“On the road again … “ ☺️


We are on the roads again.

Lou and I have been cycling the quiet, rural roads that surround the cottage. There are no stop lights, the occasional stop sign, and very little traffic. A few cars. The cottagers. A few pick up trucks. The locals. And, the occasional tractor heading to the next field.

These roads are different than cycling in the city. I use the bikeways and bike paths at home. The traffic on them is more relaxed but there are still a lot of cars, commercial trucks, and pedestrians to circumvent all times of the day. And, there is a lot of stopping, and starting.

Cycling here is safer, faster, and more enjoyable. Today, Lou and I did a 40 km loop, west to the big lake and back. I do this ride frequently. Sometimes clockwise. Other times anti-clockwise. It depends on the wind. There is always wind here. No big hills. But wind. A lot of wind. I usually head into the wind on the way out so that I have its help on the leg home. Sometimes, I never figure it out. Sometimes it feels as if it is hurting no matter what direction I’m heading. Those rides are the most taxing. Two hours of fighting a 15-20 kph headwind is exhausting, and at the same time, exhilarating.

I am here at the cottage for 6 weeks on my own. I love it. I think of my visits here as training camps. A time to build my base, lose some weight, get stronger, and faster. My solo time here is focused on cycling. I do a lot of other things. Clean. Shop. Renovate. Repair. Swim. Fish. But my days are centred around my bike rides. I train in the mornings, and if I have energy left, I’ll take on the household chores. I keep the place spotless. It’s easy. It’s just me to clean up after. I cook. A lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. Salads. Wraps. Sandwiches. Pasta. Frittatas. Veggie burgers. No sweets. No alcohol. By the end of my visits here, I’m an expert in the kitchen, more confident on the bike, and lighter.

I am usually here in the summer and fall months. This is the first time I can remember being here during the spring. It’s fascinating watching the place awaken. Leaves beginning to form on the tree branches. Geese teaching their infants to swim. And, the weather is different. Colder and wetter. On the wet days, I weight train, or take a rest day. On the cold days, the fire is on.

This is a different experience. Spring also means more pot holes. The winter months plays havoc with these rural roads. I cycle with my head down just in case. Because there is so little traffic, the pot holes are easy to avoid. Thank goodness.

Warmer, drier weather is on the way within the week. Then, I will cycle more, and take on the outdoor projects. A canoe than needs repair and fresh paint. A floating dock that needs to be repositioned. Unusually high water has moved it away from the connecting dock by several feet. An out building that needs a coat of stain. Eaves that need to be cleaned. There is no end to them.

These projects take longer than normal to complete. There isn’t much time left following our rides. 😉

We made it safely … ☺️


Well, we made it.

Lou and I arrived safely at the cottage. I spent a month plotting how I could safely transport him in my over-used, battered TC-1 travel case. You see, the case is broken. The 2 clasps that safely secure each side are missing. They have been since I acquired the used case several years ago.

Each time I travel with a bike, I have the same discussion.

“Should I purchase a new case. A case more worthy of my bikes. It’s time, and it really isn’t that expensive when you consider how often I use it.”

“No. They are expensive. Why do you need to spend $500 when all you need to do is to attach 2 additional tie down straps. That’s all it needs.”

This discussion goes on and on. And, each time I travel, I do my best to make certain it will not pop open during transit spilling my bike, and at its parts, on the tarmac somewhere.

You see, the problem is I have to re-open the case every time it is checked at the airport. It seems non of the airport scanners are not large enough for over-sized baggage. Once I have it secured, the last thing I want to do is re-open it. It is not easy to close again. The straps fall off. The combination lock is finicky, not wanting to close. And, because I have to remove parts to be scanned, I am never really sure if all the parts, and tools, are back in the case. I once arrived home without the wheel quick release skewers. They were probably left on the examination table in my hast. That’s the other thing. I am always in a such a hurry to catch my flight. The last thing I want to do is re-open that case.

I had a new strategy this trip.

Thanks to a quick witted, generous sole working at Home Depot, I figured out how to keep the additional straps on the box. Double-sided velcro.

Why didn’t I think of that?

The velcro keeps the straps in place when I re-open the case for inspection, and making it easier to cinch down again. And, I packed fewer items, making it much easier to re-close the box. It seems I was stuffing way to much inside. Instead, I packed my shoes, cleats, helmet, and all my kits in either my carry on knapsack or other checked bag.

Voila! Problem solved. $500 saved.

And not only that, I was able to better protect the carbon frame, forks, and seat post. Again, my new found Home Depot friend suggested insulation wrap used to cover pipes.

Foam, self seal pipe insulation!

It’s easy to install. Easy to remove. And, re-usable.

See, you can teach an old dog new tricks 😆


Sharing the road …


Again, the weatherman forecast rain and high winds. Instead, I basked in the sun with no wind. Go figure.

