Errandonnee: Creeping Across The Finish Line.

Yes, I have finished the Errandonnee.This news will doubtless come as a relief to any non-utility cycling readers. Will my control card pass muster? Time will tell. My documentable errands had dropped off throughout the week and the last ones were completed over the course of a few days. There were a some trips that could have qualified but as in the case of shopping for my wife’s Valentine Day gift, I choose not to regard them as errands.

Thanks to MG for organizing the Errandonnee. It has put a bit of fun into the daily drudgery of chores.

ERRAND #9, Friday, Trip to the bank.

On the way home from work I detoured to downtown to deposit a cheque at the bank. The weather was so fantastically and unseasonably warm that I cycled home without a jacket, hat or gloves, just because I could. For those who doubt, I have photographic evidence.

Look Ma! No gloves!

Look Ma! No gloves!

Errandonnee #9

The Errandonnee rules state that participants must record an observation about each errand. In the Sherlock Holmes story ” A Scandal in Bohemia” Holmes points out that he is in the habit of observing his surroundings whereas  Watson is not. He illustrates this by asking if Watson knows how many steps there are in the stairs leading to the the Baker Street flat they have both walked up so many times. Watson of course does not know, whereas Holmes has the ready answer: 17 steps. In this spirit, I observed the number of steps leading up from the river valley to the Hotel MacDonald.

There are 201 steps.

There are 201 steps.

Errand completed!

Errand completed!

ERRAND #10: Sunday. Trip to the Post Office.

I made a rare trip the post office to mail a post card to the States. My neighbourhood office closed  a year or so ago and now I  usually use the one at Kingsway Mall. While there I observed that not the new LRT line under construction seems to be creeping towards completion. I imagine the winter slows things down somewhat.

A rare trip to the post office.

ERRAND #11: Monday, Trip to Bikeworks North to work on one of my bikes.

A significant perk that comes with being a regular volunteer at Bikeworks is access to the shop after hours. I could probably count this errand in the Bike Shop category but I think it’s better to use my wild card for this one.

Today I was finishing up my “Ravine Bike”. I found this abandoned bike when volunteering at a ravine clean-up last spring. It was missing many parts but over the months I managed to cobble enough together to resurrect it. Today’s mission was getting the brakes working properly. I had tried once before but it’s the first bike I’ve worked on with disc brakes and I didn’t quit get it right. I rode the nearly brakeless bike very slowly to the shop and had another crack at it. This time, partly due to truing the rotors I was able to nail it.

As of today this bike is complete and ready to ride. While riding to the shop I observed that the shocks work much better at -7ºC than in the -20ºC I last road this bike in. I’m not ready to reveal the bike itself yet, but will feature it in an upcoming blog post. You will find a small hint below.

Rotor truing.

Rotor truing.

Errand #11

ERRAND #12: Monday, Bargain hunting at a local thrift shop.

Once or twice a month I usually drop by one of the second-hand stores to look for bargains. Lately, I’ve been having a good run with the best finds being new or like-new merino wool clothing and gore-tex outerwear. The store I visited today seems to have been getting shipments of brand new clothing from a major work wear store, so I was hopeful.

I tried on a new pair of good quality steel toed work boots. They fit well but were heavily insulated and not suitable for my purposes so I left them for somebody else. The big find today turned out to be an Eddie Bauer Gore-Tex parka with goose down fill. This thing is so warm that it’ll have to be pretty cold out to use it. I certainly won’t be cycling in it. Wearing it, I felt a bit like George from Seinfeld. It was missing the hood, but for $30.00 I brought it home anyway.

Errand #12

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More Errandonneuring!

Continuing with the Errandonnee Challenge I mentioned in my last post, here are Errands #4 through #8. And a few bonus photos, just ’cause I’m feeling generous (or maybe mean).

ERRAND #4: Sunday Afternoon, Volunteering at Bikeworks North.

