Blog-o! Notes from

Thu, 16 Apr 2009

The new Fixie.

I did something new today. A while ago, I had bought a 10-speed Bianchi for $30 at a garage sale, with the intention of converting it into a fixed-gear/single-speed bike to tootle around on. Well, today, I took it down to Bikechain, and talked to Steve, who sent me on a merry goose chase picking up various parts. Once I had gotten a new wheel, tire, and tube and biked back to Biekchain, Steve and I put it on the bike, checked the alignment of the cogs and chain, and then I had to head out to buy a new rear cog, and a lock wheel…

Sadly, my bike didn’t have a functional rear wheel anymore, so I had to walk down to Urbane Cyclist to buy the cog and lock. I ended up with a 52:19 ratio, which is harder to start on than the gear ratio I use to start, but isn’t too bad, and doesn’t go as fast as the gear ratio I use to go fast, but again isn’t too bad. Given those two things, I figure it’s pretty close to perfect for my style and level of riding. When I got the cog and lock ring back to Me and my Fixie. Bikechain, we put them on the new rear wheel, hooked everything up, ran into the obligatory problems, fixed them, and finally I was good to go, so I did! The first trip I took was a fairly short one, from U of T over to the Dark Horse Cafe at Queen and Spadina.

The second trip was from Queen and Spadina back home, which was a little longer. I learned a few things from that trip, but let me start off with something I didn’t learn. I had test-ridden a fixed gear bike before, so I had already been almost bumped off by trying to coast, and this time around I was expecting it. So, now on to the things I did learn.

  • Stopping is hard. It’s not that I can’t stop. I’ve got both brakes and pedals. The problem is stopping with one of the pedals in a decent position to start from when I want to start. The other problem is that I really want to coast when I come to the end of a stop, and that totally doesn’t work.

My favourite feature.

  • I can carry it! (As you can see over on the right there.) My commuter bike is a good ride, and very solid, but damn is it ever heavy, especially after I loaded it up with accessories like a rear rack, and panniers, and water bottles. The fixie is simple, clean, and light enough to carry all over the place.

  • The fixie is slower than my commuter bike. Not just slower for the obvious reason (because I don’t have a higher gear to switch to), but it’s also slower for me to start, because I don’t have a lower gear to switch to. It’s really kind of strange, since one of the things I seem to be really good at is starting really quickly from a dead stop. Well, that used to be one of the things I was really good at. On the fixie, not so much.

  • Even though it’s slower I found that the fixie was a far smoother ride. Thinking about it a little more, perhaps because it’s slower. Since it takes me so much longer to stop and start, I found myself slowing down earlier to try and conserve as much momentum as I could.

  • All in all, I think that the new bike is going to be really good for me. It’ll slow me down, and calm me down, which are two things that I think I could use. I can also feel how it’s changing the way I ride, making it more smooth, controlled, and thoughtful; keeping my legs moving to give me more exercise and stop them from seizing up; teaching me how to lift my butt off the seat to go over speed bumps while continuing to pedal.

It’s fun. A lot of fun. I’m glad I finally got the conversion done, and I’m really looking forward to riding it.

[Posted at 22:29 by Blake Winton] link
Thu, 31 Jul 2008

Today, I finally reached 5000km of biking. I forgot the camera, so I don’t have a picture of the odometer at exactly 5000.0, but I took this one when I got home, and it’s close enough. I guess that’s all, but I wanted to throw up a picture, as proof. So here you go:

[Posted at 21:23 by Blake Winton] link
Thu, 17 Jul 2008

A few days ago, the city closed the pedestrian bridge at Summerhill (and MacLennan) in order to tear it down and replace it. Since then I’ve been trying to find a way across the railroad tracks that doesn’t involve taking a major road. And I’ve totally failed. So from now until September 28th, I’ll be biking down Bayview and turning right on Nesbitt before dispy-doodling my way over to Glen Road. It’s not my favourite route, since the traffic on the Bayview Extension is going a fair bit faster than I’ld like to, and the lane isn’t wide enough to share at those speeds (and the right-hand side of the lane is brutally cracked and very difficult to ride on, particularly at 50 km/h), but I still think it’s better than Mt. Pleasant.

