to be young

okay, i know it has been a while since my last post but i had to share this one.

my nephew is currently doing one year of study in France. he uses the local bike rental system (25 euros for a year) and this is what he and some friends did one day...



the third city in our southeast asian tour and as unique as any other. whereas HK was tight and crowded, KL is spread out and crowded. a city that has grown way to fast to make any sense. for example, our first hotel was attached to a mall (ugh) and you literally had to circle it two times to get in or out of the parking lot, it was like a traffic circle inside a traffic circle. there is a subway/train system, but it is divided between three or four different private companies so you need to purchase separate tickets everytime you change a train.

a full report of the tour, with pictures, will be put up once i get back.


hong kong

hong kong island

last thursday mrs. dr. and i left bangkok and made our way to hong kong for 4 days. hk is a crazy city with an interesting mix of eastern and and western cultures. my very good friend from library school lives and works in hong kong and visiting with her was the main purpose of the trip - so seeing her has been a blast. today we'll wander around a bit more before heading back to bangkok and then kuala lumpur


bangkok II

having the damndest time trying to get pictures on the blog. any ways, bangkok is great and would recommend it as a destination for any one. more will be posted later but a few qucik observations:
  • the friendliest people and verypolite, and at the same time there are those who will hustle you in the blink of an eye - depends where you hang out.
  • hot, humid, rains every afternoon
  • the food is out of the world everything from inscets to deep fried breads, to the most amazing fruit - hot, sour, salty, sweet and spicey
  • caucasian men walking around with thai women and boys are creepy
  • luxury to poverty in twelve steps or less
  • thai massage is fantastic - and no, i did not get the massage with the "happy ending"
  • with my certificate from cooking school i am ready to venture forth in new cusines, now if i can only find some great markets
  • traffic lines on the road are only mere suggestions, a free for all that seems to work(those in the lead have the right of way)
  • ferrys and boat rides are way to get around

more later....


hmmm - street food

after the first day we are starting to get a little more adventurous with where one can go to eat. hawkers are everywhere and everything they have looks interesting, did not try the variety of insects that went by on the one cart - maybe today though. if you jettison north american concepts of food handling and storage from your consciousness there are great tastes everywhere.



a little more crowded than a winnipeg street. probably only 2 meters wide, 30+ degrees and some very very new smells - love it, but maybe not all the time. i think all of the crap that ends up being midway prizes are sold here.

more later.


Arrived after 24 hours of travel time. Will try and find a place where I can download pictures. More later.


Mrs. Dr's ride

The parts finally came in last week and it was time to put Mrs. Dr's bike together. Funny how building bikes always takes longer than expected. Started putting it together on Thursday at the shop and finished on Friday at 9:30 (they kicked me out on Thursday otherwise I would have been there till midnight working on it). Too bad it took so long cause it looks like I missed a great race on Friday night, but I really wanted to her bike done before she gets home today (Laura has been gone for 5 weeks and this is her welcome home present).

Pretty excited about the bike and I believe Laura will be as well. It comes in at 22lbs the way you see it here, which is not bad for a city/utility bike. Many thanks to Tomek for building the wheels and the gifting me some brakes, the guys in the shop for advice and not laughing (too much) at my silly mistakes, and Matt for the handlebars.


am i cold hearted?

been a long time since i last updated the blog - in fact, i drifted all the way below boredom manifestation, so it is time for another post.

on saturday i was filling up the car with gas before i headed out to bur oak to map the trails with vern from the OCC. as i was filling up with gas, i heard a loud crash coming from the street behind me. i looked over my shoulder to see a bike down on the street in front of a car, the cyclist was sitting on the pavement looking rather stunned. she quickly got up as the driver of the vehicle ran out to see if she was alright. people gathered to offer their assistance so there was no need for me to go over to help. at first i was a little shocked and my sympathy went to the cyclist. i've come very close to this scenario several times and know how disconcerting this is. but then i began to change my mind on what had just happened - you see, the problem was that she was riding her bike on the sidewalk and i soon felt she was the author of her own misfortune. statistics have shown that sidewalks are often less safe than roads for cyclists, this appeared to bear that conclusion. this cyclist was going against the flow of traffic because she was riding on the sidewalk on the south side of Portage Ave traveling west, like a salmon swimming upstream; drivers turning onto Portage would be looking to their left for traffic and not their right. this is not to say the motorist is without fault, it is just the cyclist put herself in a very risky position by riding on the sidewalk. i was glad she was alright, i just think she put herself into a very vulnerable position when she thought she was being safe by riding on the sidewalk.

