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Category: Sears Free Spirit (Salmon Ella)

How do you do….Bike Storage?

How do you do….Bike Storage?

Where the “Second Car” ought to be. (yay no 2nd car!)

It’s spring cleaning time and I’ve decided to tackle the garage first. Mostly because the bulk of my “possessions” (not clothing, books, or kid things) are in the garage….aka, my lovely bikes 🙂


(See: Ella, Daisy, Galaxie, Gino (which is actually a long term loaner to the Hubs, but he still counts), and Free Loading Bike (a mountain bike who shall (for seriously) become my winter-ish bike). Not to mention the Foldy Twins, Damien’s Spider Man bike, and Liliana’s Trike. Oh…and 2 different trailers (one of which was turned into a storage center so all bikey bits stay in one place.) Some of these are admittedly in various states of needing work to be rideable)

I’ve hit a road block though. I’d like to find some more cohesive manner of storing them than stacked along the sides in a non-accessible way. Currently if I wanted to work on my Galaxie, I’d need to move at least 3 bikes, plus or minus a few kids bikes or parts.

The biggest problem I face is that I have a huge garage that I’d like to make as multi purpose as possible (aka on a rainy day, moving the mom-mobile and letting the kids ride around in the double garage would be fantastic). However, with my bike collection currently the opening is close to that of my van. So…not exactly great riding space.

Current options in stores or online seem to be aimed towards either apartment dwelling or bicycles with straight top tubes instead of my plethora of step through variants.

My biggest hindrance at this time is cost and time. I’d like something affordable and safe, but also don’t want to spend a month building something that will require me having to ask for tonnes of help. (aka my dad just left from a brief visit yesterday and I’m gonna guess he’ll be hesistant to come back out if his first “project” is bike sorting).

Current options that I am considering:

Canadian Tire sells simple vinyl coated hooks, meant for bike storage. They’re incredibly affordable ($0.94 each) and I’d like to think when used properly, would easily support a bicycle. I’m thinking some sort of staggered hook placement that each bike would need to be measured for before hand (thus every bike in it’s place?) but I’m not sure if my garage has the right spacing between studs to allow this to be done quickly and easily or if I’ll be building around them to make it work. (I guess this means going and measure precisely which bikes need which space and which can go where?)

My dad suggested using a pulley and some hooks to haul bikes up to the rafters. At first I thought this a brilliant idea until the only hooks I could find were a: uncoated or coated with an abrasive substance  and b: definitely not going to work for any bike except possibly Gino. So yes, he’d be up and out of the way, but he’s also the bike Hubs prefers to “ride”, aka foot along the paths with the kids with, so it’d be slightly impractical to put him up except for in winter.

So how do you store bikes? In home or garage? Did you build something up or do you do the “stack along the wall” method?

((ETA: Upon browsing Canadian Tire’s website for a link/photo of the desired cheap hook I found this:  Bicycle Lift. Anyone used something similar? It looks like it might actually work for all my bikes, which would potentially mean that, assuming they all are similar enough to not require adjustments all the time, it’d be a viable option to at least keep whichever is the currently least used bike up “out of the way”.))

Whoops! (Introducing… Salmon Ella, a Sears Free Spirit mixte)

Whoops! (Introducing… Salmon Ella, a Sears Free Spirit mixte)

Salmon Ella! (Ella for short)
Oopsie. I bought a mixte.
It appears that I have a bicycle fetish, in addition to my shoe fetish.
(At least she was only $30.)
The photos really don’t do her paint colour justice.
Where it has been scraped you can see the red undercoat under the pearlized salmon-pink topcoat.
Headbadge decal.
Decal on bottom tube.
Assembled In Canada decal. I wonder what the numbers mean?
The frame serial number is stamped into the rear fork.
The drop bars are stamped SAKAE CUSTOM JAPAN and ROAD CHAMPION.
Sakae Ringyo (or SR) are a Japanese parts-maker according to Sheldon Brown,
and their parts may allow me to find a date for this bike based on this article from Vintage Trek.I added a huge, loud ding-dong bell (seen in the drop bar picture above)
while I was at EBC with my SIL replacing the brake pads:

Right now the bars are wrapped with cotton tape, which looks incredible
but I am not finding very comfortable, so I will need to test out alternatives then rewrap.
The rubber hoods over the hand brakes are still pretty supple despite the cracks visible here.
The bottom bracket, chainwheel and pedal parts are stamped SAKAE as well,
with CUSTOM-A stamped on the cranks (which are cotterless).
Shimano Altus derailleur
Rear cogs and rear derailleur also stamped Shimano.
CHANG-STAR U brakes.
Aluminum rear mudguard (the front one is missing).
Aren’t the rims pretty? The tires are marked
28-630 ( 27 x 1 1/8 )
Vinyl spring mattress saddle.

So, my first trip on Ella was awkward but fun. Having (barely) ridden my SIL’s very gorgeous Italion Fiori fancy & expensive road bike (another Kijiji find, we’re just lucky :P), I was prepared for the angle and difference in feel of the bike when compared with Daisy or other “normal” bikes…what I was NOT prepared for though was the difference with the frame vs hers. My frame feels slightly more forgiving than a rigid road bike, and I’m going to guess that’s probably not all in my head? After reading a few posts on Lovely Bicycle! about drop bars, racing bikes, etc, I’m totally enamoured with the different workout I get. On Saturday (a picnic party in a park!) I did roughly 5km (2 laps of Hawrelak park road which I’ve discovered is 2.4 km plus biking around and going over the bridge to the zoo) and definitely felt a new muscle “ache”. I say ache because it wasn’t really ache so much as a noticeable change in which muscles were used. It’s GREAT!!

