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 :)