Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chain installation success!

I took the SRAM chain to the bike shop just to be sure I was correct about shortening it.  They took the links off that I needed.  After thinking about how to weave it through the rear derailleur, I got it threaded on the bike.  I used the powerlinks provided to attach the chain together.   Success!  This is the first time that I've ever changed a chain.  I have been reading reviews at MEC.ca and they say that SRAM chains break easily.  KMC chains seem to be better and are cheaper!  Time will tell.

I had to also adjust the back brakes as one side wasn't moving and was sticking on the back rim.  I found the tiny screw on the side after watching a video about it and loosened one side a little.  The other side started moving!  After adjustment, both brakes  were working great and I took it outside for a ride.

Besides just looking at the like new parts, I could tell by riding that it hardly has been used.  All the gears changed smoothly.  Whew!  Oh, and the chain doesn't seem to freeze and cease to work unlike the Rocky Mtn.  and I will be surprised to get a flat tire as easily.  Better grip for snow too.

Next month, when I save a little bit, I'll get a rear rack and fenders.  Unlike my Rocky Mountain bicycle, it doesn't have bolts on frame for rack support, so it'll need to be clamped to seatpost, but I have read that racks come with that part so it works for all bikes.  And next season I'll get some Schwalbe Ice Spiker tires, perhaps front first as they are expensive.   I've really enjoyed using my time off from work to learn something new!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Learning something new

Today I bought a SRAM chain, a chain tool, and some thicker lube (so I can prevent getting frozen chain links like I had on my Rocky Mtn.)

Easy to use chain tool to move the pin out.  But not all the way!

This is the first time that I've ever changed a chain!  What I found for taking it off, it was so easy!  Why have I never tried it before?

I've measured it against the new chain.  I am pretty sure the chain hardly has been used despite being so rusty, so I am not worried about chain stretch.  The new chain is about 2 chain links too big compared to the one from the bike, as I expected.  I've have read that they are usually that way so that they can accommodate different bikes.  How do I remove the links on a SRAM chain?  I know on ordinary chains you just use chain tool to remove pins, do I do that the same with a SRAM chain?   That easy?  It looks like I'd have to have it slightly bigger to accommodate the 2 powerlinks.  I might just take both chains to shop and get them to shorten..and show me.  I don't want to wreck the chain on the first try, although I do know not to remove pins all the way.  Mind you, must I completely remove both the pin and links from the section I want removed?

New chain is a link or so too big.  Need to remove slack.

Yeh, I might take to shop..they said they'd help if I had any questions.  But I've already learned something new today!  I think it was worth getting this cheap bike...not so scared to play with it.  And I suppose with possibly doing a long distance tour this Summer, a chain link tool and knowledge is good to take on it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Owner of Pink beater bike

Well, after much considering, I decided to go hunt for a Winter Beater bike.  I was that close to getting one a while back, but it was stolen from the person.

A customer who comes where I work had one that she has not used much since she bought it 2 yrs ago.  It's not an expensive bike by any means, but as money has been tight (saving for future trip to Egypt and I want to buy some good German bike bags and a bike trailer later this year) I couldn't get myself to buy a new bike at this time only to have it destroyed by the salt on the roads. I thought I'd check it out.

She lives in a funeral home and it turns out I remember her Mom and her Mom remembered me from way back when I worked at another restaurant in the early 90's.  Small world!

Chain is rusted out, but cassette/cogset is rust free.

I looked at the bike and it was in decent shape.  I could tell it was hardly used, no dirt to speak of, anywhere including the spokes on the wheels.  The chain is rusted out and there are small patches of rust on the front chain ring, but I think the chain ring rust can be cleaned off.  I am not sure about the chain?  Is it worth to salvage or better to get another one?  I could learn how to remove and put on a new chain.  Everything else is not worn, ie brakes look like they have never been used.  I imagine the bike might have been stored outside at one point or at a damp place which is why the chain rusted.

I hope I made the right choice, bike seems to fit me ok, not too tall.  Similar frame size to my Rocky Mtn.  I'll have to outfit it with fenders/rack, and eventually, studded tires.  This is a start though.  I still wouldn't mind getting a better bike suited for Winter later on, but this the best I could come up for now for the little budget room that I currently have.

Dec 27 Update:  I am trying to justify to myself and others why I bought a cheaper bike for Winter.  I don't know if I need to.  At the very least it gives me a chance to learn about bike maintenance.  I have never changed a chain before, so I am using this opportunity to learn how.  I bought a chain and chain tool today.  I don't know...mixed feelings about it.  I know it will probably be a use and toss bike.  Although I could salvage the wheels and other parts to eventually get a 'beater' bike built by person at local bike shop who specializes in building bikes perfect for Winter use, with used parts.  The rims/tires look like new.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Biking in Winter is adventurous!