Looking closer at the map, there might be another route, if I can get into the path leading South from David A. Balfour park… Yeah, that might be a route to try on my way home tonight. I’ll reply with a comment, letting both of the people who read this know how it was. ;)

[Posted at 11:22 by Blake Winton] link
Mon, 23 Jun 2008

This year, Amy and I decided to try the Tour de Dufflet. Okay, so it was more like _I_ decided to try the Tour de Dufflet, and convinced Amy to come along with me, but that’s the same, right? I took a few notes12345 on which routes would be less likely to have a lot of traffic on them, and after my parents picked up Delphine and Cordelia, we set out. 46 km and 4 hours later, we arrived home, tired, sore, and full. I think it was mostly a success, although Amy was certainly done having fun by the time we were on the third leg. The stats were as follows:

  • Average speed: 15.0 km/h
  • Total distance: 46.18 km
  • Biking time: 3:04:32
  • Total time (including eating cake): around 4 hours.

I’ve got to say, I’m really pretty impressed with how well Amy did. To go from virtually no bicycling to a 46 km trek (and a 46 km trek with a self-admitted speed freak) is something that a lot of people would skip out on, or avoid, but she went for it, and went faster than I hoped she would. Would we do it again next year? My guess is no, since it wasn’t a lot of fun at the end. On the other hand, if Amy continues to bike throughout the year, she might just go for it, to see if it’s gotten any easier. (I’m hoping to do it next year, as you might have guessed from the url of the post.)

  1. The notes went as follows: “Forman -> Eglinton -> Mt. Pleasant -> Sheldrake -> Yonge”,  

  2. “Craighurst -> Rosewell -> Default -> Bloor -> Manning -> Queen”  

  3. “??? (Ended up being Strachan) -> Martin Goodman Trail -> Woodbine”  

  4. “Dundas -> Greenwood -> Strathmore -> Donlands -> Mt. Pleasant -> Laird -> Broadway -> Yonge”  

  5. and finally “Yonge -> Broadway -> Redpath -> Soudan -> Forman” to get home again.  

[Posted at 19:42 by Blake Winton] link
Tue, 03 Jun 2008

I knew when I woke up this morning that it would be an annoying ride in. It was raining fairly hard, but there was a breakfast at The Bike Joint, and they usually have one of the better breakfasts. It’s the same coffee, muffins, bagels, and fresh fruit as filling. As it turns out, this year they got an espresso machine, so instead of the normal coffee, I had a very nice latte along with my chocolate chip muffin, but along the way I got almost completely soaked and tore a hole in the crotch of my biking jeans. The hole wasn’t a complete surprise; the other side had gone a couple of weeks ago, and I had patched it with some old t-shirt. I guess it’s time to re-do the patch, and extend it to cover both sides.

Anyways, I got there, had some coffee and a muffin, and as I got on my bike after crossing the street when I noticed that my rear wheel didn’t really feel right. I looked behind me and found that it had gone completely flat while I was standing around eating breakfast. I wheeled the bike back to the store, Derrick replaced the tube, and I was on my way just as it started to rain again. And then my front light fell off and broke into three pieces. Fortunately, that was easy enough for me to snap back together, and be on my way once more.

After all that, I ended up being late for the 10:00am Status Meeting at work, which was the cherry of annoyance on top of the annoying ride.

The rest of the day, so far, has gone much better. I listening to a not-particularly-interesting talk about bicycle touring at MEC, and while I was there bought a bell. My current bell works just fine, but it’s one of the ding-ding ones, and no-one seems to recognize it as a bike bell, so I got one that goes ringggg-ringgg, which is the canonical bike bell noise, and I hope that’ll help. Work is good too, if a little busier than I might like. And I finally got emacs working with Markdown pretty much the way I want, so all in all, woot!

(Update: The ride home went mostly well, although there were spatters of rain throughout the trip. Around Sherbourne and Bloor, my rear tire started to slow wayyyy down, and then stop. When I flipped the bike over, I noticed that it was jammed right up against the frame, so I loosened it, straightened it, re-tightened it, and kept on going. Still, that’s never happened to me before, and was pretty strange.)

