My Engine Tuning Progress Bar

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Unique Day at My LBS

Saturday April 25 I took a trip back down to Bentley Cycle to check out the new Catrike 700 that Grant Patton, the owner was all excited about. Grant and I have become friends as we are both real recumbent enthusiasts, he either phones or calls me when he gets some new bent or cool accessory in. Plus, he had asked me to pick up a couple of things my local Canadian Tire had but his didn't; so off 110 km to Bentley I went with my son Brian in tow.

When I get there I see this bent parked in front of his store:I get all excited as it is a vintage Rans Nimbus, complete with the old "bucket seat" copy of a plastic chair. Rans just had an article on their site about the history and evolution of their seats, so I was excited to see some recumbent history. Grant got it on trade earlier this winter; he even got an original Rans brochure with the trade. Cool!

Then as I was gaping at the Rans, Grant came out and with his helmet to test ride a bike some one had brought to the store that day to trade on a Catrike expedition. To my amazement I realized that it was a vintage Lightning P38. Wow, I knew more about it than Grant or the owner did!

I had just had to try it out. It was a tight fit and I realize it is too closed a riding position; my areo belly didn't like it. My son Brian took it for a spin and thought it was a cool ride and real easy to ride up the hill that Grants shop resides on. Well now I can add a P38 to my list of 'bents I have test rode!

So needless to say I spent the afternoon riding vintage bikes, testing and comparing a new Catrike Expedition and 700; talking with the owner of the P38; getting him to test ride both trikes and an Easy Racer Tour Easy. I was there for 4 hours but it felt like 20 minutes. What a fantastic way to spend a cold, drizzly, Saturday afternoon!

Its interesting to see a shop like Grants getting more bents while larger, busier bike shops are getting out of the recumbent segment. I guess they just don't get it ......

If you need a new 'bent, trike or a good used recumbent, check out Bentley Cycle, Grant is getting a greater variety of new and used stock all the time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Keeping your seat Dry

I have tried several ways to keep my recumbent seat dry over the last couple of years. From garbage bags to sewing part of a blue tarp to fit. Some successful some not, the blue tarp one was a step in the right direction but was bulky. Lately I thought of redoing the tarp one in a lighter material, but to find the right material was a challenge. Then I remembered back to my hiking days and remembered that I had a rain cover for my JanSport frame pack that worked really well. Hmmm, maybe I could buy one at MEC and cut it up to make one for my seat!

So I headed over to MEC and picked up three items: one Red Zepplin CO2 Inflator with 2-16 oz. cartridges: so I have a pump back up. (hopefully now I'll avoid another escapade like last weekends)A tube of WildBerry Nuun electrolyte drink tablets. It uses a sort of carbonation tablet, so I was surprised when I took my first sip and it shot out like it was under a bit of CO2 pressure.
And I picked up 2 yellow XS Raincovers made of waterproof coated nylon to mangle into shape for seat covers. For only $6 cdn each; they come with a drawstring to snug it down in either black or yellow and a small stuff sack to store it in.

When I got home I wanted to see if they would fit out of curiosity. Well sure enough they fit really good over and under the seat well enough that I will not have to get Alice to chop them up at all. So If you want a cheap seat cover for you recumbent look into xtra small pack rain covers at your Local MEC, REI or camping supply store!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

AN Easter Ride to Remember

Ever have one of those rides when you wish you had never started?

For me My ride home from Church today was one. A little windy, but sunny. I thought it would be great to burn some calories before the big family dinner. So I loaded up the 'bent on the back of the van and went to church. After the service I got changed, got me bike ready and started off on my 17km trip home from Leduc to Calmar west on highway 39. I just got out of town when I heard a pssssst. No problem. My wife should be by any minute, I'll just be lazy and throw the bike on the van and fix it later at home.
15 min later no wife no van. Hmmm, better start fixing the flat. Some one honks their horn - I look up, its my kids, GREAT I am rescued; I wave, they wave, they keep on going.... Did I mention I left my cell phone in the van with my sunglasses. Sigh -
So I start fixing my bike and low and behold Sandy and Murray Greer from Church stop and see if I need help. Naw, I have a patch kit and a PUMP. I got it handled. Start pumping up the tire and for some reason the head keeps popping off the presta head. but I get the air in. So Off they go. Hmm where is Alice? I bet she already went by when I went down a side street to get to the highway. No problem. I got the flat fixed and head off into a nice stiff head wind. Rode about 9 km up the road, just get over the major hill an this route and so I stop for a sip from my Camelback. Okay I am slower than usual for averages but its a nice day.

