by CycleChick on May 27, 2013
It seems like only yesterday we were groaning about the endless winter, but deep, deep down, I know you miss it. After all, as long as you can ride your bike, who cares what the weather is like? Join us Thursday for an evening that celebrates the challenges, joys, and adventure of winter cycling, including a presentation by Anders Swanson, who, as you will recall, attended the International Winter Cycling Congress in Oulu, Finland this winter. There will also be a remote presentation from Finland (since it was “too spendy” to send us all there), as well as a panel discussion including some experts, and me.
Monday May 27th, Lunchtime
MPI Theatre downtown in City Place (2nd floor, east side, door north of elevators).
12:00 noon – 1:00pm
Thursday May 30th, Evening
Winnipeg Free Press Cafe in The Exchange. Arthur at McDermot.
Doors at 6:00pm.
6:30pm – 8ish.
Both events feature:
- a short film about experiencing and exploring a landscape full of people and bikes and snow.
- “Oulu and the top winter cycling cities of the world”: a short presentation by Timo Perälä remote from Oulu, Finland. Mr. Perälä is the CEO of Navico ltd., a small consulting firm specializing in mobility management. He holds a masters degree in civil engineering (construction economics) and has completed several studies and projects related to winter cycling and winter maintenance throughout Finland. Timo directed the 2013 international winter cycling congress – the only event of its kind bringing together experts in the field from around the world – and goes regularly by bike year-round himself (no lycra, just a cruiser).
- Refreshments provided.
Thursday Evening Only
- Panel discussion: A big-ideas panel featuring Paul Jordan, COO of the Forks, Councillor Justin Swandel, Andrea Tétrault and speaker Timo Perälä. Moderated by Bartley Kives.
- Exciting event announcements.
- Hors d’oeuvres provided. Alcohol available.
Seating is limited. RSVPs appreciated but not required.
Hope to see you there!
by CycleChick on May 24, 2013
There has been some confusion (mostly on my part) about where exactly in California I went back in March. There has also been some confusion (again on my part) about where the Pacific Ocean is and which way is North, but I never claimed to be perfect, and sometimes directions can be open to interpretation.
If you’ll direct you attention to the attractive map I created above, you’ll see some pointy things South of Oxnard (and yes JP, Oxnard is like Bull Testicles). Those pointy things are the Santa Monica Mountains, which stretch from Bull Testicles clear south to Los Angeles, offering Barbie and the other rich and famous residents of Malibu lavish views of the ocean.
Leaving Oxnard by car, we drove through a stretch of ugly, quasi-industrial farmland and then parked on the side of the road. Normally this would make me uneasy, but the California highways seem to be occupied by three distinct groups: hippies, surfers, and the aforementioned idle rich, none of whom seem to have the energy or inclination to steal stuff from parked cars.Around this bend, after riding through the cleavage of a couple of enormous rocks, the Pacific Coast Highway opens up to the most spectacular ocean views you can imagine.
Perhaps it is some hard-wired primordial instinct that harkens back to our invertebrate forefathers, but there is just something about the ocean that makes my little amoeba heart skip a beat. Riding…uh… south along the ocean you eventually hit the outskirts of Malibu, much of which is nestled in the ample (and no doubt surgically enhanced) bosom of the Santa Monicas. It’s here you start to get a little taste of what your life might have been like if you had pursued your dream of quitting high school and hitchhiking to California to become a professional beach bum.
Back in Roman times, before the proliferation of indoor plumbing and hand sanitizers, living higher than your neighbours was desirable due to the unfortunate habit sewage has of flowing downhill. Ever since, living high on a hilltop has been considered a sign of wealth and prestige. As such, the Santa Monicas are infested with the idle rich, each living larger, higher, and more sanitary than their lesser famous and and moderately less rich neighbours.In addition to celebrities and the many vintners who keep them inebriated, here in the Santa Monicas you will also find some of the most bitchin’ riding on this side of the Altlantic Ocean. And yes, I know that one is the other way. Being in the mountains means you are treated to sweeping vistas that stretch for miles, something you don’t see very often when you live on the prairies. For me, being in the mountains is as foreign and wonder inspiring as being on the moon. Of course being in the mountains also means you need to do a shit ton of climbing.