[Posted at 20:32 by Blake Winton] link
Wed, 02 Apr 2008

Last night, I finally got the garage door open, after it had been frozen in a block of ice for most of the winter, and got my bike out. So this morning, I biked to work for the first time in, uh, I don’t even know how long. It was a pretty sweet ride, all in all. There were any number of reasons not to do it; my biking jeans are dirty, it’s too cold, I couldn’t down-shift, but as always there was one reason that trumped them all. I wanted to ride again. And so I did.

Some of the things I forgot about during my hiatus were how good that first cup of coffee tastes after you’ve been riding in -5° weather, what a rush it is to pass cars as they’re sitting, idling in stop-and-go traffic, and how invigorated I feel when I finally get to the office, and sit down. Oh, also how sore my butt is. Damn, that’s a small hard seat. I can’t wait to get used to it again.

Well, that’s about it. I made it in safely, and I’m sure I’ll be doing it again, and again, and pocketing the $22.50/week that would have gone to the TTC, to spend on random upgrades.

[Posted at 10:31 by Blake Winton] link
Thu, 30 Aug 2007

As I was riding to work today, just after crossing the railroad bridge, heading on to Summerhill, I noticed a man poking at his bicycle. I stopped, and asked if he needed a hand, and sure enough, he did. He seemed to have gotten his chain wedged around his Bottom bracket, in such a way that the arms of the Spider were attempting to push the top and bottom pieces of the chain through the chainstay. That obviously wasn’t working, so I grabbed my multitool, and attempted to use the largest Allen key to try to lever it out. When that too failed, I pulled out the one tool in my collection I’ve never used: The Chain Tool. After a few tries, I eventually got the chain apart, after which it was an not-so-easy matter of threading it out through the gap between the spider and the chainstay, re-threading it onto the chainring, and re-connecting it. As a final gesture of goodwill/parting gift, I gave him my last 2007 Bike Map. (Yeah, I know the link is to the 2006 page. They really have to update that sometime...) After all that, I got to the office 15 minutes late. (Well, 15 minutes later. I didn’t have a meeting or anything, and our core hours don’t start until 10:00.) But I’ve got to say, that was 15 minutes well spent, since it made the rest of my ride in seem extra-pleasant.

[Posted at 13:14 by Blake Winton] link
Tue, 24 Jul 2007

Well, I fell again, in a rather spectacular fashion. I was crossing St. Clair on Mt. Pleasant, and had just passed a right-turning bus (on the left! I’m not dumb enough to try to pass a right-turning bus on the right!), and was signaling that I was going to go back to the right-hand side of the lane (and therefore only had one hand on the handles) when *BUMP*, I hit a large ridge in the road, which turned the tire sideways, and I went straight over the handlebars, skidding to a stop near the curb. My bike flew overtop of me, crashing into a hedge.

As I got up, I noticed that the crash had apparently turned both my front light and my bike computer around, which was quite a shock until I realized that it was actually the whole handlebars which had gotten turned around. I spun it back and then just sort of stood there for a while, catching my breath and calming down a little. A lady driving by asked me if I was okay, and if I needed a ride somewhere, but I told her I was fine, which wasn’t entirely the truth. My knees are pretty much fine, a little scrape, perhaps. My elbow is completely ripped up, and even though I cleaned it thoroughly with soap and water and a lot of scrubbing, it still looks pretty ugly, and is probably going to scab up something awful. Worse than that, my shoulder is really sore again, in the same way that it was after my last fall, which can’t be good. I really need to get that looked at sometime. The worst thing, however, is that I ripped the elbow of my cycling shirt. Yeah, I can darn it, but darn it, I liked that shirt! But with every negative, there comes a positive. The power button on my Palm TX started working again. Weird. Maybe the next time I fall, the sound will come back on.

So, in summary, signaling on a bicycle is bad! No, not really. Maybe the lesson is more that bumps in the road aren’t the greatest, especially when you don’t have your hands on the handlebars. Other than that, I don’t really think I have any takeaways from this one. That intersection of St. Clair and Mt. Pleasant is treacherous, perhaps.