PSSSSSSSSSSSt - aw no, the same tire went flat.
So I get off the bike, take off the tire and a lady on a bike pulls up and asks if I need help. Nope I got time and the tools I should be okay. So off she goes to Calmar. I get the tube out of the tire, find out I did not set the patch right and so I fixes that. Start to inflate the tube, no air with alot of pumping, what gives? Aaah, the pin holding the lever is out , I pop it back in, and start to pump ... no air, sigh, pin out, put it back; I do do this several times, getting a wee bit frustrated, I might say! Finally I look at the lever on the pump head, what! its cracked, so I flick it with a finger nail and the whole side comes off. No wonder I can't get any pressure, the lever can not hold the valve head open.

Well I wanted to do some cross training this year. I guess circumstances says it will be now. So I put every thing back together and start walking the remaining 8km home.
You figure that someone would have stopped and wondered why a fat cyclist would be walking down the highway pushing his bike, right? NO. I walked 5 km before I stop a fellow coming on to the highway from a side road. Asked to use his cell and called Alice to come pick me up.

By then I was tired grumpy and hungry, and oh yeah 2 hrs past my usual ride time.

So what did I learn?
1) Carry a cell phone on the Highway

2) Carry and extra tube - on the highway

3) Have working pump and a emergency O2 cartridge and inflator as a back up on the highway

4) If you are moving nobody will stop on the highway to ask if you need help

5) Get the wife to come and find me if I am over an hour late , especially If I forget the other 4 items

I hope you had a memorable Easter I did.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Related Info

Hi Again,

Well my riding season is well under way and so far I am on par with last years km or even a bit ahead. I have decided to ride home fro work at least 2 times a week. I've been able to do that since mid March.

I have been impressed with other bloggers adding in more links and articles to their blogs; so I am going to do the same.

I started this blog to help chronicle my endeavors to ride and lose some weight. I started and continue to help run a local cycling group to promote fun, fitness and fellowship into our community. we have seen alot of people start into riding because of this.

Because alot are "new" to riding I found this web/blog site that will really help those who are just getting into this cycling thing anew

Check it out, it has alot of info from chosing a bike to outfitting for a tour and everything in between. I will add this to the side bar for future reference. So stay tuned for more great info taht will encourage you to ride more!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Very Cold Winter

Well, here it is March 12/09
I have 53 km in for the year due to outrageous cold and snow - last Monday it was -52c with the wind chill! BRR, I think things break on bikes when it is that cold. I'm only 14 km short of last year, so I guess it isn't so bad.
Last Saturday I went down to Bentley Cycle and met up with Cornell from Calgary, Both Grant the owner, and him were extolling the benefits of trike ownership. Sorry Guys, I am not ready to convert yet. I have the GRR fever and no funds. But an Expedition could follow me home someday...
Anyways, I was in at Bentley Cycle to pick up my bike from a tune up and to get new rear rim installed. While there Matthew, the tech, saw that my rear derailleur set screw is bent, so now I need a new derailleur- man that sucks. Oh well, the current one should be okay for a month or so until I can save or trade Grant for something.
Oh yeah, I ordered a Dinotte rear light last month for my bike and front light for Alice 's TE when they came up for sale on the website

Mentioned them to Grant and he ordered one too. Here is a photo of how well they light up the rear in snow :

For all the years he has been selling trikes he had never heard of them. Once he got his and saw how amazing bright they are for their size, he is now becoming a dealer for them!
As much as I would like to get a GRR this year it doesn't seem in the cards ( I think I have said that in years past about other bikes I ended up gettin... hmm) So I wanted to add some bling to my TE. But with no funds and too much time on the Internet what could I do? Hmmm, a couple of guys have painted their fairings when they get too scratched up. So I went did some research and Wal la - A cool looking fairing!

Then I got carried away with the paint can ... Painted my kickstand (saved $75 ), sprayed my rear rack (looks new), then my seat supports (awesome now they blend in with the rack supports),

then my front Rim (saved $110) and finally my front cranks.

