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Author: Angel

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

Anyone who lives here knows that this past Wednesday (June 9th) was a very rainy day. I’m not talking torrential downpours and raining sideways like most coastal communities consider “very rainy.”

(I can say these things – I grew up in such a coastal community where the rain was SO sideways and fast it stung…or the winds so violent that the ferry wouldn’t run and you got to miss school! Or get stuck on the wrong side of the Strait of Georgia and not go home – pizza sleep over parties! You can see where this is going?)

 So, back to yesterday… It was Damien’s preschool year end party, this year held at a family’s yard (bigger & more private) only a dozen-ish blocks from home. When it came time to leave I checked the skies, saw over cast but dry grounds and decided to bike there.

But the forecast was grim you say? But it had already been raining before you left? Sure….but I’m invicible? Or fearless? Or possibly a little insane? Biiiiiig deal!

The ride TO our party was fine, a bit of spitting, even my glasses didn’t get too splotched upon. The party itself was another story, the spitting turned into good amounts of drops all at once. Not downpour….just a good rain. And then it’d stop. And then it’d start to spit again…and the spitting would again turn into…oh wait this time it’s a downpour.

When it came time to leave, soaked kids, wet roads, and never-seeming-to-end rain was what I had to deal with. I had “offers” (aka people asking if I’d be alright, why did I bike any way?) but nobody was a: able to take myself, my kids, my bike, AND my trailer home safely and b: come up with a better solution besides “waiting out the rain.” So we set out. I made sure the kids were covered with the plastic of the trailer, loaded even my purse and the veggie tray and the dip into the trailer (and a diaper bag!) and set off. In a down pour!

By the time I’d reached the end of the block I noticed right away how much different the road felt while wet. Traction was still just fine, but stopping and starting took just that LITTLE bit more effort. The worst part (for me personally) was how hard it was to see with rain drop covered glasses. I had to stop twice to clean them off on my already soaked sweater. (Oh did I mention I’d dressed the kids properly but not myself?)

It took about 5 minutes longer for the, including having to wait to cross the one major street near our house that unless I can see everyone stopping I won’t bike across (we walked, I’m teaching Damien the “proper” way to bike on roads). 

So lessons learned?

  • If it’s going to rain, wear my contacts, or see if I can fit a hat with a big brim under my helmet.? See if I can BUILD a hat to go under or over my helmet? Ooooh the possibilities!
  • Biking uses completely different muscles than walking. I knew this, but hauling 70lbs of kids plus a few more pounds in additional stuff makes a difference. My legs had a good burn both there and back, and I cannot wait to do longer trips (though I feel it might take some working up to get much much longer). I’m thinking the majority of our trips will stay “local” (aka in Millwoods area or to the in-laws, which I cannot wait to bike!!) so we can avoid using the van unless it’s absolutely necessary.

I posted on my Facebook about my riding in the rain, and got one person “Like”-ing said status and another messaged me and told me I was insane. I don’t see the big deal, it wasn’t a far ride, the rain doesn’t hurt us, etc….but this friend…well lets just say we don’t always see eye to eye on …a LOT of things!

How do you deal with the nay-sayers and doubters and people who don’t get that it’s very easy to bike around? Edmonton is quite flat, even the tiny hills are probably at a 1% or less incline (I might be under exaggerating, but I grew up with BIG hills, and my dad bike commuted well before it was even considered “cool” or “hip.”)

*** I wish I had pictures of my soaked shoes to post, but I was too busy getting the kids inside and dried / cleaned off. Apologies! ***

3 bikes! One day…. (LGRAB Summer Games post 1)

3 bikes! One day…. (LGRAB Summer Games post 1)

Today I’m blogging about trying out a style of bicycle that I have not ridden before, as part of the Learning Experiences section of the LGRAB Summer Games.

Today was a weird day, slept in (thanks dearest!) cuddly times and then it was “get outside and get stuff done!”

Aside from the regular weekend cleaning and doing an eco station run (I love living in a city that actually promotes and encourages dealing with old appliances/dangerous goods instead of letting them go directly into a landfill) it was “pump up tires, check stuff, figure out who makes the trip to EBC tomorrow” day!