[Posted at 13:41 by Blake Winton] link
Tue, 29 May 2007

Since it was such a nice day today, I rode home a little slower than I otherwise would, and it was really nice. I talked to a woman biking along holding on to another bicycle beside her (apparently it's not as hard as it looks), and a man who took a shorter route to Summerhill and MacLennen than I do. People seem really nice to each other when they're on bicycles...

While I was cycling east along Gerrard, I noticed several police motorcycles blocking the bike lane. The cops were more than happy to wave me through, but does anyone know why there were there?

And finally, the interesting thing. On Merton, I was biking fairly closely behind a car (but slowly, because there are a lot of speed bumps), when they hit the brakes and turned right into a parking spot. I grabbed my front brake hard to slow down, and it went *ping* and offered no resistance. So I hit my back brake, and slowed right down, but apparently when I grabbed my front brake I snapped the cable! First time I've ever done that, and it was kind of exciting in a "I don't really want to do that again" kind of way. I got to the local bike shop (Sport Swap, now just south of Bayview and Davisville! Sadly the new location didn't make it into the 2007 Bike Map, which lists the old location (now a Trek Store), so I figured I'ld throw the info here, since they've been really nice to me.) Uh, anyways, where was I? Oh, yeah, I got to the local bike shop just after they closed, so I couldn't get it fixed tonight, but fortunately, there's a breakfast at The Bike Joint (290A Harbord St.) tomorrow, which I think I can make it to using only my rear brake, and I'm sure they'll be able to get me rolling again.

[Posted at 22:05 by Blake Winton] link
Mon, 28 May 2007

Well, Bike Week 2007 has kicked off, and contrary to the first two years I took part, this year I actually got a pancake! Woo! My secret was sleeping in, so that I couldn't make it up to Yonge and Lawrence by 7:30, and instead heading straight to Yonge and Bloor for 8:00. On the downside, they didn't have any t-shirts larger than a medium, so I guess I'll need to lose a little weight before wearing the one I got. On the upside, I was totally at the front of the pack, and had a perfect view of Mayor Miller catching his front tire in something and going head-first over his handlebars! Very exciting, and he seemed to be fine, although he did have to trade his fancy new road bike in for an older mountain bike to complete the ride.

What else... It was a nice ride in, the pancakes and croissant were pretty much as I expected them to be. The coffee was pretty sweet, though. I also picked up an apple and a bottle of water, but I haven't had them yet, so I don't know how they are. (The apple is a really nice dark shade of red, though, so I'm looking forward to it.) This year's t-shirt is much prettier than the previous two years, I feel. I got a couple of extra bike maps, and have distributed them among the people in my office who cycle. Uh, I guess that's about it.

Oh, and I need to get the new Bike Week logo in svg somehow... I would use the other bike logo I've got, but it's used in the post right below this one, and that seems kind of repetitive.

[Posted at 11:52 by Blake Winton] link
Wed, 16 May 2007

After a certain point, you don't really get any wetter.
Even though it's really cold, and I'm totally soaking, it's not a bad ride.
Wow, it takes a long time to stop. (I already knew this, and I'm going way slower than I normally would, but that doesn't make it any less true.)
I could probably do with a new pair of biking gloves.
The headband I stole from Amy is working wonderfully, though.
I hereby transfer all the karma I got from giving my tires to Bike Pirates to the nice person in the car (a Beemer, even!) who let me turn left into the cemetary front of them.
Although, thinking about it, I might not have that much karma left, since I'm biking on the sidewalk. (Up Mount Pleasant beside the Cemetary. In this weather, there's no way I would feel safe on the road, and there aren't any cross roads or pedestrians, so I'm probably way safer than I would normally be on the sidewalk.) Mr. Walker, a bike lane down Mount Pleasant would be most appreciated.

[Posted at 20:53 by Blake Winton] link
Wed, 09 May 2007

As I mentioned previously, I'm going to head up to Balm Beach sometime in late July. This sort of worried me, since up until now, all my biking was commuting (8 km one way, 12 km the other), or going on slightly longer group rides (21 km, but only 13.6 km/h). None of these tiny rides would prepare me for a 135 km trek up to Balm Beach.