It's been a good week so far.  It has been quite warm.  The snow is melting and the road is bare again, so it's easy riding!  I walked on Monday and regretted it, so I took out the bike on Tuesday.

This is the main street that I have to ride on to go to work and back.  As the bike lane is covered in snow, I have to take a lane.  Most people seem ok with that, but there are some impatient people!  I suppose the city should be clearing the shoulders so there's a place to bike.  At least people can see me from over a mile away as my back blinker is extremely bright!

I don't always use the bike lane in the Summer as there are cars parked along it and when I get to the light I don't like to be in that lane, I take a lane so that cars wanting to turn right can do so.  And I have less worry of getting hit!

Oh gosh, yet ANOTHER flat.

Changing the tube.
On Wednesday, I had to walk.  I noticed a flat tire on the back wheel when I was getting ready to go to work in the early morning.  It's the second flat that I've had this week.  The first I noticed while at work and it was on the front tire!  I took it to the bike shop nearby work and had it fixed.  I wonder why I am getting flats all of a sudden?  I have had the bike for almost 2 years and not a single flat!  Wonder what is on the roads?

Update:  I had a third one today, on the front wheel again.  I biked to work and back with no problems, but then biked to the dentist.  After my appointment, I rode for a bit, then noticed front tire wasn't right.  Darn!  What is the cause of this?  Should I just patch the hole this time as it's mostly likely pinhole sized?  Or get yet ANOTHER tube?  I am thinking of putting biking on hold for a time until I get a beater bike for winter use.

I was going to get one today after work, as a customer had one for sale that he has hardly used.  I waited 45 lovely minutes in the freezing cold for him to come.  I had even withdrawn money from atm to pay for the bike.  I just wanted to see what I was going to be buying as I don't like to buy something without seeing it first.  That choked me up!  I guess back to the drawing board.  :(  I just can't keep on biking and getting flats all the time, 3 flat this week is a lot, especially since I have never had a flat until this point.

Anyone else with a hybrid bike/tires have this problem?  I'm perplexed.

I will use it to go grocery shopping though for now as it's still easier.  But I will have no spare tubes if I put in my spare instead of patching.

Bike in pieces after I took offer of a ride home tonight.

Oh, speaking of flat, I had a bit of a miracle tonight.  I was running with bike home as I was afraid to try and use the bike racks on bus.  Well, I was almost going to try to catch bus just ahead, but I wouldn't have made it.  Some lady came up and offered help.  I explained that I had a flat and wanted to get home quickly.  She was concerned that I'd burn my lungs in the cold while running.  She was a very outdoors type of person too, which was kind of cool.  She was very impressed about me biking in the Winter.  She told me about this bike shop in town which has a  person who can custom build a bike, even a 'beater' one.  I knew about this, but it was nice of her to mention about it.   I have GREAT faith in people!  Isn't that amazing?  I am glad she helped me out and I only wish I could remember her name.  I can't thank her enough!  I had to take both tires off of bike to fit in the back of the car, but we did it and I got home safely.  Yeh!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Took out my snowshoes! (Sorry bicycle)

Last weekend I was commenting on how easy it was to take out my bicycle instead of my snowshoes.  Well, today I went snowshoeing with the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking club.  It was the PERFECT day for it!  It wasn't too cold outside and the sun came out later.  I could also sleep in as the snowshoe was close to town and started at 9am.

We snowshoed up on the Greenway trail which is by the University of Northern British Columbia.  It's a very popular place for people to walk, bike, ski, or snowshoe.

There's me.

There was a decent sized group today which was nice.  We started off on the trail then bushwacked for a bit till we came upon a trail again.  Total distance covered, 10kms, so not too long.  My kind of snowshoe!  I got some fresh air, and good company, what more could I ask for?

We stop to let people catch up.

The sun peaks out during our lunch break.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Perfect Winter Day

It's 3pm and the sun is setting.

I'd rather ride my bike then snowshoe.  I could have taken out my snowshoes, but I decided to take out my bike again as it was such a nice day!  That's what I am finding this Winter.  But heh, if I REALLY love to bike, even in the Winter, over anything else, then so be it!  On days like this, it's nice to be out and about on my bike.  I didn't even feel cold although it's -13 c  (8.5 f).  The sun really warms things up.

I first biked to the mall to use a gift card that I got from work.  I got a good deal on a toaster oven so I bought one, and a few dvds.  I live alone so using a 6 slice toaster oven to cook my food makes much more sense then using an oven.  And I can store it away when I am not using it.  I strapped it on the back basket using my bunjee cords.  I walked it home, although I could have biked safely.  I biked a little when I was on the side streets.
My new deluxe Toaster Oven for a steal!

