Postponing Rides due to Weather Conditions

I am typically keen on riding my bike regardless of conditions although a past wipe out incident back when I was in university curbed my enthusiasm a bit.

So when I saw the weather conditions for the Sunday — my friend and I decided that it really wasn’t worth getting wet and frozen for a 50km training ride.

Hopefully the weather will be better this upcoming Victoria Day long weekend.

Unfriendly weather conditions
Unfriendly weather conditions

So what’d I do instead?  I began reading up on touring bikes.  It is really interesting the different takes and thoughts on touring.  I have some folks telling me that it’d be hard on a mountain bike and so I should spend the money to buy a new bike — while others just suggest doing it on a modified mountain bike.

One thing that I think I’ll definitely need to assess is whether I should change up my tires from the mountain bike knobby tires to something more road friendly (and still handle some gravel).

Some good food for thought from these folks:

The Push to a 50km Ride

Over the weekend, I decided to take the opportunity to set up the GoPro Bicycle Mount that I picked up from BestBuy. I had attempted to get some third-party stuff from Amazon but they all failed to fit my bicycle handlebar properly. Apparently it is too thin.

Setting up the GoPro Mount
Setting up the GoPro Mount

I also attempted to set up the Blackburn bike pump holder on to the bicycle frame, but unfortunately — one of the screws that the Blackburn provided totally failed on me.  The screw head was messed up after I set up the pump holder.  Normally, I’d walk away and say that’s fine because it was installed but I had to make further modifications to the set up and now I couldn’t get bike pump holder off my bike.

The consequence of a single broken screw. Time wasted and the presence of the red toolbox.
The consequence of a single broken screw. Time wasted and the presence of the red toolbox.

I tried all sorts of tools and it just wouldn’t work so I ended up trying to wiggle the bike pump holder and most of it snapped off.  Oops, but by that point I didn’t care — I just wanted the bike pump holder off so I then grabbed a pair of pliers and worked at twisting the remaining part until the screw was loose enough.  Not cool as some paint was scratched off my bike in the process but at least I learned something and was able to get rid of the problem.

The broken air pump holder
The broken air pump holder

This time, we were going to tackle 50km make our way east along the Waterfront Trail in Toronto.  Unfortunately that particular trail itself wouldn’t make up for the full 50km so we tacked on some of the Don River Trail as well as the trail that runs through the Leslie Street Spit (otherwise known as Tommy Thompson Park).  We also accidentally ended up on the Taylor Creek Trail which was a nice surprise for us because it was quite the pretty trail.

It was a much colder day than last time and we fortunately had gloves and additional layers.  It was however, nice in the sun and once we left the core of the city and made our way into the Beach area — it was rather comfortable (albeit a bit too windy when cycling).

Having an opportunity to sit down at a bench dedicated to Larry "Hot Tub" Hayes.  Pretty cool.
Having an opportunity to sit down at a bench dedicated to Larry “Hot Tub” Hayes. Pretty cool.

Once we reached the furthest east we could go (or thought we could) — we sat down for lunch.  The view was great just to chill out and rest for a bit until some squirrel came along that was a little too comfortable and jumped right next to me and then proceeded to try and rummage through my bag.  I’m guessing that people fed the little critter a bit too often so I’ll refrain from doing so in the future.

Good view for lunch.
Good view for lunch.

The ride was a success but we were definitely feeling the burn near the end.  My quads will probably be paying for it tomorrow but at least it is for a good cause!

A Weekend with my Bicycle

With some great weather over the weekend of April 16th, I finally had the chance to work on my bicycle AND do some training.

So I woke up on Saturday and then pulled out the bicycle multi-tool that I had crowdfunded on Kickstarter some years ago.  Until now, it had sorta sat in my drawer but I was happy that The Nutter from Full Windsor was completely helpful to me as I worked on adding a new pannier rack.  I managed to pick one up from a local Trek store near my work.  It just so happened that they had a sale on so the discount was a bonus.