So I decided to go on one of the PWA Bike Rally training rides. Specifically, the one this morning, heading up to Musselman Lake. It ended up being almost 94 km for me, instead of the 87 km they claim it will be, but I figure most of that is my walking my bike onto and off of the TTC. Even counting those slow kilometers, though, I still managed to average 23.2 km/h, which is really quite respectible, I feel, for my first time out. And yeah, it totally wasn't a problem. I mean, I'm quite tired now, but I'm still up and walking around, and I think I could even have biked home, if I had to. Much easier to pay my $2.10 to the TTC, and let them carry me, though.

What else... I met a bunch of really friendly people, and rode in a group of two or three most of the way there and most of the way back. I've heard that it's quite different to ride alone, and I expect I'll get the chance to find out (unless someone wants to ride up north with me... ;) Oh, yeah, and it took me five hours of wall time to ride the 94 km, but only 4 hours of riding time. I wonder why the huge difference, since I didn't stop for an hour at the midpoint. Ah well, one of cyclings unexplained mysteries, I presume.

[Posted at 17:28 by Blake Winton] link

Well, that was kind of fun, but the TTC strike, instead of being the huge boon that I had hoped it would be, turned out to result in millions of cars backing their way up Yonge Street, almost all the way to Lawrence. Since we were all in a group, we couldn't (or didn't want to) filter past them on the right, so instead of half an hour, it ended up taking us 45 minutes to get from Lawrence to Bloor, by which point all the other commuters had left. By the time we got to the pancake breakfast, the line was far too long for me, and so I just went straight to work. (I should probably mention that this happened to me last time, and so I had already packed a container of Cheerios and powdered milk which I ate when I got to the office.)

An idea for next time might be to head down one of the side streets, maybe even one with a bike lane? That way it would both be a faster ride, and would show people how they might get down to work on their bikes when they didn't have police blocking traffic for them. (I wouldn't commute down Yonge street every day, so it's not really a great introduction to bike commuting in the city.)

Apart from those minor problems, it was good to meet Darren, who had twice as many people show up for his unofficial commute as I did, (two, counting himself, as opposed to one, counting myself, ;) and I got interviewed for a video of some sort. I'm afraid I didn't come off that well. I seemed to be repeating myself, and stammering a lot, but I hope whomever it was got some useful footage out of me.

In other news, ouch!

[Posted at 17:28 by Blake Winton] link

Darren has a spectacular idea for people who don't work downtown, but still want to be part of the Bike Week Group Commute. So in a similar vein, I'ld love to be part of a Pre-Group Commute from Yonge and Davisville up to Yonge and Lawrence. I plan on leaving at about 7:00 to make it an easy ride to Yonge and Lawrence by 7:30. The route will be over to Duplex, and then up to Roehampton (just North of Eglinton), and then up Yonge to Lawrence.

I'll be wearing an orange jacket and a golden helmet, and the back of my bike will have a black pannier. Hope to see you there!

Update: If this weather holds up, I'll skip the orange jacket and just go with a black "" t-shirt instead.

[Posted at 17:28 by Blake Winton] link
Fri, 11 Aug 2006

(Return path marked in green.)

Based on my experiences with tricky detours heading up to Balm Beach, I thought that I should just take nice straight routes home, and see how that worked out. So I took Highway 6/27 straight into Barrie, then Concession Road 10 to Bradford, then Yonge Street stright to Finch Station.

As I said in the previous post, there was some craziness on the trip back. The weather prediction was a 40% chance of thunderstorms. I figure those are better odds than you would get at a casino, and I don't really have any other way to get home, so it didn't really affect my planning. I got to Barrie in record time, and figured that if the rest of the trip was that easy, I would have nothing to worry about. After an Iced Capp at Timmy's I made my way onto Concession Road 10, and kept on keeping on. Sure enough, 20 minutes out of Barrie, the skies opened, and a torrential downpour started. For most of it I was reduced to peering out of one mostly-closed eye, seeing only a few tens of feet ahead of me, since the rain was apparently pelting its way through my sunglasses, to hit me in the eyes. I suppose, in retrospect, that that was a good clue to me that I should have pulled over to the side of the road, and waited it out, but at the time, I figured I should just keep on riding, over to the edge more so that cars wouldn't hit me, because who knows how long the rain would last, and I didn't want to be stuck standing there for hours. Well, the rain didn't last that long, but it did manage to completely soak me, and my shoes didn't dry out that night, nor the next. Having said that, the wet shirt and shorts did manage to keep me comfortably cool for the rest of the ride.

