Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Rocket Crash

Sarah's rear Primo Comet was cut badly on our Sunday ride. Not my favourite tires they were bound to get swapped out at some point, but she needed a replacement to keep on trucking.

Luckily I had a 20" [406] Schwalbe Marathon in my spare parts bin. I always knew buying way too many tires would pay off at some point! I've ordered her one of the new version marathon tire for the front of her bike and we'll keep the other Comet as a spare.

I'll show Sarah how to replace her tire and patch the flat tube. Vital skills for a bicycle enthusiast.

Her rear brake lever was also toast and needed replacing.

Once again my spare parts bin came to the rescue with a new Tektro lever.

I don't mind helping out my GF with bike repairs, but one thing I won't do is clean someone else's bike - I don't care how cute they are!...=-)~

Riders on a Storm

The plan was to get up early Sunday and ride 100kms before the daily thunderstorms hit. The alarm went off at 7am, but we were not ready to get up. So we killed the alarm and slept in until 10:30am. We would pay for the extra snoozing later!

We started off from the end of the C-train line where my Taifun lives in a bike locker and headed west on Hwy 22X. It was nice and warm with some beautiful sunshine to power our ride. There was some sort of organized ride earlier that day and they were just finishing up as we rode towards Bragg Creek. I wonder if they thought we were stragglers from their ride?...=-)

Sarah cruised along comfortably at 25kph on the flats and hit over 70kph on the downhills! It looked like the highway crews had been out and swept the shoulders clean - very nice. The only garbage I saw were discarded GU packages from other cyclists....=-(

We reached Bragg Creek just as the thunder cell was getting very black. Seeing as we were quite hungry [no breakfast because of our late start] we thought we could wait out the storm while having a bite. The food was good and it looked like the storm was moving away from us. Just to be sure we hit the coffee shop for some hot chocolates. Wearing all our clothes - which didn't add up to much we ventured north on Hwy 22.

The pavement was wet from the storm and we didn't have fenders so we were pretty wet in short order! Getting to Hwy 8 wasn't bad. We had a tailwind and although we were a bit wet it seemed like a fun adventure. Of course that is when the storm hit in all it's fury. We endured loads of rain and quite a bit of hail on this 20km stretch. Without fenders we got totally soaked. As it turns out the Taifun's 20" rear wheel throws water right into the back of my helmet...=-( At one point I was getting nasty road grime thrown into my face from Sarah's rear wheel and into the back of my helmet from my own bike.

Sorry for the lack of pics from the storm phase of our ride, but I wasn't in the mood to stop for some happy snaps - not to mention I was pretty cold so riding was the best way to stay warm. The SPD sandals seemed like such a great ideal at the start of the ride, but during the storm I was wishing I had packed something more than a lightweight wind jacket. Like all gnarly moments this one eventually ended and we reached Calgary as the rain stopped. The sun warmed us up and dried us out. That felt great - even if we were covered in grime and grit.

We had to cut across some freshly cut grass for 1km to get to 37th St SW and the access to the Glenmore Reservoir bike pathway. We both fell a couple times on the slippery wet grass uphill. I waited for Sarah on the road and she was taking forever so I went back to check on her. She was okay, but she could barely make any progress on the grass. I didn't think much of it until she couldn't get up any speed when she was back on the pavement. A little investigation revealed she had mangled her rear brake lever jamming on the rear brake. That will give you a good work out going uphill on wet grass! We released her rear brake and rode the bike path towards Sean & Deanna's place.

We had decided to stop in for a visit and hopefully score a cup of warm tea. They were home and obliged us with some welcome hospitality. With more storm cells building we decided to bail at this point. Good thing too as Sarah had sliced open her rear Primo Comet on a large shard of glass leaving her tire DOA.

It was a fun ride - even when the hail stones were pelting our faces - a bad day on the bike is still better than a good day at the office. We'll be installing fenders on both bikes and be carrying a bit more in the way of spare clothing in the future.

We ended up riding 83kms, which is the farthest Sarah has ridden to date and the longest ride for me on the Taifun.

Next time my alarm goes off at 7am for a bike ride I might just get my lazy butt out of bed...

Fastback Systems Bottle Holder

Fastback Systems Bottle Holder ready for installation.

Do up velcro straps around frame tube.

Rotate up to the left side directly under your seat. I have used a zip tie to ensure the holder doesn't rotate down when riding. I'll come up with a neater solution later, but for now this works well. It is easy to grab the bottle and replace it while riding. The only downside is if you ride in the rain without fenders the front wheel shoots all the road grime onto the lid of your bottle...=-(

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Hurricane takes on London Traffic...