Normally BWN isn’t open on Sundays, but during the water problems at the south shop it was announced that BWN would be open instead. Even though the water was restored in time for the weekend we still opened the north shop. The shop is only a 5 minute pedal from my house so I popped over to put in a few hours. While there I spent a little while salvaging some hubs from a couple of damaged rims, starting tuning up another bike, and helped a fellow who was working on his first wheel build.

Bikes for sale. Come and check them out! Choose one that has already been tuned up by  the volunteers or buy one as-is and fix it up yourself.

Bikes for sale. Come and check them out! Choose one that has already been tuned up by the volunteers or buy one as-is and fix it up yourself.

I started working on this old Kuwahara Savage MTB.  It's a bit scuffed up but will make a great stealth commuter (a sweet riding cromoly frame that most theives would't look twice at). BWN seems to be Kuwahara/Apollo central right now. There are several more.

I started working on this old Kuwahara Savage MTB. It’s a bit scuffed up but will make a great stealth commuter (a sweet riding cromoly frame c/w eyelets for racks and fenders that most thieves would’t look twice at). BWN seems to be Kuwahara/Apollo central right now. There are several more.

I also cleaned and oiled my own bike.

I also cleaned and oiled my own bike.

ERRAND #5: Sunday Evening, Purchasing a new printer at Futureshop:

Our old printer died a little while ago and my wife has been in dire need of a replacement (me, I didn’t use it often). After finishing at Bikeworks I headed downtown to buy another printer. I’m picked one with a small foot print as space is at a premium in our small house. Even so, it was about as big a package as I was equipped to carry on my bike. The main routes with bare pavement were no problem but the box slid around a bit on the heavily rutted side streets. Nonetheless, the printer arrived home intact and is now installed and working perfectly.

I used the omnipresent Canadian Kickstand to get this picture.

I used the omnipresent Canadian Kickstand to get this picture.

ERRAND #6: Tuesday. Work. Again. Wheee.

I was treated to another gorgeous sunrise on the way to work this morning but was running late, so I can offer no photo. After work I snapped a few pics of the road conditions near my workplace. These are on an official bike route. The unseasonably warm weather has continued and so real, honest to goodness asphalt is emerging from under the thick snow hard pack. The city keeps the main roads cleared to the asphalt ( and does a pretty good job) but only blades residential roads to a 5 cm snowpack. They kept up on this through the first part of the winter but have been falling behind a bit and in many areas there is a good 6 inches or more of rutted, hard packed snow and ice.

Gasp! The asphalt emerges! Dreams of riding speedy road bikes through summer  days momentarily overwhelm me.

Gasp! The asphalt emerges! Dreams of riding speedy road bikes through summer days momentarily overwhelm me.

I discover that

So that’s what was under the snow! I discover that the winter months have not been kind to the road surface (none too good to begin with). This area is due for repaving this summer.

ERRAND #7: Tuesday evening, Grocery Shopping at Earth’s General Store

EGS is conveniently located on my homeward route and I occasionally stop to pick up foodstuffs there. I was disappointed to find that they were out of Ohsawa Namu Shoyu soya sauce. Best…soya sauce…ever. On the other hand, that stuff ain’t cheap. I did come away with numerous other items.

Note the bike racks made from old bike frames.

Note the bike racks made from old bike frames.

ERRAND # 8 Tuesday evening. City of Edmonton community meeting on bike lane projects for 2013.

This  was one of two open house meetings that the city is holding to communicate the bike infrastructure plans for the 2013 construction season. This meeting was held in a school right next to one of the bike routes and was well attended with neighbourhood residents and cyclists: at least a hundred people, maybe more. Rolled out on long tables were maps of the proposed work, with post-it pads so people could make comments about specific issues. City engineers were present at the various tables to answer questions. I watched the presentation, left a couple of comments, chatted with a couple of other bike commuting types I knew, and I headed for home.

