Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Take The Long Way Home

I wonder how many people, upon seeing the title of this post, will automatically have the Supertramp song playing in their head?

I had a meeting downtown and when I left the building a strong gust of wind almost took my helmet off my head-and I had done up the straps. I decided to avoid Portage and Main, reportedly Canada's windiest intersection, in favour of a route through St. Boniface.

My ride took me past the construction site of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. I am all for human rights. Building a museum dedicated to the cause is fine by me too. What I object to is the monstrosity of a white elephant that is going up here. (You can see the artists conception of its exterior on the main page of the link provided.) It is supposedly going to cost millions of taxpayer dollars every year for upkeep alone. The idea makes my blood boil. I can't help but think about how much housing you can provide for homeless people for that amount. How about providing meal programs at schools and drop-in programs for disadvantaged and at-risk children? Improved access to care for those with mental health issues? The list goes on, but I shan't, since this is supposed to be celebrating Summer Games. (Deep cleansing breath.)
On to the Esplanade Riel. When the Provencher Bridge was re-built, the city had a contest to name the pedestrain portion and someone came up with Esplanade. It was adopted, amazingly enough, with very little fuss from the populace at large. Quite an amazing feat for this city. I think it is a cool name and it suits it well.After I left the bridge I turned onto Tache and cycled past St. Boniface Cathedral. Many people remember the night it caught fire and burned to the stone walls, and are still saddened by it.
The rest of my ride meandered through old neighbourhoods, down streets with names like Eugenie, DesMeurons, and Vivian before connecting again with St Mary's Road for the last leg home. And mosquitoes can't land you when you are creating your own breeze!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

We Don't Often See Your Type Here!

This woman rode by my office this afternoon. The skirt guards caught my eye-not many bikes around here have them. And it has what looks like a full chain case too. The handlebars are not the type used on beach cruisers, and she has a basket. In-hub gearing. I couldn't see the brand of bicycle; there isn't enough contrast between the print and the paint colour. Hmmmm. I am intrigued. I hope I see her again so I can ask talk to her. We riders of proper lady bicycles need to get to know each other.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Why Would I Drive?

We are well into construction season in Winnipeg. The Jubilee overpass has been closed for about six weeks now while they rehabilitate it (that makes it sounds like it committed a major crime). And sometime over the last week, they have reduced traffic on Jubilee itself to one lane in each direction.

Cars are backed up both ways because of equipment moving around, and, well, because of the lane closures. I just scoot by (illegally, on the sidewalk, but I am pretending it is the mixed-use path they are promising for later this year) while the cars crawl along. One of my co-workers said it took her 45 minutes to travel two blocks. I do not have the tolerance for that kind of nonsense, but it takes all kinds to make a world. And I repeat that, and other cautionary advice, to myself constantly.

This is my fourth attempt at a panoramic shot of the mayhem, and even it is not optimal. The wind kept jostling me so I figured this one would do.
And this is a view from the other side of the street.
This is supposed to last until sometime in September. I wonder if anyone will become a different type of commuter because of it? I can only hope.

Friday, 25 June 2010

A Different Type Of Bike

I have ridden many types of bicycles in my life- Canadian bikes all- but I have never ridden an Icelandic bicycle. (I guess this means I have another entry for Dottie and Trisha's Summer Games!)We signed up for a tour of Reykjavik with Reykjavik Bike Tours and I was tickled to find that they also name their bikes.: good Icelandic names like Helga, Kristjan, Guðmunder, and Magnus.
Kristen and Sigriður are common names in my grandmother's family tree and Sigriður was my ride for our tour.
The guide, Stefan, was very knowledgable about the history of Iceland as well as the current political and financial situation and we heard many amusing stories.
There were only three of us on the tour, a very pleasant young man from Boston, and the Geek and I.
Despite the fact it was the one rainy evening on our visit, we had a very good time.
At the end of the ride, we adjourned to a nearby cafe for some wonderfully hot lobster soup. Fully warmed, we walked back to our guesthouse with a greater understanding of the city.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Reykjavik Bike Culture

Reykjavik is trying hard to make itself a bike-friendly city. Sharrow are used in many places, and their frequency increases on places like corners and right hand turns where the lanes split to remind you a cyclist may be present.

