Ladies’ Bike Ride, Rollin’ With Ian

It was the first Thursday night Ladies’ Ride with the Bow Cyclist Club, and Tammy was there, representing! Considering she re-jiggered her work schedule to make it to the Thursday rides, that’s awesome! There were ten ladies in total, with Liz, Alice and Susan leading over 37 km of in-city riding.

Tammy with the group. Susan’s taking the picture.

There was a nasty headwind on the last 10 km back and Tammy was pretty darn tired at the end of it.

Meanwhile, Ian and I covered our own ground, riding from Bowness to downtown and back. Ian wanted to see the construction state of the Telus Sky building. He also got to show off his new cycling jersey!

Ian and Daddy

He did great! We rode 27 flat kilometres over about 2 hours. The low point was him having a little crash. He cut a corner at one point, and his handlebar clipped a pole. He fell over at really low speed. He was okay, but shaken.

Across the river from St. Patrick’s Island Park

Only in Calgary

Riding home from work this afternoon, I had to stop and try to capture the strangeness. It was twenty-two degrees and sunny, but there was still ice along the river.

Sun and Ice

Today marks a week since I started my commuting season. Still nippy in the mornings.

I’ve got mad decaling skills, bro.

As documented here, I was waiting for my second set of decals to arrive from Hungary, and they came yesterday! Of course, that meant a door knocker and Tammy picking them up today. She teased me at work with this:

A Hungarian Package

I got home and opened the package up. Here’s what I got for $71… or $142 if you count the lost one that probably is in the landfill in Victoria.

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Let the 2018 BCC season begin!

The weather this weekend managed to be nice enough for me to ride not once, but twice! Yesterday, I went for a 31 km ride into the Church Ranches area to scout the road conditions. And today, the Bow Cyclists headed out for the first time in 2018.

Selfie on Meadow Lane

That’s a duck pond in the background. Let’s just say that winter has not released its grip yet.

There was an amazing turnout this morning. The count was somewhat vague, but it was approximately thirty riders who set out this morning. That was the largest number that I have ever seen. We had six ride leaders out: myself, Tommy, Wing, Rebecca, Kurt and Mark, so we split into an A and B group. I led the B group for what ended up a 42 km ride.

The B group. I don’t know all of their names, but left to right there’s Wing, Kevin, three unknowns, Adam, Susan, Allan, another unknown, Mary, Rebecca and Nora.

The A group got back a few minutes after us, and only went 6 more kilometres. They had to deal with a flat tire at some point.

I guess there were a lot of people like me who were sick of riding the trainer indoors. Feels good to kick off the riding season. It will only get better from here on out.

MAMIL (Middle-Aged Men In Lycra)

Tonight was a date night. Tammy took the train downtown and met me at the Esri office at the end of day. We walked from there to the Barley Mill Pub in Eau Claire. There was a big pro-Trans-Mountain Pipeline rally at the old courthouse on the way. We walked by just as it was breaking up. I muttered to her a quote from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown:

Sally: “I wouldn’t want to be accused of taking part in a rumble.”

We had a nice dinner. She had the fish and chips, and I had a buffalo chicken burger. A half pint of Guinness for her and a couple glasses of Tool Shed Red Rage.

But all of that was a pretext to go and see MAMIL.

It is a documentary that has an interesting distribution method: they advertise a showing in a city at a particular theatre on a particular date and time, and if they pre-sell enough tickets, then the showing happens (you don’t get charged until the reservation is confirmed). It had come to Calgary in October and I’d missed it then.

There were a fair number of Bow Cyclists there, so it was a bit of an event. There were a lot of chuckles and outright laughter from the audience. I guess there was a lot of truths up there on the screen. It was a study of why specifically there is a demographic of middle-aged, mostly white, mostly male cyclists who insist on wearing lycra (not flattering) and buying expensive bikes and riding in clubs. Sound like anyone you know? 😳

I could see myself in some of the stories. There were a lot of other ones that were not exactly me: I’m not trying to race or compete in any sort of official way. There also was a real focus on the maleness of the phenomenon, which also was a little off from my experience. I have done my best to encourage women in the club, but there’s no denying that most of the riders are men. I’m glad of our female membership and will continue to work for it.

Tammy could also relate to the suffering looks on the faces of the wives being interviewed. 😆

Some very inspiring stories. Some cringe-worthy embarrassing truths. But overall a very entertaining film.

Yes, I’m almost forty-five. Yes, I weigh over 200 pounds and I put on lycra (or as I call it, my super-suit). And I’m also damn healthy and having fun.

Back In Black

The winter refuses to let up. It’s -12 on April 7th and snowing lightly. I understand that snow in April in Calgary is a normal event, but it’s supposed to be “Victoria-style”: snow squalls that melt again. This is frigid.

So, I’m still riding Zwift indoors, but starting to prep for the season. I have stripped my red/silver decals off of my Roubaix in preparation for a new set which are on their way.

Back to being the bat bike

I am going to apply them as soon as they arrive.