Errand #8 Bike Lanes Meeting

There was a lot of local news media in attendance.

There was a lot of local news media in attendance.

THE TRIP HOME: Tuesday evening

Not at all related to the errands, but it was a beautiful night so I stopped to take a few pictures on the way home.

Homeward bound

Homeward bound

Edmonton: The City of Pyramids.

Edmonton: The City of Pyramids.

The pyramids are the Muttart plant conservatory, a green haven during the bleak winter months. At night they are well lit and change colour….a lot.

Errandonnee Saturday

MG over at the blog Chasing Mailboxes D.C. has issued a winter utility cycling challenge: The Errandonnee. Participants must complete 12 cycling errands within 12 days and ride at least 30 miles while doing so. Documentation of the errands is required, including photos and a randonneuring inspired (could you tell from the term Errandonnee?) control card. Errands fall into 11 categories of which you must complete at least 7, using each category no more than twice. For more details on the rules of the challenge, check out this post.

This seems a natural for me as I’m pretty much in pure errand mode these days. I haven’t been on a purely recreational  ride since my New Year’s Day Bridge Ride. It should put a bit of fun in my daily pedaling around the city.

ERRAND #1: EARLY MORNING COMMUTE

I don’t normally work Saturdays but we’re swamped right now. I’d agreed to go in and open the shop so that myself and two other employees could clock some overtime and chip away at the backlog for a few hours in the morning.  This past week I’ve been enjoying the lengthening days and some beautiful sunrises on my morning commute. Today, however, I was going in an hour earlier than normal so it was back to commuting in the dark.This was useful for the purposes of the Errandonee, as two of the errands must take place during the hours of darkness. The pre-dawn temperature was a balmy 3°C, a pleasant change from the statistical average low of -16°C for this date.

Riding the well  cleared path beside the LRT tracks. A nearly empty train passes.

Riding the well cleared path beside the LRT tracks. A nearly empty train passing.

Downtown and the river valley.

Skirting the edge of the downtown core.

I detoured a little to get a picture overlooking the river valley. The trail down to the bridge seen on the left side of the photo was a fun, fast ride and I was pleased to see that it was well plowed and maintained.

ERRAND #2: GROCERY RUN

We called it a day at noon and after locking up the shop I headed off to the Strathcona Farmer’s Market to pick up some groceries for the coming week. I had noted in my last blog post that the Market wasn’t doing a great job of keeping the bike racks clear. Today the bike racks were so snow covered as to be unusable so I locked up to a lamp post. After a quick trip through the market my panniers were well filled (and heavy) with food. Onwards  to the last errand of the day.

Slushy Saturday at the Farmer's Market.

Slushy Saturday at the Farmer’s Market.

Just  a little closeup pic  of the winter bike.

Just a little closeup pic of the winter bike.

ERRAND #3: BIKEWORKS SOUTH

Since  Bikeworks North opened in my neighbourhood early last year I haven’t got down to the south shop very often. As I was in the area, I zipped over to say hello to the south volunteers and rummage through the used parts room for any handy odds & ends. After having been shut down for a week because of a water problem elsewhere in the building, there were a gaggle of volunteers in the shop. I found a couple of items I could use and headed home.

Bikeworks,, the community bike shop operated by the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters' Society.

BikeWorks, the community bike shop operated by the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society.

Piles of parts to keep the bikes of Edmonton commuters on the road.

Piles of parts to keep the bikes of Edmonton commuters on the road.

HOME WITH THE GOODS:

The ride home was fun even if the slush, ice and brown sugar were making things messy. My total Errandonneuring distance was about 22km. This is only approximate as I don’t have a bike computer on my winter bike (they tend to freeze when it’s sub-zero) but I’m well familiar with the distances for my regular destinations. Here’s what I brought home with me:

There was still a little room left in my well worn 56L MEC pannier set.

There was still a little room left in my well worn 56L MEC pannier set.

Cycling fuel.