Lou and I did laps on the Stanly Park road. This is one of my favourite workouts. It has everything. Flats. Rollers. A 2 km climb, followed by a 3 km, fast descent. During the summer months, there is a lot of tourist traffic. This time of year, particularly weekdays, I almost have the road to myself.

Except today.

Lou: “Boy that was fun.”

Today I shared the road with 6 colourful Lamborghinis and a black Bentley. They were a little faster, and a lot noisier but I didn’t mind. They had to stop before slowly rolling over speed bumps, so I got a good look.

I never figured it out. I could have asked. I suspect they were part of a wedding party. Then again, mid-afternoon on a Friday is an unusual time for a wedding. And, no one was dressed up.

I should have stopped.

Lou: “We were having too much fun.”



Grey skies can’t darken my day …

The weather has changed. The high pressure system that brought clear skies, and cold temperatures, has given way to a moisture-filled low that is threatening rain and warmer temperatures for a week. Maybe longer. Never mind.

Grey skies can’t darken my day.

I cycle rain, or shine. You see, for me, a day without a ride is a day without sunshine. It’s my time. We all need my time. Right? Time alone to get our thoughts right. For me, I do that best on my bikes. My mind clears. Problems dissipate. Solutions emerge. At the end of a ride, I am renewed. Strengthened in a way not possible otherwise. It’s moving meditation.

You see, I have this daily ritual. I do laps on the seawall and perimeter road in Stanley Park doing 35-50 km depending on how I’m feeling that day, what bike I am on, and the weather. When it is warm, and I’m feeling well, I’ll ride for 2-3 hours. Sometimes longer, challenging myself to faster climbs, and riskier descents. When it is windy and wet, I may only do 1 lap around the flat(ish) seawall.

And then, I stop for a post-ride meal. A veggie wrap, salad, and a black drip coffee. Every day it’s the same thing. Laps and a wrap.

You would think I might change things up. I do on the weekends, of course. I have several longer routes I enjoy but during the week the park is my place. It is close to the office. Close to the house. And, connected by a traffic-calmed bike pathway.

“Can’t you at least eat something different once in awhile?”, you ask.

No. I can’t!

“Can’t you try another route just once?”, you ask.

No. I can’t!

You see, this is my advanced health formula. It boosts my immune system. I’m seldom ill. It increases my energy. I accomplish a lot each and every day. I sleep soundly for 8-9 hours a night. My weight is managed. And, I have a positive attitude basking in sunlight, even when it rains. It is just part of my day. Part of getting to and from the office. I don’t have to make time for it. I don’t have to book a tee time. A court time. Or, make time for the gym.

I just do it. It’s involuntary, like breathing.

New fenders …

It’s that time of year again. The rainy season. It is clear and cold right now, but that won’t last for long.

My commuter has a set of full length fenders, and I don’t mind riding her (Thatch) in the rain. As I have said many times, I enjoy it and view it as more of an adventure than anything else. The key is to stay dry and warm. Once I figured that out, my life changed. I generally don’t ride the road bikes, particularly the Garneau (Lou), in the rain. But I do go out when the roads are still wet after a rainfall, usually taking the Roberts (Chas). When the roads are dry, all of the bikes get a turn, but I digress.

I need fenders for the weekend club rides. When you are tight on someones’ wheel, you don’t want to wear wheel splatter on your face. And, you don’t want the dirt and wet to spray up your back. Do you?

I wanted a pair of fenders that were easy to install without bolts and wrenches that I could, when necessary, quickly switch between the Roberts and the Garneau, between Chas and Lou. I came across the SpeedEZ Road fenders from Planet Bike in my local bike shop. They mount on any bike with 700C tires up to 25 mm in just minutes. No bolts. No wrenches. Just a little patience. More than I had initially 🙂

I have them on the Roberts right now. It took a ride or two to get them properly centred over the tires without rubbing. There is a trick. There always is a trick. But once I understood symmetry, and put my glasses on, it was easy 🙂

Sawdust and bikes don’t mix | 5 Day Story Challenge


Several years ago, I converted what was a small garage into a large bike workshop. I had no use for the garage. It was too small for my “truck” and only collected things. Things I was simply too lazy to discard.

This was no small project. First, I had to plumb and reinforce the west wall. Then, I had to rewire for the electrical for lights, extra plugs and an outdoor motion sensor light. It needed more natural light, so I added a large sliding window in the east wall. And, I needed the space to be more secure. I installed an overhead metal door at the back and replaced the wooden entrance door with a wider, and taller, metal one so the bikes could be rolled in and out more easily. It had to be insulated so I could work outside all year round, and to prevent the tools and bikes from rusting. I created storage space in the newly formed attic (I couldn’t discard everything), and then put up wood panelling in the new room.

