Sunday, March 29, 2009

I have come so far

I remember being 12-13 years old and going to the Beaches Cyclery at Queen and Woodbine with my friend Mike. We were both total newbs at the time, but loved riding and as race results would show over the next few years, we were also pretty quick for our age.

I guess we went in one time with muddy bikes or something, and the mechanic/only guy working there at the time just went off on us, repeatedly referring to us as "mudsuckers" and telling us how he would drop us on the trails on his fixed gear bike. As a matter of fact, this was the 1st instance of contemptuous FG rider behavior I ever experienced (this guy was well over a decade ahead of the curve).

Well, grumpy Beaches Cyclery mechanic from 1995, I can totally see where you were coming from now. Except now the equipment obsessed culture of mountain biking (and cycling in general) has even more useless gadgetry with which to enthrall misled youth (and adults for that matter). Hell, even fixed gears are on the bleeding edge of bike-lust right now, instead of being a reaction against it. Assuming your rant was catalyzed by some sort of strong anti-consumerist ethos, then it took a while, but I have come around and can see your point of view. Even while still spending a huge percentage of my take home pay on unnecessary bike related nonsense.

On the other hand, if you were just calling out a couple of 13 year olds for not being as fast as you, then I am calling you out right now. If you are reading this (which you aren't, but if anybody knows the guy wrenching at BC in 1995....) then please accept my challenge to a head-to-head fixed gear race in the Don. I was just in there yesterday on my fixed CX bike killing it, and I am reasonably certain I could drop you, even if your 30s were kind to you and you did not stop riding your bike and gain a few dozen pounds.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thought of the day

Neil Young's 'Old Man' is just as much about the young man realizing he will one day be an old bitter fuck as much as the old man accepting he was once a young idealistic twit.

Friday, March 13, 2009

No Such Thing..... a victimless crime.

After working a ridiculously long (but par for the course) 14 hour day setting up for the bike show yesterday, and then enjoying a couple of adult beverages that my boss was kind enough to bring us at the end of the day, I set about riding home. It is about a 10km commute from the Exhibition grounds where the show is held. Not surprisingly, about 15-20 minutes into the ride, nature called. What followed is pretty good empirical evidence that pride cometh before the fall.

I was still far enough away from home, and the emergency dire enough that I sought out a decent place to relieve myself. I soon found a schoolyard, and a suitably dark corner within it to let nature run its course. I frantically removed my gloves and freed my junk from my jeans, long-johns and boxers. About 70% of the way through said pee, a wave of euphoria washed over me, and maybe it was the beer talking, but I specifically thought to myself: "Man, pissing outside is great. I don't even care if somebody walks up behind me right now, this is totally natural and I ain't hurting nobody". This train of thought took me up to about 95% completion. I finished, zipped up, and put my glove back on for the rest of the ride home.

But where was my other glove?

Oh shit.

On the ground. Soaked.

Moral of the story? Always carry around a spare set of gloves and a plastic bag. (Yes I had both on me)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rap and Cycling

My roommate Ace has had a fair amount of influence on my musical tastes in the 9 or so years we have known each other. He has stated unequivocally that Mobb Deep's 'The Infamous' is his favourite rap album of ever, and I would have to agree that is is one of the best. Not only is the production throughout the album top notch, but the lyrics are incredibly eloquent for a bunch of 20 year olds talking mostly about stealing shit, selling drugs and killing people. I had previously had conversations equating the song 'Right Back At You' with the cold war concept of mutually assured destruction. But listening to 'Up North Trip' after work yesterday, I could only think of doping in cycling when listening to Prodigy's final verse. Here it is (transcript from

I got the power, combine wit the powder, and water, it oughtta
Drop in a half an hour, in the, form of oil, watch the cocaine boil
Keep my eye on it so the shit won't spoil, then I pause
And ask God why, did he put me on this earth, just so I could die
I sit back and build on, all the things I did wrong, why I'm still breathing
And all my friends gone, I try not to dwell on the subject for a while
Cause I might get stuck in this corrupt lifestyle, but my
Heart pumps foul blood through my arteries, and I can't turn it back
It's a part of me
, too late for cryin, I'm a grown man struggling
To reach the next level of life, without fumbling, down to folding
I got no shoulder to lean on but my own, all alone in this danger zone
Time waits for no man, the streets grow worse, fuck the whole world kid
My money comes first, cause I'm out for the gusto, and trust nobody