Cyclists like Ben who posses both the slight build and strength of natural born climbers delight in the challenge of using their strength and agility to power up steep and relentless inclines.Cyclists like me will suffer through a torturous slog up to the top of a climb merely to enjoy the descent. Gravity is both the curse and reward for every extra pound of ass we haul to get to the top.Fucking gravity.
There are any number of routes you can take into the mountains from the PCH that will bring you up to the Mulholland Highway, which runs across the top of the range from just before Malibu all the way to Los Angeles. The fat line is Mulholland, and the skinny ones are all the different roads you can take up and down to the PCH. Even I would have trouble getting lost.Haha! Just kidding. If Ben didn’t wait for me at the top of the climbs, I’d be arriving in North Carolina right about now.
After a hard day of riding in the mountains, Ben and I returned to the cycling house back in Bull Testicles to find Team Canada preparing for a post ride dip in Big Blue.Ah, the life of a beach bum. When life is this good, who cares which way is north?
by CycleChick on May 18, 2013
The Guerciotti has arrived! Lyle (the Big Frame) brought it in from the wilds of Altona and confirmed that this is indeed a frame worthy of a rebuild. Coincidentally, it is also a big frame, with a dead horizontal top tube that offers stand over clearance that could be described as “intimate”. There are also some worrisome dents and such, but like any bar bouncer in town will tell you, I am not easily deterred. I may just have to wear high heels when I commute.
The stem is trashed, having been pried open at some point to remove the handlebars. No matter, a new stem shall be procured.The cranks and chainrings are Gipiemmi, a Milan-based machine shop founded in 1964. Their name is the initials ‘GPM’ pronounced as a word, and according to the interwebs stands for “Gran Premio della Montagna”, the high points on mountain stages of the Giro d’Italia. I bet Sophia Loren bought her bike parts from Gipiemmi.
There is a 53-tooth ring (the bigger one) and a 42-tooth ring, which I understand is an ideal size for a single speed set up. Excellent! But the bigger ring is kind of pretty too, so it has been suggested by Hot Legs Coughlin that the teeth could be filed off and the ring used as a chain/skirt guard. I like that idea a lot, especially since high heels do look best with a skirt.
The frame has some very lovely features and nicely crafted lugs (the bits that hold the frame tubes together). Apparently these drainage cut outs on the bottom are special too.I happened to be in Olympia Cycle the other day and was introduced to one of the many Scotts that work there. This particular Scott is young, has a beard, and recently transformed an old Italian steel frame into a commuter. Let’s call him Hipster Scott. Hipster Scott took the time to talk to me about the project and gave me lots of great tips and suggested I bring the frame in to have it checked out before I do any work to it. When I proudly arrived at the shop with my Italian Stallion in tow, Tomek the Polish Bike Mechanic was decidedly nonplussed. “That’s not an Italian Stallion! That is an ugly old Italian man!” Silly Tomek. I’ll show him.
There are also lots of Adrians at the shop, and one of them checked out the frame and forks for alignment, and also tested the scary looking crack at the bottom lug by removing the bottom bracket and dripping some fluid on the crack to see if it seeped right through. No seepage was good news. Adrian also reported that the bottom bracket showed some signs of pitting, and should probably be replaced. Boo.The Italians are famously difficult, and therefore made their bottom brackets different from everybody else. I will require a specially threaded Italian bottom bracket and new Campagnolo spindle – which I may have procured from The Hipster (not to be confused with Hipster Scott), who hoards old Italian bike parts in his parents’ basement along with his various cargo racks and obscure artisan beers.
The cost of diagnostic services from the shop? One case of Belgian beauties.In the meantime a deal was struck with Adam for a sweet pair of lightly-used deep-v wheels. He had bought the wheels for a commuter for his lovely wife Stephanie, then the project was abandoned, along with the wheels. The cost of the wheel set: One bottle of Maker’s Mark whiskey and a case of Stella for the wife.The thing about these wheels is the colour. They are blue. Like super blue. This may or may not be an issue, depending on the colour scheme I choose for the bike. More on that in a later, more “fashion-focused” post.But it was an offer I could not refuse.