South of Barrie, I stopped in Bradford for a rest, gave Amy a call, and went on South down Yonge. It was getting a little hillier, and so I tried to take it a little easier, stopping every now and then. I met a nice kid who was taking the bus to his job at Canada's Wonderland. He was hoping for a thunderstorm, so that he could sit around and do nothing, and still get paid. Heh. He was also quite impressed at my trip so far. Finally, I saw the CN Tower. What a rush that was. I worked out at one point that I could describe my trip as "Go as far north as you can see. Then look north again, and go as far north as you can see. Lather. Rinse. Repeat." I never did manage to keep track of how many times you would have to do that, but it's sort of a neat idea. Maybe next year.

[Posted at 22:03 by Blake Winton] link
Mon, 31 Jul 2006

Well, that took a long time.

It would have been a lot shorter if I hadn't made three wrong turns. The first was missing the short turn South from Holland Landing Road onto Bridge Street, and instead going up Bathurst to the "No Exit" sign. (I'm very glad I decided to stop when I saw that sign, since the road got quite a bit worse after that.) The map I'm using makes it look like you can just continue along the Holland Landing Road, and it will turn into the Bridge Street, but you really do need to jog South.

The second was trying to take the North Simcoe Rail Trail, which turned out to be much like the Belt Line or the Don Valley Trail, in that it was unpaved gravel, but worse, in that it was overgrown by flowers, bushes, and grasses. It also turned out to not be a continuous trail, and at one point (between Golf Course Road and Hendrie Road) I came across an electrified fence, beyond which were six or seven cows. Now, there were warnings that some sections of the trail ran through private property, and because we're not in England, where there are Right Of Way laws which force people to let travellers through, some of the owners have decided to disallow access through their sections. I'm fine with that. Of course, since there was no way around, I had to backtrack to the last road. The thing that irks me is that there was no indication that that section of trail was a dead end, so instead of just cutting around it, I had to waste my time finding out for myself. Between that, and the slow pace I had to take while riding through the weeds, and the many road crossings, which slowed me down even further, I resolved to stick to paved roads for the rest of the trip.

The third was the longest inadvertent detour, and most disheartening of all. When I was heading out of Elmvale, I thought I was on Highway 6, which would take me straight to Balm Beach Road, but I was actually on Highway 27, which, if you don't take the Highway 6 exit, turns to the right, and heads off to Waverley after going up a huge hill. A nice couple asked me if I knew where I was, and I had them convinced for a second that we were all in Wyevale, because how could I be that far off course? But no, I was, indeed, that far off course, and had to backtrack to Highway 6 to continue my journey.

Between the extra mileage from the wrong turns, and the extra mileage from trying to avoid hills and traffic by heading up Leslie instead of up Yonge, and by trying to take the North Simcoe Rail Trail and the Tiny Trail, I ended up biking 172 km on the way there, making that my first Imperial Century (107 miles). (And I'm not just saying that so that I can have ridden more than Tanya.) For comparison, on the way back, starting and ending at the same points, I only went 131 km (81 miles).

Some more stats:

Top Speed:71.2km/h (44.2 mph) (37.4mph)
Average Speed:23.7km/h (14.7mph)24.6km/h (15.3mph)

Next up, some notes on the trip back to Toronto.

