Friday, July 31, 2009

Cheap commuter bikes, ducks, and angry cyclists

You don't need a lot of cash to get yourself a commuter. My brother sent me some pictures of his latest project the other day and I thought I'd share them with the readers of this weblog: He got the frame for free, sanded it down, painted it green, and painted the forks, stem in white. The result is a pretty decent looking grocery getter/trailer tractor/urban tank. Pretty cool I think. In the very least, the price was right.

I almost got into a crash the other day: I was coming up the hill just before the Selkirk trestle on the Esquimalt side. At this point I want to pause because of the severity of the language my fellow cyclist chose to use, I will use "duck" instead of another word ending in "uck"
This was late at night and I had just recently killed my lights in an unfortunate zoobomb crash. So I was riding slow because I could barely see the trail, with moonlight as the only light source. Apparently someone else had the same limited brain function as myself, cause as I come around the turn up the hill there's a big Swooshhh!!! Another ninja bike with no light. This guy shows up from out of nowhere, coming the other direction, as he sees me he grabs a handful of front brake which sends him straight over the bars and then he slides on the gravel into the railing. I could feel the wind from him as his scrambling screaming hulk tumbled by me, but he missed me by about an inch or two. This was only the start of the whole incident. After letting out a little yelp of fear and surprise, I asked the guy if he was ok. His answer was a blunt one: "duck you you ducking idiot!" Slightly taken aback I asked him why he was calling ME an idiot (he's the one who could not control his bike after all, and ate shiskebab). "You're riding in the middle of the road!" he yelled. "No more than you were, buddy (not that it's a road but we'll let that slide)," I replied, "but are you ok?" At this point he was stumbling to his feet and I noticed that he had a bicycle wheel strapped to his back..."just get the duck out of here!" -"What?... Ok sure, but are you ok?" -"What the duck are you going to do, call me an ambulance?! just get lost!" He said and was surprisingly intimidating for his small frame. I was not going to get into any more altercations with this guy, specially since I had nothing invested in the whole scenario. I was fine, my bike was fine, whereas he was probably bleeding, and his pride had obviously taken a bit of a pounding as did "his" bike. So I Just got back on my steed, laughed at this poor guy and rode the rest of the way home extra carefully. But as I was riding, I could not help thinking about his reaction to the crash. Sure it's embarrassing to crash, but ...why did he want me out of there so quickly, why did he have a wheel on his back and, why did he not seem to be all that comfortable with his bike in the first place. Hmmm... perhaps he did not have an entirely clear conscience. Was it actually Karma that threw him off his bike since he stole it? I guess we will never know, but I have ordered some new lights, I wore off a bit of my luck that night and lady luck does not usually stick around for me for too long.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tour, local road races and durian cup photos

I've been away for a few days swimming and enjoying the sun at Shuswap lake. But now it's back to the grind and back on the bike. Being off it for a whole five days has been good, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it. Tonight, there should be some street sprints happening in the city, and the weekend is filled with cycling events. Tomorrow morning everybody needs to get up early and watch the tour. Then there is a race in Sidney on saturday evening: This Criterium should be a blast to watch especially since it is raced on a figure eight course (although not quite like figure eight car racing, thankfully the race cource will not cross itself, that would be carnage!). It is also the final race in the BC cup which should add a little bit to the excitement.
On sunday there's another crit, this time in Oak bay, (see event here) so if you want to see some road racing action this would be the weekend to do it.
I had my old age confirmed to me last Thursday (the 18th) as a took the series win in the "Masters" (read oldman) category see below:
Picture courtesy of Dave Shiskoff
Me and my fellow winners got the very fancy durian cup trophies, of course made by Dave from reused wood, dried out Durian fruit husk and some paint he had lying around. Quite the craftsman, Dave is.

Durian Cup trophy

Friday, July 17, 2009

Durian cup and choppers with bike racks

I've often wondered if this would be possible, but I guess that if you can think of it, it can be done: Right, now I just need a motorcycle to put one of these on...hmmm where does that fit in the long list of priorities? Cross bike, track bike, dh/freeride bike, food... and somewhere down the line > motorcycle. I'll probably be one of those 65+ guys that gets their first bike in their old age and goes wobbling through the corners in a reflective vest.

Photo courtesy of Chris Schamp via Gabriel Amadeus

Portland has quite a bike scene, including a very successful summer short-track series. The picture above perfectly illustrates how you should commute to such an event. Not much room for luggage, but how much do you really need? Multi tool, pump, water bottle and a tube, all of which can fit in the back pockets of your jersey underneath the leather jacket. The coolness of this setup is substantial. Rock star points aplenty.

