Saturday, October 30, 2010

Winter confliction

I love my bicycle!  She has been so good to me since I bought here in February 2009.  I've racked over 4500 kms on her and she's had little problems.  Heck, I'm still on the same tires that came with the bicycle.  Only the chain/cassette, bike stand, and handlebar grips are different.

After cooling off during the last month or so, it's been threatening to snow.  I was lucky last year as we hardly had any snow and the only month where I couldn't bicycle around was December.  That was it, I biked till November, stopped for a month, then started up again in January.  I never lost being in shape on my bicycle.

Today I have been entertaining the notion of getting studded tires for my beauty, but part of me doesn't want to expose her to the damaging effects of the snow/ice/cold.  I have been thinking that at some time I will want to get a beater bicycle similar to what people like Sarah from Edmonton use for Winter.

I just don't want to get it just right yet.  I've splurged all year on bicycle stuff, like a bike gloves, bike shorts, bike socks, bike bottles, a second back LED light, toe clips, bike pump (that actually does a good job pumping air into tires, unlike what my hand one does), a good quality MSR backpacking ultralight tent (used for hiking and bike touring).  And not to forget Tour De Jasper, which was totally worth the money spent, as it was an unforgettable experience.

I just want to save now, for nice German bike bags, a bike trailer, and trips to Calfornia (with bike) or to Egypt (with GAP Advnetures).  I also want to save for a reasonable beater bike- want to check bike swap next May.- and gear it up as a Winter bike, studded tires and the works. I will bike as much as I can get away this winter without being too hard on bike and save for next year..I know I can do it, I've already started saving.  The irony is that I've been given a $50 gift card for mall, but don't know what to get with it, so it's unspent so far.   Things that I like to get you can't get at a mall, but at a speciality shop.  Oh well, goal is for getting Winter bike at next year's bike swap..I know I can do it!

What kind of bicycle do you use for Winter?  Do you use the same bike all year around, or do you have an actual 'Winter' bike?  Which is better, skinny or fat tires, and gears or little gears/no gears bicycle? The main use would be grocery getting.  How much did your Winter bike cost you?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bundle up, it's cold out there

Winter feels that much closer to us now. We've had our annual October windstorms which make bicycle riding challenging. It's great when you have a strong tailwind but not so great when you have to ride into one.

This morning it was -2 c, but I still rode. I was worried about black ice, but the road was still bare. It feels cold enough to snow if there was any precipitation. Edmonton already received some snow and I am wondering how Sarah is coping with it.  Usually the first few snowstorms don't amount to anything, it melts as fast as it hits the ground.

As I biked to work this morning, I found that I could have worn a hat as my ears were getting cold.  But my down jacket kept me nice and warm!  I wear the hood when it's even colder, but the only problem with that is I can't wear my helmet at the same time.  Oh well...

I am hoping that the snow stays away for a bit, but it is a tradition here to have first snow by Halloween.  It's amazing how fast the weather changes up here in a month or two.  It seems like just
yesterday that it was very hot and we were having major forest fires.  Now it's all about parkas and warm gloves.

UPDATE: OMG!  It JUST started snowing now! What?  Winter is now here?  Can't be....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hikes of 2010 Caledonia Ramblers Slideshow (shortened version)

Here is the video I created using Photostory 3 for Windows, for the 2010 Fall AGM of the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking Club.  I had to shrink it by 2 mins to get it to fit on YouTube.  This is the third year that I have done a 'Hikes of' slide show for the club.  It has been very well received!  The hardest part for me in creating them is finding the right music for it.  As in previous years, my choices were very good and people like the music.  This year it took me a whole week of evenings to find just the right songs.  But well worth the effort!  And awesome photos too, there are some GREAT photographers in the club.


My other 'blog' project

Out with the old (but great)
I've been part of the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking club since 2002.  It's a local hiking club that does easy and hard hikes.  It's focused on hiking in the Mountains, but we have started offering more easy hikes (with great success) that follow rivers, and go up smaller mountains/hills.

I offered to create a new website for them as the one they had at the time was horrible!  I've been running it for many years now.  The current (and soon old) website that I created and run is located at  We've been lucky to get free hosting from our local university, UNBC.  But we have been finding that as people have been sending in trip reports and photos from hikes, that the server filled up fast!  The trip reports/submitted photos has been very successful as people love to share their photos. It's also a good record of the hikes in the past, ie weather, memorable happenings, etc.

In with the new, also great.

It is time to move on!  My Website helper, Peter H., has created a wonderful new site, I REALLY love the design.  There are some new features such as rating a trail and having an account on Twitter so that people can keep up to date on upcoming hikes/events on their cellphone.  Check it out at  I think it is nice to have a domain now so that the website is easier to remember.

Thanks Peter for creating such a new website.  It's not quite ready to go yet, there's a little more info that needs to be posted, but it looks great.  And it uses Wordpress which I heard is a good program.  And also thanks goes out to Uta who talked me into joining the Executive of the club, I'm glad I am a big part of it.  I've made some good friends and have had some wonderful adventures with them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cool days

It's becoming cooler now, and there's a nip in the air.  I fear snow could come at any time!  I find myself having unmotivated days, but I think that's partly due to sinuses.  Yesterday I did manage to bicycle to the grocery store, but that's about it.