[Posted at 22:39 by Blake Winton] link
Mon, 17 Jul 2006

A while ago, I mentioned that I was going to head up to Balm Beach on my bicycle. Well, the date has been set, and it's this coming Saturday. I've done a couple of successively longer rides after the 87km Musselman Lake ride, a 103km ride out to Holland Landing and back, and a 126km ride up to Keswick and back. I've planned out a route (see right), and think it should be a long, but do-able ride. It's a little bit longer than my longest ride (which was yesterday, up to Keswick and back), but I'm going to start earlier (8:00am from Steeles, instead of 9:00am from Finch), and I don't mind finishing later. (I finished the Keswick ride, including taking the subway home from Finch, at 5:30pm, but these days, it's light out until almost 9:00pm. I don't really want to be biking for 13 hours continuously, but it's good to know that the option is there, if I decide to stop for a really long lunch, or something.)

The cue sheet looks something like this:

a0 (or 2.1) kmRSteeles
b1.1 (or 3.2) kmLHenderson
c2.8 (or 4.9) kmRJohn
d3.7 (or 5.8) kmLBayview
e16.4 (or 18.5) kmRStouffville
f18.6 (or 20.7) kmLLeslie
g37.6 (or 39.7) kmLMount Albert Road
h41.6 (or 43.7) kmLYonge
i42.1 (or 44.2) kmQRHolland Landing Road
turns into Bridge Street
j48.2 (or 50.3) kmVLHolland Line West
k48.9 (or 51.0) kmRBarrie Street
l50.2 (or 52.3) kmL8th Concession
m53.4 (or 55.5) kmR10th Sideroad
n81.9 (or 84.0) kmLBurton Ave
o??.? km?A trail, or Highway 40
p??.? kmRNorth Simcoe Rail Trail
q??.? kmOBalm Beach Road

I'm not exactly sure what's going on at step "m", so I figure I'll wing it, depending on how the trail looks, or if there even is a trail there.

[Posted at 09:42 by Blake Winton] link
Tue, 06 Jun 2006

In pseudo-preperation for biking from North of Barrie back to Toronto, I've bought a new set of tires for my bike. So now, instead of the 2" knobbies, I'm riding on a set of 1.5" slicks. I haven't noticed the difference so far, but it's a fairly short ride from the bike shop to my office, and along the way, I was carrying my old tires. I'm hoping that I'll notice more of a difference on my ride home.

But that's not really why I'm posting this. (I'm also not posting this in an attempt to drown out Amy's talk of cute children and chcoclate cake.) I'm posting this because just this morning, I changed my tires for the first time in my life! It's true, I've never had a flat before, and I was a little nervous about getting one one my big trip, but now that I've changed both the front and the back wheel, I see how easy it really is, and it's no longer a concern for me. (The instructions I heard from a guy at MEC last Bike Week really helped, and it's really just not that hard, although I expect it's a little trickier when it's pouring rain.)

In other news, does anyone know of a good bike route from Balm Beach to Toronto?

[Posted at 18:32 by Blake Winton] link
Tue, 15 Nov 2005

Yup, it's raining, and I'm commuting. And so what happens? I bail. This time I was changing lanes on Queen Street from the center lane, across the streetcar tracks, into the outside lane in preparation for turning right. Now, on a dry day I can take those streetcar tracks at about a 10° angle, but with the metal and pavement being all wet, I guess I needed to be crossing it a little more sharply. Anyways, down I went. I have a couple of slight abrasions on my elbow and knee, but neither of them hurt as much as wiping it down with the first-aid pad. And it's another lesson learned, making two.

  1. Don't use your front brake in the rain.
  2. Don't cross streetcar tracks sideways, especially in the rain.
At this rate, I'll have enough lessons to write a book by the time I'm 80.

[Posted at 12:27 by Blake Winton] link
Thu, 18 Aug 2005

Every now and then, I take some pictures of my ride. Often it's when I'm about to reach a large round number on my odometer. (Shut up, 2000 km is large. Anyways, I'm going to follow Tanya's lead, and use large numbers that are powers of 2, which will let me take another pic at 4096 km, instead of having to wait for 5000. But that's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it because I, too, am a huge geek.)

As I mentioned in the comments on another of Tanya's posts I've been running into a lot of tiny bugs recently, and have started to bike with my mouth firmly shut on some portions of my ride, lest I fill up on bugs before eating dinner.


[Posted at 09:58 by Blake Winton] link