The Nutter bike multi-tool was helpful because I really had no idea what tools I needed to work on my bike...
The Nutter bike multi-tool was helpful because I really had no idea what tools I needed to work on my bike…

As I was adding on the pannier rack to my bike (a 2010 Trek 3700), I found myself fiddling around with the tools and even almost removing the wheel by accident.  Oops.  So I took a step back and made sure I knew what I was doing.  I had initially thought that I’d have to remove the wheel in order to install the pannier rack.

What I soon realized was my bicycle frame had specific holes in place for specific upgrades or components.  I also realized that I eventually need to get a bicycle stand.  Relying on leaning the bicycle against the wall is eventually going to drive me nuts when I have to pump my tires and install components.

Successfully installed! The new pannier rack on my bike
Successfully installed! The new pannier rack on my bike

So that was Saturday.  Success!

On Sunday, a friend and I began preparing for our 75km Ride for Heart by opting to train on the Toronto Waterfront trail.  I’ve never biked on this trail before so it was a pretty cool experience.  We managed to tackle about 25km by riding around some areas off-route after realizing that the route we took would only cover approximately 24km.

Using the empty spot where fold-up seats are to park my bike.
Using the empty spot where fold-up seats are (to the right) to park my bike and not get everyone’s way. [Photo via BlogTO]
On another note, because I live in the suburb of North York — I had to take my bicycle on the subway to the downtown core.  Now, one of the things that subway trains still fail to tackle is the transportation of bicycles.  This is why bicycles aren’t allowed on the TTC subway trains at certain times.

Surprisingly, I found the perfect spot to park my bike while on the subway.  I didn’t get in people’s way — I merely took up a spot.  Of course, if someone were to come into the subway train who required that space for the wheel chair — I would immediately move out of the way.  Today, there were seats galore — everywhere.  I was just simply enjoying the subway experience when suddenly I heard a, “Hey buddy, move out of the way — I need to sit.” — to which I immediately apologized and got out of the way, moving my bicycle aside.

This is when I came to the realization that he had just gotten on the subway and there were seats available immediately left of the entrance as well as opposite of where he was standing.  I guess he really wanted to sit down in those fold-up seats.  Can’t please everyone!

Aside from that peculiar experience on public transit, bicycle training was a success this weekend and the goal is to aim to tackle 50km.  Let’s just hope the weather will work out for us again!

Between the Bike and the Weather

With spring time fast arriving in Toronto, I am hoping to get started with some early spring training once I return from a quick trip to Utah.  I don’t know this’ll happen if temperatures continue to be looking to be in the low single digits.

A 14-day weather forecast from Weather Network starting from March 20th 2016
A 14-day weather forecast from Weather Network starting from March 20th 2016

I’m hoping that once I return from my trip to Utah, things will be significantly warmer for the first weekend of April.  I’ve been doing a bit of reading on training and it is suggested that cyclists training should start off with short one-hour rides.  I might even start with less than that if the weather is that cold.

I’ll also need to see if any of my toques can fit under my helmet and will work effectively.  I think I caught a brief cold in mid-late March as a result of wind chill and my toque was practically useless as I could feel the cold wind blowing right through.

In the meanwhile, I’ve focused on learning more about my own bike, a Trek 3700, a 2010 model if I remember correctly.  There’s a lot to learn and I haven’t figured out which bicycle maintenance book to buy yet — but a friend and I have signed up for a bicycle maintenance clinic at MEC.  It’s $10 for an hour’s worth of learning, and you don’t have to bring your own bike (which is good because I live a fair distant away from the MEC store in Toronto).  I’m excited to see what I’ll learn and be able to put into practice when I bring out my bike for some spring cleaning!

My bicycle when it was younger (and newer)
My bicycle when it was younger (and newer)

Between the bike and the weather, I’ve got a lot of figuring out to do…!