Sunday, March 26, 2006

Invisible or blind?

I've been reading magazines on biking and on paddling lately, and trying to write articles for 'em. Sold one to WaveLength Magazine, and hope it'll be the first of a new series of articles. How can ya tell I'm a freelance writer, eh? Well, they say write what you know.
The bicycling magazine I was reading lately had an article on invisible bikers. But by the time you get most of the way through the article, the author has realized that there really is a community of people who use bikes to commute, to work, to improve their lives and to make a difference. And it's not that these are invisible bikers. He finally realized that these people are perfectly visible, out there, working in the same real world in the same city he lives in. The reason he and his friend bikers don't see them: the rich bikers are blind. The people really using their bikes are low-income, and the author realized he just hadn't been seeing the people who were using cheap bikes all around him. And he felt like a complete shit.
Is there an answer for this reversible blindness?
Well, it wouldn't hurt to promote a local bike shop/repair centre. Bicycleitis on Bay Street (1 block west of Shelbourne Street) is a great little shop. They not only sell affordable second-hand bikes as well as new, they have a "free tree" on the boulevard. Haul those old clunkers out from under the deck and give 'em to these guys or some other repair shop like Recyclistas. Wheels on the road, eh? there is no excuse for anything else.

Out of shape

Yeah, the winter has made me feel out of shape. I haven't been biking as much as I've wanted to, nor as much as I should have. But the speed at which my fitness has declined has been ridiculous.
Even out biking with Paula--no speed demon, but very consistent-- became a chore. Riding the Goose was work--and that's dead flat and paved. Where other people have been zooming along, I've just z'd. So depressing.
Right up until a visit to Recyclistas by Switch Bridge on the Goose. Something had gone askew on the treadle (well, nuts had loosened/tightened on my rear axle), and the guys taught me how to pull the axle apart, replace the bearings, and fit the whole works back together. Now my bike, she go zoom again! Well, with a little help from me.
But let me recommend Recyclistas to everyone. These guys know their stuff, are both friendly and helpful, and do excellent work. But more importantly, they are pretty darned good at teaching you how to do the work yourself. And they are more than fair with their sliding scale of rates.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Just had to share the news: I need more gears on my trike!
Well, I have five. Not surprising that after a year of biking and walking and kayaking that my fitness has increased and I want to GO FASTER on my three-wheeler.
Yes, I'll keep it slow enough to be safe. But I am soooo going to get the front gear changed. More more more faster harder higher stronger
I'll have to put a picture of the Norco Parkland up here to show what it's like. Staid. Bland. Gets cheers wherever I go.
And now the electric bike store on Yates street has ones just like it with motors! oh baby.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bait Bikes

Our neck of the woods is prone to bike thefts. Local police have started a "bait bike" program similar to "bait car" programs to deter bike thieves. GPS transmitters and other devices have been installed in bikes around the city waiting for the bad guys to steal them.
(There's some tips to avoid having your bike stolen at the end of the article.)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I don't feel much like a real biker, not compared to the bikemutants roaring past my three-wheeler. But hey, my trike gets me on the road and trail. And that's real enough.

Ride Like The Wind

It's been very windy out here on the We(s)t Coast for the last couple of weeks, and I've noticed something very strange about it.
Maybe it's just me, but when I ride in the wind, the wind is always blowing in my face, slowing me down and making it a much more difficult ride.
When I ride to work, it's in my face.
When I ride home, it's in my face.
Riding home, I go west, then north for a while, then turn west again, and finish up with a couple of blocks of south. Every time I change direction, the wind is in my face.
The only time the wind is not in my face is when I'm stopped at a red light. The weather gods taunt me with a moment of placid calm, before the winds whip up in a frenzy. It's like trying to ride through a solid brick wall when the light turns green.
There's some strange meteorological effect going on here, like I'm being followed by my own personal microburst.
I should be flattered that the gods take such a personal interest in me. If only they would pay the same sort of attention to my lottery ticket numbers.