Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The countdown begins

There is only 14 more days till my big ride- Tour De Jasper.  Let the countdown commence!  I think I'm ready for it.  And my bicycle too, although I'm taking her in for a checkup next week just to be sure.  The adventure of a lifetime can't come soon enough!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wow! I won- LGRB Summer Games

I feel so lucky to have won a Bates Crate through the LGRB Summer Games.  It was so much fun participating in the events, that winning a prize is icing on the cake!

Now I'll have to get another bike sometime as I don't think I can put a Porter Rack on front fork with shocks.  But not to worry, I was thinking of getting a basic bike for shopping during late fall, early Spring, and that would work with it.  Wow, just amazed!

Dottie and Trisha from Let's Go Ride a Bike are amazing, it must have been a lot of work to put the Summer Games together.  But it's been getting interest from people all around the world!  If you haven't tried riding a bicycle to work, or for pleasure lately, give it a try!  You are missing out on so much fun.

Trying out a new degreaser

For the last year since I've been riding my Rocky Mountain Bike, I've been using MEC bio-cycle, but since I can't order through the post and I'm almost out, I bought some orange citrus cleaner called Oranj Peelz, at my bike shop in town.

It's a bit more expensive then the Bio-cycle.  Almost double, I wonder how well it works?  We'll find out for sure, but it seems like a pretty strong cleaner.

I' ve been finishing my shopping for Tour De Jasper. I bought 3 pairs of biking socks today.  I figure since I use similar but thicker socks for hiking and they keep the blisters away, purchasing a few pairs of bike socks will also help my feet on a long ride.  It's hard to believe that Tour De Jasper starts in only 15 days from today!  Getting pumped.

I haven't been much on my bike during the last week as my Mother was visiting and she's not a bike rider.  It felt weird getting driven around in a car, I could almost feel a rash coming on!  LOL!!  No wait, I forgot that I carpool to my weekend hikes so I am not allergic to them. Missed my bike though, I swear the Farmer's Market was just made for bicycles you know.  ;)   Glad to be back on it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June Critical Mass

Once again, Critical Mass is upon us!

There was an even smaller turnout of 10 this time.  I suppose as it is the Summer time, many people are away on holidays.  It is a smaller centre that I live in, so we won't ever get the numbers that big cities do.


I noticed this new bag on one of the rider's bikes.  She says it is made with recycled tires.  What a wonderful way of recycling stuff, and it looks like the bag holds a lot too.

I finally got around to decorating my bike for the ride.  I rushed over to the local Dollar Store just before it and bought some stuff to put on my bike.  I like the Go Green sign I found there!

When I first got the bike I had a bad habit of 'chipping' the paint with my lock..I'm more careful now, but to help me feel better, I put stickers over them.  I also put other stickers to balance the other stickers on my bike and to personalize it.

Above: I took the group on the Heritage trail which is near where I live.  There were some hills which got some of the riders off guard and they had to walk up it.  If you know there are there, you can build momentum before you start going up so you can make it up all the way without getting off your bike.  It's a nice ride in that trail and if I am going to park, it's much more fun biking on the trail to there then going on the road.

By the Via Train station, we picked up a bike tourer.  He had taken the train from Jasper because he got sick a few days ago while touring.  He was biking from Winnipeg. It turns out that he knows a few people on our ride.  He came with us to the restaurant we like to frequent after the ride.  He has a custom Surly Long Haul Trucker with a nice Brook's saddle!  Recently, I saw another custom one that someone just bought at Ruckus Bike shop in town , also with a Brook's saddle.  I think they must be good touring bikes, the one I saw at shop had more spokes then normal and 27 speeds which is better for going up Mountain passes.

All in all, a great evening of riding and socializing!  I got to skip July's Critical Mass because I'm on my own adventure, but I will be sure NOT to miss the one in August.

Decorating my bike for Critical Mass helped me complete yet another event in LGRB Summer Games.  I've never had so much fun participating in an event.  Thanks again to Dottie and Trisha for organizing it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Amazing things do happen!

