Friday, September 28, 2007

Bikes to Africa

The re-Cycles Co-op is donating bikes and parts to an initiative called Bicycles For Humanity. We have about 40 or so bikes ready for them, and boxes of parts and a 6 foot stack of knobby mountain bike tires (which are kind of useless on our paved roads, but perfect for African rural areas). The big pick-up day is tomorrow, Saturday the 29th. Check the specific BfH page for details.

CBC TV interviewed me at the shop yesterday, and it should air this evening. They also have an article on their website.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gig alert

Next Tuesday the IJO takes on its biggest challenge to date.

We will be playing the music of Gil Evans, the famous Canadian composer who created some classic albums with Miles Davis (among others). We will be recreating both "Sketches of Spain" and "Miles Ahead", both of which have never been performed in Canada (and rarely elsewhere), mainly due to the complexity of the music, plus the cost of the large group needed! The regular IJO big band orchestra will be enhanced by two French horns and one tuba from the NAC Orchestra, plus bassoon and oboe from the Ottawa Symphony (I think a harp might even show up).

This is a huge challenge for us, because the music was never meant to be played live. The classic recordings were done in multiple takes, with the best ones stitched together in the studio (there were even some splices mid-take). We have to do it all in one pass!

If you like this music this may be your only chance to ever hear it played live. Trumpeter Lina Allemano from Toronto will be our guest for this show.

Details at:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

More trailers! (aka fan mail)

I've received another email from someone that built a trailer based on mine. Here's his email:

"hi there,

I came across your website when I was looking for trailer plans, and I found your instructions helpful for creating the trailer i just completed. I wanted to email you a picture of my trailer (it is made specifically to carry a small boat that I just built.)

also, someone gave me a burley trailer hitch, but it seems ridiculously easy to rip off the design (just a piece of 1 inch angle iron and 1 1/2 inch angle iron welded together). I am going to try using this setup with the rubber hose as the flexible member, but if that doesn't work, burley sells a replacement rigid rubber piece that fits perfectly (for $5).

thanks again for the plans,


He also included a link to his boat page, and photos were attached:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Out and about

I like exploring my environs, and the bicycle is the perfect machine for that. I'll try and post about some of my fave places as I go along...

My friend Andrea and I have been going on bike rides together for many years (I'm lucky that her partner doesn't cycle, so his loss is my gain. hehe). It's a time for us to chat and get caught up, so we are never in a hurry and just sort of tootle along. One route that we like to take is the bike path along the Ottawa River on the Quebec side. This path starts at the end of the Booth St. (Chaudiere) Bridge and ends some where past the Alymer Marina. It's a nice route that is mainly covered by trees and so quite nice on a hot day, and it never seems too busy, though we do avoid going on a weekend (since we are both self-employed we can usually find a weekday afternoon for these jaunts).

Our usual destination is the beach at Parc Des Cedres near the marina, but halfway there is another fave spot. There's a bend in the river here where it widens to become Lac Deschenes (directly across from Brittania on the Ottawa side). And the river makes a bit of a drop, and there's also a small island that creates a channel and the water really rushes through between there and the mainland. And at the end of this channel are the ruins of an old hydro generating station. The interpretive plaque says something about it being built around 1900 and dismantled only 50 years later. Someone mentioned to me that this may have been after a large control dam was built upriver, which thus lowered the water level here a bit too much.

All that remains are some concrete walls that are gradually being worn down by the wave action. It's still rather impressive, if only due to the amount of turbulence in the water. The photos below were taken from a smaller island that creates yet another channel that we were able to cross due to low water levels at this time of year. And while it was early Sept. it was 31C that day, so perfect for playing in the water. And with the low water in that second narrow channel a small pool is created that one can soak in quite nicely.

(Check out this blog page for photos of what the place looks like during high water.)

Here's a Google satellite shot (obviously taken in the Fall due to lack of greenery):

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Gig alert - "Swing Explosion Gala"

This coming Saturday (Sept. 15) the Impressions in Jazz Orchestra and Swing Dynamite will be teaming up for a fun evening of music and dancing with "The Biggest Swing Dance Party of the Year". You get dance lessons, music and live band, and also a jitterbug contest. Details at both the IJO and Swing Explosion sites.

Monday, September 03, 2007

bike co-op break-in

Well, it took 8 years, but we finally had a break-in at the re-Cycles Bicycle Co-op. Some time last week between the Wednesday and Thursday shift someone got into our shop. They did not pick the lock or kick the door in, but simply punched their way through the drywall right beside the door, and reached around and undid the latch. They then found our cashbox and made off with it. The bikes and tools were left alone, since I guess none of that stuff would fetch very much money, and cash is, well, cash! To add a weird twist, when the volunteer mechanic showed up and discovered the break-in he noticed that the thief had taken our plastic sign off the door and used it to cover the hole! The Police were called, and the sign was taken for fingerprinting, and the officer said they would be investigating.

Fortunately we only lost around $150, so not a huge loss. But still, to think that someone would rob a community non-profit operation is appalling, and we're certainly hoping it wasn't someone who had been in our shop before. Yes, I know that even churches get ripped off, but I still think it takes a low form of life to steal from those that have given a lot to their community (remember that re-Cycles has been run for all these years by volunteers).

But we will not let ourselves get paranoid. The punched-out wall is being reinforced so that method of entry will no longer work, and we will now be emptying our cashbox after each shift. An alarm system and security camera are being considered as well.