On to more important things – in order to get the frame and forks powder coated, things have to come apart. This is where I start to get in over my head and have to start learning stuff about bikes. The stem, which holds the handlebars, is attached to the forks by the headset. Or something like that. In any case, sometimes over time these things can get rusted together, or even fused, and the only way to get them apart is a hacksaw. Hacksaws and bikes are generally a bad combination. After consulting The Almighty Sheldon Brown to learn a bit about threaded headsets (as opposed to the newfangled threadless ones that are like Duplo blocks in comparison), I determined it was stuck. Headsets are stupid.I consulted several members of my wise bike posse, including the Alter Boys and B-Rad, who suggested using a shitload of WD40 and a goodly amount of aggressive hammering.I spent the next two days pounding the hell out of the thing and smelling like garage. My efforts, in addition to being sweaty and smelly, were fruitless. B-Rad came to the rescue, offering his experience and tools to dislodge the stubborn stem. Some clamps, a trailer hitch and a 2×4 did the trick to get things loose, and a final bit of hammering secured our victory once and for all.Haha! Take that you stupid bike! You are not the boss of me!
The last bit of business before powder coating was removing the front derailleur hanger, which is an unsightly little thing that will be unnecessary for a single speed set up, given that the only function of a derailleur (other than making my life miserable) is to change gears. No gears, no derailleur. No derailleur, no derailleur hanger. Buh-bye.
For this task, power tools would certainly be required, and nobody knows power tools like my Dear Old Dad. I brought the frame to Dad, who immediately clamped it into a vice grip for closer examination, then fired up a blow torch.I’ll admit this was a little horrifying, but I had no reason not to place full trust in the man who raised me from infancy, having only dropped me on my head once. Or twice.
The hanger was attached by the brazing process, where brass (or copper) is melted and used like glue to stick pieces of steel together. Remelting the brass releases the bond, and also makes one unholy mess. Dad tells me that although the heat would change the chemical properties of the steel, it wouldn’t wreck it, per se, which is most reassuring. Some filing and sanding and the torched area was as clean and smooth as Marco Pantani’s glorious head.Whew. It’s been a lot of work already and the frame is in pieces and looks like hell in a handbasket. But like most things like this, it always looks worse before it looks better, and I have full confidence that this old Italian man is well on his way to his former glory.
Next step: powder coating and the rummaging of basements for the procurement of parts. Stay tuned!
by CycleChick on May 12, 2013
by CycleChick on May 11, 2013
Back in 1895, the New York World published a list of 41 Don’t for Women on Bicycles. It made the rounds on the interwebs thanks to the ever clever Brain Pickings blog and included sage wisdoms like: “Don’t wear a garden hat with bloomers” and“never (cycle) without needle, thread and thimble”. The list has the air of having been written by room full of finger-wagging dowager aunts and disapproving old white guys smoking cigars.
Needless to say, the list was in dire need of an update. There are a number of newer, and highly entertaining lists out there already that apply to cyclists (roadies in particular), such as the sacred Rules Velominatus, and The Official Rules for Euro Cyclist, but I felt there were some things that apply specifically to today’s unbloomered women that haven’t really been covered and should be shared. I decided to present them as “Dos” rather than “Don’ts” because nobody likes a negative bossypants.
I am by no means an expert, and this is not a definitive list, but every tip here comes from either personal experience or talking to other women riders of varying experience and ability. Some are meant to be funny, some are not. Hopefully you can tell the difference.
#1 – Love thy brother
No matter how gracious they may be about it, no guy likes getting chicked. You know it happened, he knows it happened, so don’t make it worse by bragging to the world about how you passed, dropped, or otherwise out-rode a man. I have never seen a guy brag to his buddies about dropping a woman, so be sure to offer same courtesy and respect. The fastest way to be uninvited to group rides is behaving like a she-jerk.
