Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Xmas triking

By December 25th the trike is normally in winter storage. The deleterious effects of road salt on the frame, parts, and electricals, not to mention just sliding around on slushy, icy streets, makes me put the machine into hibernation. But not this year! At least, not so far... We've been seeing continuous daily temps above freezing, where they should be 4 or 5C below. So there's been almost no road salt put down, and so with bare roads I thought why not trike over to my brother's place for Xmas? While I had presents and hockey sticks to bring, I didn't really need the trike, but heck, I rode it because I could. ;)

I only had a few presents to bring, but I put them in a spare Blue Box and wrapped that up to resemble one large gift, just so it looked more impressive in the cargo box (the big sheet of paper was later cut up and recycled for future gift-wrapping). Along the way I got some waves and calls of "Merry Christmas". The Santa hat probably helped... And if you want really quiet roads for cycling, Christmas Day is one of the best ones for that.

Hockey sticks were needed for the family's traditional Xmas Day road hockey game. Though it wasn't part of the trike's design, the sticks do fit quite nicely in the cargo box.

By the time I headed back home, snow was falling and the trike got a rare taste of the white stuff. And snow can really pile up on you when you're riding in a reclined position! Below, trike tracks, already getting covered over five minutes after getting home.

And of course Jett was waiting to greet me. The snow slowly accumulating on his back doesn't bother him one bit.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Another legend gone...

Dutch Mason, the Prime Minister of the Blues, and a true Canadian legend, died yesterday at the age of 68. Back '94 I did a summer tour of Ontario and Quebec with Dutchie (as part of the Drew Nelson Band), and he was a great guy to work with. And any time he came to town and I went to say Hi he remembered me and we had some great talks. He always made me laugh...

Dutch in '93, with Brian Magner on sax.

Dutchie, with Drew Nelson, at the Ottawa BlueFest in 2005.
(Both photos courtesy of Drew Nelson)

RIP, Dutchie - you showed so many of us how to play the Blues.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bike funnies

Time to post a few fun bike-related pics.

On a cycling newsgroup there have been posts regarding squirrels getting caught in front wheels and causing accidents. Then the pics of other bike-beast encounters started coming in. The little guys below are quokkas.

Next up, one way to keep your butt warm during cold weather rides:

And if you want to make a tall-bike, this is probably the most basic way to do it. Though it looks like it might be rather flexy...

And finally, because I need to put this somewhere: crazy cats!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

ATWAS (all the world's a stage) #3

Well, it WAS winter for a little while, but right now it feels more like early November here in Ottawa, as the temps are above normal. Yesterday it was 8C, well above the average of -3C.

And yesterday the Steve Berndt Quartet had a noon-hour gig downtown at the Clarica Centre. The centre features live music every Wednesday, and I do this gig every couple of months. It's another reason that Kyoto works so well, because I can cycle right up to the door of the building and unload.

(Kyoto gets put away for winter hibernation once the roads get salted, but they received only a light dusting with that freezing rain we had, and regular rain has since washed most of it away.)

The gig takes place in the atrium of the centre that joins the two office towers together. There is a raised area with seating, and we just set up in one corner and play to the folks eating their lunch.

One feature is a waterfall that sensibly turns off right a noon so people can hear the music. It comes on automatically at 1:00pm, so if you're still playing that rippling noise is not the sound of mass applause...

The other feature is the presence of trees on the raised area. One of which is in the middle of where we set up. So this is my view of our bassist:

Just like my summer gig at the Metropolitan, I get leaves dropping on my kit...

Festive Cycling

Last Sunday the weather was above zero C, and since Tanya the crazybikerchick was visiting again we thought it'd be fun to got for a bike ride after HPVOoO's ritual Sunday dinner. RGB had some inverters, so with these new low-current LED Xmas lights and some 12-volt batteries we could dress up our bikes and ride for hours! Tanya and I rode the CCM tandem, outfitted with a string of blue lights, powered by Kyoto's battery. Tanya models the bike...

And here we are (only five of us went riding) at the foot of the Peace Tower of the Parliament Buildings:

Note Charles wearing the bowling pin helmet, created by Mike Watson.

I put my little Canon camera into video mode, and took some footage while we were stopped here, and then Tanya took more after we arrived in front of the Prime Minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive (which is across the street from the Governor-General's residence at Rideau Hall). A few years ago a roundabout was built there, so we decided to ride in circles and see if we could draw the RCMP out of their gate-house. But they wisely ignored us...

You can see the video here, and Richard took photos as well.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It is winter (Part 2)

Since I was heading to the re-Cycles shop to get my winter bike ready, there were some donations to pick up and deliver to the shop as well. First stop, RGB's place:

As you can see, the bike received a nice helping of winter moisture...

Then on to RealGrouchy's, were a decent old road bike was waiting. This next photo shows Kyoto loaded with these two bikes, plus one I had, some assorted wheels, and my winter bike.

One lesson I learned - when you think you put your winter bike away properly, check again! I thought I had cleaned the chain, etc. last Spring, but the rusty brown coating told me otherwise. But it was still flexible, so I took a wire brush and scrubbed all four sides, then gave a liberal application of motor oil. The chain is now just fine, and given that it operates an internally-geared hub, the chainline stays straight and so no extra wear on it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

It is winter...

... here in Ottawa, on the first day of December. We have a thin layer of snow, topped with a lovely coating freezing rain, and high winds. Yuck. Glad I'm not commuting by bike, but some of my friends have to...

Looking into the back yard, with 1-speed bike and trailer getting covered.

Front porch, and hybrid bike:

The front yard cedar and apple trees are getting coated with ice:

I had planned to take my winter bike to the re-Cycles shop on Sunday afternoon (fun when you have your own keys) and make sure it's ready for the seasonal weather. Looks like that idea is a few days late...