Okay I said on BROL that a low bike like a Taifun or Hurricane may not be the right tool for riding in heavy traffic. Apparently I was wrong!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Rocket continues to impress

Sarah's Rans Rocket is turning out to be a great little bent. She is feeling confident on it and is doing well on the hills. I'm thinking of getting her something a little more performance oriented than the stock Primo Comets - maybe some Schwalbe Kojaks??? We can save the comets for a tour or commuting in the future. For the moment her bent riding is solely recreational and more speed never hurts!

I had a chance to ride the Rocket in downtown Calgary. The upright seating and mild manners made it a good choice for traveling the inner city. It is fairly high so visibility isn't and issue and the lower seat height made starting and stopping a snap. Out of all the bents I have access to at the moment the Rocket would be my pick as the best commuter bent.

TEAM B in the lead after TEAM VK loses one racer

Team B has surged into the lead in the RAAM 2 Man Recumbent Class after Team VK lost one rider due to a medical issue. What a great race that was. They stayed within 2hrs of each other for most of the race. It would have been great if it was still close at the finish, but both teams fought hard and we cannot have asked for more excitement.

Team VK showed a lot of heart battling through crashes and injuries. Staging an impressive come back and keeping a gap on Team B for such a long time.

I can't wait for RAAM 2008, but next year we need the teams to setup a live streaming video link so we can spend the whole week glued to our computers.

Update: Team B finished RAAM in 7 days & 26mins with an average speed of 18.07mph. Nice work Killer Bees...=-)

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Lord Giveth and The Lord Taketh Away

My day started rather poorly. I didn't want to get out of bed - hit snooze once and started to think about working at home so I could get an extra hour of sleep. Managed to get my lazy butt dressed and out the door. On the way to the C-train I realized I didn't have any shades - bummer. I just wasn't feeling in the groove as I got on the train and rode it south to the end of the line. Getting my bike ready to roll was a series of fumbles and gaffs. About 5mins into the ride I realized I had left my new water bottle on top of my bike locker and I was soooo thirsty! Riding into work I found out just how much dust and debris was thrown up by passing cars since I had no eye protection and got loads of grit into my poor little eyes.

My luck started to change as I realized I was making good time on the uphills and should end up with a nice average speed. I got used to squinting and managed to avoid getting anything into my eyes for the second half of the ride. By the time I arrived at work I was grinning from ear to ear and happy I had pedaled instead of working at home or driving in. My average speed was 27kph - not too shabby for a porky bike.

At work I found a water bottle I had misplaced that I liked a lot and acknowledged that the one I had lost wasn't that great - it was very stiff so no squeezing, you had to suck water out. Funnily enough the bottle I found had "Bike to Work Week" printed on it - appropriate I guess. Then Deanna gave me a new jersey from a small US bike shop she had visited while at karate camp last week - sweet more bike clothes!

On my way out of Okotoks some kids yelled.."...awesome bike dude!..."...=-) It threatened to rain all the way home, but I didn't care I was in the groove at this point. Climbing fast and bombing the downhills. I could see black clouds and lightning right where my bike locker was, but I figured it was better to ride and get wet - than drive and stay dry. The last bit of my commute involves some pain in the ass highway crossings. They went painlessly today - nice. I had my bike put away and was on the C-train before it rained. My average speed on the ride home was 29.2kph - cool as there was no tailwind!

I cranked my ipod and enjoyed the walk home. Behind me the sky was pitch black and in front in was blue with bright sunshine - interesting contrast. Even though the day started out crappy getting on my bike helped turn things around - like it always does.

Note to self: have faith in the bike - it shall be your salvation!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


The RAAM folks have taken some awesome photos of the action so far. Click on either pic to jump to the photo website.

Paul W's Challenge Seiran

Paul recently rec'd a sweet orange Seiran from Holland. Click on the pic above to see his photos.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Eleanor's South American Tour Pics

Eleanor posted a bunch of pictures from her South American bike tour. Click here to see them. These two are my favourites.

Justin's LHT

My mini-tour is off...=-(...have to work! So I'll live vicariously through Justin's LHT pics today. Click on the pic to check out his website.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Greg's Hurricane

I found Greg's Hurricane pages on the net recently. Click on the pic to jump there.

BROL Hurricane Review

I also found a Hurricane review on BROL. I figured I'd post it as well for comparison purposes.

Bruce posted a nice review of his Hurricane SL on BROL.