I was going to write about the lack of bike racks at Spruceland Mall, but as I went there today, I noticed that they have replaced the stolen ones.  There is hope!  It took them quite a while to replace them, maybe there was a demand for bike racks.  I hope they have bolted them down so no one is tempted to steal them again.

I guess I don't have to avoid that mall anymore.  Whew!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Donating blood has it's bike challenges

Today, I donated blood again.  I do that every 2 months.

I have always biked to donate blood so that I can return home quickly afterwards, in case I am tired.  They used to have a bike rack on one side of the building where I could lock my bike, but I returned there this Spring to find none at all!

There doesn't seem to be any good place to bike, like a street light, etc.  I ended up having to bike the bike a building over at Arby's, and I took the seat off since I couldn't watch it and as I would be gone for over an hour.  I used the fence out front to lock it.  I mentioned last time about where the rack went, but I didn't ask about it this time.   I figure though, if we are helping others donating blood, why not help ourselves healthwise, by bicycling to donate blood?  I should go back and inquire about if they are getting a rack and why they should.  When I asked last time, they said some people bring the bike to the inside of the entrance, but that doesn't seem too secure, and I can't watch it all the time while I'm in the process of donating.

Getting here was no problem though, even without bike lanes.  Bike lanes aren't that great I think, as cars are parked in them a lot and in PG, sometimes they just 'end'  where they shouldn't.  Also, if you are at a stoplight you need to get out of bike lane and take a lane, otherwise you will be cut off and in danger by those who are turning right.  We were given pamphlets to put on cars parked in bike lanes, but I see no point to the bike lanes.  I do like bike paths though and I am lucky to live near some that I can use daily.

I will post here places that have a lack of bike racks and which really need more!   If they want people to bike around doing errands or go to work, they really need more bike infrastructure and for the amount of cyclists out here in the City, what they do have is terrible..  I hope I am not too negative about this, as I do still enjoy bicycling around the city and generally I have no negative experiences with drivers very often.  I just wanted to point out the lack of infrastructure for bikes.

How bike friendly is your city?

I am finding PG is not as bike friendly as it should be.  Even though there are lots of cyclists in town and growing, there seems to be a serious lack of bike friendly features like bike racks and bike paths.

I'm going to start rating how bike friendly certain areas that I frequent alot.  There are some places that I almost totally avoid/boycott because of not being bike friendly at all.  There's a certain mall in town I don't go to as they never replaced their bike racks when they recently renovated.  They claim 2 racks were stolen.  Who steals bike racks?  Why weren't they bolted down?

How bike friendly is your City?  And what can be done to make the places more bike friendly?  Will a letter to the mgt that owns these places help?  Or is it just a waste of paper?  How do you explain to a mgt company that owns a mall for instance, how important bike parking and bike friendly facilties are?  I think that they do not care about it and don't think they lose much business.  I got to wonder how many bicyclists avoid a place if there is no place to lock their bike.

I'm just getting frustrated with certain things, although the bike is the way I move around and there's no way I'd stop bicycling because of this! 


Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday Hike: Pope Mtn.

This past weekend, I went hiking with the Ramblers at Pope Mtn, which is about 74 miles from where I live.  I and another Rambler, decided to camp the night before on a property by Stuart Lake, which is just below Pope Mtn. I was lucky enough to know a customer at work who offered to let us camp on his property alongside the lake, so we were lucky to have a free night without any other campers around.

Next morning, we got to sleep in which was nice.  All the other hikers had to leave PG at 7:30.  Another good reason to camp the night before!  The nice weather was the big reason, it was perfect for camping.

We met the others at the Pope Mtn. trailhead and hiked up through the heat.  It was a challenge that day as it was hotter then normal.  I went through 2 litres of water.  My Dromedary Bag was very helpful as it allowed me to sip water easily, no more fumbling for a bottle.  Just got to get the plastic taste away..I may try some oj in it or a bit of lemon.