I’m proud of this space. It’s my space. It has a small beer refrigerator, an old stereo, and room to hang 6 bikes, a 30-year old hand-make work bench, and my canoe (a 50 year old relic).

I tell you this not to make you jealous (I know a lot of you do not have a proper place to store and work on your bikes). No, I tell you this because I have out grown the space. Well, we have outgrown the space. You see, it’s not exactly my space any longer. I share it with my son, and a few of his bikes. I don’t mind that. In fact, I enjoy it. We share a lot of quality time in the shop working on our bikes. No. That’s not the problem.

You see, my son has taken up wood working. He has always been gifted in this regard, and has hand crafted many beautiful pieces. Now he wants to take on even larger projects. And, he needs space. He doesn’t have any where he lives.

Do you see the dilemma? Sawdust and bikes don’t mix. I need 2 shops. One to work wood, and another to store, maintain, and build bikes that is free of sawdust.

I have space in the yard.


Right next to the garage there used to be a car port. I ripped it down years ago and reclaimed the space for a small, raised vegetable garden and sitting area. Fortunately, I left the cement pad and footing intact. This 12′ x 20′ area is the perfect size for a bike studio, don’t you think?

I’m at the conceptual stage. I have some ideas but I’m looking for more. I know some of you have architectural design experience. And, some of you have bike workshops. I’d like your advice. What is the best way to lay the space out? How large does it need to be? How can it be integrated into the yard?

Here are several backyard studio designs that have caught my eye.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 9.56.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 8.26.54 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 8.31.34 AM

Tell me what you think. What features do I need? How large does it need to be? Should it face north into the yard, or west facing the garage?


Becky of Restart Urgently Needed nominated me for this challenge. She wanted to hear more about my bikes she said. Thank you Becky 🙂 I have to write 5 posts about my bikes and, with each post, nominate another blogger to accept the challenge. 


With the first post, I nominate Ellie (A Writer’s Caravan) for the 5 day story challenge because I would love to read how music has shaped her life. And, I want to hear more of her music.


With the second post, I nominate Bri (Bike Like Crazy) for the 5 day story challenge because I would love to read more about cycling in cold, and snow. Bri is an inspiration to all cyclists.


With this third post, I nominate Gail (a bike for all seasons) for the 5 day story challenge because I would like to learn how she has been changed by her cycling project – an experiment to cycle more and use her car less for a full year.  


With this fourth post, I nominate anyone interested in relating their studio space  story, and it doesn’t have to be for bikes.  I want to hear from you. What works. What doesn’t. What feature do you like the best. The worst.

Bike Etiquette | Quick Releases


Did you know the renowned Italian bike racer Tullio Campagnolo invented the quick release skewer in 1927.

In Tullio’s day, racing bikes had 2 gears and no derailleurs. Instead, there were gears on either side of the rear wheel – one for climbing and one for all other terrain. To change gears, the cyclist had to dismount, loosen the bolts on the rear wheel axle, turn the wheel around, re-titghten the bolts, and remount the bike. One time, at the summit of a long climb, Tullio wasn’t able to loosen the nuts on the rear axle with his cold hands. And, that’s how the idea for a quick release mechanism was born.

Chas: “Wow! We have 20 gears and even that isn’t enough sometimes.”

Today, quick releases are commonplace on the more expensive bikes. They make it easier to fix a flat tire, load a bike into cramped spaces (like the back of a compact car), thoroughly clean the bike, and complete other regular maintenance items.

There is a right and wrong way to tighten a quick release. If they are incorrectly fastened, you run the risk of a wheel actually coming off during a ride. If fastened correctly, they are as safe as any other fastening method.

And, there is a right and wrong way to position a quick release. Do it right, and you will look like a pro. Do it wrong, and you run the risk of the lever opening during a ride, find it more difficult to close, and look like a newbie.

IMG_3912You might think I’m being trite.

Why does it matter how the quick release is positioned as long as it is closed properly? To some extent, this is true. However, if the lever is facing forward instead of parallel with the front fork or rear chain stay as illustrated, there is a chance it may be inadvertently opened by trail side brush (if you are on a MTB), clothing, or something else. So, it is safer to close the skewers in line with the fork and chain stays. It’s also easier to close them in this position because you can clasp the fork (or stay) with your fingers and squeeze the lever closed. And, at least to my mind, they look better in this position. The bikes lines remain consistent and cleaner. It looks like you care. And, you want to care about your bike 🙂

Just before heading out on a ride with either Chas or Lou, I straddle the top tube, lean over the bars, unlock the quick release on the front wheel, tap the top of the tire to make certain the axle is properly seated in the drop outs, and re-lock the skewer, making certain it is parallel with the fork. I do this to make certain the axle is properly seated and the skewer is closed. I will be cycling quickly, and I don’t want any mishaps. With the quick release lever parallel with the fork, it is easy to close. I place the lever in the palm of my left hand, curl my fingers around the fork, and carefully squeeze the skewer closed.