#2 – Wear what you love
It’s no secret that I, along with many of my cycling sisters, have an issue with pink. While I have nothing personal against the colour, I do take exception to the “pink it and shrink it” policy the cycling industry has adopted in its halfhearted attempts to sell stuff to it’s proportionally minute female market. Having said that, you should be able to wear whatever you want, and If that happens to be pink, well, lucky you, you’ll have tons to choose from. If pink doesn’t tickle your fancy, well good luck finding something you like in your size. Sick of buying men’s bike gear that does’t fit just so you don’t look like Barbie? Tell your LBS, leave comments on manufacturers websites. If we are loud enough, at some point someone will listen.
#3 – Go with the Flow
If you ride while you are menstruating, you are a badass. Period. You’ll need to bring spare supplies – so don’t wear one of those silly useless one-pocket “jerseys” for women. If manufacturers had any insight into the needs of women they would put a discreet little tampon pocket somewhere in our jerseys, plus an emergency compartment for chocolate. Also bring a ziploc bag for disposal later – even mother nature herself shouldn’t have to deal with that mess. As for the question of underwear (see tip #4), this is one time you can make an exception. Or, if you are so inclined, stick a maxi pad directly to your chamois for extra protection. It’s already padded down there, so nobody will notice.
#4 – Go Commando Other than special occasions like police interrogations, decorum and hygiene dictate that we ladies should wear underpants. However, bike shorts are engineered in such a way that they should always be worn commando. On your bike, your sexy, lacy panties will chafe and pinch you in ways you never thought possible. Victoria’s real secret? Have 2 or three pairs of bike shorts and wash them after each wear. There is nothing grosser than dirty bike shorts, no matter what this commercial says.
#5 – Harden the Fuck Up
In the spirit of the Vie Velominatus, road cyclists must, regardless of gender, abide the sanctity of Rule V. There are times to be soft, gentle and motherly. This is not one of them.
#6 – Ride with Men
If you want to get faster, you need to ride with people that are faster than you, and sometimes that means venturing a bit beyond your comfort zone. This doesn’t mean finding a group of cat 3 alpha-males that will rip your legs off ride after miserable ride, but merely being open to the possibility of riding with people of the non-female variety. If they make you feel bad or unwelcome, it’s not because they are guys, it’s because they are assholes. Unless you are a pro, and if you race local events, you will be racing side by side with men because the pool is simply not big enough to hold women only races. So you (and them) may as well get used to it.
#7 – Never underestimate the Power of a Good Saddle
If riding hurts you, you will not ride, plain and simple. Probably one of the most common complaints I hear from women is that their seat is uncomfortable. Fear not ladies, this is not something you need to tolerate like the creep who talks to you boobs instead of your face. The trick is not getting one that is all soft and cushy, but rather one that fits your bones. This has nothing to do with the size of your gorgeous and curvaceous bottom, but rather the pointy parts of your pelvis that you sit on. Most good bike shops have a nifty device that will measure the distance between your sit bones and hence tell you what size saddle you should use. There are also women-specific saddles with cut-outs in the middle that will change your life. Trust me.
#8 – Know Thy Bike
There are plenty of guys out there who can barely change their own flat, so don’t feel bad if you don’t know every one of the gazillion parts of a bicycle by name. Start small and learn the basics – like how to change your tubes and tyres, and how to clean and lube your chain, for example. If you’re too embarrassed to ask someone at your bike shop to show you, there are plenty of videos and such on the interwebs. There are also great workshops out there you can take, like the ones at the Bike Dump right here in Winnipeg. I can’t promise they will be full of hot guys, but one never knows, right? In the meantime, get to know the names of the basic parts of a bike and you will never have to use the word “thingy” in the bike shop again.
Also, remember to always have tools with you when you ride: spare tube, bike lever, CO2 cartridges or pump, and multi-tool. Being able to change your own flat on the side of the road in the poring rain automatically earns you a post-ride martini. If you also happen to have your period, you get three.
#9 – Wear a HelmetThis photograph shows a friend of a friend after she took a spill on her bike while riding some trails on her way to work. She doesn’t like riding with a helmet on because she is a confident and experienced rider, and she doesn’t want to wreck her hair.
Doesn’t her hair look pretty?