Here's some pics of up top
 Some posing for a photo, I decided to take a photo of it also.
Below:  Group Shot
Got to keep cool!
Fire!  You can see it from Mt. Pope.  That stream of smoke is heading towards home.
Driving home, we get closer to it...
When the sun sets that evening, you can see the effects of the haze in my apartment

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Grocery Shopping

Today I went down to Farmer's Market to get some pastries and bread at the local Bakery.  It makes the best European style pastries in town,  partly due to authentic European ovens.  I also picked up a few Rubbermaid bins which I carried home.  I was going to ask someone to drive me to Walmart and pick a couple up, but I saw some similar priced at a nearby store.  I didn't bring my bungee cords along, so I instead carried them on top of the back bags/rack and walked home.  I could only do this as I live close to the store.  Otherwise I would have had to ask for a ride.

Below:  Grocery shopping day.

This is when a trailer could be handy.  Some bike trailers actually use Rubbermaid containers.  We need the containers for Tour de Jasper so we can keep our belongings together and because they will stack nicely in the trailer that will bring our supplies along.  And it's good that they are waterproof in the case they are outside the trailer in pouring rain, waiting to be loaded into the trailer.  

Tour de Jasper is a  luxury tour, so we don't have to carry much!  I could even bring a nicer mattress, but I only have my ultra light.  Of course, that's the only mattress that would fit into my one man tent anyways!  LOL!!

Anyways, after getting them, I dropped them off at home and continued my shopping spree.  I got 2 fully loaded bags of groceries.  I could have had a better deal on containers, as the store didn't charge ANY tax today, but how would have I gotten them home?  Darn!  Such is life.

Here's a pic of my fully loaded bike.  I need those bike stands which go on both sides from near the pedals as the current one can't handle the weight very well.  I will get a new stand next year. Just think how much money I save on gas shopping this way?  One week of gas would pay for a nice tire to put on the bike!  Or other nice stuff.

Below:  I can really load down my bike, it seems to handle the extra weight ok.

This is my latest entry for the LGRB Summer Games.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Counting the days....

Less then a month...

GPS for biking/geocaching

I splurged and got my gps yesterday.  I had so much fun geocaching by bike with my friend Melanie and Peter, that I had to get my own.  I think it will make travel also that much more fun!

I bought a Garmin Venture HC, which is cheap and basic, but it does the job.

I tried it out today finding a cache nearby. I had no probs finding the cache, but tried my best not to get people's attention.  I'm going to bike to a couple more locations today and see how I do.  It's easy to download geocache coordinates on to the gps and also easy to delete them once I found out how to do so.  I've only touched the tip of what I can do with my gps, and have some learning to do.  I suppose I could mark places that I've been with my bike or when hiking.

I traded a coin today for this from the first cache I found.  I will put it in another one that has a case in it.

Like I said in an earlier post, Geocaching and bicycles go together so well!  No worries about finding parking, you just bike up as near to geocache as you can.

Unfortunally, I don't think I'll have access to bike when I visit Regina this Summer.  I want to geocache and I wish I had access to a bike to do it.  I guess that there will be a lot of walking around.   My sister has one bike and I don't know of any bike rental places in Regina.  Anyone one know if there is a bike rental place in Regina?

Monday, June 14, 2010

A nice ride in the country- West Lake day trip

It was a nice day for a bike ride to West Lake.

We did have to climb up some hills to leave the bowls of the city.
Then, all of a sudden, we were out of the traffic, noise and general hustle of the city.  Instead of going along the highway all the way to the beginning of Blackwater Road, we turned off soon after climbing the hill busy with traffic, and took the scenic backroads until we ended up back on Blackwater Road.  My bike seemed to handle the gravel roads ok.

The only wildlife we saw was crows, ravens, and turkeys.  Well, not wild turkeys, none around here.  