The last race of the Durian cup took place at Hartland last night. Me and Mitch made it out as we have for the last three weeks. This time it was the "Gravity Challenge." This race would take competitors from the tta up to the top of Jelly roll and then down the super-d course back to the tta. Deve Shiskoff's idea was that riders would do this in teams of two, that is, one would race to the top and the other from the top to the bottom. But as it turned out many racers did not have a partner or they simply wanted to challenge themselves and do the whole course solo. Mitch and I originally intended to do the race as a team but after some deliberations we decided to disband and race it solo. I knew this was a bad idea and would result in much pain, but it would be satisfying to do the race this way and since so many people were doing it solo, I felt kind of bad to race as a team. So we went ahead and did it solo, and yes it was painful but at the same time quite satisfying. Mitch won the race with an impressive time of 24:25 min, and I came in third with a time of 27:28. Rider's cycles with two placements in the top three! Yessss...
After the race we collected our customary draw prices and drank some beer and ate some vegan cupcakes. Good night of riding I'd say.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Durian Cup, Street sprints and other fun stuff

Mitch flying through the card collecting station

Yup that's me fixing a flat (which is becoming a rather unpleasant habit)

What a great time this is, in the cycling world. Grassroots racing happening every week at Hartland (Durian Cup), and underground sprint series on the streets of Victoria. People are on bikes everywhere, the weather is awesome, and to top it all off: The Tour De France!

Last Thursday Me and Mitch made it out for the Thursday nights Durian race. This time it was a poker run set up in a bit of a different way than usually. You collected cards for each lap you did around the short race track which included Little face, Emergency two, and Rolly Ridge. Then you could stop at the card playing stop and play your hand. Now this is where it got complicated for non-card players like myself. You could play everything from one card to five depending on what you felt like...I was not very good at this and that in conjunction with my new found fondness for flat tires resulted in a mediocre placing. Both Mitch and I had a blast however, even though we agreed that we would have liked to see the top half of Little face included in the race course, to add a little gnarlyness to the racecourse.
The day after we were both feeling the pain of the previous nights escapades. -Cross country racing is a painful sport. We did not have time to recover much though, because that night we had street sprints in Esquimalt. We had a good showing from the store with me, Mitch and Justin representing...The sprints were oodles of fun as always and Mitch took it upon himself to destroy everybody else, and thus retaining his title as the reigning sprint champ. I did not escape the humiliation of Mitch's speed and got crushed by him, not once, but twice. I did however, not manage to loose to anyone else so that placed me in second, after "The Destroyer".
Justin had some epic battles as well with a three series sprint race with Paul One of which was a spandex and no shirt affair on the part of Paul, and on his insistence Justin raced shirtless as well...This was strangely entertaining. But their first race was the best, as they switched the lead at least two times and crossed the line dead even. The first draw ever. In the end Justin sadly lost out to the aerodynamics of his spandex-clad competitor, something I'm sure he will try and avenge next time around.
Tonight we have a night ride at the dump, but since we have to attend a product knowledge seminar after work, this will be later than usually and we should be at the parking lot around 8:30-9. I'm going out anyway, and I'll see if I can drag anyone with me.
This will be a true night ride though, lights mandatory!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Durian cup orienteering race, Tour De France

The Map for the race and our ride marked in pink.

Me and Mitch made it out for the orienting part of the Durian Cup last night. After being coaxed into it we signed up for the A category. I wasn't feeling to fresh, perhaps paying for my indulges in alcoholic beverages oon Tuesday night. Mitch on the other hand was just flying. He was riding a xc/all mountain bike for the first time, and using clips for the first time and this combination resulted in an extremely fast flying Mitchell. He's used to climb on his Triple clamp Bullit, with a coil shock, road cassette and a 36t chainring. So he was laughing on the 30 pound Stumpjumper FSR and never even shifted out of the middle ring for the whole race. In fact the only way I could keep track of where he was ahead of me was by judging the distance according to the sound from his shrieks of enjoyment. Mitch is a very capable downhiller, but after seeing him flying up the Hartland hills, and destroying the street sprints, I'm starting to think there is not a single category of cycling where he would not be successful if he gave it a shot. He was kind enough to wait for me though, as I dragged my sweating, huffing, hulk up the hills in granny gear...He got plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors. In my defence, we did manage to make it back in time (at 55min we had 5 min to spare), and finished the race without any major crashes or injuries. That's always positive.
Talking of Racing, The Tour De France starts tomorrow, so set the timer on your coffeemaker to 6am and get up for the 6:30 start. First stage is an individual time trial in Monaco which should be a blast to watch. I'm currently building my virtual team on The Tour De France Online game so get ready to be crushed by my favorites. We have also invested in a nice flat screen for the store, and the idea is to watch the stages on that.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Durian Cup and bombs

Second round of the Durian cup mini mtb series is happening tonight at Hartland. Check out the race poster here. Tonight there will be an orienteering run. How that works, I have no idea but it should be fun. Looks like it's going to be a great day weatherwise so there's no reason not to show up. Three dollars is all you need if you have a bc race licence, and if you don't you can buy a day race licence for $10. The organic athlete people that organize these events also have some interesting swag at the end of each race...think: Vegan Cupcakes, climbing passes for Crag x, cookbooks etc. What more do you need? Come on out, it's a lot of fun.

Also, for you bike nuts out there:
Some of our staff will be going out for a zoobomb, or a vicbomb on Friday. There will be a pavement run and then a dirt time trial...So if you have your own bomb and would like to join feel free to do so. Just shoot us a line in the comment section and we'll let you know where this will be happening...prepare to be destroyed by "Little Missy."