too many cyclists do not ride with enough precaution and are immediately outraged when they have close calls or encounters with vehicles, but how many times is their own fault?

yesterday's free press had the following letter to the editor, the editorial cartoon, and the front page article on the local section of yesterday's free press - somewhat timely considering what i witnessed on the weekend.

letter to the editor:

Get jerks off sidewalks

E. Rosenberg is right (Put bells on bikes, June 4). I was the other pedestrian who shared his close call while walking on Wellington Crescent last Sunday. Shortly after, I met head-on with a sidewalk cyclist running a large dog on a leash, followed by a caravan of four adults, one trundling a babe in box arrangement at the rear.

How safe is that?

As I pointed out in an article printed in the Winnipeg Free Press in August 2006, cycling on sidewalks is illegal. The provincial Highway Act states, only bicycles with a wheel circumference no greater than 410 mms are allowed on Winnipeg sidewalks. This law is not respected or enforced. Pedestrians are increasingly at risk.

Pedestrian is defined in the Act as "a person afoot or a person in a wheelchair or a child's carriage or physically handicapped person operating a motorized mobility aid." Yes and some of those can slow down too.

The situation is getting worse. Freewheeling on the sidewalk is leading more and more to freewheeling on crosswalks. Try crossing Osborne and River; on second thought, don't. The "blue-haired brigade," which includes me, has a tough enough time beetling across before the lights change without cyclists compounding the challenge.

Why not license bicycles? Plate numbers included. Open cyclists to inspection by police for functioning equipment such as front and rear lights and brakes, a warning device, knowledge of road rules and adherence to speed limits.

Dedicated cyclists, who are the majority, would gain from this elevated profile. It would increase public respect for them, emphasize their legal right to safe passage on the road and enhance their campaign for more dedicated cycle paths. Let's work together to get the jerks off the sidewalks.

Jean Palmer


article on city councilors cycling to work


me being selfish - laura benefiting

steve hajula, who some of you know, wrote a ethnographic paper for his own amusement on guys who build bikes for their partners. the theory is that they do it more for their own needs and desires than those of the partner who is getting the bike - as far as I can tell I am a case study of this.

laura is receiving the benefits of my need and addiction of building bikes. is it more bike than she needs - she seems to think so, but i would argue that sh will be getting a kick-a** bike that should last a long long time. doesn't matter who you are, you got to appreciate a well built bike that is going to be easy and comfortatble to ride.

in case you are wondering here is the tubing that is being used for the bike (from Mike's email)

"I have some sweet tubing here that I have been hanging onto, and this could be the perfect bike for it.DT, TT and seatstays are all Tange Prestige- the origional stuff, made in Japan, super strong and medium light weight.Seat tube - Reynolds 631 ,externally butted.Chainstays - true temper HOX2 - these are bent specifically for 29" wheels, which is perfect in this case"

more to follow...


whatcha doing next thrusday????

mrs. dr. has a concert and it will be really cool, here is the promo from the organizer...

Blow Them Away, curated by Diana McIntosh

WHEN: Thursday, April 16, 2009, 8 pm
WHERE: Eckhardt-Gramatte Hall, U of W
TICKETS: Adult: $19 / Senior: $17 /Student: $9

Concert Description:
The exciting international duo of Allen Harrington, saxophone, and Laura Loewen, piano, our featured artists, will 'blow you away' with their breath-taking artistry, virtuosity and musicality. They'll amaze you with their expressive and dramatic powers in works by Belgian composer Piet Swerts and Jean-Luc Fafchamps, French composer Jean-Pierre Leguay and Canadians Robert Lemay and Diana McIntosh. Winnipeg's own colourful clarinetist Patricia Daniels will join Diana in the premieres of pieces for clarinet and piano by Sid Robinovitch and Allan Bell.

