Tuesday, 22 December 2009

I am Quite the Oddity

I just called to make an appointment to have my hair cut. I was last there on a Saturday morning sometime in early November.
When I gave my name to the woman on the 'phone, she said to me, "Are you the girl on the bike?"
I guess there are worse ways to be remembered.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

My First Winter Ride

Last night I rode a bicycle in the winter for the first time. We went up the street to visit friends and while in the summer the distance is a pleasant walk, that would not be the case at this time of year. It is also much too close to drive. The bicycle was the obvious choice.
We left the house around 730 pm so there was very little traffic, a bonus for a maiden voyage.
Winnipeg has had very little snow this year -so far. We have snow all around us, but the streets here are still fairly clear. It was cold when we did have snow so it stayed as powder and did not melt into ice.
I couldn't find my windpants so I put leggings under my jeans, wore a breathable winter jacket, my big winter boots and a pair of fleece mitts inside my shearling-lined leather mitts. The helmet cover kept my head mostly warm, tho' the pesky leak around temples would have been problematic on a longer ride. I was comfortably warm and well padded for a fall (which was my biggest concern). I had headlights and a flashing tail light but the batteries were getting weak in the headlight so they died in the cold. The tail light shorted out. I borrowed a flashing leg band from the Geek and rode behind her, as her lights were working well. Those pesky light problems were solved today.
I'm happy to say the the streets were not the least bit slippery and I didn't come close to falling. There is no chance that I will let my guard down though.
The winter bike is much lighter than Eselin, and therefore feels much different to ride. Eselin is so long and very sturdy that you don't feel any bumps. This bike responds very quickly and I could probably catch myself more easily should the wheels slip.
As I was pedalling along, I kept likening this bike to a rabbit, so I think it will have to have a name that implies bunny-like properties. Undoubtedly something will come to mind.
Now that I have tried this, I'll probably ride more. It will definitely make my life easier if I don't have to rely totally on public transit, which is how I generally get around in the winter.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

I Need a Different Hobby

We went to Re-Store tonight to pick up some lumber to modify a futon frame (anther story all together) and found, of all things, this mixte in the assortment of items they had for sale.

It is a Tempest and says in very small print that is is made in Canada. The brown metallic paint is in fairly good shape and there is very little rust in the fenders. I'll have to do some research into its history.

While I definitely do not need another bike, it is now in the garage with the rest of the posse.

This is getting a little out of hand. A stamp collection would be far easier to store.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Dedicated Pathways Underway

For years Winnipeg has been talking about a rapid transport corridor and it looks like they may have finally started work on it.
Staunch supporters have their website here. I'm waiting to see how this all turns out.

This isn't a very exciting picture, but it is proof (of something.)

Friday, 4 December 2009

Bicycles as Art

When out walking in Wolseley late this afternoon, I came across this older bike in the front yard of someone's house. While it is not nearly as creative as some of the bike art Filigree has found, or as whimsical as Carinthia's florist's bike, it does have a certain stateliness to it.
The 'available light' setting on my camera almost makes it look like this bike was bathed in moonlight, when in reality it was barely dusk.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Snow is a Four-Letter Word

But I guess I'll be saying it a lot in the next little while. Thankfully, this was only a skiff.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Prairie Girls in The Big Smoke

We were very extravagant and went to Toronto for the weekend to visit friends and do some shopping.

It was wonderful to see the many options people have for using their bicycles to access public transit.
This covered bike shelter was at a GO-train stop outside of the Greater Toronto area.
And these bike were locked up at Union Station.

We stopped at Curbside Cycle to look at a few things. They had a very cute tricycle.

Maple handlebars. Not recommended for winter riding as maple supposedly shatters in cold temperatures.
Of the hundreds of cyclists and their bicycles, these were the most obviously modified.

And we are now the happy owners of Brooks saddles.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The New-to-Me Winter Bike

This is a 1972 Eatons Glider made by Raleigh. I found it on Kijiji for a wonderful price. I had pretty much decided to buy her before I even saw her in person.
It had a bit of rust, and the chrome needed some polishing.

It has the original Glider badge
And a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub, that worked very well even without cleaning.

The pedals are really quite cool-I've never seen ones like this before.

And an old, white, Brooks saddle, which surprisingly, is not leather.

The front fender has some interesting details.

Sadly, inside the details, things were rather rusty.

The Geek applied some rust converter (I still have to research what the rust might be converted to. Gold would be good, especially at today's prices.) to stop it from spreading further.

She then painted on a coat of re-purposed truck-bed liner. That should keep any salt that gets in this winter from causing further damage.

Once the inner tubes were replaced and the seat adjusted, the handlebars were a little too low.
Yesterday we went to Naturalcycle and pestered Anders until we found the right stem/ handlebar combination to bring the handlebars to a comfortable height. Anders was somewhat concerned about the tire type and the open bearings on the wheels and how they will fare in the winter weather. Those things will have to be replaced if this winter riding thing catches on with me.
While we were there, a fellow walked in and told me that he had been looking at that bike and rightly identified that I bought it from a gentleman in Headingley. Sometimes Winnipeg is a very small town.

Once the old handlebars were removed and the brakes and gear-shifter were transferred to the new handlebars, she was ready to go.

Here she is beside Eselin. Even tho' she feels just as heavy, for some reason she doesn't have the same feel. No doubt it is because Eselin is much longer and has bigger wheels.

