Herman loves the Tikit…

30 09 2010

One Way Tikit...

I flew into Victoria last night and wanted to meet up with Sharon and some friends at Herman’s Jazz Club. I rode my fixed gear Bike Friday Tikit downtown so I could throw it into Sharon’s Mini for the drive home.  The ride into town was fun. I sometimes forget how fast this bike can go when I’m in the mood to crank hard.  I blew past everyone on the MUP and I’m sure I left a few wondering what in the heck I was riding.  When I got to Herman’s I folded up the Tikit and rolled it inside.  The place was nicely decorated and the crowd was busy listening to Amy Thiesen sing.  I wasn’t sure where to leave the Tikit.  As I hunted around for a good spot an older fellow [Herman??] came rushing over. I assumed he was going to give me grief for bringing a bike inside so I prepared my best I-don’t-have-a-lock-and-my-bike-is-clean-and-tiny-and-I-plan-on-spending-$$$-here story.  But, before I could even start he shows me a handy little nook that was perfect for the Tikit and comments on my “cool bike”.

Herman’s Jazz Club is really nice and because they let me bring my folder inside I could enjoy a beer and the show without worrying about my bike locked outside.

Score another great Tikit moment!

Liberating my Tikit from Sharon's Mini...





NWT Gearing Part 3

27 09 2010

My lovely chainring has to go...

Every time I ride my Bike Friday NWT [New World Tourist] I wish I had higher gearing.  This bike is setup with an 8 spd IGH which is enough gear range when adjusted correctly, but at the moment it’s so low I’m pretty much only using gear 6,7 & 8.

Why so low?

Well I used to think I needed lower gears than I actually did.  Riding a fixed gear makes that point very clear.  By comparison an 8 spd gear box that lets you coast seems positively outrageously luxurious. Even for a touring bike.

The only real problem is I really dig the [expensive!] Sugino 46T ring on the NWT and I can’t fit a smaller cog at the rear with the Surly Singlenator chain tensioner.  So I need to dig through my box of rings and grab any ugly 53T or 54T ring and slap it on.

This blog post will hopefully serve to shame me enough that I actually make it happen!





CETMA Bar Swap

26 09 2010

CETMA sporting KORE riser bar...

I didn’t love the swept back city bars I tried on my first iteration of my CETMA cargo bike build. I felt like I wanted a wider bar for more leverage so I grabbed a KORE mountain bike riser bar I had kicking around.  The install was super easy and I definitely like these bars better.

Old and the new bars...

I was surprised to find out the swept back bars were actually wider then the new bars.  I guess wider was not what I was after…the difference in sweep must have made more difference than I had expected.

Ergon Rohloff Avid happiness...

So far so good.  I’ll keep the KORE bars and given them a good test run.





Sharon’s Bike MK2

25 09 2010

Not pretty to look at, but a pretty useful bike now...

Sharon has become a fulltime cyclist since moving to Victoria.  Going from the occasional Sunday pleasure ride to biking for 90% of her transportation needs. Her bike has evolved accordingly as she’s been demanding more performance from it. Since just about everyone who wants to get into [or back into] cycling has an old MTB gathering dust in the corner or can score one from a friend/relative who does I thought I’d post about the upgrades we’ve done.  Given that this isn’t a kick ass bike to begin with we didn’t want to invest too much $$ in it so almost everything we’ve added/changed has been low cost and/or can be moved to her next bike when this one bites the dust.

Stock front wheel & brakes...

We left her front wheel alone as even an average 26″ MTB wheel is plenty strong for commuter use.  No need for slow heavy knobbies so Specialized Fat Boy 26 x 1.5″ slicks went on.  These are some low cost, but fast and comfy tires…highly recommended.  She hasn’t had a flat with these babies all summer even with daily about town use. Fenders are a must so some Planet Bike Cascadia Hybrid 700c fenders were installed.  They fit fine on the 26″ wheel and provide great coverage with the long rubber mudflap.  Getting them to work with a suspension fork required some DIY action, but it wasn’t too hard. So far they’ve stayed in place nicely with no attention needed.  Sharon likes the extra comfort of the suspension fork so we will keep it going as long as we can without investing any major $$$.

Rack and fenders for all weather hauling...

