The 365 Cyclist

Cycling Year Round in Canada

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

Bike Spotting

I came across this bike as I was entering the Cawthra Hockey Arena for my son’s hockey game this afternoon. This is a tandem bicycle with an electric assist. It looked heavy … like a bicycle bus. I thought it was interesting so I took a pic.

Electric Tandem at the Rink

There was one large battery mounted but it looked like you could mount two batteries. That is one serious powered rear hub.

Lost my Brakes Today

I knew my brakes on my “Bad Boy” were wearing down. I tightened the rear brakes up as much as I could prior to my morning ride today. My “Bad Boy” has Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes. The “BB” stands for Ball Bearing.

As I started a descent it happened … no rear brakes. I was able to slow using the front brake. I know from experience that jamming the front brakes can result in a trip over the handlebars. So I took it easy and headed home.

I took the bike to the bike shop this afternoon and got new pads. Bike brake pads are sure a lot cheaper than car brakes. They were $20.

Avid BB5 Brake Pads

Upon inspection the used pads were worn down to the shoe. Nothing left. These were the original pads on my Bad Boy. I had no idea how long a set of pads should last. I had about 2,500 km on that pair.

I am in the habit of favouring my rear brakes. The pair we installed today are metallic. Paul, at the bike shop, explained that there are organic and metallic pad options. The metallic last longer but can be prone to squeal. We’ll see how these last.

Biking in South Africa

Rethinking my bike trip to Africa.

He was hit by an Antelope.

Alex’s New 24″ Trek Mountain Bike

My neighbour, Alex, got a new 24″ Trek mountain bike. He moved up from a 20″. Here is a video from our ride last Sunday when we tested it out on the paths and trails at Erindale Park along the Credit River.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Ride

I thought it would be fun to do a little ride to Niagara-on-the-Lake one evening. This week was ideal because I took Thursday off to celebrate American Thanksgiving. I decided to leave work a little early on Wednesday and head to Niagara-on-the-Lake knowing that I could sleep in the next morning.

I installed a seat post mount rack onto the Guru and filled a single pannier. I was ready for a nice ride.

Guru Equipped for Touring

As I left the driveway I heard a THUMP. Darn it, my pannier fell off the rack. Well it’s a big bump at the end of my driveway so I realized that I had better take it easy over the bumps. I re-attached the pannier and took off.

As I started down Glen Erin Blvd past St. Claire school I hear THUMP. Dag Nabbit … there is my pannier in the middle of the road again. Something’s not right.

Another kilometer … THUMP. Another 2 km … THUMP. My pannier is starting to get ragged from being tossed onto the road so much. I figure that there is no way I’ll make it to Niagara-on-the-Lake with my pannier in one piece.

I stopped and made a phone call to my bike shop (Van de Velo). I said “I’ve got a problem and I’m coming in.” I felt like an indy driver calling into the pit crew.

There were some problems with my rack attachment and pannier clips. Paul, the owner and chief mechanic, modified the clips and mounted a sturdier rack on the back.

Fixing the Rack

It took a little while to figure everything out and swap the racks. I lost some daylight but at least the problem was fixed.

I headed down to the Lakeshore and was on my way.

Lake Ontario

It was pretty windy and the sound of waves crashing onto the beach was pretty nice. As I approached Burlington it was getting dusk.

Burlington at dusk

I was carrying about 20-25 pounds of gear (I’ll pack lighter next time). The weight was not much problem when I was moving but when I stopped the front wheel kept turning and the bike wanted to fall over. It was really annoying. I decided to head to Mountain Equipment Co-op and get a second pannier to balance the load. MEC wasn’t too far off my route but I ended up killing another hour getting there, shopping, installing the second pannier and redistributing my load. Now I was ready to go. The only problem was that I had killed the afternoon and only got about 40km … I had 80 km to go and it was dark.

This is the last picture I took because all of the rest turned out black.

Hamilton at Night

I had my Cygolites charged and a recharge pack as well. I knew I had about 4 hours of night riding. I’ve been practicing night riding and I am comfortable riding in the dark. But my night rides have only been 60-90 minutes so far.