After bringing toaster oven home I decided to go for a little ride down the path that is near me that I use lots in Summer.  It has been cleared, so it was easy riding on it.  What a lovely afternoon to go for a quick ride, before the sun sets.  There are ducks here that someone has left food for so they won't go hungry.  What a lovely day!  Cheered me right up, much better then staying home.  I love Winters!
Path is cleared, perfect for walking or biking.

Ducks are well fed.  I should leave them some food.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Full Winter riding

I am not biking as much as I do from Spring to Fall, but I am still taking out the bike once a week, even though it has no studs on the tires.  I walk to work as it's not that far away and I don't have to worry about finding a spot for it so it gives me a break.  My spot at work is hard to get to sometimes as hallway gets full of stock!  There has been some good riding days though

But since I find it easier to shop or carry big packages with the bike, I have been using it on the weekends to do my errands.  The shopping mall is near here so I don't have to bike very far.  Last weekend I carried a parcel on it to mail and pick up some photos, so using bicycle save me much time!

Today I picked up some groceries and despite fresh snow, it was easy riding for me.  I can purchase more then what I can purchase with just my daypack, so I took advantage of it and stocked up on some bulkier items.  I might go back and get mailing stuff for items that I want to send out for xmas...

As you can see, Winter is in full swing now, we have tons more snow then last year.  Which will be great if I can get myself to take my snowshoes out and use them!  Beautiful day today to do that...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Festival of Trees

It's that's time of year again, the Festival of Trees has returned!

I volunteered on Saturday in the Children's Craft area, and I will be volunteering this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I walked here as it was too miserable and I live only a 5 mins walk away anyways. I did venture out with my bike on Sunday so I could look for a certain bottle of wine that I was looking for (no luck finding it) and do some shopping.  I stopped by the festival to look at the trees as on Saturday, I had no time to look at them!

There's even a nice kids mountain bike to win.

I loved this piece.

Heh, I can enter to win Hiccups Dragon Christmas.

It's been snowing lots so I've been walking to work this week.  It's really not too bad as it's only a 20 min walk away and it's still green.  I gave in and bought bus tickets today for those really cold days, but I will still walk in the morning unless really cold, then I will take cab as there is no bus service when I go to work.  I am hoping it will be like last year where I can use the bike more in January, but the weather forecast says for lots of snow this winter.  I will try to ride here and there, especially for grocery shopping as it's much easier shopping that way.

I prefer the snow over cold though, even if it makes for tough biking.  It's actually quite mild now.  But Winter is most definitely here!

I can't get at my geocache 70 kms away.  I suppose that's one bad point of not having a vehicle.  I am hoping it'll stay dry.  I have a geocoin with instructions and a log book that I don't want to get wet.  I may have to dig it out with a shovel when I finally do get a way to get to it!  Oh well, I'm sure it's ok as it's in as sealed
(hopefully still) ziploc bag  in a tupperware container.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brrrrrrrrrrrr, Serious Snowstorm outside

I ran out of luck this morning.  I've bike every morning, and I was grateful each time that I woke up to no snow!  Well, not today.  It actually was ok to bike this morning as it wasn't snowing yet, so I biked to work even though there was a strong wind.  But it soon became a serious blizzard with heavier winds.  I tried to bike home, on the sidewalk, but even that was impossible.  The Northern Winds were very strong at times, and with a snowstorm at the same time, it was much too challenging to attempt riding on a bicycle without the fear of being blown off the bike by the wind or slipping on the ice. I suppose I was pushing my luck today as a blizzard warning was in the forecast!

Geocaching on Sunday, no snow!
Snow on my bike!  Had to walk her home today.

Compounding the problems, my back V-Brake didn't grip on back wheel properly and my chain links froze up!  Seriously, does anyone else have a frozen chain link problem when it's very cold outside?  I ended up walking the bike home.  That's not too bad for me as I'm only a 20 min walk away from home!  How do people cope with riding in the winter?  Is it just because of the bitterly cold wind and snowstorm that make things cease up? Does having the chain enclosed prevent the chain links from freezing?  This is my second chain/cassette on bike and I still have the frozen links problem like I did last winter.  I will be walking to work for a bit now, till it's more rideable outside.  I am hoping January, like last year, but I've heard the Winter will be worse this year, whereas Winter last year was almost non-existent.

Regarding Geocaching, I'm going to disable my hidden geocache for the Winter now.  I thought it would be good till December, but if there's snow in town, there's tons more in the country!  I am going to get a friend who is working out that to fetch it for me this weekend.  I got some geocaching done this weekend so I could drop off 3 trackables that I had.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Jungle Bird.