If you're not family, then you die by me, cause niggas will have you
locked up
The snitch, be a man, givin police the run down on your plans
We're never goin down like that, so I, shut my mouth and hold my words back

Illegal business, forever mine, fuck payin taxes, the last kid that shitted
And gave police access, to my blueprints, used names as evidence
Skipped town and I haven't seen the snitch nigga ever since
The moral of the story is easy to figure out, a lesson that you can't
live without


Livin' the high life
Makin' moves at night
Packin' heat in this war zone
Niggas is trife
Runnin' from one time*
Ain't no time to slip
Make one false move and it's an up north trip

*Police, for those without a slang enabled browser

Friday, March 6, 2009

Maiden Voyage

So I finished building a fancy carbon road bike yesterday, after getting a sweet deal on my boss' barely used SRAM Force group. (Yes I know I am supposed to hate SRAM, but I will give them a chance when/if the price is right). The build took place at the shop with said boss drinking beer until almost 2am. I was a little worried that the late night would put a damper on my ride, that I was claiming yesterday would be 200km (knowing full well that wasn't going to happen).

So after my bedtime of almost 3 in the morning, I miraculously awoke just after 8 itching to go. Step 1: coffee. Step 2: food. Step 3: getting all my stuff together because I was NOT gonna bring my bag (yeah I know what have you done with the real Andrew you fancy road bike riding HRM wearing imposter). Yes that is right I even wore my heart rate monitor because I am totally cereal, baby!

Out the door around 10:15. Saw my friend/neighbour Adi on the street right by my house and we rode downtown together. He peeled off and I kept riding, stopping to buy some bananas and fix a loose stem clamp about 15km out from home. Took a pee break at exactly 20km and 1hr after leaving my house at Scarlett and Eglinton. I had a general plan to get to King St. (the one north of the city) and ride it west almost to Georgetown, then cut back down to the lakeshore and back home. This was taking into consideration the SW-erly wind, so that I wasn't going to have to fight it too hard on the home stretch.

I rode up Islington out if the city in Zone Chill, with occasional zone "blinky HRM" tempo thrown in to mix things up. Peeled off in Kleinburg, headed a little east then north again on Kipling. Turned into a dirt road after a few km. Then that other road I had planned on turning off on, was also a dirt road. Good thing I got the new bike cheap enough not to covet it.

So after the northbound haul, it was time to turn west, which I knew was going to hurt....but wow. After heading through Bolton, all I could do was turn back south after a couple of clicks because redlining at 20km/h (on 80km/h roads) is neither safe nor fun. The headwind was equally menacing as a crosswind, but at least I could ride at a respectable speed. As I approached Steeles, I remembered the dirt road I had ridden through Claireville Conservation Area this past summer, and figure since the bike was already dirty, I'd give it a shot. Big mistake.

The road was fine for a while, a little soft with some puddles here and there.....but then I hit the ice flows. Some low land by the river that had flooded, froze, and then heaved apart into thousands of chunks of ice that obscured a few hundred meters of the road. Had it still been cold it would have been okay, but the chunks were small enough that many would break or slip as soon as I set foot on them. 15 minutes and a half kilometre later, I cursed the mud clinging to my bike, ate a banana and hit the road once more. The ride home from there was rather uneventful, all on familiar city roads. I was looking at my watch the whole time and hoping that the ride would tally at least 120km since ride time was over 5 hours door to door. Just barely made it! Taking moving time into account I would say avg speed was about the same as my 4 corners fixy ride but a much windier and slightly hillier route.


Can't wait to hammer the bike again, but without fighting wind, ice or gravel.

And for those who care, my avg HR was probably about 145-150 (my cheap ass HRM might give me that info, but I only got a french owners manual so we will never know).

Also, my camera is still busted. If anybody has an old digi camera (even of dubious quality) they want to sell me real cheap lemme know. Then I can enhance entries like these with blurry pictures of boring inanimate objects.