Oh we did have to be careful at one farm when a Jack Russell decided to guard his place.  You have to be careful with dogs, I had a friend who had a dog charge him and ended up wrecking his back rim.  I am not sure if he fell because of the dog and wrecked the rim, or if the dog was strong enough to charge and wreck the back rim, but still.  I have heard that they can wreck a bike.  Well, maybe not a Jack Russell, but you never know!

Oh, we are almost there!

Arrival at West Lake Provincial Park and time for lunch.  I sure was hungry.

Above: There's me!

It sure is nice to have a park like this so close to home, and so easily accessible by bike.  There is the dangerous part when you have to bike up the hill on a busy highway, but that's only for a little bit, then you can turn off and bike safely on quiet country roads.  Prince George is a nice size city, in that the country really isn't that far away!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Training run to West Lake

To prep for Tour De Jasper, I'm doing a training ride to West Lake today, with 4 other people from my hiking club. It's only 50km return, so less then I did the one day, but still, it'll be good for me to do. West Lake is very nice! I only have the big hill going out, otherwise mostly flat. :)

I put on my toeclips today to try them out. I am amazed that the metal piece is made in JAPAN, not China or Taiwan. Wow.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bears and Bikes

I've been following the ever since I got his card, and today while he was biking he bumped into a bear.  He's biking up in Northern Canada, where there are lots of them.  I had this happen to me took, except that the bear was running across road into the bush, and there were lots of cars around.  Still, when I passed the area, I yelled into the bush just to make sure the bear wouldn't return.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cleaning the chain

It is good to clean your bike chain once in a while to get the grit off.  I use stuff made by MEC, called Bio-Cycle and a chain cleaning mechanism, also by MEC..  There are many different types of chain cleaners on the market, but this one seems to work for me.

How it works:  Basically you fill the cleaning liquid up to the line in this handy little chain cleaning mechanism.  You then attach it to the chain itself.  What is nice about this is that you don't have to take the chain off!

There are brushes inside the mechanism that clean the chain on the outside and inside the grooves/between the chain links too.  I also use a toothbrush to clean the cogset, derailers, and the chain rings.  I do a few cycles with cleaner in mechanism, then I use water in it to clean the chain of the cleaner, I do that 3 or 4 times or until the water being used is not dirty after using it to rinse chain.

I then dry it naturally for a bit, and afterwards, apply some Tri-flo bike lube.  It keeps my chain moving without wearing the chain out sooner then necessary or getting rust on it.  No squeaks allowed on my bike! ;)

For all those new cyclists out there, do NOT use WD40 to oil the chain, it is not meant as a lubricant for chains and will actually wear it down faster as it attracts dirt.  The lube I use has teflon in it to keep off the dirt.

This my posting for a second event- Do maintenance on bike for the LGRB Summer Games.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Art of Urban Cycling

I received this good bicycling book from my Sister in Law as an Xmas present.   It is the Art of Urban Cycling and it was written by Robert Hurst.  I read the whole book in one day!  It talks about bicycling safely in the city.

There are chapters about potholes, reading parked vehicles, Road position and location, breathing strategies for urban cyclists, and the cult of equipment.  It discussed the pros and cons of bike lanes and paths, types of accidents and injuries most common when bike riding and how to avoid them.  It even has a writeup on the history of the bike.  It was pretty informative book and it was hard to take a break from reading it as I wanted to see what it would talk about next.  It was nice that it talked about both sides of the bike lanes/paths, and the helmet debate.

This is my first submission for Part II of the LGRB Summer Games,  Read a book about cycling.

Taken from the LGRB site:

"June 7-June 27: Learning Experiences
  • Perform a maintenance task — big or small!
  • Decorate your bike
  • Read a book about cycling
  • Carry a load on your bike — groceries, etc.
  • Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride"
It's not too late to join in on the fun!  Go to the Let's Go Ride a Bicycle website for more info on how to participate.  For two of them above, you don't even need a bike!


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