Bicycles are rarely locked to anything. A cable lock through a wheel so they can't just be ridden off is the norm. Bicycle in private yards don't seem to be locked at all.
Many bikes have front baskets, or child seats, or both.
And some are just pretty.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Very Determined

We saw many cyclists riding the Ring Road in Iceland. Most bicycles were loaded with front and rear panniers and packs on the rear rack. I have no idea if their goal was to ride the entire ring road, or if they each had a separate destination in mind.
We also saw one unicyclist as he walked his bike up a 10% grade, near Vik I think, but I was too slow to photograph him, or notice many details. We saw him again the next day as we returned to Reykjavik. He was a little further down the road and cars thankfully were giving him a wide berth as he wobbled along with a full pack on his back. Alas, still no picture, but you have to admire his spunk. This road would be challenging enough on two wheels, never mind one.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

No Black in Canada

Eselin, on the shores of Lake Backlane, models her new Basil Basonyl panniers. I ordered them in black, but apparently Fourth Floor cannot find a black set anywhere in Canada, so Anders at Naturalcycle asked if another colour would do. I said anything but white would be fine. He did a good job at the second choice as these ones are very understated and suit Eselin quite nicely.
A performance review will have to wait until the second coat of paint on her racks has fully cured.

Friday, 18 June 2010

A Donkey in the Basement

I grew up on a farm and my parents had some pretty strict rules about who was allowed in the house; people were inside and animals were outside. Not to say that rule couldn't be broken; there were times on a cold winter morning we would wake to the sound of a calf bawling in the basement. The poor little creature would have been born in a snowbank and my dad would have carried it, half frozen, into the basement to thaw out. We were thrilled to be able to go and pet it without worrying about the mother interfering.I was thinking about this earlier today as I contemplated taking Eselin into the basement to escape the mosquitoes while I touched up the paint on her rack. As I child it only seemed natural that my dad could carry a calf. A calf is so much smaller than a cow. It is only now, looking back 40 years, to realize how tough that must have been. My father is not a large man. He is probably 5'9" and I doubt at that time he weighed more than 160 pounds. Calves are not that small, and while he undoubtedly put it in a wheelbarrow for most of the trek, he still had to wrestle a wriggling, long-legged, 120+ pound animal through a set of doors and down a flight of stairs. And he didn't wake us once. Taking Eselin down these stairs would have been a walk in the park.
In the end, the bolood-suckers were not to bad (I guess they can't fly in the rain) so I just did my repairs in the garage.
The panniers I have been using are meant for a rack made of smaller gauge metal and the metal hooks have made a mess of the paint. The new panniers I order from Naturalcycle a couple of months ago have arrived. Plus I was extremely lucky and I am awaiting the pannier I won in Trisha and Dotties' Summer Games, so now I can fix this damage since it won't continue to happen
I took some fine grit sandpaper and roughed off the surface.
Then removed the dust with a rag so I could paint.
Luckily no rust had started yet, but this was the best black gloss paint I could think of.
I will have to do another coat tomorrow morning.
The original paint is much thicker than the rust paint, but already this makes a huge difference.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Bike Trellis

The Geek picked up this bike during the free giveaway weekend as part of the future cargo bike.
One of the neighbour's vines apparently likes it too.
We are going to need a set of pruners to get this fella' loose again.
A very good anti-theft device indeed!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Fast, Red, Chopper

The paint has cured enough for the Geek to put together N2's chopper.

One of the original tires was white as was the seat; the handgrips were pink. The Geek, self-appointed Chief Constable of the Fashion Police, was not at all pleased with the colour combination. So, we went to Canadian Tire and bought a new tire and handgrips, and she recovered the seat with some black pleather from the sewing room. She couldn't do anything about the pedal colour as all the black pedals in her stash were adult pedals and they are threaded differently than childrens' pedals.

She felt the bike needed a head badge, so she added this goalie. N2 loves hockey.
The final handlebar adjustment will have to wait until he tries it for the first time.