Cycling fuel.

This ratcheting friction shifter appears to be a copy of the old Suntour ones I have on my winter bike. I love those shifters and hopefully this will  b

This ratcheting friction shifter appears to be a copy of the old Suntour ones I have on my winter bike. I love those shifters and hopefully this’ll be a good spare.

I'm building up a MTB from an abandoned frame that I found last spring. Apparently it's almost impossible for me to build a bike without putting a rack on it. This solidly built aluminum seatpost rack should do the trick. It also has a sturdy quick release mounting clamp so I can remove it without much problem if  want.

I’m building up a MTB from an abandoned frame that I found last spring. Apparently it’s almost impossible for me to build a bike without putting a rack on it. This solidly built aluminum seatpost rack should do the trick. It also has a sturdy quick release mounting clamp so I can remove it without much problem if want.

Troll Time

Mountain Troll. A tough, ugly brute. ( Theodor Kittelsen, 1857 - 1914)

In recent years I have increasingly become a vintage bike sort of guy. There several reasons for this. One is that I am, by necessity, quite frugal: the amount of disposable income that I can divert towards bike related purchases is not as large as I would like. With patience and persistence it is possible to find good quality old bikes for reasonable prices. Take for example my $50.00 Apollo road bike that I bought last summer.

Another  reason is utility. While the technology of bicycles (and bicycle marketing)   marches relentlessly  on, in many cases these old bikes still perform their intended function with aplomb. A nice English 3-speed remains a great bike for everyday practical, comfortable riding and with only moderate attention will last for generations. In the 80’s there were vast numbers of sport and touring road bikes manufactured and sold and many of these are beautiful machines that are a joy to ride. My ’83 Nshiki touring bike is easily the match of new touring bikes such as the Surly LHT.

This is not to say that I don’t appreciate newer bikes. My ’08 Kona Jake is a great bike and has handled everything I have thrown at it over the past couple of years (except for that rim destroying hole I hit at top speed this past summer. Sorry Jake.) There is a fantastic array of excellent new bikes out there for all types of riding. If I were any sort of competitive cyclist or a semi-serious mountain biker I would consider the technology emibodied in the new bikes to be essential.  However, my needs are simple and for my commuting and utility riding my little fleet has sufficed.

Despite all this I have been obsessing over a certain new bike this past week. Like the mountain critter pictured above it is tough and ugly, with a multitude of aspects. Please regard the aptly named Surly Troll:

The Troll is  a mountain bike with multiple personality disorder. It’s geometry is similar to Surly’s well regarded 1X1 but it has a lot more build options. Disc brakes? Yes. Cantis? Yes. Rear Derailleur? Yes. Internally geared hub? Yes. Rack and fender bosses and eyelets? Yes. It has frame clearance for 26 X 2.7″ tires which doesn’t quite make it a fat bike but that’s still pretty dang big.

The rear dropouts are bizarre looking but laden with possibilities.  I particularly like that it is designed to accept a Rohloff hub axle plate although realistically it will be a long time before I could afford one of those expensive marvels of engineering. I also like the holes for attaching a trailer. I am already mulling over new designs for my cargo trailer hitch with this frame in mind.

I have almost convinced myself that I need this frame. I could build it up into a pretty decent all round bike with the parts I already have on hand and upgrade at my leisure. It’s an excellent bike for a chronic tinkerer like myself. In different configurations I could use it in a variety of ways: utility bike or rough-road bike camping in the summer and fat tired snow riding in the winter. It will take a little while for me to save the cash but I think this may be my next acquisition.

While researching the Troll I came across an excellent blog that demonstrates the capabilities of the Troll. If you have any interest at all in expedition touring I recommend reading While out Riding.  Specifically, there is a thorough Troll review.