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, and I also know that wearing a helmet can really fuck up your fabulous ‘do. The great thing is that the more you ride your bike, the less you will care, and everyone else will be too busy checking out your spectacular cyclist ass to notice your hair.
#10 – Master the Nature BreakIf you watch bike races, you’ve no doubt heard the announcers talk about Nature Breaks, which is just a fancy way to say the riders are stopping to pee. Anatomy being what it is, male riders can stop pretty much anywhere, pull down the front of their bib shorts and let fly. For women, peeing in bib shorts is decidedly more complicated, requiring the removal of not only your shorts, but much of your other clothing as well. I for one do not love squatting naked in a ditch with a crowd of other riders nearby, so on long rides I never wear bibs. Even still, finding privacy on the bald prairie or Arizona desert can be challenging. On group rides, we often decide en masse to stop near a cluster of trees, bush, or deep roadside ditch with long grass. The boys take one side of the road and the ladies take the other. In such cases, choose your spot carefully – that leaf you choose to wipe yourself could very well be poison ivy.
Peeing during a race can be trickier. Most road races are short enough that it’s not an issue, but on longer races (or even “not” races like Muddy Waters), your tinkle technique can mean the difference between staying with the pack or getting dropped like a baby giraffe. I’ve heard of women just peeing their pants. This is pretty extreme, and it would have to be a pretty important race for my mind to overpower my bladder which has been trained not to pee while I’m wearing pants. I’ve learned to either hold it, or try to time a turbo-pee when the boys stop. It’s usually messy, and not terribly discreet, but generally people are too occupied with their own business to notice.
- – - – - – - – -
There are a few “don’ts” I will leave you with. Cycling is and can be an intimidating, male-dominated sport. But if you love it, don’t let that deter you, and whatever you do, don’t let anybody make you feel like you don’t belong.
Ride on sisters!
by CycleChick on May 2, 2013
As of May 1, anyone under 18 in Manitoba is required to wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet while cycling. At least that’s what the kids are saying. In fact, you’ll be seeing these kids a lot around town, thanks to a broad media campaign we recently worked on to inform the public about the new helmet legislation, which could mean a $50 ticket if you’re not properly attired in the latest in protective noggin wear.
Now don’t go shooting the messenger here. If I had any power over legislation, every Friday would be a stat holiday and there would be no tax on liquor.
It’s no secret that if you’re a good person and/or I like you, I would strongly encourage you to wear a hemet. If not, assuming you are over 18, you can do what you like. Regardless, in spite of what some will think, this is not a campaign devised to terrorize people or convince them of the dangers of riding a bike. I’m pretty sure they would have hired Winnipeg CyclingSucksChick to do that.
The argument goes something like “But you don’t have to wear a helmet when you drive and there are way more car accidents and fatalities than bike accidents and fatalities!” While this may be true, if you check your drivers’ licence, I’m going to go out on a limb and bet it doesn’t say you live in Copenhagen. Here in Manitoba we’re still in our cycling infrastructure infancy, and those of us who ride bikes are by far the minority in a sea of confused but well-meaning drivers who haven’t got a hot clue how to respond to a cyclist on the road. Throw in some shitty road conditions, ice, bad luck, texting, and a handful of hostile drivers and you have one potentially volatile situation. Plus, if you compare a person in a car to a person on a bike and can’t tell who is more vulnerable – then perhaps you don’t really need a helmet after all. And remember, if you’re over 18 you still have a choice.
Back in 1984 when they introduced the law that said you have to wear a seatbelt when you drive, I’m guessing that as pissed off as you were, you reluctantly strapped yourself into your Chevy Nova – if not to avoid flying through your windshield, to avoid a ticket. Now it’s second nature. I for one feel a bit naked when I don’t have my seatbelt on. And that annoying beeping makes me want to kill something.
The cost of a helmet and the trouble to put it on is hardly worth griping about. And really, is your hair truly so incredibly awesome that a helmet is an insult to it’s very existence? If so, lucky you Mr. Hasselhoff. My hair is a hot mess, with or without a helmet, and furthermore I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t look very hot eating my meals through a straw.