First up was Daisy, miss bike of mystery, lovely, lovely bike o’ mystery. Last time I had her out (a few days ago) I noticed her tires were getting a low, so I pumped those up, they seem to have a slow leak or are just old as they don’t ever get flat, just…soft. Age perhaps? Also, I’ve been having a problem with her rear fender stay rubbing, today I bent the stay inwards (towards the tire) and the rubbing, while not stopped forever, seems to have stopped. I’m still taking her in tomorrow for a check up and to see if I’m missing anything major (hope not, she’s my Critical Lass steed of choice (or, steed of only option!) and needs some exposure!

Next up was the bike trailer, the tires were always low, probably lower than I ought to have ridden with, but I was feeling lazy (or trying to do it alone with 2 kids and tire pumping was always behind the “oh look 2 year old running towards cars!) in the past. Today though, no no, tires pumped to perfection!

I loaded Lili up and we did a few spins until she seemed to get bored without her brother around (he was spending the day w/ his grandparents for a sleep over). Pros to having fuller trailer tires though: less drag, I *barely* noticed the trailer, even when it was empty. Pulling a lopsided 30-ish pound trailer wasn’t bad at all, so I think the rest of the school year will be bike trailer transportation, perhaps giving me and Lili time to explore new bike paths and parks that Damien might otherwise be bored with. (Honestly, a 2 hour break 3 times a week from being a stay at home mom to 2 is wonderful, next year with kindergarten I’ll probably not know what to do with myself…extra thrifting trips!?)

After my recreational bike times I decided to look at Winnie (yes Nicki’s bike lives in my garage, we have a 2 car extra wide garage and only put our van in it, plus I like looking at a nice pile of bikes!) to see what she needs that I could do in an afternoon. A good cleaning is essential, but not necessarily something I needed to do right then and there, so instead I decided to see how her tires were. Winnie looked rough, but her tires while completely flat looked and felt fine, not like Galaxie’s where they’re dried and cracked and embarrassing to look at, so we pumped them up checked to make sure everything moved the way it ought and I rode her quickly.

Here’s what I can tell is wrong with Winnie (after only a 2 minute spin). Her seat is shot. It LOOKS fantastic on the outside (always important) but either she’s just old and worn or a spring (or more?) is not so good on the underside. I’m not sure if getting a new seat is the solution or if springs would fix what appearance wise is a perfect seat. Either way, no biggie, solutions are available for such issues everywhere! The big problem that I noticed is in the braking. I grew up on bikes, I got into the mountain type bikes with speeds and gears and such early, I honestly don’t remember using a coaster brake. I know it happened, my mom can confirm I had one, the memory just isn’t there. Anyway, as I was riding back to the house I tried to stop, annnnd did nothing. Perhaps I did it wrong? Maybe I had to press harder? Or is the brake mechanism faulty? BROKEN!? If I can fit both Daisy and Winnie in my van (which I *should* be able to do), then they’ll both come to EBC to see if we can squeeze them in, if not, at least I’m asking here.

Lastly I’ve had this “free loading” bike in my garage for longer than I can remember, I’m going to guess a larger number of months but less than a year. Originally she was for me but on the VERY day that I was to go get her I stumbled upon Daisy. Daisy is gorgeous, Daisy is loopy, Daisy has places for a frame pump (I need to source a pretty white one!), essentially Daisy was the bike I WANTED and “free loading” bike was the bike I was being given – for free.

“FL” bike is actually now for a friend, who wants someone more like Daisy and not so sporty and tough and not girly. I figured though, since I was on a bike care kick, why not see what’s up with her too. FL needs very little, the tires are a little dry, but in surprisingly great condition otherwise, they still have the new tire whiskers!! The seat is RIDICULOULSY comfortable in comparison to Daisy’s unholy hard BMX style hell that my butt rests on. And she goes FAST. Really. Really. REALLY. Fast. If my friend who’d prefer a cruiser style (or really just not MTB stylings) finds something prettier I think FL will become my “by myself riding” or “strap on the trailer and go fast with the kids” bike. I actually really enjoyed riding on her. She needs the front brakes either adjusted, realigned or replaced. All of which I’m not scared off by.