A Tale of Two Trailers

It’s been a long day. Work was moderately physically demanding this afternoon (swinging a sledge hammer in the hot sun) followed by several hours volunteering at the local bike co-op.  Plus the daily 22km commute. I’d kind of like to go to sleep now. But tomorrow is World Car Free Day and  I do feel that I should celebrate the day by publishing an appropriate blog post.

Not having a car definitely limits one’s lifestyle in a number of ways. Living in a city a person can usually work around these issues but occasionally you are reminded of the usefulness of owning a car. In particular, cars are great for moving things around. While I can carry a lot on my bikes eventually there is always something just a bit too big. I have a nice bike trailer that I have used to haul my kids around in but it won’t fit large objects. The solution to this is a cargo trailer and early this summer I made that a project.  In particular, I wanted a flatbed trailer. Thinking that I should be able to convert a kid trailer for this purpose I watched the Kijiji classified ads closely waiting for a trailer at the right price.

This manifested itself as a Nakamura trailer for $10.00. The canvas was badly faded and it smelled like the previous owners had let their pets use it a s a latrine. A utility knife quickly removed the canvas and fixed that problem. My wife allowed me to use one of her old IVAR shelves for the platform. This was quite a concession, as she patrols Kijiji for that stuff the way I do for bikes. Thanks, Dear Spouse! I attached the platform with some metal brackets and electrical conduit clips and PRESTO: Instant Cargo Trailer! After the first couple of trips, I decided the hitch wasn’t very good so I upgraded it with  a home made contraption. At least, I THINK it’s an upgrade. So far it works. Time will tell, I suppose.

This project went well enough that I recently made a second trailer. This one I intended as a present for a friend .  I also found this second trailer on Kijiji and it was a much better trailer, a Burley (I had a crisis of conscience and I almost kept it for myself ).  I didn’t push my luck by asking for another IVAR shelf and instead made a platform out of scrap reclaimed hardwood flooring I had in the garage. These were pieces that were to warped or otherwise unsuitable to use. However, they made a very spiffy looking (and strong!) flatbed. The hitch on this trailer (a burley classic hitch) worked fine so I didn’t change it.

The following pictures show the trailers and some of the loads I hauled his summer. Unfortunately, I neglected to take any  pictures of the first trailer before the conversion. Oops! I am a poorly organized blogger. In any case, it’s been fun and productive.

HAPPY WORLD CAR FREE DAY!

This is the trailer being loaded for its first trial run.

It worked just fine!

You earn bonus TukamoreDew points if you can spot the box I almost lost in transit.

This was the longest load.

This load required the most creative use of bungee cords.

This load earned me the most strange looks from motorists.

This was the most potentially breakable load.

This was the original chainstay hitch that kept slipping.

To make my hitch I started with this hunk of metal I cut off a scrap bike.

Which became this.

Now installed.

The trailer end of the hitch looks like this.

The second trailer started like this.

And became this...

Spiffy looking!

My horrible carpentry skills are evident here.

The platform is attached with 4 of these.

Ready for delivery to its new owner.

Mounting a MEC Mountain Front Rack on my 2008 Kona Jake

My Kona Jake has been my commuting and utility bike since I bought it a year ago. I’ve hauled lots of cargo on the rear rack, pulled children in a trailer and even used it for a couple of weeks of winter riding when my mountain bike was out of service. It’s been reliable, versatile and fun to ride. Still, I wanted to increase its utility capabilities. A front rack seemed like the next step.

I picked up a MEC Mountain Front Rack. For only $13.00 I thought that if it didn’t work out it wouldn’t be a big deal. The first problem was that the Kona P2 fork didn’t have eyelets for attaching the rack. I could have attached it with clamps to the fork blades but that would have positioned the rack higher than I wanted. Instead, I picked up a replacement fork at a gear swap. As an added bonus, the new fork has bosses for a lowrider rack if I need one in the future.  I spray painted the fork black to match the bike (and, boy, did that take longer than I thought it would).

I made the removal tool from an old seatpost. It turned out to be a bit weaker than I had hoped and I had to straighten the tines a couple of times, but it did the job.