Now I just have to actually get up enough nerve to ride in the snow. Since the snow is late this year, and I am in no hurry for it to come, I'll have time to get to know her first.

And she will need a name. Pretty bikes like this cannot remain anonymous.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Orioles Bike Cage

Today we took a load of 'retrieved' bicycles and assorted parts to the Orioles Bike Cage.
(My new-to-me bike is on the top of the pile, but it didn't stay there.)

It is located near the Orioles Community Club in Winnipeg's West End.

The 'Cage' is housed in what I think was the changing rooms for the nearby skating rink, but it has been converted to a well kitted out bicycle repair shop.

They also have a huge assortment of donated parts.

There were three volunteers working with several children when we arrived. The kids seemed to be having a great deal of fun riding around on their wheels and no doubt helping where they could.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Good Advertising

This cool bike rack is outside, of all places, a bicycle shop.

It would be handy for giving directions too. "Just head west on Portage until you see the big orange bike." Very cute.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Lest We Forget

A very large turnout at the Remembrance Day service at Bruce Park.I've never seen so many people in the 10 years I have been attending memorials here. And thankfully, a large number of children. Many worry that no one will remember those who were willing to stand up for their beliefs once this generation is gone. This gives me hope, that they can prevent the same from happening again.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

An Old-Time Child Seat

My old brown bike is back on the farm again. The Geek gave it a tune-up and now hopefully my mom will use it from time to time.

I felt the need to take pictures of the old child seat that was installed on the bike when I bought it.
It meets all the local legal requirements for a child seat, such as a seat belt, a supportive back rest, foot rests and a guard to keep little toes out of the spokes, but I wonder if anyone would use it?
And best of all, it folds down compactly when not in use.

All it needs is a little polish and it would be good to go.

As it is, the Geek plans to make a box to rest on top so my mom can carry things back and forth to the garden.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

What Season is This?

What ever it is, I'll take it!


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A Vintage Raleigh Mixte

This well preserved bicycle belongs to Cait, a lovely young nurse who works in the clinic on the main floor of my office building. She bought it at a second hand shop in Ottawa and appears to enjoy it immensely.

I meant to cover the saddle for her when I arrived at work today as it was starting to drizzle, but I have the attention span of an elderly gnat, and totally forgot by the time I had locked up Eselin and crossed the street. I hope it isn't damaged.

I am used to our fall being clear and crisp, not damp and murky.

Luckily only my jacket and helmet were wet and I wasn't soaked after my ride, unlike poor Dottie.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The Helmet Cover

With cold weather setting in, I bought a cover for my helmet. The cover isn't made specifically for Troxel helmets, so the fit is not optimal; there are big gaps in the temple area, but it will do until I can sew one especially for this helmet.

I am going to make a pattern for it using a variation of this method and I think I will use some kind of tweed. It just seems more cozy.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Re-wind to Autumn, Press Play

The snow from last week has melted and we were promised a weekend without rain.

It was only two degrees yesterday morning so I pulled on a bulky sweater and my mitts and went out to see what there was to see.

The crazy weather means the leaves aren't turning colour in the spectacular fashion I have become accustomed to, but the trees are trying their best to put on something of a show.

Today was even nicer-we reached 16!

I hope this lasts for awhile, as I am not mentally prepared for the cold and snow. Winter is like a impatient suitor, always pushing for a commitment you aren't ready to make.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

My Angel was Watching

Early this morning I was on the sidewalk of a busy street waiting for the light to change so I could walk across with Eselin. I pushed the 'walk' button and a car stopped almost immediately. I glanced at it, wondering why it had stopped so suddenly, when I noticed the light had indeed changed.

My confusion saved me. A car went roaring by, accelerating, in an failed attempt to beat the red. All I heard was the howl of the engine as the driver sped off into the darkness. Had I stepped off the curb when I noticed the walk indicator, even tho' it was at least five seconds after the signal had changed, I would have been killed. I wonder if the driver of that speeding, red-light running car would have even noticed.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Fast-Forward to Winter

Friday's snow came as something of a surprise. Two weeks ago, it was 28 degrees so nothing has had time to acclimatize, as the first killing frost arrived only Thursday night.

The leaves have yet to turn.

The hollyhocks look like they might still be alive.

And the grapes hadn't even started to ripen.
Ice wine anyone?

Friday, 2 October 2009

Upon Reflection

Now that the days are shorter, at least a part of the daily commute is done in the dark.

The Geek picked up this Illuminite windbreaker last fall. During the day, it looks like any other jacket.
But when a beam of light hits it, it glows amazingly well.

She also has reflective strips on the back and front of her back pack, on one pair of gloves, and bits of reflective material on these runners. Anyone who doesn't see her probably is not paying attention.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


It was a chilly 4 degrees this morning. I had become so accustomed to the 28 degree weather, only four days ago, that I hadn't found any gloves. I went rooting around in the mitten box as I was leaving, only to find a barely satisfactory pair.

The leaves on the trees have not started to turn yet, due, no doubt, to all my tomatoes and peppers being harvested on Monday when there was a frost warning. That alone spared the rest of the city from the freezing temperatures.

At least today I was dressed in fall colours even if the scenery did not match. Any fall leaves would have been blown about by the strong gusting winds, so it is a good thing that they are all still firmly attached to the trees.

Friday, 25 September 2009

It's a Beautiful Day

My skirt reminds me of sun-dappled grass.

Fall starts Sunday (at least that is what the weather people say) so I must enjoy while I can!