Downside to Ella’s mixte frame (I’m reaching for these):

  •  Her angles are definitely different from what I’m used to, so when I tried to step through…lets say it was weird. It’s not impossible to doing a rolling dismount, it just will take practice.
  • Because of the double bars the width of the “top” bars is more than I was expecting, especially when having to hop off quickly because some idiot car cuts you off…you know? So I have a large (1″ by 6″) bruise on my inner thigh. It’ll heal, and it’s good for bragging rights 😛
  • The tires are high pressure which means they absorb nothing. Which is fine so long as you lift up when going down the bumpiest/potholiest roads EVER. Lesson learned!

All in all I’m IN LOVE. Seriously, the difference in muscles used and the awesome speed completely justify the total of $40 invested thus far.

Things I need to think about:

  • new wrap on the bars, have you any suggestions? I had a sore palm after my first “big” ride but I think that was more new positions. I do know I need to lower my seat a bit and fix the angle properly so I’m not using my arms and hands as much.
  • new seat. This is an “eventually” since her seat is actually pretty decent. In a perfect world I think I’d be getting a Brooks…but that might be a save up and take my time to get.
  • front fender. I might just do away with it for the time being, I’d like something matching IF I were to put a fender on, so maybe I’ll be looking to buy some pretty ones online…Ohhhh the possibilities!

I really think that’s it, unless I’m missing something drastically needing replacement? Yikes?

I Fail At #30DaysOfBiking (Week 1)

I Fail At #30DaysOfBiking (Week 1)

I signed up for this cool thing that some nice people in Minnesota are organizing. The idea is that you ride your bicycle every day for 30 days, starting September 1st, and tweet about it using the #30DaysOfBiking hashtag, or blog about it, or otherwise discuss online. Doesn’t that sound like terrific fun? And a nifty way to force yourself to bike that extra little bit, and blog that extra little bit? And don’t you want to have spoke cards like theirs, and just generally be part of the awesomeness?

On Day 1, I tried out my coblogger Angel’s new-to-her mixte Ella, while our boys had a playdate:

(Yes, this is another amazing Kijiji find. Angel knows how to score the good stuff. Full post to follow.)

This was my first time ever on a mixte, and my first time on a bike with dropped bars since about junior high and my crush on Duran Duran. So may I say, wow, it feels very different to ride leaning far forward and resting more on your pelvis and less on your tush. The bike itself is swift and light and shifts effortlessly between the gears. The step-through on the mixte frame isn’t as low as I would prefer for carrying a load on the back, so I would use one for recreational rides, or commuting if I didn’t have too much stuff to bring with me. I definitely want to borrow this bike for a longer ride (mine was under 5 minutes) and get a better feel for it.

For Day 2, I went on a twilight ride around the block with my 7-year-old daughter. I rode Mary Poppins, with the addition of some Knog lights I had purchased recently. A white 4-LED Skink went on Mary’s basket, and I was surprised by how bright it actually was. For rides on brightly-lit streets it made a passable substitute for a proper headlight:

I also attached a 2-LED Beetle to the rear rack, and a 1-LED Frog for under the seat on Audrey’s bike (you can see it in her photo above). The bendy silicone straps made them really easy to put on and take off, they hardly wiggled at all during the ride, and they were visible from a fair distance.

We got to see this lovely sunset view across the soccer field, and some rabbits that my phone camera was unable to show you:

On the morning of Day 3, Audrey rode her bicycle to and from her newly-opened elementary school. I got to pull her little brother in a wagon, since he can’t keep up on his bike yet. I want a bakfiets, please.

I’m impressed with how much use the bicycle racks are getting, despite an atrociously-worded we-discourage-you-bringing-such-items-to-school-and-can-take-no-responsibility-if-they-get-stolen paragraph in the school handbook:

I got to admire the bikes of friends at a picnic in Hawrelak Park during the afternoon of Day 4. (I live far enough away that riding to the picnic with my kids in tow was not an option, sadly.)

However, non-cycling daytime plans with friends, a cold and a migraine and rainy weather, and the needs of my family and new 4-month-old puppy took precedence over solo bike rides on days 3-5. Lame sauce! Clearly I am going to need to be very proactive about scheduling in some solo riding time or getting hubby to watch my little guy (he’s too big for most bike child seats) so I can ride with my little girl to her school in the mornings… or get myself that bakfiets so I can ride with both kids.

Despite my apparent slackerness, I am intending to get back on the horse and keep trying to ride daily. I hope my persistance will pay off!

Day 6 update: after supper tonight I took Audrey for a 45 minute ride around our neighborhood, on the Violet-plus-trailer-bike setup we used on the suburban Critical Lass ride. We swung past the community garden and the new elementary schools, then turned and headed south to explore the roads where houses have been built in the past couple of years (I love the way the exteriors of the duplexes recall the area around Dalhousie University in the south end of Halifax). We stopped and took some photos by a little park with a pretty pond just as the wind started to pick up (brr, it is starting to REALLY feel autumnal). As we rode home we were rewarded with amazing pinks and violets in the sunset.