If FL stays she might even become the winter bike. I just said that. I kind of am liking the idea of strapping on some heavy duty storage, throwing on millions of layers and plowing to the grocery store for milk or what have you instead of driving the same distance in the same amount of time because I’d be forced to go the longer way and not cut through the trails that go all but unused all winter. Bwa ha ha!! Biking addiction much??

Daisy Chain (almost literally)

Daisy Chain (almost literally)

HAPPY BIKE MONTH EDMONTON!!

In an effort to embrace our bike community and get the word out there even more, I’m determined to get daily (or as close as I can get to daily) blogs out regarding biking in our city. Some of them might not be Edmonton related though, as I have a few covetable/unique things found on the internets! Anyway, I think I can do this, think of it as a Na-Ni-Wri-Mo thing, only bike related, and in June because really, who doesn’t want to bike around all summer long?

So I’m in the process of testing a bicycle trailer to haul my kidlets in. Damien is 5 and Lili is almost 2. Together they only weight approx 70 lbs together so technically can both easily fit into a trailer with weight allowance for say lunch or some groceries, or toys (or all of the above and then some!)

The kids, Daisy, and me, about to adventure!

Last night I attached the borrowed (aka soon to be purchased if it works with both kids in it) trailer. Damien’s helmet was “hidden” (pretty sure he’d put it “away” somewhere his sister couldn’t get it) so we literally just went quickly down the drive way of our condo complex. It was definitely a different experience though. I could tell that Daisy needs a good cleaning again after our windy dusty “spring” (read: dust blowing into garage onto what was once a pretty clean bike).

Observation: The kids are SQUISHED. (see photo)

These are actually happy faces, but more like “Why have we stopped!”

Second observation: The seat caves in a wee bit, hence the EXTRA squishiness. I’m not sure if this is something the kids will learn to have to deal with or if there’s a way of solutionizing this?

Thankfully though, this allows for “oh look we need more milk” runs without strollering. Also school runs will gloriously be speedy and exercise filled! Sure there’s only like 10 classes left, but still, it’s a future. And plans for more park exploration are on the horizon. There’s a very very awesome park a few neighbourhoods over (I’m talking massive green area, huge selection of climbing and swinging and kid-being) and I’d love to NOT be the parent who has to drive there to make it before nap time.

Things learned though: Lili LOVES (and I do mean LOVES) bikes. Recently we ran across a wooden balance bike (that I just checked the price on and sighed desperately) and had the funds (and store) been available, would have been now ridden to exhaustion, and back. She has since tried to sit on her aunt’s road bike (perhaps another post…) and tries to climb onto her tricycle all the time. Bike collecting in our house? Going to be popular!!

So I’m wondering, do any of you have any experience with bike trailers or even biking with 1 semi self-reliant training wheels required boy and 1 definitely needing containment almost 2 year old? I’d like something that I can at least attempt to use most of the year long, but I know winters here are going to be pushing it when it comes to biking.

Comments are MORE than appreciated!

Disappointment leads to New Beginnings

Disappointment leads to New Beginnings

**Note this is a pretty old post that I put off until I got better pictures/time to re-write it so it was done well, I’ve given up though, and will just post as is and then maybe work on a follow up post that I can get done sooner than later. It’s nice outside and Ms. Galaxie needs to get out on the road!!**

Remember our Lovely Lady of Raleigh? The gorgeous undated one with the impossible to find 28″ wheels and the GORGEOUS headbadge and chainwheel and and and? Yeah me too. Turns out though that my BARELY 5’5″ self would, in NO WAY, be able to safely or comfortably. Thank goodness for Keith at EBC huh? Saved me lots of money spent on parts that would then do nothing for ME.

But all is not lost dear blog readers, in fact with the help of Deborah I have now PURCHASED (as in she’s mine, ALL MINE!) the lovely CCM Galaxie that we found in the yard a few weeks ago.

Here are hopefully better pictures that I got in the lovely warmth of the EBC shop. I cannot wait to tackle the clean up, especially knowing how well some of our cleaning supplies work!!

So here we go:

Look at the curves!!! BEAUTIFUL!
I’ve done a few hours of research and have yet to find a Galaxie with the same curves. I found one similar (a 1965 Galaxie) but it’s a men’s frame and thus the curves are slightly opposite (still gorgeous though). Other galaxies that I can find pictures of don’t have the same curve on either the stay or the top tube, in fact both are straight as an arrow, regardless of step through frame or not. I’m not sure what this means exactly, and it’s proving hard to find info on Galaxies that haven’t been taken apart and turned into low-rider muscle type steeds of (in my very humble but biased opinion) less awesome (yet still awesome.)
Headbadge & Seattube Decals
 I was a bit (tiny bit) saddened by the fact that the headbadge is literally JUST a decal but at least it’s there right? If I had the knowledge I’d maybe guess that it’s some sign of value or something, but it could just be a sign of the times? Regardless of the “quality” of the headbadge, I’m still glad to know she has one, so there’s no doubt at all of her authenticity.
Adventure, Discoveries…..cue RESEARCH!

Adventure, Discoveries…..cue RESEARCH!

Two Sundays ago a few of us (read: myself and Deborah and Audrey) ventured out to Edmonton Bicycle Commuters (EBC) to find some spare parts we were told existed NOT on eBay alone.

Sadly the part(s) we were searching for (namely rear fender reflectors for Nicki’s Winnie) were not in existence. All was not lost though!! There were some WONDERFUL finds in their stock piles outside (in the chilly snowy winter weather). Most of the bikes they have (either for sale or still needing mega work) are men’s styles or newer and sportier, which is fine, really, but its not what we’re about…so they were skipped over.

So it went, skipping over sporty bike after sporty bike…until we noticed this beauty:

 

Of course we have no dates or true history behind this bike, but we do know CCM Galaxie for a name (more than we had on Winnie) and I personally LOVE the curves here, most of the bikes I’ve seen only have our lovely loops on the bottom tube, this came as complete surprise! In the top picture you can also see the CCM Chainwheel (I thought I’d gotten a better picture inside the shop where we found one on it’s own in the parts buckets but sadly no) and while Winnie OUGHT to have one, I personally like the chainwheel she has now, it feels more… historic, or something.
That was exciting enough no? Finding a pretty loop frame with some vintage parts? Getting cute pictures? Oh but wait!! Deborah spotted THIS beauty buried in the snow pushed aside (and probably forgotten)

What you see here ladies and gents, is a (can I say rare? OOOh can I? Done!!) “rare” Eaton’s Glider… and this alone was incredibly exciting… until… wait for it… we realized that the distance between seat post and handle bars was small… perhaps this was a kids bike? We’re pretty sure she is, and as an added bonus, she has the chain guard in tact (with just a bit of rust, probably a clear coat protection would keep her pretty and vintage and covetable (as in I wish I was a kid so I could ride her). Check it out:

 
Considering she’s probably spent many a yucky day in the elements, I’d say she’s in decent if not good condition…and the colour!! SO gorgeous. Deborah & I think this is a bike we should restore together… we’ll let Audrey have it now and then when she finally out grows it I’ll force Liliana onto it (and I’m not even kidding!). Oh the accessories we could buy! (Oh the places you’ll go!)
These 2 bikes alone made my day. We were enamoured with the Eaton’s Glider, excited about the CCM Galaxie… and then… and then dear readers another WONDERFUL discovery by Deborah… and one that I couldn’t walk away from, no matter how hard I tried.
  
  
  
 

I’m not even gonna lie you guys, I am 100% in LOVE. The head badge alone had me sold and the absolutely divine curve on the bottom bar…WOW. She has rod brakes (which I’m still learning about, as in I just know they’re different and less reliable and possibly not as safe as caliper brakes? – correct me if I’m wrong, I’m going just one the bit of research I’ve done!). It looks like the rear brake would need to be completely re-done since there’s no rear wheel (something I’ll get to right away) though Deborah had an awesome suggestion of just going with a coaster brake for the rear, which will then make the rod brake less the only style I have (and since I’d ride in some wet conditions…it’d be a plus!).

And then we searched the wheel size, in the first picture you see it “requires 28″ wheels, and so we tried to price them out. Someone on eBay was selling a 28” wheel with a 3 speed hub …any guesses to how much it ended up going for? Yeah…almost $400 Canadian + shipping and handling. Needless to say I’m now less excited about trying to work on this Raleigh (even though I’m in love and want sooo badly) until I’ve done more research on rear wheels, and options I’ll have when it comes to replacement…

Some Pashley’s have 28″ wheels right? So maybe I’ll go to RedBike and see what they can do. Alternatively…is it possible to put a slightly different size wheel on? How much does that affect the bike? 28″ isn’t common but what if a 28 1/2″ is easier to find? Or do I need to go slightly smaller? Can I even find an appropriate size without totally breaking the bank? I want this bike SO much (I barely stop looking at the pictures!) but I cannot justify $400 or even close to that just for the rear wheel and hub…UGH!

Anyway, now that I’ve stopped complaining, enjoy our finds, covet along with us, and if you have suggestions or solutions we haven’t though of, PLEASE share!!

Coveting

Coveting

So I went online to find other bikes more like Winnie and Mary Poppins, hoping that maybe someone is willing to ship to me or even to find something online. So far nothing has shown up that I want to go out and buy right now (mostly because of the whole shipping across borders, etc) BUT….I have found some lovely covetable items that in a perfect world I’d have lined up in a pretty little arrangement so I could pick which bike matches my outfit. Holy run-on sentences!

Firstly, it has been decided that Daisy NEEDS a wicker basket, I’m thinking appearance somewhat like this:

But imagine it on a wicker basket (though I’d happily settle for the white metal ones, I just think wicker would suit Daisy better…..what do you think?

Alright, so now Daisy has a pretty basket with a pretty (possibly custom) liner, that alone WOULD be enough for a regular girl right? But for me? Not even close!!

Thankfully Deborah sent me this LOVELY NOS (New Old Stock) Dynamo generator and light set (very very similar to what Nicki has, but it’d be MINE!!) and it’s very hard for me to not go crazy with the bidding RIGHT now. I do think though that adding a light would only encourage more twilight pretty rides for coffee or tea or dessert and how better to justify those sweets than by using my body to get me there!?

Now for the biggest (and best change). Daisy WILL have new handle bars. Right now she has these horrid things:

Sure these aren’t THAT bad, they suit the bike, etc, but to me they scream BMX or something similar to the late 80’s early 90’s and that just seems incredibly….WRONG! Daisy has such pretty curves everywhere else, her handle bars and grips made no sense, at all!
What I want to get will be something similar to what is on Mary Poppins and Winnie. I’m trying to find a good picture, or option to buy and all I can find right now is on eBay but I’m not sure if they’re the right size, so I guess I’ll have some researching to do on that.
Now, if I have shiny chrome handle bars it only stands to reason that I’ll need to have MORE chrome elsewhere..I’m thinkin a new chain guard and possible a new rear rack, it’ll balance out the excess of red (mmmm cherry red!) without being too obnoxious…and if I’m doing chrome everywhere else, do I do a chrome (look) basket? So many decisions, so much money to spend!
Daisy & dating

Daisy & dating

Firstly, apologies for my utter disappearance, while I’d like to say I have an excellent excuse the truth is that I just got dissapointed in the back story to my Daisy.

  The photo from the Kijiji listing – yay for TwitPic!

So, I’ve yet to find any markers actually identifying a brand or date ON the frame, and the only date I found is based purely on my Shimano shifter puts THOSE around 1987. I can’t be sure on the rest though as I’ve yet to find any other dating marks. Such is life.

It’s not that I don’t love Daisy, she’s gorgeous and I’ve put in plenty of thought on how to make her MORE my bike, how to make her more “retro” and less looking like she has BMX parts and more like she’s a dainty, sturdy steel steed!

Sadly though, my hard drive has been compromised and I’m now missing all my pictures, for now I’ll say go look at these two posts for references, maybe someone out there on the google machines will recognize a part of label and have a better idea of who Daisy is, since I’m STILL manufacturer-less. (And still hoping that she’s older and just has new parts (which I know is a far possibility, but still a possibility!)

Daisy discovered?

Daisy discovered?

Well, it turns out that my blackberry has a far better zoom, allowing me to get MUCH better close ups of parts on Daisy!