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First Ride, Kids’ Walk

I actually got outside on my bike today! The weather was brisk, but sunny. It looked nice outside. About seven degrees or so. After lunch, the kids decided that they were going to go for a walk to the Library. I think they are a bit stir crazy waiting for spring to come, too. They left and I started getting my bike ready. I headed out and met them when they were just leaving the Crowfoot Library and on their way to Petsmart and then Chapters. They like to look at the kittens and the creepy-crawlies (like tarantulas). Eventually they called home and asked for a ride. I was home by that time and didn’t mind at all. I was very impressed that they went for the walk on their own initiative.

My ride was good. It was about 19 kilometres, and not particularly fast. All of the roads were either wet or covered with gravel or both. Some parts were still snow and ice and I either detoured around or walked across.

It was the first time I had ridden my commuting bike since tearing it apart at the bike maintenance course in January. I had replaced my derailleurs with a 1X system (1 gear in the front, 11 in the rear) and it worked really well. So simple.

There’s no way I would commute tomorrow if I was going to work, though. So much meltwater across the roads. It will all turn to ice tonight.


If Spring Would Come…

…then I’d be a happy dude. There are three major changes at work which will make my cycling commute better:

  1. There now is a cycle locker in the underground parking. I have always locked my bike to a rail in the parkade (a few meters from where the locker is now, actually), but having a locker will be extra peace of mind.
  2. There are change rooms! There is a fitness centre being built on the main floor of the building, and all tenants have complimentary access. No more changing in the toilet stall!
  3. And perhaps you anticipated this one, but… showers. At the fitness centre. This isn’t that big a deal for me compared to #2, but I know that others have expressed desire for showers. I take it easy riding downhill to work, but it will be nice to know the option exists. Who knows, maybe this will be bigger than I thought.

All that, and I can’t wait to try out my new 1x drivetrain on my commuter bike.

Bike Fitting Night

Tonight, Liz ran a bike fitting seminar at Bow Cycle. It started at about 6:30, and ran until near to 8:00. She went over a lot of the basics on how to make a bike fit better. Basically, you’re always compromising among comfort, efficiency and power. She went over seat height and reach to the bars, amount of “drop” to the bars, etc., etc.

Liz, with her test dummy, Mark

I got a couple of measurements done:

  • My shoulders are 42 cm across, which determines the optimum handlebar width (should be the same, plus or minus 1 cm).
  • My sit bones are 117 mm apart, so the optimal saddle width is 143 mm. Interestingly, my Norco’s saddle is 143 mm, but my Roubaix’s is somewhere around 136.

It was fun to be there, and to see some of the new 2018 bikes. Curiously, Bow has some Cube road bikes in this year. As I discussed in my 2016 bike purchasing decision, I was interested in a few different Cube models, but Bow hadn’t ordered in any of their road bikes. They only had mountain bikes and cyclocross. This year, apparently they ordered some “Attain” models.

Service School with Miranda

Today was the first day of two days of bicycle service school at Bow Cycle. Yes, the same complete overhaul course that I did in 2016 and in 2017. But this time, I took Miranda!

Hamid, Mark, Mike, Phil and Miranda. My bike in the foreground.

With her joining the club, I thought it would be a good idea for her to know how her bike works. It’s also a really reasonable cost for a complete top-to-bottom rebuild of her bike, which is six years old this year. I took my Giant Seek commuter bike, for the same reason. I tore down my Valence in 2016 and my Roubaix in 2017.

Miranda did very well, keeping up with everyone else. The funniest part was about mid-day, Colette (one of the ladies taking the course) was amazed when she came over and looked at Miranda’s workstation. She was being her usual orderly self, which is to say completely amazing.

Miranda’s ridiculously organized workstation

Both of our bikes have been torn down to nothing. We’ve started putting our stuff back together. She will have new bar tape and new brake callipers, as well as new cables and tiers. My bike is getting new cables, but also a new 1×11 shifter system (no front derailleur, and a wide-ratio 11 speed cassette at the rear. Look at this thing. It’s amazing. The lowest gear is bigger than my disc brake rotor!

New 11-speed cassette

We finish up tomorrow!


The course is now over, and not without any last-minute drama. Both Miranda and I were finished early. I was waiting for one of the instructors to have the time to take a look at my rear hydraulic brakes, which had gotten squishy late in the year. I replaced the original mechanical brakes in 2015. I didn’t think much of it, and at about four, Mike quickly bled the brake line. That was when he noted a leak, and persistent air getting into the master cylinder. It took until almost five to definitively say that the brake needed to be replaced, which meant that I actually finished late. Oh well. New brake on the rear.

It made me think about how much of this bike I have replaced. When I bought it in 2012, cost was a major factor. It was $600. But as with most bikes that you buy to a price point, the long-term costs add up. If you compare the bike in the photos in 2012 to this one, there’s a short list of what is still the same.

Is it still a 2013 Giant Seek 3?

The things still the same:

  • Frame
  • Seat post
  • Handlebar
  • Disc rotors
  • Fenders
  • Front reflector.

That’s not a long list.