With only one bolt available at the back end the rack and fender had to share.  The rack is a $40 unit from MEC. So far it’s held up well. I love how low the rear fender mudflap goes – very nice if you are riding behind this bike in the rain.  The back wheel is stock – like the front it’s just fine with some new rubber on it.

Controls, lights and horn...

Sharon likes the Thorn comfort bars on her bike, but we started running out of room for goodies.  Bars a couple inches above saddle height makes for a comfortable riding position.

Ergon Grips...

Ergon Grips are a no brainer.  If you have flat/riser bars and don’t have Ergon Grips go get some!

The Stock brake levers and shifters...

The original Shimano shifters and brake levers work well and are reliable. 7spd chains and cassettes are cheap to replace.

Dual 1W headlights...

The MUP near our house is unlit and pitch black at night so Sharon needs more than visibility lighting. She needs to see far enough down the road at 20kph to avoid obstacles.  These 1W Planet Bike LEDs were cheap and came in a kit with a free Superflash taillight.  They are doing the job, but I can see some better lighting in Sharon’s future.  A dynohub and light would be ideal, but pricey so we’re considering battery powered LEDs as well. Since we started to run out of handlebar space I put a Thorn Accessory Bar on her bike to hold the lights down and out of the way.

Thorn Accessory Bar...

There is still some more room on the accessory bar for more lights and now there is room on the bar for the coffee cup holder sitting on my workbench I’m supposed to install.

Handy mirror...

A rearview mirror is very useful for riding around town.

AirZound mega horn...

The AirZound air horn is a cheap way to get even the biggest truck’s attention.  It’s louder than the horn in my F150!  It’s also under $20 and can be refilled.  I put air into Sharon’s horn about a week and she hasn’t run out yet.

AirZound reservoir...

You can attach the air reservoir anywhere on the bike you like, but it slides right into a water bottle cage.

Trusty v-brakes...

I put new pads on the stock v-brakes.  They are getting a bit hard to adjust so we may score some $25 Shimano Deore v-brakes to replace them in the next while.

Planet Bike Superflash...

Not much to say about the Planet Bike Superflash other than it’s cheap and works great.   MEC sells kits with a PB 1W headlight and a Superflash for the same price as just a 1W headlight – nice!  I’m going to mount a 2nd Superflash on Sharon’s rear rack for redundancy.

Specialized saddle...

Sharon scored a basic Specialized saddle from Bow Cycle that she likes.

Platform pedals...

Plastic platform pedals work well and we’ll keep ‘em turning until they wear out when they’ll get replaced with some nicer metal BMX pedals.

MTB triple...

The mountain bike triple crankset up front provides a wide useful gear range.

7 speed cassette...

7 speeds at the back are more than enough – plus I have a box full of derailleurs and cassettes since my conversion to the world of IGHs so I’ll be able to keep this bike running for a long time without going to the LBS.

$3 bell...

The AirZound is a great way to get a driver’s attention, but you won’t make any friends with it on the MUP so a regular bicycle bell is a good idea.

Rack mounted 2nd taillight...

Writing this post I was so ashamed I  hadn’t gotten a 2nd taillight mounted on Sharon’s bike that I got off my ass I put one on.  The ziptie keeps the light from sliding off sideways [not exactly a factory mount] and keeps sketchy people from stealing it [as easily].





Velomobile Commute

24 09 2010




Water Ladies…

23 09 2010

Sharon passing under the wooden MUP bridge near our place...

I took Sharon and Tanya out for a SUP and sea kayak session on the gorge waterway near our house.  Tanya had never been in a kayak or on a SUP and Sharon doesn’t have a lot of paddling experience.  So I spent some time working on the basic strokes to get them moving efficiently.

Tanya SUPing it up!

They did great on both platforms.  I think Sharon really liked being in a kayak and since I’m a faster paddler when I go SUPing next time we’ll try her in a kayak to even things out.  Tanya didn’t fall in the water on the SUP and got the hang of a decent propulsion stroke really quickly.

The colours of paddling...

I’m really happy to have such a tame place to take new water people so they can learn and get confident in a relaxing spot before tackling more challenging conditions.

My SUP photos from the last year or so are here on Flickr.





Arkel Pannier Reviews

22 09 2010

My Surly LHT with an Arkel Switchback pannier/backpack mounted...

I’ve reviewed 4 Arkel bike bags and panniers over at my Bow Cycle Blog: