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! ;)

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