How to make a shuriken with your bicycle.

Step 1:
Arrange for your chain to break during your morning commute. It is important to do this in the dead of winter when the temperature is about -22 Celsius. You can be assured of the best result if  this happens when you are traversing a particularly dark section of wooded trail.

Step 2:
Fumble about in the dark with your chain tool while your hands rapidly go numb. Peering through fogging glasses is helpful as well. Drop parts in the snow if you can arrange to do so.

Step 3:
After you finally manage to reassemble your chain, pedal to work and continue about your day.

Step 4:
This next part is very important.  DO NOT INSPECT THE CHAIN TO VERIFY THAT YOU REASSEMBLED IT CORRECTLY. Instead, continue commuting on the bicycle for the next two weeks.

Step 5:
When you start to experience horrendous chain slip is the time to inspect your bicycle. You will find that the teeth of your cassette or freewheel are badly worn out and you will have to obtain a replacement. You will now check the chain closely and discover that you lost a roller while assembling the chain in the freezing dark. This resulted in a link with an exposed pin that then did a very nice job of wrecking your drive train.

Step 6:

Step 7: 
The following Autumn when you are overhauling your bike for Winter service you will notice that one of the derailleur pulleys has been neatly transformed into a shuriken! Wasn’t that easy?


Hello Snow!

Beautiful snowy riding.

It has been unusually late arriving, but the snow has finally started falling. Late Friday night, I was in the garage tuning up my Winter bike when I looked through the open door and saw gently falling snow.  Obviously, I was meant to go for a bike ride. I headed out on empty streets for a quick descent down Kinnaird ravine to the river valley. The snowy night was gorgeous and the bike was handling beautifully. The shifters, brake levers and crankset I had recently put on were a great improvement. The new fenders were doing their job nicely. I had forgotten how smooth a ride the mountain bike has compared to my road bikes. I rode through the valley for a while before heading up to cruise through the downtown core. The normally busy streets were pleasantly vacant at 2AM. After a stopping for a quick bite to eat I headed home. This first snowy ride was just excellent. I should have brought my camera.

Today, I got up a little before dawn and went for another great ride. I plan on enjoying this early winter riding as much as possible as it is a little harder to maintain the positive outlook when the deep freeze arrives. I rode North and went down Kennedale ravine for some more river valley riding. The trails were deserted at the beginning of the ride, but were occupied by plenty of dog walkers toward the end. There were lots of ducks and geese in the river. The ducks seemed to be taking the weather philosophically, but the geese were making an awful racket. I imagine they were arguing about whose fault it was that they weren’t already someplace warmer. I headed back up Kinnard ravine and headed home. It was another excellent ride. This time I had my camera.

Kennedale Ravine

Bike looks at geese. Yes, those tiny dots in the river.

The Military Folding Bike

I generally try to avoid re-blogging and instead generate new content of my own. However, my computer is not working at the moment at my ability to blog is seriously limited by the small amounts of time I can sneak in on my wife’s computer.  Today, I’d like to draw your attention to a really excellent WordPress blog: The Online Bicycle Museum. As I have grown increasingly interested in vintage bicycles, this blog has provided endless reading and I highly recommend it. There are numerous “rooms“ in the museum to visit.

It being Remembrance day, I have been reading about the use of bicycles by the military. I was aware that the folding bicycle had its origins in military use. I  had the vague idea that it had first been invented for the use of WW2 paratroopers, but apparently they date back at least to 1900 and were used in the Boer War. The early technology seems to have left something to be desired:

There are, more especially on the Continent, critics who advocate the use of the folding cycle for military purposes. I cannot but believe that these must mostly be people who have never ridden a folding bicycle. It is heavy, lacks rigidity and strength, entails loss of time in folding and unfolding, and even when it has been folded and is strapped on to the back in such a manner, by the way, that it cannot possibly be unstrapped except by the assistance of a comrade, it is the most unwieldy burden I have ever carried.

The advantages claimed for it, even if real, would hardly compensate for these drawbacks; but the advantages are theoretical rather than practical. It is claimed that cyclists when they wish to cross fields, etc., will dismount, fold their bicycles and stow them on, their backs. I was once the proud possessor of a folding bicycle, which I used for experimental purposes, and I can assure you that for half a dozen excellent reasons nothing would induce me to take one on service, or if I did it would never be folded except when the spring got out of order and it collapsed automatically, which is one of its unexpected habits.

By Captain. A. H. TRAPMANN, Adjutant, 25th (Cyclists) Battalion (County of London) The London Regiment. 16th December, 1908

I assume that the shortcomings were addressed, as these bicycles continued to be used by various militaries. Here are two early folding bikes from the WW1 period , one British and one Italian:

And here is a later example, a WW2 paratrooper`s folder:

I could post many more links here, but my stolen computer time will soon be over, so Ithink I will spend it wandering through the online museum myself.