Sometimes Wembley does things that are so cute, but yet so bad.  Here he is being a Jungle bird, because he wants to chomp on the leaves.  No way!  But before I shoo him away, I take this pic.

Time to shoo him away from plants  Sneaky little bugger!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Snow's a falling..

Yep, Winter has arrived here.  But has that stopped me from being on my bike?  Nope.  I took off the Axiom bags that I am borrowing from a friend and put on my 'Superstore special' basket onto the back rack.  I didn't want to get the bags dirty.

And despite needing Winter gloves for the last bit, today was actually quite warm.  I could use my Autumn gloves which gave me enough warmth.  I was actually too warm biking up to mall with my down jacket on.

I completed my Christmas shopping, then I biked to grocery store.  I didn't feel like biking home to drop stuff off and then bike back to grocery store in the strong headwinds coming from the South, so I carried my gifts with me while grocery shopping.  I had to show the clerk when I paid that the gifts were from another store(s), but that was totally understandable.

I also snuck some geocaching in as I wanted to drop off 2 geocoins that I picked up at the Ancient Forest Travel Bug Hotel  What a great day to be on a bike, the sun was shining, it was fairly warm, and I got to do a few things today while being out of the house.  And I've just went over the 4600 km mark now..and heading to 4700.  I got a few scratches on top of the diamond, not sure where those came from.  Got my 'black' stickers standing by if I ever should need them.

Speaking of geocaching, 6 days after I hid it, and 4 days after it was published, someone found my Grand Canyon of the Fraser cache today!  I was worried that I got the coordinates wrong, even though I came there twice that day to double check readings on my GPS.  I had originally left a note about that on my listings page for the geocache, but decided to remove it and see if anyone had troubles finding it.  Then I would go back out the 70 kms to get another reading.  Whew!  But the fact that someone found it without troubles means I don't have to do that.  I suppose that being a newbie at this has it's moments.  I am glad that I can confirm that I know how to use a GPS. 


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Caching and helping out.

This past Sunday, I decided to help work on the Ancient Forest Boardwalk.  I restacked lumber so it won't rot during winter and I nailed some railings. Can you believe that the boardwalk has received over $24,000 in donations this year so far?  The support from the community has been unbelievable!  This is our profile at Canadahelps where one can donate towards it.

It was a rainy start to the day.  We didn't leave till 8am, but even with the time change I woke up at 5 am! Before I realized my mistake I had brewed a nice pot of coffee and I stayed up because it seemed such a shame to waste it.  I lots of time to relax before heading out.  I was actually reconsidering going out and had phoned once to cancel going, but then I changed my mind and phoned back.  What else could I do that day anyways?  Might as well help out!

I get to hammer away.
My big reason for wanting to go was I wanted to move a few travel bugs into a Geocache at the Ancient Forest.  It took a little bit to find, but eventually I did!  My friend who put it there did a nice job at hiding it.

Before and after helping with the boardwalk, I got my ride to stop at this particular place 32km from the Ancient Forest.  I really wanted to lay my first geocache there.  I went there first to lay it and get a reading, then I returned to get another reading so I could get fairly accurate coordinates for the cache listing.  It showed up as close when I wrote up the cache listing, but when it was posted this morning, I noticed that it had moved a bit on the google maps.

I am a bit worried that the readings will lead geocachers astray in the forest.  I do know that gps coordinates are never spot on, intentionally, but I do want to lead the cachers somewhat near the cache.  Hopefully Google maps are wrong!  It's weird though, how it shifted positions from when I submitted the listing to when it was published.
The cache on the left is what I just hid this weekend. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall Geocaching

It was a nice warm sunny day to go do some geocaching in the country.
Well, I'm afraid it's been a long time since I did some geocaching.  In fact I haven't done it since I did it in Regina this Summer.  But this past weekend, my geocaching friends called up and invited me on a geocache trip.  We drove around small towns just outside the city.

I was mopey before being invited, but that soon disappeared when I started finding cache after cache.  It was so much fun!

Here's some photos of the day

Willow River 'temporary' bridge.
I actually went under the bridge.  Though, this is is not me.
Popular rock climbing area near Giscome, BC
Guess who I found climbing the rocks?
I found my first Turtle Travel Bug at a Purden Lake geocache.

Purden Lake
I'm now prepping a geocache of my own to hide.  I have a great place in the country to hide it, and I will be going out that way to help out at the Ancient forest this weekend, so I can place it on the way.  I also can deposit the travel bug I found at Purden at my friend's Travel Bug Hotel at the Ancient Forest.

Two geocaches that I have created- Left one is a small, and right one is a micro.


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