Thursday, November 23, 2006

trailer failure!

(try saying that title five times quickly!)

So after seven years of 4-season cycling I had the trailer fall apart!

I was on my way to my regular dance class accompaniment gig, which meant the trailer had about $500 worth of gear in it. I was crossing an intersection, heard a noise, and looked back to see the trailer skidding across the road! Looking down I saw that the hitch arm was still attached to the bike, and had snapped off right where it bolts to the other frame tube. I was very lucky, in that no cars were approaching, and the trailer just slid to a halt against the sidewalk. If a car had smashed into it there would have been a real mess, financially and otherwise...

So there I was with a problem!

I still had to get to that class, and had to figure how to get the trailer hooked back up again. I pulled it as close to the bike as I could, and pulled the hitch arm over the end stubs of the frame and wrapped it up with bungee cords. It took four separate tries to get the bungees tight enough to keep that connection from moving, because if it did move then the trailer would pull sideways into the side of the rear wheel. Not fun... But I did finally get it together, and was able to get to the gig, 20 minutes late. Pedaling too quickly or going downhill meant the trailer started to wobble, which was no fun at all, so a steady pace was needed.

Once back home I had to make a proper repair, and this was done by sleeving a section of 1" conduit over the broken 3/4" pieces, and drilling and bolting through. Not pretty, but the only other option was replacing that entire side tube, and that would've also meant having to drill and remount the axle plates, as well as the rear mount for the inner wheel housing tube. No thanks! ;)

One thing I did do was rectify an oversight in the original build. The other tube that parallels the hitch arm crushed a bit when it was first bolted, because its end was open with nothing inside to keep it round. In the larger cargo trailer I built I used a piece of dowel, but having none this time I used a sawed-off piece of drumstick! Not a perfect fit, but it'll keep the pipe from getting worse. And I'll also cover the sleeve openings with electrical tape to help keep moisture out. The trailer now runs as smoothly as it did before.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

a pilgrimage to the Guru (of crazybiking)

aka "drumbent visits the crazybikerchick". ;)

Crazybikerchick is the name of a very popular blog written by Tanya, a Toronto-based cyclist. It's so popular that Toronto's Now Magazine recently voted it "Best Personal Blog"! I don't know how many websites and blogs I've come across that link to hers, but suffice to say that she has struck a positive chord with cyclists from all over. She reports on her experiences of biking around the city, challenging herself to do her first century ride, and even a 200km randonneuring event! There are also updates on her knitting projects, as well as tales (tails?) of her two cats, Princess and Abby. I can't recall how I originally found her blog, but after reading a few posts, especially the one about renting a large bike trailer to bring stuff home from Ikea, I knew I had found a kindred spirit!

Turns out the cycling circles she travelled in included my friends Vic and Jen in Toronto, and after some comments made on each other's blog posts, and a few emails back and forth we got to know each other a bit. This past weekend I had to go to Toronto for some family matters, so Tanya and I thought it would be fun to finally meet in person.

The plan was to help her with some bike repair, since she had mentioned that she had been struggling with re-padding the canti brakes on her old hybrid. And if we had time we also hoped to get into creating some Bike Art. Alas, setting up those old post-style brakes is indeed a pain, especially when the only wrench available was a small adjustable one! (I had brought my Topeak multi-tool, but it does not have sockets or wrenches.) So it took far too long, and once done we used those nicely adjusted brakes to act as guides in truing the rear wheel. Well, after much futzing about I realized the rim had taken a hit at some point and was dented a bit, with no way to make it much better than it was. So, time to back off the brakes a tad, and in the end it all worked out OK.

And since so much time had been spent we realized it was getting way past dinnertime, and so we headed out for a fabbo Indian buffet. Upon returning we had a look at her Raleigh Twenty folding bike, and very nice touring bike. The Twenty is in great original shape, given its age, and just needed the headset adjusted. The touring bike was a little off in the shifting department, but I believe we got it all dialed back in OK. As soon as I got back to Ottawa I got a note from Tanya saying the hybrid's brakes worked very well indeed, and had already been put to an emergency test! After the hours of bike repair fun we decided to just sit and yak, instead of getting caught up in the Bike Art idea.

Here's Tanya, trying to stuff Abby into the handlebar bag of her tourer:

And here's Abby, getting her revenge by clawing on the tires:

and chewing on the derailer cable:

It was funny to watch Abby scratch at the tires, since Tanya had posted a comment about finding small punctures in her tubes and figuring out the culprit...

So it was very nice visit, and it looks like Tanya will be coming to Ottawa this weekend to join HPVOoO for its annual appearance in the local Santa Toy Parade, where she'll get to experience Ottawa's own crazybikerpeople! ;)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

ATWAS (all the world's a stage) #2

This series would have more entries if I'd remember to bring my camera with me to the gigs!

Friday night saw the Jivewires performing across the river at La Maison de la Culture in Gatineau, Que. It's a very nice theatre, we were well received, and hope to appear there again. But yeah, no photos from moi.

Last night (Sat.) the band was at the National Arts Centre, where the Governor-General's Performing Arts Awards were taking place. Celebrities included Lorne Michaels (creator of Saturday Night Live), Robbie Roberstson (the Band), Buffy Ste. Marie, and Paul Schaffer (musical director for David Letterman) - all Canadian-born. For the fourth year in a row we played the after-show reception, when everyone comes out of the hall and into the lobby, where champagne and snacks are served. Quite a few of them feel like dancing after sitting on their butts for a few hours.

Since we had to set up in the lobby, I parked Kyoto right at the main door, beside the Red Carpet. Gotta love how the reflecto bits respond to the flash!

The friendly doorman was quite happy to hold the door for me as I made my trips, after we determined that security would probably not like me rolling the trike right inside. ;)

Setting up.

Food and drinks are put in place, and waiting musicians descend upon them. Above, Sandy, Rick, and Chris are thrilled with their morsels. We make sure to leave some for the patrons, of course!

Steve echoes my sentiments regarding the plates of pure chocolate cookies (a few of which made their way home with me. No whole plates of course, but certainly whole cookies).

At the end of the evening, Kyoto, having being locked to the nearby bike stand, is pulled over to the main doors. Straggling patrons are making their way to the waiting limos, while the drummer loads out.

I didn't take any crowd action photos, but you can get an idea of the fun from last year's pictures.