Sunday, July 15, 2007

My ride home

This is my first attempt at filming while I ride. It's pretty rocky, so if you have a weak stomach, don't hit play!

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Darren J 7/15/2007 03:28:00 PM | 7 comments |

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bottom Bracket Racket

My bike just got the equivalent of a hip replacement. It's like a spry young 75 year old now. (How many bike years are in a human year?) The old bottom bracket, that clunked on every stroke of the pedal, has been replaced with a new solid sealed cartridge bottom bracket.

Last year, and the year before, I got the bottom bracket regreased with new ball bearings. I asked for a sealed cartridge, but the shop always told me that it was difficult to order the right one due to the strange size. They went ahead and repacked the bottom bracket without calling to ask if I wanted to wait for the right part to be ordered.

This time, I didn't want to make the same mistake, so I brought it to a different shop, one in Toronto that has told me before that they take pride in fixing any type of bike. The word from their mechanic was essentially "of course we'll put in a sealed cartridge BB. We would have done that if you didn't ask." And a day later, it was done.

Pinarello's drawing of a bottom bracket. I recently learned that the chinese word for bottom bracket means middle axle, which seems much easier to understand than our word.


A lot of people would have classified my bike as unrideable with the old bottom bracket. On a functional level, though, the pedals still rotated in a somewhat circular fashion, and the large cog was able to pull the chain, the chain turned the rear gears, and the bike went forward. Somehow it didn't cause gear shifting problems. Anyways, because the clunking would start 1 month after the BB overhaul, I didn't want to bring it in and have to repeat every month, so I lived with it. And now that I look back at it, I must have ridden about 2500 kilometres with it like that. Probably not the smartest thing, but it says something about how simple and effective of a machine a bicycle can be.

Now that I've proven a bike can be ridden with a clunky bottom bracket, I'm happy to close this case and move on. It feels like I have a new bike. Only smooth, quiet pedaling is in my future. (Except for my fender that keeps rubbing).

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Darren J 7/12/2007 01:00:00 PM | 1 comments |

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Taking the lane and taking some pain

These geese in Richmond Hill demonstrate how to take the lane.


The heat is ruining my plans to push hard this week. I need to make myself into a faster cyclist. In a couple weeks, I'm meeting up with a bunch of guys I know from university so we can go on a big bike ride. The speed I need isn't so I can show anyone up. It's just so I can keep up.

It's fair to say that most people I know think of me as being a little bike-obsessed. And that's OK (thank you Stuart Smalley). But among the people I went to university with, for some reason, the vast majority are at least somewhat into their bikes (or were, last time I checked). And this particular group of guys I'm meeting up with are all what I would categorize as "fast". They were all on sports teams in university and many compete in triathlons and races now.

If only I was on those teams with them, and engaged in the same training, pushing my cardiovascular system, learning how to handle lactic acid build-up and how to fuel my body for intense exercise. Instead, when I met with them, the only fuel we worried about was ethanol, and calling it a fuel in our application is a bit of a stretch.

This is why I'm now riding my one speed bike. I dropped off my regular road bike to get the bottom bracket replaced. I know I don't have a lot of time for the effects of the one-speed to kick in, but I'm hoping my strength, or at least my pain tolerance, can be improved in short order.

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Darren J 7/10/2007 06:08:00 PM | 5 comments |

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Tall Bike

Critical Mass, June 29 2007, Toronto.


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Darren J 7/01/2007 10:41:00 AM | 2 comments |