Saturday, February 20, 2010

February ride

I had plans for today. BIG plans. Get up early and head out for a ride. Ok, so not BIG plans, but I was looking forward to getting out. So what happens to my "BIG" plans? I woke up late. (I blame that squarely on being addicted to the Olympics, staying up late and watching sports that I wouldn't normally give a rats ass about.)  Due to a commitment at noon, my window for riding shrunk. On top of that, I looked outside and saw some fresh snow.

Not much incentive to ride.

It wasn't much snow, though. And I figured most of it would probably be melted by the time I hit the road. So I whipped my gear together and made it out the door around 9am.

Wake up!

My ride ended up being much shorter than I wanted, but it was my first February ride (not including commuting). I was faced with strong winds and at times, blowing snow. But that shit builds character, right??? Come summer time, when I'm complaining about riding in the rain on a 20 degree day, I'm supposed to think back about "those rides" I did in the winter.

My plan now is to get out for a ride every Saturday. Sundays aren't do-able since Lil' D has swim lessons in the late morning. But, if I start getting out for progressively longer rides on the weekends, I'll be ahead of where I was at this time last year.

Monday, February 15, 2010

From the archives

Another week, another post, and not much to talk about. This holiday weekend was still activity filled: a skate on Friday, a trainer session Saturday, and a run on Sunday. (Today was a lazy day.) However, since this is supposed to be a blog about biking, and everyone likes to look at pictures, I've dug up some old pics related to biking.
First though, a little history. For 2 years and 2 months, from February 2003 to April 2005, Sonia and I were out of the country teaching English in Osaka, Japan. We followed up this stint with 4 months of backpacking in China and South-East Asia, bringing our total time living out of the country to 2 and a half years.
So what follows, are some pics taken in Osaka in June 2003. Enjoy!

Bike parking garage in our neighbourhood of Juso, Osaka.

A blond Sonia demonstrating how to use the bike parking. Pull out the "tray", angle it downwards, load up your bike and lock it up.

Space is at a premium everywhere in Japan, so they try to cram everything together anyway that they can.

Small cars in small spaces.

One of my most favourite pics...ever. I came across this scene as is. Kobe, Japan.

Bike parking outside Kyobashi train station in Osaka. Click on the picture for a larger version, and you can see how far behind me the bikes go on.

As you can see, granny bikes are the bike of choice. In Japanese, they are affectionately called a "Mama Chari". Baskets, fenders, chain guard, bell and kickstand are all standard features for roughly 60 to 70 dollars. With bikes being so affordable, it's no wonder so many people own one.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Meh" and "Cool"

Hmmmm, it's been a week since my last post, mainly because there hasn't been much bike-worthy stuff to talk about here in my neck of the woods.
I could talk about my trainer workouts doing x number of intervals for y number of minutes with z minutes of rest, but who wants to read about that.
I could talk about how I replaced the chain and chainring on my fixie, and include step by step pictures, but again, who wants to read about that.
I could talk about the run I went for today, and, well, you get the picture.
So instead, I'm gonna talk about a neat little doo-hickey I picked up last year.

Ritchey Torque Key

Enter the Ritchey Torque Key. A very simple tool, but extremely handy, and worth every little penny. It's a 4mm allen key/torque wrench, preset to 5 N/m. It saves you the trouble of guessing how tight a bolt needs to be, long before you hear the "crunch" of carbon fibre parts failing. The 4 mm wrench is pretty standard for most seatpost clamps, brake levers, shifters, stem face plates, stem top caps and all the other stem bolts (well, that actually just leaves the steere tube clamp bolts). Most bolts in in the stem/handlebar area have a manufacture's spec of 5 N/m, so this dandy little tool is right on the money. When tightening a bolt, the handle "clicks" and gives way once you hit 5 N/m,  and therefore doesn't let you tighten any more. Combined with a little carbon paste, there's no worry of slippage.
Not sure if any other companies make a similar tool, but it's one of those things that make you think "what a damn good idea!"