Allen Harrington, saxophones
Patricia Daniels, clarinet
Laura Loewen, piano
Diana McIntosh, piano


new training method

started a new training regime - i've constructed an oxygen deprivation system, using WWII surplus materials, which i use when i am on the trainer while the weather continues to be crappy. i'm hoping that this will boost my red blood cell count thereby delivering more oxygen to my aging muscles and allowing me to keep up to the younger set in expert.



time to start training in earnest - real time on the bike outdoors. gianni and i headed out to BHP for some laps and it was fine despite the predicted forecast. as we were doing laps we discussed a more concerted, possibly group effort to the training. the idea we came up with was a tuesday, thursday, sunday schedule for now: tuesday, meet at assinaboine park for intervals and sprints; thursday leave from the shop for a more casual spin; sundays at BHP or other location for longer distance rides. this could be the spring schedule until more formal things begin out the club.


theory and reality

with yesterday's temps rising to the happy side of zero, tim kevin, and i thought it would be a good idea to do a little spring classics training and hit the gravel roads for a ride. the theory was that the roads would still be frozen and we'd get a little gravel road ride in. the reality is we got muddy, kevin spun his deraillieur and we learned something about the sun, thawing and dirt/gravel roads. all in all tim and i got 25-30 kms in.


road trip report

the spring training road trip started on friday, february 27th. after a morning meeting at work i was on the road by 1:30 - 11 1/2 hours later i was in madison wisconsin.

what it looked like when i left

after a short 5 hours of sleep i was back on the road, making my way to indianapolis to take in the 2009 north american handmade bike show.

the show was very cool with a ton of amazing bikes. it was pretty crowded, but if you were patient you could talk to the various frame builders who were more than happy to chat. in addition to the bike builders there were also reps from components such as: paul, velo orange, chris king, white industries, etc.

following a quick lunch i was back on the road. durham was still 10 hours away, which meant it was going to be a long day of driving.

finally, no snow

the end of snow - well did not really end. somewhere in west virginia the snow started to fall as i gained altitude in the mountains. at times it got pretty heavy but since the ground was still warm it did not freeze.

driving through a tunnel in west virginia

arrived in durham sometime around 1:00 in the morning. the next morning it was raining pretty steady and temperature was hovering around zero. chris and i went for a quick ride in the morning and soon found ourselves inside continuing our spring training

interval training

the next morning we woke up to this. snow in north carolina is not that unusual, but in march it is not that common. schools were closed (as soon as there is any snow on ground they usually close the schools - even if the streets are drivable).

jonah was more than happy to go for a ride in the snow

on monday chris and i headed out for a little 'spring classics' style riding, durham has plenty of paths to cycle on and we tooled around on these for a few hours. the other thing durham has is hills and i quickly discovered that riding around winnipeg in winter does not prepare one well for riding hills

day two of riding - cool, but not as wet as day one

the next day we headed out to pisgah national forest for three days of riding. along the way we stopped at first flight bike shop in statesville. this a very cool shop that collects vintage bikes as well as being a great all round shop.

almost as cool as the handmade bike show

we arrived in pisgah shortly after lunch and started on the first ride. the way it works here is you climb for 40 - 60 minutes and then spend the next 20 bombing down single track.

our first climb was all on pavement

although you can't really see it in the picture this shows where we started

our next ride for the day started with a climb on fire road. it was 9 miles of climbing (higher altitude and steeper roads than our first ride). by mile 3 i was gassed, chris and i on our singlespeeds soon found it to steep to pedal and we began our death march to the top. because of the altitude, and the way the slope faced we soon found our selves pushing our bikes through the snow. as this took quite a bit of time, more than we expected, all we could do when we reached the top was to turn around and bomb down the same road it had taken us 2 hours to climb. taken the trail was not going to be an option as the snow would have been too deep and we would have lost light by the time we were half way down.