Today, it was sunny again and I had energy!  So I went out for a ride and it felt like I was on the road again.  It was a bit nippy on my ears, I could have almost used a touque to cover them.  I have swapped my dedicated bicycling gloves for light winter gloves.  It's not quite cold enough to use my more heavy duty ones.

I bicycled on the part of the Heritage trail that is now paved.  I like that it goes right to the intersection.
All the leaves have fallen off the trees.  The paved trail ahead goes to the intersection in the distance.
I'm back at home now working on a slide show that I must complete by this Friday's upcoming Caledonia Rambler Hiking Club's AGM.  I have been creating a 'highlight' of hikes of the past season using photographs that the club members have submitted.  As everyone really likes them, I've been encouraged to keep on making them for the fall meetings.  Speaking of which, I should really make one of my bicycle tour this Summer to send to my friends as an Xmas present.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bike Workshop

Yesterday I attended a bike repair workshop at a local bike shop.  My bicycle is currently in good shape as it had work done on it before Tour De Jasper this summer, but I thought it would be good to learn anyways.  It was connected with the 10/10/10 Work Party at  and there were events happening on that day all over the world.

There were 3 sections, changing a flat tire which I already know, cleaning/lubing bicycle, and basic bicycle mechanics.

I hanged out for a while at the lube station outside.  I had already cleaned and lubed my chain that morning, so I didn't have to do a full clean there.  If I had known, I would have waited till then.  I got him to check my chain and it still had too much lube on it so he wiped more off with a rag.
Bike chain cleaning station
I asked him about chain wear, and like they did with mine in the Summer, mechanics tend to replace both the worn chain and the back cassette at the same time.  Even though I have a chain wear gauge I had him check the wear on mine and it's still in good shape, which I expected.  It's only been a half year since it was replaced, but I wanted to be sure I was reading the gauge properly..  I am thinking that maybe by next July, or possibly the end of next season that it will be needed to be replaced again.  I'll keep track of it and see
We all signed the sign for climate solutions
There was not too bad a turnout.

I went inside and listened a bit to peoples one guy had really worn chain, and other worn parts.  Someone had old cracked tires that would eventually need replacing.  I watched in the mechanics area as the mechanic showed us how to adjust the front derailleurs.  The lady had just bought it in July and the derailleur was out of positing and the chain was rubbing hard on it, which can cause fast wear and tear on it.

I wish I had spent more time in the mechanics side.  At first I didn't because my bike currently has no problems, but I could watch as they fixed common bicycle problems that people had.  The organizers said that they do this workshop once a year at least, so I could come to the next one and learn more.

After the workshop, we went for a group ride.  I eventually departed as was invited to a  Thanksgiving dinner at friends.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Even though I am not a mountain biker, I saw an advertisement for this video about a bicycle.  It looks pretty darn good (and I like the music too)  I am assuming it's all about Mountain Biking from the trailer. Has anyone seen this movie? I am not even sure if it is released yet.
It's coming to our City on October 23rd.

Life Cycles OFFICIAL Trailer from Life Cycles on Vimeo.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Ancient Forest in Autumn

On Saturday, I volunteered to move some wood in from the trailer in the parking lot to where the Universal Boardwalk is being built.  It was only 13 c, but felt a lot warmer!

There were 6 of us volunteering this time, and we had to get it unloaded before people came to pick up the trailer.  As there were more volunteers this time, unlike in May, it would be no problem.

We had help at one point from some UNBC students.
There's beauty to the Ancient Forest every Season.

At one point a person walking on trail told us he didn't like us building a boardwalk for Wheelchairs, as he thought it would ruin things.  I respect peoples opinions, but I think it's important that they are able to get out and enjoy nature.  Besides, eventually the whole trail system has to have boardwalk on it, due to all the foot traffic on it.  And it's a work of love as all the wood being used for the boardwalk, has to be carried in by sling and foot.
We got all day to carry that wood in 400 metres.

That's Red Mountain straight ahead (and Green Mtn. on the left of it) the hike I did at the beginning of Sept.

Near the end of day as we were carrying the last pieces of 2x4s in, we met with a bicycle group that had just arrived.  They were doing a weekend trip from town, and were staying the night here.  I saw them on the road as we were driving out to the forest in the morning.  Wish I knew them, I would have loved to join them!  Oh well, there is always next Spring.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The last of the hot weather

We have been spoiled during the last few days.  After having a stormy week last week, we had some nice days this week.  Today was the best of them all, with a high of 25 C!

I noticed that more people were on their bikes today and that's great.  I do admit though, I missed last Friday's Critical Mass because of the storm.  It was too dangerous with the high winds, to be out on a bike.  Today, that's a whole different story.  I could have worn shorts today (but didn't) it was so warm.  I wish I wasn't so lazy tonight, but I feel like hanging around, not spending time on my bike.  What's wrong with me?

Tomorrow, it will be cooler with a high of only 13, but the sun will still be out.  I am going to help out with the Ancient Forest Boardwalk again.  I could stay the night, but want to be home to relax on Sunday.

It is going to be a great weekend!


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