Now that all the boys have 'new' bicycles, we shall have to see if Miss S is interested. I wonder if she would like a modified Penny-Farthing? I think that would be cool.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


Rarely am I away on my bike without carrying something. Be it my work stuff or gym stuff or school stuff, or sometimes a combination of the above, there is usually something on the rack or in my panniers. I have even taken a rhubarb plant to a co-worker, but this is the first time I have carried flowers..

I went at noon yesterday to the nearby greenhouse and picked up some marigolds to keep 'undesirables' away from my plants. I put the rather flimsy pot in a cardboard box so I could strap it to the rack, and pedalled home.
Sadly, the skies were cloudy and the forecast was for rain.

Eselin stands beside some puddles left over from the last rain while I untie the box. The flowers happily survived the ride home.And this is how the lane looked this morning after another 10mm of rain.I'm afraid it will be a damp summer, but I'll still have fun!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Have You Lost A Bike in Winnpeg?

I found this article in today's Winnipeg Free Press. It is nice to see people get involved. It is even better to see people get involved and not get hurt.
His shop is not too far from where I work. If I ever buy any jewellery, I should buy it from him.

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
He rescued bike, seeks owner
Man chased down brazen thief, wants Peugeot to go home
By: Gabrielle Giroday 8/06/2010 1:00 AM |

Marty Halprin holds the post, from which the bike was stolen, showing it’s still easily removed. (PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA)

IT'S a Cinderella story complete with a knight in a pickup truck, except Marty Halprin isn't looking for the owner of a lost shoe.
Instead, the jewelry store owner is looking for the Winnipeg woman with the key that fits the lock on a turquoise Peugeot bike he rescued from a thief Friday morning.
The Celia's Jewellery owner was in his truck at the corner of Smith Street and York Avenue about 11 a.m. when he saw a man about 30 years old knock over a steel pole on the north side of York. The thief then dragged away a 10-speed bike that had been chained to the pole.
That's when Halprin pulled up alongside.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," said Halprin, 59, an avid biker who's cycled for over four decades and isn't shy about calling himself a rabble-rouser.
The man dropped the bike and took off on foot after Halprin gestured he was going to get out his truck.
"I guess he didn't want to get involved with me and he was having trouble with the bike, so he just left," he said.
Halprin then put the bike in the back of his truck and took it home for safekeeping.
"Whoever (the bike owner) is obviously had to walk home from wherever she worked. I'd sure like to meet her, find her, and give her her bike back."
The Peugeot's about 20 to 25 years old and still has a cable locking its front wheel and frame together. Its fender was twisted like "spaghetti" after the attempted theft.
"He just figured that (he had) every right to take this bike," he said.
He's confident he'll know he has the rightful owner when he finds the woman whose key fits into the lock.
A sign Halprin put near the intersection with his name and number -- as well as information about the theft -- has so far gone unanswered.
Halprin said he's shocked the thief tried such a brazen theft in the middle of busy downtown, and that people nearby didn't intervene.
"I know how sick it feels to go to where your bike was and it's gone," he said. "It's a sick feeling."

Monday, 7 June 2010

Well Read Cyclists

I love bookstores. I love small, independent bookstores even more.There are two such stores in Winnipeg where I try to make all of my book purchases. Luckily for me, they are both minutes from where I work and I often pop in to browse on my lunch hour.

Whodunit deals only in mysteries. They are located in a little shop on Lilac Street, a mere five minute walk away. McNallyRobinson is in the Grant Park Mall, a five minute ride on my bike. Good thing books aren't crack-my addiction would be entirely too easy to fuel.McNally's has quite a few of these really cute bike racks, and often many of them are in use.
The inside of the store is furnished in a way that encourages lingering; big comfy chairs hidden between the bookshelves. There is a wonderful children's section as well. (I always get so distracted I forget to take pictures.)
Judging by the crowds, I am not the only one who still enjoys a good book.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Between Rainshowers

It finally stopped raining long enough for the Geek to put the first coat of paint on N2's bicycle.