The best I can do for now, but this is the shifting set 🙂

A better shot of the brakes. (Forged Star = brand?)
I just thought this shot was pretty!
Now that I have these better close ups though I notice how dirty she is, a few puddles on my part and who knows how long she was neglected have meant a nice bunch of dirty spots.
I also noticed a few more spots where the paint has been rubbed right off (more noticeable in my first set of pictures) and am now going to figure out the best way to tackle this…do I try to do touch ups (obviously post clean up) or do I just hope that sealing the scratches will stop any further wear?
Pictures of Ms Daisy

Pictures of Ms Daisy

Apologies off the bat for the poor quality of these pictures, I guess our camera is pretty outdated now, and am pretty sure I could get better zoom pictures with my phone (perhaps will try).

A close up of the only indentification I can find, not very helpful in the ways that I’ve searched, but perhaps someone else will have a better idea of WHERE to search or what to search for…Yeah?

The other form of identification on the bike, sadly in actuality it is just an abbreviated form of “Pro Tour” logo. At least you can see my pretty fenders here though, lovely cherry red everywhere 🙂

Out of focus yes, but this is the last version of the logo I have, again nothing specific, and the lack of manufacturer identity has really started to irk me. REALLY. Started. To. Irk. Me. Oh well…

My favourite (ok one of my favourite) parts of my bike is the chain guard. Regardless of whether Daisy is a retro/vintage/whatever type of bicycle, the chain guard gives her this bit of class that I love to bits. Bits and pieces. Plus having the chain covered means more cute biking clothes for me! (and less worry of said things getting AS tangled!)

Upon today’s pictures I discovered the rear fender that rubs against the tire actually has worn the tire a very little, but nothing serious that would need fixing right now vs another day. I forgot to get a picture of the handle bars, but think bmx-style grips from the 80’s that would’ve been on your bike (as a kid):

 Except mine are dirtier and just not pretty at all. I’d love to get some lovely LOVELY ones with intricacies that only I’d notice (or another biker girl who’d actually be up close and personal with daisy and notice them)…anyone have any suggestions?
Those are all the pictures I have for now, I need a better macro type zoomability to be able to show off any of the parts with identification on them…though I’m almost at a point where I hold little hope for much more than my bike having existed (because I know this much!)
Ms Daisy, a brief intro…

Ms Daisy, a brief intro…

Unlike Deborah’s wonderful researched entries with wonderful pictures and information, I have very little to say about Ms Daisy. I’ve tried my best to do research but apparently “Pro Tour” and bike means a lot of things NOT to do with retro-ish bicycles. Go figure 😛

So here’s what I do have, *right now* 1 lovely picture I took the day I bought her, with my blackberry no less:

The only identifiers I’ve been able to notice is “Pro Tour” on the bottom diagonal bar, plus a sticker with “PT” on the one vertical bar. I plan on going to capture better images of these (since my camera now has batteries) so I can better research ANY kind of history with my bike.
She’s also in need of lots of attention, I’m not entirely sure how long the previous owners had her sit (or where for that matter) but I’m sure she needs new tubes (and possibly new tires as they seem dry and worn) and definitely needs some brackets straightened. Specifically one fender wire/bracket – not sure on specific wording – is bent or crooked which makes the tire rub just a little on the fender, I haven’t noticed any signs of wear on that side of the tire. I don’t think it’s a damaging kind of rub, but when I ride I can hear it, and that’s enough to drive me bonkers!
Next spring (or possibly over winter as I imagine I’ll have more time to fiddle, but less options for purchasing…) I plan on on replacing the handle bar covers – I’d prefer to stick with the white, but avoid the BMX feel that they have now. And I’ll reassess the seat as I go, I’d probably put the seat on the last replacement since it is infact in good condition but isn’t exactly the comfiest of seats out there. And finally, I’ll need a basket for the front! My first thought was to go with a wicker type basket, but now I’m thinking based on what Deborah found for basket liners that if I could learn to make my own it’d be even more original of me (and cuter – and washable!) and make Daisy even better.
Next up: getting more pictures, I’m going to tackle as many identifiers as I can so I can find out *who* my bike is/was. I tweeted that a few days ago and (although briefly) was made fun of it, but I feel so attached to her already that I want to put and identity to the bike. She NEEDS a story!!