Many thanks to Jenna, Olli and Aaron for helping us spread the word to the fine citizens of our fair province.
by CycleChick on April 26, 2013
After an exhaustive search, I think I have found the perfect frame for Operation Commuter Bike! It is an exotic Italian racing steed, coming to me from the equally exotic wilds of Altona, Manitoba via our country cousins the ABES – specifically Johnny S. and his lovely wife, Sweet Sweet Cheryl Koop. Like me, Sweet Cheryl had intended to make this her Commuter Project, but was derailed when a twister uprooted the family farm and flung the livestock into four neighbouring municipalities making for one hell of a mess to clean up. Ok, that last bit isn’t true, but she is indeed a very busy lady and has reluctantly acknowledged the project was not moving quite as quickly as planned, and transferred ownership of this rare treasure to yours truly. Deals were made. Liquor shall change hands.
It is a thing of beauty, no?Ok, it needs a little work, but like Prince Harry after a night in Vegas, this bike still has pedigree. It is a 1980′s era Guerciotti [gwer-chee-OH-ty] – a brand of bicycles made in Milan by brothers Italo and Paolo Guerciotti, who (according to the Great and Almighty Sheldon Brown) entered the world of frame building under the guidance of Cino Cinelli. This bike couldn’t get more Italian if Sophia Loren had sex with Mario Cipollini whilst riding it through the Vatican.
© Hollywood Rides a Bike. Sophia Loren and Rik Battaglia, Woman of the River, 1954.
The frame has seen better days. But I know I can make it bellisima once again.
For most kids, being told your Dad was bringing home a new car would be pretty exciting. You would probably sit at the window with your nose pressed against the window waiting for Dad to drive up like a movie star in a shiny new Oldsmobile sedan. For us, it meant we had to go put on work clothes to help our Dad load a bunch of boxes of dirty, stinky car parts into the garage. Every night after work he would inhale dinner and disappear into his workshop where even from the house we could hear the violent banging of metal or see the flashing light that meant he was welding. I sometimes wondered if he was secretly a mad scientist, like Frankenstein, assembling random body parts to make us a new brother or sister to play with.
Our visits to the garage would find him, or rather half of him, sticking out from underneath a half finished auto carcass, sprawled out and dressed in cut-off suit pants and an oily t-shirt so riddled with welding burns it looked as if he had been shot with a blunderbuss. We’d usually be there just in time to pass the wrong tools when he asked, or stick our small hands deep into the entrails of an engine where his big hands wouldn’t fit.
Months later, a shiny beautiful car – our newest sibling – would roll into the driveway, driven by my beaming Dad. Unfortunately, none of this means I have inherited any mechanical prowess whatsoever. What I did inherit, however, is an overwhelming love of making something run-down, broken or ordinary into something beautiful. While my dad restored rusty old cars and motorbikes and made them into showpieces, I dotted my “i”s with princess crowns.
There are two “i”s in Guerciotti.
There is a long way to go to make the Guercotti beautiful. I barely know a clincher from a cantilever and according to the CycleChick accounting team my budget is zilch. Stupid accountants. Thankfully I have lots of nice, knowledgeable friends who happen to hoard bike parts and like beer.
First of all I need to get my hands on the frame to make sure it’s actually sound, and the right size. But like any project, the beginning is the most exciting part because anything is possible. It could end up looking like this:Of course, it could also end up looking like this:But likely, it will end up somewhere in between.
by CycleChick on April 24, 2013
Like most people, when I’m not riding around in a lycra skin suit with a picture of a chicken on the back, I have a real job. In addition to fulfilling its primary purpose of providing the means to purchase more bikes and associated items, I usually enjoy it. Much to my Dear Old Dad’s initial chagrin, my career path led straight and unerringly to graphic design (but only after I learned that you have to be born a princess). Graphic designers typically produce logos, brochures, books, posters, and other two dimensional items, a startlingly good match to my personality. So when I received an email from Jason Carter, the then President of the Manitoba Cycling Association about producing a video, I kind of ignored it, assuming I had been contacted by mistake. But a week later when I received a second, more firmly worded email, I decided I should pay attention.
Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs, a department of our provincial government, along with the MCA, wanted to produce a video about bike helmets as part of the Can-Bike program. Specifically, they wanted to make a video that would get 15-25 year olds to wear them.Haha! Good luck! Marketing people know it is difficult to impossible to affect the behaviour of that particular demographic. They think they know everything. And they certainly know that marketing people are stupid.
That said, it sounded like an interesting challenge, and was an actual paying gig, so I took the job. Based on lots of meetings and research I set to work writing the script, then did what any smart business person does when faced with a new challenge and I placed a desperate call for help to people who actually know what they are doing. Those people were a young and talented local video company called Handcraft Creative.The video (which, incidentally, was made last summer – well before helmet legislation for kids was even announced) isn’t meant to sell helmets, or to scare people into wearing one. It’s meant to teach people what to look for when buying one and how to wear it properly without boring them to tears. We used humour to help make the messages memorable, while harkening back to the old-style public safety videos from long before the film crew was even born. And we got Napoleon Dynamite to narrate.
Once the script was finalized, we needed some actors that could bring our vision to life. After some heavy negotiations with Coach Jay, we procured the services of some up and coming local talent, otherwise known as The Provincial Kids.They fit our demographic, are very skilled bike riders, are ridiculously good looking, and most importantly, they work for free. Aaron, Jenna, Alex, Olli, Sebastian, Anna all got to experience the glamorous life of movie actors first hand.
First we whisked them off to a really sketchy area of town right before dark. Even the birds in this area are tough, as you can see by the grisly remains of this crow we found that were clearly left as a messages to all the other crows.Making movies can be tedious, as the Kids discovered as we made them ride their bikes back and forth…and back…and forth.The kids worked very very hard and were the epitome of professionalism. In the meantime, I attended to some very important matters in my trailer.The style we were shooting in required the actors to hold completely still and expressionless for long periods of time. This is tough, especially if you are happen to be a teenager surrounded by your friends who are doing everything in their power to try and make you laugh.Our strategy to keep the actors in character was simple: Think about the dead crow.Another obstacle we faced was the almost crippling shyness of some of our young actors.But we did our best.
Our second day of shooting brought us to LBS Alter Ego Sports, where the kids got to ditch school to cruise bike stuff and test drive a whole bunch of different helmets.Bike Mechanic and closet thespian Dave Chennel stepped in to help. Dave impressed all of us with his natural ability to play a guy who works in a bike shop.Bravo, sir.
The crew worked really hard to get the final shots we needed to explain the ins and outs of finding the right kind of helmet. In the meantime I attended to the critical matter of assuring the safety of everyone on set.The video was edited together, complete with graphics and sound, and delivered to the government where it was prompty put on the shelf awaiting a formal launch date – which finally came last weekend in conjunction with the introduction of the new helmet legislation.
As you know, I am a huge fan of bike riding. I am not, however, a fan of head injuries, and as such was pleased to help produce a video that encourages their use. Legislation is a different matter entirely, and thankfully falls well outside of my job description.
I’d like to thank Alter Ego for letting us use their shop during business hours – Dave Chennel for adding his unique talent to the video, and James for ensuring the safety of everyone involved. I’d also like to thank Twila and Jason of the MCA for the opportunity to work on this fun project. And most of all, I want to thank Jay, the Kids (Aaron, Jenna, Alex, Olli, Sebastian, Anna) and their very patient parents.
Finally, thanks to the talented guys over at Handcraft Creative for helping make a safety video that delivers an important message while actually making people laugh.
by CycleChick on April 11, 2013
Something very exciting arrived here at CycleChick headquarters this week. And no, it wasn’t a case of high quality bourbon delivered by a shirtless Channing Tatum. I’m still waiting for that one.
It was, in fact, the Operacion Muerto jersey I designed this winter. It looks pretty sweet, if I do say so myself. Midnight blue, and starry like the clear, peaceful night sky one might see halfway through an ultra-endurance event – right before falling asleep and riding into a ditch.
Have a look.