Next, to install the new fork I  improvised some headset tools to replace the old headset with the better one that came with the new fork. I hadn’t ever replaced a headset before but I was able to manage it without too much trouble. Cobbling together the tools only took about 15 minutes.

Finally, I was ready to install the rack. Not having done this before (and because the MEC rack comes WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS) I tried researching the task on the internet. To my surprise there is very little information and few detailed photos. Nothing showed a similar setup to my bike. Since this rack seems to be a copy of the venerable Blackburn front mountain rack I was surprised by this lack. Maybe this is considered to be such a basic task that nobody would bother showing their setup. I must just be dense, because I had to do some head scratching to figure it out.

The metal tang that attaches the fork to the rack was formed in such a way that I had to reshape it considerably to install it so it would work with my fender and not interfere with my cantilever linkwire. If I had a straddle cable instead this would have been a  little easier. Just now, looking at the picture on the MEC website of the tang in the hardware kit, I see that the slot is longer than on the one I received. That would have made things easier as well.

My mini-anvil is a hammer head I unearthed when digging in the garden.

Instead, I  channeled my inner blacksmith. I had to re-bend it several times before I got it just right. I was worried that it might break because of this but it seems solid so far. After that, the installation was straight forward. The mounting kit supplied DID NOT CONTAIN a bolt long enough to fit through the top of the fork. This wasn’t a problem for me as I was able to use the bolt from my fender. There was some leftover hardware that is doubtless useful for installing the rack in other configurations.

Once installed, the rack is solid. Certainly it is enough to carry anything I might reasonably want to put on the front of my bike.  My MEC 40L front pannier set  fits securely and I’m looking forward to putting them to some serious use.

MEC Dahon Origami Folding Bike

The household bike fleet has had a new arrival, a shiny new Dahon folding bike from Mountain Equipment Co-op, the Origami. This bike replaces my wife’s old bike, an 80’s vintage Dahon V. The old bike had made her a fan of small wheeled bikes, liking their small size and nimble handling. The old Dahon however was a rickety specimen and not a particularly good bike overall. We had considered some of the higher end folding bikes but considered that this one would best suit her needs and our budget. On Mother’s day she gave one a test spin and was quite taken with it. The two they had in the shop were on hold but they had two more in stock not assembled. We paid for one and the MEC bike shop had it ready by Tuesday. This is a momentous occasion. It is the first time I have ever purchased a bike new from a shop as I am more of a used bike kind of guy. It was nice that the bike came with some instructional documents and a two tubes of  paint for touching up scratches.

The specs according to MEC are:

  • Centre hinge allows lightweight aluminum frame to fold back on itself.
  • 20 x 1.5in. tires provide plenty of cushioning.
  • ProMax V-brakes are powerful and easy to maintain.
  • Nexus 8-speed internal hub allows rider to change gears whether pedalling or not. Gear range suits most city riding.
  • Folded size is approximately 34 x 67 x 64cm (13.3 x 26.1 x 25in.).
  • Adjusts to fit riders from 125 to 188cm (4ft. 10in. to 6ft. 2in.).
  • Designed to support a maximum weight of 105kg (230lb.).
  • Seatpost telescopes into the frame.
  • Handlebars telescope and fold flat.
  • SunTour pedals fold against crank when not in use.
  • Comes with a canvas carrying case, fenders, and a rear rack.
  • Manufactured by Dahon to MEC specifications.
Weight 11.9kg (One Size Fits All)
Frame Dahon R-series custom-drawn 7005 aluminum
Fork Dahon Integrated
Stem Dahon Folding
Seatpost BioLogic w/pump
Headset Dahon Fusion+
Handlebars Dahon Flat
Grips/Tape Velo Ergo
Brakes ProMax V (V-brake rim)
Brake Levers ProMax V aluminum
Shifters Shimano Nexus Revo
Derailleur (Front) N/A
Derailleur (Rear) N/A
Crank + Rings Dahon aluminum
Bottom Bracket Dahon
Pedals Suntour folding
Hub (Front) Dahon Mini
Hub (Rear) Shimano Nexus 8-speed
Cassette Dahon 13T
Chain KMC Z410
Spokes Stainless
Rims Dahon aluminum
Tires Dahon Roulez 20 x 1.5in.
Collar Dahon Covert
Saddle Dahon Comfort

