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

1962 Columbia Firebolt

 This week's bike feature is about an old bike that was found in a closet of an old factory, a 1962 Columbia Firebolt. A young 13 year old gentleman found it and brought it home. His Dad really liked it and asked the young man if he could fix it up for him.

SCHWINNRAY69, a member of ratrodbikes.com, took to the task and brought the old stead back to its former glory, and then some, with good old elbow grease.

The bike remains original for the exception of new pedals and tires. Those tires being a bit larger than the original, it prevented the installation of the front fender. Our young ratrodder mentionned that it gave the bike more of a "Hot Rod" look anyway. I agree. The most impressive element of that bike for me is the integrated rear rack, practical yet looks awesome cool. Too bad nobody does that these days.

All and all this bike came out great and I hope it brings inspiration to other teens out there of what is possible. Go get your hands dirty! Here's a link to the build thread: 

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 :)

Monday, July 04, 2011

The can of nuts and bolts...and beyond!

Every bike addict that respects him/herself should have at least one can full of nuts, bolts and miscellaneous washers in his or her shop. Of course in a matter of mere weeks one can won't be enough.

The next level is that you won't limit yourself to those small nuts and bolts. You will get out of control with tool boxes full of spare derailleurs, pedals, crank arms, bottom brackets, Italian size bearing cups (Because you don't see those too often and what are the chances of you needing one...never.). All this to say that soon enough it will all get out of control and you will end up spending your retirement years trying to put all these things in order.

This trend is easy to start and it does get out of control fast since you will start stripping to the bone every bike you get your hands on leaving nothing but the bare frame (You will keep those of course for that next great project.). Every single bike has usable parts on it, I don't care how badly mangled it is. Having your own stash is smart and easy on the pocket book.

One piece of advice, if you are starting now, start putting all this stuff in order right away. If you decide to get at it after a few years like me, you will quickly realize that it is probably more feasible to climb Everest instead. :)

I really like the fact that I have at my disposal all those little doohickeys...if only I could find the one I need in the pile! Hours of entertainment.

I'm sure some of you are thinking if I've ever got rid of any of that stuff, yes I have, 3 times actually. Have I ever needed a part weeks after getting rid of it after 5 years of storage? You bet, but that only happened once or twice and I live to tell tale, so don't hoard for no good reason, purge once and a while. Who knows, you might make some new friends.

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 :)