Result- 1 Cool Looking 'Bent:

(it helps that I was into automotive small damage repair for a couple of years and learned a few tricks that carried over to this project). So I saved a lot of moula and got a cool bike until my GRR. So stay tuned as the season is upon us I hope to write a bit more often and will do some reviews and stuff too.
Ride safe ...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Last Sunday I hit a milestone, my odometer went over 7000 kilometers (on a recumbent).
I started on this journey in August 2002. I couldn't even ride 1 kilometer without being totally winded then. Last summer I did 165 km in 1 day easy. Am I proud of this accomplishment? ... no; satisfied? ... Yes! My life has altered dramatically since I first saw a real 'bent at Bentley Cycle that August. No longer a couch potato drooling his life away in front of a TV, I spend alot of my time cycling and doing stuff related to cycling. My holidays are filled with kilometers cycled instead of watching a campfire all day. I have seen beautiful vistas, met people from all over N.A. and slept in a horse tack barn. I even started a bike club so I could ride with others like minded; in doing so has touched alot of people in my area.
Here is alist of some of the rides I've done:
Ms Tour ... Completed ... June 05, 06 ,07, 08,
EBTC Tour de Alberta ... Completed ... July 06, 08 4:45 rt
David Thompson Hi-way Sask Crossing To Thompson Resort ... Completed ... Aug 07, 08
Leduc to Hastings lake ... Completed ... July 07. May 08
Calmar to Thorsby ... Completed ... Juy 06, July 07, Aprl 08
Calmar to Wizard Lake ... Completed ... July 06, 07
Calmar to Devon Short way return ... Completed ... Aug 06
Oregon Bent Retreat ... Completed ... Aug 06
Westside Kelowna Crystal Mtn ski hill road to Lake ... Completed ... Aug 06
KVR Railway Kelowna to Naramata ... Completed ... Aug 06
Kootenai Valley Sandon to Castlegar ... Completed ... July 07 10 day Tour
North Side Of Bow Pass To Sask Crossing ... Completed ... 07
Edmonton River Valley ... Completed ... Sept 07
Bow Valley Park Way ... Completed ... Oct 07 Upper half
Calmar to Devon Long way return ... Completed ... Jun 08
Hiawatha trail , Montana ... Completed ... July 08
TOT Cour d’lene 08 Centennial trail Plummer to Mullan ... Completed ... July 08
10 day Trip 1st standard century 100miles -165km
Bike 4 Bibles - Drayton Valley to Rocky Mtn house & Back ... Completed ... July 08 -215 k Pigeon Lake Loop ... Completed ... Aug 08
Devon trails ... Completed ... Aug 08
Calmar to Devon s24o... Completed ... Aug 08

This year I hope to surpass the 10,000 km mark. Am I a super cyclist? ... no just a fellow trying to lose 100lbs; live longer, life fuller and touch a few peoples lives in a small way. Stay tuned for lot more kilometers to come - God Willing


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

I hope you have a good year of riding, adventure, oppurtunities to meet new people and make a couple of new friends!

I wanted to roll out my year starting with a brisk ride around my small town. So I bundled up, got out the GPS (for mileage) and hopped on my 'bent for quick ride. Well, as the ride progressed I felt great; warm, dispite the -19c temps and N.E. wind (5km) and the road was surprisingly good. I soon realised that the rural gravel roads were hard packed and made for great cycling. So I headed down a couple of roads that I never would ride in the summer and looped around the north part of town on very quiet country, scenic byways.

I learned a couple of things while riding in the winter. When I stop or slow down, my glasses fog up. If I didn't go fast enough for a cold breeze to keep them clear, I was quickly blinded. Ever try wiping iced up glasses with big heavy gloves on? When I took the gloves off and wiped the glasses, they would stay moist. So I quickly tried to put them back on and attempted to get up enough speed so they would not fog up! Had to do this a couple of times before I got it. Guess I had on the right stuff! My body was pumping out alot of warmth and moisture.

The other thing was in the winter gravel roads can get packed enough to make local rides a bit of an adventure!
Orginally I went out for a token 2-3 km ride;
I ended up doing 8.5 km.
Woo Hoo!
Not bad for riding a 'bent with 1.25" smooth tires!

I hope to do a bit better riding this next year.
I made some goals today and I want to ride 20% more this year; increasing commutes, days riidden, centuries and tours. So drop by and see how I am doing. Hopefully I'll do some more reviews and stuff too.

Take Care,