I took the bike home using my Chariot child trailer. Folding the bike was easy enough to do without consulting any sort of instructions. It doesn’t fold particularly small or quickly but this is not a feature we will be using often. If they were easier to find we might have purchased a small wheeled bike that doesn’t fold at all. Still, it is definitely an improvement over the old Dahon which was a beast to fold. The center hinge does seem stiff to me but is quite solid.

In short order it was unfolded and ready to go. My wife took a short spin and was very pleased. Later that evening I snuck off and took a short spin myself and I

Ready to go!

Unfolding.

can report that this is quite a nice little bike. It is very solid with no flexing or creaking, has a nice tight turning radius and is overall very zippy (technical term). It is SO much more rigid than the old Dahon. I quite like the internally geared hub. It is shifts to lower gears very smoothly, almost unnoticeably. The shifting to higher gears is more obvious but still smooth. Being able to change gears while stopped is certainly a commuting advantage . I haven’t taken the time to figure out the gear inches or to test it on hills but so far the gear range seems spot on for urban use. It has a number of other nifty features that I’ll  detail in the photos below.

Home from the Famer’s Market with a load of groceries.

Loaded Panniers.

This week-end my wife borrowed  a set of my panniers and went on a shopping trip to the Farmer’s Market downtown. The rack is quite small and my feet had heel strike problems with the 40L panniers when I was testing them out on the bike . My wife, on the other hand, has much smaller feet (size 5 1/2 AA) and had no such problem. The origami proved quite able on this utility trip and she hauled home lots of groceries and some bedding plants. It is worth noting that we have been having uncharacteristically windy weather here in Edmonton and she was able to power through the headwind.

Time will tell how this bike holds up an performs but so far, so good. My wife says it makes her feel more like a real cyclist though she does miss the smaller 16 inch wheels of the old bike. I’m looking forward to trying out more myself and I’ll be sure to post any new observations here.

UPDATE:  I have discovered that to incorporate the built-in pump the seatpost is a larger diameter than is normal. This made it harder to fit a rear light to the post using the light’s provided mounting clip. In the end I had to find a longer bolt.

UPDATE (May 2013): MEC has put this model of bike on clearance for $550.00 which is an absolute steal. If you have been considering it I recommend snapping it up while supplies last. 

The old and the new.

The brake lever has a nifty little integrated brass bell.

Fenders and rear rack with cargo bungee.

The cargo bungee hooks into this little slot on the rack.

The pedal in the folded position. The pedals are a little clunky looking for my taste but they work just fine. (EDIT: These pedals are fairly slippery when wet)

The seatpost contains a built in pump.

Here’s the pump. The flexible hose is nice but it doesn’t have a quick release. I haven’t used a screw-on pump since I was a kid. Or maybe there is a part missing.

I do love a double legged kickstand.

A litte magnet doohickey for holding the frame together in the folded state.

Showing the chainguard.

Utility Cycling #1

Today I took a short ride to deliver some Green Party lawn signs to houses in the neighbourhood. It seemed like a no-brainer to me. If you’re going to deliver Green Party signs by bike is the way to do it. The metal frames were a bit unwieldy but after couple of tries I figured out a way to secure them to my rack with just one bungee cord. This sort of thing would be easier with a cargo trailer I suppose, but the problem solving is part of the fun.


Here's how I secured everything.

It's the second day after officially retiring the winter bike. The Jake is looking sharp and is SO much more fun to ride.