My plan was to follow the Waterfront Trail the whole way to Niagara-on-the-Lake. When the sun went down the temperature dropped to near zero. I put on an extra base layer and as long as I was moving I was comfortable. When I stopped I got cold.

I stopped for a meal around 7:30 in Grimsby. I was going to lock my bike to a fence but as I approached the fence I did not see 6″ of standing water in the weeds until too late. I stepped in and both my feet were soaked. I was a little worried about wet feet, zero degrees and two hours to go.

My socks were wool. I had only bought them a few days earlier for winter riding. My feet remained wet but the wool held the heat and it was not a major problem.

I arrived at Niagara-on-the-Lake at 10:30pm. My Cygolites worked the whole way … over four hours of night riding and still going. I was really impressed by that. Those light are amazing.

I enjoyed riding at night. The wind died down and the traffic was almost non-existant after 8pm. I was rolling down country roads and along the lake enjoying the lights from Toronto and the stars above.

The ride was 120km and I was pedalling at an easy pace (16-20km). Rolling time 6:25. Total time, with all the stopping, 9:13. My worst case planned scenario was 10 hours so I wasn’t disappointed. I had some leg left but after working that morning for 6 hours and then riding for 9 hours I was just plain tired.

This was my longest distance ride; my longest solo ride; my longest night ride; and the ride with the most problems. It was also one of my best rides.

The next morning my legs still felt good and I started pedaling home around 10AM. I got to Welland and had to wait about 20 minutes for a ship to pass through the lock.

Ship at Welland

It was windy and 1 degree Celcius … I got very cold waiting. The headwind was strong and was wearing me down. My legs were feeling heavier and heavier. I started thinking about Turkey and Football. I decided to call my pit crew (Denise). She picked me up in St. Catherine and we rode home to enjoy the rest of Thanksgiving day together.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Ride 120km


Credit River Ride on a Warm November Day

It is November.

This morning it was 14 degrees Celsius (57 F).

We sure have been lucky with the mild temperatures so far. The leaves are off the trees and it feels like winter is coming. Today was a ride along the Credit River while shooting some video of the ride.

Bike Mounted Camera

I have been trying to improve my blogging and vlogging (Video Logging). I have been using my iphone and fuji point and shoot camera to “capture the moment”.  Now I have decided to take my vlogging to the next level. This requires some new video capture solutions … a bike mounted camera.

I was looking at ways to mount my current cameras to the bike. I took a trip to Henry’s Camera in Mississauga to find mounting hardware. We’ll they had exactly what I was looking for, however, there was a GoPro Hero 2 HD sports action camera attached to the mount. What could I do?

So I got my new mount and decided I better figure out how to use the handy camera that came with it.

Night Time is Go Time

With the daylight hours too short I am becoming nocturnal. I am getting more and more comfortable with the night riding. Last night I enjoyed a ride to the Port Credit Pier. Night riding can be exciting or calm and serene. I even had my Christmas spirit kindled when I passed this house along the way.

November 15th and Christmas is coming.

I continue to play around with my iPhone to capture memories of my rides. This video was the result of some one hand riding while holding my iPhone in the other.

Google has been slowly adding cycling paths to their mapping software. I figured that someday it will be awesome to bring up a map with bike trails and paths to allow navigation by bike and minimize streets.

Well that day is here. I have discovered This site maintains a map with more detail and bike paths than any I have found so far. The site is like a Wiki, meaning users can add to the site. If there is a path not on the map then anybody can step up and put it there.

The site shows major bike routes.

AND minor paths and trails.

It seems very accurate and useful. I even did my civic duty and uploaded a name label to the St. Claire School. If you zoom in on the school the label shows up.

I am going to look into how to trace and upload paths so if I navigate a missing path then I can add it. Good stuff!

Windy Ride on Sheridan Bikeway

I took a ride this afternoon along the Sheridan Bikeway.

Sheridan Bikeway

As I headed West it got really windy. I took out the iphone video camera and tried to capture the moment. In hindsight I needed a little more footage to make a decent video but here it is.

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