Lou: “I always wondered why you did that.”

Chas: “Me too. That makes sense.”



There is no one perfect fit …


Lou at rest mid-climb overlooking the bay

I have come to realize there is no one perfect bike fit.

This past weekend, I cycled 120+ km with Lou.

Chas: “What’s with that? We rode all week. Did the most difficult climbs over and over again. Then you do the easy ride with him.”

On Saturday we did a 40+ km solo ride with a lot of hard climbing and fast decants. All the while I kept thinking of how comfortable my son’s Cervelo felt the previous weekend; and, how far I was reaching on Lou.

On Sunday, we did an 80+ km group ride hammering around the river delta. Apart from the climb home, the ride was flat and fast. I was on the drops most of the time, and all the while I kept thinking how comfortably the bike fit.

Lou: “You felt just fine. Not uncomfortably stretched. You see. We are a pair.”

Two different rides, two different feelings. You see, when I’m on the drops hammering or battling a wind, I benefit from the more aggressive setup, and it feels comfortable. On the other hand, when I’m climbing long hills, I prefer a more relaxed fit because I’m on the tops most of the time.

I understand why the tour riders have different bikes for different stages; even different bikes for parts of the same stage; different gearing, and, different positioning.

Maybe that’s the answer. I need more bikes 🙂

One for each of the different rides I enjoy. One for long, difficult climbs with lower gearing and a stiff, light frame; one for the flats with higher gearing and more aerodynamic fit; and, one for rolling terrain with …

Exactly. What do I need for rollers? Something in between 🙂


Lou at rest in a cabbage patch in the river delta

Chas: “I don’t like the sound of this. You think I’m old, heavy, and slow. Well, you are older and heavier than me you know.”

In my world, there is a lot of climbing. A lot of hills, mountains, and rollers. Occasionally, I do a long, flat ride around the river delta, the only place to find flat in these parts.

Is there an in-between setup? A compromise? Perhaps? I’ll try a shorter stem, but after this past weekend, I’ll keep the longer ones on-hand.

Maybe, just maybe, I have the perfect compromise already. Chas is perfect for the long, flat and rolling rides. His longer wheel base, larger section tires, and steel frame quiet the ride, and once rolling, inertia takes over. He rolls effortlessly. And, Lou, with a shorter stem, lighter, stiffer frame, and lower gearing is ideal for long, difficult climbs.

Maybe I don’t need another bike after all 🙂

Chas: “Now you’re talking!”


Chas at rest at the “big lake” this past summer

But it would be nice 🙂

Chas: “Be careful what you wish for.”

Bike Thieves …


I walked downtown yesterday.

Normally, I would cycle but I needed a haircut, and wanted to explore the new, flagship Nordstrom store without having to worry about my bike. You do have to worry about your bike downtown.


Look at what is left of this bike.

Look carefully. Look what was stolen. Handlebars. Stem. Forks. Brakes. Seat post. Saddle. And, wheels. The thief came prepared with a toolbox. You might think this bike was locked in a lane way out of sight. No. This bike was locked in the heart of the retail district on the busiest corner in the city. You would think that would deter anyone. Apparently not.

There are over 2,000 bikes stolen in the city every year. During the summer months, 8-10 are stolen every day. More bikes are stolen than cars. And, the numbers increase every year.

I have had 1 bike stolen in 30 years. And, that was a long time ago. I suppose you could say that’s not bad. Or, that I’m a fast learner. How do I do it? How have I outsmarted the thieves for so long? It’s simple. I don’t lock my bikes outside. I take them into the office and park them next to my desk. I take them into stores when I’m shopping. Or, if that isn’t possible, I leave them at home like I did yesterday.

Chas: “I would have liked Nordstrom.”

I’m fortunate. I work in an environment that encourages and supports cycling. If I couldn’t take my bikes into the office, I likely wouldn’t cycle. That is what has always stopped me before. It’s not the infrastructure. It’s not having a shower or a place to change. I haven’t wanted to worry about my bike locked outside, unattended. They are too easy to steal.

I do ride and lock Thatch at the gym where I workout. I’m ok with that. The bike lock up area is right next to the main entrance to the club, out of site from the street traffic. I never take Lou or Chas.

Thatch: “What’s that mean? You don’t care if I get stollen.”

I would be upset if Thatch was stollen. We have spent many enjoyable years together. It’s just she would be easier, and less expensive to replace. And, that’s the thing. The strategy.  Older, less expensive bikes are less likely to be stollen. I keep Thatch in good working order but she doesn’t get the attention that Chas and Lou get. She’s purposely nondescript.

Thatch: “Hey! Watch what you say. I look pretty good for my age.”