Archive for Bike

Sustainability

Coming back to BC made me realize that I’m a little more crunchy granola than my job would indicate. Ok, maybe a lot more.

Part of the deal in moving here was that I wanted to make a real effort to get local. I wanted to live in an area where I could walk to things – work, shopping, nature, etc, and still be close enough that I could ride my bike to everything else. I found a gem of a house in View Royal that does just that – 3km to work, right next to a park, a bike path, two beaches (one to go hang out and read and watch the sunset at and the other that you can swim in), plus I have a grocery store, liquor store, dollar store, pharmacy, and Canadian Tire all at hand. The net result? I don’t have to drive nearly as much as I did before. Hell, I don’t even have to do massive weekly grocery shops! I just grab the shopping bag, see which one (or all) of my kids are up for a little walk, and we go to the store and pick out the ingredients we need for supper. We always have a lovely time on the stroll, and my kids are getting much better about navigating the insides of the grocery store, and I do believe they’re starting to get the knack for picking out produce.

Heads-Up Hockey

I just got word that a saxophone-playing bike-riding acquaintance of mine got hit by a taxi today.  He’s (mostly) ok, despite the driver’s attempt at initiating vehicular-powered human flight (net result, 10 feet).  His bike is a complete write-off.

Drivers’ heads just aren’t in the cyclist game yet.  I was encouraged by signs of life in the bike lanes today (two sets of tires other than my own as I rode down Innes at 7:45am), but in the same breath I also found myself gesturing at a driver who was talking on his cell phone as he passed me just before cutting me off to make a right hand turn.

Sure, drivers make mistakes, and sure, *some* cyclists take liberties with traffic rules, but as long as everybody does moves that are predictable, and well-advertised, there ought to be less carnage involving cyclists on the road.

I’m going to count my lucky stars tonight as I go to sleep and pray for another day of safe riding.

More Balls than Brains

That’s what I certainly had this morning when it came to riding to work.

I got up at 7am to check out what might be bad news considering that Environment Canada was predicting 2-4cm of snow overnight.  Turns out there were nothing but bare roads, so I quickly declared that I’d be riding to work.

Half an hour later, as I was getting my jacket on, the snow was starting to fall.

That said, the conditions were exactly as I’d expected them.  Wet roads, with slight encroachment of snow into the bike lanes.  There certainly were a lot less potholes than I was anticipating, and people were generally respectful of my space on the road, including the times when I had to encroach on the vehicle lanes to avoid said potholes and snow.

Things got ugly, however, when I passed the BMW dealership on Hunt Club.  The snow was coming from the west, so it had been snowing for at least an hour at that point, and was starting to accumulate on the road.  No problem though, just time to slow down and pay attention to what my bike was telling me about the conditions.  I’ve heard that fixies are great in the winter because there’s that real tactile response to what the road is like, and it’s true, I always knew what my wheels were up to.  I was also glad to be riding a fixie for when I got to work and realized that my entire drivetrain (okay, my entire bike, and most of me) was covered in slush.

It snowed pretty hard for a good chunk of the morning, but then it let up towards noon, I guess, and after checking out what the parking lot looked like (and a quick glance at the radar picture from EC), I decided to make a run for it.  Like my buddy Ralph O’Connor said, “if the parking lot looks like this, you can bet that the roads are clear” and that was indeed true.  Roads were again just wet for the most part.  The thing that killed me, though was the wind.  And the fact that it was the first ride of the season, and so my legs weren’t exactly up to the task.

Now, I’m just hoping that this snow that has just fallen will clear up and I’ll be riding again in the morning…

It’s Time.

I’m so ready I’m dreaming about it.

Fantasizing, almost.

Lest there be snow pummeling the roads on Monday morning, I’m riding my bike to work.  The current forecast calls for “Rain or Snow” with a low of -2 and a high of 6, so it can’t all be bad.  That, and I plan on doing some bike mods on Sunday, after my darling wife returns home from a meeting and a shopping excursion to MEC.

New additions to the ride this year will include a rear rack and panniers.  I kinda feel like I’m selling out on the whole pannier deal because here I am with this slick bike that I’m now going to be mounting saddlebags on, in effect.  I feel slightly dirty doing so, but at the same time, it might be kinda nice to not have to worry so much about neck/back pain as I ride.  Plus I’ll be able to carry even more stuff, and they’ll come in handy as my bike plans for this summer start to come clearer (Montreal? Bob?).

Later on this year (translation: I need more work to pay for bike gear), I’m planning on going with clipless pedals, just for an added level of efficiency.  We’ll see how that pans out though…

Until then…