Thanks again to Hal and Chris coming up with this cool idea. And chapeau to all the hard men and women who will slather this jersey with their sweat, snot and vomit as they push themselves to the limit. It was an honour to clothe you.
Thanks also to Sharri Z. who I forced to take these pictures – as well as the super smart, funny and attractive model, whoever she may be.
If you want one of these fine frocks, well, too bad – you had your chance and missed the boat. However, it will likely sail again, so watch for announcements on the official Operacion Muerto website, here.
by CycleChick on April 4, 2013
We interrupt this self-indulgent vacation report for an important bulletin, brought to you by my Attention Deficit Disorder.
So I went to my nearest LBS last night for a fender. I came back with a project I am so excited about I had to share it with you RIGHT FREAKING NOW.
So awesome, right?
First, let me give you some back up material. Since I started riding my bike to work I have been in commuter bike purgatory – caught somewhere between my ancient and soon-to-be-deceased mountain bike and my cyclocross bike. While this is most certainly a petty first-world problem, truth be told, I don’t really have any other kind.
Riding the mountain bike is slow, heavy, and not much fun. Although I have never actually driven a Sherman tank, I suspect the old girl is not dissimilar. The shifting is temperamental, the rear brake has seized, and the bottom bracket is looser than Lindsay Lohan after four rounds of tequila shots and a couple of quaaludes. On days where the road conditions are wet, snowy, mucky, or otherwise shitty, this is my ride.
On the other three days of the year, I’m on my ‘cross bike. While I do use it for racing, I hesitate to call it a race bike. It’s a third-hand aluminum Cannondale and let’s just say it has seen its fair share of deck. And yet riding it in the spring feels a little like eating spaghetti and meatballs in my wedding dress.Riding and maintaining two commuter bikes is a pain. Choosing which one to ride based on some half-assed prediction of the road conditions is stressful. And the equipment logistics are exhausting: transferring of blinky lights, fender swapping, and footwear changes, just to name a few. Life is complicated enough, thank you very much.
This brings me to last night. My ride home was miserable and wet, made wetter and more miserable because I did not have fenders on the Sherman. I didn’t have fenders on the Sherman because a) when I ride in the winter the temperature is typically such that water stays in its solid form, and b) I think fenders are ugly. Having said that, a wet brown stain running up one’s backside is not exactly attractive either.
When I explained my plight to Adrian at the bike shop, including the important requirement that said fender be easily moved from bike to bike, he looked at me knowingly. Then he told me what I needed.
“What you need” he said, “is a dedicated commuter bike.”
Yes. That is exactly what I need. And a fender. Like right now. But even though I was not there to buy a bike, I was (and am always) willing to spend some time fondling some nice shiny new bikes.
Adrian then spent the next 30 minutes NOT trying to sell me a commuter bike, but rather explaining, piece by piece, what his vision of the perfect commuter bike would be, using his own as an example. His bike (which incidentally was as filthy as my own), including all of its various parts, cost him a grand total $150 – which is approximately the budget I have at my disposal for a bike right now. Unfortunately, as it was pointed out to me later, I may not have the same kind of access to free bike parts that he has. And stealing is wrong.
In any case, it’s got me thinking (ok obsessing) about the advantages of a dedicated commuting bike. Like getting a new bike, for example. When I got home, I drew the bike that Adrian described on a piece of paper.
(I already showed it to you. Remember? Don’t worry, there are medications available for people like us.)
And so begins my quest. I’d like something nice, but not so precious I’m worried about it getting dirty or ripped off – probably a steel road bike, single speed. Maybe Italian. It will most certainly have a free wheel hub, because I am not nearly skilled or cool enough for fixed. Maybe it will even be a step-though ladies’ frame. Because I’m a lady. I’d love to build it myself, but maybe I’ll find something whole. Regardless, the single, most important feature will be something I have never, ever done with any bike I’ve ever owned in my whole life: I will pick the colour myself.
It will also have the most bodacious pair of fenders money can buy.
Huge thanks to Adrian Alphonso at Olympia on Portage for taking the time to teach me a thing or two about commuting safer, cleaner and in style, all for the cost of a seventeen dollar fender.