Tag Archive for bicycle

Nashbar Daytrekker Panniers Product Review

Installation of the Panniers on my bicycle too about 5 minutes. It’s a one piece deal and it didn’t fit great but I’ll blame my smaller than normal rack on that.
I loaded the left pannier with a 4L jug of motor oil just to see if it fit and it fit perfectly. That’s about the maximum size of container that will fit in there though.
Nashbar Panier Photo Review 1
The 4L jug of motor oil. It’s for my chainsaw, if you’re wondering. Fits snug inside the panniers.
Nashbar Panier Photo Review 2
A pic of the bag wide open. Not a lot of space but it suits its purpose.
I can fit my portable bike pump nicely.
Nashbar Panier Photo Review 3
The Panniers look great on my bike. I really appreciate lower profile but practical bicycle gear like this. I don’t need to look like I’m about to ride coast to coast when I’m just going to the store. Dont’ expect to pick up a lot of groceries but it’ll fit milk and a medium size box of cereal nicely or motoroil!
There’s two long straps on the top to tie down any larger items as well.
Nashbar Panier Photo Review 4
There’s two long straps on the top to tie down any larger items as well.
For the $20 plus $5 shipping I paid, these things are a steal.
Nashbar Product Link
It looks like the black ones are sold out. There’s yellow ones left in stock if you’re into the big safety thing. The black ones do have that reflective silver strap along the side.

A brief look back at the Critical Mass days

I’ve always had the belief that pictures get better with age. This move to flickr has me looking at a lot of great old photos from my days riding with Critical Mass. I haven’t really looked at in awhile. There’s some great memories here.
008 Crossing the Highlevel Bridge at sunset
Twenty-Four Degrees
Kittens in a bicycle helmet.
More to come on my flickr page.

The First Ride of the Season

It came sooner than expected actually. I thought I’d be waiting until early April for the first ride of the season. Me being without a mountain bike and all right now, I’m in favor of dry roads with the racing tires on the Trek Fx hybrid. I like to get out early as the first ride on the bike is also the diagnostic ride where I find out what all has to be repaired and replaced in time for spring and often times it requires a little saving up for parts.

I headed out Sunday from my office near Whyte Ave on a 39Km trek Stony Plain, west of the city. I’d been watching the Environment Canada website like a hawk waiting for that burst of warm air that was supposed to bring the morning’s -21 up to the forecast high of -6. By the time work was over at 4pm the high had barely reached -14. My spirits were hardly crushed as I’m quite familiar with riding in temperatures as cold as -30 just not for 39Kms.

I donned my long sleeve jersey, hoodie, and wind-proof shell; toque, face-mask, and helmet; lined cargo-pants and luxurious alpaca socks (best socks I’ve ever owned); in short, my standard winter riding outfit. Keeping the body warm is relatively easy compared to breathing in all that cold air. The lungs work hard to warm it and push it back out again.

Rolling at last at 3:55pm, less than a block down the road I already knew my rear sprocket cassette was worn out and my derailers needed needed a good long bath in some degreaser. This aside, it felt damn good to be back on the bike after 3 or 4 months of driving. My limbs got cold quickly but warmed just as quickly as the blood got pumping. I hustled west down Whyte Ave. I don’t think I’m at home on the bike anywhere like I am on Whyte Ave. It’s funnest little stretch of road in this city with a good mixture of doors, peds, cabs, and cops all mixed in a in a 10 block stretch of chaos. The only reason I haven’t been mowed down on Whyte Ave yet is because I’m so familiar with it.

With the Ave behind me I rolled slowly thought the University which I am not so familiar with. Two or three dead ends later I cleared the university and was headed down the cold fast hill towards Hawerlack Park and the queen Elizabeth Park Trail heading west to 156st. The trail was exactly as I expected. Much of it was lightly snow covered but lots of sand and a few of those ice patches that you just pray that you’re slick wheels don’t fall victim to. There’s a new bicycle path heading west down 100st where the valley trail ends. It was more of the same but with even bigger slick ice patches.

Eventually, I made it to Stony Plain Road and the western edge of the city in a respectable half an hour. I pulled in to the Tim Horton’s for a coffee and a quick call to the wife to let her know I wasn’t dead. She knows me better than that anyway.

The highway west to Stony Plain was the same boring highway it is in the car just colder but with a tiny bit of a tail wind to keep me going. I found myself focusing on the sun sinking ahead of me as I knew riding after dark on any highway is miserable. At the final bend before Spruce Grove with about 10Kms to go I stopped on an overpass and called my wife again. This time I was calling her to come meet me in Spruce Grove. As I said, she knows me hell enough to refuse to come get me. Instead she told me to get my ass going. I complied and pushed for Stony.

We did meet up in Stony and had dinner. The sun was still floating above the tree line. I was sore that’s nothing new.

As for the bike, a new rear cassette, new tires, and a whole lot of grease are in order.

It’s going to be an early spring.

Sheldon Brown Dead at 64

His technical writing on bicycle repair was worth it’s weight in gold. I can’t count how many times I consulted SheldonBrown.org for bicycle repair tips. I really hope his site stays online because I know that I’ll be consulting it again.

I had no idea until tonight how active a member he was of bikeforums.net. His final posting on there was even a word of advice which according to the time must not have been long before his passing. It’s good that he was always able to do what he loved right up until the end.

Thanks for the help Sheldon.
Rest in Peace

The first highway ride of the season

I decided to celebrate Earth Day on Sunday by taking the bike out on the highway for the first time this spring. The weather was overcast and still pretty chilly but there was no rain in site so I decided to go for it. I had to meet my parents in Ponoka which is almost exactly 105kms south of Edmonton. Unfortunately, I had to be there by noon.
I left Edmonton at 630am and fought the insanely timed Sunday morning traffic lights until I was out of the city.
Everything was ok until I past Leduc where I noticed there was more and more snow around. The wind was stronger and colder too. I actually had to stop once or twice to get the blood moving back in my feet. The monotony of highway 2 is the hardest part. I’ve ridden the highway many times and it never really gets very interesting visually. There’s hawks and car wreck debris here and there but that’s about it. The rest is little more than five and a half hours of sensory deprivation.

Look Mom No Brakes!

So I’m out running errands this afternoon, taking it easy after yesterday long ride out of town. I’m just leaving the bridge path and heading into busy traffic. I clutched my brake for whatever reason and there was no brakes to be found other than a gentle rubbing against the rim. (BTW, I haven’t had rear brakes installed for a couple years now. They’re usually not very useful.) Anyway, I managed to coast to a halt without destroying my shoes or slamming into anything or anyone.

The real lesson to this short little tale is to make sure when using replaceable brake pads, to make sure the pins are securely in place.

I’ve found myself without brakes a few times over the years for one stupid reason or another. My usual reaction is to either make a hard right turn at the first available instance which slowed me significantly or perform a Flintstones style foot grinding stop which is really bad for the shoes and cleats. I was one told by a passing motorist that he could see sparks coming off my cleats during one such stop.