pedaling uphill while we still could

we pushed through the white stuff for about 5km

the next day alex had selected a longer ride along a ridge run called turkey pen(???). again, the ride started with a big climb with the trails starting off dry and gradually filling with snow as we climbed higher. during this climb i tweaked my hamstring as i was pedaling through some snow. rather than risk a full pulling of the hamstring we decided to cut this ride short and try another ride which would not be as epic in length (this gave us time to get into town so i could get a tensor bandage and heat balm for the hammy). during the downhill i put a small gash in sidewall of the racing ralph and had slap an tube in the tire (the racing ralph is perhaps a little to thin for riding on the rocks).
chris climbing
starting the downhill

one of many stream crossings on this trail

day three we picked a couple of new trails and continued the modus operandi of riding fire roads up and bombing down technical single track for the descents. the arms were getting quite the workout as i rode rigid for the entire 3 days

checking routes

riding through a rhododendron tunnel

a rare photo of us going downhill

it was a great trip and many thanks to chris and alex for taking time off so they could show this flatlander around the great trails of the pisgah national forest.

bike porn

on my way to visit chris and spend some time cycling in north carolina i stopped for about an hour and a half at the north american handmade bike show in indianapolis. the show was somewhat overwhelming, so much to see and too little time to see it (was still trying to make durham that day - 10 hours away). here are some photos...

a lot of wood on this bike: rims, seat post, grips, inserts (pedals and pivot covers)

great lug work and paint job. liam at the shoppe is getting a trials frame made by this guy

very cool dropouts for chain tension

the most phallic award winner - great imagination on the design of this handlebar

detail of how the handle bar pivots

street bike?

interesting brake detail

okay, your dad is a frame builder and he builds this bike for you, do you take this to school?

once you get this up to speed...

nice downtube detail

i thought the aesthetics of this brake mount was very interesting

36 inch wheels - the builder said it is not practical for off-road

29er by the same builder of the 36er

steel/carbon 29er

an internal two speed crank system


road trip

19 days and counting till i drive down to visit the good doctor in north carolina for a little bike vacation. hopefully he has fully recovered from the most horrible thing ever and is in a good frame of mind to show me the trails he rode for that event

View Larger Map

the plan is to leave on friday at noon, and weather permitting, make it as far as madison WI before i stop for the night. the next morning i plan to get to indianapolis in time to take in the north american handmade bike show. after a couple of hours there i will try and make the push to mr. dr's place. the next 5 days will be spent biking on the road in the mountains before i make the long journey back.


i ain't no engineer

so, i had two goals for the new brake mount that i was getting mike to mill and and put on my 29er frame: one, allow me to use the full range of the paul dropouts on my bike; and two, allow me to remove the rear wheel without taking any bolts out of the rear brake bracket. based on a photo i saw of the fisher superfly singlespeed, i tried to find a brake mount similar to what i saw in that photo. since i could not find one i asked mike if he knew of anything, he told me he could make something as long as i provided him with a drawing. cool - all i had to do was come up with an sketch and i would get my brake, one that would allow the brake to pivot on an arc which would allow me to do the things i wanted with my rear wheel.

after some time fooling around in the with the brake on the frame i came up with a design and sent it off to mike. on monday mike sent me the photos of what he did based on the drawing i sent.

the first photo looked pretty good, showing the mount that he had milled for me.

the next photo - oops. seems like i forgot to take into consideration the cylinder for the brake and as you can see in the next photo i don't quite get all the use of the slot i designed for the brake mount. this is why professionals get the big bucks for what they do, they take into consideration things like this and design and build systems that have taken these things into account.

the good thing though, i had put in a longer arc than i needed. mike saw that, and positioned the brake mount in such a way a that it works - thank god for people who help me solve problems that i create for my self.